Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Monday, October 30, 2023

Moody Monday: Adulting 67

I think all adults, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity should be able to adult.  To have the basic skills to take care of themselves, to be self sufficient.  Here are a few things I think everyone should be able to do, even if they don't like to do, and rely on someone else to do, we should know how. 

Cook, I am not going to ask you to do anything complicated like make the perfect fried egg (Gordon Ramsey has been known to test applicants for jobs in his kitchen by asking them to fry an egg.) An omelet or scrambled eggs are much easier.  Everyone needs basic knife skills, something I had to teach myself.  How to make a basic soup or stew (or curry) there are a billion options, other than getting the spice way off, you really can't go wrong. Boil pasta, make mashed potatoes.  Bake a simple cake, make pastry and bake a simple pie. 

I learned the basics of cooking from a grandmother who was not a very good cook, who worked hard to learn the basics, and taught me in a way that was very forgiving. There were no mistakes in her kitchen, no one right way to do anything.  

To shop and maintain a basic kitchen pantry.  Having learned to cook from someone who survived two World Wars and the great depression, I learned from someone who knew how to stock a kitchen.  Keeping the basics on hand, allows you to do so much. 

Do your own laundry.  I lived alone a few summers in early adulthood, and had to learn how to do my own laundry.  The first time I was married, my soon to be ex, did my laundry once, by stuffing three loads of laundry into the machine at once.  Only once, I returned to doing my own laundry after that, and I still do.  

Sew on a button.  Assuming that you wear clothing that has buttons, you should be able to sew on a button. The biggest challenge today, is finding a replacement, when I was growing up my grandmothers would gather clothes that were being discarded, and cut the buttons off into their button box.  Sewing a button on is not hard to do. 

Write a letter.  By hand, address the envelope, put postage on it, and send it off in the post.  It is a simple skill that I fear is being lost.  

I use to think, write a check.  I was talking with a college student recently and I asked, "do you write checks?" Her answer was that she has a few times, but had to ask her mother for help. Perhaps this is a skill that will no longer exist.  I am down to one account that I am stilling paying by mail.  Oh, and my taxes, the County wants to charge extra to pay online - so I still mail checks.  I guess this is being replaced by being able to check our online accounts, and set up direct payment (something I have learned to do.) 

Shop for and buy clothes.  I am surprised by people who have never bought clothing, their mother did, then their spouse did (this is mostly a man thing.) I have known men who never bought underwear or a pair of shoes for themself, someone always brought it home for them. 

Clean house.  Dusting, vacuuming or sweeping floors, washing floors, scrubbing a sink, cleaning a toilet. This is something I don't like to do, and don't do as often as I should, but I do know how to do it.  If forced to do so, I wouldn't need to learn or live in squalor.  

What else should an adult know how to do? 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Sunday Five: From Afar 68

1: What musician would you like to have lunch with? 

2: What author would you like to have drinks with? 

3: What actor would you like to sit next to on an airline flight? 

4: Is there a chef you would like to cook with? 

5: How many bloggers have you met in person? 

My Answers: 

1: What musician would you like to have lunch with? Oboe boy. 

2: What author would you like to have drinks with? David Sedaris 

3: What actor would you like to sit next to on an airline flight? Barbra Streisand 

4: Is there a chef you would like to cook with? Anyone but Bobby Flay.

5: How many bloggers have you met in person? Spo, Fearesom, Mitchell, Anne Marie, Ron, Woodchuck, Squirrel, Kell, Hamster, John, Sharon, I am sure I have missed a few, and not all of these are still blogging.  All great people. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday Morning Post: Harpsichord 69

I remember the music teacher in elementary school describing the difference between a piano and a harpsichord.  A piano uses hammers to strike the strings, a harpsichord plucks the strings like a harpist plucks the strings with a finger.  The teacher opened up the case on an old upright piano and demonstrated the strike and the pluck and how the sound and action differed.  That message stuck with me.  I have long been fascinated by a harpsichord.  By how they work, by the slightly wonky sound.  

George Washington ordered one built for his step granddaughter.  The instrument was long gone, but the detailed order survived.  A few years ago Mt. Vernon commissioned a replica to be built.  It did a concert tour, the first to photos are in one of the theaters at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, then the instrument settled into a place of honor, in the room the original was built to occupy in the Mansion at Mt Vernon. It is played from time to time, occasionally moved over the the Museum and Ford Theater complex at Mt Vernon.  


Friday, October 27, 2023

Fabulous Friday: George Washington's Mt Vernon 70

 Mt. Vernon recently announced that the mansion will be closed to the public starting early next year, for major structural restoration.  Parts of the house are nearly 300 years old, the new part nearing 250 years, and it is a wood structure on a brick foundation. Work is needed.  The gardens and grounds will remain open, I will continue to visit and walk.  

It is a fabulous place for a nice walk.  Washington was a man of his era, flawed the ways many of his day were, flawed in ways that all of us are, with our ideals not aligning with our practices.  

The photo above is his study or office in the mansion.  The desk/bookcase was his, purchased after he left the presidency.  

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thursday Ramble: A life in Public Interest Work 71

I don't talk much about my work life. 

I have devoted the past 25 years to protecting the rights and dignity of adults as we age. The first decade of it was spent in a non-profit legal aid program providing direct legal assistance to persons 60 and older (the age was a funding condition), the past 15 years I have been on the team at the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging doing research, training, and policy work.  We help the advocates who are on the front line understand the issues and options so they can be more effective. I have had to honor of being director of the Commission for nearly two years now. 

We are also a non-profit.  While the bulk of our funding comes from grants, consulting contracts and the ABA, a critical part of it comes from individual donors.  Gifts from individual donors makes it possible for us to do work beyond the scope of other funding, and to continue advocacy on projects that the funding has closed on.  Such as the dementia and criminal justice project, it closed a year ago, and I am still providing training and technical assistance to improve the treatment of persons living with dementia in the criminal justice system. 

The critical issues we are working on now include, understanding legal capacity, reform and replacement of adult guardianship, and abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.  These are issues that impact every family, as our loved one's age, and as we get older ourselves. 

Every gift no matter how large or small makes a difference in our being able to do this important work.  Click here to support the work of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging. 

I did a post for Giving Day last year, our first time participating in Giving Day, and I was blown away by gifts in honor of Travel Penguin, THANK YOU, bloggers and blog readers are such a wonderful extended family of friends.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

My World of Wonders aka The Wednesday W's October 25th edition 72

Where have I been? Omaha, Nebraska, it is out there in the middle of the country.  Duty called, and we answered. 

Where to next? Chicago and northern Indiana. 

Why? Speaking at conferences, and adding in a visit with family. 

Any good Walks this week? Dyke Marsh on Saturday - a nice walk in the swamp - no eagles but I saw three very large spiders. Sunday was old Town Alexandria, and a cemetery that has been planting since 1795. 

What have I been baking? A week ago, friends brought us a wonderful lasagna, someplace I read that always return the dish full, so I got up Sunday morning and baked a pumpkin, pumpkin spice cake, with a pumpkin spice buttercream frosting,  then I felt guilty that sweetie bear woke up to the smell of baked goods that were not for him, so I made cinnamon rolls with the same pumpkin spice buttercream frosting.  

Who have a talked with? My colleague Beth, tons of people in Nebraska, an interesting guy who sat next to me on a plane. 

What it is in the plans?  Karl who has a YouTube channel from Iceland is going to be in DC a month from now and posted looking for ideas of what to do. I offered a few suggestions and closed with, let me know and I will buy you a beer.  He responded and it looks like we will meet up. His video of staying at the Hotel Geysir with his lovely wife - offered great tips on what was the best hotel of the this year.  By the way, if you are going to be in the DC area, let me know.  

What milestone happened this week?  I received my first pension check, from a job I left many years ago.  I need to sort out why it was directly deposited into my account, and remember to deposit it.  

Why didn't I comment on my usual blogs last Friday?  Sorry, I overslept, and had a busy day with travel that stretched until midnight.  

What am I reading? Round Here and Over Yonder by Trae Crowder and Cory Forrester, and I finished Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck. 

Who deserves a slap this week? A couple of the cronies of He Who Must Not Be Named seem to have gotten those in Georgia this past week.  Now I hope they testify against the rest of the basket of deplorables.  

Who deserves an atta-boy this week?  General Counsel's office reviewed and approved a couple of funding agreements - thank you. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Travel Tuesday: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 73

The Kennedy Center is local for us, it is less than 10 miles drive, about 25 minutes if traffic is flowing.  We go 5-10 times a year. Mostly to the Concert Hall, there are multiple theaters and venues in the Center.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Moody Monday: Shedding what it weighing you down 74

Recently on a cold, but sunny Sunday morning, I went out for a walk to blow the cobwebs out of my brain. I wanted something different, I often do an hour on the treadmill, time to catch up on YouTube videos, a habit, a good habit, but still the same thing several times a week.  So on that windy morning, I took the bridge across the River, parked and walked trail along the shore.  It was good, the change of scene and silence of the walk lulls my brain into new thoughts, and cases away the baggage of the day, the week, the month.  

Along the side of the trail, I spotted the ankle weights, left on the side of the trail.  At times the extra burden of added weight helps us to build our strength.  At times it is just an extra burden weighing us down.  Apparently someone decided at that point in time on that trail, that the burden was not building them up, but weighing them down. The weights were dropped on the side of the trail.  

My walk that morning, was an unburdening, leaving the weights on my mind, invisibly along the side of the trail. 

Take the walk, 

Talk to the friend, 

Send the text message, 

Spend time with others that bring you joy, 

Spend time alone, 

If you are carrying a burden, let it build your strength, and then leave it along the side of the trail.  

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Sunday Five: Parking 75

I bought my first car a few months after I finished High School, with the exception of a year in an apartment in Orlando before I built my first house, my car had always been parked in a garage, until I moved to the condo.  A question about parking. 

1: Do you have a garage? 

2: If so, can you get your car in it? 

3: Should cars be parked inside, or outside? 

4: Is there indoor parking at your neighborhood grocery store? 

5: Would you park a Porsche at the end of the alley like the one above? 

My answers: 

1: Do you have a garage? One garage space, and two outdoor spaces. 

2: If so, can you get your car in it? Yes, in fact at the condo that is all we can use the garage space for. 

3: Should cars be parked inside, or outside? Inside is nice, they stay cleaner, dryer, last longer. 

4: Is there indoor parking at your neighborhood grocery store? Underground garages. 

5: Would you park a Porsche at the end of the alley like the one above? It is sacrilege. It is a million-dollar neighborhood, the owner probably feels fortunate to have off street parking.  I'd pay to park in a garage a couple of blocks away.  For a long time there was a Bentley in a public garage a couple of blocks from here.  

Please share your answer in the comments.  

Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Saturday Morning Post: Water your soul 76

Of course Travel Penguin would advise to you travel.  It is in his being to experience and see the world. Together we have seen a lot, and learned a lot.  We are always surprised by the changes in terrain as we go from place to place.  A hill in one place, is a mountain in another.  In some places small towns continue to be vital and thriving, in others they are ghost towns, with empty shops, and offices in search of cheap space. The people and local agriculture create variations in cuisine.  Something as universal as an omlet, will vary from place to place, from spice to spice.  Probably most important is to spend a few minutes listening to the locals.  People talk about what is bothering them, what concerns them, be it world politics, or local school sports.  

People are often curious about the traveler.  Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Especially if you are in small towns, off the beaten path.  

Read everything you can get your hands on. I am not a big story or fiction reader. At times during my education that presented a road block, as literature - stories - novels were seen as the only worthwhile reading.  Well, BS, read what you find expands your understanding of the world. Turn off or tune out the television, an hour or two a day spent reading, is a book a week. 

I am disappointed when I see people surrounded by wonders and landmarks, looking down glued to a screen.  Participating in the world is great, and also is simply observing what is going on in the world.  Watch, think about what is happening, who are these people, why are they here, why is no one here, what are they doing, or not doing, what do you find beauty or joy in, what is ugly and why.  Listen to what is happening around.  Is that an airplane or a train in the distance? Where is the water that you can hear flowing?  What is the music of the place? 

Why do we do this? To become a more complete person.  To water our soul.  

Friday, October 20, 2023

Funny Friday: A Shitstorm In My Home Town 77

To my knowledge no one ever claimed credit, for expressing their dissatisfaction at the silly little farming town that I grew up a couple of miles outside of in a very memorable way.  It was never clear what their complaint was about. But there was plenty of shit to complain about. It happened in early spring, just before my family returned from wintering in Florida (I have an alibi.)  During an early spring thaw, when the cow barns were being cleared of the winters accumulation that was thawing enough to be shoveled into spreaders and broadcast onto the fields.  

To put it politely it is a season of not so fresh country air, when most of the township smells like the inside of a cow barn, with a couple of feet of festering manure stacked up.  

Someone, to my knowledge still unknown, drove a manure spreader down main street, in the middle of the night, and pressed the go button on the power take off.  Shit was flung far and wide. The street, parked cars, store fronts, street signs, and street lights were splattered high and low with the brown odiferous mess. Apparently the person expressing their opinion liked the Ford Dealer, they turned off the spreader for half a block at they passed by Fitch's. 

It took a few days, of washing high and low, calling out the volunteer firefighters to try to decontaminate the main street.  The street lights proved especially difficult, enough water to wash off was was flung onto the underside, tended to break the glass covers.  

There was speculation, a few people were interviewed by the town pedophile cop (he was convicted a few years later,) but not surprisingly for a one horse town, there were no witnesses and no confession. People I knew, knew who, but no one would tell. A lone driver - probably on a Green John Deere seemingly got away with it.  

While the official reaction had to be outrage and indignation, the reputation of the village had been sullied.  Behind closed doors laughter rang out, at least for those who lived a block or two off of main street. I still giggle when I think about it. 

It would never happen today.  Well getting away with it would never happen today. Too many video camera, to many people who would do it and post video of themselves doing it online, then be surprised when the evidence they posted was used against them. 

How did I express my feelings about the place? A few months after I finished high school I quietly moved 1,200 miles away. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Thursday Ramble: Stressed and Breaking 78

The cable above is part of post tension concrete reinforcement system. It is failing, because the cable was placed too close to the surface, water has gotten to it causing the cable to corrode and expand. I first saw this system being used in the late 1980's, it was cheap and fast, and allowed lighter construction. The experienced engineers talking off the record, said it was a short cut, that would likely fail.  And 35-40 years later they are being proven correct.  

I could go on about this, in fact I just deleted a geek paragraph explanation - if I go there you will fall asleep.  

The lesson learned is that quality lasts.  It may take a little longer, or cost a little more, it may not be as thin and stylish, but it lasts.  

There is a lot in life that falls into that. Do it right, make it last, do it once in a way that will last.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

My World of Wonders aka The Wednesday Ws October 18 2023 79

What made me wonder this week? I received a slick mailing addressed to my father talking about new and innovative treatment for aortic stenosis that would extend his quality of life.  I wondered if I should send a reply, there was a postage paid reply form, asking if they really thought it would help, he was cremated him 6 years ago.  

What brilliant observation did I have this week? For naps there is only now.  If faced with cleaning out a closet or taking a nap, only one of these can be put off until later.  Nap now.

Where have I been?  Since last Wednesday, out to dinner a couple of times, the Air and Space Museum, the office, the gym, and an evening drive around the monuments in Washington DC.  

What Special Occasion? Our 31 anniversary was this week. 

Who have I seen? Kelly and Bob (aka Woodchuck) were in town for three days, they were a couple of the first bloggers we got to know, and great friends.  My team in the office.  Anna, Susan, Rafael - wonderful neighbors. 

Who have a talked with? Karen and Bob, a couple of old professional contacts. People I should stay in contact with more often. 

What have I been reading?  Constant Traveler, a book by British expats living in France.  Not sure what I will move to next, maybe a book about Patrick Henry. 

What good things happened this week at the office? I have three project renewals coming in.  One came in a couple of weeks ago, and after considerable back and forth, I got it approved. One came in this week, the budget was approved to the penny on the first try, and it looks like the other administrative hurdle is under control. The third one I have been told is on it's way, and will likely include a modest increase in funding.  I was really worried about one of these, and we must have done well last year - it came through as expected.  

Who deserves an atta-boy this week? We are about to kick off major donor event, and five of my board members came forward with starting gifts to kick things off. 

What have I been drinking?  A homemade coffee liquor, 12 ounces of fresh ground coffee, 1.5 liters of vodka, cinnamon stick, let that soak for 10-14 days, strain and filter, add about 25% with simple syrup. 100 times better than anything I have ever bought. 

When is the next adventure? Today, and another one a week from today. 

What is the model above?  An aircraft, designed by an executive committee.  

What left me going Huhhhh??  The office - things I can't talk about that are to my advantage and didn't totally make sense.