Thoughts

Agricultural phallic symbol
Agricultural phallic symbol

When I was a teenager, farms and outbuildings used to bore me. Now I love taking pictures of structures that aren’t totally made of metal and painted blue. It’s another sign of my age.

***

Diana commented on my post yesterday, and I responded to part of her comment. She mentioned a couple of things that I had been thinking about for a while now, so I decided to spend most of this post touching on those subjects. I hope you don’t find this too self-indulgent.

Diana talked a bit about our first year of working together, before we moved into a recruitment and screening center for SIA. We can look back with fondness, now, at those days. They were better days than some in the years that followed; at least for me. But I also know that there were headaches for us during that time. Maybe I was successful in shielding Diana and the other staff from some of the crap that came down from on high. For most of the time, while on that project, I was willing (or maybe it was just stupidity) to argue with people in Indianapolis and locally to put across our ideas and point of view on how things should be run. A lot of that was out of our hands, but we did prevail occasionally. At some point, however, I decided it was easier to go along, than to butt heads all of the time. I learned which fights were worth having. So, in that case, it was a learning experience.

My final words on my career with the state are only that the longer I stayed, the more political things became, and the more incompetent people became at the top of the organization. At least that’s the way I remember it.

The other thing Diana said that struck a chord with me is that I should have written books. I would have loved to do that. I still would. But I know my limitations. I’ve mentioned in past posts that I don’t think big thoughts. I can be a detail guy, but broad sweeping ideas are not my forte.

While I might be able to write non-fiction, I don’t want to. I enjoy reading history, biographies, and dumbed-down science, but I don’t want to write it. I prefer fiction, but there are two reasons I would fail at it. 1) I don’t have a good enough imagination, and 2) I’m not good at describing emotions. I can use an adjective or noun to tell a character’s emotion, but I think you should be able to evoke the emotion, not simply state it. That’s why I don’t write.

A Rainbow Draw

One of Diana's Birthdays
One of Diana’s Birthdays

I won’t ask Diana how old she was when I took this picture. It must have been taken in 1988 or ’89. I took it at the SIA Recruitment Center. Oh, those were the days.

***

It was beautiful when I went to my Doctor’s appointment this morning. The heat hadn’t come on yet, and it felt like a warm autumn day. The only thing that spoiled that effect was that the leaves on the trees are still green. Anyway, I was enjoying the drive to the office, windows down, and an Ian & Sylvia CD playing. The music was the perfect accompaniment to the weather. I may feel that was because I probably bought that album (the original vinyl version) on an autumn day. Just as I like The Beach Boys music during summer months, Ian & Sylvia feel better in the fall.

Keeping with the musical theme for a bit longer, instead of working outside in the heat this afternoon, I watched the second part of the Martin Scorsese documentary, George Harrison: Living In The Material World. The documentary has been around for a couple of years, and I recommend it to anyone in my age bracket. I borrowed it from the library, and I’m happy that I did.

***

Because I had my quarterly appointment with my doctor this morning, I went in yesterday to have blood work done. I was surprised when the woman in the lab told me they had no order for having my blood drawn, but she would call my doctor’s nurse to find out why I was there. I told her it was for an A1C test, but, of course, she needed a medical person to tell her that, so she went to make the call.

When she came back she told me that the nurse didn’t know what blood test was needed, but since I was there she would draw my blood. Also, since there wasn’t a specific test she was drawing for, she said she would do what was called a rainbow draw. That means she would draw into a number of tubes with different colored stoppers so that the right test would be covered. When she said rainbow, I thought red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. They didn’t have that many different colored stoppers, however, so she was only going to draw four tubes…well, four colors, but two purples, so a total of five tubes.

I told her that if I passed out it would be from lack of blood. She looked concerned and asked if I wanted to lie down while she did it. I assured her that I would be OK sitting up. She loosened up a bit at that point. After not being able to get into a vein in my right arm, she switched to my left and quickly drew off the five tubes. She didn’t give me a lollipop, but she did wish me a good day.

Oh, everything is fine with my health. When I saw the doctor this morning he set up orders for lab work every three months for the next ten years. He must plan on both of us being around that long…or until they change their computer system.

Conversations with my mother

Trina the model
Trina the model

I took this picture of Trina when she was in high school. She was working at T.J. Maxx at the time, and they had a fashion show where Trina and others modeled some of the clothes they were selling. I’ve chosen to not include pictures of Trina in other, less flattering outfits. If memory serves correctly, Cindy also modeled something that day, but I can’t find a copy of that picture. Of course, I’m getting old and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

***

My mom called yesterday. She didn’t have much to say, but that’s alright. My problem, when she has a lot to say, is two-fold. 1) When I try to respond to something she says, she often just talks over me. 2) When she does let me respond I usually end up shouting because she thinks she hears better without her hearing aids. She is wrong about that.

For some reason my mom has a problem with Cindy buying a car that is red. She has mentioned the color to me two or three times since Cindy got the car. Yesterday she told me that my sister counted all of the red cars she saw on a trip from southern Indiana to the northern part of the state. As she was telling me that, I heard my sister shout, “I DID NOT!”

At that point my mom said, to my sister, something along the lines of, “I thought you told me you counted 469 red cars between…”

“No!” said my sister. I didn’t hear the rest of her sentence, but my mom mumbled something about Terre Haute.

My mom then told me that red must be the new popular color for cars. That’s the second time she has told me that. I expect to hear it many more times.

One last thing about this portion of our conversation; I don’t believe my sister would spend her time counting red cars on a road trip. She might have when she was five or six, but it has been quite a while since she was that age.

My mom moved on and asked me how Cindy was doing. I told her that she was working a lot. I mentioned that Cindy’s staff was dwindling due to layoffs, so Cindy was working extra hours trying to cover things. Mom said that Cindy would probably retire as soon as she old enough. I agreed but said that Cindy might retire from the County, but might also counsel people on her own.

Lacking her hearing aids, Mom said, “She wants a new house?”

“No, mom, I said she would probably counsel people.”

“Why does she want a new house? I thought that when Marilyn got a new house Cindy might want one too”

“NO, MOM, SHE WILL PROBABLY WORK IN A COUNSELING OFFICE.”

“I thought you liked the house you were in.”

“MOM, CINDY  WILL  COUNSEL!!”

“I was sure you told me you never wanted to move again.”

I dropped it. She is probably calling her old neighbor, Bonnie, and is telling her how Cindy first got a new car and now wants a new house. What next?

Talking to my mom is fun.

Pests

Birdseed raider
Birdseed raider

You probably can’t make it out in the picture, but there is a squirrel sitting on top of the bird feeder. The squirrels haven’t done that too often this year so far. It happens much more often in the winter. More about bird feeders later.

***

Let me clear about this. You may find me being very judgemental in this post. Yeah, I know that is nothing new, but at least I’m acknowledging it up front.

I mentioned in my last post that I often spend time observing people in various settings when I am in a waiting area. I usually only observe when I am bored, but sometimes it is forced upon me. Today was one such occurrence.

I went to the grocery store this morning to pick a couple of things I needed to cook dinner tonight. I spied a parking spot reasonably close to the door, so I went to claim it. When I got to the spot I found that I couldn’t pull in to it because the driver’s car door in the adjacent spot was open. A large woman was just sitting in the car with her door open. So, I drove on and found another spot in which to park my car.

As I was walking to the door of the store I saw the woman finally emerge from her car. My, but she was large. Then I saw the passenger door open and an older, even larger woman climbed out, followed by two young children. The children also seemed to have weight issues. As I entered the building I glanced back and saw them lumbering towards the entrance.

I grabbed a basket and headed towards the fruits and vegetables section, where I picked up a couple of things that I wanted. From there I walked to the appropriate aisle and picked up a jar of condiments that I needed for the recipe. I had one more item to get and was walking to the proper aisle when I passed the foursome.

The older, heavier woman was saying, “Blah blah f****ing blah blah f****er blah.” The children were drinking this in.

The younger, somewhat lighter of the women said, “That’s it, p**s everyone off.” They went their way, I went mine.

I finished my shopping, paid for the food and went to my car. I was surprised, when I got to my car, to see the group was already back in their vehicle. They were sitting there, car doors open, blocking people from parking next to them, eating sandwiches. Either they packed a lunch to eat as they shopped, or they went to the store and purchased food to eat in the car. Either way…

***

I haven’t forgotten about the bird feeders. Yesterday I was looking out of the kitchen window into the backyard. I do that often because it easy to observe birds at the feeders, and that is a satisfying pastime. As I was watching the finches that were feeding flew off for n apparent reason. I wondered about that, and then saw a cat come into the yard and sit down below the finch feeder. It just sat there, looking up at the feeder. D***ed cats, anyhow!

Red Lobster and magazines

A barn...how unique
A barn…how unique

For some reason I keep forgetting to title my posts. It was a lot easier the first year because I simply titled them Day ___ and let it go at that. This year I’m trying to come up with a new title for each post. Part of my problem is that I don’t always know what topics I will be covering in each post, so the title comes last. Often I’m so happy just to have come up with adequate text that I post before I’ve titled. Then I find myself going back to add a title after the fact. If, when you read this post, there is no title, you will know why.

***

Cindy and I were sitting and talking one day last week, and were discussing where we could go out to eat dinner. I mentioned that we hadn’t been to Red Lobster in a long time, so we went there. For some reason that discussion triggered a memory of our honeymoon. One of the last stops on our way home was at a red Lobster in Columbia, Missouri. It was a brand new building, it had opened only a day or so before we stopped there. On the night we were there, the weather was really bad. It was pouring down rain…inside and outside. The management, staff, and customers were discovering multiple leaks in the roof. Despite the wet atmosphere, the food was excellent.

That story reminds me of a date I went on with Judy…but you can read about that in my post Day 211.

***

I have mentioned before that I like to peruse magazines when I’m in a doctor’s waiting room. Our primary care provider (known in the past as our family doctor) had no magazines in the waiting area, so I am reduced to playing Sudoku on my cell phone and surreptitiously watching the other people who are waiting. That sometimes gives me subject matter for a blog post.

I recently went to see my optometrist for an eye exam, not for subject matter. While I waited I looked over the magazines in the waiting area. They fell into two groups, or rather one group and a specific title. I could choose from either a Christian magazine, or People. I guess he was letting us decide between the sublime or the sleaze. I chose to play Sudoku.

More memories

Bayh Fischer & Bowne (sounds like a law firm)

I don’t remember the year I took this picture, but Evan Bayh was the governor of Indiana, so that puts it somewhere from 1989 to 1997. He was visiting the Lafayette Network office (if that was the name being used then). In this picture he is charming Julie Fischer and Pam Bowne. Most of the pictures I have from that day show him in the WorkOne Express section of the office.

***

When I went out this morning it was cool, bright and beautiful. The CD playing in the car was one by The Beach Boys. Between the weather and the music it reminded me starting an undergrad school year at IU in Bloomington. I always remember the first few days of each of those years as sunny and bright, not too hot and not too cool, and always exciting. That can’t be completely true, because I’m sure it rained at least once during those years, but my memories want bright and sunny, not wet and dreary. The excitement was there no matter what the weather.

As to the music, I don’t believe I bought a Beach Boys album until I was away from Bloomington and in the army. Their songs seemed to be on the radio all of the time, so I guess I didn’t feel like I had to buy any of their music. By the time I got around to buying anything, they were already putting out “The Best of” type albums, as well as new material. They are one of those groups who, to me, sound best in the summer and autumn.

***

Later this morning I watched a DVD of An American Master Production, Yours For A Song: The Women Of Tin Pan Alley. Most of the music was written before I was born, in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40s, but It still gets performed today. I didn’t realize the how many songs that I love were written or collaborated on by women. They are songs such as The Way You Look TonightI’m In The Mood For Love, A Fine RomanceOn the Sunny Side Of The Street, and Willow Weep For Me. Those are just a few of the songs. Of the women profiled in this show, Dorothy Fields was the only name I recognized.

As I said, most of the songs were written before I was born, but I grew up hearing this music. I was most interested in folk music and rock and roll, but I heard these songs also. It was probably when I started buying Frank Sinatra albums in college, back in Bloomington, when I started to really pay attention to the lyrics and the melodies of American standards. They are standards for a reason.

What the???

Through the windshield
Through the windshield

I took this picture one day last week. There is something about driving on country roads in the summer that makes me feel good. Actually, I feel younger as well as happy. That’s a fine combination for making you feel good.

***

I decided to go through my idea notes for posts that I keep on my smart phone, and get rid of those that I no longer plan to use. The reason is very simple; I have no real idea what the notes mean. The notes are just a phrase or a word or name that meant something to me at the time I decided to make the note. Time passes, and so does the idea. After a while I have not an inkling as to what my thought process was. Today I’ll share some of the note with you. Perhaps you will have an idea that you can share with me, so that I can use the note in the future.

1) “Clarity of thought yet confused.” Was I thinking of me? (No clarity here) Or was I thinking about someone on television?

2) “A Fine Romance.” Yes, I know it is a song…a fine song at that…but something had to spur me to think it was worthy of mentioning in a post. I’m pretty sure I was watching something on television or a movie, but I don’t know what it would be…except that Fred Astaire was not a member of the cast.

3) “Hootenanny.” Was it the television show? Was it a memory of the hootenanny we had at our high school when I was a senior? Was I a senior that year? Does anybody use that term anymore without a sneer in their voice? I dunno.

***

Not all of my notes are complete blanks, however. There are a few that I may still use, but the original idea has fled my memory. Here are a few examples:

1) “Lack of tolerance on Facebook.” Really? Something I saw was so egregious that I planned to compose a post about it? It boggles the mind. I would like to think that I set the bar a little higher than that. Though people reading this post may not agree.

2) “Can’t snap my fingers.” My fingers often feel too stiff to snap my fingers, but that doesn’t seem like a topic worth much time in a post. That’s probably why it has been laying fallow in my notes folder.

3) “Emmylou makes me feel old.” Well, I know that note grew out of a television appearance I saw recently when Emmylou Harris performed. She is still a very attractive woman, but she is starting to show some age in her face. For that reason watching her was making me feel old(er). I probably planned on posting a list of things that make me feel old. Perhaps that is what the “Can’t snap my fingers” fits in.

Well, I’ve cleared six items from my list. I may clear out more the next time I want to post but have nothing to share.

Oatmeal

I'm feeling artsy today
I’m feeling artsy today

What says artsy more than a black and white photograph that started out as a digital photo that has been gray-scaled? Well, maybe one that has been grey-scaled and then had patches of color added. Perhaps I’ll try that later.

***

I’m sure I am not the only person to think of this, but it was a new idea to me. I usually buy plain instant oatmeal so that I can better control my sugar intake. Normally I will zap it in the microwave and then add a packet of sweetener and a dash of cinnamon. It’s good. It isn’t great, but it is good. This morning I decided to try something different, so before zapping the bowl’s contents, I added a couple drops of orange extract. After cooking, I added my packet of sweetener, stirred thoroughly and ate the gloop. I love it! It is better than what I have been doing, and certainly better than the flavored stuff that you find in the grocery store. I’ll be making more experiments, vanilla extract is next on my list, but I’ll also be trying dry ingredients such as powdered lemon peel. This could make breakfast fun again.

***

Cindy and I were in Manchester, England just over ten years ago. She went as a presenter at an International conference, discussing drug courts, cooperation with other law enforcement entities and such. I took vacation time and paid my own way. We took a side trip to Paris, France on the way home. Perhaps I’ll post about that trip at some point, but for now I just wanted to set the background.

I was looking at pictures from that trip a couple of weeks ago and noticed that in some of the pictures taken in Paris, I’m wearing a shirt that is still in my closet. It doesn’t just hang there, I wear it fairly often in the summer. The point is, I seldom discard anything for which I still have a use. I gave up trying to dress contemporarily a long time ago. Cindy still tries to get me to be more fashionable, but it seldom works. I’m an old fuddy-duddy who doesn’t plan to change unless forced to.

A day with the grandkids

Macey, our oldest granddaughter
Macey, our oldest granddaughter

The picture is of Macey, our oldest granddaughter. She is eating some of the birthday cake she baked and decorated for Maely. We were luck to see her; she came by between her two jobs. She’ll be a senior in high school this year, which doesn’t seem possible.

***

Maely’s birthday party wasn’t the only time I spent with the grandkids on Sunday. I went to an early movie with my grandson, Mason. It was his idea. We went to see The Wolverine. We both enjoyed it…a lot. Part of my enjoyment came from the fact that I could give him some insight into the characters, since I was around and reading comics when most of the characters came into the Marvel Universe. I was surprised that he wanted to see the movie with me rather than with his friends. He knows how to make this geezer feel good.

There won’t be any spoilers about The Wolverine in this post. I’ll just say that I enjoyed it more than the third X-Men and the first Wolverine movie. Maybe it is because, to me, it fit better into the Marvel mythology.

Since it was an early showing on Sunday, Mason and I were almost alone in the theater. The other viewers sat closer to the back, so if they talked or used their cell phones, we weren’t bothered. I was surprised that one pair left as soon as the credits started rolling. They must not have known that Marvel movies always have a teaser for future movies in the middle of the credits. Mason and I, of course, stayed long enough to watch the teaser.

Oh, and the trailer for the next Thor movie looked pretty good to me. I hope that Mason will want to go to that movie with me in November. If we go together, however, I’ll not sit in the double-wide seat because it was very uncomfortable.

There isn’t much to say today

The birthday girl and cake
The birthday girl and cake

Trina (on the left) had a birthday party for Maely yesterday, and we went to it, of course. The cake in this picture was baked and decorated by Maely’s older sister Macey. Under all of that fantastic icing was a tie-dyed interior. It was amazing to behold; and I’m told it tasted pretty good as well. Those are two granddaughters of whom I am very proud.

***

We traded in my Olds Intrigue when we got Cindy’s new car last week. When I was clearing all of my “stuff” out of the Olds I realized that there was a lot of loose change in it, mainly in the glove box. I loaded it into a bag and brought it in for counting. It came to a total of $6.18. There was $2.98 just in pennies. I didn’t realize that I had been through so many fast food drive-thrus in the past eleven or twelve years.

I’m now driving Cindy’s old Olds Alero. It is slightly newer than my Intrigue, but about a foot shorter, so there isn’t much leg room. I don’t plan on making any long trips in it, but it is fine for driving around town.

***

There isn’t much more to share today, other than I have been having fun playing around with new (to me) software for editing home video files, that I can then post on Facebook. I’ve done one today, and plan on doing one more from Maely’s birthday party yet today.