Friday, May 31, 2019

When I Grow Old, I Will

Inspired by this poem: 

When I Am Old.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple! 

Jenny Joseph
What will I do when I am old? 

Well to many I already am old, old enough to qualify for programs and services under the Older Americans Act.  Not old enough for a transit discount, or a guarantee of core health insurance.  

As I get older I will:
  • Speak my mind more freely,
  • Dress comfortably, and wear running shoes with my best suit. 
  • Defend others, 
  • Continue to Vote 
  • Read for pleasure in the middle of the day 
  • Enjoy music, playing it louder as my hearing continues to fade
  • Remind young people that life is short, and "you only get one shot, one opportunity"
  • Ignore my Doctors' advice, when they are trying to keep me alive forever. Death is not failure, it is the natural end of this adventure. 
  • Do what I want, not what is best for me 
  • Sit on a bench and observe the world going by
  • Travel when I can
  • Stay in nicer hotels, upgrade to the suite life once in a while. 
  • Take naps when I am tired 
What will you do, when you are older? 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Taking Time to Understand Yourself

It has been a challenging year at the office.  Dealing with budget cuts, securing a new project that required half a year's work, in five months on top of the half a year's work that was already scheduled.  Working with colleagues who are still learning their jobs, one who is unwell, colleagues dealing significant losses in their lives, unreasonable administrative requests, silly rules that are imposed on everyone, technology and web changes that are FUBAR.  

I have had some difficult moments, moments that make me set there and say to myself, "why do I do this?"  

There is a practical answer - I am well paid, and frankly I need the health insurance until Medicare kicks in a few short years down the road.  

But it takes more than being practical to keep me committed to a job.  My first real job, was with a small home building company that had a mission of building quality affordable homes, a mission I believed in. In the last couple of years I was there the company changed ownership and shifted to building homes that stroked the egos of management, even if few people could afford them.  When I resigned my boss asked why, and the honest answer that tumbled out of my mind was "I lost the faith, I don't believe in who we are and what we do anymore."  I had stayed on that job longer than I should have.

Recently I was dealing with a silly (stupid) administrative demand at the office.  I lost sleep over it, went into the office and found a way to work with it. The reaction of my colleague was that we shouldn't capitulate, we should fight the stupidity.  

In private, in my office I had a moment of crisis and out of my brain tumbled the following:

I don't get paid to fight the silliness of management,  I get paid to do work to improve understanding, policy and practice that improve the lives of older adults.  I get paid to figure out how to comply with silly administrative demands, not to fight them.  If my job was to help create a more sensible and efficient organization they would pay me 10-times as much. I do this work, because I want to improve the lives of older adults.  That is my mission.  If my mission was to improve the efficiency of the organization, I would be doing a different job.  My father never quite understood, why I did what I did after law school, and didn't pursue the highest paying jobs.  He was happy, that I was happy, but he never fully understood the hold that believing in a mission can have on a me.  I need to be true to my own self, I need to focus on the mission.  The administrative stuff comes with the territory, but tell me what I need to do to comply and I will.  I am working on two cutting edge issues that I think will shape my older-old age.  We will make a difference, hopefully a positive difference, but to do that we have to focus on the mission and not on trying to fight the administrative silliness.  

Are you mission drive, or only there for the paycheck? 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Big Trucks

Part of growing up on a funny farm, was having unusual "farm equipment" around.  Some day I will find the photos of an automatic uncapper, extractor, and beeblower, but for today it is the Big Truck.  The first large track arrived on the farm before I did.  It was thrown in on the deal when my father bought a bunch of bees from a fireboat captain.  The second one was green, the next one had a yellow cab and aluminum box, this is the last one, it was Yellow! Actually when my father bought it, it was PINK!  If you can imagine something the size of that painted in PINK! He bought a couple of years old, with only about 20,000 miles, it had been owned by an specialized leasing company whose company color was PINK!  They agreed to pain it any color he wanted, except PINK as part of the sale. 

It had a 24 foot enclosed cargo box, with a hydraulic lift gate. We used for 2-3 months a year on the farm. It was essential to getting work done efficiently.  Being the guy with the Big Truck, we helped a lot of people move.  

I have mentioned that when I was in High School my parents started spending winters in Florida.  A couple of years when we were packing in Michigan to go to Florida for the winter, we simply packed the truck and away we went.  It did make packing easy.  

I drove this beast several times.  It had a two speed rear axle, meaning you shifted the rear axle and the transmission. In effect giving you twice as many gear options. I was pleased to master that on the second try, grinding a halt on I-75 on the first try.   

Have driven anything the size of this?  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

With a Little Help From His Friends

This is Michael and Inu, they are inseparable.  Michael is a friend of mine, he is lawyer, a successful business owner, he has a lovely family, he plays a wicked game of golf, he is just finishing his term as president of a national professional organization, did I mention that he is legally blind - he has vision in a very narrow band and he has significant hearing loss.  

Mike does just wonderful in life with a little help from his friends.  This is his third dog from The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey.  It takes a special dog to help Mike live a full life, raised from puppyhood, thousands of hours of work and training go into preparing a dog to help Mike navigate the world.  It is amazing to watch the two of them develop a bond of trust. If you are of a mind to support a charitable organization,  The Seeing Eye makes a real difference in helping people navigate life. 

Mike's friends help a little, simple things: 

  • If you are giving directions or helping Mike find something, describe it, don't point. 
  • Don't get between him and the dog.
  • Don't interact with the dog when the harness is on. 
  • When walking with Mike, let him and dog be a couple of steps ahead, it helps the dog lead Mike. 
  • If you see a curb or step, tell Mike, though the dog will feel it before he does and seldom misses.  
  • Try not to trip over the dog, I tripped over his previous dog - twice.
  • Ask Mike, how you can help, before trying to help. 
  • Speak up and let Mike know you have entered the room, tell him when you are leaving. 
  • He plays golf with a partner - who knows what to say to help him - he and his daughter played Pebble Beach last summer. 

Mike lives a full and active life.  Can he do everything - it seems like it sometimes - he does 100% of everything he can do.  What I have never seen him do, is dwell on what he can't do.  If Mike had a pitty-party it was a long time ago, if it is ongoing it is in private, as he pushes onward, always onward.  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

The top photo is my oldest brother in the early 1970's when he was in the Navy, doing what older brothers do when younger brothers point a camera at them.  45 years later, right back at you Dale.  

The bottom phone is from the American Military Cemetery in Normandy, in France.  I have been there twice, it should be a required visit for every American, especially for every American politician.  

We need to remember that World War II was started based on spreading of ethic hate, of nationalism, of protectionism.  On a fear of loss of national identity, driven by racism, and an irrational fear of those who are different.  It was propounded by people who felt that some life was better than others, that some lives where not worth living.  If we don't learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat the tragedies of the past.   

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Indianapolis 500 Day - The Sunday Five

The premiere American auto race, is today, the Indianapolis 500.  This started as an endurance race, 103 years ago when driving 500 miles at any speed, let alone top speed was a major accomplishment.  Today it will run in less than 3 hours, at a top speed approaching 240 miles per hour, and an average speed of nearing 200 miles per hour.  The cars are built to be what they are, speed machines.  I have been to Indy a couple of times to watch practice and qualifying, there is something moving about standing there watching cars go by at over 200 miles per hour. 

1: How many times have you watched the Indianapolis 500? 
2: Have you attended any live auto race? 
3: If a rich uncle left you a-Billion-Dollars, would you spend any of it on racing? 
4: Have you driven over 100 miles per hour? 
5: Would you drive a race car for a lap on a closed track? 

My Answers: 
1: How many times have you watched the Indianapolis 500?  At least 40 - I smuggled a television into work one time to watch the race. 
2: Have you attended any live auto race? No
3: If a rich uncle left you a-Billion-Dollars, would you spend any of it on racing? Yes
4: Have you driven over 100 miles per hour? Three times, two of them legally in Germany. 
5: Would you drive a race car for a lap on a closed track? Yes, someday - (click the link for how to do this.) 

Your answers in the comment, please. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Bumper to Bumper

This reminds me of the dance floor on Saturday night at Southern Nights 30 years ago, bumper to bumper, being bumped into by people you had never met.  I hear that there is an app for that now, though I must admit I have never used one of those.  In the good old days, you saw and sometimes felt, before you said hello.  

Anymore, this is too close for comfort.  

Would you park this close?  

Friday, May 24, 2019

Light Up The Night

I love the look of a downtown area, lit up at night.  I like the look, but I am not much for going out at night.  My hotel room in Ft Worth was over a street, the building was built up and over a street.  The result was a great view of traffic, and the city lit up at night.  

We have decorative lights on our terrace, sort of our front yard, on the 3rd floor overlooking the entrance to the building we live in.  We are painting the inside of the patio area, so the lights are down right now. I am surprised how much I miss them.  They are on a timer and have been cycling on and off for years.  The lights will go back up soon.  

City lights or starlight at your place? 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Organized Chaos

This reminds me of my space, at home or at work, everything I might ever need, close by, I can find it, but appearing to be chaos to the untrained eye.  The really valuable stuff, Dura-Ace and Campagnolo was locked in a glass case off to the side, as they should be.  If you know Campagnolo, we should get together and talk bikes.   Still organized chaos makes me feel so at home. 

Is this too disorganized for you? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Space Race

I grew up during the space race, projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo were the backdrop of my formative years.  This was also long before the days of toys needing to be idiot proof.  Anyone could buy over the counter rocket engines capable of lifting a two pound rocket 500 to 1,000 feet into the sky.  This was a model of the Saturn Five - the moon shot rocket.  My oldest brother started it, grew bored and left it to me.  It flew a couple of times, before suffering a parachute failure leaving it crumpled in a heap.  I flew three of four model rockets that year, lost a couple of them that went high and blew away on the wind. 

Have you flown model rockets? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

DelRay Sidewalk Art Festival

DelRay is a neighborhood on the north side of Alexandria, south side of Arlington, Virginia, here in the near Washington DC burbs.  It has a walkable small downtown sort of a feel, with a nice selection of restaurants and shops (The Meat Market will feature in the Sunday Five in a couple of weeks.) 

We took the convertible over there a couple of weekends ago, DelRay was having a sidewalk art festival.  Some very talented artists.    

Do you enjoy local arts festivals? 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Special Kinds of Stupid

I will admit it, I have blocked several people on Facebook, and dropped a blogger from my daily reading list recently.  FB has this nice snooze for 30 days function that gives you a break from the idiots (click on the three ... in the upper right hand corner of the posting, this option is in the drop downs.) 

Most of the FB annoyances were stupid political postings.  There are elections coming up and I imagine the political crap will get deeper. Oh, and I dropped the high school classmate turned anti-vaxer - denial of science is not a sign of intelligence.  The blogger I dropped, was arguing with anyone who offered a hint of a good idea in a comment. 

The annoyances in my life were getting to me. Even Mr Sunshine, has his limits.  I am feeling much better now.  

Are there stupid people in your life? 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Five - Your Own Kind of Music!

My taste in music is best described as eclectic.  Music is often a backdrop in my life.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five. 

1: Do you play an instrument? 
2: Can you read music? 
3: Does it matter to you what is playing? 
4: Do you sing in public? 
5: When was the last time you attended a live concert? 

My Answers: 
1: Do you play an instrument? regretfully not
2: Can you read music? nope. 
3: Does it matter to you what is playing? No, as long as it is positive or fun. 
4: Do you sing in public? No, There is not enough Bourbon in Bardstown to get me to do that. 
5: When was the last time you attended a live concert?  Four weeks ago at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. 

Your answers in the comments, please! 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Notes From seat 13E

Returning from DFW (Dallas Ft. Worth) last week I finished up the work I wanted to do early.  Looked at the train schedule to the airport (there are nice trains to and from DFW - and cheap $2.50 from DFW to Ft Worth vs $70 got a taxi.) I got to the airport almost 5 hours before flight time.  I checked in at the Priority Desk, with a real human being.  I asked about an earlier flight, she said she could put me on the standby list, or do a confirmed seat on a flight that was leaving in just two hours for $75.  The fastest decision to spend money all day.  This got me home at 9:00 instead of midnight.  

Being last minute, and a frequent-frequent flyer on the airline, the computer put me in the best seat that was available, row 13, middle seat.  The computer must know I am a big guy, the computer thinks big guys like to talk to one another and hang out, so they put a man who is 6 ft 8 inches tall in the aisle seat, and a former college football player in the window seat.  Three of the biggest guys on the plane, wedged into one row.  The most physical contact I have had in days.  The tall one fell asleep shortly after take off, the guy in the window seat talked for 10 minutes, then plugged in his headphones.  I pulled out my Kindle and started to read.  Then the women front of me reclined her seat into my nose, making it nearly impossible to read.  Blessedly the pilot put it in high gear, we caught a tail wind, and did the flight in near record time.  

I knew the middle seat would be less than optimal, I also knew it would only be for 3 hours, actually 2 hours and 19 minutes.  It was worth it to be home before bedtime.  

Have you ever had a trip, where it was just simply time to get home no matter what it took to do so? 

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Routine Things in Life

There is no reason that the routine things in life, should be boring.  We can combine function and style, fashion and comfort.  We need to be careful on style, I saw a guy crossing the street this morning and my first thought was, "that is not a fashion statement, it is a mental health statement!"  But maybe his goal was to attract attention, if so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  

Take a moment to look around, what combines style and function? 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Another Moment of Personal Indulgence

Image may contain: Jen VanderVeen, smiling, standing, suit and indoor

My rule, I don't talk about my work on the blog. And I won't talk about my actual work, or my employer, but if you will allow me a moment of personal indulgence, I will talk about professional recognition for my work.  

I was selected as a "Fellow" by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), one of two new Fellows, along with my very good friend Jennifer, for 2019, out of 4,400 members. Selection as a fellow recognizes significant contribution to the profession at the state, national and local level, work to improve the lives of adults and persons with disabilities as we age.  Fellows are selected by a process that starts with being nominated, then a lengthy questionnaire and then scored based on detailed criteria.  

I am honored.  It feels good.  I know this was not just because I have played the politics of the organization, but because I have put in the work, trying to improve the lives of clients and the expertise of the profession. I have struggled through writing and publishing journal articles, I have traveled far and wide to train professionals on the issues (I have a reputation, buy me an airline ticket and pay my hotel bill and I will go anyplace to talk to anyone about the issues I am passionate about - I am suppose to ask for an honorarium, but I seldom do.) I now do research and training, prior to this I helped over 12,000 clients with direct legal services.  

It was especially nice to be recognized at the same time as my dear friend Jennifer, she has been my muse the past few years, I have been her voice of calmness as we navigate the pathways of Academy leadership (she is President of the board, I am treasurer this year.) 

Moment of indulgence over, I will return to my normal blog postings. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday High School

I had a rather unusual high school experience.  Note I didn't say an unusual experience while I was in high school.  That mostly only happened in my imagination.  I was aware of my feelings for other guys, but deeply in the closet of denial.  Some others could read me like an open book, I recall one classmate in Florida who said, "I know you want to see it, everyone wants to see it!" Oh my, thankfully you can't unsee some things.

My unusual high school experience was not about a particular teacher, I had a few that were really good, a few that were particularly bad, the one in the picture above liked to drink so much, that his wife had to drive him to school one semester, his Monday morning hangovers were legendary - and yes the students knew how to torment him on Mondays. 

I went to two high schools.  One in Michigan, and one in Florida.  I would go to school in Michigan from late August until the end of October, then the one in Florida from November through late March, then return to the one in Michigan for April through early June.  I did that all four years, back and forth between the same two schools.  It was a little crazy, and very unusual.  

Did you have an unusual high school experience, or memorable experience in high school? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

City Life

My father was a city kid, raised by a mother who had only ever lived in cities and a father who worked on farms into his teenage years.  My mother was from generations of famers. My parents moved from the city to the farm 4 or 5 years before I was born.  I am a country person by birth, who loves living in cities.  I have thought about it, and as much as I would love to have access to garden fresh ingredients, I have no desire to live in the country.  I like the convenience of everything being close by, I like having other people around - even if I don't spend a lot of time interacting with them. My nearest neighbor is 8 inches away and if not for mail stacking up on his doorstep, I wouldn't know he was away from home last week. I don't have the need or desire for space around me. 

Are you a city person or a country person?  

Monday, May 13, 2019

Happy May 13th!

Four years ago today, it seems like yesterday and it seems like it was 100 years ago, a tumor was removed, my spinal cord decompressed and a section of spine was rebuilt.  Most of the feeling and control in my legs and feet came back.  I haven't fallen since, it is unpleasant to fall and not be able to get back up.  

The experience changed me.  I take less for granted, I know I may not always be able to go and do things as freely as I can today.  Life is short, enjoy it while you can.  I will never be 100% as I was before, but I am 100% as good as I am today and there is so much that I can do and enjoy.    

I will be forever grateful for the dedicated and talented team of doctors and nurses that spent over 12 hours working on my spine that day, and kept me alive and improving for weeks afterwards.  I was fortunate to live where I live and have access to some of the best care in the world.  The inpatient physical therapy hospital was one that people travel from around the world to get care in - it is just down the road from home.  I thank the therapists who pushed me, encouraged me to endure, and got me strong enough to return home - knowing that I needed to push myself even farther (I am still pushing myself to do more and get stronger.) I am thankful for great insurance, my medical bills that one year were just short of $400,000, and I never missed a paycheck thanks to short term disability insurance at work. If I hadn't had good insurance, I most likely would not be walking today.  

Take care of yourself,
Take nothing for granted,
Enjoy today, there are no guarantees. 

Thanks for enduring my once a year, indulgence of talking about this part of my life.  

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hotel Likes and Dislikes - The Sunday Five

I am booking hotels for the July trip, lots and lots of hotels. Over the years I have developed strong feelings about what I like or don't like, hence this weeks Sunday five.

Do you prefer:
1: Inside hallways or outside doors? 
2: A tub/shower combination, or a walk in shower? 
3: Daily housekeeping, or your room left alone for your stay? 
4: National brand, or local independent?
5: Valet parking, or self-park? 

My Answers:
1: Inside hallways or outside doors?  Inside hallways.
2: A tub/shower combination, or a walk in shower? Walk in shower, I never use a tub.
3: Daily housekeeping, or your room left alone for your stay?  Daily housekeeping, one of the great joys of staying in a hotel. 
4: National brand, or local independent?  National brand, with few exceptions. 
5: Valet parking, or self-park? Self Parking, 

Your answers in the comments please, 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Solo Travel

Most of my work travel is solo. There are parts of it traveling alone that I like, and parts I don't.  It is easier to check in, clear security and wend my way through airports solo.  I never have to wait for someone to get out of the bathroom, or get dressed and ready to go when I am traveling alone.  

But, eating out alone has become a drag. I don't enjoy it the way I once did.  I end up sitting there fiddling with my phone, or reading.   I have found two things that improve this.  

One is taking a seat at the bar and watching the bartenders work. The first time I did this was at K-Pauls in New Orleans.  I stumbled across the place with no plans, figured I wouldn't be able to get a table but asked anyway.  The host said, I can get you a seat at the bar and the menu is the same.  I decided to give it a try, it was fun.  Most restaurants offer the same menu at the bar as they do in the dining room.  Having others around or simply watching the show makes the time go by.  Occasionally I will find a restaurant with seats overlooking the kitchen, another score for me, I enjoy cooking, and I also enjoy watching a professional kitchen work.  

Another option, is planning ahead to go out with professional colleagues.  For the trip to New Orleans, I made reservations for two nights and asked others I knew would be attending to join me. Both evenings proved to be great fun.  

How do you feel about eating out alone? 

Friday, May 10, 2019


I am the youngest.  I have two brothers.  My middle brother Gary has had some challenges in his life, birth related hypoxia left him playing developmental catch up, and unfortunately he was labeled and neglected by the school system.  He didn't talk about it for decades, he still seldom does.  A few years ago, in a moment of stress and frustration he described to me that each year of school, through high school started out with the basics, as he described it "Kindergarten stuff, " wasting his time for the first few weeks of each school year, limiting his access to new learning. They assumed that "special education" meant that he was unable to learn, and seldom bothered to assess where he was at, so they could move on from a baseline.  

I am so proud of him, of what he has made of his life.  He has worked for Disney for 41 years.  He owns his home, and just bought himself a very nice new car.  He takes care of himself and helps others.  He is caring and generous, to an extent that he is sometimes taken advantage of.  Being taken advantage of is not his fault, it is the creeps that exploit him (my ex is one of them.) He has been abused and taken advantage of much of his life - things from childhood he will not talk about - I am only peripherally aware of. He is very self aware of his strengths and his weaknesses.  He pushes back strongly against people who try to tell him what he ought to do, he likes to be asked, not told.  He was treated like a child for so much of his life, that when I figured out that he was not a child, he grew very resistant to being told what to do.  He lives alone, has most all of his adult life.  He enjoys his independence and having things organized in his own chatatic way. 

Do you have a sibling with an interesting story?  

Thursday, May 09, 2019


For several years the American car manufacturers left a gap in their product lines.  Ford had let the Lincoln Town Car become hopelessly dated and discontinued and Cadillac has gone in pursuit of BMW drivers with smaller, faster, better handling cars - long ago dropping the Fleetwood for the smaller Deville, morphing it into the smaller yet DTS and watching that fade away.  This left a gap for full size domestic cars.  Cars that are built for the owner to ride in the back with a professional driver up front.  A celebrity on Top Gear described why he owned an S-class and a Maybach.  The S-class you drive, the Maybach you are driven in.  The class of cars intended for you to be driven in was absent from the American manufacturers lines for several year.  Huge SUVs, really trucks, were substituted, but the rider experience is not the same as a luxury car.  The limo services have struggled for several years to replace the fleet of cars.  Despite rumors of Cadillac bringing back the Fleetwood, it has not happened.  

Over the past 3 or 4 years Lincoln has brought back the Continental. Kind of timidly at first, then this year as a true full size, top of the line, technologically up to date luxury car.  How techy is it? The door latches are electrically operated.  I am not talking about power locks, almost every car has those. The door handles have electronic switches in them that actuate the latches.  No mechanical pull.  On the inside there is no lever to pull, just a button to push.  Front and rear seat dual zone climate control.  programmable digital instrumentation, a smooth quiet ride.  I sat in one at the auto show a few weeks ago, then lucked into my Super Shuttle ride in New Orleans being in the one.  It is a very nice ride.  

I hope they sell lots of them, my retirement account owns a ton of Ford stock.  

If I were Lincoln, I would offer an extended cabin version, pushing the seat back 4-5 inches.  The driver commented that the seat was overly firm, and the console pressed on his knee (a common problem in newer cars.) The last car I had with a lot of knee room was the Eldorado. 

If money were no object, would you drive or ride in the back.     

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Colorado Here We Come

I have mentioned before that I was active in 4-H in the 1970's.  In addition to the County Fair, the other highlight of that was an exchange program.  One summer we hosted a group 4-H members from Colorado, and the next summer a bus load of us went to Colorado for 10 days.  Tis a long bus ride from eastern Michigan to just outside of Colorado Springs. The group from Colorado rode the train cross country, a sensible way to travel, we chartered a bus, the one and only long distance bus trip of my life.  

My host family had a 2,000 acre farm.  They had a dairy operation, milking about 200 cows, and about 1,000 acres of wheat.  I spent a day driving a massive four-wheel drive tractor preparing ground for planting. 

It was fun, and expanded my horizons. 

Did you do any long distance group trips growing up? 

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Where to Next?

Where oh Where is the traveling penguin off to this year? We started off with a winter picnic in Cleveland, Ohio in late January.  It was a refreshing 8 degrees F when we arrived.  All in all, a fun trip.  The end of February I had a work trip to Nashville, Tennessee.  The hotel was plush.  Following that was a snowy trip to New York for another meeting.  In mid-March I had two conferences in Orlando, Florida.  In April another conference in New Orleans.  Today I am off to Ft. Worth, Texas for a board meeting and conference.  Rumor has it I will hear my name called for a professional honor on Friday morning.  I have scheduled a week off in June for a road trip into the midwest.  In July I have a board meeting in Seattle and we are going to add 10 days to that trip, and explore the Olympic Peninsula and mountains of Washington State.  In late August I am speaking at a conference in the middle of nowhere in extreme southwest Virginia.  Labor Day weekend we will be in Philadelphia for a couple of days for my Sweet Bear's college gathering.  After that I have nothing.  My work calendar remains insanely busy until the first of November.  I should plan a getaway for after the big show October 31-November 1st. My other fall conference is here in DC this year.    

All in all, it is a less intense travel schedule than the last couple of years. 

What are you up to this year? 

Monday, May 06, 2019

Iron Chef Morimoto

I love to cook, I like to eat, I will eat almost anything.  
I loved Iron Chef, the slight weirdness of the format, in the early series produced in Japan the cultural differences.  

When I was in Florida in March, I spent a couple of nights at what is now known as Disney Springs, it was originally Disney Village at Lake Buena Vista.  Iron Chef Morimoto has a restaurant there.  I didn't have reservations, but I was early and the host said, give me a few minutes and I will text you when I have a no-show.  And she did.  

The Asian glazed ribs were to die for.  The rice noodle and shellfish dish was amazing. I also had steamed dumplings (potstickers) I can seldom resist potstickers.  The space is amazing and the food will blow your mind, if not your budget. I ordered too much food and couldn't finish it all.  

Do you follow celebrity chefs? 

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday Five - Tourists

I travel a fair amount, at times I am the rushed business traveler, at other times I am an explorer, looking for a great adventure, and at other times I am a tourist.  What is your travel style - this weeks Sunday five. 

1: Have you ever left home on a trip, and not known where you were going? 
2: Do you enjoy or avoid the crowds? 
3: Is the shop above your idea of heaven or hell?
4: What is most lost you have ever been? 
5: Does paying for parking in a resort area drive you nuts? 

My answers: 
1: Have you ever left home on a trip, and not known where you were going?  Yes, back in 1989, I took a week off, got in the car and headed north from Florida, someplace in Georgia I decided I was going to Washington DC.  I had no clear plan when I left home other than getting away for a week. 
2: Do you enjoy or avoid the crowds?  Generally avoid them. 
3: Is the shop above your idea of heaven or hell?  Hell. 
4: What is most lost you have ever been? In 1990 I flew into and rented a car to drive into London, I left the airport without a decent map or reliable directions.  I have driven through the heart of the city - lost and having the time of my life. 
5: Does paying for parking in a resort area drive you nuts?  Yes! 

Your answers in the comments, please? 

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Happy Kentucky Derby Day!

Today is the first Saturday in May, Kentucky Derby Day.  The Derby is the race that every breeder and trainer dreams of winning, even competing in.  Millions of dollars are spent in pursuit of the fastest horse, in the fastest two minutes in sport.  

I went to law school in Louisville, just a couple of miles from Churchill Downs, the home of the Derby.  Tradition was that exams finished by Noon on Friday, Kentucky Oaks Day, so the students could either flee town before the onslaught of Derby attendees, or head out to Churchill Downs for the party in the infield that always accompanied the Oaks.  The Oaks is a race for the fastest three year old mares.  The Derby is mixed gender, the Oaks for is ladies only.  I always fled town as soon as my exams were done. 

I attended a few Derby parties over the years, at one there was a random draw pool for the winner and the last place finisher in the Derby.  I drew the horse that finished last, and was awarded the prize, a sterling silver horses ass (I still have it someplace.) We went to Derby day at Keenland racecourse in Lexington a couple of times.  I never went to the Derby.  You have to pay through the nose for tickets.  Standing room tickets sometimes go for $200 each.  I knew a retired school teacher who brokered the resale of Derby tickets, it kept him in new Mercedes each year for a few weeks of buying and selling.  

If you have a moment, find it on television this afternoon, enjoy the pomp and circumstance, the funny hats and watch the best of the best run in the race they were born to run.  

Friday, May 03, 2019

Star Wars

It is okay to laugh at me, I really didn't know there was not a connection between Star Trek and Star Wars until a couple of years ago.  I still can't tell one from the other - one was a movie series and the other a TV series, but beyond that I don't know, don't really care.  

I met Captain Kirk one morning, William Shatner owns a farm in Kentucky and we were on the same flight out of Lexington one Sunday morning after the Derby about 15 years ago.  He was nice.  Lonnie Anderson was sitting next to him, hiding her face and refusing to talk to anyone. 

Disney bought Star Wars from George Lucas.  They are building a huge Star Wars attraction at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida.  The helicopter pilot  said EVERYONE wants to see pictures of it, so here you go.  

I wonder if they will have the bridge of the starship Enterprise, or sell Tribbles in the gift shop?  

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Country Bears

Bears are big, fuzzy, warm, with a great appetite for the pleasures of life.  I was a runner with a 32 inch waist when I first heard the term bear, applied to a person.  I had spent a decade running and denying myself the pleasures of life, to be thin.  Trying to fit myself into the worlds' mold of "cute or pretty."  It took me a while to come around to the idea that someone might find attractive the kind of round, warm and fuzzy person that my body seemed to want to be.  I am shaped like the majority of the men in my paternal line. Kind of pear shaped, very much bear shaped.  

It is hard to believe that the country bear jamboree is still running, largely unchanged at Walt Disney World, 40 plus years of happy bears embracing the pleasures of life.  

Have you hugged a bear this week? 

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Funny Farmers

My grandfather loved his 80 acres in the country. My grandparents lived in the old farm house, my father built a small house around the corner from that on the same farm. My grandfather was not a conventional farmer.  As a kid he had worked the fields with horses and remembered the grinding work, for little money that kept food on the table in difficult times.  

He raised a garden, never too big, but a full days work.  And he kept bees, lot and lots and lots of bees.  This colony was in our backyard one summer.  At one time my father and grandfather has about 2,000 colonies of bees.  Only about 50 on the family farm.  

As to the farm, for the most part is was meadows and woodlands.  Occasionally a neighbor would lease or sharecrop one or two of the fields, but for the most part it was our big backyard.  Some of the neighbors found it strange that we would own a farm, and not farm, it was a funny farm.