Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Well That Worked

I don't talk about my work on my blog, if I do, my employer technically owns the blog content  - so I will skip specifics.  I spend about 1/3 of my work life organizing and producing a national conference on aging.  It was last week.  And, well, it seemed to work well.  The agenda stretches over three days and includes 30 workshops, 4 plenary sessions, and a full day in-depth pre-conference.  Attendance was between 250 and 260 people.  Not huge, but enough to work.  

As always there were a few challenges - a couple of elevators broke down, one persons hotel reservations were terribly messed up, but more things went well than went wrong.  The audio visual service was wonderful, the AV technician was the best I have ever worked with.  The food was good, plentiful and on time.  The speakers started and ended on time - for the most part.  At one point I did find myself in the front row, holding up a time-is-up sign, to a Cabinet Secretary - as in one of the people who has the President's cell phone number on speed dial.  He was nice about it and wrapped up within a couple of minutes of his scheduled finish time. 

I have a history with this conference.  About 15 years ago when another organization was planning it, I tried to join the planning committee.  The planner thought that was a good idea, but the planning committee rejected the idea of an outsider joining the planning committee. A few years later I changed jobs, going to work for one of the organizations that rejected change, and ended up with a seat at the table. Seven years ago the organization that hosted the conference for over a decade dropped it.  I orchestrated a deal for another host, a deal that fell apart after 3 years, and I somehow convinced my boss to let me take on the project.  I was given a budget of $0, and told if I could make it pay for itself, I could do it.  I now chair the planning committee that rejected me. And much to my the disdain of several people, I have a big tent policy, if you want to join my planning committee, just ask.  I still have no dedicated funding, but I have turned the conference from a money looser, to one that pays for itself, and pays for a chunk of my time to produce it.  There is no reason why conferences should loose money.  

I heard once that the best revenge is living well, in this case, revenge was making a success of the project, by doing it my way.      

Monday, October 30, 2017

On the Beaten Path

I enjoy getting off the beaten path, seeing things that are not swarmed with tourists.  But, sometimes, the beaten path is worth the crowds.  

What sight is most worth the crowd in your town? 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Your Tips for Living a Better Life - the Sunday Five

I attended a good briefing on dementia and brain health the other day, presented by an international expert and a dear friend.  In the end they offered a few suggestions for preserving cognitive function - inspiration for this weeks Sunday five. 

1: What is your advice for eating healthier? 
2: How often do you go for a nice walk? 
3: How much sleep do you get on an average night?
4: How do you blow off steam and reduce stress? 
5: Do you feel obligated to partake in social engagements with people you don't like? 

My answers: 
1: What is your advice for eating healthier?  All things in moderation, my biggest challenge is not what I eat, but how much. 
2: How often do you go for a nice walk? I make it to the gym 5 or 6 times a week for 30 minutes of movement. 
3: How much sleep do you get on an average night?  About 7.5 hours, after I had my spine rebuilt, I had trouble sleeping through the night, I recently slept for 9.5 hours without chemical assistance or interruption - it was bliss.  
4: How do you blow off steam and reduce stress? Hmm, I am not very good at this, I have been known to pound my head against the wall.  
5: Do you feel obligated to partake in social engagements with people you don't like?  I try to avoid this, sometimes it is business or family, but frequently I'd sooner spend time alone.  Time spent with myself, is time spent with someone I like, someone who understands me.  

Your answers: 

Saturday, October 28, 2017


Last weekend I took a little break and did a little sightseeing on King Street.

Did you take a moment to notice the joys of nature around you this week?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Breaking the Rules

I started laughing when I read this sign in a hotel fitness center.  Now I know I am a rather large guy, (aka a fat man) but I do 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer or treadmill five or six times a week.  My doctor was not as concerned about my weight, as she was happy about my being active.  

Discontinue use at the first signs of stress.  Isn't putting yourself under a little bit of stress an essential of getting enough exercise to do improve? 

Do not use alone - that explains why a lot of gym members never go.  

I have no doubt the lawyers wrote this sign.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Front the Airbus

I have very-very rarely ridden up front, business or first class.  At times some airlines offer the option to buy and upgrade at the gate, and I have done that a couple of times, and I think twice I was moved to first class to solve a seating or balance issue for the airline.  I should ride up more often in 2018.  I have flown enough on one airline to earn "Status" in their frequent flyer program.  This brings earlier boarding, and free or low cost first class upgrades on a space available basis.  On my most recent trip, I was moved to first class on the first leg.  And the seat next to me was empty.  

I have to admit I felt a little out of place, unsure how to respond to the polite offers of service and attention.  I think I can get use to it.  

Once you make status, it is easier to keep it, I only need to fly 60% as much next year, as I did this year, to stay in the front of the bus for 2019.  

I do like the larger seats.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dear Santa

Let Me Explain Adult

Dear Santa:
It has been a rough year, I have tried to be nice, I really have. 

Yes, I have told a couple of people that they were screwing up big time, but they were. 

Yes, I played hardball with one of my brothers when he tried to force us to sell him Dad's house out of the estate for  60% of what it was worth - it was hard being rude to him - but he was trying to steal from the other three of us. 

Yes, I have been disrespectful to Donny at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but, I don't know as that one requires an explanation.  Be kind to him, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. 

Yes, I have been grumpy from time to time this year.  Sorry, it has been a stress filled year.  I will try to be better in the future.

Yes, I have had impolite thoughts about Metro Rail, I may even have voiced them.  At times it would be handy to have 8 tiny flying reindeer. 

Yes, I have written 3 letters complaining about poor service, including one to my late father's cable company complaining about them wishing him happiness in his new home after he died. One of the three appears to have made a difference.

Yes, I gave up on the bank that I have been with for 24 years.  I morn the loss of bankers who knew what they were doing, and who admitted when they didn't know something. 

I promise to do better next year, one day at a time, one moment at a time.  Next year has to be better, I am running out of older family members. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Style, long sweeping lines, timeless beauty.  What is being built today, that will look this wonderful 50 years from now?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Another Farewell

Cousin Bill died last week.  He was the eldest son of my paternal grandfather's youngest brother.  Really the only one of my fathers cousins that we stayed in contact with over the years.  

Bill was the life of the party. He was well traveled, and well loved. He was a successful business man - he sold the business and retired about a decade ago.  He split his time between condos in Florida and Michigan.  He has three adult children, who I have fallen out of contact with. (I need to work on that.)  Janice is his 3rd (I think) wife.  

He developed a brain tumor in the frontal lobe two or three years ago.  The advice was to not do surgery because of the location unless it got really bad.  It did get bad, impacting vision, hearing, balance and movement.  He went ahead with surgery over the summer, and never recovered.  It was high risk surgery because of the location of the tumor, he was willing to take the risk.  

Bill was the life of the party, a role he learned from his father before him.  

He is missed.  I am running out of family members to die. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Phones - the Sunday Five

John over at Going Gently recently mentioned finding the phone number of a friend from 12 years ago, sending a text and much to his surprise getting a reply. Inspiration enough for this weeks Sunday Five questions.  

1: How many phone numbers do you have? 
2: What number have you had the longest? 
3: How long have you had it? 
4: How long have you had the same cell or mobile number? 
5: Have you ever changed your phone number to escape someone calling you? 

My answers: 
1: How many phone numbers do you have? - home - cell- office - the other house - so four. 
2: What number have you had the longest? the other house
3: How long have you had it? Since 1995 = 22 years
4: How long have you had the same cell or mobile number? Since 1997 - 20 years this fall 
5: Have you ever changed your phone number to escape someone calling you? No, I have known people who have. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Trying to keep it all in perspective

It has been a challenging year, and recently I have encountered more than the usual level of incompetence.  And it is a stressful time, a major project that I work on all year, is reaching it's conclusion next week - a year's work resting on the shoulders of people who don't live up to my standards of getting it right and on time.  

I have been dealing with bankers and stock brokers - a lot - on changing some personal accounts and on Dad's estate.  Financial institutions have to deal with crooks, so they now treat everyone like a criminal.  They say it is for "your protection" but it is really the bank trying to protect themselves from the the 1 in a 1000 people who are trying to cheat.  So they treat everyone like a cheat.  Case in point, I went online to order checks for one of the estate accounts, I notice that the mailing address was incorrect on that account (one of three linked accounts with the same institution - it was the only one with the street name spelled incorrectly.)  So I corrected the address before ordering checks.  I get an error message that I need to call customer service on the check order.  I call, and I am told that they can't print checks for 30 days because of a recently changed the address on the account - I explain that I corrected the address, look at the two linked accounts - look at what the street address was before and what it is now - I fixed the institutions data entry error.  Sorry - that is the rule "for your protection."  I was less than kind for moment.  She then explained the back-door bypass around the policy - the checks will be here next week. Some days it would be easier to ignore all the rules and look for all of the bypass back door work arounds. 

When things go like this, I get frustrated, then angry, than grumpy. 

I have to stop and put it all in perspective. 

It is only money.
It is only work.
It is only time. 
It is only silly rules. 
It is seldom personal - they are not doing this to frustrate me. 
Nothing tried to hunt me down and eat me.  
My head didn't explode. 
I didn't hurt anyone.
I didn't make anyone cry (this time.)

The next time - I will know how to find the back-door. 
Ten years from now I won't remember most of this.  
On my death bed none of this will matter.  

Is it idiot season, or is it just me? 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Small Town USA

I was raised in the middle of nowhere.  About 3 miles southwest of North Branch, Michigan (google it.)  This is downtown North Branch two  Saturdays' ago at about 1:30 in the afternoon.  Kind of quiet, eh? Lot of easy parking. 

I opened my first checking account in the bank, back when it was Pioneer State Bank.  I was 15, I didn't have a drivers license, but I had a checking account.  For the first year, the account didn't have an account number, none of the banks accounts did.  The Federal Reserve forced the bank to start using account numbers, under threat that the Fed wouldn't processing checks if they didn't.  I remember the letter from the bank, explaining that we would always be a person, not a number to them.  

I fled North Branch shortly after I finished High School.  There was nothing to keep me there.  I really don't understand why most of the people that stayed, stayed.  Origin is not destiny.  But then maybe I am the one who has failed to put down roots.  Despite the easy parking, I can't imagine living there at this point in life. 

What is your hometown like? 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blue Water

The great lakes are unsalted and shark free.  Fresh water has a different color than salt water.  At Port Huron, Lake Huron empties into the St Claire River.  All of the water feeding the lower great lakes passes through this narrow channel, creating a swift current.  The current runs south, the wind was to the north, a very fast wind, creating a turbulent eddy.  Really quite amazing to see.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

All Alone Waiting for It's Master to Return

I changed planes at LaGuardia recently (what a dump) and sitting there on the side of the airport, gathering dust and looking all sad and neglected was Trump's personal airplane.  It looked like a puppy sitting watch on the side of the runway, waiting for it's master to return.  A sad sight, I hope he returns to it soon. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

When Travel for Business is the Business

I travel for work, from time to time, but there are people for whom travel is the work they do.  Airline staff, long distance truck drivers, train crews, and ship crews.  While I generally enjoy traveling for work, would I enjoy it as much if my work was traveling?  Would being away from home over night for work, make me more or less rooted in a place?  Would I look forward to dawn in a new place?  

The picture above, was taken under the Bluewater Bridge.  The bridge connects Port Huron Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario. This is the transition point where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River. The current in the river was surprising, in a future post you will see how the bridge gets it's name. 

Have you ever traveled as work? 

Monday, October 16, 2017

This is for Spo

So, I finally tried Tim Hortons. There are none near where I live, but they are plentiful in Michigan.  

It was later afternoon, early evening.  I ordered a frozen hot-chocolate, a ham and swiss, and we split a box of TimBits.  

It was good. The frozen-hot chocolate was tasty and just what I needed to settle my digestion.  The sandwich was fresh and well made.  The TimBits are lite and flavorful  My guess would be  a yeast based doughnut.  They didn't have they heavy greasiness that many doughnut holes, have.  

The menu is a bit hard to follow for a first timer, the counter staff was very helpful.  Yes, I would go back.  

Have you tried Tim Hortons? 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Dawn of a New Day

Just as the sun sets, it rises each day.  This weeks Sunday Five is about how we greet the rising sun.

1: Are you more or a morning person or a night owl? 
2: Why do you set a morning alarm? 
3: Do you find it easy to roll over and go back to sleep in the morning? 
4: If you didn't need to be someplace, what time would you get up in the morning? 
5: Do you usually get up in the middle of the night? 

My answers: 
1: Are you more or a morning person or a night owl?  I am more of a morning person, I like going to bed at the time night owls are just heading out. 
2: Why do you set a morning alarm?  I only do this, if I have an early meeting or flight - I seldom set an alarm. 
3: Do you find it easy to roll over and go back to sleep in the morning?  Not me, once I am awake, I am usually awake for the day. 
4: If you didn't need to be someplace, what time would you get up in the morning?  About 6:30 AM. Year's of habit. 
5: Do you usually get up in the middle of the night?  No, I seldom do.  

Your answers? 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I have met her, it is true!

I have a few slightly out there family members, some of them are crazy and don't know it, some revel in the fact that they are a few bricks short of a balanced load.  His wife bought him the shirt.  Self understanding and self acceptance are a wonderful thing. 

Any crazies in your family? 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sexual Harassment

There is a major sexual harassment case in the news.  It triggered a bit of a PTSD flashback for me.    

I was sexually harassed.  I was the court appointed attorney, the court appointed social worker on the case made unwelcome, repeated, indecent and repulsive sexual advances on me. I was unbelievably upset by it.  I tried talking to my supervisor (this happened in the course of my work) and was basically laughed out of her office, and told to suck-it-up and finish the case.  I finished the case, but the harassment left me feeling powerless, demeaned, angry and depressed.  No one should ever be made to feel that way in the course of their work.  

Take the survivors seriously.  They have been hurt in ways that no one else can ever understand.  The only way to stop harassment is to speak up, to stand up, to tell the harasser that their behavior is wrong, if not criminal.  

The social worker went on to continue harassing others, it was two or three years before the SW was fired and license was revoked.  Maybe if I had spoken up louder, maybe if I had been taken seriously by my boss, others would have been spared.   

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I'm was late, how ironic!

I was in Michigan last weekend for the interment of the cremated remains of my parents and my one and only Uncle.  I made plans weeks ago, airline, rental car and hotel reservations.  The family plot is in a cemetery in a remote area, a mile further down the unpaved road from where I grew up.  I was staying the nearest major civilization, about an hour's drive away.  I had allowed an hour and a half for the one hour drive, abiding by my mother's maxim that if you were not 15 minutes early, you were late.  That was so engrained in me that I obsessed over it for 50 years.  I have gotten better, but it is a hard obsession to break. 

We left the hotel with plenty of time, and I missed a turn, and didn't realize that I had missed the turn, for 45 minutes, at 70 miles per hour.  I was looking for my exit, and realized I was miles from where I needed to be.  I got off the expressway at the next exit, turned on Ms Garmin and realized I was 56 miles away, with about 45 minutes to be on time.  I was going to be late, to my mother's funeral, the the burial of the person who gave me the obsession about being on time.  

I took the most direct route, probably pushed the speed limit a little.  Had J send my sister a couple of text messages, that we would be about 10 minutes late.  As I rounded the last corner, my cousin, my one and only uncles, one and only child, went zooming by, pulling into the cemetery right before me. For Lysle it was kind of expected.  His parents were always fashionable late, much to my mother's chagrin. In years gone by my mother would have killed me for being late to a funeral, being late to hers - how ironic. 

Once everyone was in place, things started soon after I arrived.  All went well.  No one died because Lysle and I were 15 minutes late.  

Have you ever been late for a funeral? 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stepping Around the Issue

I have reached the point where I want people to ask me what they want from me?  I can try to guess, but all too often I am wrong.  We waste a lot of time trying to figure out what others want us to do, if they would ask, they would get a correct yes or no answer.  Making me guess, leaves us both at a disadvantage wastes the precious time we have on earth.  

It sometimes takes guts to ask, guts well spent if you get the answer you want, and well spent if you know you are not going to get it, and need to make other plans.  

Are you often honest and direct in asking for what you want? 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Flighted Water Birds

I do like aquatic birds.  I am not sure what this one is, it was fishing in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  

Monday, October 09, 2017

Rip Currents

The most recent time I was in Florida, I was thinking about a trip to the beach.  The water is warm at this time of the year, I was kind of looking forward to a nice soak in the ocean.  I looked at the weather while doing my daily duty on the treadmill and there were warnings about rough surf and dangerous rip current.  A rip current is a very strong current that flows out from the beach, dragging swimmers with it.  There was a storm far off shore headed north, that was causing dangerous conditions along the coast.  I opted out of going into the water.  

I was standing on a raised walkway over the dunes, watching the guy above trying to get out of the water.  He would stand up, and the get knocked down and drug backwards into the surf.  He would get his footing and start to move toward the beach, and seconds later he would be 25 feet out into deeper water.  Now the water he was in was little more than knee deep, but the rip current kept knocking him off his feet.  He was in trouble.  I was about empty my pockets and make a dash for the surf, when his family finally decided to help him.  It took a couple of people to get him stable on his feet and moving toward the sand. He sat there in sand, they rolled his oxygen tank over to him. Ten minutes later, he was wading back into the water.  


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Travel Five

This weeks Sunday Five are five travel questions:

1: Where have you not been, that you want to go soon? 
2: What is you favorite airline? 
3: Carry on or checked bags? 
4: Have you taken an overnight train journey? 
5: Swamp or desert? 

My answers: 
1: Idaho and Wyoming, the last two states for me to visit
2: Air France, I seldom fly them, but have fond memories 
3: I almost always check a bag, why not? 
4: No, and I think I want to 
5: I know I have lived in the swamp much of my life, the desert makes my heart go pitter-pat! 

Your answers? 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

At The Airport

Several times I have refreshed my long neglected high school french, for trips.  For years I used a cassette tape of "French At a Glance."  One of the chapters on the tape was "at the airport."  

The airport experience has changed over the past 25 years.  The focus of security has changed from looking drug traffickers and people wanted to go to Cuba (and take everyone on board along for the ride) to discouraging terrorists.  And like a lot of things in life, we have had to adjust to the "new normal."  There are also things you can do to make the airport experience easier. 

First, in the USA, sign up for Pre-Check.  Yes it costs a little money, and yes you have to provide the government with your personal information.  But once you do, security gets a bit easier. Leave your shoes on, leave your jacket on, no need to take your lap-top out.  I signed up for Global Entry, Global includes Pre-Check and adds to it an automated express lane at Customs and Immigration.  And several other countries honor Global Entry - saving me time and steps if I happen to travel through those countries. 

Second, check a bag.  Carry on bags create a hassle at security, boarding and disembarkation (getting off the plane.)   Yes, most airlines charge $25 each way to check a bag, but there are ways around that.  I have two airline credit cards, that I pay an annual free of less than $100 each for, that gives me free checked bags and priority (earlier) boarding zones on those airlines.  The cards also have special airline customer service numbers that connect me to a person faster and generally to a customer service person with more experience and authority.  When we are having a bad day, that can really help.  I would drop one of those two as most of my travel is on one airline these days, but that card in an American Express card, and if I dropped the airline affiliation I would pay the same price, for a card that "I won't leave home without." 

Third, be prepared for security.  I stop before I get in line and empty my pockets, putting my wallet, keys, phone and such in my shoulder bag.  I take off my belt and put it in the bag, the buckle will set off some of the metal detectors.  If I am going through the body scanners (an airport without a dedicated Pre-Check line) I take EVERYTHING out of my pockets, and I am not surprised if I get patted down.  My body is oddly shaped and frequently triggers being felt up.  If you know you are going to have to take off your shoes, be prepared, if you know you need to take off your coat, do so before you get in line - stuff it in your shoulder bag.   

Fourth, arrive at the airport on time.  On time at most airports is two hours before flight time on domestic flights and three hours on international flights.  Longer than this is better.  If things go smoothly you have time to relax, have a nice meal, maybe do a little shopping.  If things do not go well, you are not running to catch your flights.  Generally flights start boarding 30 minutes before departure (45 minutes for international and larger planes - maybe a little less for small commuter jets at smaller airports.) You need to be there when the plane starts boarding.  

Things will go wrong, I have had security shut down check in for 30 minutes because of a suspicious shape in someone luggage.  I have had the airport shuttle bus be 30 minutes late.  I have had security lines that took an hour.  I have had the person in front of my at check in or security take 20 minutes for what I did in two minutes.  It happens, if you are on time (ie: early) it will all be okay.  If you are late, and you miss your flight and the airlines will not be helpful  Your being late is not a reason for others to panic or go out of their way to help you. 

I am not a fan of TSA, but I have learned to do things their way and things go much smoother when I do.  

What is your tip for easier travel?   

Friday, October 06, 2017

Along the Shore

A trip to Florida, and I have made a lot of them, is never complete without a few minutes along the Atlantic shore. 

What is your must see, when visiting your most frequent destination? 

Thursday, October 05, 2017


So how did these storks survive the hurricane?  How did they huddle down to avoid being blown away and not end up in water over their heads?  I really don't know, but I know they did it, because here they are.  I saw two gatherings of storks in Florida on my post hurricane visit.  

Does my instinct tell me how to weather the storms in my life?  

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

From a Friend posted to Facebook this Morning

Michael Amoruso's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person

JET BLUE: Please train your front line staff at JFK that when they see a person with a Seeing Eye Dog it means that the person is blind and your staff should use more descriptive phrases such as "the counter is on your left" or "your luggage goes on the conveyor belt on your right" INSTEAD OF SAYING TO ME "go over there" or "bring your luggage over to oversized" (with no description of where I can find where that area is) - apparently pointing. Next, please train your staff on the handicapped phone line to enter into your computer system that I am traveling with a service dog (after I inform them on the call) so I do not have to face the repeated humiliation at your ticket counter from an exasperated staffer as to WHY I need a dog anyway since the boarding pass does not specify a service animal - it is not for me to justify my existence but for you to justify why I should choose to continue to fly Jet Blue as a blind man. RANT OVER.

Trump Makes Me Laugh

I was on the treadmill in the gym the other afternoon, (I know, just imagine what I would look like if I didn't do my half hour of good work 5 or 6 days a week?)  I plugged in my headphones and turned the TV on and Trump was speaking about the agonizingly slow federal response to the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico. 

Out of his mouth came, "it is an island, surrounded by water, big water, like an ocean!"  I laughed out loud, heads turning in the gym to see what I laughing at.  I couldn't help myself, the nature of an island is it is surrounded by water.  Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, we have known where it is at for a long time.  We have one of the largest Navys in the world, we seem to be able to put a battle group off the coast of North Korea, faster than we can save the lives of Americans 1031 miles from the Miami. (Google is amazing, I guessed 1,000 miles and a quick search gives me the answer - someone should teach the White House staff how to fact check.)  

Back in January I read the new administrations' two pages of goals, at the bottom of the second page was "Drain the Swamp."  The swamp is getting worse, you need a chartered private jet to get out of it fast enough these days, or at least that is what a bunch of executive branch appointees seem to think.  

The latest is a senior appointee in the Veterans Administration. He went to Europe for a couple of meetings, flying commercial, and there were a few days between the two meetings and he stayed over and took some personal time.  I am fine with that.  What grinds my gears, is he took his wife, and had the government pay her expenses.  The trick, is he and his wife were invited to a reception.  Because of that one invitation, ethics counsel approved the tax payers paying for her travel.  They probably followed the IRS rules allowing senior executives to expense spousal travel if the appearance of a spouse is expected at an official event - like a cocktail party at number 10 Downing Street. If you are a CEO and you want a tax deductible vacation for your spouse, ask that the invitation for a social event include your spouse.   

Congress talks about tax reform, here is a good place to start.  It only works for a handful of the highest paid people.  People who could well afford to take the spouse along on the trip.  

I have accompanied or been accompanied by my spouse on numerous business trips.  I openly say that the best conferences to go to our your spouses conferences.  But we have never asked our employers to foot the bill or tried to take a tax write off for it. The two of us usually attend the official event - a Tea Party in the Rose Garden at Christ Church College at Oxford hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury comes to mind, together.  I may live in the swamp, but I am always looking for higher ground, not the kind of higher ground you find by spending a million-tax-payer dollars on chartered private jets.  

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

An Odd Place to Park a Boat

I was scheduled to be in Florida the weekend the hurricane hit, I am glad I rescheduled.  The hotel I was to stay in was without power for two days, it would have been a miserable trip.  I needed to reschedule the airline ticket before the end of September, so I was in Florida for 48 hours recently.  

I turned left on US-1 in Titusville and there was a boat on the side of the road.  My immediate thought was "that is an odd place to park a boat."  It wasn't parked there, it had blown there in the storm.  It was partially in the water, mostly up on the shore of the inland waterway (sort of an estuary / slow moving river - it has a current so it is classified as a river.)  

The crew was lifting it, putting blocks under it, pumping water out of it, and lifting some more. I remarked to a local in a pickup truck watching, that maybe they could slide it back in the water, he said, that won't help.  The water there is far to shallow, without the worst storm surge in 60 years, the boat would never have floated to the shore at that spot along the river. There was a trailer standing by to haul it away,  when I left town 40 hours later they were still working on trying to recover it.  

Have you ever seen something parked where it didn't belong? 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Harvest Season

Depending on where you are in the northern hemisphere, it is harvest season, or maybe harvest season has already ended.  I grew up in agriculture, I grew up growing a garden.  In the winter you plan and pull together the resources you need for spring. In spring we plant and place livestock (even if the livestock was insects, beekeeping is still agriculture - though it is hard to get a rope around the little fliers) through the summer you care for it, and in the fall you harvest.  There is a lot beyond your control like the weather and disease, but you know what steps you need to take, to have the best chance of a good harvest.  

It was good preparation for life.  The cycle of planning, planting, nurturing and harvesting applies to many things we do.  I know if don't do the planning, the planting and the nurturing, there will not be much in life to harvest.  

The thing that keeps farmers and gardeners going (beyond being a little crazy) is knowing that the cycle starts over again each year. No matter the outcome of this year, next year is a new beginning. Much in life is like that also.  

Have you raised a garden?