General Interest

 

Due to the size of our archives, the General Interest area has been divided into two sections. Listed on this page are the more recent essays, from 2020 to the current date. For essays posted from 2003 to 2019, use this link...

General Interest archive 2003 to 2019

 


August 29, 2022

Have you ever thought about how the images in the mirror are actually reversed? You know, you look in the mirror and get yourself ready at the start of the day. You think everythingís right. Hair in place. Makeup good. And as you turn to walk out the door and into your day, everyone that sees you actually sees the reverse of what you think theyíre seeing. You look in the mirror and on the person you see the part in your hair is on the left. Everyone that meets you that day sees the part on the right.

 


August 29, 2022

On an immediate level, it might indicate something as simple as dinner. Itís 4:30, youíre hungry, you go find someone in the other room and the question gets asked. Dinner. Dinner is the answer.

But maybe dinner has already been established. Now the question refers to the idea of what to make or where to go for dinner.

 


August 29, 2022

I was getting ready to go away for a bit and I wanted to make dinner. On the counter, half of a loaf of bread and a banana one day past ripe. Neither will be around when I return. Perhaps a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Head to the cupboard to get the peanut butter, which is next to the Nutella, and you see how decisions can occasionally arrive in a pretty straightforward manner.

 


August 28, 2022

Well, not just that particular bus. But every bus and truck and large vehicle that had driven along the road. School buses tend to average a very rough ten-and-a-half feet in height. Simple idea is, whenever one of the trees that extends across the road has a branch filling in at ten-feet-and-three-inches, that branch gets battered a bit until itís back and ten-and-a-half.

 


August 28, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, I was checking some electrical connections in the kitchen, happened to be near the toaster over, and noticed something. We had always used it by turning the knob that engaged a timer. Spun clockwise, always turned on, made sense. Great toaster. Used it as an extra baking area when making meals. Versatile. Reliable.

 


August 28, 2022

Over the years, that tick-tick-ticking has been a very strange thing. Some nights, we donít even notice it. Others, it seems to fill up the darkness like a metronome set to the highest of volume options. Honestly, once or twice a year, it feels like it has a depth to it thatís rich, full and echoes.

 


August 28, 2022

As we kicked around different stops and ideas, we discovered a place where we would be able to participate in a dolphin swim program. Real interaction with a dolphin. We decided to do it and had a fantastic day and a wonderful experience.

Hereís the thing about swimming with dolphins. When youíre organizing it, itís something that you believe is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 


August 28, 2022

One friend of mine had an older sister that bought what seemed to us at the time to be a pretty great car. In the back of the house where he lived a car was partially covered by a tarp. The portions exposed were incredibly rusty, and seemed to belong to what remained of her vehicle.

 


August 27, 2022

Many years ago, there was a great story that came out of Wisconsin. Woman wanted a chain restaurant in her community. The public went bonkers about it. They didnít like her request. They pointed out that their town had been able to avoid many multi-location businesses in favor of unique locally owned stores and restaurants. They named dining options nearby that offered high quality menus. They basically asked her if she was thinking clearly. But all she wanted was bottomless salads and endless breadsticks.

 


August 27, 2022

In either case, you might have made a brilliant dessert. Iím craving chocolate, raspberries and hazelnuts right now. But the announcement, the name, created a shift in expectations. Regular Oreo or Double Stuf, each version is pretty good. But once you say itís double stuff, youíd better present more cream filling.

 


August 27, 2022

Every so often, I stumble across a moment where some sensation triggers reactions and perhaps even old memories. The smell of garlic and butter and wine in the kitchen. An echo of kids playing down the street as hide and go seek extends across the twilight hour and into the night. The sight of a waving neighbor as she turns her lawn mower around to head into the other direction.

 


August 25, 2022

Iím driving in a new car. Pulled in to fill it with gas, wanted to make sure of which side the gas cap was on, and I glanced at the fuel gauge to look for the arrow that points toward the side I need to place next to the pump.

If I asked you what it said on the gauge to indicate fuel levels, what would you answer?

 


August 25, 2022

Scientifically, in most cases weíre headed down the path of rods and cones. This is something where the conversation could turn to photoreceptors. All interesting, fascinating and amazing to think about, but not really where Iím going. (And neither are the spider webs.)

 


August 25, 2022

Just so happened that this person was headed to a place where the best options for something to eat were likely to involve vending machines. Since we were headed to a favorite place for all of us, the jokes began. We were going to be sharing appetizers, jealous of the other plates on the table while enjoying our own, and clinking glasses of adult beverages. He was going to be making decisions that involved flattening out the edges of dollar bills while clicking buttons to select B-5 and D-7.

 


August 24, 2022

No.

Not your grandchildren.

Your grandchildren are not waiting for you to die.

Your grandchildren love you and canít wait for the next time theyíll see you.

 


August 24, 2022

The specifics of the post however didnít really connect with me. Not all that interested personally in glow in the dark shirts, pants, socks or bandanas. Doesnít stir much excitement. With that rattling around in my head, however, I realized there was a specialized fabric I would love.

 


August 24, 2022

Sure, some of it is a combination of issues. Take a person that believes theyíre right, then acts as if you either agree or youíre wrong. No listening to details or consideration of your thoughts. Often anger with hands clasped tightly over ears. Occasionally with violent outbursts. Combine that with the anonymity of the internet and you have some of the most hateful, belligerent, ignorant people making unfounded accusations, abusive comments, and, well, weíve seen how horrible the situation is and can be.

 


August 10, 2022

Years ago, a friend of mine and I were having discussions about awards shows, pop culture, and getting old. And we agreed upon a true measuring stick for determining how well you were doing at staying up to date with the world.

The Grammys.

 


August 10, 2022

Around me, itís not uncommon in late June and early July to be able to drive your car without turning on the headlights until well after 9pm. Sunset for those dates averages after 8:30. The result is you donít need to have those timers triggering lights at 4 in the afternoon.

But late in August, the sunset is arriving before 8pm. It will be at roughly 7pm in late September. And once the clocks switch and winter arrives, it will be difficult to see around the house without the lights on at 4pm.

 


August 9, 2022

There used to be a thing for articles called a blurb. Actually, it still exists. It was kind of a combination of neon sign and summary. The idea was waving a spotlight around to get your attention, while at the same time letting you know what you would be getting. On the internet though, the balance has shiftedÖ all neon sign, no content.

 


August 9, 2022

Now, when you consider that twenty years ago I would never have guessed my washing machine would feature a design that could text me so Iíd know when the load is ready to move to the dryer, I suppose Iíd have to say that sneakers with the ability to keep me from wandering to the fridge might have some interesting applications. But thatís not a tangent to this story we need to explore just yet.

 


August 9, 2022

A few years ago, Terry and I decided to set up a snow fence in our yard. The winter before had been especially windy, and we learned some valuable lessons. One of which was that our driveway was a bit exposed, so the snow was swept along the yards in our neighborhood and filled things in. Things like, say, a perfectly cleaned out driveway.

 


August 9, 2022

Have you picked up a package of bacon recently? Iím going to be kind and say five dollars, but unless itís on sale that price is wishful thinking. Add in lettuce, tomato and bread, and youíre going to be over ten dollars before you even consider if you have any mayonnaise in the house.

 


August 9, 2022

I like to put myself in the functioning group. I can usually get my electronics to do what I need them to do. I donít have my email set up on my phone, but I know a workaround so I can get to my email on my phone if I really needed to do it. And when it comes to the latest and greatest, I find Iím not unable to learn it, Iím just more defiantly upset I canít continue using what I know.

 


August 7, 2022

I like to say Iíve never met a deadline I didnít want to snuggle right up against, but thatís not completely accurate in capturing it. Sure, procrastination is involved. I wonít deny it. There are very few projectsÖ VERY fewÖ that I will quickly move to begin. But thereís another part, where I wonder if the action is one that will truly be necessary.

 


August 6, 2022

Look, my numbers and location inventory may not be perfectÖ but supplying well over 50,000 buildings with your product is pretty impressive. And we just wander in, expecting to grab some Tropicana orange juice and Duracell AA batteries, as if thereís no possible chance our store wonít have them.

 


August 6, 2022

Earlier today I went out for a short walk. Very hot day. Only wanted to add something different to some exercise I did in the house and switch things up a bit. (Treadmills and ankle weights are fine, but switching it up once in a while and getting outside is a great thing.) StillÖ managed to bring about two-thousand steps to the rest of my work for the day.

 


August 6, 2022

If I walk across my yard during the day, there are shrubs and fences. Thereís a table and chairs. Thereís a shed. All of those items from the day are still in place during the night, with possible addition of the raccoon trying to sort out a meal from a birdfeeder being an exception.

 


August 4, 2022

As I began opening drawers and cabinets, and then continuing while I walked around the house to search all sorts of possible kitchen gadget storage places, I was muttering to myself. Basicallyócurse words removedóI was trying to figure out how it could be possible that I didnít have a second can opener in the house. I would have accepted even some cheap one that everyone hates but you decide not to throw away and toss in a junk drawer.

 


August 2, 2022

Itís not a real paper clip. Itís called a SIM ejector tool. But Iím betting that for most of us, given the number of times we actually need to remove a SIM card and the size of the darn thing, the SIM ejector tool will be a fond memory and never found when the time arrives for it to be applied to its purpose.

 


August 2, 2022

Was away from home for a bit. The day after I returned, I headed outside to look around and figure out how to attack some overdue yardwork. It was such a subtle change, I almost didnít see it. Then it hit me.

The fence was missing.

 


August 2, 2022

Iíve been led to believe the speed limit on the road is 55, but that feels nothing short of ridiculous. Not even the state roads, often with multiple lanes in each direction and heavier traffic, continue at 55 for the full length. Those dip and dive up to and below 55, depending on communities, traffic signals, and, many might suggest, to create interesting segments that seem especially noteworthy for local law enforcement.

 


May 31, 2022

Normally, Iím pretty simple when cooking for myself. Sometimes Iíll get motivated to put together a deeply involved meal, from a salad to two vegetables to a main dish that has some type of separate sauce. Other times Iím working hard to find the desire to bring soup to a boil. But either way, whatever I find in the fridge or pantry or even sitting on the counter can move me in one direction or another.

 


May 31, 2022

Many folks know I can be fascinated by noises. Anything from how the level of sound seems to change over the course of a day to the things outside that defy discovery. Now spring has made a definitive turn into warmer weather around here, which leads to an overwhelming arrival of random distractions.

 


May 31, 2022

But if you give yourself some time, itís never going to be just hot dogs and potato salad. Thatís late in the game, cooking what you got stuff. Given a day or two to prepare, youíre going to add a couple bags of chips, corn on the cob, and perhaps buy a few different types of beverages. Your friends are going to ask what they can bring, and a few more items get added to the menu. (And, the símores.)

 


May 30, 2022

It started with a bottle of liqueur Terry and I found on vacation a few years ago. Itís a wonderfully smooth coffee caramel pecan blend, and I had poured a bit into a glass to bring out with me.

Next door, our neighbor had a small fire burning. I could hear young voices, and the idea of holiday family gatherings brought on a smile.

In the distance, the first fireflies of the year were dancing about. Not many. In two or three weeks the yard will be a dazzling array of firefly fireworks, but for now it was enough to bring on a thought of upcoming days.

 


May 30, 2022

Most of us have elements of our day mapped out and timed. If our ride to work takes twenty minutes, we almost definitely do not leave two hours before we want to arrive. In fact, Iíd bet more of us leave late just about every day, expecting to make the twenty-minute drive in fifteen minutes, as opposed to those that leave thirty minutes ahead of time to have a small cushion.

 


May 30, 2022

Maybe you need to mow the lawn. Weather forecast has rain heading in for the next five days, plus after today your daylight hours are packed. So, you really want to get the lawn mowed today because mowing it in a downpour at three in the morning really isnít making it any more enticing. But is it an absolute must? Will the world crash around you if you donít get it mowed?

 


May 30, 2022

In the United States, the population is currently estimated to be around 330 million people. So, if you sell ten million albums in the United States, the media will be presenting you as an unavoidable steamroller of success. There is simply no way, those same sources will argue, that you donít own the album. And yet, only three percentÖ 3%... of the population will have purchased it.

 


May 29, 2022

Wooden hammers, however, arenít just lying around. You might get one or two early on. The game makers taunt you with a couple of freebies, partly to show you how they can be used. Because you donít know any better, you spot a moment where it will help, take the wooden hammer and just use it. In turn, a few days later, when you reach that crazy level that canít be done without itís gone. You used it.

 


May 29, 2022

That Colorado River Basin? There are reports that the agreements in place for water supplies actually far exceed the annual flow of the Colorado River. Reservoirs like Lake Mead and Lake Powell held enough water to compensate for the difference, concealing the dilemma. Now, however, as a result of conditions traced back to a drought that began in roughly 2000, Mead and Powell are estimated to be below halfway filled.

 


May 29, 2022

This is not offered up for a debate, but instead to set the stage for a reality of sorts. Because, for the most basic of reasons, the majority of us are simply not in a position to purchase zero emission vehicles. But itís more than that, because those same vehicles are also: (1) Not yet at a performance level that covers all scenarios, and, (2) are only zero emission based on how you ask the question and view the answers.

 


May 29, 2022

Most estimates place the cost of converting an average home to solar power between fifteen and twenty-five thousand dollars.

Now, in fairness, just about everyone actually leans toward the lower end of that range, offering a range between eighteen and nineteen thousand. And, those ranges do not include tax credits, rebates, and other ways of offsetting the cost.

But they also donít include the routine care, general maintenance, and repair charges. Even if we assume the best cost for the consumer, there are details that get brushed aside.

 


May 24, 2022

Two hours into the first overnight and we are establishing rules. By a 2 to 1 vote, the ďno plastic seagulls allowed in the bedĒ rule passed.

It was a tricky vote. I had to wait until Moose had the seagull and Kona wanted it before calling for it.

 


May 20, 2022

Now look, the ham company makes a great tasting product and sends me some pretty sweet coupons around the holidays. Iím not complaining that they think I want to add some assortment to my grilling options for the summer. My friends werenít complaining when I sent them their own ham for the holidays. Similar reasoning, I get why the home décor company and two clothing companies and so on are sending stuff my way. I may not be that interested, but there they are.

 


May 20, 2022

The reality is, as far as your relationship with those in attendance, this once every year or three catching up happens just often enough. And, possibly, more often than you care for by a rate of every year or three. If you didnít see some of these folks for five to ten years, you would never on a random afternoon look toward your significant other and begin a ďyou know who we need to catch up withĒ conversation about any of them.

 


May 16, 2022

This is not some deep philosophical puzzle. Iím not asking you to search where the wind blows or begin at the end of the rainbow. Instead, when it comes to those looking back and giving that hypothetical advice to your younger self challengesÖ wellÖ what makes you so certain youíd listen? Why would giving your younger self a map matter if your younger self doesnít care about the map?

 


May 16, 2022

I will say, right out of the gate, that popularity doesnít hurt. Familiarity matters. There are those signs that you spot, from a mile down the road, and know exactly what itís going to be when the images and lettering take form and focus. But those that we know, we know for a reason. Time and experience and marketing went into that recognition.

 


May 15, 2022

Rhode Island. They refer to the airport as Providence, but itís T.F. Green and actually sits in the city of Warwick. Southwest, Delta, American, and United provide a partial list of airlines using Green. Itís also technically an international airport, with seasonal flights to Canada offered using Air Canada. More than thirty destinations, including Los Angeles and Denver, are part of their nonstop flight offerings.

 


May 15, 2022

And I got feedback. Pretty much immediately.

Sun rises. Sun sets. A day to spin. A year to orbit the sun. Time is a verifiable measurement. It is not vague and arbitrary.

Technology makes everything better, and usually itís operator error when it lets us down. It is trustworthy, itís us that limits it.

And to those responses, I say bull.

(A soft, polite bull. But yeah. Bull.)

 


May 13, 2022

Now, I will admit, Iím a bit embarrassed it took me years to discover that. In fact, even though Iím now positive it is, part of me wants to believe Iím wrong. After all, I spent a lot of time running up and down stairsÖ looking at the heating and cooling unitsÖ examining the duct workÖ heading outside and walking lap after lap of the house, looking for exhaust pipes and staring at the roof for some additional cluesÖ and, grand total of nothing.

 


May 13, 2022

Take text messages as an example. Everyone raise your hands. Now, put them down if autocorrect has ever changed words on you and you didnít notice. Anyone left? Ok, has anyone ever had voice text kick in and you didnít even know it was enabled so you sent some strange audio text? Has anyone ever managed to get confused as to whether or not they were sending, receiving or responding to a group text? Hands go downÖ hands go downÖ and, letís face it, if weíre being honest everyone put their hands down on the autocorrect one.

 


May 10, 2022

Funny thing about grinding your own coffee fresh each morning. You might drink coffee from someplace else. You might even enjoy coffee from someplace else. But if youíre grinding your own, and using quality beans, virtually everything else is going to be far in the distance for you as far as how good a cup youíre getting.

 


May 9, 2022

We all know the drill. Maybe itís one of those two times a year when the hours shift. Spring ahead, fall asleep for an hour, something like that. Or, maybe the power went out for a bit. Whatever the case, displays flashing or not, there you are needing to get a few of the clocks back on track.

 


May 9, 2022

Friend of mine has his own business. A few recent changes have created a bit of scattershot havoc for him around the place. Kids live in two different states and have some things going on. Parents have been providing a bit of a scareÖ thankfully nothing too crazy and theyíre ok, but silly enough moments that emergency room visits have been involved. And then, because crazy lives there, he and his wife got a new puppy.

You would not refer to his life as boring.

 


May 9, 2022

As the afternoon moved along, the movie just kind of hung around. Every few minutes or so something would trigger a reminder. Imagine a three-year-old youíve promised some candy at five oíclock. Itís only noon now, but they donít know what time it is or how far away five is. They just keep asking the same question every minute for five hours: ďNow?Ē Over and over and over (and over and over) again. That was my Sonic the Hedgehog thought pestering me on that day.

 


May 7, 2022

And thatís where the weird things begin. See, toss aside the humor and keep the fundamentals in placeÖ somehow there are things in the world that others do that never change my savings account, have no bearing on the yard work Iíll be dealing with, and in no way reflect upon me or change anything at all within the walls of my house. Iíve still got yellow and spicy brown as options from my fridge regardless of what you have in yours to put on your hot dog.

 


May 7, 2022

For me recently, it was the recognition that I cannot find three things. Thanks to unpacking, thinking, and a bit of time, all else has been accounted for. Everything isnít right, but for the most part at least I feel like I know where everything is. Except: (1) A pair of boots, (2) a pair of slippers, and (3) a shower curtain still in the package with a winter theme and adorable penguins.

Itís the penguins that are bothering me the most.

 


May 2, 2022

And while I wouldnít select the rabbits and turkeys for blame in this area, would likely go back to the deer to start, the reality is there are plenty of options to consider. (And rabbits are sneaky. Never trust a rabbit.)

 


May 2, 2022

I could sense some of you pull away at that. I am not saying relish and onions are out of line when dressing up your frankfurter. I have absolutely been drawn in by a fresh poppy seed bun and a Chicago-style dog. What am I saying is ketchup has no place on a hot dog. In fact, a tightly closed, never touched bottle of ketchup has no place on a table where hot dogs are being served. Thatís what I mean.

 


May 1, 2022

I like my privacy. I like the doorbell not ringing. Over the years Iíve found that when I answer a knock on the door that I wasnít expecting, the vast majority of the time Iím not that thrilled by the introduction that results.

 


May 1, 2022

Sand is quite likely the original toy. Perhaps not. Maybe the original toy was a stick, a stream, a rock, or some other incredible combination of time, place, initiative and creativity. Or maybe someone saw an apple on the ground and kicked it. The point being, sand has been around since the early days and has plenty of ways to fall into the definition of a toy.

 


May 1, 2022

How can it be that I donít have a second can opener?

Even just some cheap one picked up for $1.29 or less at some point. Something long lost to the deepest portions of a drawer filled with useless utensils and culinary artifacts. How can I not have one of those?

 


March 11, 2022

I find that multilane travels tend to be the great equalizer of location. Hit sixty-five on a four-lane road and the trees in Georgia remind you of the trees in Pennsylvania remind you of the trees in Oregon. Keep in mind, I offer this knowing ski lifts and palm trees are very different. Instead, Iím simply nodding toward the idea that as vividly wonderful as some places are, there are other ways that make them not that unique at all.

 


January 16, 2022

Back in 2007, Terry and I were out on a group trip with some friends. We stopped in a famous national chain of breakfast delights, and as we ordered the following exchange took place:

Friend: ďWhatís the difference between the French toast and the senior French toast?Ē

Waitress: ďTwo dollars.Ē

Friend: ďIíll have the senior French toast.Ē

 


January 16, 2022

Have you ever looked over some of the information people share on social media? Or, more specifically, the information they present on social media? Perhaps as a profile blurb?

Turns out, there are a lot of people that seem to believe they are influencers. Like, an incredible a lot of people. Weíre talking A LOT of people.

 


November 17, 2021

Now, look, I get it. There are about forty-five million shades of blue out there. And for forty-three million of them, itís easy to spot the differences. Once you wade through light, dark, royal and navy, itís fair to conclude that the obvious names are going to be exhausted early in the process.

 


November 14, 2021

Funny, but if you approached these city folks and asked them, most donít understand people that want to live in rural settings. (If you want to really stump them, describe towns where you couldnít find an open store within one hundred miles to sell you a toothbrush after 5 on a weekday afternoon. They will stare at you in unbelieving silence, more likely to accept the existence of unicorns than such a retail dilemma.)

 


October 28, 2021

Weíve all likely mixed up a sauce. If not by making it from scratch, then by pouring a jar into a pan and adding wine and assorted spices. When itís done, and weíre plating up some delicious linguini with tomato sauce goodness, we rarely think about that shot of merlot and spoonful of garlic we added. We just enjoy the meal.

 


October 22, 2021

Well, the other day I saw an article that Kelloggís is being approached with a legal dilemma involving strawberry Pop Tarts. Apparently, the claim is that the product contains a low amount of actual strawberries, while adding pears and apples to the mix. As accurate as the concept may be, and whether or not it has any legal merit or stability, it makes me chuckle and roll my eyes. I would contendÖ and I cannot stress enough that this is nothing more than my opinion hereÖ if your search for strawberries leads you to Pop Tarts, that right there could be a sign of a faulty treasure map.

 


October 19, 2021

Of course, thereís a catch. There are options for blame in this what happened disappearing act. Maybe itís the stove. Maybe the fridge. But thereís something just close enough that the piece of carrot could have bounced and rolled and made its way underneath and out of sight. After all, you know a piece fell. No doubt about it. It fell. The issue isnít if it fell, itís where it landed.

 


October 19, 2021

Need more? The facility is closer to twenty years old than thirty. In that time, nothing of any significance has really happened at the place. I believe the organization that calls the complex home has made the playoffs twice since it openedÖ that would be two playoff appearances in more than two decades. Those two appearances sit atop the accomplishment list for the park, and the team was swept out of the playoffs on both occasions.

 


October 12, 2021

The other day I was out shopping. Needed to pick up some Fluff. For those of you slightly confused, I needed marshmallow fluff. For those really confused, I was picking up the only type of marshmallow creme that is acceptable for purchase.

The whole experience got me wondering a bit. After all, like Oreos, thereís Fluff and thereís everything else. And my mind was meandering about.

 


October 8, 2021

We had an old video game system I was looking to include. Problem though. It used RCA cables. (Those are the olden days cables with red, white and yellow connecting ends.) No such place for incorporating that type of connectivity on this television. But there was a solutionÖ

A VCR.

 


October 8, 2021

(Well, itís more than that, truth be told. You know itís the averages and statistics and probabilities and cookies and snooping around while sharing information you didnít know you consented to allow the sharing ofÖ but whatís a little privacy invasion between friends when there are some terrific programs to binge. Right?)

 


September 30, 2021

Once the sun goes down and evening settles in, there are parts of the house that can get pretty dark. Likely no surprise there for you, since just about anyoneís home gets dark when the sun goes down and all the lights are off. But for path leading to the bathroom, a walk to the bedroom, or a search for the perfect snack to satisfy that final craving of the day, thereís one particular light that covers things fairly well. Itís in the hallway. Sun sets, light goes on.

 


September 28, 2021

The flavored butter that involves butter and diced black olives. Yeah, that one caught me by surprise. Not because the olive-infused butter itself was a bad idea. (I didnít like it, but I do have some friends that actually might have enjoyed it. And, truth be told, of everything we received, this could very well have been your most creative and flavorful item of the night.) But, just a hunch on my end, chances are good your menu shouldnít refer to it as garlic butter with olive oil and herbs when itís actually butter with diced black olives and not even a wispy hint of garlic or other flavors.

 


September 28, 2021

What impresses me about my fatherís wall is that itís all there. Add in the few bottles of cleaning supplies, and you have a decent backup run of the non-perishable items youíd be looking for in an emergency if they suddenly were unavailable. We might even call the work a bit of a Goldilocks-level supply. Not too many. Not too few. Just the right amount, especially if the stores ran out for a bit.

 


September 28, 2021

I often wonder about that job specifically when I hear people discussing work environments, employee and employer expectations, and what the difference is between fair critiques and misguided opinions. Because the reality is, a desirable job is not as simple as just having a job available. Employment and good employment are two very different things. Employment opportunities and employment opportunities that match an applicantís needs and skills are two very different things.

 


September 26, 2021

Sure, childhood, flying. Pretty sweet with just that. I also was handed a deck of cards with the airlineís logo and a pair of plastic captainís wings. Which, yup, awesome. But then, shortly after taking off and still in a state of disbelief while staring out the window, I was served pancakes.

 


September 26, 2021

E-mail arrived the other day. Wanted me to know I needed to rush in for my free queso and chips. On the surface, nice enough. Kind of a youíre a valued member, hey, hereís a special deal to welcome you back. But thereís a thing. (You knew there was a thing, right?)

It is nice. But it would probably be better if it didnít show up the very day after the previous offer for free queso and chips expired.

 


September 21, 2021

School and league fundraising has reached an unreal level. This is no longer about having a five-dollar bill in your wallet and giving it to the kid down the road that is trying to support his baseball team. Suddenly, itís logging on to a web site that accepts your credit card and suggests a minimum of a $50 contribution. Itís become a massive, research and statistics driven, money-seeking machine.

 


September 21, 2021

If you were to go online right now and search for Zen and lawn mowing, I can pretty much guarantee you thousands of results. For some people, the idea of mowing the lawn takes on a level of dedication and importance that cannot be overstated.

This essay should not be a part of those results. We are not going to explore the mystical nature of lawn care.

 


September 21, 2021

Letís make this clear, here and now: If you are undertaking somethingóanything from a home improvement project to a lifelong dreamóand youíre not hurting anyone else or breaking the law, you have my best wishes. As long as your ambitions and intentions donít bring pain or harm to someone else, and thereís nothing deep and dark and hidden that I donít know of, good luck and great successes.

 


September 21, 2021

Hereís an innocent exampleÖ

In the summer of 1985, a concert was held. Multiple locations. It was called Live Aid. One of the comparisons this event received involved how many performers were taking the stage and the Woodstock show from 1969. That right there is roughly a 16-year span of time between the shows, and a lot of folks thought that was an eternity.

 


September 19, 2021

When you first get your license, you want to explore. And the only navigational tool beyond your memory and experience back then was something printed, like a copy of the official Arrow Street Guide. There was no GPS or app recalculating after every turn. If you went out, turned right and then left, drove fifteen miles and turned again, there was a good chance you could get yourself lost.

 


September 19, 2021

The helpful (being polite) representatives and the quality (being polite) brand name shop checked me in, looked things over, and said they could change the battery if I wanted. (I did.) They also said that before committing to a new battery, I might want to consider upgrading to a newer model. (I didnít, but I did appreciate they werenít heavy handed about it. Just a mention, and obviously one I expected that wasnít out of line being asked.)

 


September 19, 2021

Terry and I pretty much donít let any Christmas pass without visiting Ralphie and the gang by watching A Christmas Story. I had seen the original version of The Santa Clause, but not the two that followed, so last year we ran through the entire trilogy. A few years ago, I finally watched Itís A Wonderful Life. So, we have our traditions, and Iím caught up on most of the things Iíve missed.

 


September 17, 2021

When it came to the phone call, there were a few problems. Many homes only had one phone. It was located in a somewhat central place, like a kitchen wall. Likely had a cord, and not a long one. You got to talk on the phone, needing to be aware of others in the house if you had any privacy concerns, and couldnít move more than six to eight feet from the wall. Add in charges for long distance calls, and things really begin to get fun.

 


September 17, 2021

Several times, Iíve pointed to the great tire dump off the coast of Florida as the standard for understanding how to evaluate good intentions gone very, very bad. I am a big believer that often when we rush into action because something needs to be done, we fail to fully understand the something we do. Not always. But often.

 


September 17, 2021

The oil is supposed to be changed on the ride on lawn mower every fifty hours. Weíre wrapping up the seventh season of use on it, and should be slightly over one hundred fifty hours of use when winter storage arrives this year. Feels like Iím using it far more than twenty hours a season, but thatís about what the gauge is counting.

 


September 14, 2021

We moved in late in the fall and went through a fun winter season. The first time I went outside to mow the lawn it literally took me ten days. I had decided to collect the grass because of the way the yard was left to us, figuring it could use something of a bit of clearing and cleaning. Then, multiple days of rain swept in and called off activities a couple of times. And, really, the length of time actually makes a bit more sense than it appears as you read it. Still, yeah, ten days.

Yes, before I finished mowing it, it did need to be mowed again.

 


September 14, 2021

In some cases, they involve places where I live, family members live, or friends live. I like to keep up on local events that involve me, those I care about, and may be likely to hear in some conversation.

A few are places where Iíve traveled or plan to be traveling.

Many are just because I like the news. Local and regional and national and international news. Sports and celebrities. Fact and the occasional bit of gossip.

 


September 12, 2021

Consider ride sharing services. We all view them as taxi replacements, but you know the groups I mean. Now expanded on those into a delivery service for food, which given room and reason over the past two years, has grown incredibly. And now, your packages from Best Buy and Amazon and more may wind up on your doorstep with what has every appearance of a private vehicle out front when it does arrive.

 


September 12, 2021

Iíve come to hate them.

Ok, thatís not accurate. Or fair. I donít hate them. As I said a few moments ago, they are doing wonderful things. But I admit, the sight of their logo or return address does cause my eyes to roll and triggers a deep breath of frustration.

 


September 10, 2021

Or, never. Weíve probably never really been pumpkin spice free around here.

That does not mean we have pumpkin spice added to anything and everything now that fall is closing in, the evenings are darkening a bit earlier, and the cool weather is approaching.

Also doesnít mean weíre avoiding it. After all, I do love everything about autumn. Pumpkin and apples and gingerbread? Sign me up. Love the stuff.

 


September 10, 2021

My wife is a very good cook. Delicious food, and she prepares it with love. I know that sounds corny on the surface, but thereís depth in that statement. A lot of people believe a meal is a way to convey togetherness and affection, and I value such thoughts. The dinner becomes the legendary community sharing of a table and breaking bread. The preparation of the meal is an investment of time built upon caring about the people it will nourish. Terry cooks from the heart.

 


September 9, 2021

Eventually I needed something from the basement, and heading down the steps I was red hot. Bang bang bang. But the source still wasnít clear. I checked some of the possible culprits, but everything from the dehumidifier to the furnace were fine. And while literally spinning around to consider the possibilities, eventually the timing of a round of beeps and the way I was facing brought a resolution to the mystery.

 


September 7, 2021

A handful of years later I was attending college. Different state. Several hundred miles away from that small court. It was a weekend, and I happened to be in a convenience store near campus. A few of us were out grabbing food from one restaurant or another, and had stopped to pick up something to drink. I have no clue how right time right place right everything swirled around and connected, but there they were. Bottles of the believed lost to time fruit punch soda.

 


September 7, 2021

Letís say you were in a diner. Itís about fifteen minutes before closing time when you walk in. All youíre looking for is a cup of coffee and a piece of pastry. Nothing fancy. Staff has been through a long day, though no customers for the past few hours (for whatever reason), and they had been working on shutting things down before you arrived in the final moments of the day.

You order a cup of decaffeinated coffee. They had already cleaned that pot. What are the odds youíre getting decaf (as opposed to a cup of regular coffee, which they still have ready, that they will say is decaf)?

 


September 3, 2021

People have become trained by what Iíd describe as a heightened sense of immediacy. We want results and information. Now. Right now. Weíve roared beyond the arrival of twenty-four-hour news cycles into pulling out our phones and expecting updates within seconds. (Sarcasm alert: Accuracy not always included.)

To a large degree, this sense of immediacy has come to define our lives. Free two-day shipping brings about being unsatisfied and disappointed by free four or five day shipping. We want what we want and we want it an hour ago. (So much for patience and virtues.)

 


September 3, 2021

When I was growing up, we made regular trips to the grocery store. Our purchases were placed into paper bags, which in turn were brought home and then used to cover our school books. We had a box in the backyard for the milk delivery. A glass bottle, return the empty, milk delivery. I walked places more often, used my bicycle more often, and rode around in a car less.

 


September 3, 2021

We hop on the internet with good intentions. And then, without warning, the temptations of roughly a trillion pages of stuff takes hold.

A trillion web pages. Thatís a rough estimate.

 


September 1, 2021

If youíve ever experienced the joys and wonder (and sometimes boredom) of stretches of road across the United States, you know that a sign warning you that there wonít be any gas available for a while means there will be absolutely no gas after this next station for a really long distance.

So, regardless of it being food or gas or alcohol or lottery tickets, there deserves to be some thought given to a place that wants you to know the road ahead is lacking. That, in summary at a really basic level, is fair.

 


September 1, 2021

Some places attribute it to specific conditions. Others to a certain location. A few cite evidence that it happens below a set temperature, and some contradict by saying it needs to be above a set temperature. It might be the time of year. And then there are the skeptics, combatting the studies by debating different sounds being mistakenly attributed to the planet.

 


September 1, 2021

We walked into the area of the store featuring computers. I counted. Seventeen different displays set up. Six all-in-one units, five PCs, and six laptops. A representative greeted us and we explained our needs to him. Out of the seventeen on display, eleven met our specifications. Of those, only one was in stock so that we could buy it and walk out of the store with it at that very moment.

 


August 29, 2021

One day I walked in to a restaurant, approached the then empty counter and asked about my to-go order. As the person was about to turn around to a table that had some bags on it, a delivery service driver arrived. Person that was taking care of me saw him, knew that his bags were waiting, and grabbed them first. But, as he looked them over, the driver noted he was missing two orders. So, do you think the server turned and checked the one remaining bag to see if it was part of the set (or even if it was mine)? Of course not. She went in back, looked around for the other two orders, waited for them, and came back five minutes later to hand them to the driver. My order was sitting on the counter, a handful of feet away from me and paid for, getting colder while I waited ten minutes for the driver that showed up after me to have his stuff packed together.

 


August 29, 2021

So, Iím standing at the counter in the optometristís office. Wife wears contacts, had been given a new style to try, and now was the time to order a few. I had no clue what I was doing.

In my defense, I donít wear contacts. Never have. Donít think I ever will. While that may change somewhere down the line, with a day arriving that finds me willing to switch from frames to contacts, the more specific and relevant point remainsÖ I do not know much about contact lenses.

 


August 28, 2021

First, Iím wondering how often you see turtles. I donít mean the ones that some of you have in aquariums in your home. I mean the crossing the street, down near a local stream, in the corner of your yard turtle sightings.

Second, I do believe most of us consider turtles to be a regular thing. Go outside and thereís a panda? Nope. Not happening. A koala or a kangaroo? Depends on where you live, with it quite possible in Australia but not so much in Canada. A moose? Perhaps, especially in Canada, but youíd still be looking for something to take a picture if you spotted one. And then, consider a turtle.

 


August 28, 2021

One place may only take cash. Another operates only one or two days a week. I know a fabulous restaurant that only takes cash and is only open five days a week for three hours each day around lunch. And thenÖ wellÖ look, there are cat cafes and places that rent goats to mow lawns. Somehow, many of them thrive.

 


August 27, 2021

Those days have long since passed. In this neighborhood, weíve seen the outdoor care of almost every property taken over by services. Thatís not surprising, the kids have grown and long since moved to other places while many of the owners have remained. As to the earlier hours of blades spinning and engines puttering, a business based on outdoor work needs to make the most of available daylight.

 


August 10, 2021

Once, in the same segment of a sports radio program, I heard the hosts discussing the Mount Rushmore of NBA players and then pivot to a discussion of the Mount Rushmore of NBA players from their cityís team. And if youíre thinking that seems like a natural pivot, then I would like to add that the hosts used the next segment to qualify the different levels and construction of the cityís Mount Rushmore created by players drafted by the organization as opposed to those brought in via trades and free agency, and then adding value for those that only played for this organization in their careers. Yes, indeed, they created a Mount Rushmore of one NBA organizationís free agency signings.

 


July 30, 2021

Letís say you live in a heavy-snow area. Old Forge, New York? Yes. Carlsbad, New Mexico? No. It might make sense for people in such a place that own homes to receive unsolicited mail about snow fencing. Makes sense for the region, and that they might consider a purchase. Wouldnít be too hard to narrow the search parameters to add in characteristics that might increase wind and driveway issues.

 


July 27, 2021

In the corner of my mind are fairly detailed memories of a bank opening up near our house decades ago. They held a party that lasted multiple days. Had someone dressed up in a costume walking on a tightrope. (It was a lion wearing a kingís robe and crown. Impressive enough, and partly little else going on, that we went to a couple of the shows.) Gave out gift bags to kids, which resulted in multiple days that summer making bake-it-yourself stained glass.

 


July 23, 2021

Bears. Mountain lions. Or maybeÖ okÖ fine, maybe not bears. But Iíve seen everything from skunks and racoons and woodchucks to deer and turkeys and geese parading in and out and all around my yard. Seem them in the fields nearby. Maybe he was having some troubles with wildlife around his yard and heard that the scent of his pee can act as a repellant.

 


July 23, 2021

I chuckle every now and again when areas look for ways to improve the flow of traffic and increase safety. Absolutely worthy and noble endeavors. And there are amazing things that a bit of research and unlimited computer simulations can reveal and design.

Still, a roundabout tossed into a community where a roundabout has never existed before is usually going to come with a bit of an adjustment period. I donít know how many computer simulations build in a few weeks of driver hesitation and confusion as part of the results. Guessing it may not be many.

 


July 20, 2021

Never mind the expensive chocolate. What Iím saying is that the regular price in this store usually isnít a true price. Itís a misleading label designed to get you to believe that youíre getting a great deal from the sale, when in reality the sale is just bringing the price down to what you would have expected it to cost all along.

And that ticks me off.

 


July 20, 2021

Have you ever used a paper straw? The qualityómore precisely, often the lack of qualityóinvolved in the paper straw industry is, often, discouraging. On this particular day, our straw unraveled on the first exchange between us. We hadnít taken more than two sips out of the cup and we needed another straw.

 


July 9, 2021

So, here I am, and I ask: Whatís the deal with blueberry coffee?

Before you try to answer, let me slide this into place. I swear I saw a box offering toasted marshmallow mocha coffee.

Toasted marshmallow mocha coffee.

 


July 1, 2021

Iíd probably let it pass if it wasnít for that can of soup directly underneath it. Iím sure that in my lifetime I have probably used a can of cream of celery soup or two. But I donít remember any of them. And I cannot think of a single reason, very last second no other option and crossing my fingers to late at night and I really need some, where I would be looking to a convenience store for a can of cream of celery soup. Itís just not what I would place in the emergency need or impulse buy categories.

 


July 1, 2021

When youíre driving at night, the entire dashboard lights up when the display turns on, pretty much completely compromising a driverís ability to use any mirrors on the vehicle. It can be, literally, a blinding distraction.

They also become a habit, an all-purpose crutch, where many people donít use the mirrors even when they can see them. The look both ways and check your mirrors mantra hasnít changed, itís been wiped out of existence. It almost seems as though if itís not on the camera, it doesnít matter.

 


June 23, 2021

If you investigate it, youíll start to find out all sorts of things. There are variations depending on the metal used. Variations based on the types of twisting of the wires. Single strands. Double strands. Single wire. Double wire. Coated steel. This gauge. That gauge. A half gauge. Stainless steel reverse twist double strand 13 gauge barbed wire.

 


June 23, 2021

Not that you canít watch it because you donít subscribe to the streaming service itís on. Not that you donít want to be forced to watch commercials because it is on demand but youíd be stuck with the no fast-forwarding scenario. Not even that you can find the DVDs to order somewhere online, but the price is outrageous or the supplier fairly suspicious.

I mean thereís something you really would like to see, but it isnít available in any format on any platform.

 


June 22, 2021

On it, two people were having a conversation, and it came out that one of them had only been to a specific major city once in his life. They city was roughly 90-miles away by car, and happened to be a significant international destination. Again, he had been there once. In fact, he claimed to have on that trip he never left the vehicle he used to get there.

 


June 22, 2021

Breaking out the lawn mower is not necessarily my idea of thoughtless peace and harmony. Yet I have several friends that not only change the blades on their mower twice per season, they sharpen them after every use. (Yes, every use.) They know down to precise minutes of operation when to change oil, clean filters and replace spark plugs. I have known them not to spend a handful of hours working on their lawn, but rather to invest almost every day off completely into landscaping issues around the house from the first waking moments until the sun sets. They tell me they do it to get away. They claim itís not a chore in the sense of an awful to-do, but rather a way to truly escape from everything else for a bit.

 


June 22, 2021

Terry and I live somewhat in an isolated setting. Itís not amazingly far away from the real world. Itís not the middle of nowhere. We have grocery stores and dining options within a few minutes of the house. Even a great community movie theater. (One-dollar popcorn on Wednesdays! Looking forward to that becoming a regular thing again.) However, itís twenty minutes in one direction to a decent sized city, with significant shopping and restaurant names, and itís more than a half hour to the real city area.

 


June 21, 2021

Any parent with finicky eaters under the age of ten can explain why national chains are popular. Itís the consistency of the menu. You know you can walk through the doors, sit the child down, place chicken fingers and fries with honey mustard sauce on the table and the child will eat. Headache remedied.

 


June 21, 2021

Now, hold on. It was barely two seconds ago that I warned you I needed you to stay with me. Off I go, mentioning a chipmunk looking for a birthday card and you throw your hands into the air.

Obviously, weíve never seen a dolphin using a smart phone to check any reminders on its calendar. I know of no records or evidence that confirm a lion baking a cake. I feel comfortable saying there has yet to be an orangutan witnessed purchasing party balloons.

 


June 21, 2021

I mentioned to her that there were several types of fondue, including cheese and chocolateÖ and that was it. Chocolate fondue? Chocolate fondue? I had to leave my two roommates in charge of the food (which they ateÖ thanks guys). She dragged me to her car, then the store, and we got ingredients so she could have chocolate fondue not only that night, but as soon as possible. It was as if I had introduced her to something she knew had been missing her entire life and could not wait to try it.

 


June 20, 2021

At a previous house, our neighbor across the street introduced herself by bringing over dozens of iris plants. She was thinning out the ones in her yard and wondered if weíd like some. We took them, planted them and enjoyed them. When we moved, we dug up several of them and brought them with us. Thinned our yard out by bringing some to the boys. Her kind gesture has added to the beauty of four yards in three states.

 


June 20, 2021

The other day, I saw an article blurb on the home page of an entertainment-news-based web site. It basically wanted to know why Pixar movies werenít as good as they used to be. To that, I ask you to look again at that list of their most current five releases: Luca, Soul, Onward, Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2.

My response is simple: Pixar fading? They have to be kidding.

 


June 18, 2021

Another room has a ladder on the wall. Terry had seen one used to display things in someoneís house and seemed to remember we had one in the garage of our house. When we moved in, we found it, an object left behind by some previous owner. Sanded it lightly, added a bit of stain, and now itís on the wall. I donít think we even had to buy sandpaper or a can of stain for it, just using what we already had. So for the cost of physically moving it, we have dozens of memories on display. Plus, the comments it gets for a unique piece just keep coming from everyone that walks into that room for the first time.

 


June 18, 2021

Decades ago, the quick and immediate answer would involve the world, singing, and a cold Coca-Cola. That may not jump readily to mind with a lot of people these days, but about forty to fifty years ago it was a song written as a marketing jungle. (And it is a marketing theme that Coca-Cola uses even today in a variety of ways and places.)

 


June 18, 2021

Kids today likely wonít understand outrageous long distance call charges or the possible need to call your parents from pay phone. They donít have the firsthand experience with something like coming home from school, being locked out of the house, and just sitting around and waiting because there was no way to contact the person you were looking to reach.

 


June 18, 2021

Now, some of you right now are thinking about this idea. Youíre debating mysteries that have been going on around your home, or maybe thinking of things that were solved in very unexpected ways. You might even specifically need to address some chipmunks that have been running around. Iím not sure I can help you out. I donít know the answers at my house.

(And a few of you are wondering how the hell I made the switch from lightning to chipmunks.)

 


June 14, 2021

Itís the disconnect between those two questions that I think has me thinking about this today. If someone has their own list, and that list is made up of eggs, milk, toilet paper and frozen pizza, then thatís fine. But the sign says ďyourĒ essentials, meaning my essentials, and nope. This doesnít cover it. Which means the person writing it didnít write it for me. And frozen pizza? That hardly sounds like it was written for you (well, most of you).

 


June 14, 2021

Good conversation, making símores, and just quietly sitting and staring off to the heavens. The elements necessary can change from event to event. There is no specific list of ingredients necessary to create brilliance. A bit of this, a bit of that, mix, relax and enjoy.

 


June 14, 2021

I mean, come on. I wrote an essay saying that thoughtful and beneficial conversations were endangered, with society at a point where there likely isnít a single issue for which we will ever see a unanimous agreement. The first response to my being convinced people are unable to agree is someone that disagrees.

Yup, I win.

 


June 12, 2021

Thereís more to the storyónecessitating a deep dive into the motivations of our generous friend as well as a long list of assorted issuesóbut there is also a flip side to the story. It involves two screwdrivers, with price tags still on the handles. If they are accurate, his best gift to me was a grand total of one dollar and ninety-eight cents, plus tax. And it tends to make all the others worthwhile for me.

 


June 9, 2021

This is finding a key ring that refers to something meaningful, so you put it aside and save it, never a key near it. Itís about casino chips or coins from other countries, stacked up next to a framed picture of a trip you took with some friends. Itís a broken belt from a dryer that you successfully replaced in a ďI can fix that (though Iíve never tried this before)Ē home improvement project.

 


June 9, 2021

Turns out, no one knows. Oh, sure, likely floor cleaning professionals. I get the idea of who could be an expert. But I actually used three search engines, created terms for how often vacuuming should be done and who are the vacuuming experts, and I didnít see one specific name. ďExperts recommendĒ thisÖ ďexperts sayĒ thatÖ experts all over. No names.

 


June 8, 2021

The sarcastically witty voices in my head wanted to answer simply: ďWhen everyone in the house leaves me alone.Ē Which, to a degree, would be true. Take away questions and errands and the variety of absolutely appropriate and acceptable interruptions that occur, and often focus upon a single task improves. Just makes sense.

 


June 7, 2021

Game of Thrones. That was just a massive part of the entertainment landscape for many years. We all heard about it. Do you know which episode is noted as having the most viewers, and, how many viewers that is? As you might expect, itís the final episode. Cleared 19 million viewers.

Thatís pretty impressive.

 


June 7, 2021

For whatever reason, recently my mind flashed back to something from my childhood. It was a battery powered garden shear. You may have seen them. It usually consists of two plates with three or four prongs, attached to a motor, battery and handle. Simple. And I donít have one.

 


June 6, 2021

I think the problem is that in most cases, youíll find that these rules were invented to create an easy way of teaching something. A way to remember it. A way to show others how to apply it. And when you go one step further, the biggest issue tends to be that when people donít understand the rule, it creates all sorts of issues when attempts are made to bend and break it.

 


June 6, 2021

Thatís just a simple example of where things can go off the rails in all of us getting along. Some people would argue Five Guys doesnít need to serve the peanuts, and could step into positive customer relations by dropping them. Others would contend itís part of the charm, they love the peanuts, and that there are plenty of other options for burgers out there.

 


June 6, 2021

Have you ever known a bird to own a computer? When was the last time you were aware of a cardinal reading a newspaper? Are there any examples of a blue jay watching a weather forecast and making plans as a direct result of what it saw?

Your answers are likely no, no and no. Fair enough.

 


June 3, 2021

While living in that first house of ours, a neighbor stopped by one day. She was thinning the irises around her property and wondered if weíd like a few. We happily took them. Later, like the hosta, many of the irises were brought along with us from one home to the next.

 


June 1, 2021

Once that wave of acknowledgement ice had been broken with her, Terry and I began seeing our dog walking friend several times a week. Perhaps it was us, or maybe she recognized our car, but even if we were off by a bit and passing further down the road, the smiles and waves became a regular occurrence.

 


June 1, 2021

Iíve found, every so often when a conversation turns to such material, that it never really occurs to many people that there is a solution. They toss their hands in the airóan act of I canít do this defiance, of sortsóand step away. I would contend that often, the first hurdle in any dilemma is very simple: understand that there is an answer. It should be a natural reaction. And, if it was, then instead of giving up our first steps would actually be to move toward solutions.

 


May 11, 2021

The Nautilus from the Jules Verne novel was a prediction of an electronically powered submarine. Nicely done, Mr. Verne. But hardly a one-hit wonder, he has a few other thoughts delivered before their time. He wondered if electricity or light might be able to power a mission to the moon, and you can find solar sails now deep into design and experimentation. Just do some looking around, and youíll find Verne suggested, furthered, and essentially predicted many interesting developments long before they arrived.

 


May 11, 2021

My mother had no shortage of parents telling her about how their kids couldnít stop talking about dinner at our house. She used to shake her head, trying to figure out how she could spend hours feeding us and not get nearly the same level of praise. My guess is that a few companies owe my father some referral payments for the kitchen cabinets that were filled as a result of ďbut I want hot dogs and baked beans like I had at (our) houseĒ cries.

 


May 3, 2021

Organic is not a word without some meaning behind it. It does have some weight and power when it gets awarded. StillÖ

Organic does not mean any specific levels of nutritional value. Organic does not mean that it is healthier for you to consume. Therefor you cannot issue as fact a blanket statement saying organic produce is better produce. That would be false.

 


April 27, 2021

Thereís a scene where two of the main characters, who happen to be children, are on the run. They stumble across an old garage, get a vehicle running, and off they go. Critics (Iím not quoting, but the intentions are out there in plenty of places if you care to go looking): (1) No way the battery would have worked after being on a shelf for twenty years. (2) That gas would have been unusable. (3) Tire rot.

 


April 16, 2021

As an all-in-one-tool, gosh, weíre talking amazing. Park tickets and reservations for attractions and payment methods in retail outlets and so much more. The darn things allowed for anything and everything you wanted or needed. Weíre not stretching the truth to say you could walk into a store, wave your arm to both pay for your purchase and confirm the details to have it shipped to your hotel room, then take ten steps and wave it again to begin your move to the front of the line at the next attraction.

 


April 14, 2021

Iím not writing this to examine (or reexamine) what does or doesnít influence a child though. Thatís an argument for a completely different time. What frustrates me is how people tend to present information that supports their argument while completely ignoring anything that might create an alternative interpretation of reality.

 


April 10, 2021

Facebook is down. The page said the folks at Facebook knew it was down. Action. Reaction. Should be a bit of closure if we bring patience into play. Difficulty. Confirmation. And yet, countless numbers of people raced to an alternative to ask if anyone else was having troubles with Facebook.

Iím probably stretching the idea here, but this entire event struck me as a beautiful example of the current needs of immediacy and validation that are swirling around society today.

 


April 10, 2021

Second, youíre an idiot and I just donít have any time to deal with your stupidity and ignorance. (And thatís me being kind in my description of your situation.)

This reason usually means that Iím keeping my mouth shut and not engaging with you mainly because itís not worth it. You go on being the loud clown, Iíll be the one over here enjoying something worthwhile. You interpret my silence as lacking in knowledge and possibly ability. I view it differently.

 


April 7, 2021

Funny enough, I canít do any research into it. The reality is no one is talking about this specific problem. (Go ahead. Look it up. Youíll find all sorts of links to USDA and other official sounding agency advice about safe butter storage. Youíll find plenty of links suggesting how to get the butter to room temperature, or how to soften it properly in a microwave without ending up with a plate full of liquid butter. But in no place that I have found does anyone discuss why the butter softens in July but not January.)

 


April 7, 2021

For a variety of reasons, there seem to be all sorts of things out there that we simply donít see from day to day. And then, once we become aware of them, for a time we simply canít not see them.

A long time ago, I pieced together a couple of lessons I had learned into what I approach as the twenty-four-hour buffer. Basic idea is, with very few exceptions, there is nothing you can do right now that wouldnít be better done tomorrow.

 


April 4, 2021

People make fun of me from time to time. I like CDs. I like DVDs. But more than anything else, I suppose the best description of it is I like tangible. Itís nice to be able to say that streaming whateverÖ music and movies to startÖ can help me out. But what happens when Amazon or Apple goes out of business, and can no longer provide authentication of my purchase (and protect my rights of product ownership)?

 


April 4, 2021

Funny thing about driving around. If you can manage to stay on a decent secondary road and continue along a fairly straight path, eventually youíll find yourself looking at a sign for a major road. A highway. Maybe an interstate. Usually with numbers you recognize. You will find that every road can lead you back home. (Just follow some of the best literary advice ever: ďDonít panic.Ē)

 


March 28, 2021

Even with the Capín removed as an option, itís likely most people would stick with cereal mascots for this humorous social media challenge. That means a list of responses that would likely include Tony the Tiger, Buzz the Bee, Toucan Sam, Count Chocula, Lucky the Leprechaun, Snap, Crackle and Pop.

 


March 28, 2021

Even if you live in an apartment, I would wager that a ton of results came back. Most of the leading ones will be from real estate sites, such as Zillow and Trulia and so on. If you head over to some of those sites, chances are really good you will find some lovely photos of the place. (Seriously, even if you didnít post them, there they are. Did the previous owners have an on-line listing? Then enjoy the slideshow of your home. And even if itís been some time since the home was last on the market, and the interior shots arenít there, chances are that some Google image from the street is (along with link to a map).)

 


March 26, 2021

Did you know there are people that have tried to figure out if Docís need for 88 miles per hour could have been reached by the DeLorean in the mall parking lot? Well, of course there are. (Most seem to claim it wouldnít have, unless Doc tinkered with the engine.) The point is, when you claim significance, and even many times when you donít, you have to assume someone is going to call you on accuracy (or at least claim significance).

 


March 21, 2021

You often hear the idea that thereís a link between the personal importance of something and the capturing of information. I donít have a doubt thatís true. (As so wonderfully offered as an example of several things, if you want to measure a dogís intelligence, show the dog you have two biscuits in your hand and then only give the dog one.)

 


March 18, 2021

Three days ago, an e-mail arrived. If we take the contents as true, it was from a manager of a company that produces outdoor products, including backpacks. She said that she knew I was in the market for sports products, with backpacks an important accessory. All of which tells me that the possibility existsóagain, face value of the e-mailóthat some programming code was developed, picked up on the title of my web site, and the word backpack created both a hit and an assumption. But itís pretty darn obvious she never looked at my web site for a second, because Iíve got no need for any of that stuff.

 


March 17, 2021

The night included that wonderful game we all know and love: Staring at the ceiling, turning to the clock, turning back to the ceiling while saying ďOk, if I just get to sleep right now, I can still get six hours of sleep.ĒÖ repeat, ďOk, if I just get to sleep right now, I can still get four hours of sleep.ĒÖ repeat, ďOk, if I just get to sleep right now, I can still get three-and-a-half hours of sleep.Ē

 


March 17, 2021

By frequency, it would be the street I grew up on. Thatís simple enough. But thereís a funny twist to the story. That road was two-tenths of a mile long. And, since my parents lived essentially dead center on the road, it meant any travel along it was rarely more than one-tenth of a mile.

That means ten trips to walk or drive a mile.

One hundred trips to walk or drive ten miles.

One thousand trips to walk or drive one hundred miles.

 


March 13, 2021

While the result is not quite the a la carte approach some of us may have envisioned heading our way a few years ago, the reality isnít too far off. Thereís Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+Ö select one from column a, two from column bÖ consider the services offering those specialized programs you enjoyÖ laugh at Apple TV+ with their five so-so shows while shaking your head and wondering who the twenty-seven people are that actually subscribe to itÖ and you have arrived at television for your home.

 


March 5, 2021

It stumped me because, depending on the type of tea, I often add different things in different combinations. Usually, I stick with the big four: honey, lemon, sugar and cream. Honey the most common. But depending on the type of tea involved, Iíve been known to use both honey and sugar at the same time.

 


March 4, 2021

How about placing them on 8½Ēx11Ē pages? Must be some savings there. Well, those costs are all over the place. Even the lowest quality of paper that size runs about $10 for fifty sheets. You can position three 4Ēx6Ē images onto a sheet, so that $10 would get you one-hundred-fifty pictures. Not bad at under $0.07 a picture, butÖ the price for this paper varies wildly, once again we havenít considered the costs associated with ink, and you are going to need to cut the pictures on your own. At its best hit to your wallet, is ink and labor worth more or less than two-cents a picture?

 


February 27, 2021

I said version of the question, because honestly the mail arriving may not matter. It might be the time you leave for work. Could be when the kids get out of school. Perhaps you settle in to watch television every Thursday evening. The idea here is simpleÖ there is something that you repeat, and do without thought, and accept as a given, even if itís where you keep your forks and spoons.

 


February 26, 2021

Not sure exactly what I mean? OkÖ letís adjust to thoughts about a couple of regional legends. Imagine you love In-And-Out Burger or Delís LemonadeÖ that you want to head to an Iceberg Drive Inn or Skyline ChiliÖ you canít just hop in the car and arrive at your craving in ten to twenty minutes in every city from coast to coast. Youíre going to needÖ and Iím sorry to say itÖ youíre going to need to go without. Or, find an alternative. (I knowÖ as if.)

 


February 26, 2021

I absolutely hate making large purchases for the home. Not always. But in general. If you find a difference in a cost that favors one store over another, you often find that delivery charges equalize the final total. Itís like a magic trick. One has a lower cost for the dishwasher, but then thereís delivery and installation and taking away the old dishwasher. Oh, and if you want the warranty to be valid, the installation must come from that storeís highly trained team of certified installers.

 


February 22, 2021

Are you a walnut person? Or do you prefer pecans? It isnít just a question of whether or not youíre adding nuts. The type of nut matters. I even have friends that will explain, in detail at great length, the importance of toasting the nuts first.

(Yup. Toasted nuts. And you thought a chocolate chip cookie essay wasnít going to get deep and serious and controversial.)

 


February 22, 2021

The impulse for this essay happens to be someone that Terry and I consider a friend, though weíve only known her for a handful of years. She has been amazing for both of us, personally and professionally, over and over (and over) again. Any time weíve had a question, or simply needed a pat on the back and a positive word, sheís been there for us. The type of person that makes your worldÖ makes THE worldÖ a better place.

 


February 19, 2021

Planterís began offering cheese balls several decades ago. Specifically, Planterís Cheez Balls. They werenít the very best cheese balls. But they were good. Very good. And they had this complementary buttery-like taste that no other brand offered. In short, if you were in the mood for Planterís cheese balls, you had to have Planterís Cheez Balls.

 


February 18, 2021

I have this fear about handling chainsaws. Iíve used them many times. Have even owned a couple, with one in my possession right now. I simply donít like how easy it is to get lazy with it or tired. Those arenít the perfect words, since I donít truly mean getting lazy. But Iíve shared chainsaw stories with many people. And one thing we all seem to have in common is that every story reaches a moment where a person is working on a project and encounters a distraction or a feeling of casual overconfidence.

 


February 18, 2021

One of the difficulties in gift giving is that most people can fall into two scenarios: (1) When they really want something, they buy it, and therefor donít need anything (or even have anything sitting on their want-to-get list). (2) Even if they do fit into some group, or have some particular interests, it can be hard to avoid giving horrendous gifts associated with it.

 


February 18, 2021

Iím not bringing these up as a criticism of any sort. I think almost all of us have a few things that we donít even believe rise to the level of wink-wink acknowledgement. Iím just wondering about the differences we might find in people that exist and define levels such as not being aware of doing something wrong, not really being concerned by doing something wrong, and, ultimately, flat-out disobedience.

 


February 14, 2021

Did you ever have the follow the instructions trick test in school? Teacher passes out paper. Begins by saying that we should listen to everything said, each and every question, before doing anything else. Then, the questions begin. Number oneÖ number twoÖ number whateverÖ questions end. Final instruction is to leave the paper blank. And, of course, a huge chunk of the class moans, having been writing answers for the questions on the sheet of paper while being asked them, completely ignoring the very first instruction.

 


February 14, 2021

The weird part is, my reactions always tend to be strongest about Rhode Island. Iíve lived in other states. Traveled quite a bit. Rhode Island? A small state. A hop on Route 95 and get from the southwest corner on the border of Connecticut to the northeast corner crossing over to Massachusetts in under an hour without speeding small state.

 


February 14, 2021

Past year has been a bit rough. Every so often, a package has arrived. One of our friends sends a little note, and has been including a mask with each one. Another wrote a beautiful and thoughtful letter while sending a blanket to my wife. I cannot tell you how amazing the gestures felt when we received them and realized what they were. Simply put, I can tell you that angels walk among us.

 


February 14, 2021

In the previous five years, I have never seen a single snowmobile moving along anywhere except in a neighborís yard or along a marked trail. This year Iíve seen them pulling in to gas stations, parked in spaces at a coffee shop and other assorted locations. Multiple times. Of course, I get why a snowmobile would be moving toward the gas pumps. Iím just saying that Iíd never seen it before, but somehow this year Iíve seen it easily more than five times.

 


February 14, 2021

Letís say I have two friends that absolutely love pizza. (No. I get it. Everyone loves pizza. In this case though, letís say my two friends both own restaurants that serve pizza. Plus, toss in that Iíve traveled with them, discussed pizza with them, and know that both of them are fascinated by crust styles and ingredients and toppings and more. They will argue for hours not just about whether or not pineapple belongs on a pizza, but invest many lengthy and separate sessions into different types of pineapple. Fresh and canned. Chunks and rings. Sauce style used. (Side note: pineapple does not belong on pizza. Different argument. Different essay. Worth noting.))

 


February 11, 2021

When Terry and I bought our first house together, she and I talked about setting up a workshop for her. She does a lot of crafts, and they are far from limited to one type of item. So incredibly large work surfaces, with sturdy construction, was important. I used full sheets of plywood, and framed everything with 2Ēx4Ē boards. It was overdone in waysÖ you could have multiple people stand on top of them, with tools and assorted equipmentÖ but it served every purpose she threw at it, and the basic design was used again when we rebuilt her work area in our next home. It led to us having a joke, where we said that for any repair all I needed was a two-by-four.

 


February 9, 2021

I am not doing this to suggest that a coyote is moving along to grab its mail. Donít want to create the impression I believe a deer or two are crossing my yard to get some take out. And while Iíd love it if a racoon hopped on by to clear some of the snow from our drivewayóIíd even leave a couple of bucks for its troubles if it didóIím not expecting one to stop in immediately after the next storm clears.

 


February 9, 2021

Today, Terry was going through some boxes and she stumbled upon a few unexpected tidbits. My grandparents bought their home new. First owners. My grandfather was involved in the building of the house. Started after he returned home following the war. Worked on it with one of his brothers.

They ended up with the blueprints to the house. Terry found the blueprints, a black and white photograph of the house, and a copy of the mortgage note. (Meme and Pepe paid $42.42 each month on the mortgage of their new home.)

 


February 9, 2021

A few days ago, I had a really basic bad day. Nothing truly horrible. But a basic bad. I woke up, opened the fridge, and realized I hadnít taken the bacon out of the freezer the day before. That changed breakfast plans. The changes to my anticipated start continued when I realized I hadnít run the dishwasher, so most of the mugs were dirty and I really didnít want to invest the effort in washing one just for the cup of hot cocoa I was craving. I walked across the kitchen to the sliding doors into the back yard. Opened then blinds and saw it had snowed. Enough that I was going to need to head out and work in the driveway.

 


February 6, 2021

The feedback began coming in, and I was gathering some really interesting information. For one thing, my fatherís professional career was primarily spent in broadcast media. He confirmed that many of the results I was seeing in my smaller sample group matched up fairly nicely to the industry-conducted ratings and numbers. And then a form came back with a note in the margin.

 


February 6, 2021

On the surface, there actually is little doubt that being productive should equate to being productive. A simple exampleóreally basic stuffóproves the point. You make up a list of things to accomplish tomorrow. You wake up, get ready, and start your projects. By the time you settle in for dinner, the list is done. And there you have it. Productive.

 


February 6, 2021

Letís say you have a family or friend that sells cars. They live about somewhere between 200 and 400 miles away from you, and you regularly visit them at least four times a year. My guess is that if you are in the market for a new car, youíd at least consider purchasing one from your family member or friend. And when you did, it wasnít a special trip that you made for the purchase. It was a special purchase you made during the trip. Makes sense, right?

 


February 3, 2021

Ever had hush puppies? Think fried corn bread and weíre headed in a direction where we can find a decent understanding of things. Well, this recipe was brilliant. I made the batter, Terry cooked them, and the recipe was pretty much perfect. Some of the best weíve ever had. Crisp on the outside, dense and moist on the inside, perfect.

 


February 3, 2021

A note like that could be a ton of different things. The city. The weather. Itís where I went to school. Thatís three good ones with a lot of variety right there. Didnít even mention The Great New York State Fair, which means there are plenty of other places to go. Just saying Syracuse might as well be a one-word note that says blueÖ or leftÖ or sneakers.

 


February 1, 2021

I think my favorite examples of this are when a combination of need and inconvenience creates amusing results. Think of a time when youíre in the basement, or out in the yard, and the tool you need is in the garage. Sure, you could put everything down, walk the length of the house, head up the stairs and go to the garage, rummage through your tools to find a hammer, go back to the basement and use it, then turn around and repeat the journey to return the hammer to the garage. OrÖ

 


January 27, 2021

How many stores can you think of that have come, gone, lasted or turned over that have made some type of memorable connection with you? We all know stores close, but at times it seems as though many shut their doors and no one notices it happen. We could think about G. Fox turning to Fileneís and then to Macyís. How about Zayre? Some sting, some donít, and some leave us numb.

 


January 25, 2021

Years ago, Bobby Riggs was a guest on a television show called The Odd Couple. All you need to know about Riggs for this idea was that he likely was best known for his hustling and gambling. On the show he challenged one of the lead characters to correctly type his name in ten seconds or less.

 


January 25, 2021

Thatís a bit harsh. And Iím obviously exaggerating to make a point. Still, the general concept remains. If you have one box filled with bubble wrap and nothing but bubble wrapÖ and an identically-sized second box filled with enameled cast iron Dutch oven cookwareÖ and both of those boxes would fit on a shelf in the basement, she will not be questioning whether or not that shelf can support the weight of either box.

 


January 25, 2021

We live in an area where it can snow constantly. As in, no snow in the forecast, no storms sweeping along, but just a bit of moisture in the air and frigid temperatures and lake effect and *POOF* measurable snow on the windshield the next day. Over four days this past week, we got about four inches of snow over two days. No real fast buildup of it. Just a half-inch overnight, then a quarter-inch during the day, another half-inch the next night, and by the end of four overnights there was four or five inches to trudge in. Seriously, if you were here to experience you would agree, it just snuck on in and there it was.

 


January 24, 2021

Generally speaking, technology has advanced in ways that my laptop can now actually be a hinderance where once it bordered on being a requirement. For example, whenever I need to check in for flights. Just ten years ago, without a smartphone and most companies still in the early stages of app development (if they even had an app), some type of computer access to the internet was likely needed to make sure you had things set up for your flight. Today? Geez, between getting your laptop internet access and navigating a web site, it turns out a smartphone and app combination can be significantly faster and easier.

 


January 23, 2021

Maybe itís technology. Iíd love to have something to blame, and that sure seems like an easy place to direct my accusations. Text messages. E-mails. Social media. So many ways to stay in touch with people, most quick and convenient and completely lacking true connections. But that wouldnít be fair. Because even though itís easier, it doesnít mean Iím actually making as many phone calls or writing as many e-mails as I would like to be. And they donít have to be empty gestures.

 


January 23, 2021

To give you an idea we can use an example that has nothing to do with my call. Letís say you needed to touch base with a mortgage company. For one thing, you were changing the information on your insurance policy and needed to update the company and address that got paid each year by your mortgage company. And, for another, you had received an offer to refinance and wanted to find out some specifics that werenít fully outlined in the letter sent to you. Same companyÖ two very different departmentsÖ and some nuances that meant an automated button pushing progression wouldnít finish off your needs.

 


January 23, 2021

First one that strikes me is a wooden lion. Terry and I had gone on a trip to visit my sister in Australia. Back at home, we had begun collecting unusual animal trinkets. Hard to explain, easier to show, but essentially the idea of the collection was that we wanted to gather things that involved taking them a step beyond a basic carving or statue. We were looking for unique and different. This lion has belly that has been carved out, with an intricate pattern in place, and inside of it is another lion.

 


January 23, 2021

Thereís been some stunning stuff turning up in our basement. And one thing tonight almost brought me to tears. A folder with some old school papers. On the top, a handwritten and stapled packet. It was a report, from forty years ago, documenting a family vacation. It happened during the school year, with all of us getting on a plane and flying to Disney World. How old was it really? The Magic Kingdom was the only theme park.

 


January 20, 2021

When I got to the car, there was a layer of snow on it. It was that somewhat wet snow that isnít too difficult to move. I knew the temperatures were expected to drop in the afternoon, which meant that if I left it the windshield would end up covered not with snow, but ice. I left the bags on the back seat and headed to the garage, where the snow brushes for the cars are. While clearing off the windshield, I realized the brushes needed to be in the cars and not the garage, so I went back to the house because I only had one set of keys. I picked up another brush andÖ heyÖ why is that ladder over there?

 


January 20, 2021

But this USB extension cord? I havenít used one. Ever. Not one. Right now, so far, Iíve found I have two. New in the box. Why? Then I begin wondering if I might move something later on and an extension cord might be just what I need, but wireless stuff is taking over everything, and suddenly Iím trapped in the circular logic of arriving at a day where I need one, had one, but no longer have one.

 


January 18, 2021

Stop signs were originally yellow. Apparently red was considered from the beginning, but most of the materials available for making the signs were known to fade over time so yellow won the day. Eventually, red became the norm once fade-resistant-enamel could be produced in that color.

Greenland Sharks are believed to possibly live for up to five hundred years.

Green Eggs and Ham was produced on a bet. Dr. Suess was challenged to produce a book containing less than fifty words.

 


January 18, 2021

Remember Salt City? Ask someone from Syracuse and they might be just as inclined to say snow as anything else. Although, to be fair to a city I do love and have a history of my own with, Syracuse residents (and those nearby) are far more likely to respond with tales about Salt City, salt potatoes and the Great New York State Fair. I donít catch as many of them flatfooted with the question.

 


January 17, 2021

A few of my friends are outstanding cooks. I mean, could open their own restaurant brilliant. And prepping marinades, chopping vegetables, the entire process of cooking anything and everything is their escape.

I love cooking, love eating, hate dishes. That means more often than not my efforts in the kitchen can be based entirely on how many pans will need to be scrubbed later on.

 


January 17, 2021

Hey, I want a new amazing range with two ovens. Whatever size we think we need for a new refrigerator, I want to double it. Give me that live edge dining room table that seats twelve. But if youíve found that the thereís a problem with asbestos, lead paint, or the discovery of shoddy workmanship behind the walls that needs to be upgraded, I can make due with what weíve got and dump the $5,000 wish-list table.

 


January 17, 2021

We park the cars facing the street. Our driveway isnít too long, but itís not short either. Moving a car forward in drive is far easier in the snow than moving in reverse. Part of that is front-wheel-drive vehicles, and I would say a good portion is not driving in snow using mirrors as a guidance system. Itís also a trick we picked up in our previous house, which not only included a longer driveway, it also provided the added bonus of a decent uphill rise between the street and the house.

 


January 15, 2021

Now, I didnít come here to talk to you about well pumps or the joys of working on them in below-freezing temperatures. I came here to talk to you about stuff around the house, and how many of the things that seem so mysteriousóeven though, I cannot stress this enough, the vast majority of which should be worked on by experienced people and not novicesóarenít all that mysterious.

 


January 15, 2021

The really funny thing is, all I need to do is look out my window. There are far more deer tracks across my lawn in the past two weeks. So why are they in the fields but not the woods? I think weíre all still basically locked into our houses more than previous years. And, of course we are. Thing is, Iím starting with deer, but want to mention Christmas lights.

 


January 15, 2021

But for me, itís a communication tool that has expanded. I admit that Iím in the age where texting is almost a necessary concept. And sure, I use the browser to help out with information when Iím not at home. My response to that, however, would be that I have grown into those options and have never been enticed by them. And in the end, as long as itís doing what I need from it, I donít get all that excited about update possibilities.

 


January 12, 2021

The history of meringues is, well, unknown. Honestly, no two sources really agree on being able to state anything definitive. Most will mention a small community and a chef by the name of Gasparini. (Several seem to take a tremendous pleasure in noting that it likely was not invented in France. Enough that it was an obvious recurring side note, and I was really wondering why so many articles were mentioning it wasnít invented in France. Perhaps another story, definitely for another time.)

 


January 12, 2021

If I asked you to find a spoon in my kitchen, you probably would be able to handle it pretty quickly. But, likely without thought, you cheated. You unconsciously and immediately decided we keep spoons in a drawer, and began with those. What if I asked you to find a plate or a coffee mug? Might take a few extra seconds. And if we move into cutting boards, lids for frying pans, or perhaps a mandoline, chances are good you wouldnít even start looking before asking me where it is.

 


January 12, 2021

Other times, itís putting things away that becomes dangerous for my clean sheet of paper. Once I was unloading groceries and came across our old bread maker. Hadnít been used since we moved, silent for years, and suddenly bread flour and a few assorted ingredients were being jotted down. Another time a can of clams got in the way and triggered a craving for clam cakes.

 


January 12, 2021

First, Terry is a bit over the top when it comes to Christmas. As in, without going to where the Christmas stuff is stored, I can already tell you that we have containers for at least six different styles of trees. At least. The Disney theme, the maroon and gold theme, the silver and blue theme, the traditional ornament theme, the special gold ornaments theme, and the nutcracker theme. Thatís six, and I didnít look. I know there are actually several more. In addition to trees, there are also boxes with animated figures, skating rinks for villages andÖ okÖ

 


January 12, 2021

Still, if youíre going to tell me thereís no such thing as bad cake, well, youíre wrong. Itís actually become one of my rules for bakeries as a result. If I like a bakery and think I might be back, I usually make it a point to try cake and perhaps a brownie. If youíre claiming to be a bakery and you canít make a brownie, then you should close your doors. I knowÖ and you do as wellÖ there are some horrendous bakeries out there that couldnít make a good brownie even if you just let them use a box mix instead of their crappy recipe.

 


January 9, 2021

Some people are conscious of the price of gas and how it impacts themÖ compact car. Some people use their vehicle for work or perhaps donít careÖ sports utility vehicle. EachÖ a $100 check.

Some people commute great distances and share rides with their friends and spouses to work. Some donít commute as far and drive alone. EachÖ a $100 check.

State to stateÖ taxes differ. EveryoneÖ all togetherÖ a $100 check.

From the Backpack ~ Likely original posting date May 1, 2006

 


January 9, 2021
I was reading an interview with Penn Jillette a few weeks ago. I donít recall the exact quote, or even the exact question for that matter. But Penn essentially pointed out that you donít need to reach that many people to be an overwhelming success. With hundreds of millions of people living in the United States alone, just finding 1% of the people agree with you in some fashion can provide a tremendous following.
From the Backpack ~ Likely original posting date December 4, 2003

 


January 5, 2021

I wouldnít say I grew up with some sort of formal, deliberate approach to butter. But I donít know that I ever considered anything but slicing a pad of it off of the stick, top to bottom style (so to speak). I suppose if forced to explain it, because itís never something Iíve tried to explore before, Iíd say that unconsciously I feel itís almost cruel to the next person to approach it any other way. Be kind and keep the stick of butter neat for the next person.

 


January 5, 2021

When was the last time you smacked right into something in your home? Corner of a coffee table happens to us, even in the best of light. But then, in the middle of the night, not wanting to turn on lights, we set off thinking we can navigate our path. Three steps to the entry of the room, turn left down the hall, five steps andÖ andÖ and weíre usually off before we even get to the edge of the room weíre in.

 


January 2, 2021

I think, if we are going to come up with any type of simple summary, we need to be able to figure out a way to determine what is in a personís head and heart. What do they truly believe? What do they truly feel? That is not simple at all, and itís at the very center of my observation about being sorry about what you may have done versus being sorry because you got caught.

 


January 2, 2021

The person writing the article was highly critical of the show, even though they had never seen even one episode of it. Seriously. Never watched a single episode, freely admitted that repeatedly in the article (to the point of adding in a (my words) ďand you canít make meĒ sticking out of the tongue attitude as the bragging about having never seen the show was mentioned again), and effectively slammed the show as a waste of time.

 


December 23, 2020

And thatís it, isnít it? Comfort zones.

Itís not about accepting or rejecting technology, at least not if weíre being honest. I may not be the most current or even interested user of the latest and greatest, but I can navigate around most issues and get what I want and need taken care of.

 


December 23, 2020

Iím not talking about running out of mustard and suffering without it for your hot dog. Nor am I talking about making a shopping list, opening the fridge to check things out and finding you need eggs and orange juice. What I mean is something you donít regularly give any attention, but somehow when you do is exactly when you needed to spot it. Whenever that moment is, random as it may be, thatís when you check and thatís when you need it.

 


December 23, 2020

There are certain things a person needs in order to survive. Food. Water. And you know the drill. It moves on into things like shelter. Depending on who is designing the list we might start off on one tangent to consider air right up there with food and water. Another tangent brings us to sleep, rest and health. And yet another tangent can move into emotional areas such as companionship and support.

 


December 20, 2020

Ok. You got me. I added the enjoy part to Tuesday. And Binghamton is a side note that didnít matter to where we live. We ended up with around six inches of snow. But the rest of that charting, even in my words, is pretty close to dead on accurate. In fact, Iím sure I did hear a forecaster or two mention that significant snowfall might be good fun. Just donít tie me down to that one. (Especially if you live in Binghamton.) StillÖ back to the main path of this essayÖ

 


December 20, 2020

The basic ideas to take from this are that I really donít have many habits or routines when it comes to my daily endeavors. I donít start things off by lining up containers from the medicine cabinet. I donít need to put on a pot of coffee. While it may edge right up against too much information, if Iím headed outside to do some yardwork on a hot summer day, Iíll often skip a morning shower and wait until the work is done. All of which often leads me into some vague and troubled waters.

 


December 10, 2020

Unfortunately, Iím afraid there may actually be more involved here. Iím sorry to say that as some people have been repeating their messages with other postingsÖ in a few cases with messages and links to stories that are completely fabricated, which a quick check of the facts would revealÖ and as a result Iím seeing stances and more that are hard to ignore or write off as an oops.

 


November 30, 2020

At first, Mom didnít get it. She tried telling me about the recipe sheís used for decades to make snickerdoodles, and how I probably had it in the stack of recipes she had passed along to all the kids, and insisted I should try that one.

She didnít understand that this wasnít a phone call asking about a snickerdoodle recipe. This was a phone call asking about THE snickerdoodle recipe. I wasnít looking for a recipe, I was chasing a memory.

 


November 25, 2020

Itís not because I really like balloons. Itís because our first dog, Lady, went bonkers whenever there were balloons around. Itís as if she thought they were the source of all evil in the world, she needed to protect us, and the way to accomplish that was by barking at them to make sure they didnít move. Eventually you would be forced to move them someplace where she could no longer see them.

 


November 25, 2020

The basic story goes like this. While looking for some dinner ideas, I came across an old dessert recipe and thought I would try to make it. One of the ingredients is Dutch cocoa powder, and to my memory that was a fairly easy purchase. Go to a grocery store, find the baking aisle, locate the chocolates, and there, right next to cocoa powder would be the Dutch cocoa powder.

It was not an easy purchase.

 


November 4, 2020

But which is it? Because behind the doors of your own homeÖ if we only ask youÖ you think your way is right. And that means we could have two homes, side-by-side, wrong and right at the same moment.

(Lovely. We might have a foundation now to debate Schrodingerís toilet paper.)

 


November 4, 2020

When I was younger, I tried to get interested in stamps and coins. The fascination lasted for one weekend trip with some friends to a hobby shop that specialized in stamps. Beyond that, I donít think you could string together more than five minutes of attention from my childhood.

Ok, thatís not true. I vividly recall my parents, during a family trip to Washington, DC, bringing their children to the National Postal Museum one morning for a visit that involved many of the Smithsonian locationsÖ and that was a pretty interesting trip for a variety of reasons. Iíve always appreciated some of the stories and histories involved in several specialty hobbies, including stamps and coins.

 


November 4, 2020

This delay means that when you do actually buy batteries, you go on a spree of changing them in game controllers, remotes, clocks, flashlights and more. It means that whenever a new package arrives in the house, itís immediately called upon to supply a dozen or so needs. Thus, the result becomes that as soon as you buy batteries youíre basically out again.

 


October 11, 2020

One day, a woman came back to the desk after checking in and visiting her room. She was quite upset. Nothing was what she had expected or requested. There was no refrigerator in the room. There was no television. And she continued. She insisted she had double-checked and was told she would have an oceanside room, with a television and a refrigerator. When I asked if she recalled the person she spoke with, she claimed it was a very rude young girl. She said sheíd never forget how poorly the girl had treated her, but she didnít know the name.

 


October 11, 2020

(And that, right thereÖ face or no faceÖ thatís uncalled for sarcasm. Because in reality Tigg was looking out for me. She knows I like lemonade, knew we needed a new container, went looking for one, and bought one. If I was so set on getting a replacement, then I should have moved my behind a bit faster and bought one myself. Besides, a requirement for a new container wasnít that it must be from Tupperware. Some of the stuff from Pampered Chef is outstanding and we have a few of the companyís items that I canít imagine being without. (But where would that be funny? Instead, I make the skeptical husband face and offer up a bitter attempt at a joke. Ha ha. AnywayÖ))

 


October 7, 2020

Ok, we should probably start off by saying this isnít some deep and dark espionage situation. People werenít launching drones, placing tracers on my vehicle, or setting up surveillance efforts in an unmarked van across the street.

Netflix and Amazon have not reached out, are not conducting interviews with me, and do not appear to be seeking the rights to some incredible tale where a few gifted screenwriters could bring about a multi-episode season of exciting suspense.

Not that I know of.

 


October 1, 2020

Now, in fairnessÖ Cross LakeÖ Seneca RiverÖ even the Skaneateles CreekÖ are all in the vicinity. Depending on how ambitious we might want to be in finding the source of this abandoned water craft, there are places where a boat could be used without having to travel multiple zip codes. Itís not like we have discovered a boat ditched on along a major road someplace in New Mexico or West Virginia, with thoughts wandering to places that might connect what a dinghy and a cactus have in common.

 


September 29, 2020

I donít know why that text message at that moment struck me as odd. Couldnít explain why the thought came into my head right then and there. A few personal things going onÖ a few crazies in my days latelyÖ and then, sure, the rest of the world figuratively (and, in spots, literally) on fire.

ďHow are you and Terry doing?Ē

 


September 19, 2020

We all have those absentminded days. The ones where we wake up, stumble into the kitchen and try to make some coffee. While the waterís heating up, we realize we canít find any half and half, or even the mug we thought we had put out before starting the water. After spinning around to take in all the counters, we add half and half to the shopping list, then grab a cup from the dish rack and the milk from the fridge.

 


September 6, 2020

Usually, if I donít have time to write a draft of a piece, I grab a sheet of paper or write some lines in a notebook that outline the topic and some thoughts. If Iím sitting at the computer when it hits, Iíll open a document, jot a few ideas and save it. End result, I try really hard to have something in place that reconnects me with the idea so I know what I was thinking and if I had any designs on where I wanted to head with it.

 


September 4, 2020

There are no specific qualifications that are universally cited and agreed upon. A national source might have something that pertains to wind speeds, visibility, duration, potential accumulation totals and such. On the other hand, your local news Doppler Weather Radar 8600 420K Report with Spiffy Jim wants to be your source for weather accuracy. So, they have a region mapped outÖ their viewing regionÖ and if a might flake drop, the darn thing gets a name.

 


September 4, 2020

For a wide variety of reasons that arenít part of this story, my sister (Kerri) and her husband (Nick) were on a journey driving around the United States that summer. They were very roughly planning on bringing their trip to an end around the days we would be in Pennsylvania. Roughly meaning their schedule would have them crossing the state while we were there. Plans were made to meet up in Hershey.

Hereís a bit of a twist to the story. This took place about twenty-five years ago. No GPS. No cell phones. No navigational apps. No where-are-you text messages. Just hotel reservations made, meet up on this date, hopefully everyone is around in time to join up for dinner.

 


August 30, 2020

Over a bit of time I began noticing something while watching some brilliant guitarists perform. Their hands never seemed rushed. There was a calm, smooth, steady movement. Watch John Denver play ďRocky Mountain HighĒ andÖ wellÖ itís just a mesmerizing thing of beauty.

 


August 30, 2020

Terry and I have the favorites from growing up in Rhode Island on the mind at times. We have preferences for baked beans as an example (and never can find brown bread in our neighborhood markets). So, any time we are visiting family and friends in the Ocean State, we have a tendency to stock up on these treats. (Hence, a bigger than really needed bottle of Autocrat syrup being purchased.)

 


August 30, 2020

But here we are, breakfast complete, the day ahead of us, and a few possibilities for dinner are being kicked around. If Iím going to head out for some corn on the cob and buttermilkóweíre thinking of frying some chicken, weíll be ready for you about 3, donít forget to bring your famous potato salad and a pie for dessert, weíve got the beeróI probably should make the trip a bit more productive and sort out anything I might need over the next few days.

 


August 30, 2020

I suppose my difficulties though are more with what we might summarize as the organized business of religion. And yes, I know Iíve gone and stepped on it with that. Because there is no way I will be able to fully form my feelings and thoughts, defenses and explanations, or anything else associated with supporting that idea in a single essay. Religion for many is a lifelong dedication. Good luck covering that in one thousand words (or less).

 


August 30, 2020

Chip and Dale make a couple of appearances, though Iím not going to share the reasons why here and now. Nor will I go deeply down the road discussing Tinker Bell, Harley Quinn, Figment and Scooby-Doo. (That said, the multiple Mouse Ears probably need no explaining.)

 


August 30, 2020

But when you have a shear pin that needs replacing, and the thermometer inside the garage is registering low single-digits (while outside is negative numbers), and youíve already returned from eleven-hours that day at work with dinner to make and a long day tomorrow, I think you can be forgiven after clearing the driveway for not moving around to different corners of the garage to put everything away when thoughts of defrosting your face seem like a more pressing priority.

 


August 30, 2020

It was an observation that originated when listening to a variety of albums, by bands where I usually enjoyed the entire album, and for some reasonóprobably on a long car tripóI happened to notice that the seventh song on album after album was my favorite song on each one. Seemed like a nice theory, which I never wanted to not be true, so I just ran with it and left it in place.

 


August 30, 2020

Earlier I was working on some laundry and I got around to a load of towels. Tossed them in the machine, got it started, and went out to handle some other stuff. Roughly fifteen minutes later, I was washing my hands in the kitchen, reached for a dishtowel and realized I should have switched it out when I started the laundry. That, in turn, reminded me that the towels in the bathrooms could be changed as well.

 


August 28, 2020

One piece of advice that seems a bit out of the ordinary, and yet makes a lot of sense, is creating a to do list for myself. Remember that mind chatter? Letís use that as a theme here. Part of the mind chatter problem is that your mind canít settle down. You keep thinking of all the things you need to do tomorrow, or concerns that are bothering you, or tap dancing unicorns.

 


August 28, 2020

She started with that prescription. That led to talking about the pharmacist, and over to grabbing a sympathy card, and did I remember when it used to be across the street and we picked out special occasion cards for my grandparents, and eventually curled around to asking if I remembered when we would go in when I was really young and on most stops would be allowed to select one candy bar for myself.

 


August 28, 2020

I was born and raised in Rhode Island. Methodist was the religion of our household. I can imagine what it might have been like to grow up in ArizonaÖ KansasÖ AlaskaÖ and I might even come pretty darn close. There are shared experiences. We can apply the same idea to being raised Catholic, Jewish, or as a follower of several other religions (or none at all). But the truth is, I do not have the real-life background to tell you what itís like to be a Jewish girl that was raised in Oregon.

 


August 27, 2020

So, people are living longer, which means more people around to span multiple generations. Plus, better details about exactly what the entire planet looks like. And the great thing is, lately weíve arrived at a point where the guesses are darn good ones. Most studies and researchers are able to adjust factors for various circumstances and variables, while all seem to be narrowing in on similar results when putting this type of question into perspective.

SoÖ are there more people alive right now then the full total of people that have died?

 


August 27, 2020

This should not be interpreted as meaning I donít like attending weddings, donít respect weddings, or in some way that Iím advocating all of us have better things to do with four hours (or more) that suddenly get swept aside and are gone for good by a ceremony and reception.

Iím fine with them overall. Invite Terry and I. Weíll try to be there. And we will bring a nice gift (or at least a really nice card with a check inside).

 


August 27, 2020

The oldest restaurant in the United States is the White Horse Tavern. Want to guess where it is? YupÖ Rhode Island. Opened in 1673, it just so happens to also qualify as the oldest bar and tavern in America. The amazing thing is, even though many sources list it as the oldest ďrestaurantĒ in the United States, the oldest restaurant in the world is generally regarded and accepted as beingÖ

 


August 27, 2020

You know the North Star? More officially itís called Polaris. (Ready? Sit down.) Some sources say it takes six-hundred and eighty years for light from Polaris to reach earth. The War of the Roses began in 1455Ö Canterbury Tales from Chaucer, thatís usually marked around 1387Ö Henry VIII executed Anne Boleyn in 1536. The North Star you saw tonight? All of those things happened after the light you saw left Polaris.

 


August 25, 2020

For many yearsómany, many, many yearsóIíve been putting aside stories and more for a book themed around a subject I call Neapolitan Management.

It is not a perfect theory. But I believe in the theory of threes, because it can simplify things when it comes to discussion and more. And, I think there is something in the idea that just needs to be cleaned up and sorted out.

Have you ever seen a container of Neapolitan ice cream? Three flavors, one box. The idea for my book has a foundation that divides any one set of people into three groups: chocolates, vanillas and strawberries.

 


August 25, 2020

I have some bananas on the counter, perfect for baking a couple of different delicious options. Iím thinking banana pancakes for breakfast, and since I have several bananas I donít want to lose, some banana chocolate chip muffins to save for later.

 


August 25, 2020

Most people will tell you to follow it as written. At least the first time you make something. And, of course, depending on what you are attempting there are reasons for sticking as close as possible to the play-by-play on the cardÖ a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fluff swapped in reacts much more smoothly to changes than a cake recipe where you go willy-nilly with the type of flour being used and decisions on how much baking powder or unsweetened cocoa to add are made with shrugs of shoulders or estimating whatís left in the package rather than exact measurements.

 


August 25, 2020

Iíve seen articles that attempt to offer proof that itís true, and frankly I have zero doubt that it is. (That said, I admire and respect Dwayne Johnson, but I doubt if I could make a phone call that gets a referral to the next and ultimately leads me to him in under six numbers. Still, he has an open invitation to come over any time. Weíll fire up the barbecue, play some cards, and have a great afternoon. He can bring a few friends. Do you think The Rock likes símores? Iíll bet he does. (UmmÖ sorryÖ got a bit carried away. Back to itÖ))

 


August 25, 2020

WellÖ his comments were not just swagger, but increasingly were including some personal attacks. So, I decided to just unload everything. The bulk of my army was sent toward the area of my attacked settlement. About twenty-seven dragons were teamed up in three groups and dispatched across the map to seek and destroy. I added some barracks and shifted my main focus to adding troops upon troops upon troops along with farms to feed them.

 


August 23, 2020

Current relationships with people you love and want in your life do not always mingle that well with the skeletons in our historical closets. Thatís a big one. (And a given.)

People also tend to have a protective personality that kicks in, meaning we often believe we are the ones right in any given situation. As the saying goes, the villain of a story never sees themself as the villain. And in the end, such a revisiting of history could reveal items we donít want to see or hear or consider.

 


August 23, 2020

Make no mistake, itís not clean. Itís something like a warm animal, mixed with hay and dirt. A bit horse, a bit barn, a bit hard day of work. And, Iíll be darned if there isnít something soothing about it. Same way a gardener might tell you about the smells of different plants, or someone doing yardwork might find fresh cut grass appealing, there is something about that horse and cow and hay and dirt in the air that for some reason I kind of like.

 


August 23, 2020

Maybe thatís not being fair. Sunsets would likely be a part of many of those moments of nothing. Beautiful sunsets, especially surrounded by people you care about in amazing locations, are fantastic (even when youíre just standing there in silence taking it all in). Not sure that nothing really works when given some deep thought.

 


August 23, 2020

Many years ago, a protest was launched against an episode. The specifics arenít important. It could have been because of a joke. Could have been because of some storyline or character or something youíre not even considering. Could have simply been Peterís naked behind on the screen. And, as the saying goes, when it came to the protest, it was in all the papers.

 


August 23, 2020

On the other side, the entire house goes dark when they head off to bed. Iím guessing theyíve ended the day and headed to sleep. I donít watch them every evening. They could be off to the basement to play cards for several hours and shut things down to save energy for all I really know. But if the light is on in the backyard, you can usually see a light or two on and a television-like glow coming from the area of their living room. If the light is off in the backyard, all of the lights in their house are off. Iím going with things closed down for the night.

 


August 22, 2020

I suppose sheís not wrong. I do have clothes that I have dedicated for certain things, such as yardwork or painting. And those torn sweatshirts are things I wear because: (1) I like them, and, (2) itís cold and I donít want to turn the heat up in the house. All this and more means she doesnít have to worry about me grabbing them for an evening out with friends at a decent restaurant. Weíre good there.

 


August 22, 2020

My grandparents were very rarely in the kitchen together. I mean, they never cooked at the same time. With one exception.

French pork pies.

They made a pork pie that wasÖ wellÖ a slice is Heaven on Earth to me.

 


August 22, 2020

One morning on the way to work, the fuel indicator caught my eye. Pressed for time, I knew I had just enough to make it to work and back, and decided to fill the tank later in the day. As I sat reflecting on this decision a few hours later, in a parking lot of traffic on the highway caused by some unknown circumstances, I considered the next exit still five miles ahead and the low fuel light that had come on some twenty miles of driving earlier, and it occurred to me I hadnít thought of everything. I might be walking. A lot. I might not be in a position to even pull to the side of the road. This could get fun.

 


August 22, 2020

About six years ago, on one of the first days of July, I was driving on the highway to meet up with my wife. Long drive. Started well before 5pm. Arrival would be around 10. It was well after 9 before I turned on the headlights of my car. And I didnít turn them on because they were needed. In fact, the vast majority of the cars on the road had their lights off as well. Skies were clear, visibility great, lighting good. Instead, I glanced at the dashboard and saw it was approaching 9:30, and for some reason it just kind of clicked that I should turn on my headlights.

 


August 22, 2020

So, Iím doing the dishes the other night, and I pick up a meat tenderizer.

And it hits me as a bit strange. I mean, come on, a meat tenderizer. Who would buy one of these things for their kitchen? Itís a hammer. (Well, a hammer on one side, and a spiked weapon on the other. Speaking of which, side note, have any of you ever used the spikey side? Neither have I. AnywayÖ)

 


June 24, 2020

Orangutan and dog becoming friends? Great stuff. To date, however, I have never needed to know any information about how to introduce an orangutan to a dog for personal use.

But I find these moments to be heartwarming in a way. Real and authentic might be good adjectives for them. Individualized moments that capture and convey something necessary for the larger whole to have true meaning.

 


June 24, 2020

Some of you may be laughing right now. For the others, I simply hope you will kindly understand the intended absurdity of my description. I get that a clothes dryer has a bit more going on than a belt spinning a bucket while hot air blows in. But the idea is soundÖ there hasnít exactly been a massive development in new clothes dryer technologies or designs over the years. Itís the same darn thing. Drum, belt and a lot of hot air.

 


June 21, 2020

Only time I even notice them is perhaps once every two or three years, when I glance toward one particular cabinet while climbing up the stairs from the basement. I get to see the bottoms of the cabinets from that view. In fact, as I think about it, Iíve seen them twice. Both times coming to the same thought: ďHey, those look like battery powered lights. How come I never saw those before?Ē

 


June 21, 2020

For those of you that may be wondering, the best way to end this essay is letting you know that national cake day is November 26th according to most sites that track and list such unofficially official dates. And becauseÖ well, yes, cakeÖ January 27th is national chocolate cake day.

 


June 30, 2020

I have zero clue where this came from for me. Probably nothing more complicated than playing a game against my sister or nephew, one match ended and there was no question another would be started, and it just made sense that whoever wrapped up one should carry out the effort to move along to the next.

For whatever reason, that has become what I consider the way to do things.

 


May 18, 2020

My askew thoughts? I started hearing from friends that had children at home they needed to entertain, so they were spending an hour or two in the driveway, running a car so they could recharge the batteries for their phones and tablets.

A tad out of the box? Cell phone service had been knocked out completely. If you didnít have a landline to use, you were cut off. No calls going out. No calls coming in. No social media.

 


May 15, 2020

Your grandparents and parents never would have guessed when they were children that a wireless phone would not only be portable, affordable, and easily availableÖ and they certainly wouldnít have guessed fifty years ago that such a phone would also serve as a camera, encyclopedia, wallet, and all-encompassing entertainment platform. (In color. And maybe stereo. (Never mind. Stereo idea is far from important.))

 


May 12, 2020

And I think thatís close to what all of us are thinking. We donít want to get back to normalÖ at least not for what any stretch of normal can beÖ we want to get back to comfort. Our comfort. We want our routines back. We want our family and friends back. We want, in an attempt at a two-word definition, our normal back.

 


May 8, 2020

One thing about this prepare for death response is that I always have a similar reaction to it. (Itís pretty close to: ďDamn, thatís some good advice. Direct, no nonsense, honest, chances are good no one else is going to bother to pass this along and yet it might be the most valuable of all advice.Ē) This swings me off onto another path, thinking about guidance and lessons and more I get from time to time, or watch shared with others, and a recognition of just how lacking it can be.

 


May 2, 2020

Over the yearsóto continue with such an exampleóIíve been trying to find a place where I might be able to see, look over, and perhaps play a Rickenbacker electric guitar or a Maton acoustic guitar. Neither is commonly available to see, however. And because of theÖ if you wellÖ combination of scarcity and cost, even places that are able to offer these instruments to the public donít like to make them available to the public. At least they donít like making them available to the general, unsupervised, not really a serious buyer public. And so, many times they have viewings by appointment only.

 


April 26, 2020

If you run a hair salon from homeÖ are an independent contractor that relies on small projects, word of mouth referrals and repeat customers for the next jobÖ design large portions of your life around school schedules and other programs for childrenÖ the immediacy and twists taking place provide obstacles and hardships that are likely unfathomable to anyone that isnít facing the same.

 


April 21, 2020

Itís subtle. I donít really believe that if I wake up at 6am that Iím intentionally moving more slowly because I know I have more time. Iím not consciously allowing longer stretches to watch additional news segments on a television that normally is on only for background noise and perhaps a weather forecast. Itís not an opportunity to make a more elaborate breakfast. Iím definitely not suddenly more productive with household chores.

 


April 18, 2020

The claims there became that it was so different, forward thinking, and ambitious that audiences couldnít appreciate it. In essence, the film was so good in so many ways that everyone else was the problem. Heck, they even went so far as to develop and stand upon an argument that moviegoers as a whole had been spoiled by Marvel and couldnít recognize something special when it was offered.

 


April 13, 2020

For that $25,000, however, you could not buy an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Those run more than $300,000. But do you need the DBS Superleggera? (Do you really need it? And, do you even in your wildest dreams believe youíll reach half the lifetime miles of a Corolla or Impreza?)

 


April 7, 2020

There are people that call me Rob. Some only once. Some repeatedly. I usually end up blocking it out. I can recall more than a handful of times when people said Rob and I never reacted. (Which is funny, because ďhey youĒ wasnít all that much of a joke, and Iíve responded to that quite often as well as several obscenities, while Rob regularly flies right on by.)

End result, Rob is a fine name, though I donít like being called Rob.

 


April 5, 2020

Thereís a ride called the Tomorrowland Speedway. Bunch of motorized carts. Shells serving as bodies that create the idea of race cars. All guided around a track by a metal rail. Just hit the gas and eventually, even ignoring the steering wheel entirely, youíll finish your lap and wind up back where you started.

 


April 5, 2020

Imagine if I asked you where 5000 Pleasant View Road was located, and you lived at 4999 Pleasant View Road. Even if you donít know the street numbers, well, duhÖ it should be on the other side of the road (the whole odd-even-numbering thing), and, with one number differing, the darn location is really close.

 


April 5, 2020

They havenít stung me, and thereís zero sign of anything being built on/around/inside the house, so Iím not overwhelmingly concerned. But their presence means I see them, and that means I think about it. Think about it when Iím sitting on the deck. Think about it when Iím walking in the yard. Think about it when I look out the window.

 


April 5, 2020

They arrived about ten minutes ahead of the ceremony, walked to where the chairs had been set up, and sat down. And it was here, at this moment, that she realized it wasnít going to be funny and laughable. It was obvious now that there were going to be problems.

There was no one else seated yet.

Not a single person. Ten minutes before the start.

 

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail us at Bob@inmybackpack.com