Monday, July 31, 2023
Someplace I heard that only mad-dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. The car said it was 101 (f) when I was out running errands the other day. It has been a long and rather warm summer.
The flow of email has slowed slightly, as people take mid-summer breaks, and simply slow down to avoid the heat. Some of the emails are sent at odd hours, indicating people are working late at night when they can be out of the heat of the day.
A friend emailed me from mild-rainy Paris, lamenting the she will see me in Denver later this week, then she returns to Phoenix next week, where she knows it will be a lot warmer. She and 11 friends bought an apartment in Paris about 20 years ago. July is her month. She looks forward to it, enjoys it, and occasionally someone will be unable to travel during their month, and the other co-owners are able to enjoy extra time in Paris. And YES, I wish I had done something like that - though I have never had a job where I could be gone for a month at a time. My next job I will be able to do that.
As you read this, I am off from work for a few days, personal travel tagged onto work travel. Something I have done fair amount of over the years. If all goes to plan, sometime I on Monday I will enter the 50th state in my all 50 state journey, the 46th state that I have either been to on work, or been to as a personal add on to work travel. That has happened because I wanted it to happen. I have sought out work that made it possible. I have done things that increased the amount of work travel I have been able to do, without taking a job that kept me away from home all of the time. For a few years, I had a travel expense budget line at the office, $10,000 I could spend on any work travel I though justified the expense. I miss that. It made things possible that helped me understand the bigger picture of my work. We all need that.
I presented a webinar last week, on a topic I know well, to an audience of old friends and new faces. At the end I thought to myself, I hope this is the last one. The last time I speak to an audience I can't see and hear. I have been doing it for 20 years, I started doing virtual education long before Zoom and Teams, and even WebX. I actually came to DC for two days of training by an expert at AARP. Plan well, wind up, and present your heart out, and just imagine that the audience is there and hanging on your every word. Like shouting into a void, and assuming that someone, someplace is listening.
The next three trainings I have scheduled are in person, I look forward to them. And I get to have dinner with Maddie as an add on to one of them.
Sunday, July 30, 2023
For most of my readers (not all of them) summer is upon us. So here are a few questions about summer.
1: Have you ever spent a day floating down a slow moving river?
2: Have you ever gone fishing?
3: Have you walked slowly across a tall bridge?
4: Do you use air conditioning on hot summer days?
5: What do you drink on a hot summer afternoon?
1: Have you ever spent a day floating down a slow moving river? No, I missed that one.
2: Have you ever gone fishing? A long time ago, yes.
3: Have you walked slowly across a tall bridge? Yes, and looked over the side.
4: Do you use air conditioning on hot summer days? Always.
5: What do you drink on a hot summer afternoon? Water.
Please share you answers in the comments.
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Debra's comment on last Saturday's post prompted this memory, a story about Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Back before my ABA days, I was a consultant for AARP, hired to do training across the country, I forget the exact numbers but it was over 30 programs in about 25 states over about 8 years. Marcie, the training coordinator had a Mac Truck rule, that you always had two trainers on each project, so if one of us was run over by a Mac truck on the way to the training the show would go on. I suggested that she make it the PowerBall lottery rule, I'd much sooner win a billion dollars and not be able to focus on the training, than be mangled by a truck.
Hence I did several programs with Jane from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jane and I covered similar and overlapping issues. Are working styles were different, she was better at showing up and winging it, I prepared meticulously and obcessed over staying on time. I have relaxed a lot over the years. I am probably today, where Jane was 20 years ago, I have forgotten more than most people know about the core issues I work on.
That summer we did two programs together in two weeks. North Dakota, and South Dakota a week apart. Lots of frequent flyer miles.
We did a training in the basement of a small casino in Deadwood, South Dakota. When there was a quiet moment in the training room, you could hear the slot machines going ding, ding, ding upstairs in the cassino. The training space was comfortable, the food was good and inexpensive.
We arrived mid afternoon the day before, drove over the Lead, to see a massive mine, we visited the graves of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, then headed downtown for dinner. We stopped in a casino for a minute, and Jane said how much she hated slot machines because she always lost. She put in ten dollars, and a couple of minutes later she was up by about a hundred dollars, I urged her to cash out and walk away, but she kept pulling the handle and five minutes later she was down to zero. (The next morning while waiting for breakfast I put one-dollar in a machine, and two minutes later cashed out with $45.)
I don't remember much of the restaurant, but I do remember that the menu featured Rocky Mountain Oysters. Jane, being from Louisiana, became quite excited by oysters, explaining how much she enjoyed them, how she had gone oystering with her grandfather while growing up and how wonderful oysters are raw and fresh out the water. Marcie and I knew what kind of oysters these were and kind of egged Jane on.
You see there are no salt water shellfish in the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain oysters are what you get when you turn a bull into a steer, or a ram into a wether (I had to look that one up.) Bluntly they are testicles. They are generally dusted with flour and fried. I am not a fan. But they are on my list of "Oooooo you tried that foods."
We were encouraging Jane to order "oysters." Then she asked the server if she could get them raw on the half shell, not fried. He rolled his eyes, and sighed, and probably for the 20th time that day, explained to Jane's horror that Rocky Mountain Oysters didn't come out of shell, they came out of a scrotum - from a cow or sheep, and no they were not served raw. Marcie and I were all but falling out of our chairs trying to suppress laughter. Jane turned fifty shades of red with embarrassment. I don't think Jane will ever forgive us.
Friday, July 28, 2023
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Someone posted on Linkedin recently that she had taken a week off, 7 days without office email, a disconnect. She had done the two week circle tour of the Island of Iceland in one-week. We get so overscheduled, that when we disconnect, we plan a marathon of activity. Back when I had my first blackberry, we were planning a trip to England, we layed out a plan, and ran it by friends who live in London - I will never forget Duncan's response, we were planning "the forced march through England." We revised to three stops in a week, with a couple of nights in most places. It was much more enjoyable. That was also the beginning for me of taking time off without disconnecting. The blackberry was bought because it had international service, email was always there.
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
What have I been up to? Work, the treadmill, a couple of visits to the pool, reading, work - have I mentioned work? The Kennedy Center to see "The Play That Goes Wrong" a farce about a farce. A long walk across DC.
What is frustrating me? Blogger still can't find my Google photo archive.
Who have I been in contact with? Stephen - who got me started on blogging years ago, Jen a dear friend, Diedri a dear friend, work -work - work.
What have I been Watching? The Tour de France finished on Sunday, it has been a good year, I would prefer a route with more French villages and fewer mountains next year. Some day, I am going to stand on the side of the road, and watch them thunder by. (Add that to the bucket list.)
When I am off on an adventure next? Sunday.
Who deserves a big THANK YOU this week? Jane the grant writer, who has guided us through several proposals in six weeks.
Who deserves a slap this week? Oh, I have someone, but I won't say.
What am I reading? I have two longer books underway at the same time, American Ramble by Neil King, and The Measure of Our Age, by M.T. Connolly. The ramble is about walking from DC to New York City, M.T. is a researcher and thinker on aging - I was invited to the release party.
What is next? If all goes to plan, I will check a bucket list item off the list in the next week.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Monday, July 24, 2023
Last week felt like trying to take a sip of water, from a firehose. Nothing terrible, well nothing more terrible than usual, just and endless and overflowing stream of it. And this week does not look much better.
A post on YPs blog this past week, made me think, and look back at my blog. I was reading his post about the death of his brother a year ago, at about the same time that I found my father dead six years ago. His death was expected, my sister had checked on him at about 6:30 AM, when I checked a little after 7:00 he was gone. Six years - it seems like yesterday - it seems like forever.
I leave Sunday for a 9 day trip, 5 of them work. It will be good to get away, I doubt that the flow of work demands will slow. I look forward to the personal days I have added to this trip.
One day last week I started my work day very early, and I had meetings until 5:00 PM, between meetings in the afternoon, I went for a 40 minute float in the pool. On the video call that started at 4:00, someone remarked that I looked like I had been on vacation out in the sun. Somehow it bothered me. Maybe I am just a grump.
We are moving along with travel planning for next spring, that brings me joy.
I am working on blogging. Writing stories of characters I have met, and some that I have not, of adventures and experiences. More than random thoughts, though those will never go away, but more thoughtful content. The nature of my professional writing, is fact an opinion focussed, with less storytelling. I read something recently that people remember stories, and learn facts by relating them to the story that is told. One of the most popular columns in the ABA Senior Lawyers Division Voice of Experience journal is ethics issues, told in offbeat or funny stories. Often the reader thinks, what a fool, but they remember the rule and how it works. I want to do more writing like that. Stories that have a moral, a message. Twisted fairy tales redux.
Some days my boat overflows, some days it floats.
Sunday, July 23, 2023
1: What favorite item of clothing?
2: What is your favorite food?
3: What is your favorite drink?
4: What is your favorite form of entertainment?
5: What is your favorite way to get around town?
1: What favorite item of clothing? Printed t-Shirts
2: What is your favorite food? Cheese
3: What is your favorite drink? Water
4: What is your favorite form of entertainment? Blogs
5: What is your favorite way to get around town? The subway
Please share your answers in the comments.
Saturday, July 22, 2023
If cats and dogs could talk, especially male cats and dogs, I am sure that they would rant that what the vet does is not "fix" them, but "breaks" them. It worked just fine before the veterinarian removed parts. Female cats and dogs probably have a more mixed opinion, some are probably relieved that they will never have half a dozen babies to raise again and the pesky toms and studs will stop pestering them. Others may really want a family, and well they won't. The babies have a better quality of life when the numbers are manageable.
I stumbled across the YouTube channel of Ryan an American twink living in Tokyo studying Japanese for a year. He is unrestrained, a little crazy, and can be kind of fun to listen to. He has adopted a cat. In one video he describes taking the cat in to be "fixed." The cat is an adolescent male, and was doing what young males do - marking his territory. For a male cat this is spraying, aka urinating, on the woodwork, furniture, pillows, or the legs of his owner. This sends a message to others to stay away, or I will hiss and claw your eyes out. Reminds me of the bar stools at the Cactus Club on a Saturday night.
When Ryan went to pick the cat up from the vet after the procedure, the cat was happy to see him, happy to get away from the vet. The vet tech handed Ryan a little stainless steel bowl, he opened the cover, and in the bowl was what had been removed from the cat. Two little oval, kind of gristly looking balls. They wanted to know if he wanted to take them with him. To keep them. Apparently some people think that when the cat dies, the removed bits should be buried or cremated with them, so when the cat goes into the afterlife they are whole again.
Thinking about this, if there is afterlife for cats, they are going to be really pissed when they find that they can't keep their balls while alive, but they can have them back after they are dead. If cats are reincarnated, and come back as cats, they will come hiss and try to claw our eyes out.
This reminded me of Uncle Dick. Dick was raised on a farm, when he was a teenager one of his uncles showed him how to castrate pigs. You trap the pig between a fence and a gate, rinse the area with alcohol and it was the era of straight razors, it would be over and the pig would squeal away in a minute. When I was a teenager, Aunt Edith had a new cat, Midnight. The Vet wanted $100 to "fix" Midnight. Dick thought that was silly. Midnight hissed at him the rest of his life.
Dick was a character. He was a great storyteller, I should start collecting the Dick stories.
Friday, July 21, 2023
Thursday, July 20, 2023
I occasionally reference being raised on a "funny farm." Someplace back in the history of this blog, I have written about this before. I was raised on a honey-bee farm. There were two houses, a barn, a small warehouse, and an extracting plant on the farm. About 3% of the bees we kept were on the farm, the others were on leased locations, spread across 5 or 6 counties.
I was out running errands with my grandmother one day, she stopped to pay for a fuel delivery to the farm. She asked for the bill for the Honey Farm, and the person behind the counter, slid open the glass window into the inner office and asked for the latest invoice for the "Funny Farm." I thought it was funny, my grandmother didn't. She had a temper, she pitched a fit, threatening to change suppliers if it ever happened again. The guy who owned gas and oil delivery service was a flying buddy of my father, there was little risk that the business would be lost, but she knew how to make people cower.
I bought a one-pound queenline jar of honey recently at the farmers market on King Street, $13. My father rattled in his urn at that price. He sold hundred of those for 25-cents. He thought I was crazy when I raised the retail price in the extracting plant to $1.
Bee keeping, has become fashionable. Colin from Foxes Afloat is keeping bees in Scotland. The photo above is in Cleveland near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I won't take it up. I enjoyed the processing and packing side of the business, I didn't like the bee keeping farm side of the business. My father sold out and retired the first time in 1982.
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
What have I been up to? Work, the farmers market, out to see a movie, blogging, took the plunge and booked a cruise.
Who have I traded text messages with? Spo about life, my sister, Kell and Bob about plans for October travel, Omar about Idaho.
What have I been cooking? Salads, sandwiches, cool and simple things, pulled pork and baked beans.
What have I done for fun? We went to see the movie Joy Ride, I floated in the pool, keeping up with the Tour, blogging, YouTube,
What have I been reading? Pageboy, an interesting bio of an actor I have never noticed and Diddly Squat.
When will I change the subject? Often, and without warning.
Who deserves a slap this week? Google, my blog can't find my photos for some strange reason.
What made me laugh this week? A text message that was obviously an attempt at ID theft, it was laughable.
Where we will go on the cruise? Miami to Barcelona.