Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas

Christmas Eve


Christmas has almost come and gone. I am sure some are glad when it will be over. There are always a deluge of newspaper and magazine articles about the commercialization of Christmas. There always lots of conversations and assertions from friends and associates, as well as strangers, about the crowds, the shopping demands, the traffic jams, the rudeness of fellow shoppers and other negative aspects of Christmas time. To many people, Christmas is a mini war that needs to be planned, staffed up and fought. This morning while the Lovely Sharon was getting all gussied up for our 10:30 golf game on Ironwood’s South Course, I drove to Albertson’s to buy some crab legs for tonight. I thought about Christmas, what it means to me, how it affects me and how I perceive those around me at this time of year.

Christmas has a wonderful religious and spiritual history and significance. The Christ Child, the hope for redemption for each of us. This means something to me. But beyond the religious foundations of Christmas, or maybe because of the religious foundations of Christmas, for me Christmas is a detour around regular life. I must admit I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about religion during Christmas, or for that matter the rest of the year. I go to Christmas Mass. I say Christmas prayers. But Christmas makes me think of peace and war, of friends and family, of love, of the poor and the homeless, of the blessings and bounties that some have and the bare cupboard that others have.

Christmas music somehow touches my soul, it comforts me. These songs don’t change. The Christmas songs that I sang and loved as a boy 50 years ago are the same songs I sing and love today. These songs create a timeless connection of the years of our lives. As I look back on each decade of my life I see that I have sang the same Christmas songs. I have loved the same Christmas songs.

I like to see a beautiful Christmas tree. You see them at businesses, at country clubs, at churches and at the homes of our friends and families. Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you walk in to a friend’s home and the first thing you see is their Christmas tree, all aglow with packages beneath the branches?

During the Christmas season I greet friends and total strangers with the words “Merry Christmas” and in response they offer me their own “Merry Christmas”. I don’t know if it because of global financial ills, but it struck me this year that as I greeted someone with “Merry Christmas”, even a total stranger, I really meant the words. They were not just a mantra like “have a good day”. I really wanted to wish my friend or this stranger a Merry Christmas. I really hoped that all is well with them; that there is food on their table and a roof over their head. I really hoped that their health is good and that their loved ones are well.

I like the way that ladies wear Christmas finery to parties or to church. I like to see men in goofy Christmas ties. We pass cars and trucks with red ribbon bows or Christmas wreathes on their front grills.

I like the phone calls we make to loved ones scattered across the company or just around the block. These short phone calls are expressions of love, togetherness and thankfulness that we share a life together. These are the calls where we are trying to give our loved ones a hug through our words rather than our arms.

When I close my eyes and picture the Lovely Sharon on a Christmas morning, I see her in her robe and slippers. Her hair not quite combed; a smile on her face. Looking at her warms my soul.

Yes, I do love Christmas despite all of the craziness, the crowds and the bills. I love the fact it makes me think about being kind and helpful. It makes me want to do better, to be better. Christmas makes me want to tell each of you that I love you and I am glad you allow me to be part of your life.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pictures of Wilson

Afer reading my morning blog, my ex-wife emailed two pictures of dog Wilson.  Here they are.  Thanks to Debra who sent these photos from Brazil. The pictures were taken more than 9 years ago


 Wilson loved to ride in the golf cart.


 He always seemed to be smiling.

Another Dog Tale

On October 14, 2009, I wrote about “The Neighbor’s Dog”. Well even though I do not have a dog, it is my opinion that one cannot write too often about life’s most loving creature and finest companion, the dog. I had a couple of dogs at different times when I was a boy. During my first marriage I was blessed to have the “Wilson” who was the cutest, smartest funniest, most loving wired haired fox terrier on the planet. (That may sound like an overstatement, but since this is my blog, a blog of which I am the captain if you will, and you are only a passenger on this train through my meaningless meanderings, you are legally and morally required to accept my assertions as truths. You are required to accept and be bound my claims of veracity, not only to particular statements which are pointed out to you by me, the captain, but the veracity of everything written in The Big Picture.) Here are a couple of pictures of fox terriers if you a drawing a blank on what a fox terrier looks like:




OK, back to Wilson, the dog of my first marriage. We considered the matter of buying a dog for several months. I had always fancied the wired hair fox terrier and read several dog books about the breed. If you are fans of the Thin Man movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s you will be familiar with “Asta”, the dog of characters Nick and Nora played by William Powell and Myrna Loy. I was fan of the Thin Man movies; I was a fan of Nick and Nora; and I was a fan of Asta. Here is a picture of the three of them.



So we decided to get a wired hair fox terrier. Once we made the decision, we could not find a pure bread fox terrier puppy available in Salt Lake City. I bought a few dog magazines and found a breeder in Boise, called them up and was told they had a litter of 4 or 5 purebred puppies that were about 6 weeks old. We agreed to take one and we drove to Boise on a quest to adopt a purebred fox terrier puppy. It was a memorable trip to Boise and on the ride home Wilson became part of the family. What a wonderful addition to the family I must say. Such a character, so fun, so warm, so loving, he was great. My first wife and I ultimately divorced but have remained friends. If you have been through a divorce you know how painful they are and how disruptive they are to the lives of all involved. When you read the legal documents of the divorce, every sentence is painful. For me one of the sentences that struck me the hardest were the words “the party of the first part is awarded custody of a Dog named Wilson.” Those words were actually in the Decree of Divorce and I was not the party of the first part. It illustrates how much we treasure our beloved dogs when the court system makes a decision with an iron fist, as to who gets the dog.

I have had no dog since that time. My current situation of traveling back and forth frequently between Salt Lake City and Palm Desert makes it difficult to have a dog. Yesterday I had the best next thing to having a dog; the Lovely Sharon and I were asked to dog sit the dog of our dear friends and Palm Desert neighbors, Ray and Kaye. This was a different dog than “The Neighbor’s Dog" described in the October 14, 2009 blog entry. This was Hannah, the beautiful and dignified Golden Retriever.

Yesterday, Ray and Kaye went to the San Diego Chargers football game and Sharon and I had a golf game scheduled with other friends. Kaye asked the Lovely Sharon if we could visit Hannah after we finished our golf game. Kaye requested that we take Hannah on a walk, and at 6:00 pm sharp, prepare a specifically described meal for Hannah. Sharon agreed. So after our golf, and while Ray and Kaye were sitting in the football stadium watching the San Diego Chargers game, we walked over to Hannah’s house. The encounter started slow as she bared her teeth and snarled when we approached. (I am referring to Hannah not the Lovely Sharon.) Although we have spent time with Hannah, it had been a number of months and she considered us as trespassers when we initially arrived. However, after we took turns smelling each other’s private parts (me and Hannah not me and the Lovely Sharon), things were just fine. We found a leash and went for a nice walk. I negotiated the best deal for me as I agreed to hold the leash and Sharon got stuck with handling the baggy duty.

After the walk, we took Hannah to her home and determined to leave her there on her own until 6:00 when we would come back to prepare her dinner. However, she looked a little sad so we decided to take her back to our place to watch the rest of the Charger game on TV. She willingly accompanied us to our place a couple of doors down the street and spent an hour and a half with us. She walked around the house checking everything out, she smelled the presents under the Christmas tree, she drank a couple of bowls of water, she curled up on the rug in front of the fridge, she stared at Sharon while Sharon was snacking on cheese and crackers and finally she came and sat by me where she licked all visible parts of my bare legs (I had on golf shorts). Don’t tell Kaye but we gave Hannah a couple of snacks. Hey what do you expect, you have a guest over you offer them something to eat, right?

Finally it was near 6:00 pm, the designated dinner hour. While Sharon walked Hannah back to her house, to prepare a dinner consisting of canned dog food with dry dog food mix. I took a shower to soap off the dog saliva from my legs.

After my shower, Sharon came back from dinner duty and we made our own dinner. I can tell you, it felt like something or someone was missing. The house was still decorated for Christmas and the TV was still on but it felt surprisingly quiet. Hannah was back at her home. When I went to bed, I thought about what a nice day it had been, thanks to Ray and Kaye for asking us to visit Hannah. Today I am going to buy some dog treats, just to have them handy for future needs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things I Like

Each of us has things, books, actors, songs, concepts that we really like. Each of has things we like to do. These things might give us pleasure, they may be helpful or they may evoke a rush of warm memories. Being the narcissist that I am, I will share some of my favorites with you. I am no expert in most of the things that I like, but who cares, I still like these things even if I don’t know why.

I like the Art Deco design style. I am not certain that I can even give you a helpful definition of Art Deco but I am pretty good at recognizing something that is Art Deco. Art Deco was a popular design style in 1920’s and 1930’s. There are Art Deco buildings, furniture, cocktail shakers and a whole slew of other products that were designed in the Art Deco style. I like Art Deco Murals. My favorite office building is the Chrysler Building with its beautiful top. The Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Buildings are both Art Deco projects. Many of the small hotels in Miami’s South Beach are great examples of Art Deco. If you like Art Deco, check out: http://www.decopix.com/ or http://www.retropolis.net/.

I like zinfandel wine. Not the sweet soda pop white zinfandel, but the deep rep, full bodied red zinfandel. The Lovely Sharon and I search out and buy Zinfandels as often as possible. We like Biale’s several varieties of zinfandels, particularly Biale’s Black Chicken. We like some of the Rosenblum and Rombauer zinfandels. I like the way a nice zin looks in the glass as you slowly move the glass about.  I like the rich fruity smell of a zinfandel.  I like to walk through a wine store and look at the labels and wonder what treasure may be contained in a particular bottle.

I like movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s. I like the "Thin Man" series of movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. I like Humphrey Bogart movies of this era. I like "The Philadelphia Story" with Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart.

I like dogs; all kinds of dogs. I like to rub their head and ears. I like it when they roll on their back and beg you with their eyes to rub their stomach. I like it when they slide their head under your hand so you feel obliged to pet them. I like the fact that whenever, you come home, they are sooooo happy to see you.

I like golf courses. The Lovely Sharon is a very good golfer. I am a hack, getting worse. But I like the looks of a golf course. I like to read about golf courses. I have read a number of books on golf course design and architecture. I have numerous coffee table type photo books of golf courses. I like to know who designed the courses I play. Some of favorite golf course architects/ designers are Alister Mackenzie, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and Tom Fasio. Some of the most renowned golf courses were designed by Donald Ross but I have never played one so until I do, I can’t include him in my favorites.

I like to read history. I like to read the speeches of Robert F. Kennedy.  I like to read anything written about or written by Winston Churchill.

I like to read about, listen about and discuss politics.

I like Swiss Army Knives.

I like silk boxer shorts.

I like books. I like to walk down the aisles of bookstores and libraries. I like to hold a book in my hand and feel it. I like it when I am finished reading for a session and I put a bookmark in my book knowing where to start up next time.

I like the song “The Way You Look Tonight”.  I like to hold the Lovely Sharon in my arms and in my awkward way, slow dance listening to this musical gem with the scent of The Lovely Sharon dancing around me.

I like road trips. I like to get in the car and drive.

I like to talk to my son Alex. He is smart, knowledgeable and always has something of interest to say.

I like chick flicks. "Sleepless in Seattle", "You’ve Got Mail", "The American President", "When Harry Met Sally". I have seen each of them many times and will no doubt watch again.

I like my guitars. I have a Martin HD 35 and a Collins 02M. They are beautiful handcrafted, acoustical works of art. I like the rich full sound they each make. I like to pick one up and finger pick a riff.  I like to turn them over and let my eyes caress their beautiful rich, dark wood backs. I like to feel their smoothness on my fingertips.

I like movies with Denzel Washington, George Clooney, and Tom Hanks. I like movies with Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Julia Roberts.

I like Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. Their songs and musical styles are timeless yet they take me back to another era.  A time when life seemed safer.  When it was easier to tell who the bad guys were.  A time when life seems less complex. I like the lyric "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places".

I like people who are passionate about something even if I don’t share their passion or even if I disagree with what they are passionate about. This world needs more people who care deeply about something.  People who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand on something.  People who are not afraid to put their name on something they care about.

I like people who do what needs to be done without having to be asked to do it. No one was better at this than my mother and father.  If something needed to be done, if someone needed help, they were there.

I like to make risotto. I start with a chopped onion, saute it in olive oil until its soft and golden.  I brown the rice a little and then slowly add chicken stock to allow the rice to absorb the liquid.  The theme of the risotto changes depending on what I have in the fridge or the cupboard. I might add chicken or scallops or diced ham.  It may be a vegetable risotto.  Sometimes I add a pinch of saffron.

I like to read the paper while I am eating eggs benedict at Café Beaux Arts on El Paseo in Palm Desert. I like to sit in the sun at one of their open air windows, reading and watching the people stroll down the sidewalk.

There are many more things I like but this is enough for now. If you want to share any of your favorite things, leave a response on this page or send me an email because truly one of things I like is to know the favorite things of my friends.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Weekend

It has been a little quiet around the homestead the last couple of months. The Lovely Sharon and I have been in different cities for about 43 of the last 50 days. We were together in Salt Lake for 3 or 4 days in the end of October and together in Nebraska for 3 or 4 days before Thanksgiving. I was in Salt Lake for Thanksgiving and she was in Nebraska. So with that limited one- on-one time, I sent her an email yesterday morning, Saturday December 5th. Knowing that she was going to a holiday gala at our Palm Desert country club Saturday night and knowing that I was going to thaw out a frozen meal for dinner and then watch the dust in the Salt Lake house grow (it kinda looks like a Chia Pet - one of the plants advertised on TV that grow to look like the head of Abraham Lincoln), I asked her to send me a sexy email that I could read on a lonely, cold night in Salt Lake. (Hey I might be 57 but I am not dead yet). So yesterday evening I opened my email and sure enough there was one from the Lovely Sharon. I thought oh boy this will be great. Well the email consisted of a normal greeting, then a 5 or 6 word “come hither” type message and then ended with a reminder to deposit funds into her Salt Lake bank account. That was it.

I thought man, that wasn’t quite like I had hope for. It was kind of like a husband giving his wife a romantic anniversary card accompanied by a vacuum as a gift. It was kind of like someone giving you tickets to an NBA game and you discover that your seat is three rows from the top. It was kind of like a beau taking his best girl on a long promised romantic picnic but first having to stop to rotate the tires on his car. I mean it was nice, but not quite what you had hoped for.

I mean for gosh sakes, the only visitor I have had in this house in the last seven weeks was the furnace repairman who visited me three times over the Thanksgiving holiday to repair a broken furnace. I am telling you it has been so quiet here that I found myself looking at his butt crack above his belt line when he was bent over working on the furnace. (OK that may be an exaggeration but I think you get the point). By the way, for three days it was so cold in the kitchen that I could store the uncooked meats on the granite counter tops. When I cooked, I wore an overcoat, gloves, as scarf and a hat. But the furnace is now fixed (thanks to Manwill Plumbing owned by my friend Jim Manwill). I am shamelessly hoping that this plug of his business results in a reduced bill.

The other night I got a phone call from a telemarketer in Florida wanting to sell me a cruise. I asked him where he was from, where he went to high school, the names of his wife and kids. It was nice to talk to someone. After our lengthy conversation, none of which involved the cruise, I think he put me on the “do not call” list. I stopped paying bills on time just so the bill collectors would call.

I bought a new IPhone last week. Just for fun I put it on vibrate, put in my pants pocket and called myself from my home line. After seven calls I started to feel like I was stalking myself so I stopped. Although the vibration in my pants was nice.

I suppose the good thing with this time apart from the Lovely Sharon is that I have had time for productive things. I have been using Photoshop to take my friends heads off of photos I have stored on my computer and put them on animal bodies. That is a good use of time. My friend Gordon looks great as an armadillo. My friend Steve R. looks very loveable as a llama.

It has also been fun to stack books all over the floor of Bud Cave. It looks like stalagmites growing from the floor to the ceiling.

One thing that has been a challenge is that I am reading one book, listening to an audio book in my car and listening to still a another audio book on my Ipod when I walk on the treadmill. Usually it is not a problem for me to keep all the plots and characters straight but in two of these three books there are characters named Jenna. I have never known anyone in my life named Jenna and now two of the three books I am involved with have a character named Jenna. In one book Jenna is the heroine, a nice woman who won the lottery and collected $290,000,000 ($150,000,000 after lump sum discount and taxes). The other Jenna is a scheming little trollop trying to steal the husband of some poor woman. I find myself confused over which Jenna is the rich one and which one is the trollop.

Yesterday I did one thing that, I must admit, was wonderful for me. I delivered poinsettia plants to my beautiful daughter-in-law (and held grandbaby Kendall Marie), to my friends Norm and Terry, to my sister and to my parents. I was lucky enough to find them all at home so I visited a few minutes at each house. That was really nice for me.

This morning I woke up early, I put a load of wash in the washing machine at 4:45 and watched from my window as the snow is falling, covering the street in front of my house in white. The only light outside at this hour is a single street lamp and the two lamps on the columns at the end of my sidewalk. There is something nice about the look of snow falling with no one around and the dim street lamp illuminating the snow, the street and the lawn.

Today I will pay the bills, and yes I will write a check for the Lovely Sharon’s account, put a few more friends heads on animals and watch NFL football. But for now, I am going to make me a cup of coffee and read about Jenna, the rich one (I think it is the rich one but it might be the trollop).

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Drive, Part 2

After Mullen, I headed down Highway 2 to Broken Bow. Although with a population of 3,500 or so, Broken Bow is a small town, it is the biggest town I had been in since Sidney. I filled up with gas, stretched my legs and bought a bottle of water. One of the things that I find interesting in these small Nebraska towns is that most of them have one or more large grain elevators. They look like skyscrapers as you approach the town. You can see them from several miles away. Many of these towns have been built around the grain elevators. At Ansley, I turned on to Highway 92 that would take me to David City and the Lovely Sharon. Arriving in David City I checked into the Rose Motel, the only motel in town. Sharon was staying at her parent’s house but I wanted to have a little down time in the evenings so she made me a reservation at the Rose. After a quick shower and a change of clothes, I drove to her parents’ house.

When Sharon opened the door, I got a little misty eyed. I had not seen her for some three weeks and not much since mid September. It felt good to hold her again. She had obviously had a trying week but she looked beautiful. Her father came to greet me as well. You could see the pain and loss in his 78 year old eyes. The three of us spent a quiet evening together. I was getting tired after the long drive and headed back to the Rose to read and then sleep. However, except for a single light in the corner of the room, all of the lights were either missing or burned out so there was no reading on Saturday night. The bottom fitted sheet on the bed was too small for the bed and every time I rolled on the bed, the bottom sheet popped off at the corners. I got up a half a dozen times to fix it but each time it popped off again. So I just left it. I slept like a baby in waddling clothes.

On Sunday morning the Lovely Sharon asked me to get a few things at the stores in Columbus, a town of more than 20,000 about 25 miles away. I drove to Columbus, had breakfast and did some grocery shopping. It seemed like I was the only person in the town that was not wearing a University of Nebraska shirt, hat, sweatpants, sweatshirt or coat. So guess what, I bought me and Sharon matching University of Nebraska tee shirts and I bought me a Nebraska baseball hat. So I am set, almost a native, “Go Huskers”.

Back in David City we dressed for the viewing and rosary. Sharon’s sons arrived just in time from Salt Lake. We visited with many family members and friends at the viewing. I didn’t know the friends but after three or four visits to Nebraska in the last 6 years, I was well acquainted with many of the family members. It was nice to see them again, hug them, and talk to them.

Monday was the funeral. We awoke to a foggy, cold, dismal looking day. It looked like a day for a funeral. The funeral was held at the 98 year old St. Mary’s church in David City. It is a beautiful church yellow brick with a tall bell tower and tall spires, warm and colorful inside, with wonderful stained glass windows. It was a lovely service at the Church and at the graveside. A luncheon was held after the service at the Knights of Columbus Hall. I spoke at length with the parish priest about life, dogs and other matters. After lunch, the extended family met back at the house for four or five hours of family time.





Tuesday morning I started my journey back to Salt Lake and arrived home on Wednesday to quiet and cold house.

A death of a loved one, especially a mother, is one of life’s saddest moments. But the events and interactions that surround a death are some of the warmest moments of life. Sweet goodbyes, a gathering of friends and family, and recollections of a lifetime of memories. Tears and laughter abound. The old photographs are brought out; black and white photographs with the pinking shear type edges. Some of the photos were hand tinted color photos of a beautiful young woman frozen in time 60 years ago, a girl with a full life ahead of her. There were pictures from a time when aged parents were children themselves. There were pictures of high school dances, pictures from a wedding more than 55 years ago and pictures of life on the family farm. This family is an impressive family of quiet strength, hard work and strong values. I am honored to be part of it.

During the last several weeks Sharon was able to spend extensive time with her mother, father and brothers. She was there to help make important and final decisions. She was there to provide strength and support at a time when strength and support were needed. I have written about Sharon in humorous essays about “The Boss” and other episodes of our life and I will not doubt do so again in the future, but I continue to stand in awe of my quiet, lovely wife.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Drive Part 1

Last Thursday evening I had just packed my car for an early morning drive to Palm Desert anticipating a Thanksgiving holiday with the Lovely Sharon in our beloved desert. Now it is 5:30 a.m. Sunday, November 22nd and I drinking coffee from a plastic coffee cup at the Rose Motel in David City, Nebraska. Let me take you back a little and share with you the chain of events that brought me to this sterile motel room with four of its seven lights burned out and bed sheets that don’t fit the bed.

On Tuesday, the Lovely Sharon was called back to Nebraska from Palm Desert to be with her mother and family; the second trip in less than a month. In October, the family was told that her mother had nine to twelve months left. This time frame was subsequently shortened to two-four months. Sharon had arrived in Palm Desert on Saturday, November 7th and on Monday, November 16th she received a call advising her to make another trip to Nebraska, her second in three weeks. By Tuesday afternoon she was in a hospital room in Omaha with her mother.

Our plan was that I would drive to Palm Desert on Friday, November 20th and Sharon would fly back to Palm Springs from Nebraska on Saturday and we would spend 8 or 9 days together. During the last 60 days or so we have been apart for more than forty days as a result of one obligation or another. During the last week we kept in touch by phone and I was kept up to date on events in Nebraska. Sharon’s mother received last rites and was transferred from Omaha to her home town of David City by ambulance. There wasn’t much more that could be done in Omaha. On Thursday night after returning from the hospital in David City, Sharon called and told that me she better stay in Nebraska for awhile longer. This did not surprise me as throughout the week I told her that if it looked like she needed to stay, then she must stay and I would either go to the desert or remain in Utah for the holiday. After her call I decided to go the desert.

Within 30 minutes of the initial call, Sharon called back and told me her mother had just passed away. I told her I would be in Nebraska by Saturday night for Sunday rosary and the Monday funeral. I unpacked the car with the Palm Desert items and I repacked for a trip to Nebraska. I could have flown although flight options were limited and prices were high as a result of Thanksgiving. So I decided to drive. Straight through it was 900 hundred miles but I had two days in which to get there. I decided to take the two days, and drive through country I had not seen for awhile, thinking about life, death, family and friends. I set out for Nebraska on Friday morning.

Friday’s drive through Wyoming was not particularly scenic until I reached Medicine Bowe. Although there is not much to see in this town of 275, the nearby Medicine Bow Mountains and grazing antelope are of interest. Finally, I drove into Laramie. This is high altitude plains with strong winds. When I stopped to fill the tank in Laramie I was standing on ice and a cold wind made me shutter while I cleaned the car windows. I grabbed a steaming cup of coffee and headed off to Cheyenne followed by Nebraska. Did you ever notice that restaurant coffee almost always tastes rich and flavorful, better than you make at home, but gas station coffee is just hot. You don’t savor it; it just reminds you that you have some place else to be. When I reached Pine Bluff (the border of Wyoming and Nebraska) it was dark and I was tired. I had not driven through Nebraska in almost 50 years, which I last did with my parents when I was seven or so and I decided I did not want to do so now in the dark.

I stopped for the evening at a town named Sidney. Was Sidney a first name or a sur name? I don’t know. I have always wondered what prompted a town to be named what it is. Who made the decision that would last forever. Salt Lake City? That’s easy, just look to the west desert. Some towns are named after trappers such Ogden, Provo and Fort Bridger. Some are named after explorers or adventurers such San Francisco (Sir Francis Drake). The town of Sidney, Nebraska was an unknown name on the map but I was tired and it was dark so I stopped. The motel was nice, relatively new and clean. I checked in and then walked across the parking lot to a restaurant.

The restaurant was full of people, life and conversation. Although I was alone, with my reading spectacles and a roadmap, it was nice to hear voices around me after a day of driving. Parents telling kids to eat their food, men flirting with the waitresses and old couples talking about the day in quiet tones and few words as though a lifetime together allowed for the communication of thoughts with few spoken words.

Back in the room I looked at the map and decided to take a route out of the way, off of the interstate through the backs roads of Nebraska. I decided to drive to the Sand Hills Golf Club a renown golf course designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore in an isolated part of the sand hills of Nebraska. This course was built in 1995 and since that time has been ranked in the top ten courses in America and the best course in the last 50 years. Sharon, her father and her brothers, were preparing for the funeral and the burial and were generally tied up with matters than I could not help with so I had a day to deal with before I reached David City. I thought of the uncertainties of life, that I may never again have time to drive that way and so I decided to head north toward Mullen, Nebraska, population 459.

The Nebraska sand hills span almost 20,000 square miles (one-fourth the area of Nebraska), it is the largest sand dune formation in the Western Hemisphere. Following the last ice age, wind took hold of the loose sand, blowing it into vast dunes, now covered with prairie grasses, reaching up to nearly 400 feet in height and stretching vast miles across the landscape.

At Ogalla I left the interstate, drove through town and onto highway 62. I left the flat lands of Nebraska for the rolling sand hills. Heading north for a 100 miles or so, I drove through rolling prairie, no doubt looking like it looked a hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, with the exception of  a few farm houses, popping up from time to time like desert oasis. Many of the farm houses were in compounds surrounded on four sides by thick evergreens to protect the inhabitants from blowing snow and blowing sand. Not much corn here, mostly grasses in hues of muted light browns and yellows. The season’s grasses had for the most part been cut and were in gigantic rolls, haystacks or bales most of which still in the fields to be moved. Every so often I passed a herd of cattle, seemingly unaware that I was passing by. I passed  a few cars, a few big rigs and a few pickup trucks. It felt like it was me and the rolling hills together but alone. I stopped from time to time just to look around and feel the wind in my hair. I finally reach Highway 2, the town of Hyannis where I turned right for Mullen.

I stopped at Mullen to ask for directions to the Sand Hills Golf Club. I was told to head down Highway 97 for about 10 miles and if I came to the Dismal River, I had gone too far. I headed down Highway 97 on the lookout for a sign. Finally I saw a small sign that read “Sand Hills Golf Club”. As I turned off 97, there were signs that said private road. Since I was out in the middle of nowhere and I had made a 150 mile detour, a private road sign was not going to stop me. I drove down the road for a couple of miles but came to a locked gate that looked like a cattle gate. The road meandered through tall grass covered sand dunes so you couldn't see what was on the other side of the dunes.  I back tracked and went down a couple of sandy side roads but still no golf course. I saw a house down a sandy lane and drove up to it. As I got out of my car I saw a teenage girl walking up the front steps of her house. She was carrying a shotgun in her right hand. She stopped and looked at me but said nothing. I asked her where the golf course was. She said “just a minute” and she went into her house. A few seconds later a man came out and asked me what I wanted. I told him I was driving from Utah to David City and took a detour just to see the Sand Hills Golf Club. When he told me it was closed for the season I asked him if there was a sand hill where I could stand on just to see the course. He looked at me for a few seconds and said I could follow him in his truck to a vantage point. So I did. We drove a few hundred yards down a sand road where he stopped his truck. I got out of my car and there it was, the famed Sand Hills Golf Club spread out and meandering through the seemingly endless sand hills of Nebraska. The holes did not run parallel to each other but end to end routing through the hills and valleys surrounded by native grass which by this time in late November was dormant. I took a few pictures, thank my guide and headed back to highway 97 where I turned left back to Mullen.




Photo by Patrick Drickey

The Drive Part 2 will be the next entry

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I Can Live Without

I try to be easy going, I try to live and let live. I am not a horn honker while driving. However, there are a number of things that just drive me nuts.

I use my cell phone often and it is a wonderful tool. But, I could live without:

                 Cell Phone Use in Restaurants. If someone is sitting near me in a restaurant talking to a dinner companion, it is no problem for me. Part of the enjoyment of a meal is the conversation that goes with it. But sit me next to someone at a restaurant who is talking on the phone and I go crazy. I want to grab his cell phone throw it as far as I can and then push his head in his food. If he has something important to talk about on the phone, leave the restaurant.

                 Cell Phone Use When the Plane Lands. I have practiced law for 32 years and have had many business trips and personal trips during that time. Beginning 6 or 7 years ago, people have gone overboard with phone calls when the plan lands. You know what I am talking about. The plane hits the runway and the flight attendant announces you can now use your cell phone. As soon as that announcement is made, 60 of the 80 people on board need to make a phone call. We have been in the plane for 90 minutes or less and ¾ of the people on board have such important thing going on or events that must be attended to that they have missed during the previous 73 minutes so now they have to make a phone call before we get into the terminal. Who are these people? Is it a flight full of bookies or stock traders (oh I forgot, they are same aren’t they)? Are they calling the cops to see if their kidnapped daughter has been found? For gosh sakes what is so important that they can’t wait 4 more minutes. It makes me want to hit them with one of those little airplane pillows.

                    Cell Phone Use in the Library. I go to the library often. Cell phone use is epidemic in the library. My mother taught me to be quite and respectful in the library. I was in two different libraries today. In the first one, a man was talking loudly on a cell phone about what he needed to buy at the store. In the other library there were two phone talkers talking about who knows what, but they both very loud. Listening to both of them reminded me of listening to the dueling banjo’s song where there is an instrumental duel between a guitar and banjo.      Da Da Da Da Da Da;      DA DA DA DA DA DA DA.

I can live without the guy in the car in the next lane who, as you are approaching the stop light, sees that there is one car ahead in his lane and no cars ahead in your lane. So what does the chowder head do? He speeds up, cuts in front of you and then has to slam on his brakes because he only has only 60 feet before he hits the stop light. Now he is in front of you and you are stopped at the light behind him. Does he not have a clue that this may be rude? I have been driving for 41 years and this has pissed me off for my entire driving career. It makes me want to have a special power where I can pull up next to him point my finger at his tire so that he can see me, flick my finger and cause his tire to explode. Kind a like Samantha in Bewitched. Point at another tire and it explodes and so on until he is sitting on his rims. Then I would smile, wave, pull in front of him and pleasantly drive off. A similar situation is the guy who speeds up, pulls in front of you and then has to immediately turn right at the next corner.  Why didn't he just get behind you? My special finger power (not not the middle finger, I don’t do that) would be used on his tires also.

I can live without Sara Palin. This woman is a perfect politician for a Lindsey Lohan- Paris Hilton society; a society that has no substance. A society where image is far more revered than deeds. This woman in the queen of the intellectual desert. She hasn’t read anything including her own book. You know people just like her. People who blame everyone but themselves for losses, mistakes or miscues. She blames the McCain staff for her terrible campaign performance. She blames Katie Couric for asking her questions she could not answer. Please put her on a talk radio show and let her do and say whatever she wants. Let her work out of the same studio in Miami that Rush Limbaugh works out of. Then when she leaves works, she can see Cuba.

I can live without Barney Frank. Although there are some things Barney and I agree on, I can live without him based upon his manner, his attitude and just the way he looks. He ought to be a police detective assigned to missing persons. Or he ought to be frying eggs in Philly as a short order cook.

I am tired of these politicians and fringe lunatics on both the left and the right who refuse to consider that people do have different opinions. (My opinions on Sara Palin and Barney Frank are irrefutable so don’t comment in favor of those people. I am right on this and I refuse to listen to contrary opinions. If you feel otherwise, start your own blog). Utah is filled with people who believe that if you don’t believe like they believe, not only are you wrong, you are evil. Wellllll, I can live without these people.

Ok, I am done. I am going to have a glass of wine, read an anger management book and settle down. By the way, I can live without those bozos who write anger management books.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend

Sunday morning I awoke to blue skies and a lawn covered with snow. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make the yards totally white. The weekend before last I had raked most of the leaves that had fallen but on Thursday and Friday the stubborn leaves, those not yet ready to give up their attachment to their particular tree, finally gave up and floated to the ground. So by Friday afternoon, my yard had another layer of fallen leaves. I had intended to rake and bag the stragglers on Saturday but the first winter storm of the season in the Salt Lake valley changed that plan. By 11:00 am on Saturday there was a blizzard. When I walked out of the grocery store, the snow was blowing sideways; it was almost a white out. It was a relief to finally get into the car and head home. The onset of winter is always an adjustment. An adjustment in what you wear, what you eat, who you see and how you drive. There were some 100 car crashes in the valley as residents were figuring out they should have slowed down.

Saturday was a day spent in solitude, washing clothes, reading and watching college football. The house was quiet as no one was there but me. I looked out the window for the Neighbor’s Dog, but he was hiding somewhere from the storm. Keeping warm and dry was more important to him than whatever doggie treat I could give him. I finally decided to cook about five meals that I could freeze and thaw out this week for dinner. The kitchen was warm and the aroma of homemade meals brightened up an otherwise dreary day. I cooked a tri trip roast and several chicken breasts. I also made a big pot of risotto. I ate some of my handiwork on Saturday and Sunday but I should be set for the week.

On Sunday it was a welcome change to have sun and blue sky. It was still cold and the snow was still clinging to the lawns, but the appearance of bright sunshine always seems to raise one’s spirits. I ran a few errands, watched movies, read a novel and paid bills. I wrote a check to the Utah Food Bank and the Salt Lake Homeless Mission. There is nothing like a winter day to remind you that some folks don’t have a warm place to sleep or a warm dinner to fill an empty stomach. Sometimes I am remiss and concentrate too much on my own life and not enough on those who need help.

The last three weeks has been a little lonely in a big house, all by myself. When you walk in the house it is cold. Depending on the time of day, when I walk in it is either dark or dim until I turn the lights on. The only sounds are the burglar alarm that is set off when I unlock and open the door and the furnace kicking into gear when I turned up the temperature. I usually say hello to Rudy, a plant the Lovely Sharon and I named a couple of years ago. Although I say hello to Rudy he looks at me without apparent interest, remaining silent, looking at the window contemplating days of summer. Rudy is a rubber plant, a Fiscus Elastica for those of you who prefer the scientific name. Three seasons ago when we were getting the yard ready for winter, Sharon mentioned that this rubber plant would not be brought in the house and we would have to replace it in the spring. I looked at the plant, he looked at me in a begging, kind of “please help me” way. I told Sharon that I would take him in the house for the winter. She initially said no but then reconsidered. She named the plant Rudy and I brought him in the house. He is now working on his third winter. Rudy and I have an arm’s length relationship. Not much interaction. I water him once a week as he looks stoically at me. Nonetheless, I am glad he is resident in the house.

I am taking care of a half a dozen or so other plants that we brought in for the winter. One of which, a small cactus, spent last winter in Palm Desert but now resides in Utah. I think I will take that one back to Palm Desert when I head back down.

I suppose the snow will melt this week as temperatures rise a little but no doubt there will be more snow soon. The summer and the following Indian summer are gone to wherever good weather goes.

Put on your coat, keep your gloves handy and send a donation to the Food Bank.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Gotta Read This

I read a lot of online news from a variety of sources. I read political articles, financial articles, humorous articles, sport articles, entertainment articles, and anything else you can think of. What makes you click on an online article to read? Most times it’s the title, right? You gotta have a catchy title to attract a reader. Here are some titles that piqué your interest:

Dolly Parton & Jessica Simpson Talk Big Boobs (Huffington Post 11/3/09). Viagra or no Viagra, there are very few men who could pass up this article. One hopes that by reading the story it would be like talking to an archeologist about the Egyptian Pyramids; the secrets of the ages to be unveiled.

The 15 Stupid Products of All Time (Huffington Post 11/3/09). You have to see how many of these products are sitting in your cupboard right now. The Lovely Sharon and I had a slight disagreement last Sunday over whether I should buy Doggy Ice Cream for the Neighbor’s Dog. She won; I lost so we didn’t buy the stuff. But when I saw the product in the regular ice cream section of the grocery store, I thought, “Hey that’s a good idea”. The Lovely Sharon rolled her eyes and said “no way buster”. I wonder if Doggy Ice cream is on this list

Foo Fighters Taking a Break (CNN.Com 11/3/09). I must say I don’t know what a Foo Fighter is. I know what a fighter is but I don’t know what a Foo is. I know what a Fool is (hey don’t even go there; I don’t need some smart-alecky response like “I bet you do”). I have heard of Kun Foo. Maybe it was a misprint and should have been Food Fighter. I was in a number of food fights in high school. Well I guess I better check that one out.

Loon Strips Naked at Brooklyn Polling Place (New York Daily News 11/04/09). I am guessing that they are not talking about the lovely water fowl.

11 Year Old Gives Birth After Going into Labor at Her Wedding (New York Daily News 11/04/09). The only thing I am surprised at here is that this wasn’t about a Utah couple.

Gotti judge on squabbling jurors: Let them eat Twizzlers! (New York Daily News 11/04/09. Here is part of the article:

“Here's a new twist on keeping jurors from each other's throats: Stick a few Twizzlers in their mouths.

The judge in John A. (Junior) Gotti's trial opted for licorice over the lash Tuesday to keep his cranky jury in line, providing the panel with a big bucket of red Twizzlers. The sweets - 105 individually wrapped strawberry-flavored licorice twists - drew smiles and chuckles from the sometimes-sour panel.

"Why Twizzlers?" asked Federal Judge Kevin Castel, posing the question on everybody's lips inside the lower Manhattan courtroom.

First, he said, Twizzlers were tremendous tension breakers: "When you have a Twizzler in your mouth, you can't have a serious conversation."

Second, Castel continued, the red-colored licorice "are kinda sweet ... pleasant tasting. They put you in a good mood."

Finally, Castel noted, there were two ways to eat the Twizzler: Sucking on the licorice, like a baby with a pacifier, or tearing it into small pieces and gobbling it down.
Either way, he noted, the Twizzlers were there to candy-coat the panel's jangled nerves. "If you feel frustrated, you now have something to take that frustration out on," Castel said. Juror No. 1 then carried the red-topped bucket of candy into the jury room.

I love the news

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What A Weekend

You have had weekends that you look back on and you think to yourself “how good was that”. A weekend that you look back on, even months later, and remember with a smile and a warm feeling. Well I just had one. The Lovely Sharon was in Nebraska all week visiting her ailing mother, my dear mother-in-law, Lucille. Unfortunately, Lucille is dealing with some very serious health issues which have caused the family great angst. This week it was hard to be home alone in Utah not knowing what was going on in Nebraska. Each call from Sharon was cryptic with little information being provided since she couldn’t really talk and there was uncertainty on her end as to the results of certain medical tests. In each call, you could hear the worry and uncertainty in her voice. It goes without saying that I spent lonely week thinking about family, friends, health, life and the uncertainty that we all deal with. Things are great one moment and something bad comes out of nowhere. It has happened to all of us.

I read a couple of books this week and worked a little longer at the office each day just to kill time. But when I awoke Saturday it was a beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, day. It was the kind of day that acted like a healing balm on the rough edges of the week. The Lovely Sharon was flying into Salt Lake at 7:00 pm so I had a full day to work with. She called me first thing in the morning and we had a subdued conversation but it was so good to hear her voice. After I talked to Sharon, I called son Alex and talked to him for a few minutes. He was working so I couldn’t see him in person but I felt like giving him a hug, so I called him. He was busy so we only talked for a couple of minutes but we agreed to meet for a late lunch or early dinner next week.

I then visited my Mother and Father. Although I talk to them fairly often by phone, I had not seen them for a couple of weeks so it was nice to sit and talk in person. Our conversations are always interesting as we talk about politics, current events sports and who in the neighborhood has recently died or is near death. My parents always know what’s going on in life, politics and society and they always have opinions about those goings on. When I was younger I used to wonder why anyone would have a conversation which focused on illness and death, but as I get older (57 last week), I find myself reading the obituaries and talking about who is ill, dead or nearly dead. I have officially become old. Damn.

After visiting my parents I went home and raked leaves. I know that raking leaves does not sound like recreation but I totally enjoyed the solitude of our park-like back yard. If you have read this blog before you know about the neighbor’s dog and so you know that when I walked out of the house I had two dog treats in my pocket. I grabbed my rake, gloves, and an inventory of plastic lawn bags and walked into the back yard. Yep, you got it. The dog saw me and walked to our common fence waiting for me to feed him some treats. I gave him both treats, rubbed his head, which was warm from the morning sun, and asked him how he was doing. I put on my Ipod listened to music and raked for an hour so. As I worked, the hawks flew over me and the squirrels chattered around me as they scampered up and down the trees and ran through the yard.




I called my sister and talked with her for a few minutes. I need to blog about her. She is one of the best people I have ever met.

After watching college football, I picked up Sharon at 7:00. I can’t tell you how glad I was to see her standing at the airport curb with her suitcase in her hand. I must say I got a little misty eyed when I jumped out of the car to give her a hug. We had dinner at Hidden Valley Country Club and were joined by dear friends Mike and Shar. Having the Boss back home and dinner with friends topped off a very good day.

Today, Sunday was another beautiful day, the kind of Utah autumn day that just feels right. You can smell the autumn in the air. The temperature is cool but the sun is warm on your face. You Utahns know exactly what I mean. I made us breakfast and raked leaves for two more hours. Yep, more treats for the neighbor’s dog. After I cleaned up, we visited son Nick, his wife Ali and the new baby Kendall. What lovely parents our granddaughter Kendall has. Nick is a fantastic man and Ali is about as sweet and pretty as a lady can be. When you look at Ali it makes you just smile. I got to hold Kendall again, fed her and just basically was in awe of her. You look at an infant and you wonder what she is thinking. Does she know what’s going on? Does she know the dog running around her is not a person but a dog? Sharon bought her a Nebraska Cornhusker outfit. As Kendall gets older, I am hoping to convert her to a University of Utah UTE. I am pretty sure that can be done since, although Nick loves Nebraska Football (the home state of his mother and father), he is a University of Utah graduate. I am thinking that by the time she is three she will be singing “Who am I sir? A Utah man am I”.

Holding Kendall takes me back to the time when son Alex was a new born in 1983. I remember how I felt each time I saw him. I must confess that I was a very proud father. When we brought him home from the hospital he was wearing a little black tuxedo with tails and a bow tie. Don’t ask me where I bought, it, I don’t remember. I just know that when he was in the hospital nursery, all the babies around him were wrapped in swaddling clothes but the nurses had dressed him in his tuxedo. There were a lot people looking through the window at this one day old baby wearing Fred Astaire tails.

Tonight we made dinner for friends Bruce and Barbara. Dinner, conversation, wine and catching up with each other. You cannot place too much importance on what dear friends bring to your life. I continue to marvel at how lucky I am to have such people in my life. I don’t deserve it and I don’t give back nearly as much as I receive from these fine people.

The Lovely Sharon has been home just over 24 hours. In that short time, she asked me why I was driving where I was driving on a freeway detour, she told me not to hit a parked car that I was driving past, she told me to change the shirt I was going to wear to Nick and Ali’s house, she told me to knock it off when I tried to fondle her while I was wearing rubber yard gloves, and she didn’t let me buy doggy ice cream for the neighbor’s dog that I found at the grocery store. Isn’t it nice to have her back? You bet it is. What a lucky fellow am I .

As you know from a previous blog, I have been told that I must be a narcissist because I write a blog. I admit that this entry is pretty narcissistic describing a weekend that means nothing to you but meant everything to me. It brought me peace, joy, love and happiness. To get these things in your life and then write about is undoubtedly narcissistic.

Family, friends, home, colorful fallen leaves, the smell of autumn and blue skies are things money can’t buy. You probably know what I mean.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What the Heck

I have been busy at work and have traveling for a while and have not been able to provide you with any extremely humorous or insightful information. During that time I have read, heard, seen or thought about things that make me say “What the Heck?” Here are some of them:

Chastity Bono is becoming a man. As you know, she is the daughter of Sony and Cher. Remember her when she was the cute little blonde tot appearing on the Sonny and Cher show? Her conversion from woman to man is not what makes me say What the Heck. Oh “contrar”, we are frequently seeing men becoming women or women becoming men, so this is not so unusual. Although I must say I am still trying to figure out how they give a woman a “Johnson”, if you know what I mean. When a man wants to become a woman, a simple Swiss Army Knife can do the job. Ok, back to what made me say What the Heck. In this morning’s Huffington Post internet news website, there is an article with a headline that says “Chaz Bono’s Sex Drive Is Up.” Now that is a What the Heck. Is this really news? If my friend Gordon’s sex drive is up I really don’t want to read about it in the Salt Lake Tribune. Can you imagine the conversation with your Mom when she calls?

Mom: Hello Dear how are you?
Me: Fine
Mom: Anything new?
Me: The Lovely Sharon is out of town, the war in Afghanistan is turning more deadly and Chastity Bono’s sex drive is up.
Mom: That’s nice dear, your father says hello.

The John and Kate thing definitely makes me say What the Heck. I will be honest, until a few months ago, I had never heard of John and Kate. I had never seen their show, never knew they had a show, I had never even heard the names John and Kate mentioned together. Then as news articles started appearing mentioning John and Kate and their marriage difficulties, I wondered who they were. I finally asked the Lovely Sharon who John and Kate were. She told me they had a TV show and a lot of kids. The show was about feeding and dressing the kids and stuff like that. I thought Sharon was pulling my leg. You mean actual people are watching a TV show about feeding kids and cleaning the house? I watched an episode that was totally about John making Korean food while Kate was sending email while laying in bed.  Come on, is this the stuff worth spending time on? I cook most of the meals we eat at home. So if you think watching John cook Korean food on TV is entertaining, you should come over to my house and watch me make Risotto in person. It would be like going to the live theater. Hell, I would even give you a glass of wine. Every night there is some news article about John dating, Kate upset, John clearing out the bank out and being ordered to put the money back. Kate had a boob job. John tells the TV network they can’t film any more shows because it is not good for the kids. (These people have so many kids; it is like a litter of puppies.) John and Kate have exploited these kids for years and now he says it is not good for the Kids? Last week there was a news story that John may be dating the OctoMom. Remember her? She was the woman who popped out eight kids at one time while already having a bunch at home. If there were a case for mandatory sterilization, these people should be first in line. I have gone from a virgin, not having heard of these people to now, I know more about them and see them more often than I do my parents or sister. I need to change that.

I read a news story the other day about a young woman who was violently raped and then subsequently denied health insurance because she had a preexisting condition. That is a very serious What the Heck. These insurance companies who want no competition, they extol the virtues of free enterprise, they want no government regulation and they want to deny health coverage because a woman was raped. When I read about this I wonder how any person, Democrat or Republican, could oppose a health insurance option of last resort for people who at the mercy of these corporate jackals. If this is your daughter, would you still say, no public option, the government should not help people get health care coverage. I think not. If this was not a family Blog I would refer to the health insurance companies as “those Bastards”.

One last What the Heck. Last week the Lovely and Sharon and I went to Napa for wine tasting and to a concert in a small town east of San Francisco. We had a lovely time. The concert was by Josh Groban who sang at the home of one of our friends. It was a special evening. One evening we were getting cleaned up and were dressing for dinner. Sharon saw one of my black dress shoes on the hotel room floor. She was putting her makeup on, spied the shoe, turned to me and asked “Did you bring both shoes?” I just looked at her with a What the Heck look. I can’t imagine ever asking her if she brought both the left and the right shoe of a matching pair. Only a woman would ask a man this. A man would never ask a woman or a man if they brought both shoes. A woman would not ask another woman if she brought both shoes, but a woman would definitely ask a man if he brought both shoes. I was totally offended at the question.

When the Lovely Sharon turned back to her makeup, I checked my suit case and was relieved to find the other black shoe.

What the Heck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Off the Beaten Track

Three or four time a year I drive from Salt Lake City to Palm Desert, California. It is about 660 miles from our Utah house to our place in Palm Desert. On most of these trips I drive alone. My favorite part of the drive starts in Primm, Nevada (the border between Nevada and California on I-15). A few miles up I-15 on the California side is the Nipton exit. From this exit to Twentynine Palms, CA (“29 Palms”) is approximately 200 miles of two lane road, one in each direction, across the Mojave Desert. This is wild, isolated desert. Many of the readers of this blog have taken this road and know the area well. When I first took this route, I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring. But now that I have been going this way for more than 12 years, I love it.  I have probably made 100 or more trips counting back and forth. I am awed by the isolated beauty. This area pretty much looks like it did a hundred years ago. There are gigantic Joshua tree cactuses, coyotes, hawks, snakes and other critters.

As you drive through the Mojave Valley Preserve, the first town (if I can call it a town) that you come to is Cima. There only a few buildings standing, most of which are empty. This town started as a railroad town in 1906. There is a general store - post office which seems to be open some of the time. The Lovely Sharon and I stopped here a few years back, bought some stamps and talked to the Irene, the Post Mistress. She looked like she was in her 80’s but seemed very nice and we had a pleasant conversation.

We stopped at the Cima Post Office because I had recently purchased some postage stamps in Salt Lake that were motorcycle pictures and other stamps that looked like baseball cards. I told Sharon that I thought I would save these pretty stamps rather than use them. She responded by asserting that they were not collector stamps and that every post office in America probably had them for sale. When she said this we were 30 or 40 miles from Cima so it got me to thinking. You got it, when we got to the ghost town of Cima, Ca, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, I stopped at this teeny old wooden post office, walked in with the Lovely Sharon and met Ms. Irene. After our greetings and introductions, I casually asked Ms. Irene if she had motorcycle or baseball card stamps. When she said no, I just looked at the Lovely Sharon with a “In your face" smile. Nothing else needed to be said. We did buy some nice Indian blanket stamps.

A few years back my friends Steve and Cathy hit a cow in the early morning light just outside Cima. It totaled their car but thank goodness they were not hurt. The highway patrolman who was called to the crash site told them he was going to shoot the cow to put it out if its misery. He walked close to the cow,point blank, aimed his gun, shot and missed. He had to take another shot to finish off the cow. I think the crash, the gunshots and the overall experience was pretty tough on Steve and Cathy. The worse part of the experience was that my friend Gordon and I were waiting in Palm Desert to play golf with Steve latter that day.   He called us very shaken up while sitting in a crashed car in the middle of nowhere witnessing the assassination of a cow by a trooper who couldn’t shoot straight.  With great sympathy Gordon and I asked Steve if that meant golf was off for the day.

The next town you come to is Kelso, a ghost town and defunct railroad town. The town was built as a railroad station because of its location and nearby springs that provided abundant water. Starting off as what was a simple train depot in the 1920s, the town of Kelso boomed briefly to as many as 2,000 residents in the 1940s, when borax and iron mines opened nearby. Gold and silver were also discovered in the nearby hills of what became known as the Kelso district. The town shrank again when the mines closed after about a decade. Kelso was a base of operations for the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (now part of the Union Pacific). Trains were watered and "helper" locomotives were attached to assist the regular trains in climbing the steep Cima Hill. The distance between Las Vegas and the connection with the Santa Fe line at Daggett was too far for trains without a meal car, so Kelso was a convenient spot for a restaurant stop. The depot building itself was built in 1923 using a Spanish "California mission" building style. It contained boarding rooms for railroad employees and a restaurant for both employees and passengers. It also had a telegraph office and waiting room. Later, a restaurant nicknamed the "Beanery," that served home-style meals was housed in the building. The depot remained in operation until 1986. It was recently renovated to become the Mojave National Preserve's visitor center. Renovation was completed in 2005 and is now open to the public. It’s a beautiful old train station absolutely in the middle of nowhere (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelso,_California)





From Kelso it is about 40 miles to Amboy. You pass the 600 foot high Kelso Sand Dunes and a number of beautiful rock formations. Seven miles or so out of Amboy you turn on to the National Trails Highway and historic Route 66. Before you get to Amboy you pass the Shoe Tree. The Shoe Tree is a tamarisk tree in which people throw their shoes. There are probably a couple of hundred shoes in the tree. Amboy has the famous Roy’s Restaurant (at leaast the sigb "Roy's" is famous). For interesting photos and info about Amboy check out:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amboy,_California

From Amboy it is about 60 Miles to 29 Palms, home of the 29 Palms Marine Base, the world’s largest Marine Base. On the way you pass dozens of abandoned squatter shacks all the same size, the same design and all abandoned. It’s almost eerie to see them standing in the desert, with windows gone, doors gone and no signs of human activity. You can almost hear the wind howl through the empty shacks. You can imagine the odd snake or lizard or scorpion crawling through or resting inside protected from the blistering sun. Who built these, why did they build them. Where did all the residents go and when did they go. Does anyone own these minature homes now?  Do you remember the movie "Dawn of the Dead? Maybe those folks live there.

Twentynine Palms is called the Mural City as many of its commercial buildings have murals painted on them. There are a bunch of barber shops in town, all advertising Marine haircuts. Apparently the Marine Corp has built an Iraqi village in the middle of the desert for training purposes.

If you have not taken this 200 mile adventure, it is worth doing. Don’t just speed through. Look at the beautiful country, the desolation, the rock formations, the abandoned buildings, and the railroad. Keep an eye open for critters. It makes you feel like you are in a different time. You can visualize folks in the 1950’s driving past Roy’s in Amboy when there were taking Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Remember the Nat King Cole song:

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!





Saturday, October 17, 2009

Naked Guys

I don’t know what’s going on these days but there seems to be a lot of people walking around and doing stuff butt naked. Recent news stories:

• In August 2009, a 51 year old Philadelphia man turned himself in after being identified in home surveillance cameras of two homes he burgled while naked. In one home he stole a laptop. Maybe he needed it to make an online clothing purchase.

• In October 2009, police in Louisiana arrested a 50 year old man who broke into a house. He was caught on a home surveillance camera. During his break in, he was naked, he cooked a meal, ate it and finally took a shower.

• June 2009, GOLDEN, Colo. – Authorities said a naked intruder startled a woman in her home west of Denver, then fled in a sheet to another home where he was discovered wearing women's clothing.

• Dec . 30, 2008 PORTLAND, Ore. - The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said an 88-year-old woman fended off a naked intruder by grabbing the man's crotch and squeezing. Deputy Paul McRedmond said the man got into the house Tuesday through a sliding door. He backed the woman into her living room and pushed her face down onto a chair. That's when the woman reached behind and squeezed. The man tore free and fled.

• In Denver, a fellow tried to break into a pizza shop by going down through the vent over the oven. He was naked as a jay bird. He got stuck in the vent. When employees arrived out the restaurant for the day, there he was suspended in the vent, his legs hanging out. If you don’t believe me about these naked burglars check out :  http://www.mixx.com/videos/4274144/naked_burglar_found_stuck_in_restaurant_oven_vent_video

OK, here are a couple of stories where it wasn’t a burglar who was naked:

•   In August 2009 in Jackson, Michigan  as an intruder rummaged through his living room and his two children slept upstairs, Tim Maynard stood near a doorway, naked and armed with a baseball bat. The burglar came toward him and Maynard swung, breaking the man's jaw and sending him stumbling out a sliding door.”

• September 2009 - LAKE WORTH, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a 91-year-old South Florida man jumped out of bed naked and held an intruder at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

I read a several news stories about naked people ordering food at the McDonald’s drive thru. Google “naked man at McDonald’s drive thru”.  I order a sausage burrito every day at McDonald's, maybe next week I will try out ordering one while in the buff.

• A 40-year old  man in Tallahassee, Florida was tasered and arrested for walking his dog in the nude (him, the dog had a collar on). Apparently the man become belligerent and refused to obey police orders, which led to the tasering. When asked what he was doing, the man told the officer, "Allah told me to watch a Bruce Willis movie and walk the dog".

You know I was thinking about watching a Bruce Willis movie tonight.  Maybe the Dog next door might want to go for a walk.

Ok, you will love this one. Naked Dude orders taco from truck. See   http://www.videosift.com/video/Naked-Dude-Buys-Tacos-at-Taco-Truck

Ok that’s enough of the naked news. I need to get going for the day. I am going to rake the yard. I will of course be naked so drive by if you want to and I will give you a friendly waive.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Neighbor's Dog

My next door neighbors have a Collie (hereinafter referred to solely for purposes of this blog entry as the “Dog”). Hey I am a lawyer and we talk that way even in everyday life: “To Wit”, “Party of the First Part”, “notwithstanding anything else contained herein to the contrary” etc. If you are bothered by my use of such language, (i) please provide me with thirty days written notice of your opposition to the use of legalese in this blog, (ii)  in such notice describe with specificity the exact language you object to, (iii) fully explain why you object to such language, (iv) describe in detail what adverse effects such language has on you and your life, and  (v) finally explain in detail the specific damages or remedies you seek for my use of such language. If you cannot or will not take such action, then please shut the hell up.

OK back on point. The Dog is an outdoor dog and is, on most days and at most times, confined to the neighbor’s backyard. Over the last several years, the Dog and I have become good friends. We talk about current events, sports, women, the healthcare crisis, fire hydrants and other interesting stuff. Sometimes when he is in his front yard and I am in my front yard, we chase cars together. I can't tell how funny it was when we got a neighbor's Buick.   One day last summer we both bit the mailman. Neither the Dog nor I are currently receiving mail.

Although we have a lot in common there are some things I do that he doesn’t do and there are some things he does that I don’t do. For example, he doesn’t have backyard parties, he doesn’t play golf, he doesn’t mow the lawn and he is not bossed around by the Lovely Sharon. As for me, I normally don’t hump legs, pee in the back yard or drag my butt on the ground to scratch an itch. Ok, usually I don’t drag my butt  on the ground but sometimes you just need to scratch that lower body itch and the butt dragging technique is fairly effective.

The neighbors, who are very nice neighbors and lovely people, don’t seem to have a lot of interaction with the Dog. I kind of feel sad for him as he always looks lonely. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems like he is in solitary confinement. He looks at me with such sad eyes until I walk over to talk to him. A couple of years ago I started buying doggie treats to give to the Dog. Every time I go out in the back yard or the back deck I give him two treats. He loves it. When he hears my door open or sees me in the yard, he will walk over to our dividing fence and stare at me until I walk over and pet his head and give him his two treats. For a year or so I gave him these little pork chops treats. He loved them.

One day I was at the grocery store looking for a new variety of treats. I spent about 20 minutes analyzing the various choices, different shapes, tastes, sizes, textures; a wide variety of choices that frankly were too many for me. I tensed up making the choice. I finally went with “Beggin Strips”. Curly strips that looked like bacon, tasted like bacon and smelled like bacon. The cartoon dog on the cover of the package looked like he loved em. He was smiling and had his arms wrapped around his tummy. I absolutely knew the Dog would love these treats. I bought two large packages. I was set for a couple of months. When I got home I opened the Beggin Strips and walked out to my patio. The Dog heard me and strolled over to the fence. With pride and excitement, I approached the Dog. He looked at me, I looked at him. He smiled at me, I smiled at him. The moment of truth arrived. I took one of the Beggin Strips out of my pocked and held it out. The Dog looked at it cautiously, smelled it and finally took it in his mouth. He bit the Beggin Strip once, stopped, let it linger on his tongue and then opened his mouth and let the Beggin Strip fall to the ground. It fell into the dirt. He didn’t look down at it, he looked at me with a “What the hell” kind of look. I pulled at the second Beggin Strip and presented to him. He sniffed it, looked at it and then turned his back on me and then walked away. My hand was still outstretched with the offending treat in my palm as he walked away.  Totally rejected by the Dog and feeling dejected, I walked back to my house.

The next day I went back to the grocery store and spent another 20 minutes before I settled on the mini hotdogs treats. I bought two bags and headed back home. With trepidation, I approached the Dog with two mini hotdog treats in hand. I must admit I was nervous. I felt like Bill Clinton telling Hillary about Monica or former Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig telling his wife he was just wide spreader. I expected the worst. We did the dance again. I looked at the Dog, he looked at me with an “Ok , this better be good look” on his face. I held out my hand with the mini hotdog. He looked, smelled and finally let the mini hotdog slide into his mouth. At first there was no chewing. He just left it on his tongue. But then, drool started dripping out of his mouth in long strings. His eyes smiled, his tail wagged and finally he started chewing. Quickly, hungrily he snarfed down the mini hotdog. He looked up and silently asked me for the second hotdog that he knew I had in my pocket. He got it, he ate it, he loved it and all things were now right in the universe.

Two weeks ago, I ran out of the mini hotdogs. I have checked five times for the mini hotdogs but sadly, I now realize my grocery store no longer carries them. Finally I spent about 45 minutes looking for alternatives. I got the chills when I saw the bags of Beggin Strips. I didn’t even touch them. I avoided looking at them. I bought a package of turkey and apple flavored wholesome bits (I am not certain what makes them wholesome).  The Dog doesn’t love them but he tolerates them. So I am covered for a few weeks.

During the last couple of years, the Lovely Sharon has criticized me, made fun of me, and generally disowned me for going to the store to buy dog treats for the neighbor’s Dog. She keeps asking "You are buying dog treats and we don't even have a dog"? She has seemingly considered my dog treat buying actions and my angst arising out of the question of what treats to buy, as totally bizarre and over the edge behavior. I cannot say she is wrong. Like an alcoholic sneaking a drink or a dieter sneaking a doughnut, I found myself sneaking my dog treat purchases so that the Lovely Sharon didn't know what I was doing.

When I arrived home after work tonight, the Lovely Sharon had just got home from the grocery store. She had removed all her purchases from the plastic (not paper) store bags. As I observed the items she had bought, I could only smile when I saw that she had purchased two bags of doggie treats. I said nothing. I held my breath and walked down into the Bud Cave. When I sat in my leather Bud chair, I very quietly said “YESSSS!!!” She is now part of the Dog Treat Brigade.

I hope the Dog likes her selection.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Enough of these Ads

I am not a prude but I am getting pretty tired of  the erectile disfunction ads on tv. They are especially prevalent during sporting events.  I suppose guys are so tied up in tv sports they are unable to get involved in romance.  Or maybe they are tied up in sports, because they can't get involved in romance.  Boston Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is marrried to super model and all around goddess Giselle.  Can you imaging her walking into Tom's man cave in her teeny lingerie with a seductive look, and Tom saying, "Sorry babe I gotta watch NASCAR."

You have seen the one ad where a couple is on the beach sitting in separate bathtubs looking at the sunset.  No wonder the fellow couldn't perform, he must have been exhausted after hauling two cast iron bathtubs to the beach from who knows where.  Can you  imaging even trying to lift one end up by yourself.  If it were me in the situation I can picture getting the following instructions from the Lovely Sharon:

"Listen and listen good buster. First, you are going to drag those two cast iron bathtubs 200 yards across the sand to the edge of the water.  Then you are going to make 40 trips from the hot water spout to the bathtubs with a five gallon can of hot water to fill up each tub.  Then you are gonna come back and get me and walk me to the tub and help me get in.  Then you are gonna go back to the car for wine, wine glasses, cheese and flowers.  Then you are gonna get in the tub and say romantic stuff to me.  When you are done with all that stuff, I expect a pretty stong romantic performance out of you.  Got it?"

Whew, no wonder the poor sap needs a couple of pills.  They could use the same advertisement for high bood pressure pills or for using aspirin to prevent heart attacks.

The other erectile disfunction add that you see a lot is the one where the woman looks seductively at the man, then tosses her magazine away.  His eyes brighten up and he throws the tv remote out into the yard. When your kids or grandkids ask you why he threw the remote in the yard what do you say?  "Its an old world mating ritual."  I think not, you make up some lie.

Today I was in the drive thru at McDonalds for my morning Sausage Burrito. I was listening to the Dan Patrick sport talk radio show when an ad for "adult toys" came on.  Adult toys at 7:15 a.m., oh please.  When your kid or grandkid asks you what is an adult toy what do you say:  Well son, that would be the 38 foot long, 500 horsepower Winnebago, with a built in shower, two tv's and  room for a family of five."

OK enough of that.  Some of you know of the Lovely Sharon's golf shoe collection and about the wedding golf shoes I bought her.  Her wedding golf shoes and a brief article about them are featured on the following website:    http://www.golf-shoes-blog.com/.  Check it out.   The shoes in the picture are her actual shoes from photos I took at Ironwood golf course. It is so nice to be married to a woman with famous feet.  I guess I can wait on the romance pills for a few more months.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Prize

As everyone knows by now, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since the announcement of the award, there has been significant public outcry, approval, disapproval and uncivil dialogue about the prize. I cannot believe the amount of vile statements that has been generated by the award of the Nobel Peace prize to Obama. Calm down people, it is a prize given by a group of judges in Sweden to someone they believe was worthy. Maybe he was worthy, maybe he wasn’t but what bearing does this award have on our personal life, none. Obama did not apply for or seek the award, he said he was surprised. Here is his comment on the award:

“I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 93 individuals and 23 organizations during the last 90 years. Recipients include Henry Kissinger (an architect of the Viet Nam War), Yasser Arafat, several Arab leaders and Israeli leaders (whose countries have been at war forever), the International Atomic Energy Agency, a president of South Korea. Do you think these were worthy recipients? Maybe yes, maybe no, but who cares. It’s an award.

With all of the issues we as Americans have to deal with, wars, economic disasters, foreclosures, health care disaster, tsunami’s, global warming why is anyone spending one minute bitching about the awarding of a prize by some group in Sweden. It was done, its over, you may not agree but who gives a crap? Let’s spend time on something that matters. I imagine the same people critical of the prize being awarded to Obama would have thought it was just peachy if George Bush would have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. I imagine that the same people praising the awarding of the prize to Obama would have spewed vile criticism if the prize had been awarded to Bush.

Let us spend our energy and our time on things that really matter. Let us get over this hateful, ever growing partisan warfare by the right fringe and the left fringe. Let us have meaningful debate over critical issues but let us do so without such vile personal attacks on those with whom we disagree. This personal attack methodology of political dissent seemed to hit full stride during the Clinton years, continued in the Bush years and in my view seems worse than ever.

This blog is suppose to be humorous or touching or something other than overtly political but I can’t tell you how tired I am hearing the barrage of hate, not just differences in opinion, but hate, we hear every day from those who disagree with one matter or another. Hate begats hate; hate causes retribution and revenge. For those who support President Obama, work to get him reelected and his programs approved by congress. For those who disagree with the President and his programs, work to get a new administration in 2012.

If you disagree with this blog entry, leave a comment, call me or send and email. We don’t have to agree with each other but we don’t have to be enemies because of our disagreements.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's Happening?

I have been taking a bunch of pills over the last four or five weeks to treat several different issues. I think the pills, or the combination of the pills, are turning me into a Milquetoast. (Definition: A milquetoast is a weak, ineffectual person. It is derived from the character Caspar Milquetoast from the comic strip The Timid Soul.) If you are silently thanking me for providing the definition; you are welcome.

On Thursday I played golf with my regular group. After the round I realized that I did not insult, belittle, or harass anyone in my group. I complimented my fellow players on good shots and commiserated with them on bad shots. When I realized this, I was abhorred over my lack of rude behavior. Although the fellows in the group have a strong bond and love each other, we are not known for being polite to each other on the golf course. But here I was being nice to everyone for the entire 18 holes. It almost makes me ill to think about. I am surprised someone didn’t ask me to turn in my Man Card.

After golf, we paid and collected our bets. Instead of staying for the Club’s Thursday Evening Home Style Cooking dinner of chicken fried steaks, gravy, mashed potatoes and what have you, I ordered a salad to take home which I ate while drinking a glass of ice water. As I ate dinner I didn’t watch the news or ESPN, I watched Entertainment Tonight. After dinner, I straightened up the kitchen including pushing my chair to the table. If the Lovely Sharon reads this bog entry I expect her to pat me on the head when she gets home because she hates it when I leave my chair out from the table. For her it’s like finger nails on a black board. For me it’s a strategic placement of the chair in a way that only looks haphazard.

When all of this is done, I descended down into the Bud Cave, to watch TV. There is a Nebraska- Missouri football game on but I end up watching the movie “27 Dresses” about a perpetual bride’s maid.

During the movie, I gather a bunch of cords, instructions and ear pieces etc relating to several electronic devices such as Ipods, cameras, phone’s, blue tooth headsets, etc which are in a tangled mess in a drawer in my coffee room. (Yes the Bud Cave has its own windowless room that has a sink and storage shelves, clothes hamper etc where I make coffee every day. Its perfect. I clean it about every six or eight weeks. The Lovely Sharon cleans it every time she walks in the coffee room. Each time muttering and shaking her head.) But I digress, back to the tangled mess issue. I take this tangled mess of stufffffff and separate each item into a pile. Camera stuff here, Ipod stuff here, you get the picture. I am embarrassed to tell you what I did next. Sharon is not home, she is in Palm Desert. The neighbors cannot see me. No one is looking. Only I and the Almighty know what I did next. I put each pile into its own separate baggy and placed each baggy neatly and orderly into the drawer. I am pathetic.

What’s going on here? Has the combination of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol pills turned me into someone who could be a host on a TLC channel home makeover show? Frankly I am nervous. I fear that I may start contemplating window coverings or area rugs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shoes

When I was kid, at any given time I had a one pair of low cut, black converse gym shoes. I used these shoes for playing, for walking, for running, for bike riding, for cutting the lawn, for digging up night crawlers for almost everything. I also had church shoes, baseball cleats and snow boots that I used as necessary. For everything else, I wore my black converse. Today, a person cannot engage in athletic or sporting endeavors without the correct shoes and correct outfits.

If you want to walk, you need walking shoes. If you want to run, you need running shoes. If you buy running shoes, you have to figure out if you need pronation shoes, supination shoes or neutral shoes. If you play basketball, you need basketball shoes. If you play tennis, you need tennis shoes. If you ride a bike, you need bike shoes that may or may not be attached to your pedals. If you engaged in more than one activity, you need cross training shoes.

Yesterday I was looking at a Herrington Enthusiasts Catalogue. You probably get this catalogue also. They offer a wide variety of shoes for use when you are driving your car. These shoes run in price from $59 to $180. Options include: the Lake Como Vented Driving Moc, the Lake Como Nardi Driving Moc, the Piloti Lusso driving shoe and numerous other models of shoes specifically designed and manufactured to be used when you are driving your car.

Come on, do we really need special shoes to drive our car? If I go to the grocery store, I wear my driving shoes in the car, my vegetable selection shoes in the vegetable section, my meat shoes in the meat department and my special checkout line shoes when paying for my groceries. Heck, there would be no room in the cart for groceries with all the shoes I need to bring along. If I stop at the library on my way home, I need my very quiet library shoes.

Yesterday I was going to go workout at the gym. I was going to walk on the treadmill, jog on the treadmill, ride a stationary bike, lift weights and use a rowing machine. I could not decide on what type of shoes to wear and I don’t have cross training shoes. So instead of working out I put on my car driving shoes and drove to Dunkin Donuts for half dozen spudnuts and a quart of milk. I guess I need to buy cross training shoes.

The Lovely Sharon is very big into shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, workout shoes, walking shoes, hang out shoes, dress shoes, sandals, slippers, you name it she has em. As many of you know, her collection of golf shoes is second to none. She is the Imeldo Marcos of golf shoes. (OK I admit it; I buy some of her golf shoes for her). If she doesn’t buy a new pair of golf shoes every couple of weeks I get the shakes. I go through a withdrawal that I can’t cope with and then I go and buy her a pair of Footjoys. I bought her wedding shoes for her, handmade, white leather, Italian golf shoes with red roses embroidered on them.

I do long for the days of yore when we only needed a single pair of black converse gym shoes and yet our life was still simple, fulfilling and wonderful. We were not unfulfilled because we did not have a pair night crawler digging shoes.

The next time the Lovely Sharon asks me to vacuum the Bud Cave, I can, with a straight face, tell her that although I would like to do so, I do not have a pair of vacuuming shoes so she will have to handle it on her own.