Day 62

Picture of a can.

I’m starting with a pet peeve today, or rather two pet peeves. The first is that there are still people who think it is alright to throw litter from their vehicle, as seems to be the case with the can (I think it is a beer can) in this photo. My second pet peeve will take more time to explain.

At least three times this week I have volunteered to cook dinner for Cindy. Each time I offered there was a reason for her to say no. That’s OK. Today she left late this morning to have breakfast with friends and then went on to her office to do some work. Around 1:30 she called to ask me if I was cooking dinner. I am not a person who throws together a meal from scratch. I need time to plan what to cook, make sure I have all of the ingredients, and determine what time the meal should be ready because I like to serve it when it is hot and fresh, not dried out from being constantly warmed. So, I’m thawing pork loin cutlets and haven’t determined what else to make, but there will be a dinner cooked even if I don’t know what time to expect Cindy to be home. She is unpredictable when she is working by herself. Even if she calls to say she is leaving the office it can take her a half hour to an hour to get home because she will make at least one or two stops on the way. OK, I have that off my chest. It’s a good thing I waited a couple of hours before I wrote about it.

What else can I complain about? I should probably take care of it now so that it doesn’t fester and erupt with twice the devastation in a few days. Let’s see…nothing? There must be something else to write about. Nope. I guess not.

Day 61

House guest

Marlon has come to visit. His full name is Marlon Brando Gaskin, and he is staying with us for a while. It’s funny, but most of the pictures I take of him are when he is in a supine position. It’s the only time I can get a picture of him, because when he is moving I can seldom track him in the view finder.

If Marlon looks tired, he is. There were thunder storms last night…well, early morning, and Marlon doesn’t sleep during storms. Neither does anyone in the same room with him. In this case it was Cindy. She was sleeping on the family room couch last night, and Marlon was on the floor beside her. Until, by her account, an hour or two before the storm hit. Evidently he felt a shift in the atmospheric pressure, or something, and decided that he needed comforting. At that point, Cindy’s restful sleep was over for a number of hours. 

I had been awake until around two in the morning, wide awake but I don’t know why, and had finally settled in for a good night’s sleep. But, Cindy decided around three-fifteen that she needed to share Marlon’s attention, so she brought him to the bedroom and woke me up so she complain about Marlon not letting her sleep. Thank you Cindy.

  I was able to get back to sleep around four or four-fifteen, and Cindy tells me she  and Marlon settled down around 5:30. I had planned to get up at 7:30 to make sure Cindy was up by 8. I overslept, however, and went to wake her up at 8:30. She and Marlon were both lethargic when they opened their eyes.

Cindy is at work, but Marlon is still moping around the house, dozing off quite often. The only time, so far, he seemed to be fully awake was when he watched me eat my lunch. I’ve been saying no to dogs begging for table scraps since my sister had her dog, Tiki. He’s been gone for 40+ years, and I haven’t given in yet. I’m hard-nosed that way.

Day 60

A beautiful morning in the country

So far all of the pictures I’ve taken for the blog have been within a fifteen mile radius of Lafayette, but I’m sure that will change later this year. After all, we are scheduled to travel to Sin City in the hottest part of the summer. 

Yesterday I wrote and posted the blog entry fairly early in the day (early for me) and so did not write about my further adventures with mother-in-law Flo. Let me catch you up to date.

Cindy asked me to go with her to Flo’s apartment to take off the shower head she was using and to put on a new one that Trina had bought. That sounded simple enough until we got there and I realized I was not competent enough to do the task. In fact, I could not get the old shower head off. Not a problem. I called Stan, our plumber of choice, and asked him to come to my rescue. Actually I got his voice mail and left him my request. I told Flo, who was sitting in her easy chair that when I heard from Stan I would call her to let her know he was on the way, and that I would come back to make sure he came to right apartment. She said fine. Cindy was going through Flo’s meds and parceling out her weekly intake of drugs. I left to find a photo.

While I was out finding yesterday’s picture, Stan called me back and said he would be happy to install the shower head, and that he would probably be able to get there between 11 and 12. He assured me he would call fifteen to twenty minutes ahead of time so that I could get back to the apartment. I found my picture, went home to upload it and to write yesterday’s blog. I had posted the entry and was deciding what to do next when Stan called and said he was ready to come over to Flo’s apartment. I called Flo to tell her to expect us but got her voice mail. I left a message despite the fact that she doesn’t know how to access her voice mail. Then I drove to the apartment.

When I got to the apartment I called again, and again the call went to voice mail. This time I went to the door and knocked. Getting no response I let myself in and called out. Flo answered and said she was in the bedroom. I walked to the bedroom door and saw her making her bed. I told her Stan was on the way and that I would wait outside so he would know which building to come to. She said fine.

When Stan arrived he had a young man with him who he introduced as his nephew Samuel. Samuel was visiting from Maryland and was job shadowing Stan, just as his two older brothers had done. He seemed Like a nice kid. We went in and rather than find Flo in the living room, she was in bed. OK. I took Stan and Samuel into the bathroom where Stan started working ion the shower head.

Flo called me and asked me to come into the bedroom. She said she wanted me to call Cindy because she wanted to talk to her. I said I would do so as soon as Stan finished in the bathroom. I went back to the bathroom. A minute or two later Flo called me in again. She asked me to get her cell phone. I asked her where it was. She said it was on her nightstand. I looked at her. She was in bed, on her side, with her back to the nightstand. If she had made the effort to roll onto her back she could have reached the phone with no trouble. Reluctantly I handed her the phone, and went back to the bathroom.

A minute or two later Flo called me in again. This time she told me that Trina had told her to call an ambulance. Evidently I hadn’t hopped fast enough when she wanted to talk to Cindy, so she called Trina. Flo tried to hand me her phone and said I should call the ambulance. I asked her if she knew the num,ber of the ambulance service, and she said, “Call 911.” Evidently she wasn’t able to push the three buttons. So I called 911.

The woman at 911 was nice. She asked where we were, I asked Flo the number of the apartment building and found out she didn’t know the answer, so I looked it up on my phone. The woman asked the nature of Flo’s emergency and I said I didn’t know, but that I would ask. Flo said she didn’t feel good. The lady asked how long she had felt bad, Flo said she had been feeling bad for three days. Flo volunteered that she thought she was “leaking back there” and that it wasn’t blood. The nice lady at 911 surmised that she meant diarrhea. The lady told me that and ambulance and a fire truck had been dispatched to see to Flo.

In the meantime, Stan finished work on the shower head, packed his tools, and got the heck out of Dodge. I can’t say that I blamed him for wanting to flee the scene. I’m also sure that Samuel’s estimation of Indiana had been altered a bit.

Day 59

A house with character

This is a house with character, but, judging by the upper right window, lacks central air. Character trumps central air anyday…as long as there are ceiling fans. What do I mean when I say a house has character? That is a good question. I haven’t really given any thought to that question, so I guess it is time to start on that journey. 

To start with, I am going to say that each house must be judged as a separate entity. At this point I’m not ready to go with a cookie cutter approach. I had to spend too much of my time as a bureaucrat dealing with programs and people in that manner. That was especially true when I moved into management and administration. People wanted everything in black and white while the world was gray at worst, and filled with color at best. I had to spend a lot of my time developing check lists with yes/no options for staff to use when deciding if a person or company was eligible for government programs. I understand that these tools we developed helped speed then process, but what did we lose?

Oh dear, I seem to have strayed from my topic. Buildings with character. Why do I say the house in this picture has character? Well, I am not a student of architecture, but I would say that it appears to have been built in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, and has been well maintained. The contrasting painted shutters, while they may be fake, add a nice touch. My guess is that originally there were real wooden shutters on the windows. The white paint makes the house appear newer than the natural brick color. I like natural brick color, but a well maintained painted brick is also nice. Is the portico original? I don’t know, but somehow I doubt it. The grounds are well maintained, but I could easily imagine older, larger trees.

Has anything I’ve written explained why I feel the house has character? Probably not, so here is one attribute that I will posit: A building with character changes. It draws the eye not just from its original design, but because the owners are willing to make changes over time. Change is good. This is a topic I will likely return to over time.

Day 58

A place of memories

Let me start by saying I have never been inside this establishment. Yet, I have memories connected to the tavern. The memories surround my family, mainly my dad. 

When I was young, we used to go to Clinton, Indiana a number of times through the year to visit my Grandmother Delph, Mom’s mother. The trip to and from Clinton often took us through Lafayette. While it didn’t happen every time, my dad would occasionally stop at the Ben Hur tavern for a beer on the way home. He would have only one beer because Mom, my sister and I would wait in the car. My mother is not known for her patience, so a longer stop was out of the question. There used to be an A&W Root Beer stand next to the tavern. There is now a school house located there. I can remember that often while my dad was having his beer, we would be parked at the A&W drinking root beer and eating hot dogs. Maybe it is a false memory, but I think they used to have a deal on hot dogs of 8 for $1. I was small then and it was probably in the late 50’s, so I am not really sure that was the price, but it sounds right to me.

When I was older and attending college at IU, we could not have a car on campus until our Junior year, so my dad would drive down to pick me up for breaks if I couldn’t find a ride on my own, or is it was the end of the school year. On the trip to Rolling Prairie he would always stop at the Tick Tock Tavern on the north side of town. On the south side of the building they had a sign that said “Last Chance for a Cold Beer.” On the North side the sign read, “First Chance for a Cold Beer.” That building no longer exists. Again, he would stop for one beer while I waited in the car. I would play my transistor radio and read while I waited. In those days you had to have the engine running to play the car radio, so rather than burn gas, I played the transistor radio. This was the mid 60’s and transistor radios were the big little thing.

Someday I’ll write about my first transistor radio.

Day 57

Photos of musical artists.

Cindy and I turned our living room into a music room, or rather, a room dedicated to listening to music. There are many images of musical artists as well as art prints and wall sculptures in the room. Shown in this photo is a grouping of pictures of some of my favorite artists. I will admit to copying the pictures from the Internet, printing them, and displaying them. People who visit will often ask me who is in one or more of the pictures. For your edification they are, from left to right and top to bottom: Tom Paxton, Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck, Eric Clapton, Peter (Yarrow) (Noel) Paul (Stookey) & Mary (Travers) (all hiding in the glare from the camera flash), Diana Krall, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, The (original) Kingston Trio (Dave Guard – Bob Shane – and Nick Reynolds), Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Stan Getz, and Janis Joplin. 

As you can tell, I’m heavy on the folk music. Of all these artists, the only ones I’ve seen in person are Tom Paxton, PP&M, Desmond & Brubeck as part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Brubeck as part of a newer version of the Quartet. I would happily pay to see any of these performers, except for the fact that sadly six or seven have passed on. Their music, happily, lives on in recordings.

Earlier this morning I watched a VHS tape of an Eric Clapton concert that was performed in England in the mid 80’s. The picture quality was bad, but the sound was great. Phil Collins was playing drums in the group and sang In the Air Tonight. The tape, from a broadcast on Showtime, lasted only an hour, so I wonder what was cut for the show. They did include great versions of White Room, Layla, and Sunshine of Your Love. Unless I can find a DVD version of the show, I’ll need to Covert it to DVD to preserve what I do have. The DVD should last longer than the tape. I hope.

Day 56


 I was putting gas in the car this morning when I glanced over and saw this peaceful vista. Tate & Lyle is just out of the picture, or you would also see gunk pouring into the air. I thought about photoshopping some deer into the picture, but a) I’m not tech savvy enough to do a good job of it, and b) the picture is fine the way it is. The colors and the brightness of the air make me feel good. Since I took the picture this morning the clouds have increased and the vividness of the colors has been dimmed. I’m glad I’m an early riser. Also, traffic has picked up as people are doing their pre-church running.

Cindy is taking Maely and Emma to church this morning. I’m glad because when the girls compete, and they often compete, Emma starts whining. I don’t handle whining, by children or adults, well. Then there is the point that I feel like I always have to be the bad cop while Cindy can say, “There, there. Pa doesn’t always see everything.” Talk about enabling. No, wait, Cindy is the one who is always talking about adults enabling other adults. How did I get that wrong?

I need to change the subject before I ruin my day. I am allowed to do that. I could talk about IU’s loss to Kentucky on Friday night, but I’m over it. I was happy that IU got as far as they did this year. I would have been happy with only one win in the tournament. I’ll miss watching the seniors who are leaving the team, and I look forward to seeing the new recruits. Hey, there are only eight months until the new season starts. I can wait that long, but the last couple months will be agony. I guess it is time to start watching baseball. I haven’t watched a baseball game in quite a long time, so that will be new.

OK. I’m not upset over the girls anymore. Time to start on a project.

Day 55

The Weavers: Wasn't That A Time

One of the old tapes I came across this morning was “The Weavers:Wasn’t That A Time,” a documentary concerning the planning and preparation for a reunion concert in 1980, and more broadly, the original group with their career ups and downs. It brought back a lot of memories.

I don’t recall exactly when I bought my first Weaver’s album, but it must have been when I was in college, probably in Bloomington. I had heard of them, but had never actually heard or seen them, probably because of the blacklist. Once I bought the first album I was hooked. I loved their “no frills” approach to the music, and the way their voices blended. Over the years I bought most of their albums put out by Vanguard, and had the 45 of Goodnight Irene done with Gordon Jenkins (he got top billing) on Decca. Then, in the 80’s I came across the album Wasn’t That A Time, and snatched it up. Despite the aging of their voices, it was a fine album. Even later I saw the tape of the documentary. It is well worth watching, more than once. 

Going back to the blacklist, I remember reading somewhere that the reason some performers, like Joan Baez and The Kingston Trio, did not appear on the television show Hootenanny was because the ABC network would not let The Weavers appear on the show. Even though it was 1963, ABC was still adhering to the blacklist. I didn’t know at the time that acts were not on the show for that reason. I would have watched the show even if I did know, because some of my favorite artists, like The Chad Mitchell Trio and The Limeliters, were performing on the show. I loved the show so much I would watch it twice each time it aired. I could do that because we lived in an area where, with our television aerial, we would get both the Chicago and the South Bend television shows. Since the two cities were in different time zones I could watch the South Bend broadcast, and an hour later I would watch the Chicago broadcast.

A few years ago I bought the three disc Hootenanny DVD package. While I love it, and have watched it many times, I wish they would, or could, issue all of the shows.

Day 54

Yet another first blossom this spring. Not as pretty as the others.

The warm weather and gentle rain brought out the leaves on most of the trees, and many dandelions in many yards. While I’m not fond of dandelions (it’s probably a cultural thing); they do have a pretty bright yellow blossom.

I slept late this morning. While I occasionally enjoy sleeping in, part of me feels like I’ve wasted the best part of the day if I don’t get up at or before daybreak. It is easier to stay in bed when it is overcast and you can’t watch the sunrise, but if the sky is clear I want to watch the sun come up. As warm as it has been, I suppose I should start waterproofing the deck for the year and start preparing to open the pool. I’m surprised the grandkids haven’t asked to use the pool already. Those queries usually start a few weeks before I start buying the chemicals. And can the first grass cutting of the year be far off? I’ve already seen some people out with their mowers. Silly people.

My other foray into the past happened the other day when I came across a DVD set of Robin Of Sherwood at the library. This set has the first thirteen episodes starring Michael Praed. I first saw many of the episodes on Showtime when I lived in Auburn. I thought it was a great but different take on the Robin Hood legend. Judi Trott as Marian was wonderful casting. She captured Marian as a strong woman, yet brought a look of innocence to her as well. The fact that she was quite the looker didn’t hurt. 

This afternoon I believe I will start transferring some of my old VHS tapes to DVD. I’ll be starting with some of the Austin City Limits shows. After that I’m not sure. I have quite a bit to choose from.

Day 53

It only takes a just little bit of green to turn the bleak into something hopeful.

Wow. I started watching video tapes of musical shows I had taped back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I spent so much time doing watching that I forgot to write today’s blog. Those were tapes I hadn’t seen in many years. I’m going to convert many of them to DVDs. 

The first tape was with host David Holt and special guest Duane Eddy on American Music Shop. That was a show that was on The Nashville network (TNN). TNN doesn’t exist under that name anymore; it is now Spike TV. When it was TNN it was all about country music, and there were a number of music shows that were very good. American Music Shop had a house band led by Mark O’Connor and included Jerry Douglas. I had first heard David Holt on an album of string band music; the name of the album escapes me, but I know it was on the June Appal label. I’m sure I’ll come across it again one of these months. More recently he was on a podcast with Doc Watson that I downloaded from the NPR website.

The next show that I watched on tape today was Jerry Jeff Walker hosting The Texas Connection with guests Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. This show was also on TNN, and like the first tape, the show was recorded in the early 90’s. A large part of this particular show had the three artists sitting together singing their songs and playing acoustic guitars together. It seems to me that Jerry Jeff had the best singing voice, Willie played guitar best, and then there was Kris. He was having trouble singing the right notes on his own songs. He got better as the show progressed, but his start was really rocky.

I watched quite a few other shows on tape today, including some Austin City Limits and Lonesome Pine Specials. I didn’t accomplish anything today, but I certainly enjoyed my stroll down memory lane.