Friday, January 31, 2020


My grandparents born were long before most homes had electric lights, before the Wright Brothers mastered controlled flight.  They lived to watch man walk on the moon.  My parents were born about the time Lindbergh flew the Atlantic, and lived into the era of smartphones and tablet computers.  I was born before portable computers, how far will technology go in my lifetime?  Will I be able to compose blog posts by thinking about them?  Will space tourism become reality?  

And if it does, will be we need stop and restart to get the screens to display properly? 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

While We Are Here

I am editing this post, the original was written at a time when I was deeply grieving a loss.  I said things that hurt other people, I have apologized to those impacted.  I think there is a valuable message here, so I am editing and reposting.  

There is an old saying, "it may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance."  It recently struck me that in addition we need to "dance to the tune that is playing."  

Life throws us curveballs (that is inside baseball, for surprises.) Things don't always go as expected. Things break, weather is inclement, other people let us down, or even worse intentionally hurt us. We can't change the unexpected or bad things that happen, we can change how we react to them.  It may not be the tune we expected, but we might as well dance.  

Okay, I was being a little cryptic.  Let me unpack this a little. I was deeply hurt by the decision of a board committee.  It changed my plans for the next few years. I am not sure if I was targeted, or collateral damage. Either way, I let my hurt feelings get in the way of being a good person.  I failed to dance to the tune that was playing, and eventually decided to slip out the back door and leave the party.  Sometimes that is the best thing we can do for ourselves and others.  

This had been rattling around for three weeks when I posted the original.  Weeks later it was still waking me up in the middle of the night.  It was time for me to apologize, to forgive and move on.  There will be a post sometime in April about the power of forgiveness.  

Go where you are needed. Unpleasant things sometimes happen to good people for inexplicable reasons.  Think carefully about how you proceed.  Dance to the tune that is played, even if that dance needs to be solo.      

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday

How to explain this picture?  The front door, the keys to the lock were lost when the house was being finished, so we always came and went by the side door.  My hair was thick at that age.  My sister looks slightly uncomfortable, and I have no idea what my brother Gary (in the red) is looking at.  The field to the right looks like wheat, it would have been hard winter wheat, coming on nicely in spring or early summer.  

When dad died I brought home his collection of color slides.  I bought a scanner and scanned them all.  I sent copies of the scans to my siblings.  I wonder if they ever look at them. 

Would you look at the scans, if they were your family? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

It's a Car, It's a Boat, It's and Amphicar

When I was growing up my Aunt and Uncle had a house on Lake Orion just north of Detroit Michigan.  They had a house on a lake, because Dick had bought a boat, he bought a boat because his mothers' next door neighbor had won it on "The Price Is Right" a TV game show.  

In the 1960's someone on the lake had an Amphicar.  I thought it was the neatest thing ever.  A car that could go in the lake as a boat.  I was sure someday soon, we would all be driving our boats out of the lake and around town.  Turns out it was not a very good boat, or a very good car. 

Another unfulfilled fantasy.

Have you ever seen one?   

Monday, January 27, 2020

Music Monday - Flashbacks

This song gives me flashbacks, to a warm summer day in the early 1980's.  I was living on the east coast of Florida.  The wife of a client, called and wanted to go to lunch to discuss a house she wanted.  She showed up in a little convertible, tossed me the keys and asked me to drive. The restaurant she had made reservations at was on the beach.  This song was playing loud on the radio.  She proceeded to seduce me that afternoon.  The song brings back memories.  

Do you remember this one? 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Sunday More Than Five - Tell us About Yourself

This one came from Facebook,

Have you or how many have you?
  1. Divorces..............
  2. Proposals............. 
  3. Marriage............... 
  4. Children................ 
  5. Surgeries.............. 
  6. Piercings............... 
  7. Tattoos.................. 
  8. Shot a gun.............
  9. Quit a job...............
  10. Ever been on tv..... 
  11. Hit a deer...... 
  12. Watched someone give birth..... 
  13. Watched someone die.... 
  14. Rode in an ambulance.....
  15. Visited Las Vegas...........
  16. Sang karaoke................. 
  17. Rode a jet ski.................... 
  18. Ice skating.................. 
  19. Roller Skating................
  20. Rode on a motorcycle...... 
  21. Stayed in a hospital..........
  22. Arrested................... 

My Answers:

  1. Divorces..............1
  2. Proposals............. 2 3
  3. Marriage............... 2
  4. Children................ 0
  5. Surgeries.............. 1
  6. Piercings............... 0
  7. Tattoos.................. 0
  8. Shot a gun............. Yes
  9. Quit a job...............Yes
  10. Ever been on tv..... Yes
  11. Hit a deer...... no
  12. Watched someone give birth..... No
  13. Watched someone die.... No
  14. Rode in an ambulance..... Yes
  15. Visited Las Vegas...........Yes
  16. Sang karaoke................. Yes
  17. Rode a jet ski.................... No
  18. Ice skating.................. Yes
  19. Roller Skating................Yes
  20. Rode on a motorcycle...... Yes
  21. Stayed in a hospital..........Yes
  22. Arrested................... No
Please copy and paste and share your answers in the Comments. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Reflecting on The Good Old Days

I miss the old days, when the first lady had original ideas, could speak in complete and comprehensible sentences.  

It is time for a first husband?   

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is your god male or female?

Many years ago I represented a guy with schizophrenia and dementia. He not only did what the voice(s) told him to do, often he couldn't remember what he did.  I asked him about the trees, and he said, "god told me to cut them down, she said they were full of evil!"  The voice that guided his behaviour and informed him of good and evil was female.  

Is yours male or female, or both? 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Grand Space

This is the courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.  The museum is a merger of several buildings, the sandstone building on the left was a hospital in the civil war. Walt Whitman read to patients there and helped them write letters home. The building straight ahead was the patent office. Joining the buildings with the glass covered courtyard created a delightful indoor space.  We met an old friend there recently, (we have known him a long time, and he is old.) Wandered a bit of the gallery and had a nice lunch. 

What others spaces like this are around the world? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Ben

This picture was taken in the early 1960's at my Aunt Edith's wedding.  This is my father's uncle Benjamin and his second wife Alma.  My grandfather had some colorful brothers, my grandfather was one of the quiet ones, Ben was even quieter.  When his brothers were holding an illegal poker game upstairs, he was hosting bible study downstairs.  Then there was the time the house next door was raided by the police and the "working girls" from next door starting jumping into the upstairs windows and fleeing out through the back door.   

I knew this was Ben's second wife, I didn't know until I sorted through my parents records after they died what happened to his first wife.  In the 1930's she died of appendicitis.  

Any quiet ones in your family.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In the Same Direction

This is new in the Smithsonian American Art Museum at Gallery Place in Washington, DC.  

Can you imagine trying to ride it?  It reminds me of American politics.  

Monday, January 20, 2020

Thank you

Thank you to whoever sent this. There was no gift note in the Amazon package. It is so sweet.

Music Monday - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Dorothy sang it in the Wizard of Ozz, but the big Hawaiian guy mastered it, what a wonderful voice, what a great talent.  I can't help but feel better after listening to music like this.  So much music is filled with drama, heartache, anger and even violence.  We need more beauty in our world, and we can control that by selecting the music that is the soundtrack of our lives. 

What song is in your heart this Monday? 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Five: Coffee, Tea or Me?

We have reached the point in life, where we are hard to buy gifts for, so when Jay mentioned that maybe it was time for a new coffee maker, I jumped at the opportunity.  It is nice, it is a little slower than what we were using before.  

This weeks Sunday Five, 
1: In the morning do you drink coffee, tea, or other? 
2: Hot, cold, or whatever? 
3: Milk or cream?
4: Starbucks or other? 
5: Sugar, artificial sweetener, or none? 

My answers: 
1: In the morning do you drink coffee, tea, or other? Coffee
2: Hot, cold, or whatever? Iced
3: Milk or cream? Cream if anything, usually none. 
4: Starbucks or other? Starbucks is fine, but we usually have better at home. 
5: Sugar, artificial sweetener, or none? Usually black, if I am adding cream, then sugar.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Graceful Until Riled

When I lived in Orlando there were a couple of pairs of Swans that lived on and around Lake Eola downtown.  People were always impressed by how graceful the swans were.  They are pretty birds.  The city was very excited one spring when one of the pairs started nesting and eggs appeared, then hatchlings.  Then the lookie-loos got a little close, and mamma and poppa swans became riled.  Wings flapping and beaks biting, a couple of people got bit, or hit, several were run into the lake.  We all have our tipping point. 

Are you like a swan, graceful until provoked? 

Friday, January 17, 2020

St. Malo

This is the walled city of St. Malo on the west coast of France. It is delightful.  When we were planning a trip to Normandy and Brittany 8 years ago, we got to talking to the cheesemonger at our local gourmet market.  Turns out he was from France, he said you have to go to St. Malo.  He was right, the drive there along the coast was spectacular, and the old walled city is charming.  

Maybe I should buy lottery tickets.  There is a 10,000 sq. ft., fixer upper available for sale in St. Malo for $3.5-million.  It has been gutted and is ready to be finished out inside to the taste of the buyer. I bet it even has parking.  

Would you come visit? 


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Celebrate Your Body -

The sister of one of my high school classmates, posted something on FB that made me, stop, slap my forehead and go, I got that all wrong.  Her comment was that exercise, going to gym, or simply walking across the room, is not penance or punishment for something you ate, it is a celebration of being able to move your body.  I had fallen into the trap of seeing my daily hour at the gym, as the price I had to pay for being indulgent.  

Attitude makes a difference.  

So celebrate, move, across the room, across the park, across the town.  Walk, run or roll, move your body.  It is the only one you have.  Your body won't reward you for leaving it idle.  You can't save it up, for later, it only stays active, by being active.  Every small movement is a victory over stagnation.  

Have you been good to yourself today? 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - North and South Dakota

Almost 20 years ago I had a consulting contract to provide training as part of a national project.  Over a period of 6 years I did about 40 programs in about 25 states.  One summer I did programs in North Dakota and South Dakota.  Those are not easy places to get to.  The original idea was that we would fly out on a Monday, do a training in one on Tuesday, on Wednesday we would drive to the other venue, train on Thursday and fly home on Friday.  But the two states couldn't get there dates together, so we ended up making two trips, a week apart.  South Dakota did get me the opportunity to see Mt Rushmore, maybe the only time I will ever see it.  The program was in the basement of a small casino / hotel in Deadwood.  When there was a pause in the program, and the room went quiet, you could hear the slot machines ringing and dinging upstairs. 

The visit to Mt Rushmore was short, perhaps 20 minutes, yet it sticks in my mind.  The view is monumental, the impact is lasting.  

What have you seen briefly, that stuck with you?  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Travel Safe

On my first trip outside of North America back in 1990, my traveling companion had her pocket picked in London.  She was careless, even ignored a warning from a local that she needed to be more careful and made an easy victim.  She let it ruin her adventure. 

I take a few simple steps to travel safer. I keep my wallet in an inside zippered or buttoned closed pocket that is not obvious from the outside.  When in a crowd, I am hyper vigilant. I tend to avoid buskers, and crowds.  If approached by a begger, I ignore them and walk on. I use a seperate under my clothes case for my passport, a backup credit card and cash.  I keep cash in more than one location, and keep what is easily reachable to an amount I could afford to lose.  I have started using hotel safes.  I scan my passport and important travel documents before I leave home, and have a copy accessible from a remote location.  I don't carry or wear expensive jewelry, or flash a lot of cash.  

What other suggestions do you have for traveling safe? 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Music Monday - The Chance of a Lifetime

I had never been to a horse race, before I moved to Lexington Kentucky in 1995.  I enjoyed it.  I also got to know people whose lives are devoted to breeding and training horses.  They are incredibly devoted to their work, to the wellbeing of the somewhat fragile animals they raise, for that long shot at success.  More money is spent than made in racing.  

I remember when this song came out in the early 1980's.  The message of taking the chance of a lifetime clicked for me.  I have taken a few of those chances, and passed on a couple of them over the years (one passed opportunity leaves me wondering, what if I had?) The message rings true 40 years later.  

Are you ready for the next opportunity? 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Five - Warning Signs

For some reason when I travel, I am fascinated by warning signs telling us to, "do this, don't to that, can't you read the signs." Hence today's Sunday five, the signs. 

1: Have you ever ignored the sign and done it anyway? 
2: In the bottom sign above, what is prohibited between the phone and hats? 
3: If you came with a warning sign, what would it read? 
4: I have ever been shouted at by a guard in a museum? 
5: What warning sign should be over your bedroom door? 

My answers: 
1: Have you ever ignored the sign and done it anyway? Yes.
2: In the bottom sign above, what is prohibited between the phone and hats? If I knew, would I ask? My best guess it take your hands out of your pockets - but why? 
3: If you came with a warning sign, what would it read? You might be the subject of the next blog posting. 
4: I have ever been shouted at by a guard in a museum?  For taking pictures, a few times.  The most memorable was in Rome, the sculpture had such a nice ass. 
5: What warning sign should be over your bedroom door? There is a collection of Do Not Disturb signs on my bedroom door, do they count?

Please share your answers in the comments, feel free to be creative.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Well That Was A #$!! of a Week

I have served on the board of nonprofits for years. No one ever said board service would be easy, but I never expected this.  To put it politely someone who pretend to be a friend, stabbed me in the back this week on a non-profit board.  I am not sure if I was targeted or collateral damage from a fight between two other board members but it was ugly, and I went from ascending to the ladder of leadership to the first rung.  As they say $#!t happens.  

Sadly, I still believe in the mission of the organization.  I have agreed to stay on to try to help heal the gutting that the board took.  

Tell me, will next week be better? 

Friday, January 10, 2020


 Street musicians, love them or hate them, some of them are very good.  This guy knows how to play, and how to attract an audience.  He makes the most of his assets.  I like to encourage talent, yes I dropped cash in his box.  

Would you put cash in his box? 

Thursday, January 09, 2020

We all Have Our Limits

I took this in Rome 3 years ago, the Pope usually does a public appearance in Vatican Square on Sunday morning.

I reached my limit of being nice and snapped at one of my high school classmates on FB the other day.  He posted political opinion from Fox, then started arguing with anyone who commented saying they thought it was faux news.  I commented, "when you post something like this and then start arguing with anyone who disagrees, you are being an @$$.  Be nice."  He had done this three weeks ago, I had actually put him on a 30-day hiatus on FB, then his wife posted on FB that he was back in the hospital (he is seriously ill and going to die one of these days) and I undid the suspension.  He responded that he was just exercising his first amendment rights - he was, but he was also purposefully inciting people so he could stir the pot.  

I felt bad about calling him out.  He has a right to post his misguided political opinions, to express his internalized self hatred.  

I should try to be better than. 

But even the Pope has a breaking point, and yes the Pope felt bad about it and apologized.  

Should I apologize

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday

My guess is this was taken in the late 1960's, that is the back of the house I grew up in.  As the family grew, my parents added a larger house - nearly 1,000 sq. ft. to the little house they started out in, this is the back of the two.  The snow drift was nearly 6 foot 8 inches tall.  I think that was the winter a snow plow got stuck in a drift just south of the house. 

Reminds me of the one of the reasons I left there when I could.  

Did you grow up with snow like this? 

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Layers of Meaning

I have re-read "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London (there is a movie coming out soon.)  I read it as a kid, as a recall I struggled with it on two fronts, the brutality of the way the dogs are treated, and the vocabulary.  Fifty years later, I am still taken aback by the brutality. But the words have so much more meaning, subtle layers of meaning.  

Have you reread any books recently? 


Monday, January 06, 2020

Music Monday - Lose Yourself

Okay, I know I have eclectic taste in music.  I also have a strong connection to Detroit having been born about an hour north of the city.  When the movie 8-Mile was released I went to see it. I watched a couple of older couples walk out in disgust, the language can be a bit strong.  I am generally not a fan of Rap or Hip-Hop, but there is a song in the sound track that catches my attention.  It is about seizing the opportunities in life, to move beyond where you are.  To take the chance, to give your all, to do your best.  It is the only Rap song in mix on my phone, and in my car.  The lyrics remind me that we are in control of our choices.  Don't leave life to chance.  

What song reminds you to seize the day? 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Sunday Five - Tasks

John over at Going Gently recently wrote about music playing gently in the room of a hospice patient, this reminded me of the importance of creating the sound track of our lives.  For the last couple months of my mother's life the room was filled with Fox News or reruns of Love it or List it, she couldn't tell people what she wanted, I think she would have sooner been dead than bombarded with Sean Hannity.  So here is a task list:  

1: What music do want playing as the sound track of your life? 
2: Who do you want around if you are too sick to say yea or nae? 
3: What is your favorite food, what do you want to eat on your deathbed? 
4: If I were sitting by your bedside, reading to you, what do you want me to read? 
5: Window open, or window closed in your room? 

My answers:
1: What music do want playing as the sound track of your life? Look at my online music, I am surrounded by what I enjoy.  
2: Who do you want around if you are too sick to say yea or nae? 
My sweet bear, the bloggers who comment all the time, my sister. 
3: What is your favorite food, what do you want to eat on your deathbed? Chocolate and cheese, washed down with a fine single barrel bourbon (back of the bottom shelf in the locked glass case in the dining room is where you will find the really good stuff.)  
4: If I were sitting by your bedside, reading to you, what do you want me to read? Hmm, I'd be reading to myself.  The collected verse of Edgar Guest. 
5: Window open, or window closed in your room?  Window closed and the heat or air-conditioning on - fresh air- are you trying to kill me!

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Little Messages Left in Public Places

There is something about little messages left in public places that fascinate me. This little sticker as left in a subway car here in the Washington DC area.  I wonder who left it there, what inspired them to create the sticker, how stealthy there are in leaving them behind?  Kind of like the rubber stamp on the subway sign in Philly

Are you creative enough to do something like this? 

Friday, January 03, 2020

Welcome to a New Decade

Like many of you, I am shocked to see that it is 2020 already.  It seems like just last year it was the year 2000.  

A lot has happened in the past decade.  Smartphones have become ubiquitous, tablets and mobile computing are rapidly overtaking the world of computing. In the past decade, we have settled into the condo and starting making it the nest we always wanted, J has retired. YouTube and streaming on demand video have become the norm. Newspapers have gone largely electronic. I have have gained 40 pounds, been through my first major health challenge, grown a beard, lost a little hair and noticed a bit of grey.  

What will the next decade bring? 
I will pass through my 60's and enter my 70's.  My hair will thin a bit more, and a lot more grey will appear.  I am working on trying to drop a bit of weight, I am on a trend of becoming more active, a trend I hope will continue.  In the next decade, I expect I will leave full time employment.  I will visit the two remaining US states, and a couple of countries in Europe that I have always wanted to visit.  

I predict that desktop computers as we know them, will become a thing of the past, as strange as a typewriter in today's office.  (I love my 27 inch desktop computer at home, but there is a 62 inch display in the same room, why two?) A monitor and keyboard with a WiFi connection to a box in another room, that is really all we need.  Our phones will become more powerful. Landline phones are rapidly going the way of the buggy whip.  Electric cars, and renewable energy will continue to grow. Solar and wind power are the future.  

If only we had 20/20 vision for the decade that begins 2020.  

What do you expect to have happen in the next decade?  

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Carpe Diem

A comment on a friends Facebook post inspired this posting, it read: 
        Have a fantastic time. Life is way too short. Every time I turn around there is another wrinkle or pain. So grab every opportunity to live spectacularly." 

I couldn't put it any better.  This is not a rehearsal, this is the one and only performance.  Don't wait, cemeteries are filled with people who were waiting for the perfect time to do what they wanted to do, to go where they wanted to go.  Back in January of 1991 I took  9 days off, and went to Amsterdam and Paris.  I was talking with my construction manager about it, and he said "we want to wait until we can go for three of four weeks and do it right."  A few weeks later he died suddenly from a burst aneurysm. He never made the trip. Grab every opportunity to live spectacularly! 

What are you putting off doing?  

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year - the Way We Were Wednesday

Wishing all of you a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year! 

My best guess is this image was taken in 1959 or 1960.  Mom in her stylish glasses, from left to right, my middle brother Gary, me, my sister Karen, and my oldest brother Dale.  Dad was behind the camera.  Gary and Dale are living in Florida, my sister Karen is back living five miles from where it all began. Mom and Dad (and my paternal grandparents, and aunt and uncle) are buried a mile down the road from the farm.  

To the right is the tiny 500 sq. ft. house we lived in when I was born.  In the background, on the far left the white building with the green roof, is a honey extracting plant, to the right of that the old barn, beyond that to the right and behind it is the original farm house that my grandparents lived in, to the right of that the white structure with a green roof, was originally a chicken house, my grandfather finished it inside, and had a pool table there. My grandfather had bought this 80 acre farm, in the middle of the thumb of Michigan during World War II, for a song.  He needed to move the bees and the extracting plant out of the city, and a co-worker needed to sell the farm to settle a family fight.  It was a humble place, filled with love and possibilities. 

I come from very modest means, I have come a long way from my beginnings.  Origin is not destiny, but the fundamentals of taking care of money, of looking at what I need - not just what I want, has served me well.  

Where we are today, does not have to be where we are tomorrow. 

Happy New Year to you and yours!