Friday, January 31, 2014

Sorry postal workers, it was FedEx’s screw up

reddick door

I withdraw my unfounded accusations that the post office mis-delivered my package on Wednesday. I jumped to a conclusion and now apologize.

I went to the post office this morning and the postmaster and clerk put the FedEx tracking number into their system multiple times and each time they failed to find any record that the package had been delivered to the post office, which is how I expect Smartpost to work.

They suggested that FedEx never delivered the package – containing an electric fence charger, purchased to dissuade Dora from tunneling out under the back yard chain link fence – to the post office and urged me to contact FedEx.

The FedEx database says the package was delivered to my front door at 9:01 a.m. on Wednesday.

It was not.

At my request, a woman with the Jonesboro FedEx office called me and then queried the driver who handled my package.

She reported the driver couldn’t find our address, so he guessed at it and left it on the front porch of the house across our cul-de-sac. So why didn’t our neighbors see it and call us? Because they do all of their to-ing and fro-ing through their garage door and only rarely use their front door.

After checking the front doors of two other houses, I finally found the right one with my package sitting where the FedEx driver left it two days ago.

I dropped by the post office this afternoon to acknowledge the mistake was not theirs and to thank them for their efforts.

Part of the confusion arose from the fact that the 22-digit tracking number began with 9, which is usually an indicator that it is to be delivered to the post office used by the recipient.

Whatever. Mystery solved. Now I can move on to other matters, like figuring out how our LLC and our downtown office building purchase will affect our taxes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fucked again by the Post Office

Dora has won a reprieve, of sorts.

The FedEx Smartpost system delivered the electric fence charger I ordered from to the Brookland Post Office at 9:01 a.m. yesterday.

There were three packages waiting for me in one of the larger package boxes when I picked up the mail, but they were a couple of Amazon
Vine program items and a dog game.

It appears that the woman who sorts the packages put my fence charger into another package box and stuck the key into someone else’s post office box. When I went in search of my package this afternoon, it was not to be found in any of the parcel boxes, suggesting someone picked it up and took it home. Since it wasn’t returned to the post office today as misdelivered, it may be that whoever got it plans to keep it.

This is the second time in two months that this woman has put one of my packages in the wrong parcel box. I don’t want to seem vindictive, but I’ve always thought of the U.S. Postal Service as having a sacred trust with the American people to make sure we get our mail.

My sea was green


Sometime in early 1953, a friend of my mother’s gave her a Sea Scouts uniform they figured would fit me.

It did and it inspired me to create a make-believe PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat in the back yard of our new (to us) home at 917 E. Columbia St., in Delphi, Ind. It didn’t have any torpedoes, but it did have a makeshift rear-firing machine gun and a mast topped with a 48-star U.S. flag.

I can date the photo with reasonable accuracy because we moved into the house in April, 1953 and I started wearing glasses around June, 1953.

Although my parents were Democrats, the legend of John F. Kennedy and PT 109 had not yet entered the public consciousness, so my little project was not Kennedy-inspired. World War II had only been over about eight years and my lifelong fascination with the war already had me in its grip.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Updating a blogpost from 10 years ago

Ever play the "degrees of separation" game? The one where you figure out how many acquaintances separate you from someone else - usually famous.
One degree would be someone you've actually met and spoken with. Two degrees would be someone they've met, and on and on.
Like, for instance, there are four degrees of separation between me and Adolf Hitler: My German friend Irmi (1 degree) is the daughter of a seamstress (2 degrees) who did personal work for Eva Braun (3 degrees) who, of course, was the eventual wife of Hitler (4 degrees).
So here's what comes to mind at the moment:

Former Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels (1 degree)

Former Ind. Gov. Otis Bowen (1 degree)

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1 degree)

The Beach Boys (1 degree)

Natalie Cole (1 degree)

Buckminster Fuller (1 degree)

Doreen Tracey (original Mouseketeer)(1 degree)

Jazz Saxophonist Rick Margitza (1 degree)

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (1 degree)

Arkansas Atty. Gen. Dustin McDaniel (1 degree)

Penn Jillette (2 degrees)

Carlos Santana (2 degrees)

George W. Bush (2 degrees)

Chick Corea (2 degrees)

Tony Blair (3 degrees)

Vladimir Putin (3 degrees)

George H. W. Bush (2 degrees)

Dan Quayle (2 degrees)

Ronald Reagan (2 degrees)

Margaret Thatcher (3 degrees)

The Beatles (2 degrees)

The Rolling Stones (2 degrees)

Nat King Cole (2 degrees)

Walt Disney (2 degrees)

Michael Eisner (2 degrees)

Billy Graham (2 degrees)

Willie Nelson (2 degrees)

Barbara Mandrell (2 degrees)

Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) (2 degrees)

Bob Dylan (3 degrees)

Tom Petty (3 degrees)

Roy Orbison (3 degrees)

Donovan (2 degrees)

The Who (3 degrees)

Queen Elizabeth II (3 degrees)

Prince Charles (3 degrees)

Princess Diana (3 degrees)

Weird Al Yankovic (2 degrees)

Hermann Göring (4 degrees)

Heinrich Himmler (4 degrees)

Albert Speer (4 degrees)

Josef Göbbels (4 degrees)

Tom Brokaw (2 degrees)

Jim Davis (creator of Garfield)(1 degree)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Upping the ante


Dora continues to dig at the fence line but, thanks to our constant vigilance, she hasn’t tunneled out again.

After discussing the problem with BMW friends Charlie and Deb, I decided an electric fence is appropriate. I ordered this model, designed specifically for pet containment, from It is supposed to arrive on Wednesday and I’ll set it up as soon as weather permits.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jazz brunch at Boscos


Charlie and Deb thanked us for dog-sitting their Weimaraner Liese by treating us to the Sunday jazz brunch at Boscos in Memphis today.

As usual, the food and ambiance were perfect. And, as usual, I ate too much.

So it goes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why I won’t buy a Kermit chair


Behold the Kermit chair, long considered the premiere motorcycle camping chair.

Many, if not most, of my BMW motorcycle friends own at least one of these and carry them to rallies and other events. They are considered a de rigueur accessory, at least in the BMW motorcycle community. (That means you can’t be cool without one.)

The Kermit chair disassembles into a relatively small package that goes into a 4”x22” sack and weighs about 5.3 pounds.

Even when I had more disposable income to play with, I couldn’t see spending $139 for a camping chair that still needed $40 leg extensions to achieve a comfortable height. But the 22” packed dimension was the real deal-breaker for me. I just hate the idea of giving up that much packing space on my bike for a chair.

But the older I get, the more I require the comfort of a camp chair. Sitting on the ground is very uncomfortable for me and I can only stand for so long before that becomes tiresome.

walmart chairSo I came to the realization that it makes more economic sense to ride to the rally venue without a chair, set up my tent and dump my stuff, and ride to the nearest Walmart – there are 4,177 of them in the U.S. – and buy a reasonably comfortable cheapo $7 folding chair to use for the duration of the rally. They even come with a built-in cup holder or two that would cost me another $18 on a Kermit chair, pushing the Kermit cost (with leg extenders) to $197. At the end of the rally, I pack my tent and other gear and donate the Walmart chair to whoever wants it.

For $197, I can buy, use and abandon 28 Walmart folding chairs. If I were to go to all the rallies I can stand this year – Daytona, European Riders Rally, BMW RA, BMW MOA, and Falling Leaf – and repeat that pace year after year, it will take me more than five years to spend as much as a tricked-out Kermit chair costs. (I only made it to two rallies last year, so five a year is pushing it for me.)

Besides, I don’t have to worry about someone stealing my chair.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The battle of wits continues

dora fence I wish Dora had waited for warmer weather to begin this battle of wits.

Maria and I labored in sub-freezing temperatures yesterday afternoon to close her latest escape tunnel and head off more digging in the immediate area. Fortunately, we have plenty of logs from the tree we had cut down a couple of months ago, so we are prepared to extend the barricade as needed until we can effect a more lasting remedy.

In the meantime, she’s spending less time outside and is under constant surveillance while in the back yard.

She and Jack seemed fixated on something in the woods last night. When I scanned the area with my tactical LED flashlight, I saw five or more pairs of eyes lit up and looking back at me. I couldn’t tell if they were coyotes or deer. I certainly don’t want my dogs tangling with coyotes. Jack could probably take care of himself, but they would probably make a meal of Dora.

Time to put new batteries and a fresh memory card into the trailcam and see what’s out there.

Now that’s a knife


Here’s Darrell, a representative of Sharp Select, doing a tomato slicing demonstration last evening at the Jonesboro Sam’s Club.

I was there on a grocery run when I got seduced into watching his sales pitch on the promise of a free paring knife. The deluxe knife set he was selling looked like a pretty good deal for under $50, but we really don’t need any new knives.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

She did it again

dora tunnel 2

Dora dug her way out of the back yard again this morning.

I discovered her escape when I prepared to kennel the dogs so they would be warm (it’s 19 degrees) and safe while I went in to town to run some errands.

Once again, I ran outside through the garage and shouted for her several times in different directions. About a minute later, she came racing up from the front yard.

I escorted her to her kennel in the bedroom, kenneled Jack and went out to find the new tunnel. It was about 10 feet to the left of the original escape route, making it clear we’re going to have to take some kind of decisive action to prevent further tunneling under the chainlink fence.

In the meantime, I blocked the access with a couple of plastic lawn chairs which I hope are too awkward and heavy for her to move.

I let her back into the yard later and watched carefully as she examined the barrier, poking her nose in and around the chairs to look for a way under or around them. She finally gave up and walked away, but minutes later was observed digging in a new spot.

Just in case she makes it out again, I put her collar on. It has her rabies tag and a tag with her name and our phone number. In addition, both of our dogs are microchipped.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gone but not forgotten


Meet Calvin and Lucille Banks, who owned and operated the Goobertown Grocery for more than 15 years before retiring a year or two ago and moving away.

They lived in the back of the store, which was sold and razed within the last year. I’ll let you know when I find out what will replace it.

Their biggest seller was a line of custom made Goobertown t-shirts and bumper stickers. We’re given Goobertown shirts to several friends and relatives, including a former coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

S/W Ver: 96.B0.0FR

Here’s good friend Lauri Schillings celebrating Goobertown in style.

Hund Stalag #1

dora escapeDora has a troubling habit of digging in the back yard.

I’ve resigned myself to the realization that I have lots of holes to fill before I can mow this spring. I’m willing to indulge her as long as she doesn’t dig too deep and get into the septic finger system or try to tunnel out under the chain link fence.

As you have already guessed, the latter happened yesterday.

We wanted to bring the dogs in while we ate dinner last night, but couldn’t find Dora. We called for her out the back door and I went into the back yard and scanned the area for her unsuccessfully. We looked in all of her favorite hiding places inside the house.

Then Maria spied her looking at Jack through the back fence. She was outside the fence, where she has absolutely no business. We dashed outside through the garage and called her and she raced into Maria’s arms from the back of the property.

We had a couple of very upsetting lost dog separations with Pete back in Indiana so I get panicked thinking about Jack or Dora running away.

I walked the perimeter of the fence and found the spot on the west side of the yard where she had dug a Dora-size tunnel under the wire. We have a pile of bricks left over from the construction of the house, so I loaded a bunch of them into the wheelbarrow and Maria and I used them to close off the tunnel and its approaches. I left the wheelbarrow propped up against the outside of the fence for good measure.

When we next let her into the yard, she went straight to the tunnel site and examined it, then walked away with apparent disappointment.

We’ve won this round, but I keep thinking about the movie The Great Escape and imagining that we’re the commandants of Hund Stalag #1, just waiting for the next breakout attempt.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random stuff

It’s time for a blogpost of random thoughts, since I’m too lazy to crank out an essay on any particular subject.

  • Lunching yesterday at Five Guys Burgers & Fries, I noticed as guy in a Nike golf jacket wearing a duck call on a lanyard around his neck. He didn’t look like a duck hunter, certainly not like the Duck Commander guys, but there it was.
  • I don’t like the Travelocity Gnome. He reminds me of someone I know and dislike.
  • I’m starting to have thoughts about riding to Daytona Beach Bike Week in March. Now that I have a hardwired plug for my heated electric clothing, I’m way better prepared for a chilly 1,000-mile ride than I was last year.
  • I did 2.21 miles in 40 minutes on the treadmill this morning and find I have to work harder to get my heart rate up. Conversely, my recovery time has improved dramatically.
  • I finally got down to our downtown office building to replace missing the electrical outlet cover plate in the lobby of one of the two businesses. It went walkabout last year when exterminators treated the place for termites.
  • Tomorrow’s to-do list includes a haircut, getting a new LLC endorsement stamp made to reflect the new name of our bank, and making an appointment with a CPA to see how the LLC affects our tax preparation this year.
  • Waking up with an adorable blue merle Aussie in bed between us is a wonderful thing. Dora likes it too, as she luxuriates in the folds of the down comforter.
  • I can’t find a new book to like on my Amazon Kindle. Maybe tonight…

Monday, January 20, 2014

Federal holidays

Today’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, reminded me that Federal holidays are an annoying inconvenience once you’re retired.

They represent an interruption in mail and banking services. Fortunately, recent weather-related school closures have caused some of the area schools to use MLK Day as a snow makeup day, so Maria is able to continue her fun work as a substitute teacher.

I say fun work because she seems to enjoy it more than any job she’s had since I’ve known her. She comes home every day with charming and funny anecdotes about the kids she encounters.

The only downside is that she gets exposed to cold germs. Fortunately, she has not passed any cold or flu bugs to me.

I was going through some photos on my hard drive this morning and came across this reminder of how much I hate Indiana winters and don’t care to experience another.

subaru in snow

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mount Rushmore, July 1990


This was my last long ride on my 1981 BMW K100RS – my first serious sport touring motorcycle.

I was attending the 1990 BMW Motorcycle Owners of America International Rally at Rapid City, S.D. and was on a day ride to Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse sculpture with Tim and Linda Balough. This was back when parking was free at Mount Rushmore.

After the rally, we rode down to Breckenridge, Colo. for a week with other Indianapolis BMW Club friends before riding home to Indianapolis.

I retired the R100RS the following June when I bought a 1991 K100RS. I ended up selling the R-bike with about 80,000 miles on the odometer, to a young fire fighter who pretty much rode it to death. It was a beautiful machine and it changed my life. It broke my heart to see how badly it had been abused when I noticed it outside the service department at Revard BMW Motorcycles ten years later.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Something I miss about winter


Our homes are warmer in winter and cooler in summer, thanks in part to double-pane windows, but those of us who live in colder latitudes gave up something exquisitely beautiful in exchange for comfort.

Frost on our windows.

I’d forgotten how beautiful it could be until I saw it in a Russian woman’s photos of her kids and her farm. I poked around on Google to find this example.

I remember being absolutely enchanted by frosty designs like this on the windows of my first childhood home at 609 E. Franklin St., in Delphi, Ind.

I think my sons may have experienced it when we all lived in Indianapolis in an older home on North College Avenue.

I’m sure I haven’t seen it since and I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed it until now.

Isle Royale revisited


Here are two more images from that 1976 backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park.

The top photo is of lunch at the foot of the Mount Ojibway fire tower. The bottom picture is a mixed review of the freeze-dried dinner at our Moskey Basin campsite. I think it was chicken a la king, but I can’t be sure. Sean liked it more than Steve did, quite obviously. That’s my Frostline kit tent in the background.


Friday, January 17, 2014

One of my favorite photos and memories


This is one of my favorite photos of my sons Sean (on the left) and Steve.

I shot it at sunrise on a late June morning in 1976 on a backpacking vacation to Isle Royale National Park.

Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior and is probably America’s least-visited national park because it’s only accessible by seaplane and ferry and is open from April 15 through Nov. 1. There are no roads or motor vehicles on the island and the last time I checked it has no year-round residents, other than wildlife which includes wolves and moose.

My first wife Diane, who is the mother of my sons, and I visited Isle Royale the previous summer and wanted to share the experience with the boys. We flew out from Houghton, Mich. to Rock Harbor, a small cluster of buildings on the east end of the island and took the ferry back.

We all slept in a big ripstop nylon tent that I sewed a few years earlier, working with a kit from Frostline, a Colorado company that made sew-it-yourself kits for tents, sleeping bags, down-filled jackets, 60/40 mountain parkas and other stuff. And we survived for a week on freeze-dried camping food as we hiked from one campground to another along Moskey Basin on the east end of the island.

We had encounters with moose and other wildlife and did a day hike up to a fire tower on Mount Ojibway along the rocky backbone of the island. The tower was manned in those days, but now it just houses a bunch of weather recording apparatus, the National Park Service having decided it is impractical to try to fight a forest fire in such a remote location and, therefore, pointless to maintain a fire watch in the island’s two towers.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Slim pickings


folding knife

It was slim pickings when the wraps came off of the Jan. 16 Amazon Vine Program offerings this afternoon.

No refrigerators, no printers, no vacuum cleaners. The biggest items were a couple of tabletop gas grills that didn’t interest me.

So I opted to have them send me a $25 stand-up cover for my Paperwhite Kindle and a $40 folding knife. Already-published reviews suggest the Kindle cover is a piece of junk, but I’ll give it a fair evaluation, as I will with the knife.

The day begins


I’m enjoying my morning mocha cappuccino in my reusable Starbucks go-cup before we motor in to town for a meeting with a financial consultant.

The aim is to protect our assets and improve our cash flow.

More later.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Going, going…


I drove to town this afternoon to run some errands, including stopping at Lowe’s to pick up a dark brown electrical outlet plate for our downtown rental property.

Much to my amazement, Lowe’s has no plates in dark brown plastic. They have huge sections for white and ivory, but no dark brown.

Then my eyes fell upon a huge supply of soon-to-be-extinct 60 watt incandescent light bulbs. By EPA (Employment Prevention Agency) decree, these are not to be produced after Jan. 1, but stores are permitted to sell their remaining stocks.

I bought four eight-packs at $4.48 per package because I want a good supply of them for the chandelier that hangs over our kitchen table.

Curiously, the ACE hardware on U.S. 49 is out of dark brown switch and outlet plates, but an employee ordered some and expects to have them by Friday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My first ride of the new year

first ride of 2014We needed milk and some other stuff from the Dollar General down the road and the temperature is 60 degrees. It would be wrong to waste such a riding opportunity, so I fired up the K75S and cruised on down to the store.

Let’s hope 2014 turns out to be a better riding year for me than last year was.

Paying attention


Returning from the post office this morning, I noticed someone has posted a Neighborhood Watch sign at the entrance to our small subdivision.

watch04Nobody has ever contacted me about being part of an organized program of neighborhood crime vigilance and I doubt if any such formal watch structure exists here.

Nevertheless, I and several of our neighbors, pay close attention to comings and goings along our dead-end road just off a major U.S. highway.

At least two of us are retired guys who are here most of the time. I scrutinize every vehicle that comes into our cul-de-sac and I know our friend Tony makes the most of his wider field of view of the main street.

And I’m pretty sure that every house has firearms and the will to use them on home invaders.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 was my worst riding year in 27 years

k12002013 k752013 I finally got around to calculating my BMW motorcycle mileage for 2013 this morning and the result is singularly depressing.

I only rode 5,016 miles last year, making it my lowest mileage year since I started keeping records in 1986. I put 2,986 miles on the 1003 K1200GT and 2,030 miles on the 1994 K75S.

I had high hopes for 2013 that included Daytona Beach Bike Week, the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky., in May, the BMWRA Rally in Asheville, N.C. in June, the BMWMOA Rally in Salem, Ore. in July, and the Falling Leaf Rally in Potosi, Mo. in October.

But health and cash flow problems intervened and conspired to keep me home much of the riding season, so I never made it to the Euro Riders Rally, the RA, and the MOA. If things had gone as planned, I would have racked up more than the 10,000 miles required for a 10K award from the Indianapolis BMW Club.

My wish list for 2014 includes Daytona (maybe), Burkesville, the MOA in Minneapolis and Potosi. As long as I’m dreaming, a Western tour including Portland and Las Vegas to see both of my sons and a visit to the Baloughs in Alma, Colo. would make me very happy.

We shall see.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Free coffee

starbuxI’m in town, running some errands, so I brought one of my empty Starbucks coffee sacks to swap for a tall dark roast (bottom right of photo).

The roads are thawed and just wet as the temperatures hover in the mid-30s. We expect a high around 50 tomorrow, so the nasty weather is over for now.

I had high hopes about getting in three visits to the gym this week, but it was not to be. Tomorrow, for sure.

Glancing at a copy of today’s Arkansas Democrat Gazette (the big paper in Little Rock) someone left on the counter, I notice that all of their page 1 art is from the AP, as are the dominant stories above the fold.  At least they haven’t whored out their front page for advertising like The Jonesboro Sun and The Indianapolis Star.

Just enough ice to call off school


As we expected, the school districts where Maria is a substitute teacher were all closed today because of freezing rain and the resulting icing.

It was just enough ice to make driving treacherous, while not taking down branches or power lines. The temperature rose above the freezing mark by noon and the sound of melted ice falling from the trees makes it sound like a gentle rain.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A tale of two tailless dogs

dora spayed

I brought Dora home from the Animal Medical Center about 10:30 a.m., some 25 hours after I dropped her off to be spayed.

When Dr. Heather Curry brought her into the waiting room, I expected an excited greeting. Instead, she acted like she didn’t know me. Aussies are well known for their range of emotional responses and this felt like a deliberate snub, as if to say, “Thanks a lot for putting me through hell, asshole!”

It wasn’t until we were halfway home that she started looking me in the eye and acknowledging that there might be some familial or emotional connection between us. (You can see how she looked away in this photo taken in the car outside the vet’s office.) She perked up even more once we got into the house and I gave her some food in her kennel.

liese charlieWe have some antibiotic and pain pills for her with instructions to bring her back to the vet in 10 days for a checkup. In the meantime, she’s not supposed to run, jump, or otherwise put a strain on her incision. That means isolate her from Jack and Liese.

Keeping her away from Liese got easier this afternoon when Charlie and Deb showed up to claim their suddenly ecstatic Weimaraner. Charlie is home after extensive medical abuse in Little Rock and needs Liese’s companionship to help him heal and regain his strength.

He looks pretty chipper for all he’s gone through in the past few months, but he conceded this afternoon and Daytona Beach Bike Week is off the table for this year.

I may go anyway if it turns out that Indianapolis BMW friends will be there. Otherwise, I’ll skip it too.

A pedophile for your Christmas tree? How about an out-of-control young Jersey Shore hedonist?


I chauffeured Maria to and from her substitute teaching gig in Paragould earlier this week when the doors of her Subaru were frozen shut.

Coming home Monday afternoon, she asked to stop at Walgreens to buy some hairspray and, of course, we had to browse the on-sale Christmas items which were being blown out at 75% off.

That’s where I saw these Christmas tree ornaments that struck me as wildly inappropriate. I guess a lot of people shared my view, because there was a good supply of Michael Jackson and Pauly D ornaments that remained unsold.



Monday, January 06, 2014

Monday morning report

Yes, it’s cold. It was 9° at 9 a.m. and the forecast is for a high of 11° before it drops down to an overnight low of 7°.

But it beats the hell out of being snowed in without electricity in below zero weather in my old neighborhood in Indianapolis, trying to keep warm and waiting for the pipes to freeze and burst.

I’m sitting at my desk in the upstairs office, which – thanks to the lack of insulation in the garage roof – is the coldest place in the house. It’s 52° up here, but I’m reasonably comfortable in my heavy corduroy pants, a turtleneck and my Willis & Geiger Diaplex pullover.

We expected all of the area schools to be closed today because of the extreme (for northeast Arkansas) cold. But Maria got a call at 6 a.m. inviting her to be a substitute teacher at Greene County Tech Elementary School in Paragould, so we were up and gone before sunrise.

I’m sure her Subaru’s doors are welded shut from yesterday’s rain and plummeting temperatures, so I drove her to work in the Lexus which I had the foresight to park in the garage. The garage is unheated, but it was still 45° in there this morning. Just the right temperature to chill the Beck’s and Leinenkugel beer.

After a backyard bathroom break and breakfast, all three dogs are snugly ensconced in their kennels and nobody is complaining.

We had several power dropouts after midnight and Liese, the visiting Weimaraner found them very disturbing. The only way we could get her to settle down was to let her sleep on the bed with us, something Dora protested with a couple of WTF? barks.

I got back from taking Maria to work about 7:20 a.m. and there have been no dropouts since, so maybe the grid is stabilizing.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Watching the temperature drop

Looks like we’ve been spared the snow, but the cold front is advancing rapidly.

The temperature was 47 when I drove in to town for my morning workout at 10 a.m. Now, at 4 p.m., it’s down to 25 and still dropping.

It was well below freezing by 1 p.m. when I brought the Lexus into the garage. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer because the doors were starting to freeze from the quarter inch of rain we got early this morning.

I suspect there will be lots of moviegoers at the Malco Theater on the southside of Jonesboro who come out to frozen doors this afternoon and evening.

A check of WISH-TV’s web site shows about a foot of snow in Lebanon and Jamestown, Ind., so I guess we’re in a better place.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Waiting for snow and cold


I was not surprised to learn this afternoon that my 68-year-old nervous system is not calibrated for Chuck E. Cheese’s.

We journeyed to the kiddie restaurant today for the fourth birthday part of Morgan’s boyfriend’s daughter. It was perfect for a little kid and I enjoyed watching her having fun, but it sure felt good to walk out of there into the relatively quiet parking lot.

Friends and family in Indiana are hunkering down for what could be the biggest winter event since the Blizzard of 1978. The forecast here is for an inch or two of snow followed by the coldest temperatures in 15-20 years.

Being expatriate Hoosiers, we’re not worried. We can bundle up and wait it out. But it’s a sure thing that the schools will be closed because they aren’t designed to stay warm in such cold weather. Ditto the school buses with their wimpy heaters. Ditto the kids, many of whom don’t have warm winter clothing.

In other news, it appears that Dora is in heat. Our first clue was this morning when we noticed Jack was in a state of high arousal. Naturally, this occurs on a weekend.

I’ve been putting off taking Dora in for spaying, but it looks like we’d better get it done Monday morning.

A litter of Jack and Dora puppies would be a joy but:

  1. She shouldn’t breed until she’s a couple of years old and
  2. Our cash flow can’t accommodate the vet bills for a litter of puppies right now.

So it goes.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

At least one bad habit

liesechairLiese, the Weimaraner staying with us, will take at least one bad habit home with her.

Charlie and Deb don’t allow her on the furniture. But we have no problem with her lounging on our leather living room furniture and she clearly loves the comfort.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Meet the new year, same as the old year?


We all have hopes for the coming year, but 2014 looks just like 2013 to Liese, the visiting Weimaraner.

We went to bed about 9:45 p.m. and slept through whatever neighborhood celebration there was. There must not have been much fireworks or the dog would have stirred and awakened us.

At last report, Charlie and Deb are coming home this weekend – maybe even Friday – so Liese can be reunited with her “parents” and go home. We hope she hasn’t picked up any bad habits during her stay with us.

My friend who thought she had a fortune in Beanie Babies took the news of a flatlined Beanie Baby market gracefully and brought me a $400 Coach handbag to sell for her on Ebay. I hope to get it listed yet today.


Dora greeted 2014 this morning from the luxurious folds of a down comforter on our bed. She started the night in her kennel, but signaled that she needed some backyard time about 2:30 a.m. After I let her, Jack and Liese back in, she asked to join us in bed, so I gave her a lift and that’s where she stayed the rest of the night. She is a perpetual source of joy.

Her breeder reports that her mom – Mercy – is expecting another litter by the same father – later this month. It will be fun seeing the photos they post.

Here’s Dora and her littermates with their mom back last May.

mercy mom

I think that’s Dora on the far right.