Monday, April 27, 2015

View from the balcony

We're west river!  Just barely.  We have the only balcony room in the hotel, and this was our view following our board meeting tonight!  Pretty impressive photo skills, huh?  That's our state Capitol across the river.  Maybe it will look different in the morning?  Sometimes, you just have to have faith!  Know you are loved!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What to wear

This week, we head to Ft. Pierre for the state retired teachers' convention.  As president elect, I'm sure I am supposed to set an example of professional sartorial selection.  Oops.  When I retired, I also retired my pss.  For me, it's about sweat pants when it's winter and shorts when it's not.  It's not.  Come Tuesday, as I greet the conveners, I will be clad in a florescent orange shirt and black shorts.  (At least the Huron people and the Ipswich people will be impressed!).  I may condescend to stoop so low as to put on long pants for the banquet, but if you're thinking tie, you're thinking wrong!  It's old man casual for me--long sleeved shirt that doesn't require tucking and eschews neck adornment!  Wednesday, well, the shorts will be gray and the shirt?  Neon green.  There's something to be said about being fashion forward.  And believe me, I've said it all.  Comfort for me.  Color for me.  Did I mention comfort?  It sure makes packing easier!  Visualize if you must, but know you are loved!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dear sweet young thing

I was somewhat chagrined when you didn't wave when you went by, but that changed immediately.  You had no hand with which to wave.  The cigarette hung limply from your left hand while your right hand held the phone to your ear.  I was somewhat curious as to what hand was steering the car, but my sense of adventure is limited and I didn't want to see who you took out as your car seemingly automatically found its way down Broadway.  I'm guessing you are not ignorant.  You must have been able to pass the driver's exam.  Unfortunately, since the options are A and B, A being ignorant, that leaves you with B.  Stupid!  There is no call so important you can't take 6 seconds to slow down and park along the street.  That's fewer than three rings.  And I would guess that you hadn't dialed 911, unless you were planning ahead.  If you should decide to continue this behavior, I hope you are the luckiest person on earth.  It seems to be the only way that someone is not exiting this world faster than they should!  Hang up the phone, put out the cigarette, and pay attention.  This is my street!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tell me something about yourself...

I got to play at the middle school today.  Eighth graders "get" to do a job interview as part of their English curriculum.  15 community members did the interviews.  I was one of them.  All my employees were interviewing for a position as baker's assistant!  (Side-note:  what does it mean when both teachers look like they could have been in the interview position?  I'm getting old!)  It was an amazing experience.  Each of my interviewees would have made an excellent employee.  Granted, some were better than others, but I truly believe that when employing, you should hire the attitude and train the skill.  GREAT attitudes.  One of the questions had to do with fudge (surprise!).  After sampling the product, I asked each of them to "sell" it to me.  Their sales pitches were priceless.  And, for those of you who know the story, I almost had a "giraffe" answer today.  My last young lady informed me that she loved to make banana bread.  I had to admit to her that I couldn't make a decent banana bread to save my soul.  I asked her for her secret.  Little darling replied, "It's my great grandmother's recipe, and a secret."  Hmmmmm.  But here's the fun part.  When I asked her what kind of animal she would like to be, she replied "monkey".  I of course inquired, "Why?"  She informed me that as much banana bread as she made, it only made sense.  And it did!  That was a tie-in I wasn't expecting. 
While the day was MOST enjoyable, it didn't even stir a miniscule thought of missing what I used to love.  Been there.  Done that. (And amazingly enough, I am wearing the shirt!)  But I'm glad to see that in at least eight cases, the doom sayers are wrong.  The world is not coming to an end.  Kids are kids, and they are amazing!  And you are loved!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The first sentence will surprise you!

We are on our way home...from a track meet...out of town.  That would be a junior high track meet.  And Watertown was not participating!
Luke was running.  Luke is the son of our god daughter and her husband and the brother of Marisa.  Now understand, the family dynamic here is amazing.  Luke's grandparents and we have been friends for more years than I care to mention.  Luke's mom is one of our most favorite people.  Luke's dad fits.  Luke's sister is her mother in so many of the best ways, and Luke is above all else, a gentleman!  These six people have a profound effect on our lives!  They make us laugh.  They make us proud.  They give with their whole hearts. There is no blood shared among us, and yet, they are family.  So we went to a track meet!  He ran well.  It didn't matter.
The impact of friends is amazing, and you are loved!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tenacity, thy name is tulip!

I deem it next to sacrilege to say this out loud, much less put it in print to be seen by anyone.  I don't care for tulips!  I don't know why.  It's irrational for someone who spends hours trying to find the perfect flower shot to admit an abhorrence for a blooming plant, but there you have it.  38 years ago, when we moved into this house, there were two red tulip plants on the side.  I was younger then.  Tolerance was much more likely.  I figured if I ignored them, they would eventually die.  Wrong.  About ten years ago, a little less forgiving, I dug down and eliminated the bulbs...or so I thought.  Next spring, two red tulips.  I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I'm thinking someone sneaked in under dark of night and planted them.  It is now a battle of wills.  I'm hoping benign neglect will be their undoing.  And yet, coming home today...

And I'm not sure, but upon closer inspection, I could swear it's laughing at me!

Live long and prosper, tulip...without my help!  

And you, my readers, live long and prosper with my help and my love!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


It's the church rummage sale.  Time to divest.  That means tie a rope around my waist and enter the paint room.  Oh my, what a plethora of memorabilia awaits me.  There's an entire bread box of old letters and newspaper articles.  There's a 1993 diary that my wife kept.  There are recipe books.  There are napkins left from our wedding reception.  There are newspapers published on the day I was born.  There's paint...lots of paint...useless paint...but I doubt it would be appreciated at the sale!  Having found two box loads. I am now taking time off to write.  And then, nap.  And then, anything but return to the paint room.  I know now why we don't do rummage sales of our own!  Too many treasures!  Among them, not found in the paint room but nevertheless important, You!

Monday, April 20, 2015


I have been proud of children.  I have been proud of my profession.  I am always proud of my wife.  Today, I was extremely proud of an organization to which I belong.  It was my pleasure this afternoon to present two checks totaling $1500 to a Watertown elementary teacher to help her reach her goal of improving herself!  The local retired teachers association selected her as their $500 scholarship recipient.  The South Dakota Retired Teachers' Association presented her with a check of $1000.  Both are designed to help her become an even better teacher.  What joy to look at a deserving professional and be of assistance!  Our motto?  To serve, not be served!  But today, I was served up with a generous amount of pride!  If I have to break the motto, I can think of no better way.  Congratulations Teresa Remmers!  Know that you, like all my readers, are loved!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


The absolute perfect day to clean the basement.  Not real warm.  A little damp.  A lot windy.  And somehow, it always needs it.  In fact, I believe as I was attacking the indoor outhouse we have down here, I may have found a spider that died of old age!  But as I work my way from west to east, there is an obvious difference between where I started and where I am, and this is a good thing.  Of course, none of this has anything to do with the title of this entry.  Years and years ago, I learned that everything goes better with music playing in the background.  Enter the title.  I just finished listening to the greatest hits of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.  The last song?  My favorite march in the entire world...Stars and Stripes.  All I need is the first few bars, and the smile on my face appears.  Then, and I am going to give away my age here, it was The Kingston Trio singing their hits.  Oh, how I miss folk music.  I was Riding the MTA with Tom Dooley, not giving a hoot for the Green Back Dollar while riding the Sloop John B.  And the smile grew!  Next, the soundtrack from The Music Man.  Oh, yes, we got trouble, right here in River City!  If you're keeping track, that's at least three hours of music, and I ain't done yet.  Next up?  Alan Jackson, and unfortunately I will probably get to Les Mis!  Find a pattern there, I dare you.  And yet, the time goes quickly, the feet tap often, and the smile while cleaning is a thing to see!  Now, it's off to my kitchen!  Know you are loved!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day is done

"There are times when there simply are not enough hours in the day." 
I wonder how often I said that when I teaching and coaching?  It seemed that one day simply led into another, and there was always more to be done than would fit in a 24 hour period.  Thinking back, it wasn't so bad.  I loved what I did.  I loved the people who shared it with me.  And somehow, it all managed to get done (okay, there were those odd days when correcting papers was not my priority, but I at least tried to get them back at some point in time!.  I can say that now because A] they can't fire me any more and B] I've spent all the money they paid me!)  Now, if I want to get up at 4:00 am and work on something, I can.  If I want to stay up late and read, I can.  If I don't...I don't.  And at the end of the day, my new mantra comes directly from Scarlett O'Hara.  "Tomorrow is another day."  And done.  And if, at the end of my days, something has been left undone?  What are they going to do?  Take away my birthday?  Done!  Take time to enjoy each other.  Take time for you.  And know you are loved!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Forsooth! The forsythia!

It truly was an ezbzontheroad experience.  We were coming home from a trip to Minneapolis.  We happened by this amazing horticultural extravaganza in Bonaventure, and we just HAD to stop.  It was the blaze of yellow that caught our eye.  After an interminably long winter, there it was, heralding the hope of yet another new season.  Of course, we had to have one.  It resides in the far northwest corner of our garden, ineptly placed there by yours truly.  You can't see it from the house.  You actually have to look for it.  Sometimes, I forget.  But today, on our way home from yet a totally different kind of road trip, I happened to notice the familiar yellow blaze grandiosely blooming against a house for sale.  It triggered in me the desire to check on ours.  Of course, by the time we got home (six blocks at best), I completely had focused on something else and proceeded to once again, forget.  I'm unsure what rang the bell of recognition, but after an all too frequent head slap, I went into the yard and there it was.  Brilliant.  Blazing.  Extolling the onset of yet another season.  All is right with the world.  At least in this millisecond microcosm that forces one to extol, "Forsooth!"  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Look out, world!

The stars are obviously in alignment.  The moon is in the seventh hour, and Jupiter aligns with Mars.  For today was the dawning of the age of this particular Aquarian.  It started with a good night's rest.  Then, there was chicken for breakfast followed by a positive result on internet bridge.  Now you have to understand, this is played in the front porch with my partner sitting three feet away!  We NEVER cheat.  We bid and play as if we were in foreign lands (which is where the preponderance of our opponents are!)  But at the end of each hand, we can discuss how and why we did what we did.  Notice the use of the term discuss.  Agree?  Not always, but every day is a learning experience.  Then it was off to the track for some run/walk time followed by old fart's yoga and lunch with our very dear friends.  We delivered our used books to the mall for the Friends of the Library book sale, meandered into the card shop, took out a loan to buy two cards, and are now getting ready for our presentation in Milbank tomorrow.  Bridge tonight.  And I am still awake!  And alert!!  And for all you boomers out there, the only thing I'm missing is Hair!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Something stinks

And I mean that in a good way.  As I was contemplating today's topic, I happened to catch the scent of freshly ground coffee.  Ever prepared, I had just set the timer for tomorrow's morning ritual, and the aroma of the coffee grounds was especially intoxicating.  It started me thinking.  What sensual scents worked the most on me?  We've established one.  Then there's the smell of our slow-roast beef roast in the crock pot.  Four hours in, and I'm drooling.  Of course, that drool must last the remaining three hours, but by the time the lid is popped, I'm ready to taste!  Turkey baking.  Oh, my god (and in fairness, I must tell you that I had typed OMG but I so detest all those cutesie abbreviations I had to go back and change it!)!  I actually think it may smell better than it tastes.  Apple pie.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Almost any pie crust.  Even though I just finished supper, my taste buds become excited by the mere memory of these titillating emissions.  But none--not one--can top the ultimate odor--that which gets every enzyme in my digestive system excited--that which promises the most reward--that with which everyone I've ever met can identify.  The smell of fresh bread--just about to come from the oven--and the absolute anticipation it breeds. 
And there you have it--a dissertation on the good stinks in life.  What are yours?  Regardless of what trips your trigger, know you are loved!

Mountains and molehills

Sometimes, I have the most amazing ability to reconfigure small, insignificant problems into consuming thoughts.  It's not what I would call one of my best talents.  Today was one of those days.  A situation arose that needed an attempt at resolution.  I tried.  I failed.  And it literally was no big deal.  Life in the universe will certainly not be adversely affected because of that failure.  In fact, with any luck at all, the problem will resolve itself without my expertise!  But now, at 1:15 in the morning, I'm still thinking of how I could have better dealt with the situation.  And it simply isn't worth the lack of sleep.  Like most things in my life, however, the mere telling of the problem has already made it less significant.  Didn't know you were such amazing psychoanalysts, did you?  An interesting turn of the concept, the power of the pen!  So off to sleep.  Thanks for the session, and know you are loved!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The best chicken thigh recipe today

I try not to oversell.  Yeah.  Right.  And I've NEVER been accused of gilding the lily.  But I really liked this, putsy as it was.  The blend of flavors was extraordinary.  And it was pretty!  Of course, it made enough for six people, so there will be leftovers.  (And after washing dishes and washing my hands several times, I just rubbed my eye.  The oil of the fresh jalapeno is an amazingly virile substance.  I would suggest gloves!)  I did de-seed the peppers, and used a little over a teaspoon of hot sauce rather than the 1/4 cup, but I am a wuss, so you may want to take that into consideration.  If you have time, give it a try.  It was served with some freshly roasted red pepper strips and the omnipresent cole slaw.  The Russian judge gave it a 10!  And you are loved!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

An intruder!!

I was somewhat chagrined this morning to find a strange man in our motel room.  His hair, what there was of it, was quite gray.  He was barely dressed, and I noticed that some of his fleshy parts were not what one would call toned, much less tight,  There was the suggestion of a belly (okay, the existence of!).  One would guess his age to be over sixty-five.  I decided to confront him, and when I did, I looked straight into his eyes. They were clear, and belied the physical.  There was a bit of devilment there..a bit of incredulity.  This was obviously a man who regretted the fact he had to grow older, but reveled in the fact he didn't have to grow up.  While it was quite obvious that gravity had not been his friend, he seemed not yet willing to give in.  Had I had the chance, I think we might have become friends, but as I left to get the manager to complain, he sneaked away.  It's just as well.  I think he was harmless...a little deranged, but harmless. Perhaps we shall meet again.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Today's truth

We celebrate this weekend the life of a good woman...a friend...the sister of another friend...and it is that same sister that said it best.  Grief is the result.  Love is the cause.  If we hadn't loved, we'd have no grief.  As strange as it seems, today I celebrate grief!  And love!  And you!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

four way stop signs

I HATE four way stop signs.  The idea is stunning.  The realization of that idea...yeah, right, when Podunk becomes a metropolitan area.  Let me explain the drivers to you.  There's the "I don't give a rat's rump about you, I'm going whether it's my turn or not." driver.  There's the "I don't know who's turn it is so I will just start and stop 115 times to fake everyone out" driver.  There's the "My momma always told me to be polite so I'll let everyone go first" driver.  Listen up.  Here's the rule.  Take your turn.  If it's not your turn, sit still.  Better yet, if you're uncomfortable about taking your turn, go a different direction.  Just sayin.  Regardless, know you are loved!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One good recipe deserves another!

Here's the deal.  We are attempting to be low-carb based.  To that end, my bride has been on search and destroy for eponymous recipes.  Some have been, well, let's say less than stellar.  Some have been good.  Tonight's?  Probably the best we have found.  How could it not be?  It teams chicken with pizza sauce and pepperoni, with a little (okay, I probably cheated and added just a skoche more than called for) mozzarella for good measure.  Unfortunately, at least for me, it tasted like more, and being the weakling I am, I did!  The recipe can be found at  I pretty much followed it exactly, with the afore-mentioned increase.  Since there is lots left, I'll even let you know how it is reheated.  We did decide the perfect foil for the dish was our low-carb cole slaw, which can be found at!  Just what you wanted--a game of url tag, right?  Well, I will tell you, in my estimation, this meal was "it"!  Give it a test drive, and know you are loved!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cheese Crisps

I'm sure my lovely bride found this recipe on Facebook.  Doesn't matter.  I've stolen it.  And it is absolutely amazingly simple and delicious.  Ever on the lookout for ways with which to play with my I-pad camera, please follow the directions below.

You will need parchment paper, cheese, and a microwave!  Clever picture, huh?

Step 1
Remove cheese from wrapper and place on sheet of parchment paper
I used pepper jack string cheese, but any cheese will do!

Step 2
Cut into four cubes and place strategically(!) on parchment paper
Okay, okay, they aren't truly cubes, but you get the drift!

Step 3
Carefully transfer parchment paper and contents to microwave.
Close door, set timer to one minute 15 seconds, and zap!
Again, you will notice that the door isn't shut--but I wanted you to see inside!

Step 4
Patiently wait for cheese to turn brown, remove from nuclear reactor and blot with paper towel.
Yeah, yeah, so they're still in there.  Deal with it!

Step 5
Enjoy.  Make lots.  Store them in air tight containers.  GREAT snack or fun hors' doeuvres (or however that is spelled!)

Granted, not the air tight container, but the enjoyment!  

Know you are loved!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pot Luck

It was a first.  Pot Luck for Easter.  We supplied the meat and dessert.  They brought the "with its".  We ate well!  Let's discuss the "with its".  Two sisters brought family favorite salads.  One niece, a delicious potato dish.  One nephew, a delightful corn concoction.  One friend, a bottle of wine.  There were kids--one college, one high school, and one four-month old. We were an eclectic group, joined by the food we brought and the love we share.  Like any family (part genetic, part chosen), we were an interesting blend of personalities, likes, dislikes, ideals...well, you get the drift.  The bond we share is strong.  Like the food consumed, we blended together to make a totally delightful whole, sharing and caring for each other.  A family.  We had good Luck!  And you are loved!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter colors

You've seen the carrot cakes.  Bright.  Lively.  There is fudge to match--Raspberry Red, Pineapple Yellow, Blueberry Blue. and Almond Green (didn't think lime would fit in!).  In the refrigerator are the hard boiled eggs waiting to become deviled.  They will be yellow, and green, and red.  Not the shells...the actual eggs.  (Thank you Pinterest.)  And it hit me.  Easter is about accepting everything as possible.  Cake can be colored.  Fudge.  Eggs.  Perhaps this is the year that my world will be colored as well.  Maybe what we have red will convince us that war and its attendant suffering is so useless.  Maybe the yellow sun will convince us that the world is a wonderful place to share.  Maybe this little blue-marbled planet will recognize the power of love.  Maybe the green of jealousy will simply disappear.  Maybe this is the year we shall achieve my new mantra--stolen from the realm of Facebook--and perhaps the most powerful of hopes..."the separation of church and hate."  It really doesn't matter that we are different.  What matters is we are.  In this, one of the most holy of seasons, everything is possible!  Wouldn't it be lovely? 
Know that you are loved!

Friday, April 3, 2015


It's all your fault, ladies.  The power of suggestion.  I was so impressed that I had avoided "the crud", and after the conversation at the dinner table, woke up the next morning with a sore throat.  The power of positive thinking?  Being a pro-active kind of guy, I'm taking my Zicam religiously.  So far, it seems to be working.  God bless minerals!  And god bless each of you!  Enjoy the holy days and know you are loved!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Easter Bunny Puzzler

Even as a youngster, I marveled at how a bunny could lay chicken eggs.  Especially bright colorful ones.  But some things you take on trust.  As I aged, I of course continued to blindly believe.  (If I hadn't, I'm quite sure the Easter baskets would become a thing of the past!)  Now that I am nearing my dotage (quit that laughing), I think it's far more likely, all things being equal, that he would, instead. deliver carrot cake!

Wouldn't you agree?  Just smile, nod, and know you are loved!