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.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021: Website

I've taken down my website and fixed it so that my account with GoDaddy won't renew in June.  Why?  I'm just tire of it.  I will continue to write my stories and keep this journal going.  It would be easiest to keep them in HTML, so I'll probably do that.

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.


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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