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)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I ran errands, vacuumed the kitchen and went to the library. I washed the towels and found one of the missing black socks and one of the missing white socks I wrote about on Friday. They probably showed up after I threatened to throw all my socks away.

I had a nice visit with my parents and I had a nice visit with my stepson and his wife. Baby Kendall Marie was asleep so unfortunately I did not get to see her. Last night I met Son Alex for dinner. I had not seen him for awhile so it was nice to catch up with him. It is always interesting talking with Alex. He is a smart guy with a kind heart. He was a little adrift after high school but in the last couple of years he has become focused and will graduate from the University of Utah this spring. I am proud of him. It was snowing lightly as I drove home after dinner. I called the Lovely Sharon on my way home. She sounded sleepy but it was nice to talk to her before bedtime, 660 miles apart.

Today was a “take it easy” Sunday. It is 40 degrees, the sun is out. It feels pretty nice for a January (almost February) day in Salt Lake. I went to the grocery store, made breakfast, played the guitar and read the Sunday New York Times. I walked down into our back yard. The snow has melted and the last leaves to fall in November lay on the ground. After they fell from the trees it snowed and so they have been buried for a couple of months. The leaves and the grass are almost the same color. The small creek in the back yard had a little water in it. It was quiet and it looked quiet. I fed treats to Neighbor’s Dog. I had not fed him treats since early December. He saw me walk into the back yard and he waited patiently at our dividing fence. I was prepared for him and had a couple of treats in my pocket. He told me hello and asked about my winter. I petted his head. It was nice to see him.

I just finished watching Woody Allen’s 1979 film classic “Manhattan”. I have probably watched this movie more than 10 times in the last 31 years. I never tire of it. I love the feel of this movie. It is not a big movie. It is a small flowing movie if you know what I mean. Filmed in black and white, the movie would not be the same if it were filmed in color. Musical tones from Its Gershwin score float throughout the movie providing a romantic backdrop to visuals of New York City. The skyline shots, street scenes, and cafĂ© scenes, this movie just feels like New York. It makes you want to walk down Madison Avenue on an autumn day, holding hands, looking in shop windows and laughing with your loved one. It makes you want to have a late afternoon cocktail at the Oak Bar in the Plaza Hotel. The movie’s treatment of woman-man relationships is funny and poignant at the same time. I think the dialogue is some of Woody Allen’s best. It is hard to believe that I first watched this movie more than 31 years ago, Two years after I finished law school. I have watched it during two marriages. I have watched it alone and I have watched it with others. I will watch it again next time it is on TV. If you get a chance watch it, for the first time or for the second or third time, you will be glad you did.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Socks

Inasmuch as the Lovely Sharon is gone all winter to Palm Desert and, for most of that time, I am in Salt Lake by myself, I am responsible for my own laundry. I don’t mind going to the cleaners or washing my clothes, sheets and towels. In fact I like the way I wash and dry my golf shirts better than the way the Lovely Sharon washes and dries my golf shirts. So even if I am with her on golf shirt wash day, I prefer doing my own work. Sharon is smart and I am pretty sure she has intentionally adopted a golf shirt washing and drying procedure that I don’t quite like so I will do my own work. In return I have adopted a house dusting procedure that causes her to just go ahead and get the dusting done without asking me to help. My procedure is easy to do, I just don’t dust. When she gets back to Salt Lake at the end of May after wintering in Palm Desert, the entire inside of the house looks like a huge gray Chia Pet.

My biggest wash problem is the matter of socks. I know there have been numerous essays, jokes and other treatments of the subject of lost socks and I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I have an every growing lost sock problem that causes me angst. I basically have two general categories of socks: (i) black dress socks; and (ii) white ankle high cotton athletic socks for golf and the gym. I call my white socks “anklets” but Sharon told me real men don’t wear anklets. But what the heck, I will take the risk of losing my Man Card and refer to these white ankle high socks “anklets”.

I wear black dress socks almost all the time except when I golf in shorts or I go to the gym. I do have the odd pair of gray, brown or blue socks but 90% of my dress socks are black. I probably have 40 pairs of black socks in Salt Lake. The black socks are in a variety of styles, gold toed, black toed, smooth, ribbed, patterned or plain. Many of the differences between the various pairs of black socks are so subtle that I have to wear my reading glasses to tell them apart. My anklets are pretty easy to tell apart, there are Nike logos, Champion logos, star shape logos, red printing, black printing or some other fairly easy identification mark. With that said, I still end up wearing unmatched anklets fairly often and almost without exception, the Lovely Sharon spots the differences immediately and makes references to the mismatch. She says something like “Can’t you see that your socks don’t match?” I usually respond with something like “They are white, cotton anklets, and who cares?” This usually results in point and counter point for several minutes before we move on to less intellectually challenging dialogue.

Ok, back on sock washing/drying issues. It seems that from time to time I end up with an odd black sock or anklet from the dryer without a mate. Usually I would set the stray aside and its mate would show up in a week or so. As of the first of December or so, I had 4 unmatched black socks and two unmatched anklets. I decided not to put them in the sock drawer but instead place them in an orderly row on the floor in the bedroom. This would never work if Sharon was around because she is very orderly and would not stand for socks on the floor. I on the other hand have no objection to this, I just don’t tell her about it because I know she couldn’t sleep at night in Palm Desert if she knew there were stray socks lying on the floor in Salt Lake. So I would appreciate if the readers of this blog keep this secret sock sorting procedure quiet and not tell the Lovely Sharon about it. It will be our little secret.

As stated above, at the first of December I started with 4 unmatched black socks and two unmatched anklets. Each time I have washed since the first of December, the stray sock layout has seen a rotation of socks with new members in and old members out when their mate showed up. No matter what I couldn’t seem to get rid of the socks on the floor. Never once has there been a oneness in the sock universe where each sock had a partner, a mate to travel through life with whom to warm my toes. I did the wash last might. When I finished putting clean underwear away and matching up the socks in the laundry basket and adding new sock strays to the “need to be matched” pile on the floor, I realized I now have 11 unmatched black socks and 5 unmatched anklets. The pile has grown significantly since the first of December.

I had not realized that I have been adding a lot more socks to the pile than I have been taking out. I don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe there is some kind of replicating sock DNA that causes the socks to mutate and divide on their own creating new generations of socks.  I have looked in the washer, the dryer, my sock drawers, the hampers, the laundry room and the hallway. I have looked everywhere. I have taken some matched pairs apart to see if they are mismatched. They don’t seem to be. I have spent too much time and emotional upheaval on this problem. I am getting frustrated with the pile on the floor.   Its geeting hard to walk around them when I go into the bedrom.   If things keep going the way they are going, by the time Sharon gets home in May, all my socks will be on the floor and my sock drawer will be empty. This would not be a good for me if she walked in the house and there were 70 or 80 single socks lying on the floor waiting to be matched.

I have a few alternative plans of actions that I am considering:

(i) I take every pair of socks apart, put on my reading glasses and carefully analyze if each pair is properly matched;

(ii) I give it a few more weeks and see what shows up from the dryer;

(iii) I throw all my socks away and buy 30 new pairs of identical black socks and 10 new pairs of identical anklets; or

(iv) I say “what the heck” and just wear mismatched socks.

I am going to think through these alternatives this week and settle on a solution by Monday. I will keep you informed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ten Step Plan to the Golf Course

I spent last weekend in Palm desert with the Lovely Sharon. I had not seen her for a couple of weeks so it was nice to spend time together. We played golf, visited with friends and had a couple of dinners at the Club. The weather was beautiful. Since I have not posted much about the Lovely Sharon for awhile, it was nice that a couple of events give me fodder for a blog.

Early one morning, (I think it was Friday) I was decided to go for walk down the famous shopping street, El Paseo. I put my walking shoes on, got my Ipod ready and was preparing to leave for a solo walk. Sharon said she would go with me but she was still in her jammies and I was ready to get moving. I said I would just go alone and would be back in an hour. We were standing in the garage as I prepared to leave. Since I had not seen her for about two weeks, I gave her a hug, looked in her eyes and said something romantic. She looked in my eyes. Then she looked above my head to the garage door opener. In response to my romantic comment she replied “Can you get that cob web down from the ceiling”. Not quite a romantic response but the cob web needed to be removed so I removed it with a long duster. Cosmo magazine always prints articles about saying romantic or sexy things to your spouse to keep the spice in your marriage. I am pretty certain that “Can you get that cob web down from the ceiling” is not one of the suggested sentences. It was a good thing she looked so cute in her jammies.

The next morning we had a tee time with another couple. I wanted to get to the course about 40 minutes early to practice and loosen up. Sharon plays golf often and does not need to warm up much to be flexible and to play well. In fact she seldom hits balls on the range. So I told her that I would drive the golf cart to the course and she could come over later in the car. She looked lovely in her golf shirt and black Capri pants. She was still barefoot as I said goodbye. Before I could leave, she said she would go with me and that she “only needed to get her golf shoes”. Although I said ok, I pretty much figured this was not going to be a 30 second delay while she selected a pair of golf shoes from the golf shoe closet in the garage. I was sitting in the golf cart while I watched the Lovely Sharon select her golf shoes. It went something like this:

Step 1. She opened the closet and looked at her 120 pairs of golf shoes.

Step 2. She picked a pair up looked at it and set it back in the closet.

Step 3. She picked another pair looked at it, set it back and then another and another until the proper pair of shoes was selected.

Step 4. Then she said she had to get a pair of golf socks so she went back in the house for about 8 minutes. I asked her what took so long and she set she had to select a pair of socks. She must have 200 pairs of white golf ankle high golf socks, all of which basically look identical to me, but it took a while to select an acceptable pair.

Step 5. She finally came back into the garage, where I was now slumped over the golf cart steering wheel. She put the carefully selected shoes and socks in the cart. She normally puts her shoes and socks on while we drive in the cart to the course. I thought “okay now we are ready to go”. We were only about 12 minutes behind schedule and I still had time to hit some balls on the range. Little did I know.

Step 6. She now went to the garage closet where she stores her golf visors. She has almost as many visors as shoes, because they have to match her outfit. She spent a couple of minutes looking through her orderly stacks of visors (the Lovely Sharon is very orderly) and selected the ideal one.

Step 7. Now I was certain we were ready to leave. Wrong. She now went to the closet where she stores her golf jackets. It only took about a minute to get the correct light golf jacket and now we were really ready to leave for the course.

Step 8. We were now both sitting in the golf cart and I backed the cart out of the garage into the driveway. I was ready to hit the remote closure button for the garage door when Sharon said “wait”. She got out of the cart, stood in the driveway and looked around. It was sunny, and although earlier in the morning there had been clouds, at this time there was not a cloud in the sky. It was beautiful. The grass was green, the flowers were colorful.

Step 9. She looked at me and said, “I didn’t think it was going to be so nice, I should have worn a golf skirt instead of capri’s. I had a really cute one selected but I decided to wear the capri’s instead.” She then said it was okay she would keep the capri’s on because she knew I really wanted to get going. I looked at her she looked at me and although her words said, she would wear the capri’s her eyes said she wanted to change into a golf skirt, which I new would  in turn would result in selecting a different golf shirt, different shoes, and a different visor. I said “ok go change”.

Step 10. She hustled back into the house, changed clothes, came back into the garage and quickly retrieved different shoes and visor and off we went.

The entire process that started with “I only need to get a pair of golf shoes” took about 15 minutes, not bad. We got to the course in time. I warmed up and, for me I played pretty well. The Lovely Sharon played great and looked even better. I can tell you that when I am in Salt Lake and she is in Palm Desert, these little detours don’t happen, and you know what? I miss them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti

I have been watching the Haiti disaster on CNN.  This is horrible. The video of destruction, of bodies, of the  injured.  Usually when I see foreign disaters, I am effected but not devistated.  For some reason I find the Haiit earthquake to vey emotionally upsetting.  Tens of thousands are apparently dead and the living have no food, water, place to sleep, sanitary facilities, electricty or other basic needs.  I encourage each of you to consider if you can make some donation, give some help to Haiti.  The Red Cross, Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son), Doctors without Borders.  There are many valid and legitiment charities to donate to. Please think about it.  Please say a prayer for the surivivors and for the rescuers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fragmented

Today’s entry is Just Fragmented Thoughts and Comments.

I read a fair number of online news/political blogs and sites. I try to read those that are liberal leaning as well as those that are conservative leaning. My favorite online source is The Huffington Post. Today a new online news outlet started that is conservative leaning. Its driving force is Tucker Carlson. Tucker has been political correspondent for CNN, MSNBC and Fox. I have not agreed with Tucker much over the years, but I like the way he handles himself, I like his reasoned opinions (even if I disagree with them). I am going to look at his web site on a regular basis. His site is called the Daily Caller and is at http://dailycaller.com/

In 2009, the movie “The Hangover” was released. I never wanted to watch it. It sounded dumb, sophomoric and not worth spending time on. I was home alone in Salt Lake this weekend cleaning house, running errands and watching football. I was looking at the Comcast on Demand movie schedule and saw the listing for The Hangover. I thought, what the heck, so I watched the movie. It was hilarious. I watched a number of scenes several times. I was laughing out loud while watching alone. It was dumb and sophomoric but for me not a waste of time. I am not certain it’s the kind of a movie the Lovely Sharon would enjoy but I am glad I saw it.

Yesterday at Ironwood Country Club, the annual Cactus Couples golf tournament was held. I was in Salt Lake so I didn’t play. Sharon was asked to fill in for lady that got stuck out of town in a snow storm. So Sharon was the partner of the lady’s husband and they played with another couple to make up the four person team. I am pleased to report they won first place in the gross division. It sounded like they all played well. They winners were announced at the tournament dinner last night.

The Ironwood Country Club Ladies Golf team had their last match of the season today and they were the gross champion of their desert country club league. This talented group of women is a perennial league champion; this year was no different. I don’t think I could beat any woman on the team. They are terrific golfers and strong competitors. The Lovely Sharon is a member of the team. My congratulations to each team member.

I received a call today in which I was invited to dinner and a movie. It sounds like a date doesn’t it? Before you start gossiping, you need to be aware that I was invited by a married male financial planner who has common clients with me. His firm has some movie tickets for a Sundance Film Festival movie. I am going to meet him in Park City at the end of January for dinner and the movie. Sounds fun. I wonder what I should wear?

The fellow who set his underwear on fire while trying to blow up the plane pleaded not guilty. Big surprise. Once he is found guilty, I think they should put fireworks all over him and light them. I hope the one good thing that comes out of this incident is that travel security starts looking at names, country of origin and appearance when checking travelers. I know it is very politically incorrect to “profile”, but I for one think it is logical to do so. If a fellow named Mohammed gets on an airplane in Amsterdam heading for Detroit, has a one way ticket and no coat (and its winter in Detroit), he ought to be further questioned. I think we are kidding ourselves by not making logical decisions on profiling matters. There were not many blonde hair, blue eyed Swedish guys in the 9-11 bunch.


I like coyotes. I know these varmints are dangerous, wild killers who go after dogs, cats and small children but I like the way they sound, howling in the late afternoon, with their voices echoing off the mountains surrounding the Ironwood South Course. I like the way look. They have been able to thrive in the desert, in the cities. They seem to be everywhere.  We have to remember that we share the planet with all of these wild creatures.    Here is a photo of a coyote I took on January 2, 2010 at the Kelso Train Depot in the Mojave Desert. I took this photo while sitting in my car.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year, New Cactus and Suggestion Box

It has been awhile since I last posted. In fact I received a call from my friend Kent today who wondered when I was going to post again. Although Kent is a dear friend and a wonderful fellow, he no doubt has low standards in reading material. But coincidentally I had just finished this essay.

I spent two weeks in Palm Desert with the Lovely Sharon and now I am back in the inversion gloom of a Salt Lake City winter, trying to catch up on matters that have piled up on my desk. When I arrived home Saturday night, I was pleased to see that all of my indoor plants had survived two weeks with no water. Rudy, my rubber plant that I have mentioned in earlier blogs seemed particularly glad to see me. When I walked in the house, he was wearing a Frank Sinatra 1940’s hat and was humming New York, New York. Ruby, a female rubber plant I brought home from Nebraska as sort of a mail order bride for Rudy, did not look good. She had a number of fallen leaves around her. Before you call me crazy about naming these plants please consider that the names were given to the plants by the Lovely Sharon, not by me. For 7 months of the year, I am the only human at my house so my plants, guitars, microwave, computers have become, at least in my mind, animated so as to provide me with a little interaction. OK, after rereading the last sentence, I agree you can call me crazy.

I brought a new cactus arrangement home from the desert that I have not named yet so I need to figure a good name out. Here is his (or her) picture, if you have a suggestion for a suitable name, email me or leave your suggestion on this blog. The plant looks kind of fru fru so the name should not be something plain like Bob, it should have a little pazazz. How about Elliot? That kind of looks like it fits.




The Holiday Season in the desert was nice, lots of golf, time with the Lovely Sharon and Palm Desert friends, movies, and a lovely Christmas Day church service. Some of the days were cooler than normal but all-in-all the weather was nice.

Yesterday, I wrote a check and dated it January 4, 2010. Can you believe it is 2010? That sounds unbelievable to me. In another 3 months I will have been practicing law for 33 years. That makes me old. I remember in second grade that when I turned the year 1961 upside down, it still read 1961. Try it. Turn your computer upside down or stand on your head, you will see that I am right. That amazed me back then, and I am embarrassed to report it still amazes me today. Yes, my amazement threshold is pretty low.

Even though I have been married twice and I have been around women my entire life, I am still amazed that I do not have a clue about them. Over the holidays we played golf with a married couple who are our good friends. After Sharon made a very good putt, the man half of the couple praised her by saying “Nice putt Kiddo”. The woman half of the couple whom I adore, turned to her husband and said, “How could you call Sharon “Kiddo”. No woman ever wants to be referred to as Kiddo, it is an insult to refer to any woman as Kiddo”. The man was surprised at her response. I was surprised at the response but now we both know something new. Sharon hates it when I use the word “hunsky”. Like when I am 100 yards from the pin and I say I am out about a “hunsky”. When I say that word, she hates and she lets me know that she hates it. So now I have to self edit myself when I out 100 yards from the pin. Once I looked at Sharon and notice her hair was a little messed up. Trying to be helpful, I asked her if she wanted to borrow my comb. I cannot tell you how much that was the wrong thing to ask. That remark cost me jewelry. So women amaze me in so many ways every day.

When you are with men you don’t self edit your comments, you just say what you want. If you buddy hits a bad golf shot you don’t say “oh how unfortunate”, rather you say something like, “you pathetic sap that was the worst *#*3#** shot I have ever seen”. I am pretty confident that I would never say that to a woman

If you have read this blog before you know that I have written a fair amount about my relationship with the Lovely Sharon. I have written about the “Boss” and a number of other matters. So you understand that I have limited input in what goes on in our relationship. I have received many emails from the men readers of this blog who have indicated privately that they are in the same boat as me and that they have limited say in what goes on in their relationships. One friend, Bruce, asserted that basically we were all married to the same woman. His assertion rings true to me. I have come up with an idea that will give me and other men an opportunity to have some input in our marriages. I think an anonymous suggestion box might be the answer. Think about it. A nice walnut or oak box with a slot in the top and the words “Suggestion Box” written on the side. I could put the box in the kitchen so Sharon has easy access to it. When I get an idea or I want to do something that has been vetoed by the Lovely Sharon (which is a lot of things), I can write it down on a 3 x 5 index card, not sign my name and deposit it in the box. Every so often Sharon would open the box take out what ever cards were in the box and read the suggestions. This would all be done anonymously so, if she didn’t like the suggestion, she wouldn’t know who made the suggestion. Just like in politics, I would have deniability. I could say someone broke into the house and made the suggestion. I am pretty sure this is a great idea, will work and will let me have meaningful input in what goes on in married life. For you guys try it yourself at your house and let me know how it works out for you.

By the way, the Lovely Sharon had an eagle on the par four 9th hole of Ironwood’s South course today. I am continually amazed at her golfing proficiency.

To each of you I wish you a wonderful 2010.