Saturday, September 22, 2018

Grandma Dietz and her chickens

This is my Grandma Emma Dietz with her chickens on her farm near Deer Creek, Ind. sometime around 1930.

The original image was a snapshot my mother had. I did a high-resolution scan and sized it proportionally for a 16x20-inch display and sent it off to I had it done on a special offer and the cost was less than $40.

I've wanted a canvas blowup of this photo for years and it arrived on my front porch this morning. O, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!

I posted this photo on Facebook, along with an offer of the original scan for free to any of Charles and Emma Dietz's Groninger descendants, including three cousins and their families. I was stunned when nobody took me up on the offer. I guess they don't care as much about their heritage as I do. Or else they're not tech savvy enough to understand what I offered them. Whatever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Shut down barking in less than a day

Our dogs, especially Dora, bark incessantly when they're in the fenced portion of our back yard.

The barking has been a source of embarrassment because we know it annoys the neighbors. Now that the neighbors on the north side of our house have their home on the market, it's even more important not to have noisy dogs driving down property values.

But the barking has ceased, thanks to this ultrasonic anti-barking device that I got from Ebay for a mere $30.99. It runs on a 9 volt battery and has three intensity settings. I hung it on the back fence around noon yesterday and have heard only a few barks since. It has a microphone that listens for barks and responds with a high frequency tone that only dogs can hear. And it works.

I am amazed and relieved and wish I had bought this thing a long long time ago.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Big and on canvas

I had the pleasure of giving Maria's parents a 16x20 wrapped canvas print of her mother's Italian-American family that I ordered online from Canvas People.

The original image was a snapshot that had blemishes and creases and not enough material around the edges to make a successful 16x20 warp. I initially told them it couldn't be done. Then I got the idea of cloning portions of the edges to extend them in all four directions so that the important parts of the image would remain front and center.

The Post Office delivered it to my house today and my in-laws were over the moon when they saw it. Now Maria wants one.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Breakfast at Denny's

I had breakfast at Denny's in Lebanon this morning - the first breakfast I've had there since Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007.

That was the day a UPS truck picked up the last of our moving pods and Pete and Ruthie and I drove to our new home in Arkansas.

I went to Denny's with some reluctance because I remember it as a place with poor service and lots of cigarette smoke. I decided to roll the dice again this morning because I have a hearty dislike for the other two Lebanon breakfast options - Flap Jack's and Bob Evans.

I ordered off of the senior citizens menu and was pleasantly surprised with the service, presentation and flavor of the food. I might even be persuaded to go back someday. Maybe.

This has been a miserable, cold and rainy three days. We're had nearly 4 inches of rain since Thursday evening and it has continued into this afternoon.

I can't seem to get motivated to do anything, although there is still plenty to do in the way of shifting boxes and preparing to move our bed upstairs and out of the dining room.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Correcting the date of construction

Our next-door-neighbors to the north have put their house on the market.

We've had the pleasure of living next to them and their five kids for a year now and will be very sad to see them leave. They have been excellent neighbors and have tolerated our barking dogs better than most people would have.

I looked up their online listing this afternoon and noticed that the Realtor asserts that their house was built in 1925. That's an error.

This photo was shot shortly after 1903 and shows our house in the foreground and their house next door to the north. It's the same house, although the upstairs balcony/porch is no longer there. If you look closely, you can see the rails and electric wires of the Indianapolis & Northwestern Traction Co. (interurban) like just to the south of our house, which dates the photo considerably earlier than 1925.

Our understanding is that these two houses and the next one north were built by the man who owned the local sawmill for his three sons and their families around 1903. He used premium wood throughout the three houses. Ours still has the original quarter-sawn oak flooring in the living room and oak and hemlock throughout the house.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Same plane, same reporter

I had the pleasure last Thursday of flying in a 90-year-old Ford Tri-Motor that inaugurated transcontinental air service back in 1929.

Interestingly, it was the very same plane I flew in back in 1974 when TWA was commemorating the 45th anniversary of that aviation milestone.

Both rides were on media flights - the first when I was a reporter for The Indianapolis News and the one last week as a "special correspondent" for The Lebanon Reporter.

I sat on the starboard side of the plane both times, watching the huge right radial engine throbbing along.

I think I wrote a better story this time than I did in '74.

It was named City of Reno back in 1974.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Nice shirt

My soon-to-be son-in-law Edgar is cleaning out his closets and other areas of his house to make room for Morgan. Maria went down to help over the weekend and came back with a bunch of beautiful high-end shirts and pullovers, including this Chaps shirt by Ralph Lauren, all fresh from the dry cleaner and on hangers.

Thanks, Edgar!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pressure washing

My original plan today was to pull both bikes out of the shed so I could get the mower out. The grass inside the fence, i.e. dog country, needs a mow.

But the K1200GT's battery was too low to start. Happily, the K75S fired right up, so I backed it out of the shed, realizing this made it possible to access the pressure washer that was in the back corner of the shed.

Hayden and the neighbor kids marked up the sidewalk yesterday, so I figured it should be easy work to blast it clean.

I was gratified when the little Honda pressure washer engine fired on the third pull - the first time it's run in more than a year.

After cleaning the walks and also some chalk artistry on the front porch, I dragged the stuff to the back and attacked what is left of the deck. The areas furthest from the house have suffered the most from 10 years of weathering and hot sun. Several boards need to be replaced, but I wanted to see how much pressure washing would improve the overall appearance. Turns out, it makes a rather substantial improvement.

I flirted with heat stroke and dehydration before I came in and got rested and hydrated. Later, when about half of the east-facing deck was in shade, I hit it again. Again, gratifying results.

Having my own pressure washer is kinda cool. Maybe when we get the rotten boards replaced, I can put some kind of weather seal on the deck and coax a few more years out of it.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Pulling staples, pulling the cork

When we returned to our 1903 vintage house a year ago, we were horrified by what the renters had done to it.

I won't recite the whole list, but one of the more egregious insults to the house was their letting their dogs use the upstairs carpet for a toilet. Days after we moved back in, we ripped out the reeking carpet and dragged it out to the curb for the trash collection. Shortly after, Maria, her daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law realized their legs were covered with flea bites from working with the carpet. So we called in an exterminator to deal with the fleas.

The master bedroom was still unusable because of hundreds, maybe thousands, of staples left from the carpet. We left them there while we did other projects, but the time has come to free the hardwood floor from its burden of staples. Once that is done, we can move our bed upstairs, which will free up the dining room for dining room stuff and open up the living room. This will make it possible to consolidate our stored furniture and belongings into one storage unit instead of the two we've been renting for a year.

The stapes, then, are the cork in the bottle of progress.

I'm waiting for a call-back about a newspaper story I'm working on this afternoon, so I busied myself with pulling staples. I didn't count them but they represented a line across the center of the bedroom, length-wise. There is still much pulling to do, but it feels good to make a dent in the problem.

I gave up trying to work on all fours because it amounted to doing a prolonged one-arm push-up. So I got out my automotive creeper stool, used it to support my upper body and used a small flashlight to illuminate the staples from the side while I pried and yanked them out with a small screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. I'm surprised at how fast I can creep across the floor.

As I work, I can tell where the renters' dogs peed because the staples are rusted in those spots. Ack!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

New gas bill

I remembered how costly it was to heat this 1903 Victorian barn of a house when we lived here 11 years ago, so I made a point of putting us on the gas company's budget plan.
That way we could spread the cost out over a whole year and avoid the ruinous winter gas bills.
Based on the previous year's consumption, the gas company fixed our monthly bill at $190.
So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I opened the gas bill and discovered it was for $85.10!
I guessed this would be a one-time adjustment and next month's bill would be maybe a tick lower.
No, this is the rate for the next 12 months!
Holy crap! That amounts to an annual savings of $1,270.80.
I can only suppose that replacing all of the windows last November is what made the difference. They're going to pay for themselves faster than I ever imagined.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Hard to put on, maybe hard to get off

I'm testing a pair of Adidas Men's Adizero Ubersonic 2 Tennis Shoes this week for the Amazon Vine Program.

When I first tried to put them on yesterday morning, I was wearing heavy socks and I finally gave up after several minutes of fruitless struggle. The reason is the ridiculously small opening and the absence of a heel loop to facilitate entry. If you look carefully at this photo with the Adidas on the left and my comfortable old Nike on the right, the difference is readily apparent. The absence of a tongue also hampers entry.

After reading what other reviewers wrote, I only found a couple who complained about this so I decided to try again this morning, with lighter weight socks. I finally succeeded with the aid of a clothes brush/long shoe horn I inherited from my dad. Once on, they feel fine on my size 11 feet.

Now to put a few miles on them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


I wonder how many other members of the BMW Riders Association noticed the stray type fragment on the cover of the July-August issue of the club magazine, OTL.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The way it was in 1968

This is how newspaper writing was done 50 years ago.

This is me in The Indianapolis News City Room, hammering out a story on my Royal typewriter while smoking a cheap cigar. Notice the Indianapolis phone book. When was the last time you used a phone book?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

More work for the mechanics

This is one of the rare occasions when I'm on a motorcycle without a helmet.

In this case, I'm just putting my K1200GT into the storage shed and passed in front of the all-seeing eye of the trailcam.

I've spent every morning this week dealing with automobile maintenance. On Monday, I took the Subaru in to see why it was making a disturbing noise that began in April when I had a right front brake caliper replaced. It had gotten so bad that I forbade Maria to drive it to work and it sat parked for about three months before I had time to get it looked at. Turns out it was a defective caliper and was replaced at no charge under warranty.

Tuesday morning's work was an oil change and lube on the Lexus.

When Maria went to drive the Subaru to work this morning, the battery was dead. Probably a result of sitting for three months, even though it did start for me on Monday morning. We jump started it from the Lexus and I drove it to the auto repair place and left it for battery testing and possible replacement, along with an oil change and lube.

Keeping our vehicles in good operating condition is turning out to be a fulltime job.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Family portrait

I celebrated my 73rd birthday today with a nostalgic trip to Delphi, Ind., my hometown.

Naturally, I had to drop in on my parents.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dodged a bullet on mower repair

Maria and I loaded the John Deere LA125 lawn tractor onto our trailer and hauled it down to the Renolds Equipment John Deere dealership in Lebanon on Saturday morning, fearing the worst.

They called Tuesday and reported the starting problem was just a horribly corroded battery cable. I asked them to replace it and give me an oil change and lube.

I drove down this afternoon and collected my mower for a paltry $164 and change - something just short of a miracle! And I saved more than $120 by using my own trailer instead of their pick up and delivery service.

That trailer turned out to be a smart purchase.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Jack thought he had been insulted

I'm evaluating this dog bowl for the Amazon Vine Program. It's designed to make a dog eat more slowly and the little projections are supposed to clean the dog's teeth.

Jack is the oldest and probably the most in need of a teeth cleaning, so I'm trying it out on him.

His first impression? He looked at us with a mix of disbelief and insult. How could we play such a mean-spirited trick on him?

I fully expected him to overturn the bowl to get at the contents, but after a time he started nibbling away at his IAMS kibble and after a few hours of off-and-on eating, had consumed it all.

That was yesterday. He seemed reconciled to the bowl this morning and immediately set to eating when I brought him and Dora in for breakfast.

I'll keep an eye on his teeth to see if there is any improvement, since he's overdue for a cleaning.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Panera men's room, Tippecanoe Mall in Lafayette, Ind.

So what do we do with the poop?

Feels like temperature vs heat index

I noticed the other day that my home weather station reports the "feels like" temperature and the heat index and the numbers are usually different.
A lot of TV weather people seem to have quit reporting the heat index and give the feels like temperature instead.
So what's the difference?
The heat index is calculated using the actual temperature and the humidity.
The feels like temperature adds wind velocity to the equation.
So now you know.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A chest pain-inducing bill

I got the bill for my 12-hour hospital stay last month when I thought I might be having a cardiac event. Turned out it was dehydration.

I shudder to think what it would have cost if I'd opted for an ambulance ride.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy 103rd birthday, Mom

My mother would have been 103 years old today. She made it to 85.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Battery wars

I bought this battery from Batteries Plus Bulbs in Lafayette eight or nine days ago.

I installed it in our John Deere LA125 and the engine started right up. But when I tried to start it a few days later, it appeared the battery was dead.

I put it on the charger for several hours yesterday. When I turned the key, the headlights came on, but when I tried to start it, the starter made a little err noise and then went dead.

I called the Lebanon John Deer dealership and the service manager said it sounds like I got a bad battery. He invited me to bring it in for testing, so that's where I'm going this morning. I also have the battery receipt in case my next step is to return it.


Battery tested OK. Gotta take the mower in and it's going to be expensive.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Lacking life skills

I managed to coax one more mowing from our John Deere LA 125 yesterday morning after putting the failing battery on a charger for a couple of hours.
Then I bought a replacement battery online and rode up to Batteries Plus in Lafayette to pick it up.
I found myself in line behind a 50-ish businessman wearing an expensive dress shirt with French cuffs and gold cufflinks. He looked like an executive type, but the image collapsed when I saw why he was there.
He'd brought in his First Alert smoke detector because he couldn't figure out how to replace the battery.
Really? It's the same model we had in Arkansas and it's a breeze to replace the 9-volt battery. Even standing on a ladder with the unit on the ceiling.
The counterman managed to keep a straight face throughout the transaction.
I wonder what else he has other people do for him.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Historical t-shirt

Going through my t-shirt archives over the weekend, I found this relic of an Indianapolis BMW motorcycle dealership from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The shop was owned by Greg Polzin and was next door to a Dairy Queen on east 56th Street, just west of Keystone Avenue.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Bike report

The folks at AMA Road Service determined that my BMW dealer, Falcone Powersports, provides free pickup and delivery, so I had them collect my K1200GT Thursday morning.

I called Saturday morning and got good news and, of course, bad news.

The good news is that my battery was replaced under warranty.

The bad news is that my fork seals are shot and will cost $450 to replace. I told them to proceed. The other bad news is that my tires are down to the wear bars. The good news on the tire front is that I have a partially used set of tires for that bike that still have plenty of miles left. They came off the bike in July, 2015 and have been in storage ever since. When I get the GT back, I'll take it to my almost-next-door Gold Wing shop and have the old tires mounted.

Here's a photo of the Falcone trailer hauling my bike to Indy.

Whisper quiet

If you have a spare $600 to blow on a vacuum cleaner, I heartily recommend the Miele Blizzard CX1 Turbo Team Bagless Canister Vacuum.

It's German made and whisper quiet, yet very powerful. Some users say it outclasses their expensive Dyson models.

I got mine from Amazon and now I actually look forward to vacuuming the house.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I'm not really surprised by any of this

I had a 9 a.m. appointment today with the Indianapolis BMW motorcycle dealer to get my faulty battery replaced under warranty.

There's been rain in the forecast for several days as the remnants of a tropical disturbance make their way toward Indiana, so I was sweating having to ride the bike down to Indianapolis in rain.

But when I tried to start the bike, which had been on a battery tender for five or six days, the battery was dead.

So I called American Motorcyclist Association road service and ordered a wrecker. I used them last September for an identical problem and they sent a driver who thought he was picking up a BMW car and lacked the appropriate motorcycle dolly, which necessitated dispatching another wrecker the next day. (See photo above.)

So, true to form, when the wrecker showed up in my driveway a few minutes ago, he didn't have a dolly either. The towing company is now searching for a truck with a dolly as the rain inches closer and closer...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Circus Minimus

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus was in town yesterday.

Dora woke us up about 7:15 a.m. after she detected circus folks setting up in the park diagonally across from our house. It was a novel experience watching from our house as they unloaded cages of a lion and a tiger and our dogs fell strangely silent when the lion roared.

The Big Top was up on the Little League ball field by mid-morning and several of our neighbors joined me on the front porch to watch the proceedings.

There were performances at 5 and 7:30 p.m. and the roustabouts (I guess that's what they still call them) started tearing things down before the second show was over. They were gone by midnight.

And, no, we didn't attend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The good news is that BMW warrantees batteries for 2 years

My 2003 BMW K1200GT is headed for the shop.

I rode it last Thursday and then parked it for six days to see if the battery would hold a charge.

I checked it this afternoon and it was flat again.

So I called Falcone Powersports in Indianapois, my local BMW motorcycle dealer, and made an appointment to ride down for service next Wednesday morning.

In the meantime, It's back on the charger.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stay hydrated

This is what happens when you're pushing 73 and don't stay hydrated on a hot day.

I ended up in the Witham Hospital ER Sunday evening after nearly passing out at home. The initial fear, of course, was that I had a heart attack, so I chewed up the obligatory two low-dose Bayer aspirins while waiting for the EMTs. They did a quick EKG and determined there was nothing obviously wrong with my heart, but advised me to go to the hospital. Maria drove me there and the next stop was the ER (see photo above).

They gave me a chest x-ray to rule out a blood clot in the lungs, wired me up with a heart monitor and decided I should spend the right there.

Twelve mostly sleepless hours and a few blood tests later, they cut me loose with instructions to get hydrated and stay hydrated.

So I did and I am and now my GP wants to see me next Tuesday.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Makes iced coffee too

I got this Russell Hobbs coffee maker from the Amazon Vine Program last October and have used it almost every day since.

But its features conspire to leave me with coffee to thrown away the next morning. It turns off the heat after 40 minutes and most days that's too soon for a second cup. Happily, it only makes 8 cups instead of 12 like many coffee makers, so the waste isn't as bad as it could be.

I was lamenting the fact that I always have coffee left over at the end of the day the other evening when it finally dawned on me to pour the remaining coffee over ice, add sweetener and creamer and voila!, iced coffee.

Now I wonder why I didn't think of it long ago.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Diagnosis pending

The GT spent the last couple of days on the BMW charger and it was showing solid green when I disconnected it and went for a ride this afternoon.

I made a point of unplugging the GPS at each stop - post office, veterinarian's office and DQ. When I went to plug it back in at Dairy Queen, I noticed green corrosion on the plug. I scraped as much off as I could with my fingernail, plugged it back in and rode home.

The bike is sitting in the shed without a charger connection and with the GPS plug out. I'll let it set for four or five days and then see if the battery is drained. If the battery isn't up to snuff after that time, I'll charge it again and take it to the BMW dealer in Indianapolis. It's only eight months old and almost certainly still under warranty.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

This poster is on the bulletin board at the Thorntown Post Office. Note the reference to Thornton City Park.

O, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!

I took the K75S out for a spin today, convinced that the surgery my neighbor Grumpy performed last week had failed to fix the speedo.

As expected, the speedo needle didn't move during the ride to the post office, but it miraculously came to life when I headed out of town on Ind. 47 and continued to perform consistently all the way to Dairy Queen, where I stopped for lunch.

Suddenly, I am happy with my bike.
I had the Indianapolis BMW motorcycle dealer install a new battery in my 2003 K1200GT in late September.

I had it on a battery tender off and on through the winter, but it was dead when I tried to start it last week. I gave it an overnight charge and it was good to go for a ride up to the Lafayette Sam's Club and down to Aldi in Lebanon. That was last Thursday. It was dead again when I tried to start it yesterday - five days later.

I find it hard to believe that an 8-month-old battery can fail like this and wonder if something isn't draining it. The first suspect is the Garmin Zumo 550 with Sirius XM radio.

So I put it back on the charger this morning and will leave the GPS disconnected to see if it still can't hold a charge. Either way, it's a sure thing I won't be riding to the European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky. this weekend.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

It's a Hafner

Sorting through random boxes from our moves to and from Arkansas, I found this Hafner wind-up O-gauge train set that my parents gave me for Christmas around 1950.

It's the closest I ever got to an electric train set, my parents being overly cautious about electricity.

Today, it enjoys a new life on our living room mantel.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

It would seem that I've still got it

Back when I was a suburban bureau chief and reporter for The Indianapolis News, and later for The Indianapolis Star, I covered a lot of primary and general elections and spent several election nights in the Boone and Hamilton County courthouses.

Maria arranged for me to feed vote totals to the Associated Press last night from the Boone County primaries. I got minutely detailed instructions from the AP over the past couple of weeks and was just a little nervous about it since I haven't covered an election in more than 10 years and have never done it as an AP stringer.

I needn't have worried.

Old friends retired Judge Becky McClure and Debbie Ottinger greeted me like a long-lost relative at the clerk's office and Clerk Jessica Fouts did a superb job of feeding us the returns as they came in. The AP folks were easy to work with and the evening went smoothly.

I hadn't planned to take any photos, so I left my Nikon at home.

But when the crowd outside the clerk's office exploded with shrieks and cheers at 8:15 p.m. with the news that Lori Schein had scored the upset of the evening, beating County Attorney Todd Meyer and another attorney for the Republican nomination for judge of Boone Circuit Court, I stepped outside and fired five quick photos with my iPhone. The one shown here dominates the front page of The Lebanon Reporter this morning. I can't recall taking a better election photo in my 30-some years in newspapers. And I did it with a chickenshit little cell phone camera.

I love being able to play newspaper on my own terms.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Capt. Kroon's V-E Day letter

Seventy-three years ago today, Capt. Philip C. Kroon, an artillery officer with the U.S. Army's 144th Field Artillery Group, took pen in hand in the garden outside an Austrian hotel and wrote a letter to his young bride in Redlands, Calif.
It was V-E Day - Victory in Europe Day - and the young captain from Grand Rapids, Mich., had been in combat since his unit came ashore in Normandy a few weeks after the June 6, 1944, invasion. He was looking forward to coming home, but mindful that the war against Japan seemed far from finished and that he might be needed in the Pacific Theatre.
Here is what he wrote on a sheet of Adolf Hitler's personal letterhead, liberated a day or two earlier from the Führer's Berghof retreat at nearby Berchtesgaden:

My adored wife,
Finally the work of the past year for me and over three years for the nation is completed. The war here is over completely. Of course, we are glad it is over, but to us it is sort of an anti-climax. For nearly two months now, we have completely routed the Germans. During the past few days we have seen steady streams of German soldiers marching to the rear. At some places, even the super-highway is jammed. It was a sight never to forget and one that only happens once in a lifetime. I wanted to get some pictures of it, but my camera was stolen some time ago. I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry. I now have another very good German camera that I took from a German soldier, so am better equipped than before.
Now that we are no longer at war here, I should have more time to write you and expect to get off better than one letter every five or six days. In fact, it's now been seven days this time. I'm sorry, darling. I'll try to make it up to you.
About a week ago I went through the Dachau concentration camp. Any pictures you see or stories you hear are only a small part of the picture. The stench was indescribable as well as the actual scenes. I saw some of the toughest soldiers nauseated. I won't tell you any details for they shouldn't be put on paper. It was the most terrible thing I have ever seen.
In contrast, a couple of days ago I went through one of Hitler's palaces -not the one at Berchtesgaden, but an old Hapsburg palace that he took over. It was a paragon of beauty and symmetry. In the two main floors was not a sign of Nazi Occupation except that most of the furnishings had been looted, mainly from France.
The walls were covered with priceless tapestries, the floors with thick pile rugs. We were nearly the first soldiers in the place and looked through it by ourselves. We went snooping in the cellar and came across two storage rooms. One was nearly filled with medals, of which I have a few choice ones. I also found one silver knife (not table) in the house - the only one there, so I suppose it belonged to Hitler. In another room, we found some stationery, of which this is the choicest. His personal. I have quite a bit of it and will send it home. You can give a sheet to various people, but save some of each kind, especially this with just "Der Führer" on it. I also came across some other excellent souvenirs - Onep&j pair of field glasses - the best I have ever seen - fifteen power - this may not mean much to you, but they are two and ½ times as powerful as the ones I and Pop used to have The must be worth three or four hundred dollars. I also have a pair of Luftwaffe swords that are not in the best of shape but will look good fixed up and crossed in my den if I ever have one.
Guess what, Sweets. I shaved off my mustache today - because the war is over. No one noticed it so I guess it couldn't have been so good. I'm not making any plans for a quick return home, beloved, nor am I getting any fancy ideas about it. I would give anything just to spend a few weeks with you, but there is much to be done, both here and in the Orient and I'm sure I'll be one place or the other.
Some will get to go home on their way to the Pacific and rumors are already afloat, but I'm not counting on anything - then we won't have the disappointment.
These Bavarian Alps are really beautiful, dearest mine. They are all snow covered yet, although we are not very high and last week we had snow in Munich. Today was marvelous. The view of the mountains is similar to that from our front yard, though the mountains are much closer and not as high.
During the last mad rush we have been getting practically no mail and I'm way behind, although today I got the letter you wrote on the eve of our anniversary. Sweet - just as they all are - but why not, with the sweetest wife in the world writing them. I wish my letters would get there more regularly. You probably have had a batch since that time, but it is nicer when they come spread over a long time.
Darling, I adore you completely. I don't dream of you often, but that isn't my fault. When I'm awake I can control my thoughts and they always include you. Always I wish you could share the beautiful scenery and the old German cities - Worms, Nurnberg, Augsberg, Munich, Saltzburg and the rest with me. Maybe, in future years, after they are rebuilt we will see them together. Anything we could do together would be wonderful. One thing in particular - I miss you so, Jeanie. I'll always adore you.
Your only Phil
A little picture of you know who.
Capt. Kroon came home six months later. He made a career of the army, taking a reduction in rank to sergeant in order to remain in a downsized postwar military. His last duty post was as an instructor in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Purdue University. Following his retirement, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He died of cancer in 1988. Diane, the first of his three daughters, was born Oct. 30, 1946, and grew up to be my first wife.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Legendary shirt

I rediscovered this legendary Henley this morning while rotating shirts in and out of an under-bed storage bin. The BMW slogan dates from the 1980s.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Happy Birthday, Dora

Our lovely Dora Flora is five years old today!

She makes us very happy and Jack loves her dearly.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bike problem, easy solution

I rode the 1994 BMW K75S down to the Lebanon License Branch this morning and shuffled the papers for an Indiana title and license plate.

When I started the bike in the BMV parking lot, the battery seemed weak. Riding away, I noticed the ABS warning light stayed on after I applied both brakes - a move that usually turns it off. Stopped at a traffic signal, I tried a fix that always worked before - turning the engine off and restarting. It started very feebly, died and restarted even weaker and the ABS light stayed on.

Fearing I might not have enough battery for another restart, I rode straight home, ruminating on whether my ABS was dead - I lost the ABS on my 1991 K100RS several years ago and it was very expensive to replace - and whether I should plan to take the bike down to the BMW dealer in Indianapolis. The speedo was also 99 per cent dead, with a little needle movement now and then. I'm pretty sure I know where the loose connection is for that problem.

Then, about 9 minutes into my ride, I realized I don't have to hassle with the dealership because I have reliable motorcycle service just four doors up the street from my house - Grumpy's Gold Wing Service. Grumpy repaired gummed up fuel injectors on the K75S several years ago and also installed new tires on my 2003 K1200GT.

I stopped at the entrance to my driveway and killed the engine, hoping a re-start would solve the ABS problem. The battery just barely turned the engine over and, of course, the ABS light stayed on. I stopped a few yards short of the shed where I keep my bikes and removed the saddlebags so the bike would fit with its younger brother and with our lawnmower and other shed stuff. Then I put it on a trickle charger in the hope of getting a final start, either into the shed or over to Grumpy's.

Grumpy remembered me from when we lived here 10 years ago. He looked up the appropriate battery and ordered it for me, saying it should be here next Thursday. Then we spent the next hour chatting. I was interested to learn he and I were at Indiana State University at the same time. He lived in Sandison Hall and I was next door in its twin, Gillum Hall in the 1963-64 school year. He also thought he could probably remedy the speedo glitch.

The charger did its job and I was able to fire up the K75S and ride it into the shed where it will languish until Thursday.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


Back in the saddle again

There's nothing like a break in the weather to get me moving on outdoor projects.

Today I petitioned St. Anthony to help me find the Arkansas titles to my two bikes. After going through a couple of file boxes and all 27 drawers of the steel cabinet I inherited from my dad, I dug deep on my desk and found a yellow folder labeled "Vehicle Titles" and there they were.

So after lunch I rolled my 2003 BMW K1200GT out of the shed, aired up the tires, put on the saddlebags and the Garmin Zumo 550 GPS, topped off the fuel tank at the Marathon down the street, and rode down to Lebanon and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. I walked out about a half-hour later with a temporary paper plate and title. The Arkansas plate will remain on the bike until May 1 or the arrival of a metal plate, whichever comes first.

Weather permitting, I'll take the K75S in for title and plate tomorrow.

I pretty much lost my 2017 riding season because of our move back from Arkansas and having the bikes in storage much of the year. I have higher hopes for 2018.

Porch cam

I set up a trailcam on the front porch to photograph birds at the feeders yesterday.

I pulled the card this morning and found 1,452 images - almost all of them of passing vehicles and pedestrians and only about 5 of birds. This cardinal is the best of the bunch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Getting charged up

My high priced BMW motorcycle battery charger/tender charges my bikes through the accessory plug. It also has a cable with conventional battery terminal clamps, but the cable got separated from the charger in the move from Arkansas.

I've done fruitless searches for the cable through boxes in the house and conclude it must be in storage somewhere.

In the meantime, the grass is growing and our yard sprouted hundreds of dandelions over the past few days. It was clear that I had to find a way to charge the flat battery in our John Deere LA125 mower and I had to do it in time for the first decently warm day.

Today was that day, so I drove in to the Lebanon Walmart and spent $30 and change on a battery charger with the desired terminal clamps. It showed fully charged after a couple of hours, which came as a great relief because I figured the battery was probably done for after seven months of inactivity, much of it in freezing temperatures in the shed. I fully expected to have to drive down to the John Deere dealership and buy a new battery.
But wonder of wonders, it started.

I backed the BMW K75S out of the shed to make room to get the mower out, put a couple of fresh AA batteries in my Work Tunes headphones and attacked the yard. We have less than a quarter of the 1.23 acres I'm used to mowing in Arkansas, so a riding mower almost seems a little silly for such a small lot.

Since I had the K75S out and standing in the driveway, I aired up the tires and went for my first motorcycle ride of 2018 - just a short spin of a couple of miles - but enough to get my blood flowing.

Now I have to figure out what I did with the Arkansas titles to our two bikes so I can get them titled and plated in Indiana.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tesla time

I got a call from my son Steve early this afternoon.

He was cruising down I-215 in Las Vegas, on his way to pick up a bass, in his self-driving Tesla. He sent me this image of his dashboard display, showing the relative position of nearby vehicles as well as speed, posted speed limit, temperature, and the fact that he was on the phone with me.

Outrageously cool.

Adios, memory foam mattress

After sheltering the free full size bed and box springs on our porch for four days, we put it out at the curb last night for trash pickup this morning.

We also put out a king size memory foam mattress that we no longer need.

Someone took the conventional mattress and box springs overnight, so the trash haulers only had to contend with the memory foam.