Things that bother me

It felt like spring
Junk in their yard

It isn’t the most awe-inspiring picture I’ve ever taken. I took a short ride on Tuesday, and while it was cold, the sun was shining and it felt like spring to me. I was going to post this picture, and relate the whole background to that day, but something came up and I never got around to it. Now that day doesn’t seem so special and I won’t be giving you the background. I will say that in order to try to put down feelings into words I need to make that attempt while I’m still having the feelings. If I don’t do it then, it’s like groping around in the dark; you seldom find what you want and occasionally have an unpleasant surprise.

***

I’ve decided to unfriend another contact on Facebook. Once again it’s because I so want to respond to their pre-packaged posts, but know the futility of doing so. Today it was something along the lines of Cain slew Abel with a rock and since rocks and guns are both inanimate objects don’t try to take away my gun. I don’t know how many people have been killed with rocks in the U.S. in the past three months, but there have been, on average, 15 deaths by gun per day in that time. Of course people do the killing, not the rock or the gun, but killing with a gun is easier; you don’t have to get as up close and personal as you do with a rock.

***

I received another catalog from a book seller in the mail a few days ago. It divided the types of books into sections and I was looking in the few sections that interested me. I went to the U.S. History section and started looking at the titles. In the first twenty entries of books on U.S. History, seven were conspiracy theory books. Since when is conspiracy speculation history?

Lord, I shudder.

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I blame the GPS

Abandoned farmhouse
Abandoned farmhouse

I took this picture in the mid to late 70’s. I don’t recall exactly where I took it, but based on the other shots from that roll of film, I would guess it was in either Noble or Steuben County.

***

The other day there was a Facebook post from Amazon.com asking what album people were using to get ready for the weekend. I thought about that question, but couldn’t come up with just one album. I’m not that kind of person. I did narrow the selection down to three albums; New Grass Revival’s Too Late To Turn Back Now which was recorded at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and was released in 1977, The Buddy Rich Big Band’s New One which was released in 1968, and the one I’m listening to now, Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues. This album was released 1967. I love listening to the old albums and variety; what can I say?

***

Yesterday I agreed to pick up a young man at his work and drive him home. Not a big deal, you might think, but it set off a string events that stretched into the evening. First, I arrived at his place of work a few minutes early and parked in the parking lot to wait. He was supposed to get off at 6:00 p.m., but 6 came and passed. No one came out of the building. This was surprising to me since I have never worked anywhere that didn’t have people leaving, or trying to leave, a few minutes early. Granted, that doesn’t happen often when you have to punch in and out on a time clock, but it does happen. 6:05 came and went. Finally, around 6:10 the first people started to exit the building, and the young man appeared.

As he entered the car he asked me if I knew how to get to his house. I had never been to his home, so I told him I knew the general area, but that he would have to give me specific directions when we got near. That proved to be a problem, because this 19-year-old didn’t know how to get to his home from his place of employment, even though he had been working there for some time. So I turned on the GPS in my smart phone and went to the navigation app so that I could get him home. While we were on the way, his mother called him and tried to pass along sketchy directions to the house. I decided to trust my GPS navigator. When I pulled into their drive, the young man wanted to hug me, which is always awkward, and his mother was there to greet us.

As I left I decided to call and order a pizza for pickup, so I could eat part of it while watching a movie. Having done that, I started out to Arni’s, the pizza place. While I was driving, my mother called, and I decided to ignore it and call her when I was no longer driving. When I got to Arni’s, I parked the car and called my mother before going in for the pizza. That was a mistake. As we were talking, she was telling me how nice it was in Santa Claus compared to St. John, she was enjoying things like the birds, the green grass, the daffodils that were budding, and then my phone died because the GPS had drained the battery. There wasn’t anything I could do about that, so I went in and got the pizza. On the way home I was stopped by a train, which made me nervous, because the longer I went without calling my mother back, the more anxious she would become.

Well, I got home, started recharging the phone, and called my mother again. No answer. It went to her voice mail, which I don’t think she listens to, but I started leaving a message anyhow. I had no way of knowing when she would call back, so I decided to start eating, and started the movie, Oceans Twelve. About three minutes into the movie she called back. I paused the movie and answered her call. Gone was the happy Mother Jekyll I had been talking to a few minutes earlier. Now I was listening to Mother Hyde who was feeling sorry for herself, saying things like, “I can’t seem to do anything right in this house. They (my sister and brother-in-law) don’t want me here. I don’t know if I can take it anymore.” I tried to reassure her that they didn’t want to kick her to the curb, but she wasn’t having any of that. I tried to explain why we were cut off in mid-sentence, but that was swept aside. Also, she couldn’t seem to hear anything I was saying. I remember my grandmother (her mother) having that same problem when she didn’t like what you were saying. After about five minutes she was through talking and hung up. I went back to my pizza and movie.

About ten minutes later, mom called back. It was more of the same…inflated. She was going to close out her bank account, cash in her CDs, and move somewhere where she could be on her own. This is a woman who prefers to be housebound, she doesn’t like going out. I asked her who would do her shopping for her. She couldn’t hear me. I raised my voice a few decibels and asked again. She couldn’t hear me. I shouted at the top of my lungs, and she heard me, but had no answer. We brushed that aside as well. With a final plaintive , “Don’t worry about me,” sh hung up again. I sighed and went back to my pizza and movie.

Another ten minutes or so and the phone rang again. This time it was my sister with her side of the story. When the phone had died, my mom thought that maybe she had cut us off somehow and told (not asked) my sister to call me back. My sister, quite rightly, told mom that I would call back. That upset mom, and she started sulking and getting angry (Cindy wonders where I got my passive-aggressive nature). After venting for a while, we said goodnight. I don’t know that I could live with my mother full-time without resorting to tranquilizers…for me.

Repent Harlequin

Graycliff, on Lake Erie
Graycliff, on Lake Erie

This is a picture of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, Graycliff, that overlooks Lake Erie. Cindy and I toured the house the last time we went east on vacation. I believe that was the last road trip vacation that we have taken. Also on that trip we toured two other Wright designed houses, Kentuck Knob and Falling Water, as well as going to Niagara Falls. I want to tour more Wright designed buildings, because I love his style.

***

In the past I collected a few portfolios of artist prints. Most of them were created by people who were connected to the comic book industry. A few days ago I decided to get them out and look at them for the first time in two or three years. I thought it would be interesting to see if they had increased in value since I originally bought them. Considering the change in buying power of the dollar, most had not. In some cases, however, there was an increase in value, at least from the seller’s side. I have one portfolio that was designed around the short story by Harlan Ellison, “Repent Harlequin!” Said The Ticktockman. The artist was Jim Steranko. Both the writer and the artist were known to me, and I enjoyed the work of both. Many of the portfolios I have were signed by the artist; this portfolio is unique to my collection because it is signed by both the artist, Jim Steranko, and the writer, Harlan Ellison. When I looked it up on the net I found a range of prices from $17 (less than I paid) to more than $400 (much more than I paid). Most of the prices fell in the $200+ range. I like it way too much to part with it, but it is nice to know that I made a good purchase.

Cindy and good music

Cindy after accepting her award
Cindy after accepting her award

I’m sorry about the (lack of) quality of this picture. I took it with my cell phone under less than optimum conditions, and then tried to auto-enhance the original because it was so dark. At any rate, this is a photo of Cindy speaking after being presented with her award for 2013 Woman of Distinction from the YWCA. She will tell you that she did a poor job speaking, but she is wrong. She was nervous, she was very emotional, and she didn’t have prepared remarks, but she did a fine job. Sometimes she is too hard on herself.

***

This morning I was thinking about all of the people who were recognized at the banquet last night. If I could choose one song that described the attitude of all of those people, it would be He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Here is a link to The Hollies version of the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1KtScrqtbc. I also like the Neil Diamond version on his Tap Root Manuscript album http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBGTqo6_lLE.

When I listened to the song again this morning I thought, “Let’s all send a link to the song to our congressional Representatives and Senators, and maybe they will rethink the way they approach the budget.” But that was a silly thought. They are politicians. Politicians have egos so large they can seldom believe they were ever wrong about anything. At least that has been my experience over the years, having to deal with them at the local, county and state level.

Jumping back to The Hollies, I have always thought that they recorded some of their best music after Graham Nash left the group to join David Crosby and Stephen Stills. At least, most of my favorite Hollies’ songs came from that period.

Trying to make a full circle, I’ll link The Air That I Breathe, to Cindy. It seems appropriate.

Things I learned from Maely

At 228 Eastland Drive, Lafayette, IN, March 1991
At 228 Eastland Drive, Lafayette, IN, March 1991

I took this photo of an ice-covered tree in front of the money pit we used to live in on Eastland Drive, back in March of 1991. We had an ice storm that knocked out the power to our house for about three days, closed the office I worked in for  a couple of days, and also snapped off a major limb from this tree. I remember the storm’s aftermath pretty well. Cindy and I sent the kids to stay with a relative while we roughed it in the house. We hung blankets in the open doorways and heated part of the house with the gas range. We bought gallons of water so we could, sparingly, flush the toilets. And we slept on the floor in the family room where we could have a fire in the fireplace. It was the middle of the night when the power came back on. Their were lights on in almost every room; the television was on; the cd player started playing a Kingston Trio cd, and I’m sure there were other things that came on that I don’t remember. By the time we got most of it turned off, the power went out again. But it came back on again sometime before morning.

***

I drove our granddaughter Maely and her friend Shelby back to Linden late this morning. JR wanted Maely to be home by 11:30 to get a dose of medicine that they had forgotten to bring when they dropped her off. Listening to the girls as they talked in the backseat was enlightening.

Maely and Shelby stated that they were best friends forever. Maely wanted to expand that group to include more girls, but Shelby was hesitant…I think Shelby might have been jealous.

They agreed that two boys that they knew (who shall remain nameless) were losers, cheaters, and hot. I guess seven-year old girls aren’t too young to go for the bad boys.

Maely spent some time telling Shelby what she can expect when she gets pregnant. I guess you’re never too young to know that information.

Finally, Maely asked me if Grandma Cindy and I were married. The question surprised me, but I simply told her that we have been married for 23 years. Maely said, “Oh. I thought you were just dating.”

Well, I got the girls home at the proper time, but I don’t know if Maely got her medicine on time because everyone in the house was asleep. I left it to her to wake up her parents.

If only I had known

Maely & Cindy, 2/25/2006
Maely & Cindy, 2/25/2006

This is one of my favorite pictures. It shows the happiness of both Maely and Cindy. Maely is seven now, and will be spending the night here.  She isn’t as easily entertained these days, but she can still be fun to be around. It just takes more effort.

***

I started going through one of my old footlockers yesterday. I keep a lot of old posters and prints that I’ve bought over the years, starting when I was in college. As I was looking at them I decided that I was willing to give most of them away if anyone wanted them. As I looked at one of Adrienne Barbeau dressed in a violet…uhhh…something or other that looks like lingerie, I thought that my grandson, Mason, who is a young teenager might like it. Then I thought that he would not know who Adrienne Barbeau was, and that he would think she was too old. Still, I should let him look through the posters.

I came across another poster that I forgot that I had. It is a blacklight poster from the late sixties. I probably bought it while I was in the army in Germany. The illustration is of an unclad woman in a field of flowers along with a prominent peace symbol. There is a quote that reads, “The burden of life is love.” I’m pretty sure Mason would like this poster a lot. Like most of my posters, I had thumbtacked it to a wall, so it has puncture marks in the four corners. That’s a pity, because when I looked the poster up on the Internet, it was selling for more than $200. If only I had known.

***

The current discussion about violence in movies and on television reminds me that my parents did not want me to watch The Untouchables with Robert Stack when I was growing up. They thought that violence was a bad influence. They may have been right, because it may have made me more tolerant of violence in the media. I’m not tolerant when it comes to violence in real life, but in the media I can usually accept it. It’s true, however, that there is more violence in the media now, and it is more graphic. I have stopped watching TV shows like Criminal Minds because I don’t want to watch serial killers every work. It’s just too much for me. On the other hand, I love the Midsomer Murders where there are usually multiple homicides in each episode. I guess the British do it better.