Thursday, January 31, 2019

Scarred and Enduring


Cactus have rather strong natural defenses, with sharp spines protecting them from damage.  And yet this cactus is scarred from the birds and insects that are able to get around the spines.  People are a lot like this, scarred from the attacks that get through our defenses, yet enduring.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - 1970's

This was taken in the mid 1970's.  The camera is either a Cannon Ftb, or a Konica T3.  I bought my first Cannon F-1 in 1976 when I was attending political rallies leading up to the election of Jimmy Carter.  The F-1 had an all black body. 
The pick-up truck was a red Ford, that my middle brother bought after a year recovering from a horrific car accident in Florida.  

Can you date photos based on the camera, cars, or what you were wearing? 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Modern Cubes

Why don't we all live in houses that look like this?  I have never lived in a "modern home" but I have long loved the modern cube style.  This one on the side of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix looks like someone gutted it for a renovation and stopped work.  

Back in the middle 60's my parents looked at house on the side of Camelback Mountain, how my life would have been different if they had taken the plunge and bought it.  

Monday, January 28, 2019


This is a scan of a slide I took in the 1970's, a dried memory of dried flowers.  Looking at it reminds me of the farm.  It was farm land, but it was not really farmed.  It was trees and meadows, meadows being native plants.  I spent many hours walking the meadows, hedgerows and along the edge of the trees.  Fall was my favorite time to do this.  When the summer grasses and flowers had dried, preserved in time, like my memories of the same.  

Would you take a walk in the meadow? 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Five - Airports

I spent a bit of time in airports last year.  Some are nice, some are not, sometimes airports are fun, often they are just a place to pass through on your way from where you are to where you want to be.  
Hence the Sunday five this week.

1: Do you check in before you get to the airport? 
2: Will I see you at baggage claim? 
3: Have you ever visited the airline premium lounge? 
4: Do you have Pre-Check for security? 
5: Do you like airports? 

My answers: 
1: Do you check in before you get to the airport? I almost always check in online. 
2: Will I see you at baggage claim? Yes, I almost always check a bag.  I get free checked bags on two airlines, I don't have to worry about my bag fitting, or my toothpaste tube being too large. 
3: Have you ever visited the airline premium lounge? A couple of times a year, I will pay the fee and relax in comfort, especially if I have a long wait. 
4: Do you have Pre-Check for security? Yes, I signed up for Global Entry / Nexus and get Pre-Check and expedited immigration and customs processing.   
5: Do you like airports?  I do.  I grew up around airport and airplanes, I feel comfortable in airports.  Some are nicer than others, just like dogs.  

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Midway Kentucky

Midway, Kentucky, is midway between Lexington and Frankfort.  It is an old railroad town, a water stop in the steam fired days.  The tracks run down the middle of Main Street street in town.  The town has turned itself into a minor tourist stop, with shops and restaurants.  There is a small private liberal art college, now calling itself a University on the edge of town.  It is the kind of place where you could walk to most everything and everyone would know what everyone was doing.  

I did a house call in Midway for Hospice one day.  The client was born there, and and never been out of the county. Lexington, only 15 miles away was a frightening big city to her, she had never been there. She was glad that I was brave enough to live and work in Lexington (a city of about 250,000 people) and kind enough to see her at home.  

Are you cut out for small town life? 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Hop On and Hang On

Grab a seat on the outside of a San Francisco cable car and hang on as the cars go up and down the hills.  Just watch out for truck doors opening as you go by close.  My that was fun! 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Growing Older

I want people to look at me and think, not "what a sweet old man," but, "what is he up to now?"  

No getting around it, I am getting older.  My hair is thinner and greyer. Some mornings my fingers are a little stiff.  I tire a little faster than I did 30 years ago.  That is okay, I have lived six-decades.  I am proud of having lived this long. I have outlived my parents, my aunt and uncle.  

I am not done, but I am not trying to turn back time.  

I am looking forward to a point in the future when I don't have to hold my tongue for work or political reasons.  I am looking forward to the day when I can stand up in the office and say, this shit is not worth the hassle anymore.  I am getting closer to that point, not quite. A few more years of living the dream. 

In the meantime, I will keep moving, keep working, keep having fun, keep getting older.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday

If the first Oldsmobile wasn't big enough for you, I bought a second one, even larger.  It had belonged to a women I worked with, she was trading up to a Cadillac. I drove this about a year.  It was a massive boat. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


I have been a runner, twice in my life.  The first time was in my late teens early 20's, my weight had ballooned and I started running and not eating to get drop weight.  Then I stopped moving, got a real job, built a house, and gained a lot of weight.  In my late 20's I joined a gym, took control (over control) of my diet and lost about 75 pounds.  I ran, swam, and rode bikes.  I was supper fit for a decade.  Then I stopped.  I have reasons, or excuses why, but I stopped running.  I kept moving, until I went through a period back in 2014-2015 when moving was a real problem.  The worst was falling and not being able to get back up without great effort or help.  By the time the "issue" was resolved I was weakened from not moving.  At times I questioned if I would ever move as I wished again.  

Two years ago I committed to doing 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week on the treadmill.  I could do it.  It quickly became a habit, something I feel out of sorts if I miss a couple of days.  It is movement.  I regained strength and stamina.  Recently I upped it to 45 minutes most days, with long days a couple of times a week going for 60 minutes.  I read or watch TV, the time flies by.  I can feel myself getting stronger again, gaining endurance.  

I think about running, I miss it, the feeling of lightness, of gliding along the sidewalk.  There are a few memorable runs, London, Paris, Savannah, Washington DC, but most were in Winter Park Florida.  I would drive in early in the morning, run, and then go to the gym afterwards.  Very fond memories. 

Have you ever been a runner? 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Diversity on Martin Luther King Day

I was born in a place with really no diversity.  Despite my parents trying to be modern, the discussions of diversity from my childhood shock me today.  Living and working in a wonderfully diverse city for a decade has changed me, changed me for the better, but still not perfect. 

I am more interested in the content of the character, and the abilities of a person, than the color of their skin, or where they or their ancestors came from, or what religion they practice, or who they love, or what is in their pants.  

Racism is still alive in our Society, a Professor at Princeton was recently told in public comments at a national conference, that he was only hired because he was black.  With 50-100 qualified candidates for every college teaching job, and places like Princeton being very desirable, I rest assured he was very well qualified for the job or he wouldn't have been hired.  The unemployed Phd that insulted him, is likely to have a very hard time being hired anytime soon.  

Take a moment today to reflect on diversity, and what we can do to move forward with a focus on ability and content of character.  Only by allowing everyone to make the best of what they have to work with, can we truly move forward as a society.  None of us is truly free, until everyone is. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Five - What You Keep - What You To Part With It

The crystal is half a set, when my first spouse and I we split, we split the set.  I have hauled it around, seldom used it.  Looking back I don't know why I wanted it when we were splitting things up.  Want it? 

Hence this weeks Sunday Five:

1: Would you keep or part with the crystal you have almost never used in 36 years? 
2: Do you keep cameras you no longer use (that film is no longer made for)? 
3: Have you looked at things and asked, "does this make me happy?"  
4: Do you keep anything that makes you sad? 
5: Have you kept jewelry from past relationships? 

My Answers:
1: Would you keep or part with the crystal you have almost never used in 36 years? - It is for sale - want it? 
2: Do you keep cameras you no longer use (that film is no longer made for)? I have a few, some antiques and some sentimental.  I am giving one to my oldest brother.  
3: Have you looked at things and asked, "does this make me happy?"  Not really, I need to do more of this. 
4: Do you keep anything that makes you sad? Not intentionally. 
5: Have you kept jewelry from past relationships?  I ended up with the rings from my first marriage.  I held onto them and a lot of anger for about 20 years.  One day I decided enough, I sold them for scrap gold.  

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Getting Things Organized

Two days after Christmas, the movers delivered the stuff from the house in Kentucky.  Not a lot of furniture, but more boxes than I can count.  We are nearly done unpacking.  J is very good at getting the ducks all in a row.  Thankfully, the blue penguins are not in our house, but they are nicely in a row.  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Across the River

We were over in National Harbor recently, NH is directly across the Potomac River from home.  It is home to several nice hotels, restaurants, shops and an MGM Casino.  Home is one of the buildings on top of the hill across the river. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

It All Begins With One Part

I recently had an opportunity to wander around a Boeing 747.  The 747 is simply massive.  It is hard to imagine building something the size of that.  And yet, it all begins with one part being made.  I wonder what the first part in this one was? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Way Were Were Wednesday - Cousin Lysle

The top image is one of my all time favorites from the 1970's, it is my cousin Lysle at about 15 months of age.  The bottom image is Lysle in October 2017.  My how we have changed. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Snow Days

Yesterday was a snow day in DC. I remember snow days as a kid, they are not the same as an adult.  Work still needs to be done, and stacks up if it does not get done.  20+ years of living in the semi-tropics, snow is pretty for the first day, then I have had enough of this.  

Do you look forward to snow days? 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Focus on Ability

History tells us that FDR faced a lot of challenges in his adult life.  He had great difficulty standing or walking.  Yet he was a charismatic leader.  He largely hid his challenges, his staff and the press avoided pictures or talking about his leg braces and wheelchairs.  Even his aircraft was modified with a chair lift to the ground.  And few people knew, and those that did, didn't make anything of it.  They focused on what he could do.  The country focused on his abilities and not his disabilities.  Advocates wonder, if he had been more open about the challenges in his life, if it would have opened doors for other.  Hard to say.  I dare say he didn't talk about it, for fear of having doors closed in his face.  He focused on what he could do, and he did a lot for a long time.  

The FDR memorial in DC is quite interesting, very worth the visit.  Have you seen it? 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Five Blogging

Once a year or so I do a blog post about blogging.  So here we go. 

1: How long have you been blogging or reading blogs? 
2: How many posts did you post last year? 
3: Do you have a formula for posts?
4: Do you create posts ahead of time or plan them out, or use regular themes? 
5: Why do we do this? 

My answers: 
1: How long have you been blogging or reading blogs? I started reading blogs in 2005, guest blogged for a friend that August, then put up my first post on September 3, 2005, 13.5 years ago. 
2: How many posts did you post last year? 374 
3: Do you have a formula for posts?  I always start with a photo. About 97% of the photos I have taken (the way we were Wednesdays has lowered this percentage.) The image gives me an idea or an inspiration, or sometimes I just think it is an interesting image.  
4: Do you create posts ahead of time or plan them out, or use regular themes? Most of mine are created ahead of time, and scheduled.  I have done Sunday five for a couple of years, and started The Way We Were Wednesdays this past year.  I have done 12 on 12 a few times. 
5: Why do we do this?  Blogging gives me a place to share photos, I have been taking pictures for 50 years and love sharing my favorites.  By limiting myself to one or two a day, hopefully I am not boring anyone.  Blogging gives me a place to vent and share my views.  Blogging everyday, has brought discipline to my writing.  Despite the typos, my writing has improved, despite the strange sentence constructions, my writing is better than it was.  To be a better writer, read, write, edit and repeat endlessly.  

Your answers in the comments: 

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Look at the finger, what do the details tell us.  The middle fingers have marks in them from molding the wax, the end of the index finger has grown smooth from contact.  The wax marks have been worn away by being touched hundreds of thousands of times.  I took an art class in college were we carved wax, and cast silver. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

An Extra Six Inches

The Condo buildings have outdoor parking and garage parking.  The garage spaces sell separately from the apartments (I don't own one, I have not been able to find one for sale.) The following advertisement just appeared on the association's online bulletin board.
               I'm looking to swap out my parking space for                           another in same bldg 4.  My space is approx 6 in'                   smaller than most and yet I have a wider vehicle.                     Willing to negotiate a fee for swap.
Which leads to the question, how much would you pay for an extra 6-inches?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Plug Him In?

We are coming right along with sorting out and putting things away, consolidating two houses into one, has proved a bigger task than we expected. Two weeks after the movers delivered and there are still unopened boxes.  

We found his cord, now where do I plug him in? 

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Way We Were Wednesday - Cars in Time

My first car, I bought this 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royal used in the fall of 1977, for about $1,800 from a Chrysler dealer in downtown Orlando.  It was big, and comfy, and probably had the odometer rolled back.  I drove it for a couple of years.  

What was your first? 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Life Around The City

By birth, I was a country boy, my original family home is still a mile-and-a-half from the nearest paved road.  I can remember the first winter in Florida, living in Spring Hill, and being able to ride a bike or walk to a neighborhood shopping plaza.  What a thrill.  I was a city kid at heart.  I have spent my adult life living in cities varying in size from 50,000 to 8-million population.   Larger cities are different.  

It is easier to go unnoticed in a big city.  There are so many people, and so many things, that it is easy to blend into the crowd, hiding in plain sight.  I find I have more privacy in a big city.  At one time, I daydreamed about having a place in the country, a little farm.  Realistically, I am not going to do the physical work.  If I won the lottery, it would be fun to hire a couple of farm boys and watch them work.  I can dream can't I? But for the most part, I think I will spend the rest of my life in a real city. 

Are you a city person or a country person?  

Monday, January 07, 2019

Well That Is Different

I have a strange attitude about hairstyles, to each their own.  Whatever you think looks good, or reflects your style or mood, do it.  My hair has never been easy.  When I had hair, it was wavey and curly, and I generally never knew what to do with it.  It looked good very long, or moderately short.  I resisted short haircuts, pushing back against my father's insistence on short hair (early pictures reveal that his hair, when he had hair, was much like mine.)  I don't have a lot left on top, and need to remember to keep what is left trimmed.  I will never have a top-knot, or man bun.  

Would I have tried this if I had the hair for it? 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Sunday Five - Wildlife

I can remember when my idea of wildlife was partying late into the night.  I loved the dance floor, and all of the pretty things around it, and being up and at the gym at 6:00 AM the next morning (how did I survive?) Now wildlife is what I see outside, in the wild.  Hence this weeks Sunday five, wildlife. 

1: Have you seen a bald eagle in the wild? 
2: Have you seen a bear in its natural habitat? 
3: Have you seen a moose in the wild?
4: Have you ever gone whale watching? 
5: Do you go fishing? 

My Answers: 
 1: Have you seen a bald eagle in the wild? Yes, the first few were in Florida, the picture above is a bald eagle over the Potomac River, just down the hill from home. 
2: Have you seen a bear in its natural habitat? I have seen them in the Shenandoah Mountains, and at IML in Chicago. 
3: Have you seen a moose in the wild?  A cow and calf crossing a stream in Montana. 
4: Have you ever gone whale watching? I did a Whale Watching Cruise in Honolulu.  The cruise allowed me to see a lot, despite the being in really poor health at the time.  
5: Do you go fishing? The last time was about 40 years ago, I sometimes wonder if I should try it again.  

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Goal Setting

  • If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
  • If you didn't know where you were going, don't complain about where you are at.
Many-many years ago I a wise man shared with me the importance of setting realistic goals.  And New Year's resolutions are just that goals.  I hear many comments that people have quit setting goals because they never achieve them.  Here are some tips for setting goals / resolutions. 

Goals need to be realistic.  These are not dreams, there are targets you think you can reach in the time frame available.  I could set a goal of getting down to 150 pounds, but realistically, I was last 150 pounds when I was a teenager.  A more realistic goal, is based on what I know I am likely to be able to do in the next year.  

Goals need to be things within your control.  I can control how often I go to the gym and how much I do.  

Goals need to be on something that is important to you, something you value enough to do what is needed to achieve them. 

Goals need to be achievable.  The actions necessary to reach the goal, need to be things that you can make happen or not make happen.   

Goals need to be specific.  For example, my goal last year to reconnect with family and friends, was specific, as opposed to saying becoming more socially connected. 

Goals need to be measurable.  I can measure the number of books I read, more effectively than I can measure learning something new this year.  If I wanted to drive the neighbors crazy, I might set a goal of practicing the tuba 5 hours per week, that is measurable, as opposed to setting a goal of mastering the tuba - how do I measure mastery?

If you make resolutions on things that you value, that are realistic, in your control, achievable, specific and measurable, you vastly increase the likelihood of arriving a year from now, in the places you want to be.   

Friday, January 04, 2019

Tall Tales and Getting Facts Straight

My grandmother kept telling me "you can't believe everything you hear."  She was right.  I enjoy a tall tale, but I have grown cautious of repeating them, unless it is clear it is just that "a tall tale" or I have fact checked.  

I enjoy social media, Facebook has allowed me to connect with family and friends that I don't otherwise hear from.  A handful of them share or forward, every crackpot idea that shows up on their feed.  I fear that a couple of them actually believe the drivel that they pass along.  

Science, law, and economics are complicated, and there are clearly established standards of fact.  Graduate School, law school in particular, taught me the difference between a good story, and a reliable fact based statement.  

Fact checking has never been easier, vast libraries of facts are available instantly at our fingertips.  It is easy to figure out what sources are reliable and what are not (I can't decide if I should love or hate the people that taught me to read the citations and footnotes to see if the sources are reliable.) 

One conclusion from this, is people mistrust or hate, things that they least understand.     

Thursday, January 03, 2019


We need to break free from our cages.  We impose limits on ourselves, we believe and behave within the limits we impose on ourselves.  Our boundaries are formed by what we are told by those around us.  Our beliefs limit what we think and do.  

Want change in your life, change your beliefs.  Open the door to the crate and explore the neighborhood.  Leave the neighborhood and explore new adventures.  Think new thoughts, go new places, meet new people. 

What will you bravely do in 2019, that your beliefs kept you from doing in 2018? 

The dog above, he really needs a bigger crate, he was on a dock in the marina at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday America's Oldest City

St. Augustine Florida claims the title of America's Oldest City.  The old town section is quaint, dating to colonial times.  It is a nicely preserved tourist trap.  

The image above was taken in the 1970's.  A typical street scene in the historic district.  

Have you been there? 

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Day, New Year, Fresh Starts

Happy New Year, another chance to build on the past, and make the future a better place. The words of FDR remind me that the difficulties of today, are not the first time this country, this world, has faced the challenges of division and oppression. We have survived and moved forward, and we have a long way to go.  We will get there one day at a time, one person at a time, one kindness at a time.

May we all have a peaceful and meaningful year!