Friday, July 31, 2020

His Is Much Bigger Than Mine

That title should generate a few extra clicks.  Look at the telephoto lens he is carrying, a serious birder.  Back in my 35mm film days, the longest lens I owned was a 200mm.  I had a couple of them, a 200mm, and 100-200 varifocal zoom (the focus remained constant as you changed the focal length of the lens.) When I bought the Nikon I am using, I bought a bundle that came with 2 lenses, the longer of which is a 70-300 zoom, but on a "crop sensor" format, meaning at the top end it is the equivalent of a 450mm lens on a 35mm film camera.  I have been surprised by how much I use the longer lens, and how much I use it at it's limit.  This is strange, back in my 35mm days my favorite lens was a super wide angle 24mm.  I now have a 10-20mm lens, that is even wider.  I seem to view the landscape in narrower clips than I did before.  I hope this is a sign of being more focused and not on becoming narrow minded.  

Should I get a bigger one? 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Tapping Out a Message or Looking for Breakfast

This bird might have learned Morse Code, I spotted him based on his pecking of the tree and was able to get several nice pictures.  

Last week I ranted about cell or mobile phones, but they have made travel so much easier.  Between email, phone calls and text messages I can travel anyplace in the country and my communication follows me.  It is rare to be out of range, or suffer a loss of signal, though it can happen.  I remember my first cell phone, paying $30 a month, for 30 minutes of time, no data, and the calls all had to be in a limited geographic area.  Extra minutes were 29-cents a minute, long distance as about $1 a minute.  Now we are free to roam with unlimited nationwide calling.   

International travel has also become easier to remain in communications.  I have a plan with my provider that when my phone connects to a phone service provider outside of the country, I get a text message.  If I continue to use the service, I am charged $10 a day, for calls and a limited amount of data (the amount of data varies slightly from place to place.) This is handy, but if I am out of the country for a couple of weeks, it adds up fast.  I manage this by only turning my phone on when I want it on, not leaving it on all of the time.  I manage data, by setting data, and email to only work when I have a Wi-Fi data connection - and nearly every hotel offers this anymore.  I carry a tablet, that only connects by WiFi, and that becomes my primary connection for email, and and web content such as blogs and Facebook. On the two week trip to Ireland, I used 9 days, or $90 worth of international service.  I had about 6 days of no phone service and that is okay, it worked just fine. It was nice to get away and actually be away.  

The only time this lets me down, is when I am Detroit and I get too close to the border, and my phone picks up the network across the river.  If I call and bitch, they will generally take the charge off, sometimes for $10, it is not worth the time and trouble.   

Over the years I have looked at unlocked phones and local SIM cards, I have looked at specialty travel phones that provide pre-paid by the minute international service.  For the way I use my phone, the numbers have never made sense.  

What is your strategy for staying in contact when traveling? 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Great Aunt Edith

This was my great-aunt Edith.  She was my paternal, maternal-grandmother's, father's sister.  Her first job, as a child really, was in a woolen or cotton mill, then she worked as a maid, and housekeeper in grand English homes, think Downton Manner. She immigrated to the USA, she was housekeeper for part of the Firestone family in the 1930's when my aunt was born (my father spent a month living with her and playing with the Firestone kids, to get him out of the house when his sister was born.)  After the War, she moved to Miami, lived there until late in life, then lived with a Niece in northern Indiana for the rest of her life.  She was a sweetie, never married, kind of makes me wonder after all of these years.    

She is standing by one of my grandfather's all time favorite Mercury's. From the time new cars became available after World War II, until he quit driving in the 1970's he bought a new Mercury every other year.  He had two of them, this white one and blue on that had the "breezeway" back window. The rear window, went down behind the seats. The only "power windows" he ever owned.  He was greatly disappointed when Ford stopped offering that option.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Follow Up From Opps

On Saturday I posted a photo that was a happy mistake, here is what the sculpture fragment looks like when I have the camera on the correct daylight setting.   These are in "Lock Park" on the Alexandria Virginia waterfront.  At one time there was a canal running west from the Potomac River at that point, a recreation of one of the locks is in the park.  I have no idea where the fragments of sculpture came from, if these were created for this use, or if they are wonderful failures, or recovered from a building or monument long gone.  There are half a dozen pieces on display.  If you look closely, it looks like if you stuck you hand in, the mouth might bite.  Behind this one, is another one showing what that is, 
A rather interesting fountain.  These dress up an otherwise rather mundane 1980's brick and glass office block, with million dollar views of the River.  The spray from the water was quite cooling.  

Do we need more like this?

Monday, July 27, 2020

My Music Monday - Highway to Hell - The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

When I grow up, I want to be like the older man on the end, with what is left of his hair, grown to unthinkable lengths, gray as nature intended, and completely engaged in what he is doing.  He is living, he is alive.  My covid-19 hair is not showing much here, I am a couple of months away from a pig tail in the back.  

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday Five - frozen summer delights

In the works above, is espresso coffee ice-cream.  Milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, a double espresso, and the strongest coffee allowed in Virginia.   I cooked the cream, eggs and sugar into a light custard, added the coffee, espresso and milk, cooled then froze.  It was the first time I had used the ice-cream maker attachment on the Kitchen Aid mixer.  Hence this weeks Sunday five, frozen summer delights. 

1:  Have you ever hand cranked an ice cream maker? 
2:  Do you prefer the modern frozen jacket ice cream makers or the traditional ice and salt method? 
3: Have you used a machine with an electric freezer jacket? 
4: When was the last time (if ever) that you made ice cream at home? 
5: Should ice-cream have eggs in it? 

My answers:
1:  Have you ever hand cranked an ice cream maker?  Once, at summer camp in my early teens.  
2:  Do you prefer the modern frozen jacket ice cream makers or the traditional ice and salt method?  The frozen jacket is so much easier, and cleaner.  
3: Have you used a machine with an electric freezer jacket?  Not yet.  Not sure I would use one enough to justify the space. 
4: When was the last time (if ever) that you made ice cream at home? 4th of July weekend.  
5: Should ice-cream have eggs in it? I am ambivalent on this, Jay is a great fan of "frozen custard." I am not sure I can taste the difference.  

Please share your answers in the comments.  


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Well Oops!

Nope, not something I said and not a photo I took at night. I clicked a setting my camera and didn't notice it for a few days, resulting in 89 massively overexposed images.  I kind of like this one.  The images are so far over exposed that the limited editing software that I have can't totally recover them.  I can lighten them so that they look like daytime, but the color and contrast are off.  Oh well, nothing critically important, all local sights that I can easily revisit (I will post another image of these lips soon.) A couple of the images are better than they would be under "normal" conditions.   

I have been carrying really good cameras for over 45 years.  I have only ever broken two.  I dropped one lens down on a stone floor in the Louvre.  When I took the lens off, parts fell out.  I waited for a camera store to open the next morning, and bought a replacement lens, what had broken was the autofocus mechanism in the lens.  When I was packing for Hawaii (the night before I was scheduled to leave) I dug in the bottom of my messenger bag for the compact digital I had been using, and found that the shutter and power control switches were broken off.  It was a nice small camera with a Leica lens, one of the best small digitals I ever owned.  The only back-up I had was rather bulky and heavy, and it was a long trip, and my bags were full.  I was having trouble walking and didn't want to add anymore weight or bulk to what I was traveling with, so all of the photos on the trip to Hawaii were taken with my phone. I have some amazing photos from that trip. The phone made a better camera, than a phone.  

The bottom line of all of this, things happen.  Don't let them derail your adventure, roll with it.  The overexposed photos, have a couple of amazing images that I would have never captured if I hadn't hit the wrong button, the lens I bought in Paris, was an amazing lens (one not sold in North America) and I was able to stretch my French far enough to communicate the problem and find a solution. (That was my last major trip done on film, I went digital a year or so later and never looked back.) Relying on the phone in Hawaii, freed me from bulk, and weight, and probably forced me to spend more time soaking in the wonders, rather than pointing and shooting.  (I want to go back there again, while I am feeling and moving well, and when I am not working.)

Have you had a happy Oops recently? 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Phones and other modern frustrations

I am growing to hate phones.  The worst of the bunch is my cell.  Let's face it a smartphone is a wonderful communications device, but a miserable excuse for a phone.  They are hard to hold, hard to hear, unless you are using a headset or handsfree system, they are miserable excuse for a phone.  My ear sweats against the glass, after a 20 minute call I need a shower, and phone needs a wipe down.  

I am not permanently joined to my cell (mobile) phone.  I generally turn it off at night.  I find working at home that 2 or 3 days a week, I don't turn it on.  

Businesses have defaulted to calling cell phones first, rather than calling landlines or office phones.  This has resulted in me missing three messages in the last month, causing me to rant at least twice about people not contacting me, when they "thought" they had.  If they had called the house phone, I would have heard it, if they had left a message the incessant beeping would have kept me awake until I listened to their message.  If they had left a message in my vacant office, I would have received an email with a recording of the message within 2-minutes.  

I much prefer email.  A couple of years ago, a training service company emailed me, offering to demo their services.  I was somewhat interested, they are doing some cutting edge stuff.  I responded with some specific questions, and clearly saying "Email Is THE BEST WAY TO REACH ME!"  Their reply didn't answer my direct questions, and wanted to know if they could set a time for a phone call.  To this day, I refuse to look at their services.  

Text message can be fun, and fast, and informative, but I run into the same issue that some days I don't turn my cell on, and when I am working, I don't look at it.  It is not a part of my work routine.  

How did cell (mobile) phones become so central to communications that other phones are being abandoned and how did it happen so fast?   

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Go Enjoy Life, While Staying Safe

A lot of the things we would normally do, are not safe to do right now.  Gathering close with friends and distant family, being in crowds of strangers, is probably not the safest thing to do right now.  But there is still so much we can do.  We can take a ride, drive by and see the sights.  Take a walk, but keep your distance from others, wear a mask when you can't keep your distance.  

There was an article written by a Harvard Medical School professor in the Journal of the American Medical Association this past week, maybe not a perfect source, but a much more reliable source of facts than politicians, Facebook, or Twitter.  The article discussed COVID-19 transmission.  There is more that is uncertain, than there is that is certain.  Short of a pressure controlled hazmat suit,  nothing is 100%.  But, what they do know is that simple facemasks, the kind they describe as surgical masks, of paper or fabric, will prevent the majority of transmission.   It is more critical that the person who is contagious wear a mask, the impact for the person exposed is less, but there is still some protection.  Because you can be contagious, and not have a clue you have been exposed, the best advice is wear a mask whenever you are within 2-meters of other people.  This may not get risk to zero, but it significantly reduces the risk of transmission.  

I know the people that need to read that paragraph, are likely not my regular readers.  Maybe you can share this with those who need to read it.  If we do these simple things, we can reduce the risk, and get out, put the top down, and experience the adventure.  (The photo was taken on the Pacific Coast Highway in California, a group of car lovers had pulled in for a break from their slow ride up the coast.) I love the red leather interior.  

Are you ready for adventure?  

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Packing for Vacation

My parents didn't vacation a lot when I was growing up, I never totally understood why, but they really didn't travel much from the time my sister and I were born, until we were high school age.  Then we started spending winters in Florida.  The Funny farm / Bee farm was a seasonal operation, when it shut down for the winter, we packed up and went south.  The second winter in Florida, my father bought a truck. It is yellow above, it was pink when he bought it. (Much my mother's consternation, he described it as titty-pink.)  Painted the corporate colors of the Miami based rental company he bought it from.  Part of the deal included the color change.  

The truck was for the farm.  When we packed to go north that spring, packing was a dream, want to take both bicycles, no problem.  The following October when we started to pack to go to Florida, my father simply said, pack whatever you want, I'll drive the truck.  And so he did, for 5 or 6 years, they packed the big yellow truck for their winter vacations.  When my family packed for vacation, they took everything you could imagine.  

I don't take that much when I travel, but I have never understood how anyone could travel for two weeks with a single backpack, or 20 in-roller bag.  But when you look at what my family packed for vacation, it makes sense.  

Do you travel lite? 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


I love the classic VW Beetle, the simple design, with an amazing amount of space inside, the mechanical simplicity.  I came close to owning one once.  It belonged to a neighbor, who was not using it.  We agreed to a price - $1,000 as I recall.  I went back on the agreed time, with cash in hand, only to find it in pieces in the carport. When her son heard she was going to sell it, he announced that he was going to make a dune buggy out of it, and spent the next day taking it apart getting it ready for the fiberglass body.  

I long wanted a convertible, my ex never learned to drive a manual transmission, so a Beetle convertible was a challenge.  I actually found one with an automatic stick shift - basically an electronically operated clutch, but she refused to even try that, and I let it slide.  When she was in high school her father bought her an original Mini Cooper, a new one, she was of that age.  She destroyed the transmission in it the first and only time she drove it to school.  He replaced it with a Pinto, had the transmission replaced in the Mini and drove it himself. (waiting for A-Ms comment on the Pinto.)

I have owned two VWs.  I had a Rabbit (Gulf) diesel back in the early 1980's.  I drove the crap out of it for a couple of years, but had almost constant engine trouble with it from the night I drove it home.  I currently have a VW Eos convertible.  It has been a good little car, and I am finally enjoying the top down driving that I had long lusted over. 

Ever driven a VW?  

Monday, July 20, 2020

My Music Monday - BROSCIENCE - El Arco De Cabo San Lucas

I mentioned last week, that I sometimes find entertainment on YouTube, Brian Hawn does mostly covers, often showing off his best assets and those of his friends. 


Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Sunday Five - Remembering and Being Remembered

Our dear fellow Spo is on the road for a memorial service and recently wrote about wearing a watch - and the memories that brought to him.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five, remembering and being remembered. 

  1. What item brings you the greatest flood of memories of someone gone from this existence? 
  2. Have you ever gotten rid of an object, because of the memories related to it? 
  3. Is there anything you should get rid of? 
  4. What would you like to give to someone so they will remember you when they see or touch it? 
  5. Is there something you would like to have to remind you of someone? 
My answers:
  1. What item brings you the greatest flood of memories of someone gone from this existence?  My fathers flying log books.  I don't even have to open them.  
  2. Have you ever gotten rid of an object, because of the memories related to it? The most trying was a copy machine, I actually left and had someone else toss it for me.  
  3. Is there anything you should get rid of? The back brace I wore back in 2015, when I had my spine repaired.  
  4. What would you like to give to someone so they will remember you when they see or touch it?  Lots of things likely no one wants.  
  5. Is there something you would like to have to remind you of someone?  My grandmother's daily diaries are lost in my cousins house in Florida.  Likely to never be found.  
Please share your answers in the comments.  

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Summer Daze

We are definitely in the haze of summer.  Work email volume is down, response time is up, people are distracted.  The greens are dark, almost too dark to register as green.  A friend of mine co-owns an island off the coast of Maine. Five friends went together and bought it, the agreement is only the five of them and their immediate households are allowed on the island.  Electricity is provided by generators, there are several cabins on the island.  No phone service, no cell service.  Karen's out of office email response last week was "gone to the island, I will respond when I return to civilization in a week or so."  

We don't have a summer retreat planned this year.  If we did, where would we go?  

Where is your summer retreat? 

Friday, July 17, 2020

You Have To Be Fast

A couple of mornings a week, I have been walking in a national wildlife refuge down along the Potomac River.  Dyke Marsh, is less than a 10-minute drive from home, at this time of the year I can put the top down and enjoy the wind blowing my hair.  There are few people on the trail, I wish more of them were being responsible, but still it is fairly easy to keep your distance and the open air is nice.  The Marsh is part of an ongoing wetlands restoration project.  For 300 years, it was a source of sand and gravel, with most of the area cleared and drained.  Left to its own, sand and gravel collect there, washed downstream at every storm.  A couple of barriers have been rebuilt, and the marsh is refilling with sand and stone, and the plants and animals are returning.  I have seen a lot of birds, and a couple of beavers. There are eagles nesting in the area, though I have not seen them on my walks, I have seen them soaring over the condo. 

For the birds, you have to be fast.  Take the picture fast, before the birds fly off to the next branch.  

Should I take up birding in my retirement?  

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Seen Along the Way

Ran across this in Nassau in the Bahamas.  A simple message.  I wonder if the British tourists are confused by how a pencil eraser will protect them? A world divided by a common language. 

Should the world have more signs like this in public places? 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - The Farm

In the middle of World War II, my grandfather bought a farm, about 60 miles due north of Detroit. He needed to move the bees out of the city, and he was a farm boy at heart.  In the early 1950's after my two older brothers had been born, my parents packed in life in the city and moved out to the farm. The redhead on the left is my oldest brother, I am not sure who the other kid is.  They are sitting on the cover for an old well, that was filled in by the time I was their age, though the concrete wall remained, my grandmother planted it with flowers every summer.  The barn is still there.  My father traded away that pick-up truck in 1965, the dealer gave him $50 in trade for it.  

After a year or two in the old farm house, this picture was taken in the back yard of the farm house, my parents built a small house around the corner, actually about 500 feet behind the barn, that is where they were living when my sister and I were born, where I grew up.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Deer Inside the Fence

The condo we live in, is in one of four high rise towers, on about 30 acres of land on a hilltop.  The community is fenced, with 24 hour security.  The towers are on a flat spot on top of the hill, the land surrounding them is very hilly, with deep ravines and lots of trees.  If they would cut some of the trees down I'd have a much better view, but the neighbors are rather attached to the trees, at least one of which dates back to when George Washington visited friends living on the hill top (he had dinner with friends here a week before he died.) 

A couple of years ago the association replaced the perimeter fence, upgrading to a taller fence that is hard to climb.  We have deer inside the fence.  Either they slipped in through the front gate, jumped the 8 foot fence, or slipped in the back gate when the shuttle bus was coming or going.  We occasionally see the deer, the deer drive the gardners batty, eating the flowers.  I was out for a walk recently, with the camera in tow, looked down into one of the ravines, and she looked back at me.  Rare to get a decent photo, the deer tend to be shy and or fast.  On my Sunday morning walk, two fawns crossed the drive as I watched.  

Getting the deer out of the community is a problem, there are over 2,000 people living on these 30 acres, and we are surrounded by residential neighborhoods, making "hunting" not an option. They called in a professional "trapper" a couple of years ago, who successfully relocated the herd that was here at that time, he had to resort to sedating one with a blow-dart. There was an uproar about that, this year the management seems to be taking a live and let live approach.  

Have you tried venison? 

Monday, July 13, 2020

My Music Monday - Janis Joplin- Me and Bobby McGee

I thought about dropping Music Mondays, then someone mentioned Janice - the pureness of the voice - and I needed to do this.  I have a bit of a YouTube habit, I may mix in a few Media Mondays.  

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday Five - Queen for a Day

Never mind the sign, come have a seat and tell me more. 

  1. If you were suddenly the Queen, what would your first decree be? 
  2. Do you think Prince Charles will ever be King? 
  3. What do you think of Harry and Meghan moving to California? 
  4. Windsor or Buckingham Palace, which would you prefer to live in? 
  5. Diamonds, Emeralds, or Rubies for your crown? 
My Answers:
  1. If you were suddenly the Queen, what would your first decree be?  Anex the USA and lock he who must not be named in the Tower. 
  2. Do you think Prince Charles will ever be King? Despite her attempts to outlive him, I think sadly one day the world will lose Elizabeth, and Charles will have a relatively short reign.  
  3. What do you think of Harry and Meghan moving to California? I think they experienced racism in the royal household, and with Harry having little chance of ever being King, wanted to have a more normal life for their family.  Or as normal as life can be in LA. 
  4. Windsor or Buckingham Palace, which would you prefer to live in? I prefer the city, so Windsor, but I understand it needs a good remodeling.  
  5. Diamonds, Emeralds, or Rubies for your crown?  Yes, all the above.
Please share your answers in the comments.  

Saturday, July 11, 2020

I Once Heard

That a camel, is a horse designed by a committee. 

One summer, I took a simple sounding class "small group communications theory."  The first thing we learned, is that true consensus, where everyone agrees either exists on the first call, or it is a myth.  Even if everyone seems to be in agreement, some of them are compromising to agree and that is not true consensus. There is a difference between agreeing to a common set of ideas or principles and being in consensus. One of the keys is to focus on what people agree on, and promote compromise to common ground on the rest.  

With the camel, there are obvious compromises, but overall it works, it does well for what it is intended to do.  

Friday, July 10, 2020

Five Things That May Surprise You

Five things about me, that may surprise you. 
  1. I have an ex-wife.  
  2. I own guns, I grew up with them. 
  3. I was 34 when I finished my first college degree (I turned 40 the week I started my last year of law school.) 
  4. I have had the same cell (mobile) number for over 20 years. 
  5. I have never lost or broken a mobile phone. 
What about you, would we find surprising? 

Thursday, July 09, 2020

What Have I Been Up To?

I went to the office one morning last week, I had not been in since March 17th, there were a couple of things I needed from there, and the office mail had not been sorted through since March 16th. I drove in, traffic was not bad, there were four people in 250 offices on our floor. I don't plan to go back anytime soon.  

I have been walking, long thinking walks.  The gardens at Mt. Vernon reopened with limited attendance.  I went out for a walk, but was disappointed at the people not wearing a mask around other people. Mostly I am walking near home, often without going outside of the fence.  

I had some work done on the convertible.  It was due for an oil change,  the windshield washers had quit squirting and when I bought it the sound insulation on the underside of the hood was loose.  That and a through detail cost way to much money, but everything works and it is a wonderful time of the year to put the top down.  I drove it into the office the other day. 

I have Covid hair.  My last haircut was in January. The salon I had been going to has not opened, I doubt they will, they had been struggling a bit.  I wonder where Jose will go, he was very good.  In the meantime I have not had hair like this since the early 1980's, I am thinking about letting it grow and seeing how wild it can get.  

I bought a new rug for under my desk chair at home to replace one that was starting to wear through.  I love old worn rugs, but the roughness under my chair and bare feet was disturbing.  

I am taking proper lunch breaks for the first time in my professional career. 40 years ago, when I often worked alone in an office that served the public, I got into the habit of eating at my desk, and working through lunch. I am now leaving my desk, going in the other room and taking a break.  The experts are right, I do get more done with a decent mid day break.  

So what are you up to these days? 


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?

The year I finished high school and left home, my father bought his first new Buick.  The first of many.  He had driven used cars for decades, some nice, some functional, all of them affordable.  The Buick was the first time he went out and bought what he wanted, done the way he wanted it.  As I recall he paid an astonishing $7,000 for it.  This picture was taken a couple of years later, my parents had moved around the corner to the old farm house.  The Dodge pick-up truck in the background, was fun, it had a massive V-8 in it, put your foot to the floor and it would spin the rear tires for about 500 feet.  

Back to the Buicks.  My father's mother moved into assisted living late in her life when she decided it was time to give up driving.  One morning she was not feeling well, and my father went to take her to the doctor in what was probably a 3 or 4 year old Buick (it was his third or forth one.) She remarked, "you've had this one a long time, why don't you take some of my money and buy a new one."  She died three weeks later, a month after that he bought another new Buick, not the last one, he bought his last new car about 5 times. 

He enjoyed cars, it was good to see him finally buying what he wanted, instead of what he needed. Well there is the story of the Lincoln that he lusted over and came close to owning.  Another day, 

Any family car stories? 

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

They Don't Make Them Like They Use To.

Sunday morning started off with a bang, I turned the cooktop on to make breakfast, turned around to get something out of the refrigerator and things went BANG- BANG.  It wasn't left over 4th of July fireworks, the power control unit in the cooktop shorted out with a bang, and accompany cloud of electrical smoke, and that tripped the breakers (the second bang.) Once Jay and I assured one another we were both still alive, I called maintenance, the main breaker is in a locked control room and the condo maintenance person has to reset it.  I thought about repair or replace, looked at the age on the cooktop and headed out appliance shopping.  

I explained to the appliance salesperson what I was looking for, and why, and the urgency of the situation. He asked how old is the one that just went BANG!  I said, "38 years, it was original to the condo that was new in 1982." He responded, "they don't make them like they use to, don't expect the new one to last that long" we both laughed. When GE built this 38 years ago they didn't expect it to last this long without repairs.  But it did. The oven is the same age, and while the clock quit working decades ago, the oven still works wonderfully, it will hold 450 degrees F, to bake a Pizza like few I have ever seen.  The original garbage disposal lasted 37 years, then the motor stopped, it still hadn't corroded through.  The house in Lexington we had at least three disposals in 23 years, all of them corroded through and started leaking.   

There is a backlog on deliveries and installs, the new cooktop will be installed on the 13th.  I hope that is a good day for appliance installs.  

Have you had any appliances outlive their life expectancy? 

Monday, July 06, 2020

My Music Monday - Sir Tom Jones 80 Years Old and He Still Has It

I remember when Tom Jones burst onto the US music scene, oh he was sexy.  I was surprised to see he is still performing, then I searched YouTube and found the posting below from this year.  He still has it, age is not a barrier, he can still make hearts go pitter-patter.  I suspect the show in Kilkenny was cancelled or postponed,  Ireland shut down in mid-March.  I hope he gets back there to wow the crowd.  


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Sunday Five - Summer Days

I will admit I have a love-hate relationship with summer.  I love it being warm, hate if being hot and humid.  Hence this weeks Sunday five.

1: What it the ideal temperature for a summer day (in F or C)? 
2: Do you wear sunscreen in the summer? 
3: Are you planning to go to the beach this summer? 
4: Fresh water or salt water? 
5: Have you ever been snorkeling? 

My answers: 
1: What it the ideal temperature for a summer day (in F or C)?  About 80 F, and low humidity 
2: Do you wear sunscreen in the summer? Seldom 
3: Are you planning to go to the beach this summer? No, the closest we might come is Cleveland on the north coast of Ohio. 
4: Fresh water or salt water? I prefer salt water, but really either. 
5: Have you ever been snorkeling?  Yes, a friend showed me how when I was in my late teens.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Happy Independence Day

One of my grandmother's cousin's was visiting from London in the mid 1970s, we went to the Henry Ford Museum complex for a day.  In one of the historic houses, the docent was rambling on about escaping the unreasonable yolk of English rule, and Donald simply said, "I better leave before I say something" and he walked out the back door.  Perhaps I should leave it here, before I say something, but then again this is my space.  

244 years ago we formed an imperfect country.  A country that allowed slavery for nearly a century, and 244 years later is still struggling with treating every citizen equally.  Out of a fear of a strong central government we left the states in charge of vast areas of the law, leaving us with a fractured regulatory system, leaving us hamstrung, with many states being poorly run.  We created a system that has our national capital, not in any state, the people who live around Capital Hill lack proper representation in Congress.  (One of the reasons I actually live in Virginia, not DC proper.)  It took us 150 years to recognize women as citizens, and not the property of their husband.  We still struggle with recognizing a person's' right to make healthcare decisions, to recognize LGBTQ citiczens as true equals, to recognize that we are a country of people who practice a variety of religions - or none at all.  We fail to provide opportunities for every person to have a fair chance to pursue happiness.  We are one of the only major countries that fails to recognize that medical care is a human right, not a privilege for those who can afford it.  We have one of the highest rates of incarceration,  and shockingly disproportionate incarcerations rates for persons of color.  We are a nation of immigrants, with immigration laws 100 years out of date.  

We have changed a lot over the last 244 years, and there is still a lot of change that is needed.  The Country we have today, is not the Country a room full of men signed their names to 244 years ago, and is not the country that we need to have if we are to endure.  

Sorry for the rant, 
VOTE like your life depended on it, many lives do.  



Friday, July 03, 2020

Get Your Rocks Out There

I first encountered painted rocks, when a high school friend in Florida started painting them an placing / hiding them.  I think placing is a better term, you want them to be seen.  If you start looking around, you will see them, from time to time.  John over at Going Gently showed them recently, as did the Mistress .  They are not hard to do, rocks, a little paint, a simple message, tiny works of art.  A few have started appearing on the top of the hill.  

Have you? 

Thursday, July 02, 2020


Doors are a symbol of change.  We can enter, we can exit.  Often we think we know what is on the other side, but not always.  We open doors to new opportunities.  We close doors on the past.  We pass through these portals.  Some doors are unlocked.  Some doors deny us entry. Some doors test our strength to get them to open.  Other doors won't stay closed. Some doors we want to pry open.  Some doors we want to nail shut.  

I was fascinated by doors in Irish cities.  I have probably a dozen photos of doors that caught my eye.  

What does your door lead to? 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - John and George

My guess is this was taken at first John's wedding, he was my grandmother's much younger brother, standing there with his father, my paternal-maternal great-grandfather George.   My great grandfathers on my fathers' side died around the time I was born, I know them only through pictures.  

John was my grandmother's favorite sibling, she had an older brother, and much younger sister (Floss) and brother (John).  John I met several times, he was a very dignified gentleman. The marriage didn't last for reasons I never knew, nor did his second marriage (her alcoholism and his temper ended that one.)  He had three children, a daughter who the last I knew was in California, and twin boys about the age of my oldest brother.  The last I knew the twins were in Michigan. 

John was a manager for an international firm. Back in the 1970's they were building a truck assembly line in Poland.  Things were not going well, and they sent him over to check on things.  When he returned to New York, he said, "we will never get this thing finished unless we pay bribes to the suppliers.  His colleagues were aghast and a couple of them were on a plane to Poland the next week to prove him wrong.  Two weeks later they returned to New York, withdrew $200,000 in cash, packed it in briefcase and sent John back to Poland for two months to finish the job.  Apparently US dollars made the ideal "gift" to delivery drivers in Poland.  

He had a a lifetime of stories like that.  I wish I had more opportunities to listen to them.  

He should have written a book. 

What would the opening chapter of your book be about?