To Las Vegas and back 2016 – Day 8


Let me start with a confession. After we got the news about our plumbing disaster, I stopped making notes for future blog posts. Oh, I made a couple on the trip home, but not while we were in Las Vegas. I didn’t even take any pictures for the first few days of our week in Sin City. Most of the pictures I did take were of our youngest grandson, Wyatt. This is the first picture I took after our arrival three days earlier. End of confession.

You may be wondering why we didn’t immediately turn around and drive back to Indiana. That’s a legitimate question. First, Trina and JR were back there, looking after our interests; and Trina encouraged us to stay and try to enjoy our vacation. Second, Cindy had gone online with her laptop the previous evening and had filed our claim with the homeowners insurance policy that we had been paying into for twenty-six years. She had also called our Insurance Agent and left a voice mail asking her to call us back immediately. Third, we wanted to see Wyatt who would be celebrating his third birthday while we were in Las Vegas. And fourth, we had friends flying in from Indiana who would be staying at the time share with us. What could we do in Indiana? So we drove to Las Vegas.

The drive from Kingman, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada takes approximately ninety minutes. We were both anxious to get on the road, so we skipped the free continental breakfast, and instead got coffee and breakfast sandwiches from a fast food place. Cindy even let me drive, so I was very careful through the somewhat mountainous stretches.

Cindy called ahead to our time share to find out when we could check in. They told her 4 p.m., which meant we would be waiting a long time once we got to Vegas. So we called Lee and he told us to come to his house to wait. That was good.

When we arrived, Wyatt was taking a nap and would be down for quite some time…we were not to disturb him. So we sat and talked to Lee about what was going on back in Indiana and in Las Vegas. Mary and George’s flight from Indiana would be coming in later in the day. After a while I started to get antsy, and though it was only 2 p.m., I decided to leave Cindy with Lee and drive to the time share to see if we could get in earlier. When I got there, I was happy to learn that we could get in immediately. So I checked in, got key cards for all of us, drove to our building, and unpacked the car. It felt good to be doing something useful.

The rest of the day is pretty much a blur to me. I drove back to Lee and Michelle’s. Later Cindy and I went to the airport to pick up Mary and George. We took them to the timeshare, and we went out to eat. That’s about it for my memory.

The Thumper Challenge

Early spring
Early spring

I took this picture back in early April, but never used it. Since I haven’t taken any photos recently (with one exception that is already in a Draft post) I decided to go back and pull this from my archived pictures. I hope that you like it.


I found myself awake at 4 a.m. today. None of the things that normally help me get back to sleep were working, and I found myself thinking about a situation that has been bothering Cindy. I won’t describe the situation because it really isn’t relevant, but it involved people saying unkind things about other people. That stirred my thoughts. For some reason Thumper, from the Disney film Bambi came to mind. Thumper’s father told him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Those who know me are aware that I am not an overly friendly person, and that I have said unkind things about others. I can have a very sharp tongue and have been known to use it. I know that I have written cruel things about other people. It is a fault that I am aware of. I want to be a better person; but I know that I am weak.

We live in a society where it feels that saying cruel, hurtful things is the norm rather than the exception. When we look around us we see prosecuting lawyers who make careers by telling juries how bad a defendant is. Lawyers in civil cases cast aspersions on people (remember, corporations are people too) who are the other side of the case.

Since most politicians are lawyers, is it any wonder that there is so much negativity in the political realm? Yes I know that I just said an unkind thing about politicians. It is a particular habit that is harder to break than smoking.

We also see it in entertainment. Every day on television there are people who are claiming that someone else is not a worthy person. It is on the news, on “reality” television programming, and even in drama and comedy presentations. Heck, Don Rickles built his career insulting people. And we laugh…even I laugh.

I am not saying that everyone should get a free pass from criticism. That is not practical, nor is it wise. But surely the level of negative speech can diminished without harm to society. Not every fault needs to openly discussed ad nauseam. It often demeans us.

So here is my strategy for working to become a better person. I am setting a challenge for myself. I call it The Thumper Challenge because I am setting the small goal of not saying anything negative about anybody for twenty-four hours. If I am successful I will try to go a further twenty-four hours, and so on. If I can’t do it for a full day, I’ll try again the next day. I know that it is going to be difficult; doubly so since it is a presidential election year.

I hope that you’ll consider taking the challenge as well. If you do take the challenge. please let me know how you do. You can come back and leave a comment, or send me an email at Good luck.

What hath we wrought?

Stately old farm house
Stately old farm house

I took this photo last week when the sun had only been up for about an hour. It is one of my favorite times of day to take pictures because of the shadows that you get on sunny mornings. I have a few more pictures that I took on that morning, and I’ll be sharing some of them here.


I have always enjoyed being compared to my father. He was the finest person I have ever known. I don’t really enjoy being compared to my mother. She has some flaws. But I have to admit that I have some of those same flaws. For instance, yesterday I started coughing, which is not an unusual thing, but I felt a sharp pain in my upper right side. Being (partially) my mother’s son, my first reaction was “LUNG CANCER!!” However, upon twenty-four hours of reflection, and mentally going over my final bequests, I have decided that it is more likely that I pulled a muscle doing yard work. That is my father’s influence kicking in.

Like it or not, we are all products of the people who are around us when we are growing up. I suppose that means that even my sister, She Who Must Not Be Named, had some influence over whom I became. That’s enough to give one pause. In fact, I’ll probably not sleep much tonight as I start trying to figure out what I may have picked up from her.

Trina and Lee, Cindy’s children, had already received their imprinting from their parents and various grandparents before I came on the scene, so I can claim nothing good nor bad in their characters. The grandchildren? I don’t see that I’ve had much influence on them…certainly not the girls. Perhaps a little with our older grandson, Mason…the good stuff only, of course. Only time will tell.

To think; this blog post grew out of a simple cough. Hmm.

Reality sets in

The culprit
The culprit

WARNING! This post is all about me! Nothing new? Well, that’s a fair observation.

I posted to this blog yesterday, but then came back and Trashed the post an hour or so later. If you were notified of the post but couldn’t find it, I’m sorry for the confusion. Blame it on this picture…or perhaps I should say that you need to give credit to this picture.

It is an innocuous picture. It is just an updated version of the picture that I posted on Sunday. It shows the small amount of increase in snow coverage that we received Sunday morning. “No big deal,” you say. I agree.

Except that it became a big deal to me. It became a big deal because I had submitted the picture to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness post for the week. It isn’t anywhere good enough to be included in that post. As I look back, I concede that many of the pictures that I have submitted shouldn’t have been included. I sent an email to Leanne asking her to not include the picture this week. I knew when I submitted the picture that it wasn’t good enough, so why did I send it to her?

The quick and simple answer is that I developed visions of grandeur over my photography skills. I enjoyed showing my photos to a wider audience. It felt good.

But as I started thinking about it, I realized that I had lost sight of a few things. For one, most of the pictures I post are explained with words in Classical Gasbag, but when they appear in Leanne’s blog there is no background information. There is just the picture. My pictures are seldom worth a thousand words. I’m sure that many people, when looking at one of my photos says “What’s this all about then?” When I thought about that, my ego started to deflate a bit. That’s a good thing. Humility is good.

There have been a few times that I posted a picture with the only purpose of having something to send to Leanne. It was addictive. I have been told that I have something of an addictive personality.

I also thought back to when I started Classical Gasbag and remembered that the words had always been more important than the pictures. Sometime in the past year I forgot that basic premise. Like I said, visions of grandeur.

So the upshot of all of this is I will only a submit a picture to Monochrome Madness when I think the picture deserves to be seen outside of the confines of Classical Gasbag. That isn’t likely to happen very often. At least here you may get a glimpse into why I took a particular picture. After all, the words are more important than the picture, and it is all about me.

Words and pictures

Arizona 8/24/2014
Arizona 8/24/2014

I didn’t submit any of the pictures that I took while on vacation for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness posts. I worked on a couple of pictures to use, but I didn’t like how either of them turned out, so I held off. Today it occurred to me the real reason I chose not to submit a picture. Let me try to explain it to you so that you understand the way my mind works.

First, for me, the words are more important to my blog posts than the image is. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but I do fancy that my writing is better than my photography. Feel free to disagree and my feelings won’t be hurt.

Second, there’s a quirk that I have. I feel (not think) that color photos have a sense of immediacy while monochrome photos are more about contemplation. I’ve never read that anywhere and I have nothing scientific to back it up; it is just the way that I view pictures.

For my vacation posts, I decided to use a picture each day that visually said something about that day. That meant that I would use a color photograph because I wanted to say, “This is now.” So that meant I would not submit a vacation photo for Monochrome Madness while those posts were running. Vacation is over and now I can look back and ponder some of the pictures I took. I can grayscale a few of them and look at them in a different way.

And now for a confession. I’ve identified this photo as being in Arizona. I’m not certain that it is in Arizona. We traveled from New Mexico through Arizona, Utah and into Nevada on that day. This picture was taken from a moving car, which meant that Cindy was driving, and that narrows it down to New Mexico, Arizona or a small part of Utah. I’m 80% sure that I took this picture with my cell phone while we were in Arizona. I’m sorry if I am wrong.

Vacation – Day 5


Here is the big reason we were eager to go to Las Vegas this year. Meet Wyatt, our newest grandson. He is a pure delight to be around. If it had been barren land all the way there and back, it would have been worth the drive just to spend time with Wyatt…and his parents, of course.

But, before we could spend time with him, there was an ordeal that we had to endure. Let me ask you, “Have you ever been involved with a time share presentation?” We have. We were originally lured into one in Vegas by the promise of free show tickets. We left the presentation with a monthly bill for the time share. At the time I thought it was a good deal since we go out there at least once every two years. We don’t have to stay with the kids, and it is a nice resort. Now I’m not so sure that it was a great deal.

Once you buy in you don’t have to sit in on any more presentations. But you are always offered the opportunity, and more free show tickets. This year the tickets were for Cirque de Soleil: Mystere at the Treasure Island casino, as well as a free buffet. That almost made it sound worth sitting and being pressured to upgrade. We had no intention to do anything but collect our free tickets. So we signed up for the Monday morning presentation.

We showed up on time, after a phone call to remind us. The sales associate who worked on us was from a different country, but I don’t remember which one. I felt it best to not to become too friendly. It is easier to say no when you are grumpy. He took us to a breakfast buffet which was nothing special. He told us about his personal life, and only mentioned the time share in passing. When we finished eating he took us to a model of the upgraded suites and then back to the area where the sales pitch takes place. Again he was friendly with no hard pressure, and we continued to say no. He wasn’t going to get seven yeses from us!

He seemed about ready to throw in the towel when he went to get the closer. She Was Scary! She was youngish. She had a nice smile. Her eyes were the size of half dollars. She never blinked. She talked so softly that I couldn’t hear her. When I told her that I couldn’t make out what she was saying, she didn’t raise her voice, she just leaned in closer and opened her eyes even wider. She still didn’t blink.

I think that they had just about convinced Cindy that upgrading was a good idea, when they broke it off and walked away, letting us regroup. But I could tell that Cindy kind of wanted to upgrade. So, and here is my confession, I told her that I would cover the closing costs from my private checking account if she would swear to arrange a private loan to escape the usurious interest rates that the time share people charge.  Darn it! She agreed. So we upgraded.

After we got that behind us, we went back to the resort and killed time until it was time to go see Wyatt and Michelle & Lee. We also got to see Michelle’s mother, whom was having a cook out,  and some other friends of theirs, but Wyatt was our main attraction. We made arrangements to babysit him later in the week. Spending time with the young one put a fine ending on a day where we went further into debt. Hey, it’s Vegas.

My embarrassing confession

A different kind of barn
A different kind of barn

I don’t believe I’ve taken a picture of a barn like this one before. I typically look for wooden barns, usually painted red or with all of the paint worn away. I like this barn, also the silo. I’m glad I found it.


The original title of this post was  “My guilty confession.” But then I thought it over and decided that it needed changing. After all, I wouldn’t confess unless I was guilty. And actually, I don’t feel guilty about this confession, but I am embarrassed by it. So, if I’m embarrassed by it, why am I sharing it? Well, it isn’t an embarrassment that makes me blush, but rather one that causes me to grin sheepishly (I guess. I’ve never seen a sheep grin.).

Get to it, you’re thinking, I haven’t got all day. Poor you. I seldom get directly to anything. I sorta meander around a topic, giving useless background, throwing in parenthetical phrases, until I feel that you are ready for the point of the post.

Here goes. I have seen a number of television shows, and a couple of movies with Amanda Pays in the cast. And yet, I couldn’t tell you if she is a good actress. She is winsome. I like her English accent. Can she act? I dunno. She has been in a number of productions, so I must think that she can act. But I couldn’t tell you from first hand observation.

The reason is that I can’t pay attention to her acting. When she is on the screen and speaking, my eyes are invariably drawn to her face, her mouth specifically. I am mesmerized watching her form the words she speaks. I don’t know why that is. It just seems, to me, that she has a unique way forming her words, and I am irresistibly drawn to staring at her mouth.

That’s my embarrassing confession. Do you have a confession that you feel compelled to share? Is it finally time to spill your guts?

If you would like to share a confession with me (I’m probably a total stranger), fill in the form below. If you want to share something with the world at large…well with the people who follow this blog, just make a comment. Oh, and if you want to confess to something illegal, please contact your local police.