Jan. 7, 2006 – Pete the pup’s first trip to the park across the street from our Thorntown house.
Notice Ruthie being a cranky old lady dog glaring from the window and judging. Judging. Judging.
We returned from our morning workout at the fitness center to discover Samantha finished off the bag of trail mix that had been sitting on one of the end tables in the living room for the past week.
She also amused herself by shredding the piece of paper towel she found there.
I can’t tell from her look if she is remorseful. I kinda doubt it.
We love our screened back porch. It was one of the big selling points when we were house shopping eight years ago.
It’s a supremely pleasant place to sip coffee or iced tea and enjoy the back yard and bordering forest in good weather.
But there are times in the late spring, summer and early autumn when the oppressive Arkansas heat makes even a few minutes on the porch absolute misery. We stay in the air conditioning, but the dogs stay outside panting and lapping up the water we provide.
I took pity on them last evening when the heat index was 101º and used a hand truck to manhandle the 30” commercial pedestal fan from the garage to the west end of the porch where the grounded outlet is situated.
I switched the fan to High and within seconds the porch was transformed from a sweatbox to a breezy summer resort.
The dogs noticed the change immediately. As you can see, Dora sprawled out in front of the fan and reveled in the coolness.
On this date – June 25, 1960 – Lonnie Gordon Miller and I (seen in this Science Fair photo shot three years later) rode our clunky single-gear, coaster-braked bicycles from Delphi to West Lafayette.
It was the longest bicycle ride of my life and I like to think of it as the Genesis of my later long motorcycle rides.
We rode most of the way on what used to be Ind. 25, a narrow mostly two-lane highway with some formidable hills that I couldn’t hope to pedal up today with another 55 years on my odometer.
We stopped at a Zephyr gas station in Lafayette where I phoned Anne to tell her we were in town and she invited us up to her house where she was hosting a going-away party for her friend Jaye (I think) Trabant, whose family was moving to Buffalo, NY. Her mother served us lemonade and we hung around for maybe a half-hour before making the trek home.
Somewhere on the way we were passed by neighbor John Jones in his old Chevy on a mission to a Lafayette driving range with friends Tom Popejoy and Bill Sieber.
This was on the first Saturday of summer and, although I don’t remember traffic being a problem, there had to be lots of cars and trucks hauling boats from Lafayette to Monticello and Lakes Shaffer and Freeman.
How do I remember all of this? I kept a diary through my high school years.
Lonnie, who remains a good friend and reads my blog, commented:
Thanks for the verification of the big bike ride. I had related the incident to our kids and grand kids over the years, but you have added details that make it a real story. Two things I always remember are your transistor radio and the front tire of my bike with the tube bulging thru the weak spot on the side of the tire. How did you know I was mowing Hannas’ yard that morning? That 's where we started.
Google Maps says our route was 18.9 miles or 37.8 miles round trip. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
Here we are again, with classmate Mike Chapman in the middle, at our 50th anniversary class reunion on Aug. 17, 2013.
It’s 94º with a heat index of 104º so I brought the dogs inside to chill out in their kennels.
I persuaded Jack to kennel up and work on his bowl of IAMS, but Tucker and Dora had other ideas.
They led me on a merry chase all over the house until they decided I couldn’t reach them under the round table in the corner of the living room. I tried luring them out with pieces of salami, but they weren’t having any of it.
I finally prevailed by shifting a chair and carrying them to their kennels.
Morgan is in San Francisco this week for three days of touristy stuff followed by a library conference. I’m eager to hear her impressions of the Big Sur Coast.
The Amazon Vine Program sent me a Kitchen Aid Professional Series Diamond Sharpener for kitchen knives and it arrived this morning.
It’s pretty deluxe looking and elegantly packaged. It apparently hasn’t been released for sale yet because it’s not yet available on Amazon.com and I can’t find any reference to it on the Kitchen Aid web site.
Wusthof, a Solingen, Germany cutlery firm, has a similar product that they market for $40.
I gave my Swiss Army knife main blade a few swipes and it seems marginally sharper, but it’s been pretty dull for a long time due to frequent use and infrequent sharpening.
Maria loves Kitchen Aid stuff, so this will likely be a welcome addition to her kitchen.
(Notice I said Sheriff’s Deputy and not Sheriff. There is only one Sheriff in a county. The guys on road patrol are deputies.)
I was southbound on a county road, stopped at a rural traffic light intersection behind a truck.
When the light changed, the truck crept forward, apparently going through a bunch of gears very slowly – slowly enough that I was starting to get uncomfortably warm, despite my mesh riding jacket.
I peered around him and saw a car approaching about a quarter-mile distant – plenty of time to whack the throttle and zip around him, taking a calculated risk that there were no police around to notice I was doing this on a double-yellow line.
A short distance later, I slowed for a four-way stop and realized I guessed wrong because there was a Sheriff’s Department SUV behind me with flashing blue lights.
I was polite, friendly and contrite and hoped my gray hair and advanced age (70 next month) would be mitigating factors. The deputy was friendly but firm and wrote me a ticket for improper passing. He said I would have to call the court to find out how much this will cost me.
I have mixed emotions about the whole affair. I hate parting with money for being stupid, but it’s reassuring to know I still have a bit of the irresponsible kid left in me.
Here’s my dad in one of the big moments of his life. He was president of the Delphi Community School Board, speaking at the dedication of the new Delphi High School.
The occasion was in late 1970 or early 1971 and he was 60 years old – almost 10 years younger than I am today.
Community service came easily to my father. He was a founding member of the Delphi Chamber of Commerce, belonged to Rotary and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and an elder and sang in the choir before a cancerous node on his larynx robbed him of his voice.
He moved from the farm where he grew up in southern Carroll County to Delphi in the 1930s when his father was named county treasurer to serve as his dad’s first deputy. In doing that, he gave up his college plans and gave his college money to his brother John, who went on to be a high school teacher in Garrett, Ind. He lived in Delphi the rest of his life.
He tried to enlist in the Army in the days after Pearl Harbor, but was rejected because of his age and a heart murmur.
He enjoyed an occasional beer – he liked Hamm’s, probably because they sponsored Chicago White Sox broadcasts – but I never saw him drunk.
He was the best man I ever knew. I wish I had told him so.
I found the garage freezer door standing wide open at noon on Tuesday and the internal temperature up to 63.8º.
I have no idea how long it stood open, but it obviously had plenty of time to take on moisture because the ambient humidity in the garage at the time was 59%.
Since then, as you can see from the yellow line on the graph, temperatures inside the freezer have trended upward until the temperature this morning was flirting with the 40º mark.
(For the sake of clarity, the blue line is the ambient temperature in the garage and the green line is the humidity in the garage while the yellow line is the reading from a probe inside the freezer.)
Ever since we paid an appliance service serious money to work on our refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher, the freezer temperatures fluctuated around the 0º mark, +/-10º. Until the open door incident Tuesday.
We emptied the freezer into coolers and the kitchen refrigerator, unplugged it and removed the shield over the cooling unit, expecting to find it encased in ice. There as hardly any ice in evidence, so Maria cleaned it off, I put the probe back inside and we fired it up. It dropped from 79º at 10:30 to 64.5º at 11 a.m., so we’re guardedly optimistic that it will work properly again.
Once again, I’m grateful to the Amazon Vine Program for offering me the Lacrosse Wifi temperature and humidity device to use and review. It has literally saved our bacon several times.
Here are a couple of never-before-seen images of my parents from the summer of 1967.
Dad was 57 and Mom was 52. I think he looked older than I do on the threshold of 70, but then it’s very hard for me to think of my parents as being young.
Dad always loved to mug for the camera.
Maria realized last night that she couldn’t find the folder that contained more than 15,000 of her archival images and was very worried the images might be gone forever.
I have a stack of old hard drives EIDE (Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics) that have been obsolete for several years, along with some newer SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) drives that either developed problems or were swapped out for larger drives.
I also had the good sense to hang onto a couple of stand-alone EIDE drive mounts.
So I began working my way through the stack of EIDE drives this morning and miraculously hit upon this 2003 800MB Western Digital drive that once lived in Maria’s desktop computer. I fired it up and voila, there was the archive folder. I am now in the process of copying its contents into the Public Pictures folder on Maria’s hard drive.
Another reason why I rarely throw away anything useful.
Free Cell is my game of choice in Windows 7.
I play it when I’m waiting for something to happen – a phone call to be returned or I’m on hold, a computer process to finish, or when I’m just bored.
I’ve gotten fairly proficient at Free Cell, or at least better than I used to be. Since this desktop computer went into service in my office a couple of years ago, I’ve achieved a 55% win ratio. My longest winning streak was 16 consecutive games.
But lately, I’ve been losing more often than I win, evidenced by a losing streak of 13 games.
I guess I’m in pretty good shape if that’s all I can think of to complain about.
My mother, who died in October, 2000, would have celebrated her 100th birthday today.
That’s her in the youngest photo I have of her – the little girl in the white frock flanked by her parents, John and Emma Dietz and her older siblings Carl and Ruth. Another brother, John, was born later and died at the age of 18 of head injuries suffered in a horseback riding accident.
Mom was a Registered Nurse and kept her license current until she died.
That’s why we laid her to rest in her nurse’s uniform. She would have liked that, I think.
I got a text message from Sprint during the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky., last month warning me that I was about to exceed the allowed roaming limits.
The problem was that I didn’t realize I was in a low-tech area where my unlimited 3G service applied.
The spectre of a crushingly huge cell phone bill has haunted me ever since.
Until today when I got the Sprint bill for May.
I used 2.72 GB of data during the month, which is no big deal because we have an unlimited data plan.
But happily, the 285,719 roaming minutes I burned up were still within the limits of the plan, so there was no additional charge.
I am very relieved.
But I didn’t want to sacrifice expensive go-cups that would probably never come back.
Likewise, I love to share espresso with our neighbor Sophie, but it’s a hassle keeping track of the cups, especially if they have lids that can get separated and lost.
So I decided the solution was to invest in Pretty Sips Paper Hot Cups with Lids and Cup Sleeves, White (HOT16LS),Qty of 50 from Amazon.com.
The cups arrived in this morning’s mail and Sophie got the first one. They were only $15.74 with free shipping through the Amazon Prime program.
This seems like an appropriate time to revisit an ad that ran in the Jonesboro Sun a few years ago, detailing just a few of her amazing repertoire of abilities and skills. The dog is Pete, our first Australian shepherd who died of a congenital liver ailment a few months later.
She left the Sun a couple of years ago and the paper has never been the same since.
Maria is the smartest, most amazing woman I have ever known and I can’t believe my wonderful good fortune to be married to her.
Happy Birthday, Maria!
Maria’s brother Raph and his two sons were our guests for a couple of nights this week.
We went over to Memphis yesterday where we toured the new Bass Pro Shops mothership in the Memphis Pyramid, then adjourned to Westy’s – a nearby restaurant/bar for lunch before returning to the Pyramid for more shopping.
The trip back to Jonesboro in Raph’s van was old school summer travel with the windows open, since the air conditioning had crapped out. It was a reminder of how summer travel used to be when I was growing up. I don’t think I ever experienced an air conditioned car until the early 1970s.
The prospect of a seven-hour drive back to Indianapolis without air conditioning motivated them to get up at 3 a.m. and hit the road by 3:35 a.m. They got home well before noon and the heat of the day, so nobody died.
I have a few old black and white negatives in my archives that were shot by someone else.
One set of images was shot by my college friend Steve Power at a nude beach in California when he was there for the Summer of Love in 1967.
The others – photo coverage of a Miss Nude America contest at the Naked City nudist resort near Roselawn, Ind., and surreptitious photos of Indiana University students skinny dipping in a Bloomington, Ind. limestone quarry – somehow came into my possession at The Indianapolis News, presumably shot by staff photographers. I don’t remember anything about how I got them, so I can’t credit them.
Here’s one of the I.U. photos that is suitable for publication here without the use of black bars over troublesome body parts.
There’s a Facebook quiz going around in which participants are asked to name a variety of 1980s arcade video games.
Steve and I both scored 100%.
But the quiz doesn’t include one of my all-time favorites – Battle Zone.
It was a lo-res tank combat game that Steve and Sean and I mastered to a degree that one or another of us owned the top scores on every machine we played.
The trick to defeating enemy tanks is not to try to evade them, but ram them from any angle other than head-on, then shoot them point blank. Once you got that technique down, all you had to do was survive as many buzz bomb attacks as possible.
It was funky and clunky, but I loved it and invested a lot of quarters perfecting my technique.
I stopped at the new Jordan’s Kwik Stop Valero station on the way to the post office this morning to top off the tank on my ‘03 BMW K1200GT and to get a closer look at Brookland’s newest business.
The station opened late this week on U.S. 49 after several months of site preparation and construction. It’s less than a mile south of another Jordan’s station/convenience store.
I noticed there was very little gas pump traffic at the old Jordan’s last evening when I stopped by for a couple of Subway sandwiches.
Google Earth’s view of the intersection of U.S. 49 and School Road is long overdue for an update. It still shows groves of trees on the west side of the intersection. They were cleared a couple of years ago.
The two houses along School Street northeast of the intersection were demolished a week or two ago and the trees were removed to make way for a Sonic drive-in.
I came out of the post office yesterday morning to find a blonde in her 40s ogling my '94 K75S.
And, of course, she observed, "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles."
That’s one of the top three dopey things BMW riders hear from non-riders. The other two are:
The answers to all are “yes.”
I posted this exchange on BMW-related Facebook pages and drew hundreds of comments. The best came from Dana Harlan:
Once outside a cafe on a ride from Pennsylvania to Newfoundland a woman said, "ha, ha, you just stuck those (tank badges) on there!" We didn't correct her.
MG Rail, Inc. (reporting mark, MGRI): This terminal/switching railroad is operated by Consolidated Grain & Barge operating 3.7 miles near the town of Jeffersonville. It utilizes a pair of former CSX GP16s.