a new azimuth
the website of john l. neel www.neel505.com
"Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." ~ Jack London
Friday, 13 December, 2019: Bad Weather
I had a walk yesterday, the first I've has in a week. The weather was gorgeous and I was comfortable in a light jacket and running pants. The weather has been foul, rainy, windy, cold. Dreary.
Well, it's back. Today, it is supposed to be in the low 30s and rainy all day long. Luckily, it didn't go below freezing and the low tonight will be in the 40s.
I need to go somewhere. Being cooped up indoors is boring the shit out of me but I am not chancing this weather. My little cold a few weeks ago hit me hard and I don't want another one.
So, instead of walking, on cold and nasty days, I'm going to work out, do some Thai Chi, and maybe begin experimenting with Yoga. I need to do something. Lack of exercise at this age is a bad thing for the body and mind.
Tomorrow, rain or shine, Kady, KS, and I will drive to Amherst for Ryan's wedding. The venue looks nice and I'm sure to enjoy the drive. KS will be doing her first wedding painting, a piece of art done during the ceremony and reception. It is a pretty cool idea. I am interested to see how it turns out and how it is received by the guests. She also made the save the date cards, invitations, and maps for Ryan. She's smart.
The Mulberry Tree is still pissing me off. This is the season when the ripe berries fall off the tree onto my car cover, looking like massive amounts of bird poop, permanently staining my $300 cover. Better the cover than the car, I guess. There are still thousands of these damn berries hanging on the tree, prepared to cause future messes. Killing the tree is the only solution.
First World problems! I know.
Tuesday, 10 December, 2019: The Great Cell Phone Shuffle
This morning, Kady and I went to U. S. Cellular, who has been our phone service provider since we moved to Virginia. Kady decided this weekend that she didn't like her Samsung S-10 because the accessories for iPhones were much more fun. She's always been an iPhone person, but picked up the S-10 so Jk could have a special Fortnite skin.
She did a little research and made a few calls. By Saturday she figured out that she could pay off my S-9, give me her S-10+, and get the iPhone 11 Pro for just a few dollars. Still, I had to push her to do it; she though it was silly and too extravagant.
By noon we had it done and I spent the rest of the day setting up my hand-me-down phone for my use. She began accessorizing her phone almost immediately. I plan on using this until it craps out. Then again, Samsung may release a Note-Fold one day.
Sunday, 8 December, 2019: Football and more Football.
Yesterday was a fantastic Football Day and I will have to say it worked out great, just the way I thought it would. LSU handled Georgia, Ohio State struggled with Wisconsin, I wanted Virginia to beat Clemson but there was no chance, and Oklahoma beat Baylor.
I predicted at the start of the season that, with Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma would be in the playoffs, but I was hoping they would play Alabama. That would have been poetic.
Auburn got a decent Bowl Game, the Outback, playing a good opponent, Minnesota, my son-in-law's father's team. Al and Barb will be here for Christmas here in Virginia, so the conversation should be lively.
Poor Alabama. Michigan better watch out. The Tide is pissed off. I predict a massacre.
Thursday, 5 December, 2019: 38th Anniversary Day
Tomorrow is our anniversary, but we decided to celebrate today, so we could go out to eat, not have to deal with the Friday night crowds, and so we could go see Em's Christmas plan at her school. Em is the Virgin Mary.
Plans change. Kady has decided we'll just order in Pizza and curl up on the couch for a movie. I had a nice little Italian place picked out, but pizza is more historic and symbolic. We went for pizza after the ceremony.
I'm not sure about the movie. Kady is particular and enjoys spooky movies, so, she gets to choose. I'm sure it will be another of her chain-saw-chopping-mall-halloween-final-destination-scream-exorcist flicks. Friday the 13th Part 45 or something.
KS called this morning and asked if I would take her photo for an ID Badge. She came over a little after 12, giving me time to set up a small studio at the top of the stairs. The shoot went well and we got some great shots. She looked as beautiful as ever. Boy, how I miss the skylight at the top of the stairs in the VMI House. It was the perfect studio.
My new Camera continues to defeat me. Every shot I took of KS today had too much yellow. That's usually caused by shooting indoors on an ISO less than 400 on simpler cameras, but this camera has to be set to the balance you want. It even has a portrait setting for skin-tones.
I figured this all out later. It is a good thing that most mistakes can be edited in digital photography, so long as the subject is in focus.
Well, Now I Know.
The pizza was great, my favorite, and the movie turned out to be a 1944 classic ghost story, The Uninvited with Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, and Gail Russell. Cool Ghost Story.
Tuesday, 3 December, 2019: What SS Does
SS came to visit for Thanksgiving weekend. During his visit, we solved all the world's problems together and he solved all my computer problems...alone.
I have, for years, been wrestling with linking my home server to my home computers. I figured out enough to use it like a Wi-Fi external hard drive, religiously backing up my photos and documents by cutting and pasting. The backup program that came with it never really worked well.
I could never get my Laptop to "see" it, which meant that I had to load my files stored there to an external hard drive, put them on my desktop, and then download them to my home server. It was painful.
Well, this weekend, I decided I had had enough of that crap and began researching and making changes, hoping to fix it. I guess I asked him too many questions, because SS kicked me out of my chair, took over both computers, and began working the issue.
After finding and fixing all my mistakes, he simply made sure the server was "shared" and "mapped" it to my two computers and to Kady's laptop. Problem Solved! I asked him, "How do you do mapping?" He refused to tell me. Smart.
There is another added benefit, something I had wanted to do long ago but had forgotten the idea amid my frustrations. What this new Home Network allows me to do is edit on my server from either computer and save changes there, instead of worrying about backing up all the time.
Here's how it all works now. I open my server website files, edit them with either computer, save to the server, then upload from the new server files to my webpage host. I can do the same for photos and documents. Kim and I have a cloud service where our new photos automatically back up. I'll start doing that with my documents as soon as she finishes sorting and backing up her photos.
Life simplified...thanks to SS.
Sunday, 1 December, 2019: Sweetie
I texted Ryan today for her birthday. It had been months since we last "talked." I miss that.
Kim and I will be at her wedding on the 14th. I imagine young men all over the world will weep.
Saturday, 30 November, 2019: War damn Eagle
Auburn beat Alabama! I didn't think there was a chance this year, so I watched, calmly, not wanting to get my hopes up. They didn't have Tua. Auburn was at Home. Alabama had everything to lose. Auburn was just playing Alabama.
It was the wildest game I have seen in a very long time. It was a game against two great teams, playing their hearts out, making things happen, and it could have been anybody's game.
It was almost sad that Alabama missed the kick to tie it up. It was almost sad that Alabama had too many people on the field for their last chance to get the ball.
Almost sad, but not quite. This was the Iron Bowl! Bring your best game. No Whining.
Thursday, 28 November, 2019: A Nice Quiet Thanksgiving
Kady cooked for two days, making bread, a pie, and a cake. Today, we sat down to a feast. SS is here, so it was just the three of us. She served corn casserole, sweet potatoes, green beans, turkey, ham, rolls, dressing with gravy, pecan pie, and cream cheese pound cake. Simply Amazing.
The Kids were all supposed to be away at KS's dad's house, but that changed at the last minute, too late to adjust our plans. They ate at their house and we ate at ours. We invited them for dessert but Em was running a fever.
E and A are together, enjoying a little husband and wife time for a change. We'll see them at Christmas through New Year's Day. I can't wait to see Cooper.
The next event is our anniversary. I have a plan.
Tuesday, 19 November, 2019: Day-Date
Kady told me to be ready by 10 and to bring my camera. I was up by seven and ready to go by eight. She was a little after ten getting ready, but we were out of the house and on the road before eleven. Where we were going was her idea and a mystery to me, but I knew she always picks great places to photograph.
She planned this two weeks ago, but I caught a cold and didn't feel like leaving the house.
We went to Walton Mountain, not to see the museum, but to take photos of an old church. It was beautiful and well worth the hour and a half on the road.
We hit Guadalajara for Mex when we got back into town, then watched The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Though she denied it all day, a Photo Trip, Lunch Out at one of our favorite places, and then a Movie together equals a Day-Date.
Friday, 15 November, 2019: It says GT for a Reason
I went driving today. I don't do much Joy Riding these days, as Bess has enough miles. BUT, I felt the need for speed.
Jay and I went to see Ford vs. Ferrari last night and it was GREAT! Go See it. Jay and i agreed, it was the most fun movie we had seen in ages. What a great story. It definitely made me want to go rip up some asphalt.
As soon as I got home, I checked Shelby American's website on the price of a Shelby Cobra. Nope! They are way out of my price range, even without the engine and transmission. But, I have Bess. Maybe I could drop a 5.0 and 6-speed in her. Seat delete, Carbon Fiver Hood, Axel, big breaks, wider tires...at about the same cost as a Cobra.
Maybe I could just realize that Bess is fast enough at 66. Fast enough. That's like, too much bacon. Auburn scored too many points. She's too pretty. You car can never be "fast enough." What Nonsense.
I may have burned rubber on Highway 231, crossing Highway 20, in three gears, but I was pretty sensible.
It was a beautiful day...then Kim beat me in 5-Crowns. Twice. By a LOT.
Monday, 11 November, 2019: Sitting
I've been a bit under the weather for about a week. I need to get out but of the house but walks seem to make me relapse. I'm probably driving poor Kady crazy. I did help get the tree up so she could decorate it. It looks amazing. I, also, took out the storage boxes and put them in the shed. That helped her get the living room and library in order.
Saturday was a fun football game day, with Minnesota beating Penn State and LSU beating Alabama in two wild games. I really didn't care who won either game, but pulling for underdog Minnesota was fun. I would have preferred Bama over LSU so we could play them undefeated. I love when AU beats undefeated Alabama.
In between games, I began experimenting with Microsoft Edge, because i was having a problem with Chrome playing On Demand programs on Xfinity. It's weird. Xfinity works just fine on my laptop, but not my desktop; the video is pixilated and fades in and out. It worked just fine if I went to the actual site, like HBO and it worked just fine on Edge.
There were things I liked about Edge, but a lot of things I didn't, like having to use text on their Taskbar. I usually just use the site's .ico on Chrome as a space saving device. The sites I visit daily are numerous and I have all their symbols memorized and categorized.
Sunday, I began re-watching Game of Thrones from the beginning. I also started moving back to Google Chrome after trying Vivaldi and Edge. Chrome is my comfort zone and, if you change your default search engine to DuckDuckGo, it is probably just as secure. One big reason for going back is Messages for the Web, which lets me text and use Duo over my Laptop and Desktop. It is, finally, a super capability and is cross-platform.
I've exhausted Ancestry again. I'll try again in six months or so...see what they have then. There is still nothing new there for John Clayton.
I went on a texting tear this morning, beginning with Happy Birthday wishes to KS. Next, I sent Veterans Day wishes to the Inner Circle (Sal, Roger, Brian, BR), and my Army Buddies (Mitch, Jim C, Ed, Kendall ), and my Kids (Jay, E, A). I'm proud of them all and what they continue to do for our country.
Tonight, I watched a Johnny Depp movie called The Professor. if you like live-for-the-moment movies, this one may be for you.. I found it in keeping with my current state of mind, knowing I have but a few years left. It didn't leave me with any great wisdom, and I don't think it was meant to, but in the misery loves company category, it was good to see a story along the same inevitable lines.
Friday, 8 November, 2019: Don't Tell Me I'm Too Early!
I put the lights on the Christmas tree today. I was closely supervised. Kady is down there decorating Right Now. We do what we want!
Yeah, I now the whole Thanksgiving argument, but the tree is part of our Thanksgiving tradition...and...I haven't had a tree in my house for three years, being either in Florida, Savannah, or Kans-ass. I've missed Kim's Tree.
You gotta see this tree; it's the most beautiful tree in the world. Once she's finished, I'll show you.
She buys something new every year. This year - Reindeer. Pink metal Reindeer.
There are, of course, a lot of ornaments that I consider mine, and I'm pretty silly about them. Anything military themed or paratrooper themed...those are mine. Bears, mine. Mice, mine. Opus and all Bloom County artifacts, MINE! Aubie and Auburn, ours, but Mine too.
I get to put these on the tree. Otherwise, I just get the hell out of her way and let the pretty girl do her thing. I wouldn't want to put anything in the wrong place, overstep my bounds, or , shiver, make her tree "unbalanced." This, my friends , is an EXACT SCIENCE!
Once up, it is a history lesson about our family. I will stand in front of it for long periods of time, remembering. I love it when the presents are under it, and everyone is here, and Elise wakes us all up before the sun is up, and I'm "forced" to play Santa, and watching A Christmas Story all day, and the music, and the laughter.
This year promised to be such a year.
Monday, 4 November, 2019: Symbols
The hated and despised statues in Charlottesville include -
Thomas Jefferson on the University of Virginia campus, because he owned slaves and had children by Sally Hemming, that was certainly rape. One girl, a student, says that the statue makes her feel as is "Massa" in looking down on her.
Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, because they were traitors and fought to keep slaves enslaved.
The Confederate Memorial in front of the Court House, because it represents slavery and bigotry and a litany of other bad things.
The Confederate Soldier over the graves of confederate dead in the Confederate Cemetery on the UVA campus
The Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea Statue because it makes Sacagawea look subservient to the two men because she is kneeling beside Lewis.
There are probably more hated Charlottesville symbols that I don't know about; there is just so much to hate these days.
Yesterday, I went to visit these emblems of New Think Oppression. I wanted to see for myself a few I had never seen. I wanted to see the vandalism that has marred a few of these statues. I wanted to photograph the damage and record them.
I think they will soon be gone.
Here you go. This should make every American PROUD!
Once we remove all the historical references around the Nation, we can forget about Northern economic oppression of the Southern States, Slavery, the War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and all of the bad things. There won't be any oppression, or bigotry, or discrimination, or sexism, or white male dominance, because the symbols will all be gone. Before long, we will forget that any of it ever happened.
We are going to have to look harder to find things that offend us.
The Washington Monument! It's very phallic and , I'm pretty sure, George Washington owned a slave or two. It will have to come down. The White House will have to be painted and re-named. Rainbow House? War memorials will need to go. All good citizens should submit a list of statues, street names, and buildings that offend them so we can take them all down.
Burn it ALL Down!
Auburn struggled to beat Ole Miss on Saturday, Kpol stopped by on Sunday, and this afternoon, I helped KS hang her art in a local restaurant.
Monday, 28 October, 2019: A new Site
It hit me in my sleep, how to make a site that would work well enough with out style sheets and all that crap, just using html. I designed what you're seeing in about an hour, then tweaked it all day today, adding to and standardizing the pages. I have a lot of work to do, but that's the fun part.
I got, against my better judgment, a flu shot today. I haven't walked in 4 days and I'm going starkers.
Sunday, 27 October, 2019: We Could'a Beat Em
Those Crazy Auburn Tigers! Our QB has a lot to learn; crowd noise obviously scares the shit out of him. The team functioned well, but he was the weak link in the chain last night. What was his pass to completion ratio? About 3 for 1000 as I remember it. Had he just completed a few crucial passes, instead of throwing them behind the open receivers, we could have beaten that other team...I forget their name..some team from Louisiana. True, a few good passes were dropped, sometimes by our most efficient star receivers, which didn't help either. Hail the Defense...best in the Nation!
So now the pressure's really off. Even if we beat Georgia and Alabama, it'll just knock them out of the running and let Ohio State and Clemson, with their weak (read: Not SEC) schedules, move into the number one and number two playoff slots.
The what ifs are too many to discuss with Georgia and Florida, Alabama and LSU, Auburn and Georgia and Auburn and Alabama all playing soon. The SEC is crazy.
It rained all morning so I didn't get in my walk. I'm gonna go this afternoon, maybe, or just wait till tomorrow. No hurry.
I've been helping KS with her art, or rather, building her portfolio, by taking photos of her paintings. I set up a little studio in her dining room with a black drape and flash. It worked well, but I have to get the camera on the same level as the frame so I don't get converging lines. We'll try again this evening.
Jk has expressed a desire to be baptized. Em, of course is following Jake. I think it is a dumb idea, unless Jk knows whey he's doing it, otherwise it's just a ritual with no understanding. I would make him do the research and a brief-back, but KS and Jay are allowing it, and have Chris coming up from Bragg to do the deed. My part was to make a map for the family and to be there and keep my mouth shut.
Monday, 21 October, 2019: Video Chatting Turkiye
I just happened to be sitting at my desk and just happened to have Instagram open as an application on my desktop, and just happened to catch a glimpse of a quick notification in the right corner of my screen that said Sevda had sent me a message.
I checked and she was asking if I could talk. I got right back to her and she called on Instagram video.
It was a small miracle that it happened.
We had the most wonderful talk. I finally met her husband (looks like Robert De Nero) and her two little girls, Lena and Number Two (that's what they call her). They opened my package, which Turkey wouldn't let them send me, and it was full of Coffee (Kahve) and Turkish Delight (Lokum). I told them to please enjoy my stuff.
Sevda asked when I was coming back and I said, "maybe soon," though I don't know how. I would love to go back. Maybe I can talk the kids into going with me. They are in Ankara, so I would have to visit there, but my heart would want to be in Izmir. Sevda said she would be visiting Izmir soon and that she would take photos of all the places so I could see how it looks today.
I should go back.
And, take my own photos...more of Sevda with a decent camera. And of Berna.
And, I'd go visit Sahin, Huseyin in Samsun, and Murat in Istanbul, and Serife in Konya.
And eat at all my places. And, drink till dawn. And, dance. And, swim again on the Turquois Coast.
And, visit Troy, and Ephesus, and Pergamon, and Bursa, and Tirkidag, and Foca, and Bodrum.
I'm going to need a car and a couple of weeks.
Sunday, 20 October, 2019: Professional Photos with KS
New Camera and New Lens. Daughter-in-law needs photos for Linkedin and artist portfolio. Nuff Said.
Saturday, 19 October, 2019: Trucks and Herons
After the Auburn game against Arkansas was well in hand, SS and I went to Lee-Hi Truck Stop for a truck show. These trucks were "gee-wiz" and all, if you're into eighteen-wheelers, but I was expecting some old trucks. Nope. These were mostly top-of-the-line rigs with custom paintjobs, lots of chrome, and pulling matching trailers. I had my fill of it all in about thirty-minutes. My thoughts were that, at least during of the show, Interstate 81 might be a better drive. Probably not.
Auburn had really kicked off in Arkansas' ass by the time we got back home.
Friday, I went back to Ivy Creek and walked a different trail. I took one that went down a ridge that forms a peninsula into the Rivanna Reservoir. I was hoping to find the Great Blue Heron I spooked on my last walk. Sure enough, on one of the little side paths to the water, there he was in the distance, hunting around a little mossy island just off shore on the opposite side. I sat on the bench next to the path and watched him for the longest time and took a few far-away photos.
During my walk, I saw very little wildlife, except around the water. There were Canada Geese swimming in the channel, loads of turtles sunning on rocks and fallen trees, three extremely fat Mallards, basking on a log, and a Rufus Sided Towhee staying one step ahead of me along the path.
I'm surprised that I never see deer out there. I'm guessing they are spooked by the other people. Though the parking lot is always full, I rarely see people on the trail, but I hear them. People are noisy. I try to move slowly, walk quietly, stop often, look around, up and down, listen, and use my Binos to look deep into the brush. Except for the occasional person, this is a peaceful place. I like to think of it as my Cross Creek or Walden Pond.
The two Turkey Vultures circling overhead were a little insulting.
Sunday, 13 October, 2019: A Very VMI Weekend
Ken came to visit on Friday and stayed overnight. He is the dad of a former Cadet and Naval Aviator, who recruits North Carolina, mostly Wilmington, kids for VMI. He has always sent the school strong students, mostly seeking commissions. Every one appreciates the work he has done. I used to give him more access to barracks many civilians never get, and from that, we formed a strong friendship.
He was at the school on Thursday to see his kids, something he does faithfully throughout their cadetships, working on their problems, helping them stay focused, taking them out to dinner away from Post, and delivering wife Alice's amazing Brownies.
Before I left, I tried my best to make sure he had a person who would support him like I did, and the current Commandant seems to have assumed that role.
Ken, after learning of my love for BBQ, always brought me a small tub of North Carolina's finest...good, but not Alabama BBQ. Alice sometimes sent her Brownies, The Gold Standard of Brownies.
He arrived a little after noon, hungry, so we took him to Martin's Grill for a burger...but he opted for the Paddy Melt. My burger was great. I hope his meal was as good; I've never had that.
I loved seeing him, but his visit let to much talk about VMI and the old frustrations came crawling back. We talked about the good times, good cadets, and what a good place it generally is, but I couldn't help the bad cropping up. There was just too much right at the end that has soured me and I don't want to dwell on it.
I'm done with all that. I do still check the sports scores and was happy to see VMI beat Samford this year. They have a winning season going. Go Figure.
Ken left for Wilmington after breakfast at Michael's Diner and Restaurant. My breakfast of Florentine Omelet, Biscuits, Bacon, and Grits was really really good.
It was good having a Auburn Game Stress-Free Weekend (that could be one word). There was craziness...like Georgia being beaten by South Carolina. That was fun, but..What does that say about Auburn? I'm guessing it's not a good sign.
I'm seriously worried about Arkansas.
E flies home Wednesday. Germany: Done! Now she and A and Cooper will have some time together...no schools and no deployments for a while. I'll see them Christmas and New Year.
Sunday, 6 October, 2019: Keystone Cops
The pressure is off, the anticipation is done, the promise of a chance to compete for the National Title is over. Auburn Lost to Florida. It was one of the ugliest games, for both teams, in recent history. Kady called it them Keystone Cops.
There were fumbles, interceptions, missed tackles, and miscues all over the field. Neither team could do much, but, in the end, Florida had more points.
Now we can take two weeks off to lick our wounds before having to play Arkansas. I'm left wondering if we can beat them, much less Ole Miss, LSU, and Alabama. I'm wondering if we can beat Samford.
In happier news: VMI beat Citadel, in Charleston, for the first time in twelve years, taking home the Silver Shako.
I went for a medium walk this morning...breaking the rules for my stitches.
Thursday, 3 October, 2019: In Stitches
This morning I went to Dr. Tromberg, a dermatology surgeon to have a Squamous Skin Cancer removed from my chest. This is not life-threatening, just itchy and a little painful. She cut a plug out of my body about the size of a dime and about 3/8th an inch thick, checked it under a microscope to make sure she got the roots, and then stitched me up...sixteen stitches along a horizontal line about an inch and a half long, right over my sternum. Didn't hurt a bit.
Now I'm in pain, but not from the surgery. It seems I can't even put the car cover on Bess without injuring myself these days. As I was trying to tie down the cover, I stepped on the edge of the curb, and fell hard on my side, jamming my elbow into my rib cage. I'm OK, but my ribs on my right side hurt and are getting more sore by the hour. Luckily, I didn't rip out my stitches.
I'm down for a nap after I finish this.
Sevda sent me some Turkish Delight which goes well with my renewed love of Turk Kahve and my attempts to perfect the process of making it. She's the sweetest.
Kim made Imam Bayildi (The Priest Fainted) Tuesday night and it was as good as any I ever had in Turkiye, maybe better. She also made Turk Ekmek (traditional Turkish Bread), from a recipe I found in a magazine, and it was perfect. JUST LIKE the bread over there. We watched a Australian cooking show together, which she suggested, because the were cooking Turkish food. She was really interested, so I suggested she try one of the dished. Smart Boy!
Sunday, 29 September, 2019: The Improbable Task
Watching Auburn destroy Mississippi State last night was so much fun. I told Kim, who opted to watch a movie at Jay and KS's house instead, that it was like watching NFL Red Zone--just about as soon as Auburn had the ball, we were watching a touchdown.
The team was clicking on all cylinders last night. We did cough up the ball a few times, but that didn't help State; they were lost with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
So, what does that mean for Auburn's season. Could they go all the way? Sports Commentators have been stating all year that Auburn's schedule is the toughest in the nation. I'll take their word for it. In our next games we'll play #10 Florida, Arkansas, and #5 LSU on the road. Then we'll play Ole Miss, #3 Georgia, Samford, and #1 Alabama.
Let's say we won out, defeating everyone. We'd still have to play Georgia again, in Atlanta, for the SEC Championship, and we remember how that went two years ago.
Can this team do it? It would be a major miracle.
But, Auburn has seen plenty of miracles.
Wednesday, 25 September, 2019: Backspace
After my walk, I took our new pressure washer, a gift from SS, to the back patio and began cleaning everything. I cleaned siding, windows, brick walls, the concrete pad, our patio furniture, and the outdoor carpet. I had the best time. Now everything looks really nice out there and I plan to use it now that the temperatures have dropped.
I miss the Back porch at 404; it was my favorite room in our quarters. I need to stop wining about this space not having screens and make it my own. I'll move all my travel things out there-computer, music, something to drink, and a cigar. That should do it.
Tuesday, 24 September, 2019: Happy Birthday Cooper...or Not.
E has today as Cooper's birthday, I had it on my calendar as yesterday, and Kady thinks it is Thursday and has the documentation to prove it. Worst case, Cooper has three birthday parties. Maybe we could just have a month of Cooper celebration, though that might be a little unfair to Jay.
My transition to Vivaldi, away from Google is almost complete. It has actually been fun. I was able to upload my Google contacts, but my calendar I had to input one entry at a time. I haven't figure out how to see my calendar on my phone efficintly. Same with contacts. Vivaldi needs Apps for those. And a LIST App!
I watched a couple of good movies today. Mary Queen of Scots was really good. Love me some Saoirse Ronan. Then I watched Shadows in the Sun. Good movie. It'll make anyone want to go to Italy. Surprise! It stared Claire Forlani, who I haven't seen since Meet Joe Black, and who is, most likely, the loveliest girl in show business.
There was one quote in the movie that struck me as true, "I wish I could go back, just for one day. Time is a precious thing...and years teach much what the days never knew." Looking back through the years, who hasn't wished for that "One Day"?
Sunday, 22 September, 2019: When I'm Wrong
I will have to admit that Notre Dame looked good against Georgia. They played well but lost by a few points. They have a pretty weak schedule for the rest of the year, playing teams that are struggling. Duke, Michigan, and Navy might give them good games, but I think they will win out, and there is the problem--Their bobo Schedule.
Yeah, I still don't like them.
Saturday, 21 September, 2019: War Eagle
Auburn just beat Texas A&M. The score makes it seem closer than it was. We shut them down...in College Station. It was an ass whipping, and I love Auburn, and just about anyone else, beating the shit out of A&M.
My night will be complete if Georgia destroys Notre Dame, who, once again, is over ranked.
There are a few teams out there that I can't stand. In no particular order, they are, West Virginia, Miami, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and Texas A&M.
I've begun playing around with Vivaldi Browser. It's very cool, but there's a learning curve. It may be a while before I can transition away from Google Chrome, if I ever do.
Friday, 20 September, 2019: Movie Day in Chantilly
Tuesday, I went to the dermatologist to get a skin thingy cut off for biopsy. Last time, I was told it was benign, the doctor treated it, and I was told it would not return. It did. I'm waiting to see if I have to have it cut out.
Wednesday, Kady went to the doctor. All good.
Yesterday, Jay, KS, Kady, and I went to see Ad Astra at The National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly. I love this place and my people made sure I had plenty of time to walk through it. We also planned and were first in line to see the movie in IMAX in the Airbus IMAX Theater. IMAX is cool, but I don't see the need. it wasn't, in my opinion, that much better than a regular movie. The trip, however, was worth it to see the aircraft and spacecraft.
Ad Astra. What can I say? It was a fun movie, but I was bored at times. To me, it was like Apocalypse Now in Space, same story line, the Hero Narrative, rehashed over a long, seemingly unending movie. The science was also a bit suspect. OK, a LOT suspect! The reason for the mission, some kind of dangerous antigravity waves coming from Neptune, I think, weak. The high speed chase with revving engines and gun battle with sound effects on the airless moon made me want to get up and walk out. The hero's miraculous trip from one spacecraft to the other, passing through the rings of Neptune with a shield, was just ridiculous.
Even the time appreciation for the trip from Mars to Neptune was improbable. To get from Mars to Neptune, 1,560,000,000 miles at their closest point, in the stated time of 70-something days, McBride would have to average around 800,000 Miles per Hour. Assuming you could achieve speeds like this with an "anti-matter drive," which is the movie's stated technology, you still have to accelerate and brake within tolerances safe for humans. We still don't know what those tolerances are. Human tolerances aside, you still have to accelerate and brake, so, actually, you would have to travel at speeds much faster than 800,000 MPH. Comparatively, Our fastest spacecraft to date, the Juno probe, is currently traveling at 165,000 MPH.
Ah well, It was still entertaining and it was fine day with Kady and the Kids. I had a great time.
Saturday, 14 September, 2019: Rain Days
SS came in on Thursday. He arrived right after my walk. Cards ensued. Jay, KS, and Em came over for supper, a BBQ feast of Foothill Mama's pork, delivered by SS, Kady's baked beans, Mexican Coke, finished with Tillamook ice cream. I spent my few moments with Em explaining why you could, sometimes, see the moon during the day. I think that, maybe, I have a little scientist on my hands. After the lesson, we curled up on the couch for more serious business, watching Spirit on TV and eating Gummy Bears.
Friday was meant to be a trip to see the Steam Tractors at the Summerset Steam and Gas Show, but it rained all day. I barely got my walk in before it started. Friday night was another family dinner of Kady's BBQ Meat Balls and Mashed Potatoes. I ate two helpings, then worked some of it off with some hide-and-seek with Em. It's the best time.
Today looks like more rain, though I'm told I have "Things to do." I think this means pressure washing the back siding and porch, which, I'm sure, in Kady's mind, constitutes my One Thing for the day.
Auburn football today...a good game to improve. Right now, it is looking like a rough year ahead with up to four losses and maybe more. We'll see.
Tuesday, 10 September, 2019: Nap Time
After my walk this morning, I watched some video on making my own computer. Looks simple, but more expensive than I thought. Next, I took a nap. I'm pretty sure the weekend trip wore me out more than I thought. I've taken two afternoon naps that both lasted more than 4 hours since getting home. It has really messed up my time appreciation for the week. All day today, I thought it was Monday. Before my nap, today, Kady told me we were going to Jay and KS's for Movie Night to watch The Changeling, with George C. Scott. When I got up, she wanted to go to Bonefish Grill for dinner. SOLD! I had the steak and crab cake. Perfect.
Monday, 9 September, 2019: A Weekend with Other Women
I've always had great women in my life. My mom was the perfect mom. My grandmothers were fantastic women. Some of my closest friends in school were Lynne, Janice, Shelly, and Courtney. Later in life, I got Sylvia and Sally. In the recent past, I've gathered to my inner circle a few others, like Kpol, Ryan, and Cfn. Then, of course there are the girls in my family, Kady, E, KS, and B....and now Em.
This weekend was the Memorial Service of one of my most important friends from the time before Kady, Debra. I had to go, though I knew it would be immersing myself back into something from which I have turned away. I think it is true to say that Deb and her husband Boyce can be credited with saving me from myself after the divorce.
I'm glad I went.
I used the trip to drive with Bess and to visit Kpol and Cfn. Time with them made the weekend more bearable.
Friday: Charlottesville to Atlanta to Pell City
Death keeps bringing me back to Alabama.
I drove all day yesterday, getting in Bess at a little after 0600hrs, driving to Atlanta. Stopped there to spend some time with Kpol, visiting her place, which is really cool, and then going to dinner after a walk down the street. It was a little Italian place, Baraonda, mostly vacant, just past the Fox Theater. Kpol seems to be well known there and there was a discussion about Limoncello as we walked in the door. It seems she's a regular. She suggested the Lasagna and she was spot on. It was fantastic.
While I waited on traffic to clear, we sat out on her balcony, overlooking the city, and talked. And Talked. And Talked. I learned a lot about her this trip that I have never known. She probably learned more about me than she wanted to know. What different lives we have lived!
I got back on the road, thinking I had outfoxed the traffic, but, in Atlanta, the traffic is always there. Happily, it was flowing, with only one slow down, but what I hadn't thought about was the setting sun while headed west on I-20. It was blinding.
I got to the Hampton in Pell City after dark and settled in my room, tired after a long day of driving, texted with Kady, prepared for the next day, turned down the air to 64, found the best pillow, and crashed.
Saturday: Debra Milton "Millie" Smith Day
I got up before my 0630 alarm, showered and went for breakfast. I ate light, scrambled eggs, a few potatoes, and a jelly biscuit. I took my coffee back to my room.
Deb's memorial was amazing. Lots of music, photos, a photo power point, a movie, and memorials by family and friends. The crowd was amazing and LARGE. The service was light and heartfelt. Heather and Buck were amazing. Heather's comments were the most “spot-on” with how I remember Debra.
I stayed in the background most of the time, watching the slide-show, looking at the photos, and kept my shit together until I saw a photo of Debra and me at a church picnic. It was taken during the time after the divorce and I was holding Leah up to a water fountain. The photo dredged up those times and my love for Boyce and Deb. I lost it. I had to go outside and get my shit together.
By the time the service began, I was fine, helped by the fact that Bobby J started it, and I find that fucker hilariously ridiculous. He is the most self-aggrandizing, vainglorious person I have ever met. He loves the sound of his own voice preaching or breaking out in song.
This is the guy who, in front of a room full of impressionable teen campers, repeated the internet NASA Lost Day Story as if it were proof that the Bible was the TRUTH. I called him aside afterwards and explained that, "No, all NASA needed to put a man in space was math and good old American Ingenuity." Today, true to form, this guy, when closing down the service, when he was supposed to be blessing the food, found a way to sing. I have always called his showboating The Bobby J Show.
What a Wanker! His bull shit was a good solution for my sorrow.
As I was about to sneak out and leave, Jim C came up. Great Man! He was the only guy from the old group who recognized me. Jim was an SF Sergeant Major and I've known him almost as long as I've known Boyce. Ed and Kathy came in for the service, and they joined us. The three of us had a good warrior reunion in the back right corner surrounded by photos of Debra.
I had to get out of there to get my emotions, healthy and not-so, in check. I couldn't find Boyce to say goodbye, which was probably good for both of us. I missed Buck , but found Heather. My goodbyes were brief and I went to Golden Rule BBQ to be alone, to have my own little memorial service for Deb, and to have some good Alabama BBQ.
Then I went back to the Hotel, watched the “greatest” get destroyed by 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu (greatest my ass) in the women's final of the US Open, watched LSU whip Texas, and then watched the Auburn-Tulane game.
Oh, Auburn. When will you figure out the running game? Next weekend, maybe. We're all glad you're back and OK from that cheap-shot, Will Hastings.
After the Game I crashed, setting my alarm for 0400hrs. UGH.
Sunday: Cfn Breakfast, Back to C'ville, Jay's for Dinner
I was back on the road by 0515hrs, headed to Atlanta and breakfast with Cfn at First Watch.
Oh my goodness. I forget, when I haven't seen her in a while, how gorgeous and smart this young lady is. She looked amazing. We caught up, talked family, religion, science, and so much more. I miss her intellect. I miss her being my "Lost" buddy. Though I had my camera right there at the table, I didn't take one photo. My Italian Omelet was delicious but secondary to time with Cfn; I could have stayed all day.
The 4am start was so worth it. I had the best time.
BUT, I was on a time schedule. I had to be back in Charlottesville for Jay's Birthday Dinner by 1800hrs, which meant I had to be back on the road by 0930hrs.
The drive was uneventful, though there was a lot of traffic, and I made it with 20 minutes to spare. Everyone was in great spirits, Kady made Cup Cakes, and KS made a delicious pasta dish with a creamy cheese sauce. My boy is Thirty-Seven! Crazy.
I went home after dinner and tried to sleep, but the two Starbucks Double-Shots, two cups of coffee I had on the trip, and the huge glass of wine KS poured me at dinner, plus a need to find the above photo of Debra and me, were working their special magic.
I was still awake when Kim got home. I watched the end of the Patriots-Steelers game with her.
Monday, 2 September, 2019: Prediction-Oklahoma
I said at the end of last year, "Oklahoma will be in the playoffs next year."
And, Then, they got Jalen Hurts.
Hell, I'm an Auburn Fan and I love Jalen Hurts. Everyone loves this guy.
What a story this guy has, but I won't go into it here. I just want to say that he was amazing against Houston, a very good team, last night, AS WE ALL EXPECTED HE WOULD BE.
If the powers that be aren't looking at him as the front runner for the Heisman Trophy already, they will soon. AND, if the nation doesn't see Oklahoma as a Nation Champion Contender, then they are sadly mistaken. Watch and See.
They do need to fix that Defense though.
Sunday, 1 September, 2019: Bo Knows some War Eagle
There may be nothing more fun than watching your team come back in the second half, getting their collective shit together, figuring out the other team's tricks, and winning the game with seconds to go. Well, that was the Auburn vs. Oregon game last night. The ducks came to play. They shut down the Auburn Offense and stopped the storied Auburn Defensive line, running and passing and scoring at will. Auburn was self defeating. Our true freshman QB made some bad mistakes while being chased all over the backfield, coughing up two interceptions on promising drives. Carlson hit two, then missed his third field goal attempt.
The second half was reversed. Though they scored early, we shut them down the rest of the half. We gave Bo Nix more protection, we ran the ball better (Whitlow was great!), we figured out how to pressure their QB and we were able to keep them from scoring. With seconds to go, we only had to move the ball a few yards to give Carlson another try, but we took a strike with a pass to the goal line and Seth Williams made a great play on the ball, spun, and fell into the end zone.
Whew! I am glad that is over, but at least we played a ranked team while others played teams they knew they could beat... well... except for Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Florida State.
Sucks to be them.
Now I have to plan a trip to Alabama. Debra's memorial ceremony will be Saturday Morning at the Cooks Springs Camp. I am not looking forward to seeing poor Boyce or listen to the religious people talk about god, but I want to honor Debra's life in my own way.
If Hurricane Dorian doesn't mess up my travel route, I'll stop in Atlanta to have Sushi with Cfn. Going through Atlanta takes me a little out of the way, but lunch with Cfn! Worth it! Ed and Cathy will be in for the service, so I hope to convince them to eat at Golden Rule BBQ in Pell City, Saturday night, but I may opt for Milo's. I could use some Milo's or Costa's.
I haven't decided how I will come back home. I guess it depends on the weather.
Of course, if Cooper comes to Charlottesville while A is TDY, and SS can't come up for next weekend, THAT would cancel my trip as well.
I'm waiting to see.
I can't believe it has been eighteen years since I left Türkiye. Happy Birthday to Gülümser.
Friday, 30 August, 2019: Introspection
My plan worked perfectly well. My self examination, fueled by a good rum, was thorough, and, amazingly, well worded and even spelled correctly. Oh, there were typos for sure, but this morning I was able to read and understand where I was headed on this journey...I just never got where I was going.
I evaluated everything, my education, my service, my time at that school, my part in this marriage, my contributions to this family. I was brutally honest with myself, no filters there.
I noted the bad. I remembered the good. I think it was a good assessment. Conclusions: None!
Then I began talking to people. I told them what I thought of them, which I am apt to do when drinking...the list of people was long and they were not all people I like.
After I read it all, I deleted it. Really, it wasn't worth keeping, and some of the comments should never make the light of day.
"You know, I think a lot about the ten-or-so years I've got left before there's not much left for me to do but sit around and reminisce."~John Dutton, from Yellowstone, watched this morning.
Thursday, 29 August, 2019: Drinking With a Purpose
I'm trying to write a piece about who I really am, and it's not coming out of me.
Because I don't "hurt like hell" as Hemmingway says you "especially have to do...before you can write seriously," I will apply rum to this process.
While awaiting a more appropriate time (it's just after noon), having warned Kady of this experiment, and telling myself NO TEXTING, I will try to Drink the words on to the page. I am well known among family and friends for what I have to say when I am "drink."
I hope to "write and write truly," so I have chosen Papa's Pilar.
Disregard anything posted here, today, after THIS!
Tuesday, 27 August, 2019: Kady's Naughty Ancestry
Kady's family is so much fun to research! By that, I mean, they were bad. There are lynch mobs, shootings, murders, prostitution, and NOW we're discovering extramarital affairs and a child born of this affair.
Kim and I had been told that one of her people was born of an affair, that the father that raised the child was not the child's biological father. The story was pretty believable.
Now we have the DNA evidence. There were two children by this marriage. The older sibling is still alive and recently tested, the younger tested before passing away.
Boom! Way Different heritage! This DNA stuff is super cool.
Now, I'm waiting on Kady's results to see if I can get a clue to that part of her biological tree. What I'm hoping to find are some cousins we don't know about that will point me to a tree or two.
I've been putting this all on Family Search, which is free, but have told Kady that I need a month on Ancestry. I'll begin work there, 1 September,
Wednesday, 21 August, 2019: It's Hot, I'm Stupid
Yesterday, dying to get out of the house, I ran a list of graves in the area that people on Find-a-Grave wanted photographed. I volunteer to do that, like a lot of people who use the site.
As I was headed out the door, Kady said, "It's hot out there. Don't you think you should do this when it cools off?"
Yeah, I went anyway. All three cemeteries were within a 5-mile radius to the house, so I figured it wouldn't take too long.
Searching cemeteries in 95-degree heat is a lot of work. To make it worse, I couldn't find any of the graves, so I had to search every grave in all three cemeteries.
People just don't do their research.
By the time I got home, I was drenched with sweat, my core temperature was way up, and I was beat!
The Pool Was Not Open! I took a cool shower.
Grave hunting is for the Fall and Spring, for sure.
Thursday, 15 August, 2019: Debra Smith Died TodayI'm actually writing this a week later. Today is 22 August and I still have no clue what to say or think about this. I'll just type.
I know I feel for Boyce, but I can't imagine what he went through as she died, what he is going through as he prepares to bury her, and what he well go through the rest of his life. Without her, Boyce will not be Boyce, not to me anyway. They were two people who truly became one, a love story for the ages.
I met Boyce back in high School when I toured with 66 Street Baptist Church in 1969. He held the dubious honor of liking a girl I also liked, and dated her, much more successfully than I.
I saw him again at a bible study out in Tarrant city, and he and I became good friends as Machaira Church formed. At the time, he was dating a beautiful and sweet co-ed at Alabama, Debra Milton. I was married to Becki at the time and we four became the best of friends.
He and I decided to go in the Army together. In 1975, we went to the MEPS station. During the process, we got split up. After signing my enlistment papers, I went back out to the waiting area and there was Boyce. I said something to the effect that we were on our way and he broke the news that he couldn't do it. He didn't join because he couldn't leave Deb.
I was actually OK with that.
Becki and I made it home from the 82nd for their wedding at Arlington house in Birmingham.
Then years and geography happened and our friendships began to cool. We had nothing in common except for the church and I was fighting my association with that.
Sure, when we were in town, we hung out together, but It wasn't like it was.
When Becki and I divorced, I think it hit Boyce and Deb the hardest. They lamented losing Becki in the deal. They didn't lose me; I practically moved in with them and they propped me up during that particularly bad time in my life.
Later, through them, I met Kady. Boyce worked for her dad, also a member of the church, and he acted like her big brother, probably because Bill expected him to. Her nick-name "Kady" was given to her by Boyce.
Many years passed from that time and my job took Kady and me farther and farther away from Birmingham, for long periods of time. We lost touch with Boyce and Deb and the church.
We saw them briefly when Kady's parents died. They came to both services.
Then Deb was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Nothing worked, not surgeries, therapy, diet, prayer, not faith. There were no miracles.
Ah, how much less terrible this would be had I my old beliefs. I would know what to say. I would know how to feel.
Now, all I'm left with is this: Deb has died. It is a sad day and a great loss. She was a sweetheart, incredibly beautiful, as fine a Christian lady as has ever lived, well respected and much loved. I feel for Boyce and hope he will be OK without her. Fuck Cancer.
That, is all I have to say about That.
Monday, 12 August, 2019: Corrections by Tedium
I should be at the pool. Instead, I'm at my desk correcting problems on my site. Basically, my Style Sheet hate me and my propensity to double-space after sentences and add spaces where there shouldn't be spaces. It hates my typing in general.
When I make a mistake, it reverts to any number of fonts and sixes and I don't know how to fix that. YET.
I've taken most of my site, one page at a time, and cut from my publisher, pasted into Open Office, and removed all the errant spaces by hand, one at a time. I am certain there is a way to delete these spaces all at once in either Open Office or Expressions Web 4, but I can't figure it out, nor have I been able to Google it.
This is time consuming and my brain has to fix it, somehow.
Later: Figured it Out. Go to code. Edit-Find: (the code for additional spaces in html) Replace with nothing. That removed them all, lickety-split.
All I have to do is stop double-spacing between sentences, a habit that is very hard, I find, to break.
Thursday, 8 August, 2019: Pompeii Exhibit
I have been seeing ads for the Pompeii Exhibit on YouTube for a while now and I finally got to checking it out. I asked Jay if he'd like to go with me, and he said yes, then it turned into a family trip. Kim agreed to go along as well.
We left this morning a little after 9AM, and the drive was no problem, only a little over an hour to get to the Science Museum of Virginia.
The museum is in the old Richmond Rail Terminal which is a beautiful Building. See Birmingham! This is how you treat beautiful architecture.
We began watching Rat basketball, two rats that learned to play a game of basketball, basically talking turns on a little court dunking a ball through hoops, for treats of course. It was a blast.
Next was the Speed Exhibit which teaches the relative speed of things like space craft, the SR-71 Blackbird, sound, the fastest baseball pitch, runners, up to the speed of light. There were kids everywhere, and they were all very involved in the learning experience. I enjoyed watching Jay and KS engage Jk and Em in the learning experience. Kim did her thing, then waited on the rest of us.
There were lots of things for kids to do, which made it fun for the Grands.
We finally made it to the Pompeii exhibit, the reason for the trip, and, I'll have to say, it was amazing. There were paintings, amphora's, artifacts, tools, glass vials, bronze, gold, and jeweled jewelry, surgical instruments, and sculptures. They told the story with two nicely done 360 degree video dioramas and models of buildings.
The exhibit really gave you a feel for the people who lived there and died that day.
The last item was two casts of people, made from the cavities formed by the lava, decaying bodies, and then filling the cavity with plaster. I tried three times to photograph them, but couldn't bring myself to do that. Kim thought it was the best thing of the day. I have walked ancient streets to many times, thinking on those who lived those streets, to enjoy seeing two suspended in their death throes.
It was, however, the perfect way to end the exhibit, because that's why we were there, to learn about the people, how they lived, what happened, and how valuable the site of Pompeii is to the study of everyday Roman life.
Today was a good day.
Wednesday, 31 July, 2019: Thunderstorms and Streisand
It has been storming for the last two days and we're having one now, not to far away. These have been afternoon thunder storms, loud, with heavy rain, and strong winds, but there hasn't been much damage.
Actually, we needed the rain.
This have kept me in the house since Monday, except for my morning walks. That means movies. Yesterday, I watched Patriot games again. Love that Movie. Today, I searched for something, I don't remember what, but one of the Movies Like This options on Xfinity was Funny Girl.
Funny Girl...I know the movie by heart. I know every line, every word of every song. Every person in my high school inner circle did too. We watched it over and over.
It took me a while to catch up with the rest of my friends because I didn't see it until a year after it came out. If you were going to hang around Lynn, Jane Ann, Bill, Janice, and especially Shelly, you had to love this movie.
Certainly, when I hear "People," I think of those times, when I had my closest friends, how I needed them, and how I really felt lucky to have them in my life. I wish I had friends like that now, I think, but I have never met people outside the family who measured up.
As young people, I think we were all looking for that special person we could love and belong to, like Fanny belonged to Nick, no matter what, "Forever More." When I found that kind of love, I knew the second verse was just as true--I was half, now I was whole, and I am one of the luckiest people in the world.
Like Vanishing Point, 2001, Butch and Sundance, and Billy Jack, Funny Girl was one of the great movies that influenced my young soul.
So I watched Funny Girl again, and I laughed, and sang along, and cried a bit, not so much for Fanny and Nick, but for lost friends, and past times, the best of both that ever were or ever will be.
I don't think I will ever leave high school.
Sunday, 27 July, 2019: Ditching the Saturday Blues
Yesterday was pretty boring. I didn't go for a walk, resting from Friday's battlefield climb. I tried to sleep in, but that didn't work. I was still up by six. I worked on this site a bit, and watched a movie, then took a nap...which lasted about 30 minutes.
I watched another movie. Tried to do some more things to the site, but couldn't get motivated, though the work was what I'd consider worthwhile...old family photos for the family tree page. That's still a work in progress and I have no clue where it's going. I hope it reveals itself soon.
So...basically, I moped around the house all day.
This morning I got up at five, ate breakfast and read the news over a good cup of Green Mountain Nantucket. I grabbed my camera and took it on my walk, a 4-miler, taking photos along the way of THIS nice KEDDI and spots for an upcoming photo shoot...if it goes. KS has asked me to take Senior Photos of her sister, and said she was "excited." I haven't heard anything since. I thought that, maybe, if I sent the photos from this morning, it would spark a response.
Then again, I promised myself I would never ask family to take photos again, so, NO, I'll wait.
The camera and the walk changed my attitude markedly. I came home with renewed purpose, got out my flash and practiced using it, talked to Kady about a new, better, camera (now on order), and talked to her about getting me a pool pass. Now that she's so much better, I want to go to the pool once a day. Hell, it's a short walk from my front door. It would be a waste not to use it. I have one more month, which will cost me only $70.
The Camera was a little more expensive.
Next on the Day's Agenda: reading, Spanish, and guitar.
...just as soon as I'm finished with Wye Oak and Vib Gyor...who should have never broken up.
Friday,26 July, 2019: McDowell Battlefield Trip
I lit out this morning, motivated for my first trip since the Kady Spider Incident. I had done my homework, and what I thought was a decent Map Recon of the place, and carried all my fun stuff with me--camera, water, bug juice, floppy hat, compass, drone, phone, map, battle map, and Stonewall in the Valley. The route I chose was north of what most historians say was the Confederate Approach March, straight up the ridge, to the positions of the Confederate Reserves.
It was tough going. It is a steep climb to the top, there is a LOT of deadfall, impenetrable barriers of mountain laurel, and thousands of spider webs. The ground was mossy, rocky, and slippery, and I fell on my ass a couple of times.
Still, it was a beautiful day, and though hard work, I really enjoyed being out of the house and being out on a battlefield all alone.
Props to the boys on both sides who fought on this terrain. I'm not sure why they did. Had I been Jackson, I would have pulled back to a spot more advantageous and less likely to be flanked.
The rest of the day, I planned to eat lunch in Staunton (had Sushi in mind) and then a trip to the Elder Antique and Classic Automobile Museum, but I was so wiped out by the climb, I went straight home, hit the shower, and took a nap. 66.
I tried to get Kim to go out to eat, but she's really not OK with doing that yet. I think she wants to get the allergist blood tests back before she ingests anything she didn't prepare herself.
Thursday, 25 July, 2019: Planning
I had a great plan for this morning, the problem was, I didn't tell Kady. I was headed to McDowell Battlefield, west of Staunton. I charged the Note-5, charged my drone batteries, loaded the maps on my phone, read up on the battle, did a satellite recon, and plotted my route.
Last night, I was just about to go brief Kady, when she called for me and told me we needed to be at K's this morning. Oh Well.
Now I'm set to go tomorrow morning. It'll be good to get out of the house.
Friday, 19 July, 2019: It's damn Hot
It has been in the high 70s every morning at 6AM when I get up for my walk, so, I haven't. Kady and I have both been hiding inside, in the air conditioning, dodging the temperatures that are getting closer to 100 degrees every day. Tomorrow we should get the highest, with the temps tapering off during the week.
Kady actually got out of the house, shopping with KS, feeling better by the day as she comes down off of the steroids. That is a big change. I went for a grocery pickup today, but that's the extent of my venturing out.
The trailer for Cats was released yesterday and the comments have not been kind. I believe, had Twitter been a thing when the play first came out, that it would not have survived to please millions of people throughout the world.
People these days are such negative idiots, ruled by the opinions of others. Mob Rule!
It is clear from the comments that most of these little piss ants haven't seen the play, have never read T. S. Eliot, and just don't get it. Sorry Kids, no sex, explosions, of filthy language in this movie. No car chases, drug use, or murders. Sorry the CGI isn't Avengers worthy. How will it possible hold your 12-minute internet attention span?
At least my family is supportive and all plan to attend with me. The dancing looks amazing. Memory sounded solid.
I'm looking forward to it and I hope those in the Cats loving universe are with me. There are Loads of us.
You little 12-year-old naysayers should move on to your next negative topic.
Monday, 15 July, 2019: Simona Fan
Kady watches all sports. Me? I'm a football fan, specifically, an Auburn football fan, thought I will watch other interesting games, usually SEC Games. I'm a bit of an SEC Snob.
Kady LOVES tennis. I am, because of that, a bit of a tennis widower during peek tennis season. It was much the same for Bill, as Sylvia, too, loved tennis, but Bill did too, so it probably wasn't as bad for him.
I decided a few years ago to try to get into watching it, so I chose a couple of players, Roger Federer, who is Kady's favorite, and for whom Sylvia had an almost romantic attachment. Roger was a safe choice.
I also chose Maria Sharapova, because what man wouldn't, because Sylvia hated her noisy play and snooty attitude. It was fun cheering for her and watching Sylvia cut her eyes at me in disgust.
Back about 2014, I saw a photo of the top women in tennis taken in Singapore. Maria was centered next to the trophy, looking amazing, but, what caught my eye was the little girl on the far right. She was adorable and I had never heard of her, though she was, I think, Number-5 in the World at the time.
I began watching her, and soon proclaimed to the family that she was "my player." I stuck with her through her successes, meltdowns, injuries, and failures. I called her the Auburn Tiger of Tennis, because you never knew what you would get when you watch Simona. Sometimes I got Brilliance. Sometimes she let herself be beaten by lesser players. Sometimes you could tell she just wasn't there.
I was so happy for her when she won the French Open in 2018. She had her shit together. Then she hit a bit of a slump, lost the French in 2019, but came storming into Wimbledon, winning every match with determination and heroic effort. But, now, she faced what looked like an insurmountable task in the Final.
Since I was on the road Saturday, Kady recorded the Final for me. She called just as I was crossing the North Carolina line, and said, "Are you Sitting Down," not a question, but an excited statement. Simona, MY PLAYER, had won, beating the most powerful and prominent player in Women's Tennis, Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-2, in a little over an hour.
I watched the recording this morning, first thing. What I saw, was what looked like a young lion cub, pestering an old lioness. Simona was Ricochet Rabbit, the Cleaver Fox, she was EVERYWHERE on the court. It was amazing to watch.
It wasn't a win, it was an old fashion Ass Whooping!
I'm so happy for her, I may watch it again tonight.
Sunday, 14 July,2019: Attention Span
Friday, I kept Em while Jay took care of a couple of phone meetings, KS being out of town. We played "LOL Dolls" for a while, until it was clear that I didn't know how to play LOL Dolls, then we switched to watching LOL Dolls on TV.
As requested, I talked her through the Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon, drawing, what I would say were, amazing pictures of the Saturn V Rocket, the Command Module, the LEM, and Footprints on the Moon. She sat for about 15 minutes, asking very intelligent questions. She pointed out that she didn't draw stick figures anymore, demonstrating oval bodies, arms, and legs, like her mom, the artist, had taught her. She even tried her hand at drawing the LEM and Command Module docked.
The fifteen minutes I had her 4-year-old attention was amazing.
Saturday night was a different story. I bombed.
I went to Fort Bragg to be guest speaker for the Military Ball of the Battalion led by one of my former cadets, now a Lieutenant Colonel. It was great seeing him and his wife, who I haven't seen for twenty years. He's aged. So, of course, have I.
The night went well enough and their introduction of me was really overwhelming, but from the moment I began my talk, I could see that about 90% of the soldiers didn't give two shits about what I had to say. The body language throughout the room was ice cold. No matter what I did, I couldn't get their eyes off the floor.
I let it throw me off. I got out of sync, dropped some important points, and rushed to the end...just to be done with it. I made my main points, but that is all I can say. I sure as hell didn't impress anyone as someone they should listen too.
I had a few folks come up to thank me and to compliment me, but I think the were being kind.
I've given many speeches over the years, and this is the first time, AND THE LAST, that this has happened. I will NEVER accept another speaking engagement and I'm going to act like this didn't happen, so I am not left with a bad taste in my mouth.
I was back home to Kady and My Space by 1145.
Sunday, 7 July, 2019: Site is Up and Running
After being down about a week, I have my site up again. It was a process. I had to transfer my domain to GoDaddy. That was easy, but it doesn't happen right away. While I waited, I worked on updating my site, content mostly, it'll look basically the same.
Once the transfer was complete, I had to point it to the GoDaddy DNS Servers, again, easy enough, but that takes 24 to 48 hours to take effect.
While I waited on that, I uploaded my site to my file server and continued to work.
I called support. The first thing they did was check to see if I was pointed to their DNS. Yep. They transferred me to Site Support. The guy said, "Let me check your Public Folder."
PUBLIC FOLDER???? What?
While he checked, I ran down my files and there it was, "public_html." DUH!
He came back and said, "There's Nothing in your public folder."
I thanked him and said, I had it, and that I'd call back if that didn't work.
A minute later, after downloading my files in the public folder, POOF! My Site was Up.
I think it looks good--simple, easy to navigate, condensed, and I've figured out a good way to display my stories and photos. Photos will be most of the work that I'll be doing on the site in the near future. I'll add trip photos as we travel, with trips to Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, Ashville, St. Augustine, and Wyoming in the near future.
Sunday, 30 June, 2019: Hot as Blazes
Thursday, 27 June, 2019: Migrating My Site
In a nice, unwelcome e-mail, iPage notified me that the would be billing me &280 for the next to years to host my site, a plan that used to only cost me a few dollars a month.
This is only a hobby for me and I can get hosting from other sites for a lot less money, I just need to migrate my URL, which I own, to one of these sites and then download the files.
BUT, I'm thinking that i just give this up and keep the up the info for my people to read when I'm dead and gone. I have enjoyed it, but maybe it just isn't appropriate any more. Hell, no one reads the damn thing anyway.
Saturday, 22 June, 2019: A Fine Welcome
I flash of yellow caught my eye as I walked along the north bank of Holly Mead lake this morning, taking my first walk since getting home. I walk with my glasses off most mornings; it helps make my footfalls more sure. What I thought was, at first a butterfly, was entirely too fast. It lit on a branch of the small bush growing on the little island that is normally just off shore, but currently landlocked until they finish the dam improvements and re-fill the lake.
Glasses back in place so I could see, I recognized the yellow flash as an American Goldfinch. Of course I didn't have my camera and the photo I took with my phone was too far away to make out the beauty of this bird, the bright yellow contrasting with the black of his wings and face.
This is the first Goldfinch I've seen here. I saw them often on the Chessie Trail in Lexington, feeding on the thistle growing along the trail. They are one of my favorite birds.
The morning was perfect, cool, overcast, a light breeze shaking the leaves on the trees. It struck me how green is Virginia. Kansas is green too this time of year with e farm fields sprouting every type of plant, but the trees are sparse. Virginia is...Better.
Continuing on my way, I heard the tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker above my head and played, for a short while, a fine game of hide-and-seek with a Red Bellied Woodpecker as he denied me more than a peek around the back side of the tree before putting the tree between us again.
On the right side of the trail, a wonderful person has planted a wild flower garden which was in full bloom this morning. When I left for Kansas, it was just beginning to sprout, so I went this way just to see it. One day, I need to leave a note to let tem know how much I love their garden.
As I climbed the path out of the lakeside low ground, I heard the unmistakable whoosh of a hot air balloon burning fuel. Above me were three balloons, perfectly framed by the trees lining the road. Photo Op. No Camera. Good Job!
My Galaxy S-9 saved me again.
I took this all as a Welcome Home signs from the Old Dominion.
I'm still pretty stressed out over the whole "I almost lost my Kady to a bug bite" Thing. Last night I distinctly heard her yell for me. I jumped up and ran to her and she was sound asleep. I was obviously dreaming.
If I can just get Kady all healed up. We have things to do.
Friday, 21 June, 2019: Home Sweet HOME!
The drive home went about as well as it could have. We hit a few patches of rain, but mostly it was only overcast, making for a cooler trip. This was good for Kady's condition. The poor baby is itching all over now as the steroids and the rash fight it out. It looks to me as if the steroids are winning the fight, but only slowly. Luckily, the Benadryl knocked her out almost the whole way on our two day trip.
Without Kady to talk to, the twelve hours on the road Wednesday and Seven on Thursday went slowly. We stopped in Sterling Kentucky on Wednesday night at a new Holiday Inn and Suites to break up the trip. The room was very nice, the breakfast really good. The even had a perfect pillow for me.
Last night, Jay, KS, and Em brought us supper. Jimmy John's. I think they had a need to see Kady and to make sure for themselves that she was OK.
Today, we went to her doctor. They said they have never seen a rash so bad and extended her treatment of steroids. They are referring her to a dermatologist and allergist, with appointments on Monday. I'll try do help keep her as comfortable as possible till then. Whatever this shit is, I hope she never gets this again.
Biting and stinging bugs are also a No-Go.
I'm unpacked and happy to be back with my stuff.
Monday, 17 June, 2019: A Scare
Yesterday was Father's Day. Today is Kady's Birthday. Both were horrible.
Firstly, Kady is OK.
She woke up Sunday morning with what looked like an insect bite on her left shoulder, right next to her neck, over her collar bone. It was red, puffy, and hot to the touch and looked like a spider bite to me. By noon it had begun to spread over her upper body and right arm. After supper, it was so bad, we headed to the Post Hospital on Fort Riley.
While checking into the Emergency Room, she couldn't remember her Social Security Number, unlike her. I had her sit down while I finished up the registration. Once back in the Vitals area, she began to look really bad. As I moved to her, she went into anaphylactic shock.
The staff wheeled her into another room with a crash cart and hit her with an EpiPen. She came around but her blood pressure was very low and he was barely coherent. They began a drip with steroids and Benadryl. Her blood pressure rebounded and she began to speak more lucidly.
The Doctor came out to tell me she was OK and out of danger.
They hooked her up to oxygen and the ECG, took chest X-Rays, and drew blood.
About 2200 they moved her to the third floor, Room 13, and they observed her overnight, continuing the steroid and Benadryl regimen.
A and E went to get Kady's car for me, since they had to go back to Leavenworth to meet the movers, clean and turn over their house there. I went to their house this morning to walk Cooper, have a breakfast, and shower. I went back to Kady's room about 1100hrs to wait on the Dermatologist.
He came buy but really didn't know what was going on either.
We had her meds, including two EpiPens and were checked out by about 1500hrs.
All in all, Father's Day and Kady's Birthday sucked...and I will be damn glad when Wednesday gets here and I can leave Kansas...again! Fuck This Place. It is just one bad thing after another every time we come here.
Saturday, 8 June, 2019: Another Move
Friday was moving day. I'm pretty sure that about three moves ago, I told the whole family that I was finished moving. Well, here I am, 66-years-old and still moving shit.
This one hasn't been that bad, just the couch. E has this monstrous leather couch, designed by giants, for giants, who live in giant houses, and who hire other giants to move their shit.
I should be glad, I guess, that I'm still able to work as hard as I worked yesterday and that my kids still see me as capable of moving their stuff. I know too many friends on their second stent, having joint replacements, or in their last days.
After loading the truck, I loaded my stuff and Cooper up in A's truck for the drive to Manhattan. Kady left early as the Advanced Party, checking the cleaning team's cleanliness. Not too good, it seems. The Quartering Party (yours truly + Cooper) followed her about two hours later. A followed E in the rental truck. She packed all her breakables in her SUV. They arrived about 45-minutes apart.
We unpacked in waves, setting up things that would tell Cooper all was good and that he wasn't going to be left in this strange place alone--bed, bowls, toys, food bucket, and the couch.
E had a great plan. By 2200 their new place was livable, Cooper was walked and comfortable, and I hit the shower and bed, taking Motrin to decrease my morning stiffness. I may have been asleep before I hit the mattress.
Today was Low Key.
Cooper and I went exploring, taking the nice trail through the community. No Trash! When everyone was up, we sat around on our phones (we have 4G here) while we waited for the AT&T guy to come hook up the cable and TV. That done, A and I picked up Pizza for a late lunch, We tried the place around the corner, Old Chicago and it was good, too expensive, but good. Three big pizzas, a small cheese, some cheese curds, and garlic bread cost us $90. Really, we got way too much food. One large probably would have fed us all.
The girls spent some time decorating and putting away the kitchen things. I was happy to see the Nespresso machine go up and the pods put out for use Sunday Morning. I took two naps through the day, still beat from Friday.
It looks like all I have to do now is spend time with Cooper and maybe put a couple of twin beds together.
Thursday, 6 June, 2019: D-DayI slept in this morning. A took Cooper out for his walk. I didn't hear a thing. Last nights bout of drinking(I actually didn't drink that much), and the morning thunderstorm made for great sleeping. When I got up, Cooper was passed out on the floor, but got up a bit later for another walk. By the time we left it was HOT out there, 80 degrees, still, and bright. About a half mile from the house, Cooper stopped and refused to go any father, until I turned around and headed back home. He drug ass all the way.
Today is the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, The Normandy Invasion. Twenty-five years ago, I was in France for the 5th Anniversary. It was a great trip, though filled with a bit of 82nd Airborne Stupidity. I need to write about that. But, we went, had fun, met many great people who loved US Paratroopers, and communed with the great old Vets, Legs and Troopers, who were able to make the trip. The Cemeteries were particularly moving. I saw the opening and closing scenes to Saving Private Ryan played out a number of times by these great Heroes and their families visiting Absent Friends.
All of my photos from that trip, were, of course, in film, and my Canon A-1 had a spot on the inner lens which left a dead spot in the center of each photo. I'm a damn Genius!
Today is Jk's 12th Birthday as well. I think we have only missed two others over the years and I wish we were there today.
Wednesday, 5 June, 2019: The Return of A
A had been flying for two days, first to Kuwait, then to Turkey, then Germany, then Baltimore to Kansas City, going through Minnesota, but the weather wasn't cooperating.
Meanwhile, we prepped the house for a bit of Fiesta. For my part, I blew up the Cactus Balloon and helped E hang what can only be described as tiny plastic aprons. Kady bought the candy and stuffed the piñata. There may have been tiny sombreros. Cooper even had a poncho.
E met A at the Airport. When they got back, margaritas happened while we face-timed the family in Minnesota and Virginia.
We're glad he's home, but no one more than Cooper.
Tuesday, 4 June, 2019: How I Broke Cooper
Cooper and I have been walking about four miles a day while I have been here. He loves it. So Do I.
Yesterday, Cooper was pestering me to go for a walk, following me around the house and dropping his ball at my feet. "I know," I thought, "I'll take him to the baseball park and throw the ball for him to chase and fetch."
He was very excited when I grabbed the ball thrower going out of the door.
We set a brisk pace, West, through the back streets, making sure he was warmed up and taking his morning constitutional along the way. Once at the park, we secured the gate and took off his Easy Walk Harness.
I tossed him a few short ones and he had a great time chasing them down and NOT bringing them back. Getting him to drop the ball at my feet happens about half the time. I get in quite a bit of exercise fetching it for him when he drops it on the other side of the park, after running a few circles around me.
He has me well trained.
Once I thought he was all warmed up, I used the Thrower to toss some long ones. My arm isn't what it used to be, having pitched entirely too much in little leagues, so the Thrower is a must to prevent irritating my shoulder.
The boy knows only one speed, FULL OUT. After about six good sprints, he brought the ball back and lay down at my feet, signaling his need for a rest. After that I let him sniff around a while until he had cooled down, then we walked back to the house, about a half mile.
Like always, he drank his water and went down for a nap when we got home.
When he woke up, he was limping heavily on his left front leg.
"Uh Oh. I've broken E's Child."
I checked him out for splinters, rocks, cuts, thorns, and found nothing. The pain seemed to be in his left wrist.
E was very gracious when she came home. She looked at it and didn't seem concerned, but we made sure Cooper took it easy the rest of the night. E left me with specific instructions for a short walk this morning.
He's already better. He did well on his walk and by the time we got back to the house, he was walking almost normal.
Next time, I'll just throw him a few short ones and forget the thrower. I'll blame it on my pitched-out arm.
Saturday, 1 June, 2019: First Trip to Manhattan
Kady, E, Cooper, and I drove to Manhattan Kansas today to pick up the keys to the house A and E will be renting for the next three years while they are assigned to Ft. Riley. E drove her VW Atlas loaded with breakables and clothes. Kady went with her. Cooper and I drove in Kady's car. It's amazing what you an get in that Atlas.
The trip took us along Kansas back roads. It was a beautiful drive. Kansas has great interstates and state roads and highways. They are smooth, well maintained, and quiet. They emphasize the mismanagement of Leavenworth's infrastructure by contrast.
The trip home was even more enjoyable; I took my own way back, so I wasn't following E. I missed Bess.
Wednesday, 29 May, 2019: Tornado, YAY!
Last night, Kady tapped me on the shoulder. I took the buds out of my ears, paused Mindhunter, to see what she wanted. "Is that a Tornado Siren," she asked. I couldn't hear a thing. Infantry Ears.
I went out on the porch and it was loud as hell out there. YEP! Tornado Siren.
We went to the Weather Channel as our phones blew up with warning tones. There was a tornado bearing down on the area just south of us, headed for Kansas City.
Very Exciting! I'm from Alabama- it was time to grab the camera and get outside!
The wind was calm and the rain was light, but you could hear the thunder in the south. The weather below Lansing was obviously different than what we were getting. Kady gave me updates. I continued watching the trees and thought through the things I'd want to take to the storm cellar if it came to that: Chairs, Cooper, Pistol, Flashlight, Laptop, Phone...Kady's Makeup Bag. No Really. There are hundred's of dollars of kit in that makeup bag. The girl is a Platinum member at Ultra Beauty.
The damage south of us, around Lawrence, was terrible. It completely destroyed anything it hit and blew away anything close. The photos are horrifying, like most aftermath photos, but a reminder of why I don't live in Alabama anymore. One of the saddest photos I saw this morning was one of a guy surveying the damage to his beautiful, powder blue, 1967 Pontiac GTO.
Our tornado petered out before it hit Kansas City, but another formed and destroyed things around the airport.
Once the Siren stopped, I went back to Mindhunter.
Wednesday, 22 May, 2019: On Our Walks
I've been walking. A Lot. I usually do five to six miles a day around the neighborhood. We have plenty of walkways around Forest Lakes, most along the roads, but some out in the woods. I've figures our a six and a half mile route where I don't have to cross the road and never have to retrace my steps.
That's in Charlottesville. I'm in Leavenworth. Again.
Cooper and I finally had some decent weather, so we stepped off early this morning after E left for work. Walking in this place is not very enjoyable. Sidewalks are ill kept and haphazardly place around the town. We run out of nice areas to walk in a few blocks and pass through some pretty sketchy areas.
I prefer to go Armed.
In Charlottesville, I'm motivated. Here, were it not for Cooper, it would be a chore.
We'll be moving the kiddos to Manhattan, Kansas around the 1stof June and I hear it is much nicer. I need to get out of this place. A, E, and Cooper need to leave too.
Kady and I took two days to drive here this time, stopping in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. That broke up the trip a lot and made it less painful. I drove the whole way. We got to our hotel Sunday night, in plenty of time for me to catch the final episode of Game of Thrones.
I liked the ending. Though the whole season seemed a little rushed, it ended the only way it could have. I'm surprised that I didn't see it coming. Looking at it logically, The choice for King was the only choice considering the players active in the Finale.
The day before, Saturday, we all got together for Em's first dance showcase. It was pretty adorable and amazing, considering they were all four-year-olds with the corresponding attention spans and goofiness.
Friday, 17 May, 2019: #deletefacebook
Yeah, I'm off Facebook again. Though I'm dealing with a mild case of FOMO, I'm not missing it. I should have let some people know, but I didn't. I'm easy enough to find. I am still on Instagram.
The reasons for this are many and all you need to do is a little research to see how manipulative and unhealthy this platforms has become. Here are a list of my reasons.
BLUF: this company will do literally anything for money.
Dissemination of Bullshit, Radical Politics, Anger, and Paranoia: Facebook knew about Russian Election Meddling and did nothing to kick it off of the platform. Everyday we are bombarded by political nonsense. Do you use Facebook as your primary news source?
Targeted Ads and Marketplace: Yeah, I got a Lear Jet Ad. I just hit the already purchased button. Who asked for this shit?
Friends who aren't Friends: Family and Actual friends get lost in the crowd. This, of course is my own fault, but when some young person at my former school asks, I felt I needed to accept...then, of course they never even say hello. It is all plainly superficial.
Separate Phone App for Messenger. Why? I hated Messenger. Now I have Android Messages and Duo that do a better job.
Tags and Group Messages that you can't really delete: I had to stop Tags for everyone...including my Wife to stop the Tags from people I didn't really know.
The drudge of Deleting Photos, Friends, Content. Made difficult by design. It took me weeks to delete it all.
Business manipulation or “mistakes”: I believe fb punishes, people, businesses, and news outlets who say negative things about the company. Oh? Must be an algorithm problem.
Fake Account: Thanks “Friends.”
Broken Algorithms: Facebook's standards are morally ambiguous and right trampling. They just can't figure it out. Did you know that one of their algorithms blocked the Declaration of Independence as Hate Speech?
Community Emotional Manipulation: In 2012 Facebook actually conducted research in Psychology Exploitation with their platform...seeing if they could make people happy, sad, angry, depressed by manipulating content.
Power: Facebook is too powerful, able to manipulate people, the economy, religion, public opinion, voting, and law. I look at it as an International Organization that does not have the best interests of the United States at heart.
Facebook is a continuing social experiment gone bad with no end in sight.
So, after a warning post to friends, I'm deleting my account.
It's Game Night at Jays, a little Trivia Murder Party.
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019: A New Beginning for Jay
Kady, Jay, KS, Em, and I went to Fry's Spring Station for lunch (I had their Fungitown pizza again) to celebrate his exit from his job and start of a new life away from the pressure of an organization with no loyalty and filled with self-serving little whiners and piss-ants.
I'm glad he's out of there.
Afterwards, we went to Wegmans. I love that place.
Friday, 10 May, 2019: Emmy Time!
Kady and I watched Em all day today. Jay had to work and KS was out of time with friends.
It has proved to be so.
We are the best, unpaid, baby sitters whenever Jay and KS need help, time together, or a break. We happily take a lot off the plate of two very busy people. Kady is at Jk's daily disposal and he is known to call her when he's pissed at his parents, not getting his way, or wants something, usually Fortnite related. He is even known to ride his bike here when he needs a break. Kady is Jk's person. Always has been.
I seem to be Em's. We have the best time together and today was an example of the fun. We watched movies and shows, read books, drew cartoon characters, and wrestled...a lot! I was worn out by the time I got home.
If I could just get E, A, and COOPER on this side of the world, all would be perfect. A thousand miles is way too far away.
Two more episodes of Game of Thrones to go. New John Wick comes out Thursday. Jay and I have tickets. Huge Week!
Sunday, 5 May, 2019: My Marine
Former Cadet Rebecca came into town yesterday for a quick visit. Recent graduate of VMI and Marine Officer basic Course, she is stationed here in Virginia on her first assignment.
Rebecca was a great young cadet who adopted me in her senior year at VMI and became such a frequent guest to my office, that I set aside a work space for her at the round table as a study area. We'd share stories, music (and her taste in music is acceptable), and I'd point out movies she should watch. I actually made her a list.
We lunched at Martins over a good burger and a basket of Tots while we caught up, then we drove to the mall downtown and I showed her the sights, Robert. E. Lee, the spot where Heather Heyer died.
We watched a darn good Bluegrass band for a while, but the sun there was blazing hot, so we retreated to the shade of the buildings along the Mall.
Back at the house, Kady was finally up and dressed, so I was able to introduce them for the first time. We all chatted until it was time for her to head back north.
I really need to take a new photo of her.
Afterwards, I drove to Jay's place to watch friend Juan Adams fight on UFC. Sadly, he lost. It was close but a unanimous decision. Jay and I scored it differently...with the heart.
You Lose; You Learn. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."
Sunday, 28 April, 2019: Hiking with the Kiddos
Preddy Creek is perfect for Kids, the paths are wide and dry, it's pretty flat, and Em would have to really work to get out of sight. There are many connecting loops, making it easy to tailor your walk distance and level of difficulty. It is best to have a map your first trip or, at least a compass.
Em was fantastic. She was playful, careful, observant, and all about this adventure. She gloried in everything, bird song, butterflies, the sand under her feet and her footprints, trees, sticks, roots, rocks, every stream, and the creek. At my insistence, we played Poo Sticks at the bridge; she won. I pointed out interesting wild flowers, with which she was unimpressed. My wondering if we'd see Big Foot, one of her favorite stories that I tell her, was met with a smirk and, "There's no such thing...Granddaddy." Fine Then.
Se went a mile before pooping out. She road Jay's shoulders most of the way back. I pitched in at the end. It was a great time.
Tonight is the battle for which we've been heading since the beginning of Game of Thrones. I can't wait and I'm dreading it. I know some of my favorite characters are bound to die. I try not to speculate on who and just let it flow, but I can't help it. I know tonight will be emotional.
I'm a geek.
Saturday, 27 April, 2019: One-Thing-a-Day, Storage Shed
After retiring, I was in a rush to do all the things I have needed and been wanting to do as if it was Sunday and I had to go back to work. It took me a while to realize I could slow down and take it easy. To codify this, I adopted my One-Thing-a-Day Plan (OTaD). I chose, or Kady coordinates, one thing big thing for me to do every day. List, Plan, Prioritize!
Tomorrow is a hike on Preddy Creek Trail Park with Jay and Em, so you can see, OTaD isn't all work.
SO. Yesterday was "Sort Out the Back Shed Day."
We have a small (read: very small) attached shed in the back. In it are the Cable and Power Cables, the Breaker Box. It became a catch all for a lot of things like tools, camping equipment, snorkeling kit, folding chairs, car washing stuff, and my bike. Everything was just thrown in there and inaccessible without unpacking half the stuff.
I got up, ate breakfast, and then braved the crowds at Lowe's. Damn. Lowe's is the place to be on Saturday. I had done an online search, so I already knew exactly what I wanted, the aisle, and the bin number. I was in and out in ten minutes.
Back home, I unpacked the shed, built the new Lowe's shelves, and then reorganized the shed, building along the walls with hangers and loading the shelves. I had it all done in about two hours.
Friday, 26 April, 2019: Young Friends
Last week, Kady and I got a birth announcement for Patricia and Sal's little girl, the prettiest black headed little Italian girl I have ever seen. This morning, I put her birthday on my calendar, a sure sign that she's MY Person.
NM called last night. She is in the States for a while, was in Lexington, and headed to Washington DC on Friday, and wondered if we might "do lunch or something." A quick "yes" and a suggestion of one of my favorite places set us on a rendezvous at Fry's Spring Station for pizza and catching up.
NM is one of my most faithful VMI friends and always contacts me when she's in the area. I do the same when I'm around DC.
The conversation was lively as I heard of her new adventures in school as she works toward her doctorate. I'm pretty proud of her, passing her first semester when 55% of her classmates didn't. She also qualified for an accelerated program. Those VMI study habits and her maturity must be paying off.
Oh yeah, her hair had teal highlights. Cool!
On my way to lunch, a guy in a big black truck pulled up beside me, honked, and waved for me to roll down my window. I did and he inched forward so I could see it was Capt. Sean, USMC, former Cadet First Captain and former S-3 in the VMI Commandant's Office. Holy cow, He's in Charlottesville! I sent him a Facebook message as I waited for NM to arrive and, hopefully, we'll be able to link up soon.
Wednesday, 24 April, 2019: Jackson Defeated! Kernstown, VA
It was a nice drive. After loading Bess up with cameras and such, I set Waze for "avoid highways" and set out for the battlefield of Kernstown, just south of Winchester. I rolled down beautiful Virginia byways decorated with Spring's finest, and light green with young leaves and farm fields. Traffic was light, probably because I was traveling on a Tuesday afternoon. I drove the speed limit.
Arriving at the Battlefield, I was face to face with a locked gate and a sign that said, "CLOSED."
I wasn't bothered. I had conducted a good recon and had studied the battle, so where Google Maps had dropped me was where the early phases of the battle took place. All I need to do was drive south on Highway-11 and turn Right. The action took place west of Middle Road.
Monday, 28 January, 2019: Days of Cards