Friday, March 31, 2017

Parking Lessons

A high school class mate has been living in Germany for almost three years, his dear wife is on assignment with the Department of Defense.  He has grumped about round-abouts and speed cameras in Germany.  Bill was recently back in the USA for a couple of weeks, his oldest brother died of cancer.  He flew into the DC area and drove to and from Michigan. He commented on Facebook that the drivers on the autobahn in Germany were better drivers than the drivers on USA expressways.  Oh, how right he is.  If we drove the way the Germans do, we could have roads without speed limits and all be safe.  

After living in Florida for about 15 years, I got a wild hair one summer and drove to Michigan.  It was the first time I had driven in Michigan in about a decade.  I was driving up the expressway, with the cruise control set about 4 miles per hour faster than the speed limit, and the drivers were aggressively passing me, honking and being quite rude.  I thought to myself, where did these assholes learn how to drive, then it struck me, the same place I did.  

I have a few vivid memories of learning to drive.  The driving instructor pushing my foot to the floor on the gas pedal trying to get me to accelerate faster getting onto an expressway.  And the parking test for my drivers license in Michigan.  The driving examiner had me turn into an empty parking lot, with about 200 spaces in it, and said, "get it in to the lot and stopped without hitting anything and you passed."  Good thing too, parking is not my thing.  If only I could park like the Italians do, if the car fits, and you get it stopped without hurting anything important, it passes.  

How is your parking?  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reflections In and Out

The hubby was recently here for 10 days - his spring break.  He will be back in early May for the summer.  For nearly a decade of our nearly 25 years together, we have split time between two homes, with careers in two cities 435 miles apart.  We pass in and out of one another's lives about half of the year living together, and about half of the year living separately. It works for us.  We are both strongly independent, but we also both benefit from being together. It is always strange the first couple of days after he leaves, coming home to an empty house. I love to cook, and it is easier to cook for two.  He pays attention to details around the house that I either don't notice, or notice and ignore.  When he is in Lexington, we video chat every day (gmail video chat.)  So we "see" one another every day.  

We are making plans for his retirement, for selling the second house, for being in the same home all of the time again. It will be nice. If all goes as planned, we will have a firm timeline for a plan, next fall.  Each time we transition in and out of the two homes, I think about how life will change when we are once again, back in the same home full time.  

What will change for you in retirement? 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Forgive me if I have told this one before, it is an interesting tale of city folks, living in the country. 

I went to law school with Paul, this tall lanky farmer from just west of Frankfort, Kentucky.  Paul had spent his life around live-stock, and knew that it was raised for one purpose, to end up on the table as steaks, roasts and chops.  His parents owned a large farm, when he married he built a second home on the farm, and farmed along with his parents.  He had a couple of bachelors degrees, and ran a few business along the way- but every morning and every evening of his his life had been devoted to taking raising animals for eventual slaughter.  

New neighbors moved in across the road and down a ways.  The new neighbors were city people, they had never lived without sidewalks, street lights, and city sewers before.  Come spring Paul had a pasture full of sheep and lambs.  The neighbors kids became enthralled by the lambs. Paul tried to explain that lambs were not long term house pets, they grew into sheep, like baby humans grew into moody teenagers, that you really didn't want to keep around the house any longer. Lambs grew up to become lamb-chops, and leg-of-lamb.  The kids persisted and the parents bought one for the kids to raise. 

The kids named him Lamby. They had no idea what they were getting into.  When lambs are newly born, they are like a medium size dog. Lambs can be bottle fed, and played with, and kept indoors - though they don't potty train - ever.  

After a few months the neighbor came to visit.   Lamby had outgrown the house, everyone was tired of cleaning up the "droppings" and he was starting to smell like a sheep.  He begged Paul to help him out and take the lamb back - admitting that buying it was a bad idea. Paul said, "well why don't you take him into the processor down on Shelbyville Road.  The neighbor said, "oh I just couldn't do THAT!" Paul said "you know what I am going to do with the lamb," the guy protested - "don't tell me, don't tell me, and for gods sake don't tell the kids," I will let them know you are taking him in.  Please pick him up in the morning, he will be on the patio along the driveway.   

Paul arrived and Lamby was tied to a post on the patio.  Freshly shampooed and blow dried, with a red bow in his hair.  Paul picked the lamb up, carried him out and put him in the back of his pick-up truck.  The kids came running out, and Paul feared an emotional scene.  The kids protested, that Lamby didn't like riding in the back, the wind messed up his fleece, Lamby liked to ride on the front seat, with the window open.  Paul spread a blanket on the seat, moved Lamby to the front seat, and drove off toward Shelbyville Road.   

Would you adjust well to life in the country? 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Does Not Kill Us

Makes us stronger. 
When we persevere through the challenges of life, we are changed by the experience.  Just as the immune system develops the ability to fight of illnesses the body has endured, the mind and body learn to resist other challenges.  

A big project I am working on this year included a collaborator, who didn't collaborate.  At the 11th hour, he emailed saying, I have not gotten anything done on this project. He had read the work that I had done, and he said it was solid and good and he really didn't have anything to add to it.  

I was not surprised by his email.  I have been down this road before.  From past experience, I had figured out weeks ago, that he likely was not working on the project.  When I faced the choice of relying on him, and coming up short, or picking up the entire project (doing analysis outside my training or expertise) and produced the best project I could.  Based on past experience, I knew if I relied on someone who was mostly unresponsive, it would not be a good outcome. I put in the hours,  and pulled it off.  It was not perfect, but it was beyond my experience and training.  

In the process I learned two things.  How do more in-depth data analysis (I didn't take statistics or research methods in College.)  And to trust my assessment that a collaborator isn't collaborating.  

Why did he not deliver.  My experience tells me that something is going on in his personal or professional life.  I don't know if he isn't feeling well, if it is a relationship issue, a family member, but something is going on.  

Past experience, got me to this point, this experience will get me to the next.  

What has made you stronger this year?   

Monday, March 27, 2017

People Movers

I was living in Orlando, when the "New" now dated terminal was built at Orlando International Airport.  I can remember flying in and out of the old terminal - the one that started out as an Air Force hanger.  The new terminal opened in the 1980's and featured "People Movers" automated shuttles to move passengers from the central terminal to the outlying hubs with the gates on them.  The People Movers" were state of the art, fully automated, one of a kind, built by one of the aerospace contractors there in town. Ah, back in the good old days, anyone who could clear security (and they were mostly looking for drugs and guns) could go anyplace in the airport.  Small crowds would meet incoming aircraft to meet arriving passengers.  

After 30 years in service the airport is getting new People Movers.  The new ones are very like the old ones, a little more open, lighter, brighter - less seating.  The first replacements go to the oldest part of the terminal.  Replacements for the other side will come in a few years as the shuttles on that side of the terminal age-out of service.  

A new International Terminal is being built - the first new construction at the airport in about 30 years.  

What is your favorite airport? 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Five - Oh My!

So a couple of weeks ago, I took Jay over to explore the new MGM Casino across the river.  It is an impressive building, filled with interesting shops and places to eat. At 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning, it is filled with interesting people - oh-my!  We each put $5 in machines,  I cashed out $15.25 ahead after about 5 minutes, - Jay - not so much.  A whole $5 - gone.  

So a few questions: 

1: We were wandering through the shopping plaza, and a man went past us and into a men's wear store, wearing a bathrobe and slippers.  Have you ever had to go shopping in the morning before you could get dressed? 

2: Have you ever left a casino ahead? 

3: As we were heading into the Casino, a couple were coming out, he was either so tired or so drunk, he could barely walk.  Have you ever helped someone to a hotel room who could barely walk? 

4: Have you read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?" 

5: Do you believe the advertising that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?  

My Answers:

1: We were wandering through the shopping plaza, and a man went past us and into a men's wear store, wearing a bathrobe and slippers.  Have you ever had to go shopping in the morning before you could get dressed?  No, he was kind of cute, I wondered if he was buying something or trying to sell something - Oh-My! 

2: Have you ever left a casino ahead?  Yes, several times, to quote a bard, you have to "know when to walk away, know when to run!"  Oh my! 

3: As we were heading into the Casino, a couple were coming out, he was either so tired or so drunk, he could barely walk.  Have you ever helped someone to a hotel room who could barely walk?  A friend of mine got rather intoxicated as a conference five years ago, and I came to the rescue.  Oh my, it was the last time we did drunk Karaoke.  

4: Have you read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?"  Oh my, yes, make sure you are feeling mentally stable before you start this one.  

5: Do you believe the advertising that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?   Heavens no, what happens in Vegas, lives on forever on Facebook, making your friends all go "Oh My!" 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dinner Party Plans

Spo, the dear, recently posted about creating the menu for a dream dinner party.  I thought I would give it a try.  

Cocktails: Champagne 
Nibbles: Olives, and assorted cheese  
Appetizer: Cheese and Onion Tart (pictured above) 
Salad: Tomatoes, cucumbers, red-onion, and blue cheese. 
EntrĂ©e: Filet of beef (rare - to medium rare)  
Side: Saffron rice with Parmesan cheese 
Dessert: Blueberry tart (pictured above)
Afters: Eagle Rare, single barrel bourbon 

What would you make? 

Friday, March 24, 2017

What have I been reading 5th edition

I just finished The Unsettlers: In search of the good life in America, by Mark Sundeen.  Back to the land, or in search of the simple life, is nothing new.  Some of the first colonists came to North America in search of a simpler, good life.  The author tells the tales of several modern day people trying to live off the land.  The book has three primary families it talks about, the author, his wife and her family in Montana, a young couple homesteading in Missouri, and modern urban farmers in Detroit.

I have to admit from time to time, being drawn to the idea of a self sufficient life, at one time I talked about 10 acres with pigs and chickens and ducks. Kind of far fetched for a guy who hired a lawn service to mow the grass at a house on a 40 by 90 foot lot, because I didn't like the manual labor.

The tales tell of the idealism, insanity and commitment of the various families.  Having grown up 60 miles north of Detroit, I especially enjoyed the chapters about urban farming in the city.  What a struggle, and what committed people who have made a way to make it work in one of the toughest cities in the country.

The book is a little long, a little rambling and some of the character are a bit tiresome (the couple in Missouri are annoyingly committed to their cause.) For me the chapters about Detroit were the saving grace that kept me reading (I nearly deleted this one with out finishing it.)

What are you reading?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blogging Everyday

My creative energies seem to be all flowing into my work at the moment, I have sat here trying to think of creative things to write blog postings about - and I got nothing.  I don't want to break my unbroken streak of posting everyday, so I will reveal how I blog everyday. 

I create posts ahead of time and schedule them for posting automatically.  I look at the scheduled list every couple of days, and edit, moving things to different days, sometimes reverting them to draft.  Most of my postings are written and scheduled a week or two before they are posted.  I keep a backlog of partially completed draft postings, that I can draw on, when my creative energies are running low.  This posting was a draft, it started out talking about shoes, colors, and fashion,  I love the strong colors in the picture - I am re-purposing it to talk about creativity and blogging.  I tend to write 2 to 4 postings in a sitting, frequently on a weekend.  I try to keep at least a week ahead.  If I am going to be traveling, or I know an especially busy time is nearing, I try to schedule a couple of weeks worth of postings.  

For me the heart of every posting is a picture, I have about 100-gigabytes of digital photos to draw on.  A really great image, and the posting writes itself. 

My personal reason for posting everyday, was to develop my ability to write.  The discipline of turning out 7 postings a week, has made a difference.  I don't know if my postings are any better, but creating postings is certainly easier.  I will keep doing this as long as it is fun.  

How do you decide what to post? How do you create postings? 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

George Washington

Living here in the shadow of Washington DC, George figures large in local history and lore.  The hilltop that I live on, was once owned by George. 

He was many things, a legend in his own time.  The George Washington Masonic Memorial is at the end of King Street in Alexandria.  This larger than life statue is in the Memorial.  If not for the trees, I could see the memorial from my living room. 

What historical figure looms large in your neighborhood?   

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


The light was changing as I approached,  rather than speed up and jump the gap like an action movie, I slowed and stopped.  I looked and the sailboat was a way out and moving slowly.  20 years ago I would have fussed and looked for a way out. This time I put the car in park and looked at the amazing surroundings.  I have developed patience.  What's the rush.  I was headed out to look at the ocean,  something I try to do when I am in Florida.  I took the extra couple of minutes to enjoy the view.

I am learning to live life, not rush through it.  To pause and smell the roses along the way.  

What was the last thing you paused to see? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

At home Near Water

I feel most at home, near the water.  There was a creek, kind of a babbling brook that ran along the western boarder of the farm were I grew up.  When I was about 12 we had a pond excavated on the farm.  I spent a couple of weeks every summer as a kid with my Aunt and Uncle at Lake Orion, with a boat in the back yard. The first couple of winters my parents spent in Titusville, Florida, they rented a condo in the complex above on the Indian River.  I loved being there on the water.  

The Indian River is really a tidal estuary, the water is brackish, you can pass through a canal and be in the ocean within 20 miles in either direction.  At Titusville, the river is 2-3 miles wide, with the barrier island that the Kennedy Space Center sits between Titusville and the Atlantic Ocean.  

I missed the water when I lived in Kentucky.  We were a few miles from the Kentucky River, there was one local creek, but no real lakes.  There are no natural lakes in the state of Kentucky.  

Shortly after I moved to the Washington DC area, I was out on the terrace one morning, and realized that I could smell the water - I was then, as I am now, less than half-a-mile from the Potomac River.  

I have never owned a boat, I keep saying some-day. 

Do you like being near the water?   

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Questions from Facebook

Questions from Facebook:

Copy and paste, it is a long list. 
1. Are you named after someone?  
2. Last time you cried? 
3. Do you like your hand writing?
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? 
5. Favorite Soundtrack?  
6. Favorite food? 
7. Do you still have your tonsils?  
8. Would you bungee jump? 
9. What is your favorite kind of cereal?  
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? 
11. Do you think you're strong? 
12. Favorite ice cream? 
13. What is the first thing you notice about a person? 
14. Football or baseball? 
15. What color pants are you wearing?  
16. Last thing you ate?  
17. What are you watching? 
18. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? 
19. What is your favorite smell?  
20. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?  
21. Married? 
22. Hair color?  
23. Eye color? 
24. Favorite pizza toppings? 
25. Scary movies or happy endings? 
26. Last movie you watched? 
27. What color shirt are you wearing?
28. Favorite holiday?  
29. Beer or wine? 
30. Night owl or morning person?  
31. Favorite day of the week?  
32. Are you a good cook?  
33. Craziest job you've had? 
34. What food do you hate? 
35. What do you believe in? 

My Answers: 
1. Are you named after someone?  A friend of my mother
2. Last time you cried? Today, thinking about mom
3. Do you like your hand writing? No
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Ham
5. Favorite Soundtrack? Lion King
6. Favorite food? Cheese
7. Do you still have your tonsils?  Yes
8. Would you bungee jump? No
9. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Not a big cereal eater – granola
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes
11. Do you think you're strong? Yes
12. Favorite ice cream? Sea Salt Carmel Gelato
13. What is the first thing you notice about a person? Eyes
14. Football or baseball? Rugby
15. What color pants are you wearing? None
16. Last thing you ate? Pickles
17. What are you watching? Nothing
18. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red
19. What is your favorite smell? Bread baking
20. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Someone at work
21. Married? Yes,
22. Hair color? Brown 
23. Eye color? Brown
24. Favorite pizza toppings? Sausage
25. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy ending!
26. Last movie you watched? ?
27. What color shirt are you wearing? Navy Blue
28. Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving  
29. Beer or wine? Wine
30. Night owl or morning person? Morning Person
31. Favorite day of the week? Monday
32. Are you a good cook? I think so
33. Craziest job you've had? Realtor
34. What food do you hate? Cooked Greens
35. What do you believe in? Happiness is a choice

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My That Is A Big One!

One of the biggest cargo aircraft in the world, and Antonov AN-124. The 747-800 freighter displaced this as the largest freighter.  I have spotted 2 or 3 of these are airports around the world over the years. There are ramps that tilt down from the plane, you can drive a small fleet of cars and trucks inside.  

Sometimes I think about how much travel has changed over the past 100 years.  A little over 100 years ago, the fastest way from New York to Paris was 5-days by steam ship.  Today this will fly from New York to Paris in 7 or 8 hours, and can literally transport your house and all of it's contents with you (the house would have to be "sectioned" for transport.)  

I have seen some interesting aircraft over the years.  I watched them loading Queen Elizabeth's luggage into a chartered 747 one time. I was walking in the Orlando airport recently and came across two AA employees looking in awe and wonder at a plane, it was a new A 330, it's first day in service. Even the airline employees were impressed.  

What is the most interesting thing you have seen at an airport? 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pretty Birds

I never know when I explore the trails at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge what I am going to find.  Spoonbills, herons, anhingas, various ducks and alligators are most common. 

On my most recent visit I spotted this flock of white birds and stopped and zoomed in.  It is a colony of white pelicans.  Brown pelicans are much more common in this area, the white one's are a real treat.  Pretty birds.  

Have you seen any pretty birds recently?  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Talking About Unmentionables

I said in a comment recently that "life is too short to wear uncomfortable underwear," that comment drew a response that underwear would make a good blog topic.  So here I am mentioning my unmentionables.  

First off, sorry no pictures of me in my undies, this is not that kind of a blog.  If you are so inclined there is a blog that chronicles the daily underwear of a guy in New York.  There is a little bit of everything out there in blog land.  

Like most guys my age, raised in the middle of the country, my mother started me out in cheap, utilitarian white briefs.  When I was in my teens in the 1970's colors and briefer styles became available in mens' underwear.  Buying school clothes one fall, my mother either became aware of my desire for something different, or grew frustrated at my inability to make a choice in the underwear selection at Hudson's and said, "pick out what ever you want."  I did and I was liberated from tighty-whitey land.  For a decade or to I sampled colors, fabrics and cuts. Some of these were comfortable, some were not (thongs for example) but almost anything was better than bulky, cotton briefs.  

Sometime in the early 1980s I bought my first pair of Calvin Klein underwear.  They were a fly-less hipster brief, in a really great fabric, they were the most comfortable thing I had ever worn. They were pricey, a single pair cost as much as a three pack of trashy white briefs at K-Mart - but oh my god they felt great.  I continued to experiment, with colors and cuts, trying other brands, fashion boxers, jocks, and even nothing at all, but for comfort I kept going back to my Calvins. Each year I would look for the latest styles, colors and fabrics.  

In the late 1990's along came a company named Under Armour. The founder of UA was looking to create a more comfortable base layer for athletes. Comfort was the number one goal of all designs and fabric choices.  I bought my first pair of gawd-awful expensive UA boxer-briefs in basic black.  The high tech fabrics, design and craftsmanship made them the most comfortable undies I had ever owned. 

Over the past 15 years I have primarily worn UA undies.  I have tried other brands that brag about comfort or quality, but keep going back to UA for comfort and quality. I realized a few months ago that I had settled into a rut, all but three pairs that I owned were black. So this year I diversified, adding neon-green, teal, blue, maroon, and some prints into the rotation.  They are expensive, even on sale you can expect to pay $15 -$20 per pair.  To me they are worth it for two reasons, durability and comfort. I still mix up styles from time to time, at times the freedom of boxers feels just right, at the right time a jock is so sexy, and I have a handful of other brands of undies, but UA is the go to in my closet. 

I think a lot of men are hung up worrying what other people would think if they wore anything other than basic uncomfortable underwear.  Well life is to short to worry about what others might think, life is too short to wear uncomfortable underwear.  

So tell us about your unmentionables?  


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Warning Signs

Life is a little hectic of late.  I had deadlines on three major projects all within 10 days. A couple of these projects included collaborators, who haven't been collaborating.  The plan was for these things to be spread out over four weeks, but I was out almost two weeks in February with mom's death. Add to this, the Metro Rail system is doing "Major Rebuilding" on my line - to minimize time spent waiting for overcrowded trains, I am working three extra long days in the office (10-11 hours) and telecommuting the rest of the week.  I am surprised by how impacted emotionally I am by mom's death.  

The warning signs are here - someone emailed asking how I was doing and I found myself getting emotional in the office responding to the email (being honest in my answer.)  I find myself irritated by things that normally wouldn't bother me.  I wonder if it is time to think about retirement.  I fantasize about booking a trip and going away - today. I am getting close to a double red flag there.  

It is time for a little self care.  Time to take a day and do what I want to do.  Time to sleep in, or go to sleep early.  Time to let the emotions and feeling flow as they need to - time to heal. Time for me to cook and bake and feel creative.  Time to control the music and other things that enter my psyche.  Time to restore balance in my life.  

What are the warning flags in your life? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Do you remember perspective drawing exercises in school?  What is nearer appears larger, larger items father away appear smaller, and lines coming together as they near the horizon.  I remember trying to draw a road narrowing into the horizon.  Drawing was never my skill, now that I better understand how my weird brain works it is a visual spacial issue - the same reason I am crap at parking a car - but learning the theory made a difference in my life. Later when I studied photography - perspective was one of the typical skill drills. I remember taking photographs of the train tracks in North Branch, Michigan for one class and getting B on the assignment.  The fence and sidewalk above are a much better image.  

What can we learn about life from art? Perspective is not just a visual concept.  The issues that are nearest in our minds appear larger than they are.  I spend to much of my day dealing with the near issue, and I loose sight of the bigger issue on the horizon.  We spend too much time dealing with the close by problem, and not enough looking down the path to prevent the problems of tomorrow or next week that look small and distant today. 

Step back, take time to see the big picture - see the world in perspective.  

What did you learn from studying art in school? 

Monday, March 13, 2017

What have I been reading 4th Edition

I just finished "Smartcuts: The Breakthrough in Lateral Thinking," by Shane Snow.  The book discusses the importance of building on the success of others (don't bother reinventing the wheel,) the importance of mentors or champions, the importance of knowing when to get in and when to get out, and the concept that a major change - making something 10 times better - is easier than a small incremental improvement - making something 10% better. I am glad I read the book, yet it left me wanting more.  I was hoping for specific tips on lateral thinking, and the book is more philosophy or theory of lateral thinking.  It is an easy read - good for resetting my thinking on my daily commute.  

What are you reading this week?  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Five- The Barnyard

As I have explained, I was raised on a funny farm, we didn't have traditional livestock or grow conventional crops.  At the same time, I grew up surrounded by wonderful family farms, and I have to admit I have a real soft spot for historic farming. One of my reasons for visiting Mt. Vernon 10 or more times a year is to see what is growing in the gardens and to take pictures of the livestock.  When I was in Kentucky last month, we visited Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg.  Shaker Village has a very nice historic farming operation, when I lived near there I maintained an annual membership.  

So a few barnyard questions: 

1: Is the chicken above a hen or a rooster? 
2: Can you tell what kind of farm animal is in the pasture by seeing the manure? 
3: Have you ever eaten fresh vegetables that you have grown yourself? 
4: Do you buy free range eggs or the cheapest in the supermarket? 
5:  Have you ever driven a tractor in a farm field? 

My answers:
1: Is the chicken above a hen or a rooster?  He was a very proud rooster, he should be a daddy in a few weeks - he was staying "busy" the day we visited. 

2: Can you tell what kind of farm animal is in the pasture by seeing the manure? Most of the time, yes. 

3: Have you ever eaten fresh vegetables that you have grown yourself? Yes, not for a long time.  

4: Do you buy free range eggs or the cheapest in the supermarket? 
I buy free-range, preferably from a local small farmer.  They cost more, taste better, and I know the hens have had a better life. 

5:  Have you ever driven a tractor in a farm field?  Oh yes, a giant four-wheel-drive monster in a 100 acre wheat field in Colorado - 40+ years later it still thrills me to think about it.  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Don't tell Anyone About This Place

Please don't tell anyone about the Blue Door Smokehouse in Lexington, Kentucky, but if you are within 50 100 miles of the place, it is very much worth waiting in line to get in.  

You order at the counter and give them your name, and hope that one of the handful of tables is open - if not carry it out and find someplace to eat it, it is so good it won't take long to devour.  

You must order the Brisket - there are great combos that include the Brisket, but if you miss the Brisket - well don't bother stopping.  The Pulled Pork was the tenderest and most flavorful I have had in years, I don't know how they get it that good without drying it out.  The Brisket is fork tender, with a great smoke ring, and wonderful flavor.  Sides are BBQ standards, a house made red-skin potato salad, creamy or vinegar slaw, beans, and greens.  I tried the potato salad - good - and clearly made in house, and creamy slaw.  Jay tried the greens and declared them WONDERFUL (I don't understand cooked greens - I don't know why anyone wants to eat boiled leaves.)  The place is sort of semi-self serve. It is all about the smoked meats - and if our experience was typical, this place will have people waiting to get in for as long as it wants.  

The staff is talented with beards and tattoos. 

If Diners Drive Ins and Dives hears about this place, it will be off the hook.  Please don't tell anyone about this place, I would like to be able to get in when I am back in town. 

What is your latest discovery for unexpectedly great food? 

Friday, March 10, 2017


I was raised on a Funny Farm, we called it a Honey Farm, it was a farm with no seeds, or fertilizer, the livestock were bugs.  My Grandfather on my father's side, started keeping bees as a kid, his family was scratching out a living on a farm in Illinois near St Louis.  When he found bees in a hollow tree, he was able to capture the swarm, move it into a hive and bring in honey for his family.  He almost always kept bees.  For decades the bees were a side business.  Eventually he left the factory, and kept bees full time.  

My father grew up with bees being a part of the normal livestock in the back yard, right next to the chickens (my father grew up in the suburbs of Detroit.)  My father helped his father with the bees.  Eventually the bees caused to many complaints from neighbors in the city, and during World War II, my grandfather bought 80 acres about 60 miles north in the very-rural Michigan.  In the mid 1950's my parents moved out to the farm.  A couple of years later, my father bought several hundred hives of bees, and joined his father in business.  At one time, they had about 2,000 hives.  That is a lot of bees.  

I started working in the bees, and in the extracting plant - known as the honey house, when I was 12.  I have been filing tax returns since I was 14.  After my grandfather retired I worked with my mother in the honey house.  We would start in late July and go 7 days a week until school started, then I would work weekends until the we were finished about the end of September.  

None of my siblings wanted to take over the farm.  My parents sold out and retired in 1982.  When we were making funeral arrangements for my mother the funeral director asked what we wanted to list her profession as.  We talked about retired, or homemaker, or store clerk, or print shop layout designer, and beekeeping.  We settled on beekeeper.  She was good at it, she worked with my father for about 15 years.    

Bees are a part of my heritage. If we had a family crest, bees would need to be on it.  

What is profession is a part of your heritage? 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I am

We are who we think we are, positive or negative.  If I think negative things about myself, I am more likely to have a negative experience, if I think positive things, I am more likely to have a positive experience.  I can't change reality by thinking alternative facts.  But I can change how I react to the facts.  Is it a disaster, or an opportunity?  Every hour we think - maybe even say aloud a self description.  I want to focus on the positive ones.  Hence a short list of "I am" statements. 

I am happy. 
I am wonderfully busy.
I am a person who enjoys an adventure. 
I am a person who enjoys travel. 
I am loved and I love others. 
I am proud of who I am. 
I am a person who has learned a lot and has much left to learn. 
I am happy to be able to move and be active.
I define healthy as being able to move as I wish and experience the world around me. 
I am comfortable in my skin. 
I am a reader.
I am a person who enjoys music.

Who are you today?  

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


Isn't she pretty, the sunlight on her face, the natural color in her face and ears?  

Simple beauty, no make-up, no fussing over her hair, no obsessing over clothes.  

Today I will look for the simple beauty in people around me, people who are as comfortable in their being as she is.  

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Facing Into The Wind

It was a very windy day at the beach, 15-20 mile per hour winds out of the north, the shore birds were lined up facing into the wind.  Facing the challenge head on.  You see if they turn sideways to the wind, that much wind would blow them sideways, if they turn their back to the wind, the wind will blow under their feathers and they get cold, when the face the wind, the wind flows over their feathers, and they stand strong and tall. 

What wind is blowing at your life today?  Are you facing into it, or letting it get under your feathers?  

Monday, March 06, 2017


During one of the recent trips to Florida I slipped away one afternoon to explore the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area. I had not been there in about 30 years. Tosohatchee is about 5 miles south west of Christmas Florida. It has changed a lot in the past 30 years, a large track of additional land was added a few years ago. The trails / roads have been expanded and improved - though they are still sand and crushed rock.  

Two Sandhill Cranes were in the middle of the road.  As I slowly approached, they moved faster, seeming to not want to be passed.  Eventually the pair went off the side of road into the grass.  I rolled the window down and was able to get several great photographs as I passed.  What pretty birds.  

Do you enjoy a slow drive in the wilderness? 

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Sunday Five

Five questions about breakfast.  When I travel I enjoy eating breakfast.  At home it is quick and simple, when I travel it may be the major meal of the day.  Only one answer for each!

1: In an omelet Cheddar or Swiss cheese? 

2: Eggs, scrambled, over-easy, or hard boiled? 

3: Grits or Hash-brown-potatoes? 

4: Bagel or English Muffin? 

5: Pancakes or Waffles? 

My answers:

1: In an omelet Cheddar or Swiss cheese?  Cheddar - I am a huge cheddar fan 

2: Eggs, scrambled, over-easy, or hard boiled?  - Over easy most of the time - I like them runny. 

3: Grits or Hash-brown-potatoes? Hash-browns. 

4: Bagel or English Muffin? English Muffin, I will eat a bagel, but I don't really understand why people like them. 

5: Pancakes or Waffles?  Waffles. 

And Yes, I bought the shirt! 

Saturday, March 04, 2017

What Have I Been Reading 3rd Edition

I just finished devouring Best Food Writing 2016 edited by Holly Hughs. It is an annual collection of essays and articles about food.  It was really very good, as an anthology should be, a collection of the best in the arena.  The selections include everything from confessions of a professional eater (restaurant critic) who loves to eat junk food, to a review of box or food kits (didn't like them,) to a day long tasting of 24 vintage bourbons, and an ode to the American Diner.  

If you love to eat, and love to travel, I recommend you try this sampler of great writing.  The chapters are short - making it an ideal read for 5 minutes here and there.  It is available in print and as an E-Book for Kindle.  

So what are you reading this week? 

Friday, March 03, 2017

Travel Plans 2017

All of a sudden travel planning for 2017 is kicking into high gear.  Here is what currently is planned:

January - Florida to visit family and friends - most of them were a mess, Blitz the wonder Dog has lost weight and looks great. 

February - Back to Florida for dying family 

February - long weekend in Kentucky visiting my sweet husband

February - back to Florida for mom's funeral 

March - Chicago for a one day conference on end of life 

April - Boston for a conference 

May - Chicago for a long weekend break - hubby has a conference 

June - I have a board meeting in Newport Rhode Island - Hubby is going with me 

November - Conference and board meeting in Newport Beach, California, with a planned side trip to San Diego to see Fearless and via Phoenix to see Dr. Spo and Someone (I said I would add some personal days onto work travel this year.) 

My father is also a hospice patient, so there will likely be another trip or more to Florida.  

The picture above? When the going gets tough I think of the wonderful places I have been, and the places I want to see.  I am building up frequent flyer miles for 2018.  

Where are you going this year? What are your most memorable adventures? Where do you dream about going?  

Thursday, March 02, 2017

I Always Wanted To Do That!

My father had an appointment with his cardiologist on Monday.  It was time to check the battery in his pacemaker and listen to her lecture him yet again about taking better care of himself - at 89 years of age.  My father has never been a big fan of doctors, he hates hospitals and has an even lower opinion of nursing homes.  I never really realized how sarcastic my father could be until the Thanksgiving a decade ago that he was in the hospital waiting for his first pacemaker to be installed.  

He goes to the doctors - because they have so far kept him alive. But he also knows that his adventure is nearing an end.  He has metastasizing lung cancer, a weak spot in his aorta, and his kidneys are barely able to keep him functioning.  In consultation with various doctors he has chosen to not treat any of these, the treatments would dramatically lessen his quality of life, and he would be unlikely to survive the treatments.  I fully support his choice, he knows what he is doing and what it means.  

So my sister takes him to the cardiologist.  His appointment is for 11:00 AM, they ask him to be there by 10:30 so the tech can check the pacemaker before he sees the doctor.  They arrive at 10:15, within 10 minutes they take him in and check his pacemaker.  Good news, it appears to be functioning well and he has over a year left on the battery.  He sends my sister the waiting room and goes back to wait for the doctor.  About 11:20 he comes out to the waiting room, goes into the toilet for minute. When he comes out he says to my sister - lets go.  She asks him, what did the doctor say?  He says, she didn't, I am tired of waiting.  Nothing the doctor is going to is going to change anything, I have waited long enough.  

In the car on the way to lunch, he looked at my sister and said, "I always wanted to do that!"  

Have you ever gotten tired of waiting and walked out?       

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Beach Bodies in Florida

While watching and waiting, in the old neighborhood I engaged in a couple of little afternoon diversions.  A little something to get me out of the house for a couple of hours, I decided to go in search of beach bodies in the sun.  

In doing so I checked something off my bucket list, I went for an airboat ride. An Airboat is a flat bottom boat with an aircraft type propeller on the back that skips over the surface, they move well in swampy or shallow waters. 

I had never ridden on an airboat before.   I have driven past the docks at Midway on the St Johns River a thousand times, and never stopped. I did recently, and it was great fun.  It was warm, but windy, very very very windy.  The sun was starting to peak through the clouds.  We went south from State Road 50, around a few bends in the river and slowed for the packed beach. Oh, my! There were 18 adult gators on the beach at this one point, and 5 more on the opposite shore.  

The ride was $40 for one hour, reservations are recommended. The driver provided a good narration.  We saw several species of birds, including an adult Bald-Eagle (sorry the pictures didn't come out.) I would do it again, maybe on a less windy day.  

Gators, a side story.  When I was a gym-rat in Orlando a gym friend was having a affair with a woman who was married to a man who worked at gator farm. Apparently the husband figured his wife was screwing around and with whom. The young body builder was met in a parking lot and spent a few minutes locked in a gator cage on the farm (kidnapping is such a dirty word - but yes he was abducted from a parking lot.) He was allowed to leave with his body parts intact after promising to NEVER screw around with another married woman.  I suspect he has kept that promise. 

Would you go for a ride to this beach?