Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Travel Tuesday - An unexpected stop

It is time to go into the vast unsorted travel photo library and do some random travel, and this is where I landed.  I remember the random drive and unexpected stop.  To be honest, I was kind of lost, following the little voices to find my way back to the hotel.* 

The second time I went to England with J for the Oxford Patristics Conference, I sent him off to Oxford, and I hopped on the Eurostar to Brussels. From there I revisited Amsterdam.  Then my flight from Amsterdam to Normandy went haywire and I ended up on the TGV.  I was destined for a few days in a rental car exploring Normandy.  I was driving back from touring the D-day beaches late one afternoon and came across a local village festival, the kind you read about in books by expats living in rural France.  Parking was in a mowed field, I stopped and wandered around for a while. Very much a random and unexpected stop.  I remember buying a small bottle of calvados from this vendor.  I could have spent hours, but I had dinner reservations, and my encounter with Norman-Cider, that led to tromp in a freshly cut field of wheat.**  Very random, and very fond memories.     

* The voice from the Garmin GPS unit

** Very powerful stuff, and very good.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

My Music Monday - Muskrat Love

This song came out when my one and only Cousin was a baby, he would smile at the muskrat sounds, and fall asleep to this tune.  I think he turns 50 next March.  I wonder if the song still resonates with him.  

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Sunday Five - A Few Of Our Favorite Things

"And birds on the wing, these are a few of my favorite things" remember that line. This swarm of birds is the inspiration for this weeks Sunday Five. 

1: My favorite candy is? 

2: Spearmint, Peppermint or Wintergreen? 

3: I most enjoy spending time in a crowd, with just a couple of people, or alone? 

4: My favorite city is? 

5: My favorite way to move is? 

My answers: 

1: My favorite candy is? cholate 

2: Spearmint, Peppermint or Wintergreen? Wintergreen 

3: I most enjoy spending time in a crowd, with just a couple of people, or alone? alone 

4: My favorite city is? London 

5:  My favorite way to move is? Slowly under my own power 

Please share your answers in the comments. 


Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - Some Days

Some days, I wish I had become a craftsman, a house painter, a cabinet maker, or a brick mason.  It would be nice to look back at the end of the day and see what I had accomplished as a material thing. 

One thing I miss from my days working for homebuilding companies was seeing vacant land transformed into neighborhoods. The timeline was months or years, but you can go back and drive through decades later and see what we accomplished.  

Some days I wish I had started to write, seriously write, earlier in my life.  At this point I have no desire to put the work into a book, I do a chapter here or there, even those I need to learn to say no-thank-you to.  I am glad I am doing the writing I am doing.  In some circles I am making a difference.  I hope to be able to continue for a few more years.  

Some days I wish I had overcome my fears of the unknown sooner.  I passed on opportunities for change, that would have changed the course of my life.  But if I had done that, I would not be here now, doing what I do. Jump and the net will appear.  

Some days I wish others had told me, or I had listened when they told me, sooner in life that I was brighter than a sack of rocks.  That I could do learn it, do it, if I took the time and put in the effort.  Education changed me as a person, I hope it never ends.   

We all have twisted and convoluted paths in life.  Mine is no different.  I didn't follow some grand plan that was decided on when I was 15. But here I am, and Some Days, Every Day, I am glad for where I am.   

Friday, November 26, 2021

Foodie Friday - Autumnal Good

 What do we have here? Apples, carrots and parsnips.  

What would I do with them? 

I would cook the apples, core and dice them, simmer in a little rum, and brown sugar, add a dash of cinnamon, and finish with a knob of butter.  Can be served, hot, warm, or cold.  

Carrots and Parsnips I would cook together.  A lot of Americans are unfamiliar with parsnips.  Parsnips are related to carrots, have a strong and distinctive flavor.  Try them.  I would peel, quarter, and cut the carrots and parsnips into about two inch lengths, and oven roast them tossed with a little oil and salt, about 30 minutes at about 400 degrees F.   

Parsnips are also a good addition to a homemade soup, I would go easy, one goes a long way in a kettle of soup.  Prepare as you would carrots.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday Ramble - What Am I Thankful For

For my readers in the United States, and that is most but not all of my readers, Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you are able to spend the day in a way that brings you peace, tranquility, and an opportunity to reflect on all of the good things.  Thanksgiving as a holiday, is a derivative of harvest festivals, the tradition in north America dates back to my far distant ancestors in the Plymouth Colony - the religious zealots from the Mayflower - estimates are there are 35,000,000 descendants somebody was doing something on those cold winter nights.  

I have much to be thankful for:
  • My sweet bear
  • I am able to love, and be loved 
  • I have a safe and comfortable home
  • I am in decent health
  • I am able to read, write, learn, share
  • I have a few toys that I enjoy
  • The shelves in my local grocery store are full 
  • I have enough to live on
  • I have a job that challenges me, 
  • My work makes a difference in the lives of others
  • I have a life outside of my work, that I enjoy 
  • I have a cadre of blogging friends, that I enjoy interacting with everyday 
  • I have a small circle of close friends
  • There are few fears in my life
  • For those brave ancestors  
Take care if yourself, Be kind to yourself, Be humble, Be thankful for all that we have, be generous, 
THANK YOU for being a part of my life for another trip around the sun.   

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Way We Were Wednesday - Time Flies

This is my oldest brother, out in the snow, about 70 years ago. How can he be that old?  It seems like just yesterday he was finishing high school and heading out to make his way in the world (more like 51 years ago.) 

Sorting through my father's slides, there was one roll of black and white transparencies.  My father clearly preferred color for both slides and prints.  When this was taken in the very early 1950's, color was still emerging in the consumer market.  An amazing thing about the early Kodachrome slides, is most of them have aged well.  The color in Kodachrome was added in the development, using dyes that have a much longer life than the dyes in early Ektachrome that had the dyes in the film. 

Ektachrome you could process at home, if you were careful and adventurous, and yes I did.  Seems like just yesterday I was doing that, and it was more like 42 years ago the last time I did that.  Time flies. 

Happy Birthday this month to my oldest brother, who I don't think reads my blog.   

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Travel Tuesday- Cars

 We are once again a two car family. No I didn't buy a Ferrari, though that would be fun.  I sold a car.  For the past three years, between the two of us . . .  well really I should take responsibility for this, for the past three years I have owned two cars, and J has owned one; we were a three car family.  More cars than drivers.   

When I bought the VW convertible, I kept the reliable, practical Mazda 3 hatchback.  It was the proverbial hot hatch. Fast, handled well, had lots of toys, a sunroof, and a great sound system.  I kept it as a grocery getter, and honestly out of a fear that if the convertible turned out to be a lemon I would still have a reliable car (the only other VW I have owned was a lemon yellow lemon from day one.) I grew to trust the little VW, I love putting the top down.  It is small and easy to drive.  The handling is not as crisp, but I have adjusted to it.  The turbo makes it snappy enough to get out of the way.  The VW convertible became my go to car, unless I needed a bit more room.  And I seldom do, and when I do there is a Mercedes in the garage.  

I had bought the Mazda new back in January of 2012.  I was on my way to buy a Honda fit, saw the Mazda at the dealer next door, it was a little larger, much nicer, and frankly very well priced.  It was kind of an impulse buy, I was headed out to buy a car, but not that car that day.  It has been a very good car.  The issue was not that it was worn out, or needed work, it was that I don't use it enough to justify owning it.  I had it serviced and inspected in January (the state has a mandatory safety and emissions inspections) and I had driven it less than 600 miles since then.  I had to remind myself that it needed to be driven.  In nearly 10 years, I had only driven it 36,700 miles.  It is the ten-year old used car you want to buy, if you are buying a ten year old used car.  Driven enough so everything works, dealer maintained, and very low miles.  

I sold it to the dealer I bought it from.  I might have squeezed a little more out of it selling it myself, but I wanted this to be as painless as possible.  And it was, maybe 30 minutes total, and I know the dealers payment will be good.  They drove me home in it, I couldn't stand to watch it drive away.  

Five minutes or five years from now, when I regret parting with it, I will need to come back and reread this, reminding myself, that it is simply not good for a car to sit that much.  It needs to be driven, it is fun to drive, I wish the new owner as much happiness in it as I had.   

Monday, November 22, 2021

My Music Monday: Angelina Jordan - Fly Me To The Moon

I love this song, it always reminds me of New York City, and I have no idea why.  This version may well be better than the Frank Sinatra original.  

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Sunday Five: Contemplating Dead or Alive - Delete or Keep

1: My Facebook Friends List has at least 3 people on it who are dead. Is it rude to delete someone who is dead? 

2: There are people on my FB Friends list, that I don't know who they are or how they ended up there. Should I delete them? 

3: How long should I keep a bookmark for a Blogger who has stopped blogging?  Some of them I know are still alive and just stopped posting. 

4: How long should I keep the bookmark for a blog friend, who has died? 

5: Do you have a FB account? 

I really want your answers,  For the first four I truly struggle with what to do.  Obviously I still have a FB account, Somedays I wonder why.  I did unfriend Mark Zuckerberg recently. I wish his dog would post again, I miss the dogs' postings.   

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - If It Were Easy

A boss once told me, "if it were easy I could hire anyone to do it, it isn't, that is why you are here." Work has challenged me recently. A rare Saturday afternoon work session, that I really needed to be a part of, after a troubled night. I have had to deal with some issues of rudeness and incivility.  I take this personally.  It keeps me awake at night. 

At times I have to make decisions that I don't like.  Decisions that don't make everyone happy. At my core, I want to please others, if it were easy I would.  It is not, I can't, and that hurts.  

I am debating a virtual national conference, or an in person conference for a year from now. This is a lose - lose decision.  If I go virtual, those who yearn to meet fact to face will be disappointed. If I go in person, those who are uncomfortable traveling, will be unhappy. Hybrid is the ultimate answer, doing that well is very expensive and requires a lot of talent.  Doing hybrid cheaply, results in neither the in-person audience or the virtual audience having a good experience.  I have a limited budget, a cost sensitive audience, and limited staff resources.  Ultimately I will have to make the hard choice, of who do I disappoint? If it were an easy decision . . . 

Someday we will be able to sit by the river and examine the rocks, in the meantime, there is work to be done, and it isn't easy.  

Friday, November 19, 2021

Foodie Friday - The Chart House

If you have traveled a lot in the USA, chances are you have seen or eaten at a Chart House Restaurant.  The group has a couple of dozen locations around the country, including one here on my front yard, on the water in Old Town Alexandria Virginia.  Most are waterfront, most focus on seafood.  Then there is South Lake Tahoe.  The Chart House in Tahoe, is about 1,000 feet up the side of a mountain and about a mile and half from the lake.  The menu was beef and steak heavy.  The food was wonderful, the view breathtaking, the service was world class.  While expensive, it was not overly expensive for where it was at.  On a scale of of 1 to 10 with 10 being spend your kids inheritance if you have to experience this, I would rate it at a strong 8.  Definitely worth the trip up the mountain.  

They had a nice list of non-alcoholic Arnold Palmer drinks.  These are a mixture of ice tea and something. The classic was half ice tea and half lemon aid.  I had one made with peach puree that was heavenly, I had two, the second on is half price.  Why non-alcoholic? I was driving, at 7,000 feet above sea level, in unfamiliar surroundings, at night.  Not the time or place for the least little bit of impairment.  

Always have fun, and stay safe.   


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Thursday Ramble - Protect Yourself

I am reading David Sedaris's latest book, he quotes a joke that was told to him at a book signing, "What does a waiter say to a table full of New Yorkers 5 minutes after the food is served?" "Is anything okay?"* 

I had a diatribe composed after a couple of rough days.  I deleted it. Enough wallowing in dealing with difficult people.  People are going to be rude, we need to remember to protect ourselves.  

  • Set aside time to do nothing, 
  • Control what comes in, change the channel, find a different book, log off the news feed, 
  • Find something to laugh about, Mitchell has a suggestion  
  • Delete the toxic people 
  • Take a long walk
  • Spend time with someone you love
  • Communicate with friends 
  • Sleep - when in doubt - get horizontal 
  • Eat well 
  • Be creative, write, take photos, draw, paint, needle arts, whatever works for you 
  • Don't take it personally 

* I have edited the joke to be less offensive or sexist - his version is a table full of jewish women out to lunch in New York.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Way We Were Wednesday: Artifacts

This first came into my life, nearly 60 years ago, I know it came from the Kroger store in Lapeer Michigan, I am unsure if my mother or my grandmother bought it. Name mugs were on an end-cap, ground zero for impulse buys and for children to pitch an "I wana" fit. 

It is relic, an artifact of my childhood. I remember using it as a child, probably filled with milk (shudder I can't stand the taste of milk.) It is surprising that it survived, but it did.  Using a jewelers loop and looking closely the design and the my name are fused into the glass.  If the design and name were printed on, they would have washed-worn off decades ago.  Quality pays long term rewards.  

I found this when I was cleaning out my father's house after his death.  My mother had kept it, hung onto it, not used it. It was a tangible artifact for her, a connection to when she had a house full of young children.  For me it is tangible connection to my childhood, to early memories.  

What artifacts do you have around? 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Travel Tuesday - Airline Travel Today

Gone are the days of airlines leaving middle seats empty, of planes flying with few people, of nearly empty airports.  Business travel may not be back, in-person conferences may be the exception rather than the norm, but the airports and airplanes are full.  

The trip going out to Reno, both flights (we connected in Dallas) filled every seat.  On one of them the gate agent came on looking for empty seats she could fill.  The gate areas were packed with people.  On the flight back, I lucked out with empty middle seats on both flights, but the planes were 90% or more at capacity - on a weekend that American Airlines was having schedule problems, they cancelled 18% of their schedule that day mostly due to crew shortages.  

There is no "food for sale" in coach. No alcohol in coach (no big difference for me, I seldom drink when I am flying.)  

The photo above was taken DFW, we ended up with four hours between flights.  I found the manspreading and the stop the spread sign to be a delightful contrast.  I do enjoy an empty middle seat and being able to spread out a little.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

My Music Monday - Batman

This is the original batmobile, a custom built by George Barris on a one-off concept car.  It sold into private hands at auction a few years ago for $4.6-million US dollars.  The commentators asked the buyer if he had a spot set aside for it in his garage, and his reply was "it is going in my living room."  It is now on loan to the National Automobile Museum in Reno Nevada.  The museum has the remains of the Harrah's collection. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Sunday Five: A Snapshot in Time

This image is probably 1/500th of a second, fixed and preserved in time.  Let's see what is happening at this moment in your world. 

1: What can you smell? 

2: What can you see to your left? 

3: What can you hear? 

4: Is it warm, cool, or just comfortable where you are? 

5: Have you taken good care of yourself today? 

My answers: 

1: What can you smell? Coffee - I like mine iced 

2: What can you see to your left? Out the window, the tree closest to the window is still is still green, the one's in the distant are mostly yellow. 

3: What can you hear? Random music from my computer and the Rumba running in the other room. 

4: Is it warm, cool, or just comfortable where you are? Cool. 

5: Have you taken good care of yourself today? I slept well, took my pills, ate well, I think so.  I am doing something I enjoy, writing and asking my friends questions.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - The Wheels Go Round and Round, Unless The Wheels Fall Off

 One of the reasons I wanted to live in the Washington DC metropolitan area, also known as the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia,) was to be able to get around town by mass transit, and by that I mean subway trains.  When I bought a home here, I intentionally purchased near a metrorail station.  I have gone for years without driving to my office.  I walk to the station, pull out my Kindle and let someone else do the driving.  

I was ahead of my time in not caring if I got a drivers license or not.  My father insisted that I do so the fall I turned 16, a few months later he handed me keys to the trucks and car and gas tank on the farm, and said, get yourself around. Oh, and by the way run to town and pick up a couple of pipe fittings for the processing plant, and a pound of nails.  I became his reliable errand boy for a couple of years. 

I have an ambivalent relationship with driving. I drive because I need to, and because I have control issues, but I seldom really enjoy it.  It is more fun in the convertible with the top down on a sunny day.  

Metrorail, the subway service in my backyard, is currently limping by with about 30% of their fleet of railcars in service, because  - - - well the wheels are falling off of the new cars.  Not exactly falling off, but moving outward on the axles, held on presumably by the rails, but far enough to cause derailments.  This is a fleet of new state of the art railcars, made by Kawasaki in a plant in Nebraska.  A multi billion dollar investment.  The new cars make up about 70% of the active fleet.  To cover they have pulled 40 year old cars that were slated to be sold for scrap back into service.  

So far, the plan is increased inspections to identify wheelsets that "out of compliance." There has been no mention of FIXING the problem, or of DEMANDING that the manufacturer FIX the problem.  I suspect before we are done that all of the wheels and axles on several hundred rail cars will need to be replaced, or maybe the wheels will just keep going around, until the wheels fall off, then they will replace them.  

For the time being service on my home line is every 30 minutes, instead of every 7 to 10 minutes, and I am driving wherever I want or need to go. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Foodie Friday - well actually Wednesday and Thursday

 I enjoy going out to breakfast, or in the event we sleep late, brunch.  When we were at Lake Tahoe this was the case, sleeping was wonderful, we didn't leave the hotel before 10:30 any morning.  Heidi's is apparently a regional chain.  This one is in South Lake Tahoe, not far from the hotel we stayed at.  We went on Wednesday, getting there around 11:00, I ordered the lunch special a hot ham and cheese sandwich, with fries and soup, Jay ordered breakfast.  We went back on Thursday, arriving a few minutes earlier, we both ordered breakfast.  

The place is cutsy, the food was hearty, not the best breakfast, but not the worst.  Not cheap, but not as expensive as the crabcake eggs benedict I had at the Atlantis Casino in Reno. The service was warm and friendly, and relative fast.  

Is it my favorite, naw, would I go back, yes.  


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday Ramble - What am I up to

Work remains busy, we are trying to wrap up a major project, and I have two webinars this month.  I have a couple of articles in the works, and I need to co-author a book chapter.  Someday I will learn to say no.  I have become better at working when I work, and not when I am not.  I feel a healthier balance in my life.  

It is time to start planning the end of the year holidays.  I enjoy cooking for the holidays.  For me Thanksgiving dinner is always turkey centered.  Last year we did roast beef for Christmas - with Yorkshires.  I need to decide if I want to repeat that.  New Years is traditionally ham, maybe seafood this year (lobster?) My Christmas shopping is essentially done.  I am am forever finding something cute, or fun, or funny at the last minute and adding it to the pile.  I will push for the tree to go up soon.  

I will start to review the year, and set goals for next year.  I find when I look back I am often amazed at how much I have done.  In the day to day hustle and bustle it is easy to forget what was accomplished, to focus on how much is left to do, or left undone.  Pausing to look back and create a list, helps me to realize I have not spent the year spinning my wheels.  I do this in my work life, I do it in my personal life.  Goals set a road map for me, I need to know where I am going, what I expect to do.  I know I am way ahead on the number of books I expected to read this year. I always look forward to that process.  

I take a lot of photos.  I have been creating end of the year books, for my personal collection.  Shutterfly, Zuno, Blurb all print nice photo books.  I got started on these, I have two that I want to do this fall.  

I am trying to get out to walk, three or four times a week.  Almost always with a camera in my hand.  

Anyone know what kind of bird this is?  

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Way They Were Wednesday - Horses

Both my grandfathers grew up farming with horses or mules.  My mother's father resisted changing over to mechanized farming, and did so reluctantly around World War II.  My father's father told of being sent off summers as a child, to work for a farmer cultivating fields with a team of horses or mules on bottomland along the Mississippi river near St Louis, for a few cents a day, because the family needed the money to keep from going hungry in the winter.  His family moved to Detroit when Ford was advertising $5 a day, he always loved the land and farming, but never wanted to keep animals (other than bees.) If not for his mother, there never would have been farm animals on the farm he owned.  (She kept chickens and a milk cow.) 

The Photo above, is my mother's father with two horses in full harness.  I am not sure who the woman on the right is, could be my mother. 

My mother's mother lived with dementia for nearly a decade. She would get lost driving her car.  My mother was helping her sort the mail one day, and the car insurance bill was in the stack. My grandmother remarked, "oh I can't afford that, I should get rid of that car." My mother seized the opportunity to buy the car from her mother for what she had paid for it a few years earlier, drove her down to the Courthouse, transferred ownership as fast as she could.  My mother left her car parked near my grandmother's house, and drove the car she had bought from her mother home that afternoon.  (She gave the car to my brother who needed a car.)  As my grandmother's dementia progressed, she would refer to my mother as "that woman who took my horses away!"   

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Travel Tuesday - More than Route 66

An early sitcom and theme song set Route 66 into the minds of the world, as the cross country route in the United States.  Tourists from around the globe come to drive the sections of the original route that still exist, though most of it has been replaced by modern limited access Interstate Highways. 

The Lincoln Highway was another one, running from Times Square in New York City to San Francisco, we came across this marker for it in Carson City, Nevada, not far from the Nevada State Capitol building.  

Then there is US Route 50, that ran from Ocean City Maryland to Sacramento California.  We kept driving sections of it in Nevada and California, it runs along the south shore of Lake Tahoe.  It also passes near where we live in the Washington DC area.  

It might be fun someday, to take a month and drive the old roads, as much of them as still exist, from coast to coast.  Maybe something to do in retirement.  

Monday, November 08, 2021

My Music Monday : Despite his Alzheimer's, Tony Bennett prepares to perform with Lady Gaga

Sassy a sweet fellow blogger is headed in for surgery tomorrow. Hopefully this will resolve an ongoing health issue, bring some comfort to his life. He mentions having a few moments.  I know those feelings.  All we can do is find the best professionals, trust them and make plans for the future.  When I was headed into surgery for a tumor in my spine back in 2015, the anesthesiologist was working away sewing a line into a vein in my arm in pre-op and I closed my eyes. He asked if I was okay.  I responded that I was just thinking about how big of a boat I should buy myself after this was successful to celebrate life.  He responded with the old joke that "if it floats, flies, or fucks it is cheaper to rent than own."  I laughed, then he told me about the World War II era airplane that he owns (about $200 an hour in fuel costs alone.) Dream about the future.  

I mentioned that my mother's mother, lived with dementia for most of the last decade of her life.  I say lived with, not suffered from.  She had a few difficult moments, she was lost a few times, but for the most part she enjoyed life.  She spent several years in a crappy nursing home, that did an amazing job of keeping her safe, comfortable and happy.  They practiced behaviour management.  The place was not pretty, things were stolen (someone stole the diamond out of her ring) but the way they kept her comfortable was amazing.  

I was visiting her one day in the early 1990's at the nursing home.  She wanted to walk, so we went walking.  Two things happened, at one point she said hang on for a moment, I will be right back, walked over the man and said, "it's getting cold, do you want to come snuggle in my bed tonight!" She had always been very repressed, I was shocked.  But it was the unreserved her coming out.  

A few minutes later she sat down at the piano in the day room and started playing. As a girl she learned to play the piano.  She grew up before radio or television, a time when most homes had a piano for in home entertainment.  When they sold the farm in the early 1960's she stopped playing music. Music she had learned 70 years earlier was still there deep in her mind.  She didn't know who I was, she didn't know her only daughter, she didn't know where she was, but deep inside her mind there were still parts that really worked. It was the only time I ever heard her play. 

So I was not surprised to hear Tony Bennett still being able to wow an audience, even if a couple of days later he couldn't remember that he had performed.  The Person is still in there.  

Sunday, November 07, 2021

The Sunday Five - Movies

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Bear! 

Spo recently (well last month) challenged us to write about movies, and I was in need of a Sunday Five question set,  I will reduce the number of questions to five: 

1: A movie I will never watch: 

2: A movie that did not age well. 

3: A movie I never grow tired of seeing: 

4: A movie that still makes me laugh: 

5: A movie you want everyone to see: 

My answers:

1: A movie I will never watch: The Godfather 

2: A movie that did not age well: National Lampoon's Animal House 

3: A movie I never grow tired of seeing: Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone 

4: A movie that still makes me laugh: Airplane  

5: A movie you want everyone to see: On Golden Pond 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 06, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?

It is time for the seasonal shifting of the clocks, spring forward, fall back.  When I wake up at 6:00 AM the clock will read 5:00 AM, oh the pain.  And only a week after we returned from a week in the Pacific time zone, three hours shifted, now a shift here.  

I will be blunt, I hate "daylight savings time."  When I worked in fields where daylight was deemed important, we worked longer or different hours in the summer, we didn't need to fiddle with the clock, we simply changed our working hours to take advantage of it being daylight earlier in the day, and later in the day.  In my current work, it really does not matter when I work, as long as I get the work done.  That is basically my office time policy, we really expect everyone to be available for scheduled meetings between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM, and beyond that we really don't care when you work, as long as you get your work done.  

I don't know of anyone who enjoys changing time zones.  People whose employers are stuck on work hours, may appreciate the summer shift allowing more daylight after work, but wouldn't it be easier for the employer to allow flexibility in work hours?  Or for people to work a shorter work day?  

I have never bolted wheels onto cars on an assembly line, my productivity is not based on how many widgets I make per hour and how many hours I work.  Sometimes I can produce more widgets in a day, sometimes fewer, it really does not matter how many hours I work.  Yet most organizations base working hours on widgets per hour, like we were all assembly line workers, or machine operators.  Increasingly in a professional and "service" economy we are not productive on the industrial model, but management and accounting are fixated on that model. 

Before my father went into beekeeping, he was a machinist and toolmaker.  Some years in the offseason from the farm, he would go work in machine shops. He picked up a job one winter with General Motors, finishing parts on a lathe.  He looked up one day, and his supervisor was standing at the end of the machine with a stopwatch in his hand, timing how fast he could finish each part.  The supervisor told him he needed to slow down.  Dad asked why, is there a problem with my quality? (He was a perfectionist, he knew that was not the issue.) The answers was you are working too fast, you will make everyone else look bad.  It was near time for the farm to start up for the summer, Dad finished his day's run of widgets, packed his tools, stopped by the stopwatch-guys desk, and said, mail me my final check, I won't slow down, I won't come back. 

Here is to hoping you adjust to the time shift gracefully.  


Friday, November 05, 2021

Foodie Friday - Eating Local

 There is a stereotype of Americans traveling and doing two things, complaining that the local coffee is not good, and seeking out McDonalds.  I am an oddball in many ways, but I think the coffee in Europe is far better than the weak, bitter swill that most places serve in north America.   

If I have a choice between someplace local, and a chain, if I am at home, or halfway around the world, I generally try the local place.  Our first day in Dublin, we wandered a couple of blocks from the hotel in search of our first meal after arrival.  The Oval bar fit the bill, and the food was amazing.  As I recall I had Irish Stew, one of the specials, it was great.  A hint, for local food, in small places, go for the special.  It is often what was fresh, easy, good.  Sometimes it is a great price, sometimes it is special because it has rare and pricey ingredients.  They tend to feature it because they know people will like it and come back.  It is also often something that is quick to serve.  

McDonalds, I have a few times.  But not recently.   

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Thursday Rambles - Back From a Little Break

Did you miss me? Did you even notice that I had been away for a few days.  I hope not, I always try to arrange things so my readers have something fun each day, and I don't like to advertise that my house is empty when I am away.  

We left on October 23rd, flew to Reno, via Dallas.  I spoke at a conference in Reno on the 24th, a couple of very successful presentations, did a little networking, then left the the next day.  We spent a day in Carson City, toured the old Nevada State Capital, and the Nevada Railway Museum, spent the night, then went onto Lake Tahoe for four wonderful days.  While I was speaking on Sunday, and into Monday morning, it rained in Reno, it snowed heavily in the mountains.  At elevation over a foot of snow, in the really higher elevations three feet of snow.  In places it was a record setting snowfall for October.  By the time we drove around Lake Tahoe, all but one short section of the road was clear and open.  And the views and landscape were spectacular.  Lake Tahoe is described as the largest alpine lake in North America (12 miles wide and 27 miles long, at about 6300 ft of elevation.) It is always breathtaking, in a fresh blanket of snow, with the Aspen trees still in full color, it was spectacular.  We flew home on Saturday October 30th, again via Dallas, with a mechanical delay, and online rebooking, we arrived home about four hours behind schedule on a day when American Airlines cancelled 18% of it's schedule, not bad, not bad at all.  

The in-person conference was my first in two years.  It was a little strange, but it worked.  It was nice to see people in person.  A few people I have only ever met virtually.  It was a swan song for one of my mentors from 22 years ago who is taking on increasing caregiving duties for a family member living with dementia. And a small celebration with friends, the day before we left I confirmed a major promotion at work effective the end of January.  I don't talk about my work here, but it is the last step up the ladder for my professional life.  

The break at Lake Tahoe was wonderful.  We had no schedule, no expectations.  A comfortable hotel room, with a view of the lake, and a nice full size - all wheel drive SUV.  We drove around the lake, stopped whenever we wanted. When I say the roads were nearly all open, we drove around the lake the first day, to within 10 miles of the hotel we were staying in, and found the one last section that was closed, turned around and drove back around the lake. We slept late, went out to breakfast, and had a couple of spectacular dinners.  I slept 11 hours one night, ahhh! I needed that.  

No more immediate travel plans. I need to work on that.  


Wednesday, November 03, 2021

The Way We Were Wednesday - 94 years ago

The baby in her father's arms, was my mother.  I always thought her mother, looked a little like Olive Oyl in the old Popeye cartoons.  On the left you can see the running boards rising up into fenders, and the hubcap on the end of the front axle of the early car.  His hair is tucked up under his hat or he had it cut, there is a related photo that shows his hair very long and sticking almost straight up in curls on top and cropped tight around the sides.  My mother had her father's blue eyes, mine are small and dark more like her mother's.  

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Travel Tuesday - Pause for a Moment of Zen

 I recently read a book about Zen and photography.  The book had some great points, some self teaching exercises, a reminder that we are always learning, that we will all hit barriers and setbacks, and a lot of about relaxing and letting all of your senses, your entire being be a part of the creative process.  I can follow that so far, then it gets silly for me.  But, his suggestion of taking time to stop and not think about anything, just be where you are being resonates with me.  

Back when I was in undergrad, there was a chapel on campus, and I would go in, sit in the balcony and just be quiet.  It was an intense time in my life, I was working often 50-60 hours a week, going to the gym five times a week, running 6 days a week, riding a bike 50 miles a week, swimming a couple of miles a week, and taking classes two nights a week (I worked my way through undergrad, working full time and going to school half time.) There were days when I really needed 15 minutes of nothing, and the chapel was one of the best places on campus to escape and be alone. 

When we travel I often go into churches, most are beautiful and peaceful places, a place to pause and just think about nothing for a few minutes.  I am not a practitioner of any religion, but I find most of the places special.  

Monday, November 01, 2021