Journal 2021
"Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." ~ Jack London

My new life these days is, by design, so benign that I doubt that there is much here anyone else would find worth reading.  It is, however, a good way to keep up with me.

I post here, regularly, writing to myself, to keep my mind active and my hands working.

Reader Notes:

  • Don't make assumptions.  I write exactly what I'm thinking and doing.  If you think I killed Buckwheat, it'll be right here in my plain-ass, eighth-grade English.
  • Reading this journal does not mean that you know me or how I think, nor does it mean we are buddies.
  • Sometimes my language is colorful.
  • If you spend a lot of time here, you need a life.  Go Outside!  Get a Hobby!  Read a Book.
  • If you want to question or debate me on something that I have said, e-mail me; it is the only way to comment on my site.
  • Don't be a troll or a little bitch.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021: Baby Watch

SG has flipped, head down, and E is having some contractions. Her doctor said she could come at any time and gave E “quarters” until Friday.  He ordered her to begin pre-delivery quarantine after that.  This effectively ends her job at Ft. Riley and we’re all happy about that. Riley is a messed-up (read: FUCKED-UP) place.

We’re all on Baby watch, each with our assigned jobs when the inevitable happens.  I have Cooper, which E tells me is my only responsibility.

I wish E would let me take her photograph.  I believe in future years she will wish she had.  I asked once; that’s it.

Kady has been cooking up a storm, all my favorites, so my Intermittent Fasting has been intermittent.  I’m sorry, but I cannot resist her Cornbread Chicken Stuff.  Maybe I can begin again, tonight.  I need to, I’ve had acid reflux for the past four nights.  I’m up to 232 pounds as of this morning.  My Buddha Body depresses me.

The weather here is still Cold!  I didn’t bring clothes for this weather and I hate walking in it.  I guess I am going t have to get over that; the weather channel says it’s going to be this way for the next week or two.

Due to a time mixup, I didn’t have Natalie today at Physical Therapy, but a guy named Tony.  He was good and tougher than Natalie was last week.  That’s what I want and I’m sure he was going by Natalie’s instructions.  I expected it to be tougher and to get more physical.

I’ve had an Aged Man Attitude Breakthrough, of sorts.  It came to me, Sunday morning,  that I expend too much energy on some people, always being the one to initiate contact, and getting little or nothing from the old friendship.  I’m not doing that anymore.  I just want to be me, with my little family, and living my little life.  I always hear from Mitch, Eddie, Roger, Sal, and Catherine.  They always hear from me.  That’s the way it should work.  If it’s hard or if I only hear from people by a “comment” or a “like,” that’s not friendship.

To that end, I have cleared Facebook and Instagram of all info photos, and posts.  I’ve taken Facebook and Facebook Messenger off of my phone.  FB Messenger is off of my Computers, as well.  Instagram Messages is for my Turk Arkadaslaryim, ONLY!  If you want me, call me.  if you don’t have my number, e-mail me.  My address is at the tab.  And, screw all you iPhone buddy-fuckers (iPBF).  If you want to Video Chat with me, you better get a Google Account and Google Duo.

I doubt anyone will notice any difference.

Friday, 9 April 2020: Papa

Today was my first walk without the sling.  I went 2.5-miles, the farthest I've walked since getting here.  It felt great.  Tomorrow, I am going to go up to Top of the World and see what the Prarie looks like in Spring.

I've spent the last two days watching the PBS special on Hemingway by Ken Burns.  It was very good, except for the parts where the commentators tried to judge Papa by their overly sensitive standards.  The special even so far as to redact Hem's use of the N-word, making his texts and notes look like a declassified CIA document.  The Hemingway story is a sad, tragic, and triumphant story.  It is a story that should be studied in its time and should never be judged or intrepreted by our high and mighty modern standards.  We've sure come a long way since the 1960 in American Medecine.  With all of the head injuries the man had in his life, his downfall was most probably due to Traumatic Brain Injury.  His drinking didn't help.

It was great hearing his voice and that of Martha Gellhorn.  Love her.

My workouts are going well.  I'm icing.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021: PT-2

Holy Cow.  I just read my last post.  Too many mistakes!  I'm still voice typing and typing with one hand, I'll blame that.  The truth is, I never could spell, so I rely on spell-check.

Jessie, Cooper's walker, has been walking my buddy for the last two days.  I was a bit jealous, so I took him for a short walk yesterday afternoon.  Maybe that's a good plan.  I'll go for my walk when she has him and then take him for a walk in the afternoon.  That'll give me more exercise and help me achieve my fitness goals.  I want to be back down to 220 by the time I go home.  I'm glad she walked him today.  It's cold and windy out there and I packed for summer.

Today was my second session of physical therapy.  Natalie stretched the limits of my shoulder's range and did a lot of deep tissue massage on injured muscles.  It was painful but nothing I couldn't handle.

Tomorrow is my last day in the sling.  Yay!  I begin my Active Assisted Range of Motion exercises (AAROM).  My PT has given me three exercises to do until our next session.

Monday, 5 April 2021: PT, Baby Eagles, and Mexican

Today was a banner day.  I began my morning by meeting my new PT, Natalie Hawkins, at Mathis Physical Therapy and Hand Center, here in Manhattan.  She's great and really knows her stuff.  She began by measuring and recording my right arm's range of motion as a base line.  Next, she moved my left arm where it could go, recorded that, and then began a stretching, kneading, and massaging regimen for improvement.  Once done, she demonstrated my first three AAROM exercises that I'll begin on Thursday and, while I iced, scheduled my appointments for the next six weeks.

When Kady and I got back to the house, the others (Al and Barbara are here for the weekend) were all ready to go to Post to see the Eagles. There is a nesting pair of Bald Eagles, just north of the outdoor Chapel on Fort Riley.  Their eggs have just hatched, and you can clearly see the chicks and adults through the telescope that the Army has placed there for that purpose.  It was very cool but reinforced my perceived need for a good lens for wildlife; I couldn't get close enough for a decent photo with my 200mm.  Maybe after I do the work I want to do on Bess, I'll get something that'll reach out to 500mm.

After watching Eagles, we went to lunch at El Tapitio, our favorite here in Manhattan.  I ate way too much.

 

Saturday, 3 April 2020: Waiting

Me and Math!  You know it's bad when you can't count 6 weeks, using a calendar, on a computer.  I have One More Week of the goddamnsling.  I take it off NEXT Friday.  I'm waiting till then to take out my camera.  I want ot take some final photos of Kansas, especially downtwn, but don't want to try and balance all the gear while in the sling.

I think my first stop needs to be Aggieville, the old downtown area.  It's really a pretty quaint little area with bars, shops, and restaurants catering to the Kansas State students.  I think I will get some nice street shots there.  After that, I have compiled a list of things I want to see and photograph this trip.  I'll post them all on my photo blog.

Wednesday, 31 March 2020: Back in Manhattan

Tuesday Kady and I drove through the rest of Kentucky, through Indiana and Illinois, stopping just past St Louis Missouri at Wentzville.

Today, we drove to Manhattan arriving about 1400.  As we were passing the sidewalk where I fell on the ice and destroyed my arm, Kady motioned to it and said, “Maybe we should put a little cross right there.”  I tried to act indignant and hurt, but couldn’t.  She’s so funny.

Cooper was very happy to see us, running first to Kady, then to me, then back to Kady, then back to me, and then back to Katy.  His whole body was wagging.  Then, he began started looking for his mom and dad, making sure that they weren't leaving him.  He love us, but we aren't Mom and Dad.

He was relieved when they got home from work but stayed right by their side all night.

We had Olive Garden takeout for supper.  Delicious!  Why in the hell does Charlottesville not have an Olive Garden?!

 

Monday, 29 March 2021: We're Off

I got up about 0730 this morning, cleaned up my room, hit the shower, and then finished packing.  Kady was up by 0800 and we had the car packed and on the road by 0930.

Breakfast was Bojangles Biscuits, easily the best in town.  I had the ham.  Their coffee is good ss well.

Kady did the driving.  Our first leg of the trip took us to Mount Sterling, KY.

 

Sunday, 28 March 2021: Chinese for the Road

Kady and I went to Jay and KS's for dinner tonight.  We had Chinese, my favorite.  This place makes great crab meat Rangoons.  I had a complete serving of them and told the others to get another serving if they wanted any.

After dinner, I had an allergic reaction to Brasco.  I could smell him soon as I walked in the house and in no time I was having trouble breathing and my eyes were itching.  Kady took me home for a shower and Benedryl.

Saturday, 27 March 2021: Play Date 2 - A Walk with Em

This afternoon, I watched Em so that Jay and KS could have a little time alone, my little gift for their Anniversary, coming up on Monday.  Em and I colored for a while, then started a movie, and then went for a walk around the lake. 

I pointed out the birds we saw and identified the bird calls we heard as we walked.  When we got to the part of the lake where the turtles sun, she pitched-in by telling me all of their names.  All around he lake she was convinced that she could hear abandoned kittens crying.  I didn't hear anything, but didn't discourage her.  I did, however, put tree climbing off-limits.  Maybe we can do that when my arm is better.

Back at their house, we played in the front yard until her parents got home, a few minutes later.

I love spending time with her.

Friday, 26 March 2021: Ahead of the Game

My doc seems pleased.  I saw him yesterday and he looked me over, took off the last incision bandage (the others came off on their own), and moved my arm through its current range of motion.  He said I was ahead of where most people are at this point.  The best thing to come out of his mouth was that I could come out of this goddamnsling (one-word) next week, on Friday.

Kady ordered a pulley system for Kansas  I'll begin my Active Assisted Range of Motion (AAROM) exercises once we're there..  I'm looking forward to that. We leave Monday.

I watched The Magic of Belle Isle again today.  That movie makes me happy, makes me want to spend time with my grandkids, and make me want to write seriously.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021: Optometry

Yesterday afternoon I had an optometry appointment so Kady and I left about 11:30 headed to Lexington so that we could take the back roads and stay off of Highway 81.  We got there a little early so Kady and I drove around Lexington and VMI to see the changes since we left two years ago.  I was most impressed with the new bridge over Woods Creek. Scott-Shippe Hall looks nice and the new Aquatic Center is finally underway.  Downtown looks pretty much the same.  Tong Dynasty is gone, replaced by another Chinese place.  The new Salerno's has been refurbished and looks nice.

My appointment was quick and to-the-point but I balked at taking the Field Spectrum Test.  It stresses me out an I wasn't in the mood.  My doctor said everything looked fine but wants to do that test.  We set up another appointment for September after I’m out of the sling, able to drive myself, and in a better mood.

I'm still sleeping like shit.  I was up and down all night and finally just gave up, about 0330, made my bed, put on my pajamas, and watched Kevin Costner in For Love of the Game.  I love that movie and believe Kelly Preston should have been awarded an Oscar for her role in it.  Damn.  What a loss.

Kady and I got our Shingles Booster this afternoon.

I had another physical therapy appointment this afternoon.  It went well.  My PT worked my arm a lot, moving it farther than before, and then worked the ball joint and triceps a lot.  I’m icing as I type this.  He said I am right where I'm supposed to be.

Tomorrow I will go back to my orthopedic surgeon for a check-up before leaving for Kansas.  I've already made my initial appointment with a physical therapist in Manhattan.  I see them on 5 April.

Good grief!  We're just doing all the medical things.

Monday, 22 March 2021: One Man’s Junk

Yesterday, Kady and I drove to Lucketts Virginia, to visit Old Luckett's Store.  The main reason for the trip was to pick up two ceramic elephants for E But we spend a little time looking around the place.  It was interesting, mostly junk and broken things, but thrown about in such a way that it caught my photographer’s eye.  Junk Yard Feng Shui?  I should have taken my camera and taking a lot more photographs.  Still, I took a few with my phone and they turned out pretty well.

Except for taking photographs, I didn't see the draw of the place.  Is mostly discarded item which and no one would want or even want to refurbish.  You could make a fortune by selling all of the scrap metal by the pound.  There was an old Studebaker, which had been left to rust.  You could see through the skin, especially on the rear end. She was a sad girl.  All her chrome was in place and in pretty good shape, so I assume someone could restore her.

There were 2 or 3 old bicycles that could have, easily been made nice and an old Honda 50 motorcycle which I would love to rebuild. When I was a kid I wanted Honda 50. Among the overpriced used furniture, posing as antiques, I saw a couple of chairs that I liked, but that's about it.

It was a beautiful drive and I had a lot of fun with Kady.  It was great to get out of the house.  Four hours of driving through the Virginia countryside for two elephants was well worth the trip.  Had we driven another 30 minutes we would have been in Frederick Maryland.  This was a preview of our future life, driving back and forth to see the kids in their new home, beginning this June.

I had a shitty night last night.  No amount of moving around made my arm comfortable in the damn sling.  The only thing I did differently during the day was the drive, so I want to blame that.  More than likely, it was the Arby's Jalapeno Poppers and the Mocca Mint Shake.  Will I ever learn?

My walk today was great. It was warm and sunny, with a slight breeze, and I took the time to just sit on a hillside, way back behind the school, to watch a bluebird house. I was hoping I'd see a bluebird but none showed up.  I was happy to be outside, sitting in the sun, and watching that little house.

Tomorrow: Optometry. 

Thursday, 18 March 2021: Dental and More PT

Yesterday Kady and I drove to Buena Vista for dental appointments.  We bypassed Lexington, still over the place, but did stop at the Burger King for a burger.  We came back by highway 11 instead of struggling with the traffic on Interstate 81, always better move.  I was worn out from the drive and went to bed early.

Today I had more physical therapy, my third session.  Man!  There were some painful moments when Dave found some tight muscles from lack of use since November.  I didn't wince or complain.  He showed no pity.  Once he warmed these up, he moved my arm through its range of motion, pushing its current limitations. Recovery is going to take a lot of work.

The weather outside for the last 2 days has been crappy, so I haven't had a walk.  I'm feeling it.  I have cabin fever.  The weekend and next week look good.

I'm already packing for the Kansas trip.

Monday , 15 March 2021: Physical Therapy 2

Tonight was my second session of physical therapy.  My PT pulled,  massaged, stretched,  and worked my shoulder and arm for over thirty minutes.  It felt great, no pain at all.  When I got home, I iced it down to protect against swelling.

We had sleet tonight.

Saturday, 13th March 2021: A Good Walk

The weather this morning was warm enough that I could get outside for a walk, in shorts and a t-shirt, before lunch.  It was almost 60-degrees outside and overcast, with no wind and nough  Sun to be comfortable in shorts.  The perfect conditions made me want to go for a long walk.  My arm said, Don't even think about it.  Still, I did 3.8 miles.

We went to Jay and KS's for dinner and games tonight.

Friday, 12 March 20-21: Getting Ready

Today, Kady and I took the Fusion down to the Ford place for an oil change, tire rotation, and a recall.  We sat in the waiting area for a little over two hours.  It took a while to change the door locking mechanisms. Once done, we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch.  Their Mac-and-Cheese is my new favorite thing.

I like this Ford place; it is handier than the Ford Place in Lexington. I think that, when I can drive again, I will take Bess there for her 150000-mile maintenance.

Today was my first full day of home physical therapy. I was very faithful to it and did four full workouts as prescribed by my physical therapist. I think that I have fixed my Funny Bone problem by cutting a big hole in the back of my sling. Keeping pressure off of this area stops me from scrunching my shoulders, which causes a painful cramp between my shoulder blades.

Thursday, 11 February 2021: The Things I Can't Do

I had my first physical therapy appointment today.  It went well, I learned a lot, and my therapist seems good at his job.  I have another session on Monday. I will be doing at-home exercises until then.

Here are a few of the things that I have found a struggle since hurting my arm.

  • Buttoning my pants, buckling my belt
  • Shampooing my hair without putting gobs of shampoo on top of my head
  • Shaving without getting shaving cream all over my sling
  •  Carrying more than one item on the stairs
  •  Typing is a pain in the ass

I have learned to mitigate these problems.

  • I bought a loofah-back-brush which helps me reach those unreachable places.
  • I've taken to wearing nothing but running shorts so that I don't have to button pants or buckle a belt.
  • I bought two pump bottles to put my shampoo.
  • I borrowed a flour-sack cloth from Kady to cover my sling when I shave and trim my beard.
  • I have, once again, repurposed my handy-dandy Claymore Mine Bag for carrying things up and down the stairs.
  • VOICE TYPING 

All in all, these aggravations are nothing more than the normal healing process, which I find acceptable.  I feel my arm getting better each day.  I'm not rushing.  I'm taking my time, being a good boy, and pacing myself.

Voice typing is a THING. You can do it in Windows Hands-Free Mode by hitting the "Windows Key" + h. Look for the Microphone at the top of your screen. The best way that I have found is Google Docs. Google Docs is more accurate and more responsive than Windows Hands-Free. Open a Google Docs document, go to the Tools menu, and select Voice Typing. You can even run Grammarly in a workspace, to the right of your document screen, to edit as you type.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Sunday, since I had a walk the day before, I didn't walk. I didn't want to push it.  Instead, I napped and watched movies.  Sometimes, I napped while I watched movies.

Monday, considering all the naps I had the day before,I slept until 0800, and felt rested and refreshed.  I went for a two-mile walk after lunch, a favorite, peanut butter and jelly on toasted cinnamon-raisin bread.   Try it; you'll see.  Then, when Kady was ready, we drove to the Airport to photograph the big oak tree, the second largest white oak in Virginia.  It's beautiful.  I'll go back this summer and, with prior coordination, get up a little closer.  Kady and I played a hand of 5-Crowns when we got home.

Tuesday, I slept-in until 0930.  It was glorious.  I went for a three-mile stroll around the neighborhood, in beautiful, seventy degree weather, also glorious.  Kady cooked up steaks and potatoes for lunch and cut my steak up for me.  What a girl!    She's such a great chef  and nurse.  After dinner, we solved the case we've been working on.  This case, Just4Fun boy-band murder, was not as fun as the last case.  It contained too many hints, at least one big mistake, and the final conclusion was only a circumstantial guess, not proof.  I'd give it a three out of ten.

Today, I got up about 0730, feeling great.  Kady and I went to the Blue Ridge for a picnic lunch, after Roger played, of course.  realizing that the parkway was still closed for winter, we picked up Jimmy Johns and drove to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood to picnic and then photograph the big White Oak tree out front.

Saturday, 6 March 2021: A Little Relief

I had my post-op appointment Thursday.  The nurse took off my sling, shirt, and bandage and the Doc checked my incisions and very gently rotated my arm.  He seem pleased.   He gave me referrals for physical therapy, a little advice, and sent me on my way.

Kady and I ate on the way home.

After getting to the house, first on my agenda was a shower and then a nap.  Both were great.  Since, I've spent short periods out of the sling, giving my pressure points a break.  My biggest irritant is my funny bone.  where it rests in the sling gives it a light feeling akin to the pain you get when you hit it just right.  The other issue is the pad between the sling and my body which presses up against my ribcage.  I hate this sling.

The kids came over for Vinny's.  I had the spinach stuffed shells.  It was pretty good.  My cannoli was, however, Delicious!  I always get one to celebrate dinner with the Sferrazza's on Long Island a few years back.  Mama Sfrrazza, after feeding us an amazing dinner, treated us with a huge platter of all kinds of cannoli.  I've been a fan, since.

After dinner, I coordinated Bess Care with Ann, who will crank her up once in a while when we're in Kansas.  I also played I Spy with Em.  She has her own rules.  She sat for a few photos, helping me try out my new flash diffuser.  She was adorable, running around to the back of my camera, after each shot, to see the photo.

Yesterday, I made my first PT appointment for the 15th.  The place is right down the street.

I've figured out how to sleep. I put a big pillow behind my back and lay on my right side, my preferred side.  The big pillow keeps me from rolling over on my back or left side.  I slept most of the night, last night.

I took a nice stroll, today, down to the school and back.  I didn't want to do too much or go too far.  Today was a test to see how I'd feel afterwards.

Monday, 1 March 2021: A Bad Night

Isn't it a medical rule that your worst day after surgery is the third day?  Must be.  Last night was rough.  I tossed and turned, couldn't get comfortable, moved to my recliner, back to the bed, propped with pillows, surfed the net, watched the highlights of Wales defeating England in rugby, and watched hot girl Reels on Instagram.

Nothing worked.  I wasn't in pain; I was just uncomfortable in this sling.  I was also worried about hurting my Rotator Cuff in the bed.

Finally, I gave up and turned on my computer.  I went to YouTube and started Key West, again, and let it run in the background while I worked on my Lego T-Rex.  I finished putting him together (back together) about 0100 and I was worn out enough to sleep.  Kady helped me get situated, surrounding me with pillows so I couldn't rollover.  I got some sleep, but only two hours at a time.

I figured it out during the day.  Prop up on my office day bed, put my feet in my office chair and I'm comfortable.  I've been cat-napping all day.  I, also, got out of the sling a while today and took a sponge bath.  I feel so much better.

 

Saturday, 27 February 2021

My surgery went smoothly.  I got up early so I could do my pre-op shower routine, washing with a special soap, patting dry with fresh towels, dressing in comfortable freshly washed clothes, and my sketchy Sketchers, ugly, but easy to get on.  No breakfast for me.

We arrived at the place by 1000, filled out a little paperwork, and then they took us back to prep, changed into a gown (very attractive), took my temperature, checked my blood pressure, covered me with warm blankets (my favorite part), started a drip, and scrubbed the shoulder area.

Next was the anesthesiologist, who gave me a shot in my neck, a nerve blocker, to help with the inevitable, after-surgery pain.  My surgeon came in and had a quick look and marked my arm with information.

The whole while, Kady was supportive and taking photos.  When they took me to the operating room, she moved back to the waiting room.

once I was on the operating table, they started me on oxygen, and then put me to sleep.  It was fast.  I woke up in the Recovery Room, already in my sling, feeling groggy and a little confused.  My surgeon briefed Kady on how it went and gave her photos of the procedure and then walked her back to recovery when the nurse let him know I was awake.

Once I was a little more lucid, They took the drip out of my arm, helped me dress, and then took off my sling to help me put on my shirt.  The sling went right back on.

Then, Kady went for the car while the nurse wheeled me outside in a chair.  once in the car all I could think about was how hungry I was.  Kady took us to Chick-fil-a and I got a sandwich and a large mac-and-cheese, my favorite, but a huge mistake.  The cheese did not sit well, and I suffered through the night because of it.  It was delicious though.

I finally got to sleep about 0300 this morning and slept in till 0730.  I felt pretty good. Kim helped me begin icing, fifteen minutes every three hours, as soon as she got up.  To keep us on track, I set up reminders on my Amazon Echo Dot.  My shoulder, arm, and hand were still numb from the blocker.  That started wearing off this afternoon and I could tell it was going to be painful, so, as they advised, I took my first pill at 1400 and the next at 2000.  That shit is good!

All-day today, I've been working on a Photo Blog.  I like the community and already follow some good photographers and have a few following me.  No trolls yet.

Kady has been great all day today, getting me things, making me lunch, and keeping up with ice and meds.  I'm going to try and do more for myself tomorrow so she won't get burned out.

Friday, 26 February 2021: Surgery

I'll write about this tomorrow when I'm more lucid.  I had my surgery today and it went great.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021: Cardiac News

I'm waiting to hear back from the Cardio Doc, but I think the test went fine.  The guy running the rtest ran me up to 160bpm and I stayed there for a while.  The mask was a bother. They did an Echocardiograph of my heart before and after, then sat me up, and I was out the door a few minutes later.  I'm guessing there was no problem that worried them or they would have kept me there longer.

Kady and I had Subway, the first in a while, after I got back to the house.

About 1800, my cardiologist called to let me know that I'm good to go and that the old injury is causing me no problems.  He had a colleague review the echocardiogram, who said, to him, it looked normal.  My surgery on Friday should go as scheduled with "little or no risk." I'll call the ortho desk tomorrow morning to make sure they get the news.

Oh!  My COVID test came back negative.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021: Covid Test/Walk/Cardio Appointment

I had my COVID Test this morning and I do not see what all the fuss is about.  From the way people  have been  complaining, I thought they were going to shove the swab into my sinuses.  Not So.  The nurse gently pushed the swab to the bop of my nasal cavity and rotated it.  The amount of discomfort I felt was what I would call, extremely mild.  People are such whiners.  That done, I went for Bojangles biscuits for Kady and me.  I had the ham.  It's my fave.

My walk today was so enjoyable.  It was warm and sunny out, but, still, I had to be careful. There were still some slippery spots in the sidewalks along my route. 

The Cardiologist was great.  He took the time to listen, took copious notes, talked me through what might have gone on, suggested a few things, and we settled on a stress test, tomorrow, to give everyone a warm and fuzzy that I'll be OK in surgery on Friday, and then, if that doesn't tell him what he wants to know, we'll look at other tests.  I like this guy.

 

Saturday, 20 February 2021: Doin' Shit

I got up at 0500* today.  I don't know why.  While I waited for DJ to come up on the net for a Virtual Coffee, I began building a cardboard pinhole camera from a kit Kady bought a few years back, decided not to build, and gave to me.  I put it behind my dresses, out of sight and out of mind.  I "found" it the day we had the carpet stretched, so I put it in my way so I would be reminded.

I opened the box; no instructions.  I Googled the company; no instructions.  I found a video.  I had it together in about an hour but I'm not sure I want to chance a roll of film and developing cost in it.  Its biggest issue is the shutter.  Very Iffy.

DJ was up by 0830, after driving home from Marti Gras yesterday.  Sounds like she had a great time and ate great food.  I imagine she'll be headed to Texas soon.

My next task was clothes washing.  That's a once-a-week thing since I hate folding clothes.  Wash more often equals fewer clothes to fold at once.  I have to wash just about everything Thursday so I sleep in fresh bedclothes and wear fresh clothes after showering before surgery.  I'm guessing that I won't be doing any washing until after Pre-Op.

Next, I made a new graphic for the door of The War Room.  Kady, tired of the paper sign stuck on the door, wants to put up a new, more stylish sign, probably framed.  Though this is MY ROOM, I know she'll do a good job and make it look like "me."  The walls sure look better since she helped me hang all of the things.

I watched the second episode of Clarice.  I think CBS has a Winner.

Music Today: Good Country - Sons of the Desert, Drew Womack, John Moreland, Holly Williams and David Nail.  There may have been some 38 Special.

* (I've started formatting time in the military manner again. Converting to Civilian Time has been too hard.)

 

Friday, 19 February 2021: Coordination is a Continuous Process

There has been a flurry of phone calls, back and forth, between medical providers and me, beginning this morning.  I won't bore you with the details, but I now have two appointments on Tuesday, a Covid Test and then a Cardiology Appointment.  Hopefully, both will set me up for surgery on Friday.

Tonight was game night at Jay-and-KS's house, Boats and Hos*, my choice.  Never play Jay.  He wins every time.  We had Jimmy John's for supper and I had the new Smokin' Kickin' Chicken.  I was not impressed.

Tomorrow, I begin my pre-surgery quarantine.

*Boats and Hos is a family colloquialism for Ticket to Ride Rail and Sails.

Thursday, 18 February 2021: Perseverance Landing

We didn't get snow, we got ice, about a half-inch of it.  It's was so cold that our little lake is almost completely frozen over.  Then iced again in the afternoon and continued through the night.  No problem.  I wasn't going anywhere, it was Perseverance Landing Day on Mars.  I hoped you watched it.

Kady and I curled up on the day bed in the War Room so we could watch the "clean feed" from Mission Control and the NASA TV feed simultaneously.   That was the way to do it.

Pretty exciting stuff and it went off without a hitch.  AMERICA!  I hope the Chinese and the UAE got some good photos from their orbiters.  This is how it's done y'all.  Good luck to the Chinese mission, Tianwen-1, landing their first rover in May.

Still no word on a cardiologist appointment.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021: Pre-Op

I got up early so I wouldn't have to rush to my Pre-Op appointment with my NP, this morning, at 8 am.  That was high adventure.  My EKG, once again, was Abby something . . . Abby-normal.  This has been a problem before, because of my narrow chest and a big, strong heart, which is canted on its axis.  At Bragg, they knew to adjust my electrodes to get a correct reading, but these guys didn't.  So, now I have to go see a cardiologist, who will look at the problem, tell me what's going on, and approve my shoulder surgery, or not.

Hit Pause, wait for the phone call, hold all plans.

We're supposed to get more snow tonight.

Monday, 15 February 2021: The Next Four Months.

I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon today.  He gave me three choices.  I could treat my injury with ice and steroids and live with limited mobility, have arthroscopic surgery with a long rehabilitation and almost full recovery, or shoulder replacement removing the need for a rotator cuff, but with a greater chance of infection.  I chose Number Two.

  • Wednesday, I have a Pre-Op Exam.
  • Friday I go into Quarantine.
  • Next Tuesday I have a COVID Exam.
  • Friday, 26 February, is my Surgery.  It'll be "out-patient," lasting about two hours.  Kady can go with me.
  • Thursday, 4 March, is my Post-Op Appointment.  I think I see a therapist after that, for a period of instruction on dressing, bathing, and dos-and-don'ts.
  • I'll be in a sling for six weeks, no movement, then six weeks of Rage of Motion physical therapy, and then six more weeks of strengthening physical therapy.  There'll be no driving for at least three months.

This sling is crazy.  They gave it to me today, along with all of the instructions for successful surgery and recovery, and it is what can only be described as "The Cadillac of Slings."  I imagine that, though I'm amazed by it right now, I will come to despise it. 

After Post-op, Kady and I plan on leaving for Kansas, quarantining with E and A, getting ready for the birth of Savannah, and preparing for their move East.  I'm going to be useless, but I have to go where my caregiver goes.  (0:  I'll do Physical/Occupational Therapy in Kansas until we return.  I don't know if I'll be able to walk Cooper, but at least I can get the Cooper Love.

Yesterday, Kady and I celebrated Valentine's day by playing 5-Crowns, solving two sections of our Hunt-a-Killer mystery, and ordering pizza.  Very Romantic!  Today, after my appointment, we did much the same but ordered in Chipotle.  Grub Hub.  It's awesome!

I'm re-watching Foyle's War on Amazon.  Love it!  I needed something to replace The Expanse in my life until Season 6. 

Sunday, 7 February 2021: Family-Time

Yesterday KS's family and ours converged on Jay and Ks's house for a party for Em

Today is a get-together, over there, again, for the Super Bowl and Australian Open.

This morning, I have spent working on my Alexa problem.  There's some issue with my Google Account where I can't sign in with Amazon, nor can I unlink my account.  I decided, after two years, to ditch the sgmjohnlneel account and go with my new account, john.lee.neel.  I still have a small issue, but now I can listen to music, see my contacts, read my e-mail, and reference my calendar.

Kady made the night delicious by cooking up her world-famous Chicken Enchiladas.  Jay and I played three games of Chess.  He won all three times.  The game was, inconceivably, a blow-out.  Never bet against Tom Brady. 31 - 9.  Whew!  The best commercial of the night was the Boss/Jeep Commercial.

Friday, 5 February 2021: Play Date 001

Last night, Katy and I went over to Jay and KS's house for dinner.  We had Chinese, which is always a favorite.  I amazed myself by eating only a small plate.  I used the time to organize a play-date with Em for today.

Kady and I picked her up at 11 am, swung by McDonald's for food, ate at the house, and then Em and I went up to my office for Science Time.  I had made her an interactive slide presentation of the Solar System to travel to all of the planets together.  She had lots of questions.  I was amazed.

Next, we went to the park for about an hour, soaking up the Vitamin-D and oxygen, swinging, and climbing all the things.  Not me.  I'm grounded.

We went back to the house for a card game and played until her mom called, stranded on the interstate and needing my help.  By the time we scooped up Em, bought a gas can, and filled it with gasoline, KS called to say the V-DOT truck had stopped and given her two gallons of gas.

We  dropped Em off at their house and went back home.   Play-dates are rough on granddaddies, so I took a nap.   Kady went shopping.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021: Jury, Have you reached a verdict?

My MRI results came back.  It looks like my shoulder is super messed-up, putting it nicely.  I'm betting mister doctor man will want to do surgery but, there is little time in our plans to get that done.  I have to be in Kansas to see my granddaughter's birth by mid-April.

Oh well, no use fretting about it until I see my Orthopedic guy in two weeks.

Kady and SS texted me to let me know that she fell on the ice today, but is OK, just a little bruised.  She's coming home tomorrow.

I just watched a movie called Pathfinder, Vikings vs. Native Americans.  It was pretty good. Don't hate.

I spent the afternoon researching my injury, looking at photos, drawing, and reading blogs by doctors.  Then I began over-thinking, trying to plan for every contingency, and unable to see how I could ever fit it all in.  I decided I needed a nap.  Naps are wonderful.  I awoke, clear-headed and relaxed, knowing I couldn't do a damn thing for two weeks.

Monday, 1 February 2021: Just Another MRI, No Big Deal

My shoulder MRI was this afternoon. Before I could go I had to clear the snow off of Bess, which was simple, but cold. I did that this morning so the sun could dry the cover before putting it in the trunk.

The imaging place was just up the road, a five-minute drive.  I was in-and-out in about forty minutes.  Now, I have to wait two weeks to see the Orthopedic guy.

Sunday, 30 January 2021: The Brief Return of Mr. Alvarez

We got snow today, about six inches of it.  It is pretty.  Blah, blah, blah.  I hope it is gone by tomorrow afternoon so I don't have to shovel to go to my MRI appointment.

I've been staring at my guitar, called Mr. Alvarez, since getting home in December.  It didn't look like something I could do with my injury.  Kim being away, me being snowed-in and a bit bored, I picked it up today.  Tuning it was a little painful, but trying to play it killed me.  I stopped.   Just playing a few cords was enough to remind me how I have missed playing and, getting back to it will be a motivating factor once I begin physical therapy.

I watched The Little Things with Denzel Washington on HBO today.  I wonder how many people have signed up to see it.  It was a great cop mystery.  I love cop movies when the lead cop is brilliant but damaged, which is why I liked Jesse Stone and Longmier, Bullitt and Dirty Harry.

Friday, 29 January 2021: Batchin' It

Kady left for Tennessee today, going to visit SS for a few days.  I'm staying here, traveled out, and probably not invited anyway.  She'll bring back my firearms, stored with SS while we were in Kansas.

While texting with my mate, Alan, the other night, we made plans to link up on FB Messenger today, 2 PM, for a video chat.  I haven't seen him since 1 Para visited Bragg in 1992 or 1993.  He was one of my three Corporals when I joined 538 Platoon, where I trained while I awaited 1 Para to return from Northern Ireland.  Alan followed me to 1 Para when the UK Army promoted him to Sergeant.  He and his wife Amanda lived right behind us in Church Crookham where we all became fast friends.

When he came to Bragg, I drove drove him to Alabama, where he met our families.  I think he got in a bit of trouble for that trip but got to see Real America.  We've stayed in touch since.

He still calls me The Colonial.

While Kady leaving and I was chatting with Alan, we had a workman fix the kitchen sink, which had begun to drop.  I propped it up with a jack until he could get here, but that wasn't the best solution; it worked like a charm.  When he finished, he used the jack to prop it in place while the adhesive and sealant dried.  I guess the jack wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Thursday, 28 January 2021: Orthopedics

So.  I woke up this morning at 4 AM.  There was snow on the car.  I fixed my breakfast, read the news, drank my coffee, set my alarm for 9 AM, and got back in bed.

I got to the doctor's office in plenty of time, filled out the requisite forms, had some x-rays, and then the Doc came in.  he moved my arm around a bit, had me squeeze his fingers, did a couple of resistance tests, and then said, "We need to do an MRI.  Until then, do this and that, but don't do this or that."

This cat is my kind of doctor, straight to the point, no flowery prose or promises, just good pragmatic medicine.

Two more weeks of waiting.

I came home and slept all afternoon.

I'm pretty sure Season 5 of The Expanse will be known as the "weak season."  I get it.  They have a lot to set up, but it's going so slowly.  It's a bit like watching a soap opera where it takes the characters six episodes to accomplish anything.  Marco and his son are a perfect example of the Lifetime Movie feel the show has taken on, fighting and making-up in every episode.  Still, it is the best show going.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021: Getting Healthy

It's time to get moving.  I'm starting my next phase of Intermittent Fasting TODAY!  There, I said it.  Eating all the food during Christmas and goofing-off was fun, but I want to keep losing weight and get stronger.

I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to that.  My shoulder is strong but I can't lift my arm straight up.  I'm doing curls, triceps curls, chest flies, rows, paddler's rows, and lateral pull-downs like a champ, no pain, but I can't do an overhead press.  We're pretty sure I have a torn Rotator Cuff.  Hopefully, this guy will help.

Today, the weather is supposed to be nice and the temperature is supposed to be in the 40s by 11 o'clock.  It's long-walk-time.

I'm so tired of the news.  With all the things that need reporting, they are still fixating on the T-word.  The Impeachment proceedings keeps his name in the news and further divides the nation.  Yeah, I want him forever out of politics, but maybe there is another way.   I'm so tired of his name.

And that's all I have to say about that.

 

Monday, 25 January 2021: Cold Weather

It has been cold for the past four days, down in the 20s at night, barely in the 40s during the day.  I know this isn't very cold as cold goes, but it's in that range where I don't want to go outside for my walks.  Well, I had to get out this morning.  Cabin Fever!

I put on fleece lined khakis, my hiking boots over wool socks, a moisture-wicking long-sleeved T, a fleece top, my Redhead watch cap, and my big Columbia parka.  Layers!  I know how this is done.  I learned in Canada . . . New York . . .Wisconsin. 

No.  I'm not comparing this to Canada, though my bad attitude toward the cold there is much the same here.  My Military Records Jacket  read, "Keep Warm and Dry until Needed!"

For once, I got it exactly right.  The temperature was 34 degrees when I left the house, the sky was completely overcast, and there was only a slight wind.  I was comfortable.  I took the trail behind the church that follows a creek from Highway-29 down to Hollymead Lake.  I'm glad I went that way because it was a good bird watching day there.  I saw two Blue Herrons, a Kingfisher, two pair of Mallards, and a pair of Hooded Mergansers.  I didn't take my camera. Smart Phone Time.

50-something days till Spring.

Saturday, 23 January 2021: A Dream in Kodachrome

I awoke this morning and began looking for a photograph.

In 1989, I went with A Company, 1-Para, to Cyprus.  It was a great trip.  We trained hard, but had most nights and weekends off duty.  The last week we did adventure training.  I spent my time touring the ruins of Kurion, taking sailing classes and sailing to Pissouri, and clubbing with my mates, Steve and Rand, guys with whom I had been in the Depot.  What time I had to myself, I went through the tunnel to Episkopi Beach.

On the trip with us was an young lady, a journalist, writing a book on the Paras.  Claire was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, jet-black hair, dark almond eyes, and dark brown skin.  As I remember, her parents were Pakistani.  A 2-Para officer had smartly proposed to her and they were to be married when she returned from this trip.

She, quickly, became part of my circle of friends, I think because we were all married and weren't hitting on her.  We liked her immediately because she never assumed, always asked, and always pitched-in.  She spent much of her time interviewing us for the book and hanging out with us.  She went with us to the ruins, riding around on the Unsafely Boat, and to play on Kurion Beach. When we talked, she rarely asked me about training or the Regiment.  Mostly we talked about interests and travels. She had many questions about the USA.  We talked a lot about Calvin and Hobbs and Bloom County.

On her last day on the island, A Company threw her a party.  I skipped it; I didn't want to say goodbye.  I preferred to remember the last happy conversations and did not want to share my last memory of her with a bunch of paratroopers. 

I went to the beach.

Before she left, she came looking for me at Episkopi and as she walked toward me, I took my last photo of her.

We talked for a long time, looking out over the Mediterranean and listening to the waves crash the rocky beach.  All I really remember is the wind blowing her hair and that I still refused to say goodbye.  Then she left.  I never saw her again.  Such are the friendships you make in the Military.

I bought her book.  I see the four of us in a small paragraph in the Preface, "As it was, once I had been accepted and was a familiar face, some men confided things in me they perhaps would not have shared with another man." But then, it was probably like that for her with every unit with which she walked and trained.

This should probably be a story.

This is the photo I dreamed of and had to find this morning.  It was a strange dream.  I didn't dream of Claire, the group, or Cyprus.  I dreamed of the photograph.  Love you, Kodachrome. 

Friday, 22 January 2021: A Real Coffee Date

Though my virtual coffee dates have been going well, it was nice, this morning, to have an actual in-person coffee date with my Daughter-in-law, KS.  She was away on business on my Birthday, so, to make up for missing my get-together, she picked up coffee at the Daily Grind and brought it over to the house.  It was so much better.

 Once this COVID shit is over, I'm going to drive all over to have coffee with my people.  I need to get to New York (or a point in between), Atlanta, Richmond, Lynchburg, and NOVA.  Coffee and then a Battlefield is my plan.

Thursday, 21 January 2021: Talking it Out with E

E called this morning and we had a good chat about the Inauguration and the next steps.

Dads should always talk to their daughters.

We talked about all of the great things we saw during the day and then began to talk about the tough days ahead.  She agreed with me, but said, and I'm paraphrasing here, Maybe, President Biden's most important legacy will be showing us all how to act toward each other.

Fathers should always LISTEN to their daughters.

Joe may not be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done, but he can try, and he can lead, and he can show us all that we can get together to accomplish great things.  He can be a father to the nation.  He's certainly old enough.  (o:

I feel better.  All dads should have a daughter.

I took Kady's car to the car wash today and for my reward, she made me a burger.  Yum.  After lunch, I set up a face-to-face coffee with KS for tomorrow morning, and wrote DJ and Rebecca about my negative anti-body test and the need to hunker down again keeping my circle small. 

The funniest thing going on in the nation today are the Bernie Sanders Mitten Memes and Comments.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021: Hello, Goodbye

Half the country just breathed a deep sigh of relief. The other half is just waiting for the other shoe to fall.  Our new president is saying all of the right things in my book.  He says he will be a president for all Americans.  He wants to bring us all together.

The hopeful me, looks forward to better times under his administration and wishes him good luck and all the best. 

The pragmatic me says we're too far apart.  I see to many hot button, immovable issues: free choice vs. right to life, anti-gun vs. Second Amendment Rights, cheap gas vs. no pipeline, free speech vs. political correctness, closed vs. open borders . . .

There may be too many things that need fixing.

Yeah, I wish him luck.

The Apprehensive me hopes he brings in all the players on certain issues, has a complete discussion, and then acts on a favorable middle-ground solution.

I almost felt sorry for Trump this morning.  Almost, but not quite.  What a way to end your presidency!  He has no one to blame but himself.  Had be been smart, he might have gone down as one of our greatest presidents.  Some of the things he did were amazing, but he just couldn't communicate them to the American people and he just couldn't keep his stupid mouth shut.

Nowhere was his stupidity more on display than on Social Media.  Get Off Twitter, Boomer.  Shit!  I don't even play around with Twitter, I'm pretty savvy for an old white guy.

So, where are we headed?  I have no clue, so, I just wait and see.

I watched the Ceremony.  I went for a long walk and then turned it on at 11:30, as it was starting.  I thought it was going to start at 12:30.  My favorite parts were Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem and Amanda Gorman reading her poem.  They stole the show.

Gaga has my permission to sing the anthem anytime she wants.

Tuesday, 19 January, 2021: Lookin' for Love

Kady and I went on a quick drive out in the country, looking for our first two "Love Signs."  Since Virginia is for Lovers, these are all over the place and one of the things to do here in the Old Dominion is to try and see them all.

This one is out past Standardsville, next to a little country store, just off Highway 33 West.

Saturday, 16 January 2021: Mind Walk

Across from my Townhome, there is a small pond. It isn't as large as the other lakes in the neighborhood, but we get a few geese and ducks.  I've also seen people fishing there, though I have never seen anyone catch a fish.

Along the west side is the dam and, at the very north tip of the dam is a trail that winds out into the woods along the creek.  The wooded area is large enough that you feel as if you are in a much larger forest.  It is quiet out there, a safe place for wildlife and a place where I can get away from everything.

I never see anyone else out there.

I usually take a stroll back there once a week or so, on days when I don't want to walk very far, or on days when I'm bored, or on days when the weather is cold

Today was one of those days.  Saturday is my day off from exercise, the weather was overcast and cold, but I was dying to get out of the house.  I picked up my camera and tripod, put on my hiking boots, a fleece-lined jacket, and headed out.

On this trip, I walked up the hill behind the bamboo, to the fence outlining a private tract of land, to the top, where I had seen an old 1947 Ford dump-truck.  I took a few more photos of it and an old piece of farm equipment.

 It was beautiful out there today.  The Beech trees are amazing this time of year.  Their leaves shimmer in the wind and shine like gold in the sunlight.  To me, they look like the Jewels of Helen.

Looking for color this time of year is challenging, as there is so little other than different shades of browns and the greens of moss and ferns, but today a fungus on a log across my path caught my eye.  It was beautiful, shaped like seashells, striped in layers as it grew.  Back at the house, I identified it as Coriolus Hirsutus, I think.  What do I know about fungi?

My walk reminded me of the woods of Wahouma where I played and daydreamed as a young lad.  Today, I was that young boy again.

Only four more days of Trump.

Thursday, 14 January 2021: The Unwelcome Present

I went to my nurse practitioner today to see about my Arm.  While we were at it we did my yearly assessment and drew blood for , among other things, an COVID Anti-body Test.

As for my arm, Lindsay said it was most likely a torn rotator cuff and is sending me to a specialist.

Waiting.

Eddie called to wish me a happy birthday while I was at the Doctors.  Love that guy.

Jay and the Grands came over for my Birthday and supper.  Kady made my favorite, Cornbread Chicken Stuff, and got me a cake, white-on-white, also a favorite.  So, I guess I'm starting my Intermittent Fasting again, in earnest, TOMORROW.

Sixty-eight!  I don't feel sixty-eight.

Only Six more days of Trump.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021: Hump Day

Yesterday and today, I have had entirely too much to do.

For a year, I've had a hump in my office carpet.  I'm pretty sure I caused the issue by rolling around in my office Chair. It didn't matter to me, but Kady was all about getting it repaired, so she called a carpet guy to come fix it.  He told her to move all of the furniture to one side of the room.

Ha, ha, ha, Hahahahaha.  This was no easy task.  I began working Tuesday morning and had it all moved  except the day bed and my chair.  The odds and ends went in the Guest Room.

He and his helper attacked the hump Wednesday afternoon and had it all done in about an hour.  It looks amazing.

Then, of course, I had to put everything back in its place, cleaning as I went.  It took me about three hours.  The last thing I did was put the new heavy duty chair pad on the floor and roll my chair back in the room.

Mission Complete.  Bed Time.

 

Monday, 11 January 2021: The National Championship

Kady and I got our Shingles Vaccine today.  We have to get a second shot  in two to four months.  I took the opportunity to get some Mint Oreos.  They're a Thing and a nice reward for being a big boy and getting my shots.

The National Championship Game played out like no one expected tonight.  After watching Ohio State whip Clemson, I believe we all thought State had a chance.  I'm a bit sorry it had to end for them so badly, though it fits my SEC narrative well.  It was an ass-whipping.  You could say that seven of their minuscule 24 points were given to them by Bama with that fumble, which was about the only mistake, not counting the Targeting hit, of the night for the Tide.  That would make the final score 52 - 17.

Ah, hell, let them have the extra seven.

Only Nine More Days of Trump in the White House.

Can we use the 25th amendment?  Doubtful.

Should we Impeach?  Probably should not; it will only further divide the nation.

I think we need to, somehow, keep this guy out of politics for all time.  We need to work past these last four years and took to the future, especially Republicans.  We can't do that if this guy keeps rearing his ugly head.  Once he's gone, maybe the Democrats will be able to concentrate on other things.  Without him to talk about, perhaps the Fourth Estate will be able to begin reporting the news, accurately, again.  Maybe, if a new, trustworthy, intelligent, and decent Republican leader arises, the GOP will be able to get back to our roots and shun the extreme Trumpian views of these years.

There is a simple solution: He should resign and go back to his business.  Maybe he could do another "Reality" show.  If he doesn't, he'll still be gone by next Wednesday.

Democratic Party control of the White House, The Senate, and The House of Representatives makes me apprehensive. Yes, they may be able to do some good things, but they may also begin to erode some of our rights for their perception of the "Greater Good."  I'm most concerned about Our Second Amendment Rights.  For a perfect example, listen to No Special Duty on Radiolab.  You can also read my Neel-Think on Guns and America.

Yesterday, I repaired the battery lock-down post on Bess.  Again, repairing anything on Bess is never easy, but once done, my battery is more secure than it was.  I went for a drive and then emptied the trunk. I am going t NOVA to see Rebecca this Sunday for lunch, so I had to get this done.  It'll be good to see her.  Yes, I will be taking my Camera for those long-talked-about photos.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Today was pretty relaxed.  I did a few things for Kady while she went for a walk.  Saturday is my day off from all exercise.  Jay and KS came over for dinner, football, and games.  We tried playing the new Azul, which defeated my poor brain, so we played Dirty Sevens, a card game.  I had my best showing ever.  I was thinking about ten steps ahead, won three of the four hands, and won the game holding only five points.

It was a good time.

Friday, 8 January 2021: 6 January and Beyond

Ain't This Some Stupid Shit?

My first inclination was to be really pissed off.  What the hell were these guys thinking?  And, by "these guys" I mean everybody - The President, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Mayor, the Capitol Police, the Demonstrators, the Rioters, the Pipe-bomber, The Media . . .

Do I need to keep going?

When the election results finally pointed at Biden, I was relieved.  Not only did I want Trump out, but I was afraid that, if he won, the country would burn.  I was afraid that the By Any Means Necessary crowd would start a war.

 I actually thought better of my fellow Republicans.  "No," I said, "if Biden wins, we'll show them how to lose gracefully and get on with the business of the Nation."

How naive was I?

Hold My Beer!  Mob Rule!

Well, now I know; We're ALL idiots.

I guess now we'll get to see Republican. crying at the Inauguration. They'll fight him on every issue, no matter what the issue. meanwhile, the Democrats will still be focused on Trump, wanting him impeached or arrested.  They'll demand the resignations of any senator or congressman who supported Trump.  Meanwhile, the country's divide  will fester and grow, and the nation will decline further chaos.

 The smooth transition of power has always been one of the great strengths of our political system.  We've lost that and, with it, our identity as One Nation, Indivisible.

So, what did I do?  I turned on some Native American flute music, turned out the lights, and thought about nothing for a long while. As my friend Vicki says, I "paused."

Refreshed, I began thinking about solutions.  I considered a Trump resignation, Republicans moving away from Trumpian Influence, a third political party for the rest of us, things on which President Biden should focus and avoid . . .

But, who am I?  I'm just a tired old Southern white man, a Boomer, who still believes in America and the Constitution.  My voice doesn't count anymore.

I paused again.

I believe we'll figure this out, I hope without bloodshed.  Bringing America back together, back to center, back to compromise is going to take work.  But, it's not my work to do.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021: Banner Day

I began this day with my Mediterranean breakfast and finding out that Tanya Roberts was not dead after all.  An hour later, she had passed away.  Sad.  She was way too young.

In my dreams last night, I couldn't find my M-16 and couldn't remember my serial number.  I woke in a writing mood and wrote two more snippets, one about almost losing my M-16, and the other was about my biggest failure as a scout.  It must have been therapeutic.  I've been in the best mood all day.

DJ is back from Florida and had time to Video Message this morning.  It is good to have her back.  I hope to drive up to NOVA to see her soon.  Poor kid's kitty got out and ran away while she was there.

Kady and I went for a good walk around the lake this afternoon.  She wanted to do three laps.  I love it when she does these challenges on her phone app; it motivates her, and I love the time with her. We've started playing cards again and doing our murder mystery case files.  This one isn't as fun.

To top off a great day, I had a message from Sevda on Instagram, with a little photo of the Konak Clock Tower (Konak Saat Kulesi) saying, "Let's Go!" That began an afternoon exchange about me coming back one day after COVID and about her upcoming trip to Izmir and a plan to Skype while she is in Alsancak.  Yes Please!

She also sent a photo, which I think was for motivation to get moving on a trip "home."  If I could  photograph her one more time, to make up for all of the stupid camera mistakes I made in 2001, that would be reason enough to go.  Then, there is the food.  And Troy.  And all my friends.  And so many other things I want to see.

Then, for whatever reason, it was time for 38 Special.  Yesterday, I changed the registration on my Amazon Dot and wiring it to my Edifier Speakers.  I'm still having issues with it calling me Kim and repeating notifications.  Because Kady uses "Good Morning" for a routine, I had to choose something different for my wake-up and go-to-bed routines.  It took me a while, but I finally decided on "Stand-To" and Stand-Down."  Brilliant!

KS and I had our first 2021 walk yesterday.  After, Em and I took a walk around the block.  She talked the whole way.

I have two plans in the works for those guys:  I want to bring Em over to watch something educational with me and then have some playground time with her once a week.  I mentioned it to KS.  She said, "fine."  Then I talked to Em about it.  She asked, "Can we have pizza?"  She's a girl after my own heart.

Next, Jay and I are going to build a server.  I have all of the components collected. Now all I have to do is find time with a very busy son.  I hope to get Jk involved as well.  If I can't, I have to find a connection with the lad.  He loves video games, but I'm a motor-moron in this area.  Maybe Battlefields, Clay Targets, or Photography.  Damn, he's grown a foot since summer.

Friday, 1 January 2020: Happy New Year

I certainly hope this is a better year for the lot of us.  I'm looking forward to the birth of our next grandchild, getting all my people closer to Virginia, and getting out to battlefields a lot more.  In early spring I want to take Bess down the Outer Banks, all the way to Fort Fisher, NC and I want to photograph the Wild Horses in Currituck.

We'll be in Kansas again from April until July, for Savannah's birth and to help the kids move, wherever the Army sends them.  We're hoping for Maryland, but It could be Illinois or anywhere, really.  The Army!  It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

Yesterday, Kady and I watched a couple of bobo games, highlighted only by the fight at the end of the Mississippi State and Tulsa game. Then we watched the Twilight Zone Marathon until I couldn't take it any more and went to bed. We tried to watch the New Year's show on one network, but turned it off because of the overly-gay Gay guy acting as host. The same thing happened while I tried to watch John Wick on TNT. Who watches John Wick and wants to see an ad about a bunch of cross-dressers, over and over and over, about every 15 minutes. Not this boy.

I woke up at 1:30 AM and Kady was still awake, watching Perry Mason. The girl is a vampire.

We began our New Year huddled in the house.  The weather outside was frightful.

Auburn's bowl game was a bust. Why we played a bowl game this year is beyond me. We had a broken season, we just fired our coach, we knew a bunch of our players would opt-out, and we were matched with a very good Northwestern team. We should have just called the year quits and started looking toward next year. It was sad to watch.

I guess Auburn needs all the money it can get these days.

If there was any question about Notre Dame being one of the top four teams in the nation, I believe Alabama answered that in the "Still-the-Rose-Bowl." They were embarrassed.

In the second game, Clemson vs. Ohio State, I found myself cheering for Ohio State, for the first time ever.  If there is a team to beat Alabama this year, it's Ohio State.  That whole team is amazing.  Hint for Bama: Whatever you do, don't try to hurt Justin Fields; you'll just piss him off.  Clemson, on the other hand, paid the price for playing ACC teams all year.  Faced with a big, tough, talented team like Ohio State, they were unready.

Clemson and Notre Dame - Exposed?  Naw.  I'd say they were Number Three and Number Four.  I might put Northwestern at Number Four instead of ND.

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