Saturday, May 31, 2014


I had my first visit of the season to the local farmers market this morning.  Local strawberries and asparagus are in and wonderful.  I grew up in the country and love markets. 
I made it through May with at least one posting a day. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Let the ride continue

I continue to have fun on the ride.  Sometimes a worry that I will tire of the ride, and at times I really look forward to being home for a few days, but I am already planning the next travel cycle.  Work and fun have taken me so many fun and interesting places. Yet there are so many places left to go and things to do.  I enjoy the people, the places and the experiences along the way, what a fun ride. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Waiting for the Train

Some days I spend a lot of time waiting for trains, some days I don't.  Metro has no idea what a schedule is or how to stick to one.  They may post a suggestion of a schedule online, but it is merely a suggestion.  The displays in the station give you some general idea of when a train might be coming, more or less, and maybe in the order they are posted.  When I was growing up my father told me, "never run after a street car or a woman, there will be another one along in a minute."  I now understand why my mother always turned blue when he said that, but he had a point.  I have learned to never run after a train, there will be another one along, sooner or later.  As for women, I never run after them.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Third One This Month

Starting the third conference of the month. Everyone seems to want to hold conferences before the summer sets in.  This is six months of conferences in one month. Lots of listening and networking with my fellow wizards this month. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


On the subway this morning, there was a flock of tourists.  You can spot them from a mile away, they are dressed in shorts and comfortable shirts at rush hour, they are drinking coffee in front of the NO FOOD OR DRINKS sign, carrying cameras, and they are talking.  One this morning was laughing, I don't know what was in her coffee cup, but "I'll have what she's having!"  On the DC subway if you are talking you are either a tourist, or the locals are double checking to make sure you are not crazy, the real nut cases have conversations on the subway, with themselves.  By this afternoon it was in the 90's and 90% humidity, the kind of weather where you can smell the tourists, you don't have to see them to know they are there.  Twice in my life I have lived in places that host a lot of tourists, 18 years in Disney World, and now almost 6 years in our nations capital.  I have a unique understanding of them. 

I love being a tourist.  I enjoy traveling and exploring new places.  When I am traveling, I look like it and I enjoy it. You'll know me when I visit your town, I will dress funny, carry a camera, and talk to strangers on public transit.  I do try not to smell like a tourist.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

The American Military Cemetery
Normandy, France

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mr Tump's Building

The silver spire is the Chicago Trump tower. They are putting his name on it.  A good idea or a bad idea?  Most major buildings in Chicago don't have names on them. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Much more crowded

So the flight from DC to Chicago that was 7 hours late leaving DC, ended up with less then one person per row, the return flight had no empty seats.  Typical flight, packed, on time and reasonably comfortable - luckily it is only 90 minutes flying time from Chicago to DC.  We are back, it was a good trip, Chicago never fails to amuse me.    

Friday, May 23, 2014


There is a different view of the world from the air.  I grew up in little single engine airplanes, and photographed farms from the air to earn money as a teenager to buy a suitcase full of professional camera equipment.  So I am pretty good at finding things on the ground from the air.  When we finally left DC for Chicago on Wednesday I had an entire row to myself, so I slid over into the window seat and watched the world go buy.  For the first couple hundred miles it was all clouds, then it cleared.  From 39,000 feet, I could see farmland, small towns, cities, expressways linking them, and bodies of water.  Over northwester Ohio and norther eastern Indiana, we passed over a wind-farm , I had never seen one from the air before.  As we started the decent into Chicago more and more came into view.  At about 20,000 feet I can see cars moving on roads, boats moving on lakes, at 10,000 feet I could see parked cars.  At 4,000 feet I could see baseball players moving on the field.  1-5,000 feet is the average flying elevation for the little planes I grew up in.  I was use to seeing the world from that elevation.  Flight is magical, so much moving on the air seemingly so effortlessly.  I was sitting there looking down, one foot over to the left and it was nearly 8 miles down. If you stepped over the edge would you panic, or would you accept the inevitable and experience soaring? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Then there were three

With a trip today to see the Milwaukee Art Museum,  DG has now been to 47 states.  Remaining to be visited are Idaho,  Wyoming,  and Hawaii.  DG has a few states advantage over Travel. He started traveling 40 years before being accompanied by the flightless water fowl.
So what is Wisconsin like? It is like Florida without the warmth, palm trees and reptiles. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not much I can add to that

Can't get off the ground

The windshield is overheating,  we are stuck at the gate.  The shortest trip of the month,  may take the longest. 

The delay is now 8 hours.  I am only 6 miles from home so far.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who Could Be Angry Looking At That Face

I spent the day bailing out idiots.  I am working on a major conference project, I have 60+ speakers that need to register using a discount code, and a new state of the art online registration system that does not have the plug-in to process a discount or coupon code.  Easy enough, call the toll free number and talk to the friendly operators, that after three weeks still can't figure out what to do because the new multi-million dollar software package won't process the discount code.  You would think after three weeks they would have learned the override procedure. Then after I should have left the office I get an email asking for a copy of my June report, that I filed in another new state of the art multi-million dollar software system, in June.  The request was to email the report, because the person who needed it, has not been trained in how to retrieve it from the online platform.  I could be be, very angry, then I see something cute.  This little cutie was in the row ahead of me a couple of weeks ago as I was wedged in the last row of coach, backed up to and across from the toilets, but who could be angry when he smiled at me? 

Tomorrow I am headed to Chicago to talk with the masters of one of the two useless software packages.  I will need to see cute things and think happy thoughts so I don't tell them what a bunk of idiots I think they are.  

Monday, May 19, 2014


Down the street from the hotel in Arizona was the Barry Goldwater memorial.  A nice bronze in a park filled with cactus. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014


We went out for a walk and spotted the duck tour comming out of the water at Gravelly Point. An interesting way to see the city.  Note that the water is unusually hiigh, the dock is under water.  It rained while I was in the dessert. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Historic Reproduction

In 2007 George Washington's grist mill and distillery were rebuilt on the original site about 3 miles south west of the the Home at Mt Vernon.  Each winter the staff has attempted to recreate the distilling process from Washington's times. This year they did a fruit brandy and a Rye Whiskey. For the Rye, the grain blend or mash bill was based on records from George Washington's time, 60% rye, 35% corn, 5% malted barley.  The grain is ground, fermented in wooden mash tubs and distilled at least twice in wood fired copper pot stills.  The process is time and labor intensive. The whiskey is not aged before sale, As Washington would not have aged his Whiskey before sale.  

This year's release is limited to 1,000 375 ML bottles.  It is all sold onsite, under a special license from the state of Virginia (we have a state store system with special exemptions for on site sales at distilleries.)  My sweet bear stood in line for me on Friday when the run was released (I was 2,000 miles away in Arizona.) They expected to be sold out by Today.   

It is better then I expected.  It has a complex flavor that reflects the rye and malted barley, there are undertones of prune, and a surprising smokiness that  must come from the malted barley and the wood fired copper stills (it is not aged, normally smoke comes from the char in the barrel.)  At 86 proof, it is smoother than I expected.  Sort of historic reproduction moonshine.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Headed Home

This was the check in line at the airport this morning.  I am very glad I was a couple of hours early.  The line took about 45 minutes.  Security was a breeze,  other than the guy in front of me who kept stopping in the metal detector and putting his hands up. Pre check is metal detectors only no strip scan. He kept surrendering. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014


On the road but still working.  I had a planning call for a national conference scheduled for this morning that I was hosting.  Looking at the calendar and time zones I figured out that my noon eastern time call would fit in before the 10 am opening session in Phoenix.  So the call went on as scheduled.  I sat on the terrace of my hotel room, working - working - working.  I could get used to this.  Headed home tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conference host committee reception

Nice reception this evening at the home of the chair of the host committee in Phoenix.  Nice mid century modern. 

Scottsdale Update

Wonderful dinner with Dr Spo and Someone in Old Scottsdale last evening.  Modern southwestern food and a great tequila selection. Very fun and relaxing. Special thanks them for a wonderful evening.

Today I am in a board meeting, long and detailed, just watched a room for of people with advanced degrees debate for 30 minutes the difference between retired and emeritus professionals.  Interesting, I have an opinion on that.  The principle that the smaller the stakes, the greater the debate applied, the decision when it is someday made impacts about 10 members out of 4,500.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Daytime in Spo-ville

Spo-ville - Who-ville, I will try not do write in rhyme. I have arrived in the valley of the sun, oh what fun, I get to have dinner, with Spo and Someone, all done. 

I wondered why there was a stampede of angry and confused looking Republican Senators arriving at National Airport yesterday afternoon, first there was Mitch McConnell, he is shorter in person, but still looks constipated.  Then John McCain walked by trying to figure out what the police escort was for (not him - the annual memorial service for police and firefighters killed in the line of duty is this week in DC.)   Oh well they needed to get back into town to pursue or block the work of government. 

The flight was delayed after boarding and then we took the long and non-scenic route adding over an hour to the flight.  I broke one of my rules and rode a 757 - the most uncomfortable airplane Boeing has ever built.  The heating and air conditioning systems still do not work well, I was roasting and the people to rows away were freezing.  You'd think after all of these years, someone would fix that.  But the people who could ride up front, all nice and comfy.  

The hotel is spectacular.  I have two walk in closets, and two balconies with views of two different mountains.  

I have a connection to the Valley of the Sun, I went to the first grade in Phoenix.  I count Arizona as one of the five states I have lived in.  I love the landscape here.  I have a few free hours today, then work - work - work until I go back to the airport.  

My sweet bear, will be waiting for me in DC when I get home.  Summer break has started for some. 


From this angle you can see why it is called Camel Back Mountain.  Nice view from a nice hotel room.  I had to decide which walk in closet to use.  Who needs two walk in closets in a hotel room? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Open Again

The Washington Monument opened today.  It has been closed for 32 months to repair earthquake damage.  Yes, earthquake damage.  The view has not been repaired.  I am at the airport headed to Spo-ville.  Another week of dealing with time zones. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Horizon

I am a 10 minute walk from a subway station.  The station has three parking garages.  This is the view from the tallest of them.  The tall building on the left is the George Washington Masonic memorial at the end of King Street.  To the right of center is the patent office.  The condo is on the top of a tree covered hill.  If we cut all of the trees down I would have a similar view.  In the winter when the leaves are off the trees I can see the masonic memorial from my terrace. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Not Quite Calvados

They say it is America's oldest family run distillery, been around since about 1700.  Only in the aftertaste, do I pick up a faint taste of apple.  It is smooth, 80 proof, very drinkable - but disappointing in the lack of apple flavor.  

I have been to Normandy a couple of times.  I like calvados for it's crisp apple notes.  The first time I was in Normandy I came across a village fete and bought Calvados from the man who made it.  A was a single serving sample bottle, I enjoyed it that evening before going to dinner.  The restaurant at hotel had Norman Cider on the menu.  Hard cider is the first step in making apple brandy such as Calvados.  I ordered a bottle, nice, dry and easy to drink.  I emptied the bottle, before realizing that it kicked like a mule.  Have you ever walked through a field of wheat stubble, in a freshly cut field?  I had grown up in farm country, but had not been in a wheat field in 25 years. I had a nice walk in the 100 acre field next to the hotel that evening. I slept like a log.     

Friday, May 09, 2014

Headed Home

Long day slaying dragons.  Headed home for the weekend.  Next week I get to go  board or should it be bored meeting in the dessert. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014


Bees, where would we be without bees? A lot of our food chain is dependent on bees for pollination.  I grew up on a bee farm.  From the mid 1950s until the early 80s my family made a living tending bees. Lots of bees. In a good year we would ship 100,000 pounds of honey.  Our best year we shipped over 250,000 pounds. That is a lot of sweet and sticky.  A little known fact, bees stink.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I Cleaned My Desk a Couple of Weeks Ago

I swear the paper fairy comes in here when I am home and adds to the stacks. Either that or the paper rooster has found his way through the fence, and the chicks are hatching. 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Bad Joke for Dr Spo

A psychotherapist returned from a conference in the Rocky mountains, where the delegates spent more time on the icy ski slopes than attending lectures and seminars.
When she got back, her husband asked her, "So, how did it go?"
"Fine," she replied, "but I've never seen so many Freudians slip."

Monday, May 05, 2014

What a $630 dent looks like

Sunday morning I stopped at a red light to check for oncoming traffic before turning right on a red light, and the pickup truck behind me didn't. They don't fix the bumper covers, they replace them.  If the car was 10 years old, or had 100,000 miles on it I wouldn't bother, but it is two years old with less than 17,500 miles on it.  I hope his insurance is responsive. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Craft Distillery

I found this one in the airport in Portland, made by a local craft distiller. Made from sugar cane molasses,  distilled in pot stills.  It has a buttery flavor.  Very smooth,  not perfectly clear, but very flavorful.  Limited production, labeled with batch and bottle number. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Another Airport

Headed home today.  It was a great conference.  Lots of my fellow wizards to network with.  It will be nice to be home.  The time zone change will be difficult.  And in a little over a week I am headed back for the three hour change again. 

Friday, May 02, 2014


It may not be a streetcar named desire, but I wish DC would get over itself and bring them back.  The fight in DC is over the overhead power feed. Did you notice the power lines in this picture, me neither.  I desire streetcars. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014


It must be dating season or mating season for Ferraris in Portland, two of them in front of a nice restaurant.  I'd like a red one, please? 

Out to lunch

A bright sunny day in Portland.  I have noticed that the sun, even when bright, is softer then farther south. The quality of the light can trigger memories of place. Contrast, shadow and vividness of color vary with the nature of the light. 

I am out to lunch.  The morning session I was worried about went very well.  The toughest of the work is done.