Day 92

It's a good life

I was watching and listening to the producers’ and actors’ commentary of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen yesterday when one of the commentators, an actor I believe, while talking about Peta Wilson, said he had never seen her in anything before this movie. That surprised me because, while she hasn’t been in a huge number of things, she did star in the TV version of La Femme Nikita. While it wasn’t on a major network, it did last four or five seasons. Cindy and I both enjoyed the show.

I believe tha and was the highest rated drama on cable. It was one of the first shows I watched on the USA network. Now I spend a lot of time watching shows like Psych, Burn Notice,  and Royal Pains on USA.

There is so much “reality” TV on the major networks that I turn to the cable networks more and more. Tonight I’ll be watching Eureka on Syfy. Unfortunately that show is being cancelled. It shows in some of the writing this year. I have heard it was cancelled, not because of low ratings, but because the ratings did not go higher last season. If that is true, it is sad.

I went with Cindy to her follow-up appointment on her shoulder. The Dr. said she looks very good and that her progress is great. He wants her to start physical therapy now. That is all good news. I am glad she is healing so quickly. Soon she will be able to whip up on people physically as well as verbally. Life will return to normal.

It is hard for me to believe that I have been working on this blog for almost four months now. It is probably a good thing that I don’t try to stick to one topic. I doubt if I could write about  just one thing every day. I could do a lot on my relationship with music, but if I had tried that, I would probably have given up by now. No. This is better for me.

Day 91

The morning after the recital

I took this shot this morning before I left to pick up doughnuts. I started buying doughnuts for the grandkids when they stay over back when Macey was little. I think they taught each other that I do it, so now it is expected…no matter what their age. So I buy them, even though I no longer eat them. Macey will eat just about anything with sprinkles on it; Mason will eat any kind, but prefers chocolate filled; and Maely wants chocolate frosted with sprinkles. I don’t buy any for Marlon even though he is from the cocker spaniel branch of the Gaskin family.

Cindy and I were finally able to watch Young At Heart which is a documentary film about a senior citizen chorus that performs rock ‘n roll songs. Mary Kirts loaned it to us a couple of weeks ago, but today was the first time we were able to sit and watch it together. It was enjoyable despite the fact that two of the chorus members died during the filming and a third dies after the filming. Poignant is the term that comes to mind. The problem I have watching this type of film is that it brings my mortality to mind. That can be a good thing, but on a gloomy Sunday afternoon it isn’t so hot. When another member of the chorus started reciting the eulogy he had written for himself, I knew my thoughts would fixate for a while on preparing for my ending. I usually spend some thought time on that after a funeral or memorial service. I want to plan my own rather than have someone else impose their ideas on it.

Let me tell you (Cindy and Trina) I will have my own way in this one thing. I don’t want a funeral, but if it will make you happy you can have a memorial service, without the body, at our home.  There will be no burial; either cremate me or give my decrepit body to a medical college. If I don’t give it to you before hand, you will find after my demise, a cd of music I want played. Oh, and I may write a few lines for someone to read. If you know I don’t like someone, don’t let them speak.

I think those are simple instructions. Let it be so.

One last thing, Republicans may attend.

Day 90

Another beautiful house in Lafayette

I treat myself on Saturday mornings. Cindy would probably tell you that I treat myself every morning, afternoon, evening, and late night. Perhaps. That is one of the benefits of being retired.

Anyway, every Saturday morning I treat myself to watching an episode of The West Wing, which was the best written television show I have ever watched. Week in and week out there was a television show worth watching. The fact that the political statements they made went along with my way of thinking did not detract from the show, but I truly believe I would have watched for the quality of the writing even if I abhorred the content. It was just that good. The combination of serious subject matter and humor is just wonderful. So, I am now watching DVDs of the show, one episode each Saturday morning, in order. Cindy doesn’t interrupt me because she is always still asleep while I watch. I saw the 14th episode from season 1 this morning.

Before I started episodes of The West Wing on Saturdays, I watched an episode of Kung Fu each week. Again, it was one episode each week, in order. I was a fan of the show while it was on, and I saw many of the shows again in reruns years later. But, while I was watching the DVDs I realized that somehow I missed most of the second season. There must have been something on another network opposite Kung Fu that caught my attention. Oh, well. I’m caught up now. It did seem strange watching episodes that had people like Jodie Foster, Dean Jagger, Harrison Ford, and Leslie Nielsen as guest stars.

I won’t be watching as many movies tonight as I normally do. Maely will be performing in a dance recital that we will be attending. It was fun last year, and will be again this year. I thought it was strange last year that the teachers took part in the recital as well as the students. I have never seen that happen before. I guess they like the celebrity aspect of performance as much as the credit for being good teachers.

Maybe I can squeeze a movie or two in this morning and afternoon.

Day 89

In need of a paint job and more

I have to tell you that I am not in a good mood today. I don’t want to throw or smash anything, but I do feel like complaining. Some might describe my mood as bitchy. I would not disagree. Little things are causing me to seethe, and make me want to whine. I don’t like it when other people whine, but I am occasionally self-indulgent. I’m thinking today, “What good is a blog if you can’t whine once in a while?” Where shall I start?

My trip to the grocery store to buy coffee can offer irritations that seldom are allowed rise to the surface. People who push their shopping cart to their car, empty it, and then leave it in a parking spot get my goat. I think it is the height of laziness to just leave the cart sitting, blocking a potential parking spot. Do these people wonder why cart corrals are set up in the parking lot? They obviously don’t care about other people, it is all about them. I know that in a few cases there is probably a good reason they can’t push the cart a few yards to the nearest corral and leave it there…I’m trying to think of an example…perhaps they have trouble walking and need to use the cart like a walker. But then, how did they make it into the store? Did they use a cart that someone else had left in the lot? Did they drive around looking for an abandoned cart? Also, how many people are there like that? I ask because there are many of the carts sitting around the lot.

You may well be wondering why I haven’t gone off on the people who park their cars in the fire lanes. I have no respect for those people. Surprisingly, there were no cars parked there today. They probably were parked in the handicapped spaces.

I am not the only person who is not in a good mood today. While I like the service we get from Comcast, I have one complaint. We receive a lot of email that is not meant for us. I’m not sure why that is true, but it is. Today we received an email, in error, from a woman who is very upset. I won’t identify her, but here is what it says (Oh, if you know Irene, please tell her that her email didn’t get to the intended person…unless you are that person):

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE DONE OR SAID TO YOU FPR YOU NOT TO CALL OR ANSWE YOUR ANY OF MY CALLS.YOU SAY LOVE ME BUT YOU STOP ANSWERING MY CALLS OR EMAILS ON THE SUTE,SO IS IT ME OR SOMETHING I’VE SAID OR WAS IT MY PICTURE.I STILL WANT TO BE WITH YOU,BUT I CAN’T MAKE YOU CARE OR LOVE ME AS YOU’VE SAID.SO IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER THIS EMAIL OR CALL THEN I WILL HAVE MY ANSWER. I’M NOT GOING TO BEG YOU , IT’S YOUR CHOICE
 
LOVE IRENE

Day 88

Our first Iris this spring

Based on the number of buds we have on all of the Iris’, there will be a large number of blooms this year. The purple seems deeper this year as well. I love the plants not just because the flower is beautiful, but also because there is so little work involved with growing it. Anything that is easy to grow is my kind of plant. I should learn to make dandelion wine so that I have an excuse to not weed them out. As is I need an excuse.

This morning on Morning Joe Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard was hawking his most recent book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. I must say, they had an interesting conversation. I may be purchasing the book, because the topic interests me. While money is not high on my most wanted list, I do like to have enough on hand to pay our bills and cover emergencies. More than that amount is a luxury I don’t need.

People who have acquired wealth seem to be admired by others. Why is that? I honestly don’t know. The media seem to think that we need to pay attention to wealthy people. Why? Unless they give large amounts of their wealth to charity, or to make sure people have jobs, why should I care? If they are a “celebrity” it is even worse. Why else would we even know about Paris Hilton or others like her? Has she, or anyone like her, ever done anything that rates a mention on national television or radio? I can’t think of anything. Dare I ask if she is a job creator?

Well, it is obvious that I am not writing a carefully thought out posting today. It is more of a disjointed diatribe. Sorry.

Day 87

Another beautiful house

This town is full of beautiful houses. Ours isn’t bad, in fact I love the interior, but it is lacking in curbside appeal. Maybe some day.

I haven’t made up my mind what to write about today. I thought of putting down my interaction with Flo, my mother-in-law, from yesterday, but…no. When I told Cindy about it, she didn’t see the humor, and without the humor it is just sad. The blog needs something more positive today, something either humorous or uplifting or both. What to write…what to write.

Let me go back to yesterday’s topic. I’ll write a bit more about the time I taught at the New Prairie Junior HIgh. As I said, I was teaching 8th grade English. English encompassed literature, writing, spelling, and speech. One of my students, Mark, was the son of a social studies teacher in that school. Mark’s grades in English were a solid D when I took over the class. The first thing I noticed was that his spelling skills were poor. He had a low self-esteem in the classroom. He once told me he wasn’t expected to do well in the class. I don’t know who told him that, but he was doing his best to live up to that opinion. We read The Pearl by Steinbeck in class. I assigned an essay on the story to find out if anyone understood more than the plot. Most did not, but Mark got it. He saw the greater themes and was able to write about it, though his spelling was atrocious. I gave him a B+ on the writing assignment. I think that was the best grade he had ever received in English. Later, on a test, he showed that he had a firm grasp on literature. I graded him accordingly. His father was so proud of him that he thanked me for giving his son a chance to excel.

Day 86

Another beautiful old home

Is this house Victorian? I think it is, but any architectural knowledge I have, was come by second-hand. Is that last sentence grammatical? I should know, but I couldn’t say with any more than 85% certitude. It has been a long time since I taught grammar. It’s getting close to four decades ago. That happened after I was released from the army and before I went to work for the state. It was a brief but memorable time.

When I was released by the military in 1971, I decided that I would go back to college and finish my degree in education. I got out a week after classes started for the fall semester at IU, so I found a job while I waited for the next semester. I first tried to draw unemployment, but the veteran’s rep. at the La Porte Local Office told me that I was not qualified to draw. He was wrong, but I found a job before any benefits would have started. I applied for a material handler job at Easy Heat Wirekraft in Rolling Prairie, just up the road from where I lived.

I was called in for an interview with the plant manager. He looked at my application, saw that I was close to finishing my degree, and that I had been in the military. He offered me a job as the cost accountant at the plant. I said, “No. I have no accounting background, and I want to be a teacher.” He told me that the company, would send me to classes for the job and would pay for everything. I said, No. I want to be a teacher.” So he hired me as a material handler working for the minimum wage. And for that, I had to join the Teamsters.

A few days later I was talking to my friend Warby on the telephone and I told him that experience. Warby worked for Osco Drugs, going around the country opening new stores. He made a handsome salary and the company paid all his travel expenses. Warby offered to get me on doing the same work. I said, “No. I am going to be teacher.”

To make a long story short, I finished work on my BS in Ed.; got my teaching license in Indiana; and could not find a job. So, that being the case, as well as the fact that at that time in Indiana you had to get a Master’s within five years to continue teaching, and the my veteran’s benefits would pay for a large part of it, I got my MS in Ed. While I was working on my MS, an English teacher at New Prairie Junior High had to take time off work for surgery. I was hired on a temporary contract to teach 8th grade English. I taught there for six or seven weeks and decided I did not want to be a teacher.

Day 85

On a clear day

I’ve spent a good part of the day transferring VHS tapes of Austin City Limits shows to DVD. I taped the shows in the 80’s and the tape quality has deteriorated. Still, I want to get them into a format that will preserve them longer than the tape will. Eventually another medium will come along and if I’m still around I’ll transfer the shows again.

One of the shows I transferred today was Nanci Griffith in 1985. It was the first time I had seen her on television and the first time I had heard her songs. I have to say I was impressed. She seemed vulnerable standing there singing and playing her guitar, wearing a sunflower yellow dress. The songs became some of my favorites by her, and I started buying some of her back albums on vinyl. Looking back at the tape today I was surprised to see that the backup musicians included Mark O’Connor and Roy Husky Jr. Even more surprising was that one of the backup vocalists was Lyle Lovett. I didn’t realize the significance of that at the time.

Another of the shows was the Michael Martin Murphy Wild West show on Austin City Limits. He had Riders In The Sky, The Sons of the San Joaquin, and Don Edwards on the show with him. It was the first time I had seen and heard all of them except Riders In The Sky. I was already a fan of that group. There was a lot of great music on that show.

The other shows I transferred were with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Goodman, and Kate Wolf. I started listening to Steve Goodman after I had seen him on a show named Made In Chicago which was a precursor to Soundstage. There have been a lot of great music shows on PBS.

While the video and audio quality of the tapes are not great, I am going to try to improve the audio. I’ll rip the audio tracks, run the tracks through Audacity software, and then try to make a new video marrying the old video with the new audio. I was able to do it successfully with a short video earlier this year, so I have high hopes. I just wish I was smart enough to try to improve he video quality.

Day 84

I really like old brick farmhouses

Today’s writing is just going to be bits and pieces. There is no overall theme.

I started reading the Indianapolis Star on Sundays two weeks ago. There is no way I am going to spend $2 for the Lafayette paper when it only takes a half hour to go through the whole thing. I don’t read the ads, just the news, and not all of it. Anyway, I was reading a column on political events in Indiana that wasn’t attributed ti anyone. In it there was the phrase “a boatload of information.” I can only recall one person using the phrase “a boatload of” in my entire life, and it has been close to thirty years since I last heard it. I worked with a young lady name Sandy Shepler when I was in Auburn, and she used that phrase quite often. I know her father worked for a newspaper, I think in Muncie. Perhaps the phrase is common among newspaper people and I just had never heard it before or since. Anyway, it jumped out at me.

***

 I’ve noticed from her Facebook postings that a friend of mine, Kathryn Golden, has attended some White Sox games this year; and that started me thinking about the last major league game I attended. That was long before Kathryn was born. The last time I went to a game was in the late 60’s. Terry Nickerson and I went to a Cubs game one summer weekday when I was still in college. I can’t pin the time down any more than that.

We took the South Shore RR from South Bend to Chicago. I remember there was a man sitting opposite from us who was smoking and sleeping. He had a straight line of cigarette ashes don the front of his jacket from lighting up, leaving the cigarette in his mouth and then falling asleep. Anyway, one we got to Chicago we found our way by CTA to Wrigley Field.

We walked up to ticket booth and simply told the ticket seller that we wanted good seats. We got them. We ended up in box seats behind the visiting team dugout. That day it was the Houston Astros. I don’t remember much about the game other than that the Astros won. I do remember seeing a TV camera pointed our way during the 7th inning stretch and wondering if anyone we knew would see us. Evidently everyone we knew was working because we never heard about it. The other thing I remember is that there were four men sitting behind us who were smoking big green cigars. I had never seen a green cigar before, nor have I seen them again. Hmm. This bit of the blog seems to keep coming back to smokers.

***

I was going to write about how rested I feel after getting 8 hours of sleep, but I’m not clever enough to write about sleeping and make it seem interesting. Maybe is I had a dream…but I didn’t.

Day 83

Crossing the Wabash, I think

I was at the end of a dead-end street, taking a picture of a church, when I decide to take a photo of this bridge as well. It’ a good thing I did, because the church photo wasn’t usable. Somehow I didn’t get the top of the steeple in the shot. I’ll have to go back sometime to try again. From my vantage point I couldn’t tell if this bridge crosses the Wabash, but it is by the river and I can’t think of anything else it would rise above. I believe that is the railway bridge south where SR 26 crosses the river. But I could be wrong; it wouldn’t be the first time.

Cindy went with Trina and Macey to Chicago this morning. Macey is having a second round with Abercrombie. I’m not sure what will happen today. The first round was having photos taken in Indianapolis. Based on those shots Abercrombie called Macey and asked her to come to Chicago today. My guess is they will take more pictures and maybe even talk to her. If she really wants to be a model, I hope things go well for her. People keep saying she looks like Taylor Swift and I keep saying she is prettier. I, of course, am right about that.

I’ve been listening to more Tom Russell this morning. Yesterday I download his Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs album from emusic.com. I already owned three other of his albums and have listened to more of his music. I like his album as much as Borderland, which had been my favorite to date. I’m sort of skipping around his career with my purchases. I believe I’ll buy at least one more album, probably next month, though I may go to Von’s in West Lafayette today since it is Record Store Day. More likely I’ll avoid going there so as to avoid potential crowds. I don’t handle crowds well.