N-N-1 7-16-2017


Once again N-N-1 has brought a variety of pictures and thoughts from different parts of the world. If this is your first view of N-N-1, the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time. All of the pictures were taken by the participants at 4 p.m. their local time on Sunday, July 16th.

We’ll start with a new voice who has joined our N-N-1 family. Natalie Garvois from https://wildriversrunsouth.wordpress.com sent us the following:

I was walking along the bank of the ‘Little Elbow River’ at 4 p.m on Sunday. I was admiring the trees, and the idea for this poem came into my head.

By the Little Elbow

The trees stand stately

And true by the Little Elbow River

That runs through my town.

They witness the good and the bad,

The happy and the sad,

The wonderful and the terrible.

But they say nothing.

They just observe,

And occasionally fall though

The roof of a house,

And destroy a dream.

Next is a picture and some thoughts from cupitonians from https://thislabyrinthiroam.blog/, She is thoughtful as always.

While progress is defined by both the Brits and the Americans as a movement towards gradual betterment, us big city people think it’s a synonym destruction. Maybe we’re cynical because we see ‘progress’ being built on top of everything that’s old and beautiful. However, it’s always a lovely change of pace to see that all progress is not the complete wiping out of everything good. It is a good reminder that things can co-exist together, making something that much more magical. This picture was taken from a high rise futuristic mall that has been built in an old neighbourhood in Bangkok. You can see the Skytrain, but you can also see the houses of yesteryear and a nice community park.

Princess Butter from https://asplashofmylife.wordpress.com/ sent this delightful picture and short comment.

“You can’t sit with us!!”

Sea Lions can be such ‘Mean Girls’.

Finally I have a picture and words that sums up our past two weeks.

Cindy and I have been doggy-sitting Macon while Trina, JR, and Maely have been out of town enjoying the 100º+ weather in our great American southwest. Macon is a joy! He is still pretty much a puppy. He loves tying to unsuccessfully catch birds that he sees in our backyard. He also sniffs around the yard trying to track down the squirrels and bunnies that drop in to leave their scent. The house will be a tad lonely when he makes his joyful return home.


If you would like to participate in the next N-N-1, use the contact form below to send me a message with your email address and I will put you on our contact list so that we can notify you before the next go ’round.

We are not aging well


Grand Canyon, September 2016

Here is a picture from our vacation last year. I love the Grand Canyon. It has aged well.


A couple of days ago I went in to get my quarterly blood draw to keep my Doctor (sorry, Primary Care Provider) happy for another three months. While I was waiting my turn to be stuck and have my precious bodily fluids taken from my body, I started looking around the waiting area at the other folks who were patiently marking time. Hey! Did I use patiently as a pun? I don’t know if it qualifies.

There were about half a dozen people there. Most appeared to be around my age. That age thing makes sense. Older people who have adequate insurance are more likely to see a doctor on a regular basis. We no longer feel that we are immortal. We know better.

I noticed that most of the men didn’t appear to care how they looked when out in public. Two of them were wearing shorts. One had on a particularly ugly pair of plaid Bermudas and the other guy wore a pair of denim cargo shorts. Both were wearing T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps. Don’t get me started on men who wear caps indoors. There are a few places where it is acceptable, but I don’t believe our setting was one of them.

Along with those two were two more fellows in T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps; but they were wearing faded jeans. That was OK except for the cap indoors. Who raised those people?

In case you are wondering, I was wearing a pair of gray denim jeans, a button-down short-sleeved shirt, and brown shoes. I failed to wear a baseball cap that morning.

There were three of us with beards. Two were scraggly, mine was neatly trimmed. Modesty prevents me from stating that I was the standard for excellence in that room.

There was another person waiting, but I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Brown slacks, baggy T-shirt, dark slip-on sneakers, with a short haircut. Your guess would be as good as mine.

One thing we all (except for the androgynous one) had in common was that we were overweight. Some showed it more than others. A tight T-shirts is not the friend of the weight conscious. Did I fail to mention that my shirt was overly large and hid my excess blubber?

As I looked around the waiting area and remembered how I looked in the mirror that morning I had to admit that we are not aging well.

Some things that I think about

Love the clouds

I took this picture while driving home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games last month. It was, as you can see, a beautiful day.


This is another one of my posts where I gather ideas that either don’t merit a full blog post, or that I’ve forgotten the thread of my thinking. Rather than let them set and never use them, I like to toss out these nuggets so that you can think about them.

  1. Recently a commercial has appeared on television where a faceless voice proclaims that we “literally can’t live without WiFi.” Really? I admit that WiFi is a handy tool that usually makes life easier for us techno-dependent urban dwellers. But we can live without it. I can remember  time when WiFi didn’t exist, and we survived. Really, we did! We could again…literally.
  2. Little things on television and movies bother me. For instance, have you ever noticed when watching a murder mystery/thriller how the hero, when surreptitiously entering a home or business, will turn off a television or CD player or radio that is playing. The place goes from loud noise to silence. How is that helpful if you don’t want an occupant to know you are there? Why do they do that? Are they being critical of the (often dead) occupant’s taste in entertainment?
  3. Here is a phrase that I came up with for use in one of my more philosophical thought trips. “I am not one of those people who see life as a series of metaphors.” I had planned to use this to explain why I will never be a great writer. I don’t have that vision. Maybe some day I’ll pick it up and finish the whole treatise. But I doubt if many people would be interested in reading it since I’m not a great writer.

I have a few more, but I haven’t given up on expanding them enough to use. Time will tell.


Here’s a reminder about the next N-N-1. If you want t participate, take a picture at 4 p.m. your local time, on Sunday, July 16th. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. I hope you will participate. My emaii address is houseman@comcast.net.

N-N-1 callout


I will be hosting a new N-N-1 on July 22nd. If you are interested in participating, please take a picture on Sunday, July 16th at 4 p.m. your local time. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. If you know of anyone else who might like to participate, please pass this information on to them with a short description of what N-N-1 is. Here is a link to a previous post that might help explain N-N-1.

Oh. The email for sending the picture and writeup, or to ask any questions, is houseman@comcast.net.

We had a National Holiday


A serious conversation

In case you didn’t notice it, we in the U.S. celebrated Independence Day yesterday, as well as on the previous three or four days. If you don’t live in the U.S.,you probably couldn’t help but hear about it from one or more of our ever-boastful citizenry.

I took the picture above while waiting for the fireworks display that we attended yesterday. That was the culmination our long holiday weekend. Let me tell you a little about what happened previously.

On Saturday and Sunday our granddaughter, Maely, played in a baseball tournament. Cindy and I were there for all four games. Maely was the only girl in the entire tournament and she played well. Though her team, The Bombers, did not win the tournament, the team that knocked them out voted Maely as her team’s Most Valuable Player. That took some of the sting out of the loss.

From the fourth game we rushed north to Monticello, Indiana to take a ride on the Madame Carroll paddlewheel boat on Lake Freeman. We would be gently cruising around the lake until the fireworks display would take place. While we waited for the fireworks we would be entertained by the exuberant DJ and the antics of those who chose to start their heavy drinking early.  What fun!

We started out in the enclosed lower deck, but soon moved up to the next higher deck which was not enclosed. It was still hot, but there was fresh air. Unfortunately most of the serious drinkers were also on that deck. For quite a while they were constantly moving around, searching for an attractive person with a compliant attitude. As the evening wore on they appeared to become less concerned with the attractiveness of the people; just so long as they were compliant.

By the time the fireworks were ready to start, most of the crowd was highly intoxicated. There is nothing quite like watching a large group of drunk patriots squealing and laughing as fiery aerial bombs explode overhead. Near the end of the display it started to rain. At that point the fair weather patriots rushed for cover.

After the (fireworks) display, and after the rain ended, the drinking and the search for bedmates picked up tempo. One fellow sat a laughing girl on a chair and proceeded to give her a lap dance. All of his friends used their phones to video the event. Perhaps you can find it on Facebook. The fellow with whom she had arrived, not the dancer, finally came out of his stupor and staggered over to reclaim her. She stumbled away with him.

Another fellow, who appeared to be drunk before he got on the boat, had been attempting to chat up every woman he came across. At one point he saw Cindy and sloped his way towards her; no doubt to slur sweet nothings in her ear. But then he saw me frowning and decided to move on.

The trip back to the dock seemed to take forever, but we eventually got there. Those of us who were sober were scrambling to get off as soon as we could.

I hope that all of the drunken seekers of companionship found what they were looking for, whether in a warm bed or a drunk tank. There were probably a few new friendships started and a number of STDs exchanged. Happy Independence Day!

Here’s what has been happening

Decrepit silo and barn

It isn’t often that I can get both a rundown barn and silo in the same shot. I came across this duo on the way home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games recently.


Life hasn’t been all dreary, humdrum days and nights in my personal life lately. It seldom is. But then, I try to look for things to amuse me. You’ll probably think that I’m easily amused when you read the following.

I know that many of us are addicted to our smart phones. I know that I spend too much time staring at the screen as I scroll through the twitter feeds that I follow, or check out the Instagram postings, or read my email, or even play solitaire. So far, however, I have not started texting or taking calls as I drive or walk around town.

A few days ago I was driving home from the library and saw a young man in a wheelchair who was crossing a reasonably busy intersection. He was slightly more than half way across when he stopped and answered his phone. He sat there talking rather than first reaching the safety of the sidewalk. I hope that it was a very important call.


I had an exciting afternoon late last week. I happened to look out of a second floor window that overlooks our pool. It appeared that the pump wasn’t causing the water to circulate. That was odd. Now I hadn’t looked at the pool for a couple of days so I decided that I needed to investigate what the problem might be.

Once I arrived at the pool the problem was immediately apparent. Something was blocking the entrance to the skimmer. A closer inspection revealed that the blockage was a drowned squirrel. Oh my.

Over the years I have had to remove a few dead birds from the skimmer basket, but this squirrel was too big to even get into the basket. I was going to have to reach into the pool and lift it out. That was not something I wanted to do. But it was my duty. I could have used the net we use to fish out leaves and twigs, but I knew that if I did so I would not be able to resist the temptation to then fling the squirrel over the fence into out neighbor’s back yard. I like them too much to do that. So I went inside and fetched two plastic bags that I had planned on recycling. I put my right , dominant, hand in one bag and used it to reach into the pool to firmly grasp the waterlogged tail and deposit the squirrel in the other bag. Both bags went into the trash bin.

When I told Cindy about my adventure she asked me if I knew how long he had been in the pool. I told her that I didn’t know that it was a he because I didn’t take time to inspected the slightly bloated body for that type information, and what is more, I didn’t close the staring eyes.


Finally, yesterday a dead man called my phone. I was too late getting to the phone before it went to voicemail. It must not have been an important call, because there was no message.

I didn’t recognize the caller’s number, so how do I know it was a dead man? The Internet told me so. I Googled the phone number and it told me that the number belonged to a man who lived in an adjoining county. Not recognizing the name, I performed a further Google and came across an obituary for the man which dated back to 2003. Perhaps he had a son with the same name? He did! But it appears that the son died in 2010. So, one way or the other, I was called by a dead man who was too busy to leave me a voicemail message. I wonder if perhaps he realized that he had reached the wrong number.

Always get a second opinion

Graveyard south of Lafayette

It has been a while since I posted a picture of a grave yard. It seemed appropriate today since I mentioned things dying in this writing.


Early this week Cindy took her car in for an oil change. She took it to the dealership from which she is leasing the car. It is a Bob Rohrman dealership, and I don’t think he will mind seeing his name in this blog since he is all over television in Central Indiana and the Chicago TV markets. Of course they check for other things when you take the car in, and among their findings they told her that the transmission is leaking fluid and one of her tires has a nail in it and that the tire cannot be repaired. Of course, they would be happy to sell her a new tire for $370.

She did not have that extra work done, but rather came home to talk to me about it. I’m glad that she did because I was skeptical of what they told her. For one thing, there is no sign that the transmission is leaking fluid. That is, there are no telltale drops of fluid on the ground under her car. She will be taking it to a mechanic whom she trusts to get a second opinion.

I decide to take her car to the nearest Tire Barn outlet and have them look at the tire. I was sure that if the tire was unrepairable I could get a better deal on the tire than $370. I was right. Tire Barn repaired the tire for the grand sum of $17.86. I have to believe that the Rohrman repair people could have repaired the tire but chose to put one over on the “silly woman,” or they were incompetent. Neither speaks well of their business.

Wednesday was a bad day electronically at our house. First the cooling fan in my laptop died. Then our printer died. And my smart phone started popping up a message the The Process System wasn’t Responding. I needed to solve the printer problem first because Cindy had to printing to do for her business that afternoon, so I went out and bought a new printer.

The laptop was my next priority, so the following morning I took it to Best Buy, where I had purchased it a couple of years earlier. A member of their Geek Squad looked it over and declared that it could be repaired but it would cost at least $200, and it was likely that more problems would be found. It was recommended that I scrap the laptop and buy a new one. I demurred for the moment.

Then I took the laptop to a local computer repair shop. They are repairing the it for less than $100. Always get a second opinion.

Quite the evening


, ,

Morning on the deck. looking at our open bedroom window.

I took this picture from our deck around 7:30 this morning. It was quiet and peaceful, just me and the birds and a stalking cat. I scared the cat away. May it never return.


Yesterday evening, sometime between 5:30 and 6 a friend, part of Cindy’s expanded family, called Cindy to say that she thought she had broken her arm. She had gone to her daughter’s volleyball practice and since she had been a star volleyball player in high school, she was helping her daughter warm up. Well, she was not as agile and her footwork wasn’t quite as good as when she had been in high school. To make a longish story shorter, she fell backwards and injured her arm. She called Cindy to ask her to come and pick her up to take her to Urgent Care. Cindy was, at the time, cooking dinner for guests and asked me to pick our friend up. So I did.

I drove to the high school where I found our friend in her car in the parking lot. She asked me to drive her car since she had her toddler son in his car seat. I agreed and we set out to Urgent Care. When we got there we unloaded the toddler, assembled his stroller, put him in it and went inside. She was told that it would be at least 1 1/2 hours before she could see a doctor (let’s take the urgent out of Urgent Care) and they did not have the facilities to cast her arm if that was needed. So we went back to the parking lot where we put the toddler back in his car seat, disassembled the stroller, and loaded it into the car. We set off for the emergency room of one of our local hospitals. But first we stopped at our house and left the toddler with Cindy and our dinner guests.

When we arrived at the emergency room I noticed that they had a large sign on the wall that said “Emergency Room Welcome Center.” I think the Welcome Center part was supposed to take some of the sting out of the Emergency part. There didn’t appear to be many people waiting, so we were encouraged to think that the wait would not be too long.

Sitting beside us was a woman in a wheelchair accompanied by her husband and three adult daughters. Before long another four members of her family arrived. Our little part of the waiting area was getting crowded.

Did I say our wait wouldn’t be long? We sat there, chatting, for about an hour before our friend was taken into an examining room. I decide to stay in the waiting room. No sooner had our friend disappeared behind a door than one of the daughters marched to the desk and asked why our friend had been taken before her mother. The woman at the desk explained that while the mother may have checked in first, they took patients in order of severity of the injury. The daughter scowled and went back to her chair. One of her sisters asked what the counter person had said. The first sister said that she didn’t know. What?

About another hour passed and the woman in the wheelchair was still sitting and waiting. At that point another of the sisters marched to the desk and asked why her mother hadn’t been seen by a doctor yet, after all they had been waiting for two hours. The counter attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, you have been here one hour and forty-five minutes and we see people based on the severity of their…” never making eye contact with the daughter. The daughter said, “HOW CAN YOU…” And at that point her father said, “Come over here and sit down!” never looking up from his smart phone.

She grumbled but meekly returned to her chair. Then she started talking to her sisters, loud enough for all of the people in the waiting area to hear, “How can they tell if one injury is worse than another?” One of her sisters who was dressed in pink opined that her sister was just upset due to pregnancy hormones.

Then the pink sister started talking about her upcoming wedding. I tried to tune her out. It was difficult since she was standing directly in front of me. By the way, I had offered her my seat, but she had turned down my offer. At one point I heard her telling her family that she got nervous when she thought about sex and started twirling her hair. At that point I looked at her and thought she looked as if she had been around the block at least a few times, but that’s just between you and me.

Finally they called the mother’s name and told her she could take two people back with her. Pink sister took control of the wheelchair but her father stood up, put away his smart phone, and told pink sister to sit down. He was taking his wife back by himself. And he did. At that point, five of the seven remaining family members left to eat dinner.

I waited around another half hour and finally approached the counter attendant and said that my friend had gone back around an hour ago and… At that point the attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, it has only been forty-five minutes…” I broke in said that I just wanted an update on her condition. The woman never regained eye contact with me but said that I could go back and see my friend.

So I did. I got there in time to see her wheeled away for X-rays. When she returned she had a cloth on her forehead because she had passed out from pain when they were moving her arm around for the X-rays. We were sure that there was at least one break.

After a while a nurse came in and confirmed our speculation. It was a broken radius near her elbow. They gave her some pain meds, waited a bit and then started splinting her arm. After that they put her arm in a sling and sent us on our way. That was around 10:15 p.m.

I have to say that for an Emergency Room, nobody who worked there seemed to treat anything as an emergency. There was no hustle, no bustle, no sense of urgency. Maybe they need to rename that part of the hospital.

2017 Reading Challenge update #3



A Wrinkle in Time

I chose A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle as my book to read from the 1960’s. Like some of the other books that I’ve read this year, it was aimed at the youth market. I didn’t know that when I bought it, but it became obvious early in my reading. I don’t have a problem with that since I had never read it before. Some day I’m going to figure out how I missed reading all of these good books for so many years. As I was reading this book I kept being reminded of the fictional books by C.S. Lewis. L’Engle wrote two or three subsequent books in this series, and I plan on reading them someday. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have a bookcase full of books to be read, so it may take me some time to get back to this series. I am glad that I picked this one up.

Interpreter of Maladies

Next I finished reading a book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri titled Interpreter of Dreams. As I was reading I kept asking myself two questions. 1) Why don’t I read more short stories; and 2) why hadn’t I heard of Lahiri before? I love this book. Each of the stories deals with people of Indian heritage, and most of them have migrated to the U.S. But that is just what is on the surface. These stories are pictures of the lives of ordinary people who are reacting to the world and the people around them. No one is extraordinary, and yet I was so taken with each character that I was drawn into their world. The cultural differences between me and the characters didn’t really matter. I could understand why they reacted the way the did. I shall be buying more books by Jhumpa Lahiri. Perhaps the next one will be a novel, but I do need to read more short stories.

My Song

The autobiography that I chose for this year was My Song by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson. It is the lucky thirteenth book of the challenge. I have been a fan of Mr. Belafonte since I first heard his music in fourth grade. My teacher brought in his Calypso album and would play it when we couldn’t have recess outdoors due to rain. The first album of his that I bought was his first Carnegie Hall double album.

In later years I became aware of his work in the Civil Rights movement, though he wasn’t as high-profile as Dr. King, James Farmer Jr, Roy Wilkins, Medgar Evers and others. According to this autobiography, Mr. Belafonte was a major behind-the-scenes mover.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Belafonte spends so much time writing about himself since it is an autobiography, but I was disappointed that he didn’t spend more time talking about his family. But it was a god read, and I enjoyed the book.

On Tyranny

When I finished Mr. Belafonte’s book I decided to take off a few days from reading. Those few days turned into three weeks.  But I snapped out of it and picked up On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. This book was not on my radar until Cindy and I saw the author on Morning Joe talking about his book in connection with the recent presidential election and subsequent events.

I’ll state here that if you are a fan of President Trump, you will not enjoy this book. If you do not like the president you will enjoy the book. If you are still not sure, this book can give you a historical perspective to work from.

It is a short book with short chapters. The chapters are shorter than most of James Patterson’s books, if that helps you understand. The epilogue is longer than any of the twenty chapters.

I especially liked the chapters on professional ethics, being kind to our language, and learning from peers in other countries. As in all things, I liked the book but you may not.


I chose a mystery as the fifteenth book in my reading challenge. I had planned on reading a book first published in the 1940’s, but it would have taken more brainpower to read than I was willing to expend right now. So instead I picked up a mystery, Tatiana, by one of my favorite authors, Martin Cruz Smith..

This is the eighth novel with Arkady Renko as the protagonist. The first, of course, was Gorky Park which was published in 1981. In this novel Renko is searching for the murderer of a Russian Mafia chief and is also looking into the disappearance of the body of a journalist.

Russian gangsters, government corruption, investigative journalism are all part of the mix. I always seem to ask myself at some point in one of these novels if Renko is one step ahead of everyone, or if he just muddles through until it all comes clear to him. I’ll read the Renko mysteries as long as Mr. Smith keeps writing them.

In case you don’t know, or have forgotten the challenge that I set for myself you can find it here: https://classicalgasbag.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/2017-reading-challenge/. What have you been reading?


Where did this dream come from?


Rainy Main Street Lafayette

This is another photo that I took the morning of May 4th. It was dark, it was rainy, it was downtown Lafayette. There’s not anything else to say,


I had another strange dream last night. I’m glad I don’t have them very often. Let me tell you about it.

It began when Cindy had to go to LARA, the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy, to meet someone. Cindy used to be a volunteer there, and I was a part-time employee. Evidently she was still volunteering in the dream, but I had the good sense to be retired as I am in real life. Anyway, Cindy asked me to go with her and I so I did.

In my dream LARA had moved their operation into a three-story Victorian house, and had joined forces with a Buddhist community center. I know. Strange. Cindy went off to her meeting, leaving me to look around. I came to a room where three people were sitting and talking. One of them looked at me and said that I looked tired and that they could help me.

I’m not sure why I thought that I needed help, but I turned myself over into their hands. They sat me in a chair and gave me a cup of tea. Then one of them approached me and stuck a small pin into my forehead. It stung a bit, but I immediately relaxed and dozed off.

When I awoke I found myself in a bed, dressed only in a grey Henley shirt and boxer shorts. There was no one in the room and my clothes were gone. So I set out wandering around in the house, searching for my clothes. Everyone I met was sympathetic to my plight but had no idea where my clothes might be. They said nothing about my lack of proper attire, but I didn’t find that odd.

Finally I came across a person who worked for LARA. She took me by the hand and led me to the Community Center thrift shop. She pointed to a woman behind the counter and said that I should ask her for my clothes. I did. She reached under the counter and handed me a bundle of clothes. I started putting them on but realized they were not my clothes when I saw that she had given me cowboy boots rather than my shoes.

That is when I woke up. Does anyone have a theory of what the dream means? Please.