"Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." ~ Jack London

I  post here, regularly, writing to myself, thinking it will be fun to read later in life. My new life these days is, by design, so benign that I doubt that there is much here anyone else would find worth reading but is a good way to keep up with me.

The typing keeps my mind active and my hands working. I wish I had begun doing this much earlier, especially the Army days.

I began keeping an online journal in 2000, during my third tour of Turkey and the deployment from there to Kosovo. I fear I may have lost those posts and that pains me. I never want to forget those times.

I write exactly how I'm thinking. If you think I killed Buckwheat, it'll be right here.

But, reading this does not mean that you know me. More than likely, we ain't buddies.


Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Follow The Rules

Well, that whole wash, wax, photo Bess plan didn't happen.

I'm obsessed with working on my web page. I designed a header graphic that I like, reworded a few introductory things, and created link buttons. I like the new look a lot.

I got on the scale Sunday and I had a big rebound. It seems I've been snacking way too much. Sunday and Monday I stayed faithful to the program, no snacks at all. Kady and I made burgers on the grill for Memorial Day. They were delicious, lean, and I didn't grab a mitt full of chips to go with it. Better.

Another Kans-ass trip is in the works because NTC is back on for the kids, so, I get Cooper time while they are gone. I have to keep telling myself, "It'll be great."

This weekend is Jk's birthday and we're going to Jay and KS's house for a small party, dinner, and games. Jk's choice. It'll be our first contact with them that is not through the storm door as they drop off or pick up items off of our porch.

I just finished Radiolab's "The Other Latif." Inconclusive. A good story, but I was left thinking, "or, maybe he's another terrorist that says he didn't do it." But it was informative. The description of the Gitmo problem was spot on. By breaking the Laws of Land Warfare, we have created a bad situation. This is what happens when civilians and intelligence organizations have too much power. We would be miles farther along had we treated these POWs by the Geneva Convention and like the country we're supposed to be.

Yeah, I get the arguments. Robert Gates once asked a group of cadets and cadre at TAMU "What would you be willing to do to stop another 9-11?" His question was a leadership exercise showing us that we all have a cut-off, things we would not do, even to stop another terrorist attack. As a soldier, I could not bend those rules. Even if ordered to torture or mistreat a prisoner, I would have to refuse.

The prison at Guantanamo Bay is a blight on America. We should all be ashamed.

Sunday, 24 May 2020: HTML

I have begun writing my web page in HTML, rather than using a publisher. The publisher I have been using adds HUGE amounts of code. It was nasty, hard to edit, caused issues, and was generally a pain in my ass. Now my pages are clean and smaller files.

I've begun using the default HTML font, Arial, to cut down on special style tags, which were the bulk of the problem. Now my average page has only six styles and they are consistent across the site. EASIER! This all has been a lot of work, but fun for me.

Kady and I have been out and about a bit, she, shopping, me, picking up Jimmy-John's, and we go walking. I do more miles than she does, though I use the rainy weather as an excuse to stay in.

She continually beats me in cards, but we are a great team solving the case we are working on with Hunt-a-Killer.

Today is Bess'es fifteenth birthday. I plan to wash and wax her up after my walk and then drive her somewhere to take her photo.

Friday, 15 May 2020: Out and About

Warmer weather and the arrival of my masks, finally, sparked a bit of movement out into Charlottesville for Kady and me. We went for a walk around the neighborhood. We were late getting out, so we had to stay in the shade as best we could; it was hot.

We walked down to the school, around the grammar school, and through the path through the woods back to the road, staying on the shaded side of the road back to the house.

Back home, we order food for pick-up. she got Jimmy-John's sandwich and I got a Cubano sandwich from Guajiros Miami Eatery, then drove to pick them up. Like a good citizen, I donned my mask, feeling a bit foolish, and went in each place for the food. Of course, I was the only person wearing one, but I was also the oldest person there.

The balance of the day I spent playing cards with Kady, reading out back under the shade of the patio umbrella, and taking a power nap.

Saturday, 10 May 2020: More Coffee

I began my morning with a small breakfast and texts to all my favorite Moms out there. I met up with A on Duo and we had a good talk. It was fun. I rarely get to talk to him one-on-one. He is the perfect guy for my little girl.

Kady woke up earlier than usual and asked for a Mother's day breakfast from McDonald's. Easy! Her timing was perfect; I was back in time for another Coffee with DJ.

Now I'm waiting for lunch which Kady says will be Bonefish Grill delivery. Yes, please. I'm getting a steak and Bang-Bang Shrimp! Coffee with breakfast, coffee with A, and coffee with DJ equals thirty ounces of coffee. I'm fuckin' wired for sound right now.

I was watching Midnight in Paris Friday night, during which, I made a date for virtual coffee with Catherine for Saturday. I went back to the texts this morning and they were well worded and structured. I was glad about that because I was drinking. OK, I was drunk and I tend to say stupid shit when I'm drunk.

We met up on Duo at ten and had a blast. The Coronavirus was defeated by 10:30! Cate and John, The Lost Boys are on it. We talked about what everyone should be doing as we get back to work, what should happen next, and how we get things running again. She and I think alike. This is good because she is in Georgia and going back to work soon. She's smart and has a Masters in this kind of thing, so I won't worry about her.

I was happy she liked my title of "Disease Vector" for any little kid on a bike not keeping their distance. Expect to hear it in official briefings soon.

At the end of our talk, I asked her what the rest of her day looked like. With a sly little sideways look and a twinkle in her eye, she said she was going to get dressed, go get her hair done, then her nails, and then go bowling. I love this girl's wit.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020: Cultural Misappropriation by Computer

This morning I linked up with Sal on Duo for a coffee. It has been a while, though we text often and he sends photos of his little girl. There was none of the coronavirus talk I've had with others, just positive thoughts about how this could refocus some of us on what is important, Family mostly.

We kept it short so he could get to work.

Today being Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo, Kady made Tacos for lunch. I gorged myself. It was fantastic.

We scheduled Games and Margaritas with the family, but KSN had a headache. Still, we met on Hangouts and it was a laugh riot. We played only one game of Drawful and I hate that game. It's fun, but I suck at it.

Friday, 1 May 2020: A Pretty Full Day

I just set up a Virtual Coffee with Sal. Excellent. I miss that boy. This morning was my coffee with Ed. That was super fun. We are so alike.

After we hung up, I started getting my day on track. I changed the AC filter in the attic, cleaned my grilling tools, set up the new grill, pit away some old uniform items from the shed into the attic, and fixed my journal page transition problem I've had for a while.

Kady had the chicken kebabs ready for me to cook by 1300, and we ate at 1400. She also made coos coos and a salad to go with.

After lunch, I drove Bess over to Jays to drop off examples of the Lavazza coffee for them to try. When I was leaving, I ran into Bee coming in from work at the hospital looking very cute and tired in her scrubs and mask.

I still found time to clean the grill, for cards with Kady, and to take a power nap.

Thursday, 30 April, 2020: Virtual Coffee on a Roll!

My Virtual Coffee Date this morning was Jay. We spent the morning solving all of the country's problems, chose Joe's running mate, and fixed the Space-Link satellite problem. It's always fun talking to Jay; he is so well-informed.

Tomorrow is my best buddy Ed over in Dallas and Saturday is Rebecca outside DC.

It's rainy here today, so my Kabab cookout is on hold again. I built another Ruben for lunch. It was scrumptious.

The weather continues to be a downer. I need a long walk, but refuse to go walking in the rain and cold. Tomorrow looks promising.

I started watching The Good Fight on CBS. Damn Good. Hello Christine Baranski and Rose Leslie! I'm at the end of season one and Fisher Stevens just showed up. I love that guy.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020: Virtual Coffee Dates

I have begun setting up video coffee dates with my people, one a day, to go along with my ten ounces of coffee per day. I started with DJ, then met E on Tuesday, today was KS, tomorrow is Jay, and Eddie is on Friday.

I'm working on Sal and Rebecca, and then I need to contact Catherine, Rog, and Ryan and see if they can do one. I'm thinking I could extentd this to Birmingham and Turkiye friends as well, though, time-wise, I should probably meet my Turks for Drinks.

Everyone should try this.

For lunch, because of technical difficulties, Kady made homemade pizza instead of building Chicken Kebabs for me to grill. It was a perfect day to grill, but . . . PIZZA! After lunch, we went for a 2-mile stroll around the school and back.

I picked up groceries at Harris-Teeter last night. Those poor kids. They were covered up.

Sunday, 26 April 2020: Coffee makes it Better

Eating only two meals a day makes it very important that those meals be very enjoyable. Kady helps. She's a master at making delicious meals, which I have convinced her to make for lunch.

When she doesn't make lunch or gets up late because she has been up all night doing what Kady does, I make something simple like my Harb's Turkey Sandwich, John's Ruben, Hot Ham and Cheese, or my version of Ranelli's Number Two Italian Sausage Sandwich.

I make my breakfast while she sleeps. Coffee is a big part of that. I rotate my breakfasts. I do a Mediterranean Day of boiled eggs, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, dolmas, and bread with mint jelly. Alabama day is two eggs over easy, grits, and bacon next. Omelet Day consists of different varieties. I split these days up with Cereal Day of Kellogg's Special K. Bacon is every day except cereal day, sometimes substituted with ham. For a little variety, I add some yogurt or fruit, usually a Clementine or one of Kady's too-ripe-for-her bananas. Seriously, she eats them green, and then I get the ones left to ripen.

I have my favorite coffees, usually made in my Keurig, but I also grind beans to make either Turkish or French Press. The Keurig pods always in my jar are Green Mountain dark magic, McCafe' Hazelnut, Great Value Columbian, Folgers Black Silk, and Gevalia Cappuccino and Mocha Latte. My New Favorite is Lavazza Perfecto Espresso Roast. I like the Lavazza so much I ordered everything they make for the Keurig.

Today, I tried having a video coffee date with DJ. She's in NOVA, working 6-days a week, and single, so when I suggest we try it, she readily agreed. We got to know each other over coffee, so it made sense. Part of her job is screening people as they come to work, so I think she must be at risk. I needed to see her face and talk to her about that. It went well and we had a lot of fun.

I think I'll try Virtual Coffee with others. It'll be a thing. Kady made a Southern Sunday Lunch once she got up. . . black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, fried ham, and cornbread muffins. It was amazing. I gorged myself.

Thursday, 23 April 2020: Tracking the Numbers

I've been keeping track of the National and Virginia Coronavirus numbers since 14 March. I'm using only the CDC numbers and those on the Virginia COVID site.

Here's what I see:

  • For the last eleven days, our national rate-of-rise has been below 10%. For the last six days, we have been below 5%.
  • We don't know the number of recovered cases. Taking the 14-day recovery norm, I estimate that our current cases are about 400, 981, or .001225% of the population.
  • Total deaths from this disease have been, so far, 46,379 people, or .000142 of the population.

I'm with the Prez. We need to be smart, take it slowly, and get back to work. If you're running a company, of any kind, you need to be prepared to test employees, daily, at the door. Have a way to test temperatures. Ask questions: Headaches, Upset Stomach, coughing, difficulty breathing. Send people home who fail. Require Facemasks, buy hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes. Distance workstations and tables. Be visible and enforce standards. Wash Hands and disinfect...a lot.

Kady and I, being high-risk people, are gonna stay in and watch what happens to all of you. My personal goal is to be at Jay's house on 27 May to watch the NASA/Space-X launch with three generations of Neels.

Meanwhile, I'm still walking, while dodging the little bike-borne disease vectors, keeping sane planning what I'll do when released, and watching Blue Bloods, Troy: The Fall of a City, and the New Amazon series Tales from the Loop.

I'm terrible at Spanish.

Rhiannon Giddens! Listen to her music.

Sunday, 19 April 2020: Message To the Next Inhabitants of Earth

I just listened to one of the latest Radiolab episodes, "The Cataclysmic Sentence," which aired on 18 April 2020. It asks, What is the one thing you'd pass on if we all disappeared tomorrow?

As I listened to the episode, I thought through the question . . . What would I tell the next organism to develop intelligence, or tell the humans recovering from a major cataclysm?

The show began telling the story of a physics professor who was tasked with revamping the curriculum of Physics 101 at his university. He began by explaining Atoms. The cast of the show all interviewed people from different disciplines with different ideas. Some would leave Love, others Art, one suggest God (female of course), another the workings of the solar system. The ended with Music and what one lady called the Primordial Chord.

Most missed the intent of passing as much useful information in the shortest sentence possible.

Five minutes into the story, I had Mine: "There is no god."

Realizing that there is no god is certainly not one of the most important discoveries of mankind, but the belief in god and gods has crippled learning throughout human history and has caused untold suffering from the first time a human came up with the idea.

Imagine a society built from the beginning, understanding this truth. What would they avoid? Think!

  • No despots claiming divine appointment, no religious wars, religion-based Persecution
  • No religious oppression of discovery and science
  • No inquisitions
  • No blowing money and effort on Mega Churches, Cathedrals, Temples, Pyramids
  • No child-molesting Priests
  •  No pastors flying around in jets
  • No holy days
  • No religious-based Governments, holocausts, assimilations, slavery, bigotry

Imagine the path of discovery if we knew things didn't have meaning and that they were not controlled by a higher power.

I got it, there would still be atrocities, man being man, but maybe they could dodge the excesses of religious fervor.

I would want to live in that world.

During the interviews, the Solar System guy agreed with me, but as an afterthought and spoken like a joke, "Oh, and God doesn't exist, Ha, ha, ha." I don't see his humor. Has he never heard of Galileo? Hypatia? Bacon?

Monday, 13 April 2020: List of Things

I've made a list of things that I need to be doing, daily. They are in no particular order.

  • Read the News
  • Read
  • Watch a Show or Movie
  • Study Spanish
  • Play My Guitar
  • Work on My Site
  • Workout
  • Walk
  • Cards or Game with Kady

I've done well today, except for the walk. I dressed for it and left the house after the rain was supposed to be finished, but It began raining before I got more than two blocks down the road. Thanks, Weather Channel.

I did three sets of ten pushups today and It was hard. Never stop doing pushups.

I talked to my Marine, Rebecca, today. She posted a self-portrait of herself, upon which I had to compliment (such a gorgeous girl). Then we talked and talked, just like we once did in my office at work. I miss that about the place...when Cadets would come in my door just to talk. Of all my people, I feel for her the most during this time of separation. She is literally up here alone, separated from her very close-knit Cuban family in Miami.

I am pleased that she is continuing to work on her photography. She said she was getting some use out of the AE-1 program I gave her. My first mission in real life is to take photos of her myself.

In the continuing saga of backing up my files, my RSHTECH Hard Drive Docking Enclosure came in today. It took all of five minutes to install the 2-TB drive from my old computer, assemble it, and connect it. Now, it is sitting on my desk next to my screen, mirroring all my files. Ta-Da.

Tomorrow is Photo Trip.

Sunday, 12 April 2020: Mrs. Maisel

I'm binging Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If you're not watching, you should be. Take it from me, this is the funniest show going. It's smart. well written, clever, and so 1950's America. The cars are spectacular. The sets are perfect. The clothes are amazing. The soundtrack has me listening to Sinatra again. I can't get enough of it.

I've been inside most of the past three days. I did go out and set up the back patio, swept the carpet, cleaned the table, got out the chairs, and put up the umbrella. It looks nice out there.

Yesterday, the wind died down and it was in the high 60's, so I got out my lounge chair and spent the afternoon reading. I'm reading the second book in David Gemmell's Troy trilogy, Shield of Thunder. I love this guy's writing; he is a great storyteller. In this series, you feel like you get to know the real people and times of the Illiad and get a fun tour of Archaic Greece and Asia Minor.

It is well worth the read.

Wednesday, 8 April, 2020: Re-stocking

Well. 225 was a plateau. In just a few days, with little exercise, I am down to 222, feeling better, sleeping better, and my walks are almost effortless. My left knee and right hip have stopped aching in walks. I bound up and down the stairs like a teenager. OK, maybe not like a teen, but better than I have in years. Say it with me, "Intermittent Fasting!"

Today, I went to do a grocery pickup at Wal-Mart. We did a big one, hoping to spend the next two weeks away from all the mess. It went well, save for the woman who drove into the slot right next to me, and got out of her car to talk to the poor guy loading my groceries. She is one of the idiots, wearing gloves, mask on but around her neck, and breaking the guys 6' space. There she was, spewing her germs all over my car, my groceries, and the poor guy.

I watched the Matrix. I had forgotten how good it was back then. It is still a timeless movie.

The HOA put in a replacement tree, a White Dogwood. I am pleased with their choice. Anything would be better than the Mulberry, but I was wary of what they might plant there. I didn't want a fruit-bearing or sap producing tree anywhere around my car. Hopefully, this little tree will thrive and become a good shade producer and large enough to put in a birdhouse and feeder.

It's rainy today, so I'm indoors all day. Time for more Matrix.

Monday 6 April 2020: Photo Trip

Kady and I went on a photo trip, a little adventure. just north of Orange, to photograph a church she had read about. It wasn't that far away, we had a full tank of gas, the church would be the only stop, so we were confident we'd be safe. We took along our cameras and some hand sanitizer, and drove a while in 29, turning on 607, then right on 33, left at 20, then right on 15. The drive was spectacular as Virginia is every Spring.

The Church once a pretty little thing is now a tired old lady, falling from lack of care. Undeterred by the Private Property and Keep Out signs, we parked out back and wandered around for a while taking what photos we wanted.

On our way home we stopped at McDonald's drive-through for Kady's lunch and an Oreo McFlurry. A Chance? Yes. Worth it? Yum.

Saturday, 4 April 2020: Lego

I'm still tracking numbers. Albemarle County is reporting 27 cases. Most of Virginia's cases are in the Counties around Washington DC and over in Richmond. For the last few days, the percent infection rate has been in the mid-teens. This is all an estimation; the rise could be because of more testing. Suffice to say, this is not ending anytime soon, but the curve could flatten in the next few days.

I am looking for more things to do. For shows, I've tried Star Trek Discovery, but it sucks. I tried a show on CW called Legacies because Katie Garfield is supposed to be in it. Terrible. Five minutes into the show they were smoking weed and touting a lesbian couple's problems, and the special effects were really bad. CW has the worst shows on TV. They really Supergirl. Teen shows.

Blue Bloods is my savior. I love that show. It is consistently good. The Twilight Zone and Evil began well.

I've watched a lot of movies, but nothing remarkable. I've watched a few old favorites like Top Gun last night. That's a better plan I think. Rather than drudging through the weak offerings of Netflix, I should just watch movies I know I'll like.

I need something with a beach in it.

Continuing to help me through this, Kady bought me the Lego Lunar Lander. I put together the base last night and the Crew compartment today. It's adorable. It looks like two small aliens landed on my desk.

Wednesday, 1 April, 2020: The Old Truck

I went walking in the woods behind the lake again today, planning to photograph the old farm equipment with my big camera. As I climbed the hill from the path, I spotted a tent in the trees. It looks like someone is living out there. day.

I changed my direction to stay away from the area, and my path took up to a fence-line, behind which was an old Ford dump truck. I took lots of photos of it and shared them with SS.

That's it. Short post

Monday, 30 March 2020: Breaking a Plateau

For the last two weeks, I've hovered around 225 pounds, usually around 225.8.

This morning, I was 224.5, a little more than a pound of loss, but a huge hurdle for me. The trick has to be consistent walking combined with fasting.

I've been walking over five miles a day and I feel great.

Yesterday, I took my camera along and mounted the long lens, hoping to see the little blackbird again and get a better photo. I didn't see him, but there were about twenty Bufflehead ducks in Holly Mead Lake, the first I had ever seen. They were gorgeous, though they stayed in the middle of the lake, social distancing, I'm sure.

During my walks I have learned a few coronavirus things I'd like to share:

1. People are polite and friendly, usually, but stupid.

2. People do not know what six feel looks like. A sidewalk is NOT 6'-wide.

3. Don't wear earphones so you can hear people approaching from the rear. They don't care if you of a certain age and will stride right up on you spewing their coronavirus breath all over you if you are not aware.

4. People do not train their kids about safe distancing. Watch out for these little disease vectors; they will run right up to you on or right over you on their bikes.

5. You are responsible for your distance. Plan, make your move early, and give them a wide berth.

6. Big family groups are the worst. They are wide, pay no attention to anyone else, and tend to move to both sides of a trail when approached. Go Right, Fool! This Ain't England!

7. When giving way, watch where you're stepping, there are a LOT of bad dog owners out there. Cooper has trained me better than that.

Friday, 27 March 2020: Two Walks

Today and Yesterday, I had nice long walks. It has been great for my mood. It's good to see families out biking and walking together. At the basketball court, there were kids in small groups playing games. Someone wrote encouraging messages in chalk on the lake path. Everyone is respectful of distance, dodging left and right off the path to give-way to others. Larger groups are a little problematic as some members of the group go left and the others right. I try to make my move to the right well before they do to let them know which way they should go. Everyone speaks.

On my walk yesterday, there was a gorgeous redwing blackbird perched on a bush next to the lake, singing his little heart out, as only a blackbird can. I stopped and had a chat with him, took his photo, and left him with words of encouragement for his quest to find that perfect girl. I'm pretty sure the folks walking around the lake thought me quite crazy.

I finished Picard on CBS All Access. It was good. I wouldn't say great. I am having a better time watching missed episodes of Blue Bloods. I'm struggling with Star Trek Discovery. Seriously? A gigantic killer Tardigrade that uses spores to navigate space-time? Come On, Man!

Since this COVID-19 thing began, I've been keeping a spreadsheet on the numbers nationwide and here in Virginia. This is hard because the information is hard to find out there on the net. I've begun to rely only on the CDC numbers for national. Still, trying to do the math on numbers of people with the virus is impossible, because we are not testing everyone. I've seen the infection rate go from a steady 33% to a jump to 45%, but now see a decline in the rate to around 25%. That may or may not be good news. The math is good, but the data is suspect.

I think we're in for the long haul. Today, China announced that people who have had the disease and have recovered, are becoming re-infected. That's not good news at all and we better listen to it. Getting information from Virginia and from ESPECIALLY Charlottesville is harder. Virginia seems to have about 608 and, I think, we have ten cases.

Kady and I remain in self-imposed Quarantine until Tuesday Morning.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020: Half Done

Just six more days of self-quarantine to go. Once we're done, we'll take a look at how Charlottesville is doing and then decide on things we want to do.

First will probably be groceries. The local markets here are hosting senior hours that I, in my advanced years, can attend to pick up what we need. It's in the mornings, so the shelves should be better stocked.

Next, I want to go pick up take-out from our favorite places, to help with their businesses stay solvent. I'm thinking a burger from Martins would be great and I bet Kady will want a Jimmy-John's.

She has her eyes on a church she wants to photograph, so that's a safe near-future trip. I had a 5-mile walk Monday, and I want to keep that up. Most everyone maintained the 6-foot separation, except for one group of about six people, a family, who hogged the entire sidewalk and left the separation to me. I gave the idiots a wide berth. Most everyone seems in good spirits. Being outdoors is certainly good for my sanity.

I'm dying to go to the beach. My first trip will be to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. My next plan is to go to Roanoke Island, see the Aquarium and the Lost Colony play there, drive up to Duck to photograph the horses, and then south to Hatteras.

The temperatures are going back up tomorrow and Friday. I hope to get in walks both days.

Monday, 23 March, 2020: Slowing Down?

I need a walk. It's cold and rainy out, but, tomorrow, no matter what, I'm walking.

I heard that today, eleven cases were identified at UVA Emergency Room, though I can't find a news article saying that. That's bad. Eleven in one day is bad. Up until now, we've only had four.

CBS All Access is my new friend. Picard is outstanding. I've also watched the first episode of Star Trek Discovery and it loos good as well. I'm watching a lot of movies. Today was Agora with Rachael Weisz, a good story about the ancient Alexandria natural philosopher Hypatia, murdered by Christians in 415CE for being a "witch." It was the perfect movie for my love of science and hate of religion.

Yesterday was One Day with Anne Hathaway, a good love story with ANNE HATHAWAY in it. Love Her!

Thursday, 19 March, 2020: A New Path

Kady pointed out the new path everyone on Next Door has been talking about. I went walking there today. It was nice, though wet. It made for a short walk, so I will only use it only every once in a while. When I got back home, I did a few things for Kady, and she fed me lunch, STEAK!

After Lunch, I washed my car cover and then pressure washed my parking slot, the sidewalk, and our front walkway. The dead tree had made everything nasty out there. It went to 80 today. Damn, it felt good.

After putting away the pressure washer, I cleaned the kitchen floor. Tomorrow, I plan to wash Bess, dry her, and then put the clean cover back on.

I watched an old Lea Thompson movie today. I love Lea Thompson. After, I watched The Windsors, then talked to Rebecca on Messenger.

Wednesday, 18 March, 2020: Stocking Up and Settling In

Yesterday I gassed up the car, picked up my meds, and picked up the pre-ordered groceries at Harris-Teeter. What we couldn't get from Harris-Teeter we ordered from Whole Foods, delivered through Amazon Prime. That was amazing. Kady ordered it, approved their suggested substitutions, and then tracked the delivery on the App. I stayed up to bring in the packages once they were dropped off on the porch.

So, we're hunkered down, waiting to see what happens.

Last night, I started virtually touring museums beginning with the Louvre. Their tour is slipshod at best. I'll give them a pass since it was probably put on-line in a hurry. Nice try, no cigar. The Pergamum Museum in Berlin was much better.

I'll try some American sites today. Kady picked up a list of feel-good movies on a girl's Instagram feed and sent the list to me. The first one I found was Chef with Jon Favreau, Sophia Vergara, and John Leguizamo.

I loved it.

Monday, 16 March, 2020: Driving through The Virus

We're home.

Once we were sure E and A were not traveling, we thought it the better part of valor to leave before the pandemic got any worse. Luckily, our route was the I-70/I-64, East-West corridor, where there was little infection. We drove from Manhattan Kansas to Charlottesville, eating only at fast food places, resting at Rest Stops and stopping for gas, five of six stops in all.

We touched only what we had to and disinfected our hands after every stop.

Now we're self-separating ourselves from contact with others for fourteen days, expecting the we're good, but being careful for others in Charlottesville, especially the kids and grandkids.

So far, Charlottesville has only two cases.

Saturday, 14 March, 2020: Social Distancing

We stayed in yesterday. The weather here is nasty. Kansas now has eight cases of the virus. We used it all as an excuse to stay in, play games, and read. It was a quiet day, ended by a nice steak and potato supper. A is the MAN! My steak was thick, juicy, tender, and perfectly medium-rare.

A had taken Coop for his morning constitutional well before I got up, so I didn't go for a walk, until the afternoon. About 6 pm, Coop began whining, so I took him out and it turned in to a medium walk, exploring parts of the neighborhood I've never seen.

Our route took us to the hill behind the house, and through a less affluent housing area. At the top of the hill, there was this great house for sale, all modern, monochromatic, and angled, with a fully paved front yard. To me, it looked like something you might find in Arizona or California. I want to see the inside. If we're here a while, I may call the realtor. Too bad it is in Manhattan Kansas and on such a crappy street and lot. The view up there would be pretty nice if the other houses didn't exist.

I was too cold to take a photo of it, but will probably go back that way today. I'll take my camera.

E and A's Army plans that brought us out here have been canceled by the Stop Movement Order; no one is going anywhere. Once we get a final confirmation that their trips are off, Kady and I will probably travel back home. I plan to pack our food and water and to drive it all in one day, stopping only for Gas and Rest Stops. In doing so, I think we'll be completely safe as long as we stay away from other people and wash our hands. I think we'll be safer at home as well.

E and A will have to go to work, and there is a greater chance they will contract the virus from some soldier. I'm not worried about me. I am, however, concerned about Kady. Having gone through what she did last time we were here, I think this virus would be very hard on her and If she were to contract it, I'd rather she be close to UVA medical facilities.

Friday, 13 March, 2020: Cooper Walk

Cooper and I went out for our first walk this morning. We did only about two miles. The weather was cold and dreary and I was having no fun...except for being with Cooper. He was ready to come in when we got back to the house.

I've changed my fast from supper to lunch and eat my breakfast at lunch time. The fast thing continues to work. I'm down to 225 as of this morning. That's twenty pounds from my weight at New years. I can really tell it in my face and midsection.

Kady went shopping for a few essentials. Kansas is out of toilet paper too.

Thursday, 12 March, 2020: March Sadness

Kady and I are in Kans-ass. Dodging the Coronavirus all the way, we left Tuesday morning, staying in Lexington KY overnight, meeting up with E&A in Kansas City, Missouri last night, and then closing in on Manhattan Kansas today. We washed our hands a lot.

We'll be here for about a month as A goes to school in Alabama and E takes part in a Pre-deployment in California. We're babysitting Cooper, my favorite thing. Jay sent us word on the road that the Conference playoffs have all been canceled and that pro play is suspended. March Madness was canceled late this afternoon.

Likewise, E and A may not have to go on their respective trips, as the Army begins to stop movement. The USA has stopped all flights coming in from overseas except for US citizens. I expect more restrictions to begin shortly.

This is getting crazy.

The Tree is DEAD! The Home Owner's Association had a crew cut it down yesterday. I am more than happy about this. Bess is sitting in front of the house right now, no car cover, and I'm not worried about it at all.

One of the first things I'll do when I get home is pressure wash the parking places. Phase I of the Bess plan will begin after that with a wash and wax, a clean air filter, and then replace the brake pads. Then I'll get her inspected.

Phase II will begin after that with seat parts to replace the broken ones. Phase III will add new tires Phase IV will be a rear seat delete kit and tower brace.

Saturday, 7 March, 2020: Ikea Installer

After a lazy morning, Kady's hutch came in from Ikea, five packages, about 200 pounds of parts. This will be the new kitchen pantry, replacing the built-in pantry which is mostly used to house the fire suppression piping and controls. Basically, since we've been here, we've struggled for places to store our canned and dry goods.

I've had no place to keep my Gummy Bears.

The hutch idea was born and Kady found one in the same colors as her kitchen. With SS's help cutting he baseboard, we had it in place a few hours later. I did most of the assembly, a breeze you follow the instructions. I like Ikea's stuff. It assembles so easily, everything fitting just right. I like that they include a few extra parts. Nothing is more frustrating than when finding a part is missing while assembling an my ceiling fan a few months ago.

As easy as it is, the getting up and down from and crawling around on the floor is tough at 67. I was finished about 9:30 pm with everything, even the trash, took two Motrin and went to bed. I slept the whole night for the first time in months. Ikea is good for my fitness.

Friday, 6 March, 2020: Family Lunch

I took Kady, SS, Jay, and KSN to Guajiros today. I was happy that everyone loved it. Everyone but Kady got a Cubano. She got a beef Empanada, fries and Cuban Toast. SS got some Maduros and Jay got some Pastalitos. I tried it all and everything was delicious. I don't think Kady liked anything but the fries and toast.

By the time we left, the place was full of people.

Thursday, 5 March, 2020: Bones

The Democratic race, after all the bickering and blood-letting in the debates, is down to two people, Sanders and Biden. Now, if the democrats left to vote are smart, they'll chose Vice President Biden. Bernie has no chance to win; he is just too radical. I think most voters can see through his pie-in-the-sky promises and know he can't deliver. I think we saw on Tuesday that he can't bring the votes needed to defeat Trump.

My thinking is that, if they nominate Joe, I can be satisfied with whoever twins the general election. I plan on voting for Joe, but if Bernie is nominated, I'll have to vote for The Donald. I do not like Bernie's socialist leanings.

I don't think we've seen the last of Warren or Buttigieg. One may get the nod for VP. The other campaigns are dead. Hopefully this is the last year we'll hear from Sanders, though his socialist agenda will live on unless the American educational system changes.

This afternoon I went for a walk along a new trail behind the house. It isn't very long, but it is really nice. It wins along the small creek that feeds our little pond, below the dam, and through the woods below the residential areas. I imagine it will be beautiful this Spring, Summer, and Fall.

When I got to trail's end, I climbed the little ridge above it, and wandered through the woods up to a farmer's fence. Over the years, the land owners have used the woods to dump broken farm equipment, leaving the broken machinery scattered around, rusting under the trees. The look like bones to me.

I missed the last half of my LeVar Burton Reads episode, thinking more about the photos I was taking than the story. I usually listen to an educational, mystery, or crime podcast while I walk. Radio Lab, Unexplained, and Serial are favorites. Recently, I heard an ad for LeVar Burtan Reads and decided to try it. I'm hooked. Give him a listen.

Tuesday, 3 March, 2020: Super Tuesday

Kady and I got up early, driving to Buena Vista for dental appointments. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Foothill Mama's BBQ, under new management, and clearly not as good as it once was. I had the pork chops, potato salad, and baked beans, and I could tell a huge difference in all three. Kady didn't like anything and said, "The vibe was off."

Too Bad.

We drove back to Charlottesville, stopping at Hollymead Elementary to vote in the democratic primary. We both cast our votes for Joe.

For the rest of the day we settled in and watched the primary results, glad to see Joe doing well.

Monday, 2 March, 2020: Cravings

I have re-re-joined Facebook. I'm weak, I know.

I had three reasons:

1. This will be a planning year for the WHS '71 Fifty-year Class Reunion and I want to be a part of that.

2. This fall, I want to go to the 2/505 Reunion.

3. I wanted to see Ryan's wedding photos.

I'm keeping the content on my page small and un-following "friends" who post political nonsense. I've had to unfriend and block a few and I need to watch who I accept. I forgot about these things.

I figure that if I keep my content friendly, I'll be able to take it.

I went for a good walk today. The trees are beginning to bud. Spring!

I have been craving and have found a great Cuban Sandwich. I noticed a place last week, Guajiros Miami Eatery, and tried it on Saturday. My Cuban was fantastic, the plantain chips were delicious, and the Cafecito was hot, sweet, and strong. The place is super nice on the inside. I've talked everyone but Kady into going back with me on Friday.

Thursday, 27 February, 2020: The death of a Computer

If AI begins to take over the world, the humans should hire me to get rid of the problem; I can destroy a computer like few others.

When Jesus, supposedly, said, "Ask and you shall receive," he should have also said, ask too much, and you're going to fry your motherboard. That is what I did. I asked too much of an old system that already had booting issues. Loaded Linux Mint, added a hard drive, tried to load FreeNAS on top of Mint. When that didn't work, I tried again, and again, and again, until I gave the poor computer a massive heart attack.

All my attempts at resuscitation were fruitless. Now it is serving as an organ donor. I'm keeping the case, the RAM, the fans, and the power supply, so that I can, one day, build my own computer, moderately priced, with mid-range performance , all solid state, and about 4TB of storage.

Or, I won't.

Based on this experience, I should save my money and do other things . . . purchase camera stuff, repair a few things or paint Bess, maybe both, or use it for travel. A retired man's over-active mind needs priorities.

Spread Sheet? I think so.

Monday, 24 February, 2020: Oops

Saturday, while trying to boot FreeNAS over Mint on my old computer, I accidently deleted the partition on my internal 2T HDD on my Main computer. In my defense, The way disc manager lists the drives is super confusing.

All my files, were still there, but I couldn't "see" them. So I had to re-discover the partition and put it back on the drive.

I called SS. He said, "Call Jay and wait for him." Doing just that, I still researched the problem, found a good step-by-step set of instructions, found a program I thought would work if it came to that, and anpther program for recovering my files if the drive was doomed.

Jay came over Sunday.

He read what I had, and tried the instructions, but was confused as I was about the way the drives were listed. He chose the same program I had, AOMEI Partition Assistant, and, after paying for the standard download, it worked perfectly, easily.

After a hardy "THANK YOU!" to Jay, I was back in business.

This Server idea is costing me. In the process of creating the boot device for FreeNAS, downloading the Install Media and creating the Operating System Device, I almost destroyed one External SSD, and three Thumb Drives. I had to wipe, format, and partitioned them all with the partition assistant, which was time consuming, 6 hours at least.

I still don't have a server but I think I've figured out what I'm doing wrong. Kim is getting me two more thumb drives.

I'm certainly glad that I didn't lose the files. Mostly, they were backed up, but I would have lost a lot of my people photographs. I spent this morning backing those up to my external SSD and burning them to DVDs.

If I can get the server up and running, I plan on storing everything on two redundant HDDs, already installed.

Friday, 21 February, 2020: Lex Vegas

I had an optometrist appointment today, so I got up early, had a bowl of cereal, my coffee, uncovered Bess, and drove to Lexington. First stop was the bank for cash, then Buck's Barber Shop for a long overdue haircut.

Yeah, I know I said I was going to grow it out, but I was tired of that nonsense. I look like myself again. My time appreciation was off and I was finished at Bucks with an hour and a half before my appointment, so, I went to VMI. I saw Chris, Holly, Vergie, Gary, Kevin, and met the new sergeant major.

I'm good for another two years.

The appointment went well. My eyesight is good to go.

After, I had lunch at Muchacho Alegre, now in a new place, much nicer just across the East Lexington bridge. I had the steak and baked potatoe and it was as I remembered it, GREAT! I miss this place.

On my way out of town, I stopped at Wal-Mart for a few computer things, then drove Highway-11 back to Greenville, then 340 through Stewarts Draft to I-64. I drove the speed limit the whole way.

I took my cameras, hoping to stop along the way for some photos, but it was pretty cold and I couldn't see shit in the bright sun with my eyes still dilated.

I stopped and picked up Jimmy John's for Kady as I drove up 29. By the time I got home, I had the headache from hell, so I took a nap.

The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out how to make an FreeNAS OS Device so I can turn the old computer into a home server. I'm tired of that Linux crap. It didn't capture my interest at all.

Thursday, 20 February, 2020: Facebook, Round Two

Looking forward to two, possible, impending events, my fifty-year class reunion in Birmingham and another battalion reunion in Fayetteville, I decided to re-join Facebook so I would get the information.

My goal was to keep it small, joining only family, high school, and army friends. Being me and still detesting politics, I was wary of joining some people who had been Facebook Crusaders in the past. Rejoining groups was also problematic. Paratrooper groups are rife with right-wing politics.

This morning, after only two days, having only 31 friends, I have stopped following three people, two of whom were family, and removed one from my "friends." That's my rule this time: If you post political crap, and I'll either stop following you or, for really nasty stuff, I will remove you.

Four out of thirty-one, just over 10%. True to the old army leadership axiom says, "you spend 90% of your time on 10% of your soldiers."

I want my limited time on this platform to be enjoyable, friendly, and informative. Still, I joined the 2/505 Reunion Brothers group. I'll just have to purge posts coming from certain people.

Funny Though. I can't find the WHS '71 group, the number one reason I re-joined. Later: I just deactivated Facebook. Two days and it reminded me how much I didn't miss it. It is still the same of contentious political Bull Shit!

Monday, 17 February, 2020: Success

I weighed in at 228 this morning, sixteen pounds lighter than 1 January. I was planning to go get a Cuban sandwich today, but I'm celebrating by not feeding my face. Gotta have one soon though.

Sunday, 16 February, 2020: Help Received

The War Room is finished.

Whenever decorating, ask for help from the best decorator you know. For me, that's Kady. She has done this whole house, except for the War Room, up until yesterday, and it is amazing. I called her into my room after I flipped it, and had her tell me where my things should go on the walls.

It took us about an hour, but it was easy, and we got most of the important stuff on the walk, leaving a couple of things she thinks she may wish to use elsewhere in the house. End State . . . Amazing! I love it.

Saturday, 15 February, 2020: Opposite Day

I flipped my office Thursday so that my back is no longer to the door when I am at my computer. That put the day bed against the outside wall and split the bookcases one on each side of the room. The room sure seems bigger. Another plus is the natural light coming in the window on my left, unblocked by my right hand when I write.

I should have done this long ago but didn't want to rearrange the stuff on the walls. Kim says she'll help me do that tomorrow.

The Auburn at Missouri game tonight sucked. AU was missing their shit-hot freshman and couldn't buy a 3-pointer. It surely wasn't the crowd; the Missouri fans didn't come close to packing the arena. Too bad. Their lads played a great game.

In other sucky games, I played a shitty game of Azul last night at Jay's. We went over for supper, Venny's, and then had a quick game. KSN took Em to bed and then packed for a trip to NYC, so it was just Jay, Kady and me. I just wasn't on it. Jay beat us by about 15 points, a LOT in Azul.

Monday, 10 February, 2020: All The Things

Kady and I got up ready to do all the things we've been putting off for a while. First stop, the Xfinity Store. We cut down on our internet package, removed the phone line we have never used, and cut our bill in half. I still have HBO in case I need to binge Game of Thrones in the near future.

Next, we went to Jefferson coin to sell our coin collection. We got an extremely fair price for those item that were collectible or contained silver. The check went straight to savings.

We went by Goodwill to drop off a trunk full of things from the Kitchen Purge, then went for a grocery pickup at Wal-Mart. I love their pickup service.

Back home, I called Sirius to cancel the subscription on the Fusion. I had to get rude with the customer service rep to get her to cancel it. I didn't like doing that, but she just wouldn't listen. I finally had to say, "Listen to me, Little Lady. I'm not answering any more of your questions and I'm not keeping the service for any reason or at any price. Cancel my subscription now, please." I think the "little lady" part did the trick.

I needed all this success this morning, because I finished the radio build yesterday, plugged in the batteries and it didn't work. I double-checked and triple-checked my work, and couldn't figure out why it didn't. If only Dad had been there to supervise. The project is not dead. I just need bigger parts, something I can see.

Sunday, 9 February, 2020: E's Birthday

I sent my daughter a text message this morning to wish her a happy birthday, even though she is in the "field." I know she probably won't get it until she gets home tonight.

Field. That is such a loose term in much of the Army. E is home ever night, sleeping in her own bed, a far cry from my days living out of a rucksack, sleeping in a fighting position, huddling under my poncho hooch in the pouring rain, or humping miles in the scorching heat.

Still, I know her days are long and her job is stressful. Gone are the days when an S-6 had only radios to worry about. Now there are computers, satellite communication, force trackers, and things I probably don't even know about. Bless her little heart and Happy Birthday!

Sorry I missed your birth!

Saturday, 8 February, 2020: Radio Build

As of this morning, I am down to 230 pounds, down from 245 at the beginning of the year. Two more pounds and I'll be down to my weight at retirement, still too large, but a continued move in the right direction. My ultimate goal is 200. I feel lighter, sleep better, and walks are less of a struggle.

Intermediate Fasting! Try it.

It's cold and windy out there, so I'm spending the day indoors, washing clothes, watching AU vs. LSU at noon, and doing computer file maintenance. No walk today.

I have a new project. Build an AM/FM/SW receiver and mount it in Dad's tombstone radio. I'm teaching myself now, building a small battery operated radio. The kit is pretty simple, but is teaching me how recognize components and their symbols and lets me practice my soldering. I began yesterday but my soldering iron crapped out on me. Not surprising for a Radio Shack iron, kept in the bottom of my tool bag, and not used since I put the new radio in Bess. When I took it apart to attempt a repair, I was amazes how cheaply it was made.

I have a new iron coming tomorrow. The next step will be to build a receiver, then an amplifier, buy a decent speaker, and then mount it all in the tombstone. Kim mentioned playing old radio shows on it so I may just buy a Bluetooth capable amp.

Sunday, 2 February, 2020: Super Bowl 54

Today was remarkable for a few things.

Kady got up and made breakfast. She made a chocolate pastry, eggs, sausage in Sister Schubert rolls, and hash browns. Though I had eaten my normal light breakfast a few hours earlier, I feasted on this offering, treating it like Lunch.

In the afternoon we all went to Jay-and-KSN's house to Em's birthday and the Superbowl. Bee and Ann were also there. That meant Birthday Cake and more food. We had chicken chili, cornbread muffins, mini-tacos, chips and salsa, Mexican Taco Dip. Jay, SS, and I had a "Hot Ones" wing eating challenge, though the hot sauces we had weren't that hot. It didn't go like I thought it would. At halftime, I asked Jay if he was ready and he said, "I've already eaten mine." That was absolutely not the deal. Sandy had some after I had mine.

I ate too much.

The game was fun, close until the end. KC came back with strong drives at the end, scoring two TDs to go up by four points, and then another to seal the deal. I'm happy for the team and the fans. I texted Catherine just before the game to let her know the Neels were cheering for her team. She sent me a photo of her with a string of Brussels Sprouts that she was preparing for their game party. I assume she must have a decent recipe, but sprouts don't sound like Super Bowl food to me. I have never developed a taste for them.

My sleep was restless.

Saturday, 1 February, 2020: Em's 5th

Today was Em's fifth birthday party. How is she already five?

The party was at Pikasso Swig, a hippy-dippy sandwich/craft-shop. The staff was great, entertaining the kids, while we adults drank coffee and ate fun snacks. About noon we ordered lunch. I had The Picasso, a turkey, melted brie, spinach, walnut and fig butter Panini. It was scrumptious.

I took a bucket-load of photos. Many of my shots were of the little restaurant. It had fun lights and was decorated as only a hippy craft place can be. We had a lot of fun, but I think Em was a little overwhelmed. I'm pretty sure if she could just spend the day with her Aunt Rachael, she would be happiest.

Friday, 31 January, 2020: A New Endeavor

SS drove up for the Super Bowl and brought back my old computer. I gave it to him to use with his farm security cameras, but it didn't have the power. After a short discussion, he and I decided I could use it to learn.

I have been wanting to set up a home server and to experiment with an open-sourced operating system. Like everyone in the world, I hate Windows owning my computer, Samsung owning my phone, and Google tracking every move and keystroke. The only recourse is to LEARN.

Five minutes after carrying the computer upstairs, I had it set up. I downloaded Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.3 on a thumb drive and, with SS's help, booted up the old computer. To get it to "see" the monitor, I had to strip out the dual monitor graphics card. It booted right up. While I was there, I stripped out all of the non-essential cards.

I took the brave scary step of downloading it onto my drive, wiping Windows, and it felt good. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing around with it., hot-wiring it for a time to the net, but ultimately re-installing the wifi card.

My first real experiment with it was loading Open Office. I started by deleting the office program that came with mint. That was easy. After downloading the Apache files, I watched videos until I found a guy who went step-by-step in the process, showing the commands to list and then load the files. It took me three tries but I got it. Typing in all of the command lines was a little daunting but I felt like I had really accomplished something.

The experiment continues. When done, I'll probably just stay with Windows. I'm weak.

Tuesday, 28 January, 2020: Aunt Barbara

I woke this morning to find out that Kady's Aunt Barbara died Monday night. It was sad news and though she was 93, it comes unexpectedly. She had a few issues, but it looked like she would last a few more years. Poor Sweetie.

Barbara and her husband Luke were the members of Kady's family with whom I was closest. I imagine a lot of people could say that. They were the most gracious people and loved to entertain. Many great summer days were spent at their house on Lake Logan Martin in Alabama. Luke always had a boat and loved driving as we kids skied or rode floats.

Barbara loved to cook and entertain. Her cream corn was like eating candy.

Technically Bill's half-sister with a handsome Syrian father and gorgeous European mother, Barbara was a stunningly beautiful woman into her 90's.

When Kim and I were dating and I decided to go back into the Army, we practically lived at their house in Raleigh on weekends. Actually, we DID live there. Like Bill and Sylvia, they never once doubted our relationship and were very supportive. When we got married at Fort Bragg, we went to their house a few days later. Barbara had made us a wedding cake. When Luke died, she moved to San Antonio to be close to her son Terry, but maintained her independence, keeping a little home and driving until last year.

Last I talked to her, asking family questions, she told me how tired she was. I am certain she was ready to be with Luke. Barbara was a fine Christian Lady who lived what she believed. Her life was amazing.

Saturday, 25 January, 2020: Game Night

I ate light at Breakfast and Lunch, anticipating chili at KS and Jay's tonight. It is the first time I have broken Fast since starting, but I don't feel bad about it, and I don't feel stuffed. I ate sensibly and turned down the last cornbread muffin. Good Boy!

The kids finished the game of Risk we put on pause a week ago. Jay took out Kady down in Australia, took her cards, turned in for 45 Armies and wiped KS off the board. He was lucky. Had he not gotten a turn in with Kady's cards, KS would have won; she had three matching cards.

Rather than starting another Risk game, I suggested Azul, We played two games. Kady won the first and I took the second. I love that game.

I went on a long walk today and for some reason it kicked my ass. I think it did because I went late in the afternoon, after lunch. It was so nice out that I wore shorts and a sweatshirt.

Friday, 24 January, 2020: Lunch and a Musical

With the Intermittent Fasting I'm doing, comes some great benefits. I sleep better, I don't have acid reflux, I've lost weight, down from 246 after the New Year trip to Ashville to 131, and my jeans aren't so tight.

With fasting also comes cravings! I think about Brownies all the time. Peanut M and Ms (Party Pack), a Bucket Chicken (Extra Crispy, Dark Meat), Oreos (Packages), Dressing and Gravy (Kady's), Chinese (Tong Dynasty), PASTA, and Lots of Milk!

All of these things are ridiculous, so it has been pretty easy for me to stay the course. Pretzels help.

Lunch today was at Vinny's Italian Grill with Kady, Jay, and KS. I had the Baked Spaghetti, which hit the spot! Vinny's is just across Highway 29 from the house, but I have to stay away from there. I love all their food and would look like a blimp if I ate there as often as I would like.

After lunch, KS joined me at the house to watch Brigadoon, which she had never seen. Kady and Jay, don't like musicals, nor anyone else in the family, so it is great that KS does and is willing to watch them with me. She has watched Cats, Phantom with me, and now Brigadoon. Next is Funny Girl.

She liked Brigadoon.

She also likes war movies, so we're making a list of a few good ones to watch together. First on the list is Thin Red Line.

Maybe The Four Feathers, Breaker Morant, The Wild Geese, . . .

Thursday, 23 January, 2020: Haunted Atmospheres

"Sometimes in the night I feel it, near as my next breath and yet untouchable." ~ Dan Fogelberg.

How I miss that man's genius. I believe he had special knowledge and insight we mere mortals will never see.

Since retiring, I have been having a lot of stressful dreams. They usually involve a military movement of some sort where I am completely unprepared. Either I don't have the required equipment of my gear is not rigged or packed properly. In these dreams, I am just not "Squared Away."

Once I'm awake, I lay there wondering what the hell this is all about. Why am I dreaming about something so unlikely, over and over?

I was a good soldier and from the time I was a private, I was always prepared and ready. My gear was serviceable and clean. My A-bag and Ruck were always packed. My chute, weapon's case, and ruck were always rigged perfectly. I never had a deficiency during jumpmaster inspection (JMPI). I never missed Line of Departure (LD) Time.

No trooper was ever hurt on one of my aircraft. I never missed Station Time. With the exception of one impossible mission to build a battalion-sized crossing point across Little River, where the plan went to absolute shit after a torrential downpour, I accomplished every mission handed to me.

Now that I am no longer wearing the uniform, are these doubts? Is it because I have nothing to do to gauge my worth or effectiveness? Do I feel like I have left things undone? I'm guessing that because I have thrived on the challenges thrown at me over the years and have loved the problem-solving, now that I have none, my brain is adjusting.

"Down the ancient corridors, through the gates of time, run the ghosts of dreams that we left behind. . . Death is there to keep us honest and constantly remind us we are free."

If only Dan was still here to help.

Wednesday, 15 January, 2020: A Watermark

I have been trying to design a simple, fast watermark for my photos. SS, always my best critic, told me over Thanksgiving that my notes at the bottom of my web photos were a distractor. He didn't say "amateurish," but that is how I came to look at them.

It has taken about two days of experimenting and learning, AND getting SS's opinion to get something I like and with which he agrees. I've always been a "less is more" kind of guy, but I kept wanting to add to it. Lose this and lose that were his normal comments. SS always had good reasons. Here's an example of my finished product.

Once I had it figured out, it was pretty easy to do in Photoshop. It's standard Vivaldi font in italics, in three different sizes, typed into a transparent workspace, and saved as a brush. Now, all I have to do to add it to a photograph is size it, chose color and opacity, and then paint it where I want it. The hardest part of the process is finding the photographs on my computer and I have a great organizational system.

Tuesday, 14 January, 2020: Birthday #67

E and A called this morning to wish me a happy birthday. Their gift, a Bose Micro Speaker, came in the mail tonight. It was very well received and I promptly named it "Tater," one of the many random choices Bose gives you.

Kady took me to lunch at Sultan Kabab. It was yummy.

She's the best!

Monday, 13 January, 2020: LSU

Good on you, LSU, National Champs and well deserved.

The stars are realigned. The trophy is out of the ACC and back in the SEC where it belongs. My biased view of the football universe is once again secure. It was a trouncing.

Clemson is a good team but they were soundly whipped by LSU, saying what everyone has been saying about both team more clearly than the sports analysts could ever say it. Clemson was untested and LSU is, maybe, the best team in college football of all time.

I would point out that LSU only beat Auburn at home by seven points, except for AU's pitiful loss to Minnesota. So, AU is number 14 at the end of play. Good. Maybe they will take Bowl games more seriously in the future. Chances of that? Zero Percent.

I washed Kady's Car and detailed it today. It wore me out. Bess is next.

Sunday, 12 January, 2020: Stormy Weather

Pickens County Alabama was hit with a tornado last night. Again, tornadoes are one big reason we live in Virginia and not in Alabama.

I went for a walk yesterday and the weather hit before I got back to the house. I was drenched, but it felt good to go out walking.

I've begun an Intermittent Fasting program, eating breakfast and lunch, but nothing after 1 pm. That's a 16 or 17 hour fast, depending on what time I eat breakfast. I've cut out sugar and almost all bread, though I'm bot being a Nazi about it all. I feel better and sleep better. I've lost a little weight. If I add walking to my regimen, I think it'll be easier to lose, but I'm still nursing the pulled muscle in my back. Tomorrow I'm walking no matter what.

In great news, I finally convinced Kady that the tree out front need to go. Actually, after talking myself blue in the face, she finally agreed when we got back home from Asheville and my car cover was completely covered in rotten Mulberries. She called the Home Owner's Association person and they took a look and have agreed to cut it down.

It's not down yet, but it should come down soon.

My 67th Birthday approaches. Yikes! My dad died at 67. That is a one serious reason for retrospection. I'm going to be really careful this year. Pawpaw Lee lived to be 70. That's an intermediate goal. I think I can make 80.

Kady and I went to Jay and KS's house to store all of our Christmas things. There's no room in this house, so they let us store things there. They certainly have the room. Big House. We watched a little football while KS finished up dinner. She made Turkish, a nice spinach and feta borek, chicken kebabs, a yogurt sauce, a Turk salad, and , for dessert, baklava. She did a fantastic job.

After dinner they gave me a birthday gift, a 50th Anniversary retro version of Risk. We played a game and I put myself out pretty early in the game. I was pretty reckless. I usually don't lose at Risk. That used to be a given. I had fun teaching KS.

We didn't finish the game, KS had a business trip the next day and it was way past time for Em to go to bed, so we took photos of the board and cards so they could continue another day. It looks like Jay will win, he controls most of the board, but, you never know. If Kady and KS can hold on and get lucky with their cards, they could take the back.

Friday, 10 January, 2020: Snow!

Tuesday morning, we had a little snow, about an inch. By afternoon, it was melting. It was my kind of snow. I didn't even bother to get out the snow shovel, happy and content to let our homeowners association take care of it. I was actually excited about it now that I have nothing to do with snow. I thought I'd go out and take some photos.

Nope. I stayed in my pajamas all day. That's smart, probably. I have pulled my back and I'm trying to let it heal. I'll take photos next snowfall.

KS and I went to see 1917 today. First, we had lunch with Kady and Jay at El Rodeo (Jaripeo), then drove down to Stonefield Cinema. 1917 was intense. Great music, camera work, acting...but it was another movie following Homer's Odyssey, a tale of a man trying to get from one place to another, overcoming pitfalls along the way, Cyclops (the Sniper), Calypso (The Girl and Baby), Sirens (the Singing Soldier), Perils at Sea (The River). The plot was military nonsense. Why didn't they just send a car or plane?

Whatever, I loved it and recommend it. It was good to see Tomin and Rob again. It was also good to spend time with my daughter-in-law. Living close is my first real chance to get to know her. She is very cool.

Friday, 3 January, 2020: Back Home

Kim and I drove home yesterday. Leaving Ashville was uneventful and we were home by mid-afternoon.

It is rainy here and we've spent the last two days in our PJs, dressing only for lunch at Charlottesville Matchbox Pizza with Jay and KS.

Sunday, 5 January, 2020: Home Paleontology

One of my Christmas gifts from Kady was a set of Lego Ideas dinosaur bones. I saw it on TV and she noted my interest. I was surprised. What really surprised me was how much fun I've had putting them together. They aren't that difficult, any ten year old kid could do them, but you have to take it step by step, follow the instructions, and Pay Attention!

My three dinosaurs, a T-Rex, a Triceratops, and a Pteranodon, were a great mind exercise. I never want to read the instructions, I like doing things in my own logical process, and my mind wanders from one thing to the next. I need more.

I've told Kady that when I start losing it she should buy me Lego!

I know that, now that I have them together, I should take them apart, bag them, and give them to Jk. I think I'll set them up in my office and enjoy them for a while. Last night, Kady and I went to the kid's house for playoff games, a steak dinner, and some Azul. Fun Game. I won.

KS and I are going to see 1917 Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, 1 January, 2020: New Year's Day in Asheville

Happy New Year!

I heard A get up with Cooper, so I slept in, knowing poor Mel was sleeping on the couch. I got up about nine and took him out again.E was supposed to make brunch, but that didn't happen, nor did lunch. Starting to scrounge, I found some of Chef Michael's leftover mashed potatoes and ate about half.

Then the Auburn game happened. Things were going so well. A good drive, 3 points. We intercepted, seven points. Then things went to shit. I think the team didn't care. Some of them may have, but it was like, "we beat Bama; we don't have anything to prove." You could see some of the seniors over on the sidelines trying to motivate their teammates, but the rest of the team seemed ...uh...dull to me.

I can't blame a lot of them, I guess. What's the point after the regular season? I began to understand when Hastings didn't really try for a bad pass. I can't blame him; I wouldn't want to get hurt again for a game that meant nothing.

Meanwhile, Minnesota came to play. They had everything to prove. This was a typical Auburn bowl game performance under Gus. Gus is not my guy.

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