I did not steal the candy

I did not steal the candy

For a whole week, I have behaved myself, tried to write uplifting material and be non-controversial. It was tough, I may require some therapy, in fact I’m having a glass of therapy right now as I write this. I will preface my remarks with the simple disclaimer that I’m not telling any lies. To stay focused on that, I’ll start by describing my own personal feelings and thoughts. Those may be controversial, they may be upsetting, but they are the truth, usually a truth that we keep to ourselves, unless we’re around other men folk, then those truths fly around the air thicker than the smoke from a west coast firestorm. And as those truths fly around they seem to become polarized like the poles on a magnet, they grow and they attract bullshit, they grow so large that they generally have to be left behind since they really can’t get out the door, and society prefers that they stay sequestered within those “man caves” or locker rooms.

I have to tell you that I love the warm weather, the interminable heat and the melting of the ice caps warm, not so much. Just simple it’s summer time warm weather. One of the things that I truly enjoy is all of the ladies walking around in their short-shorts, daisy dukes, booty huggers, etc. Y’all know what I mean, those enticing extremely short the pockets hang down past the edges and show off a little and sometimes a lot of cheek. I’m a male, red-blooded (although I’m not sure what that means), I’m an animal, I respond to external stimuli, especially if it’s pleasing. Eye candy, and my eyes work fine, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed, I’m just human. It’s a vicarious thrill, a moment in passing, a reminder of my younger days, a reminder of a certain pair of shorts that my wife had once upon a time. I look, I appreciate and I smile, and I move on.

With all of the eye candy, it reminds me of being a kid in a candy store. I never grabbed the candy, I never ate any of the candy without permission or without buying it first. I never took or attempted to take that which wasn’t for me to have. I had manners, I picked what I liked, I took it to the clerk and I paid for it. No matter how fascinating or tempting, there was a process and a procedure, and there was respect.

All of the ladies that I’ve been admiring for all of the years have chosen their own clothing. They decided what they want to wear, where they wanted to wear it, and just how much of their ass they wanted to share with the universe. They and they alone decided just how much candy would be available to my eyes. But, in the case of the Olympic beach volleyball players, they had no choice, they were told by some bunch of misogynists how they were to dress. Of course the men’s team is not required to play in their jock straps. When the tight-assed members of the committee try and defend the choice of clothing based on history, or the way we’ve always done things, it may be time to refresh their memories. According to my reading, the original Olympics were conducted in the nude (it’s a Greek thing). But there were also no women in those Olympics. And the Olympics were founded to elicit competition amongst the best in their sports, the best athletes, they weren’t designed to be political or to give dirty old men a cheap thrill.

So, do we stand on history, do we stand on the spirit and intent? Do we change with the times? If we can add beach volleyball, skateboarding and skeet shooting then obviously we’re changing with the times. We need to change with the times, add the new games, while adhering to the foundational principle of the Olympics as evidenced in their motto “”Citius, Altius, Fortius” (faster, higher, stronger)

on a sunday

On a Sunday

“Well, I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt then I washed my face and combed my hair and stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.” With thanks to Mr. Kristofferson for this song as well as many others, a hauntingly beautiful melody made famous by Ray Stevens and Johnny Cash. While I love this song, it doesn’t accurately describe this Sunday morning, the one I’m writing about. Those other Sunday mornings that are indeed described by this song, well maybe I’ll write about those some other time. See, here’s what really happened, Oliver qualified for the regionals in diving, an event on the other side of the world at a time when the Sun isn’t even sure what it’s going to do and when. Deb got up and got everybody that was going moving and out the door. Then she came to tell me that she was leaving. I was half asleep and she startled me as she bent down to kiss me, I jumped up and ran my face right in to her elbow. This of course is on top of the “summer cold, not the Rona” that I’m trying to outrun.

I’m awake now, rubbing my ouchy and I might as well get up because the bathroom is around the corner. As is my habit, I get up, I get dressed, I put all of my essentials in my pockets, hang stuff from my ears and stick things in my mouth, then I clip my brain to my belt and proceed to get my coffee. And then, I saw that it was 6:15, on a Sunday morning, and I was truly alone. Well I wasn’t totally alone, Faith was here, but I don’t deal with her until she’s at least 2 cups along, so I was practically alone. But, that problem was soon solved, because I had to walk both of the big dogs by myself, they kept me company as I got to watch them water the grass and scratch their backs by rolling in the field, I tell you entertainment like this is hard to come by.

I had a customer that was supposed to come by at 10 and he ran late, didn’t arrive until 11, he picked up the plants that he ordered plus a few extra (welcome to my parlor said the spider). His total came to $90 and I looked at this wonderful jovial plant lover and said let’s just call it an even $80, he looked at me and said “Let’s just call it $100”. As he got into his car he thanked me profusely, said he’d be back and was going to bring his mother who will be visiting from Chicago in 2 weeks. All I could do was say “Thank you”.

In between me walking dogs and dealing with a late arriving customer, I did do the dishes and fixed my own peculiar breakfast, sauteed shrimp with a tomato and cucumber salad, and then tuned in to my #2 pastor, #3 pastor failed to send out the notifications as to the start of the service, and Number 1 pastor, my beloved sister is still unsure how all of this works. She just doesn’t get the electronic age, she doesn’t understand that she can share the holy spirit and the spirit will move with her, but the spirit believes in the efficiency of modern technology to help spread the word, the spirit is cool with that and prefers that we do that to save some of that holy energy. Luckily, #2 pastor was on a tear and he had a lot to say about our world, our roles, his role and what we need to do to maintain our focus so that we can push for a better world, so that we can be part of that necessary evolution, so that we can be more Christlike. And although he didn’t say it, it’s important that we become more Christlike and less like Christians.

Sundays have always been special, they’ve always been different, they are in themselves sort of a mini-holiday. That day that we are to rest and reflect, a day in today’s society suggests that we put on our finest suits and our best airs and go to church, and while we’re there we should of course let all know how holy we are, back it up with a significant contribution to that brass plate, and then hurry your ass out of there because the ball game starts at 1. Think about those original days when the big dude (or dudette, or he/she/they/them) was putting everything together as fast as possible. Six days and then they said enough of this crap I’m taking a break. The seventh day is going to be a day of rest. Of course we don’t actually know the true measurement of a day, or how many hours are in that deity’s version of a day. We know that there are some distortions of time in the written accord of these events, that may have also impacted the actual length of a day. Since the earth in their measurement is only 6000 years old, you realize it will take a serious amount of math the equilibrate all of these. But for now, let’s just call it a day.

But on that seventh day, did he really rest? Did he hang out with his homies and play a few rounds? Did he go to the pub and have a few pints? Who are his homies? I’m really not sure about that. I mean really, can he actually go to Olympus and hang out or are they still irritated that he stole all of the thunder (I’m pretty sure that Zeus doesn’t like thunder stealing). I really doubt that he went to church on that seventh day, I mean really what’s the point, who is he going to pray to? I guess it’s possible that him and Gabriel, Michael and Azrael spent the day at the Valhalla bowling lanes. Or maybe they just hung out at the pub in Shambala, hoisting a few pints of ale, and possibly a few pints too many, think about the origin of the platypus.

But really, no matter how or what or who, Sunday for most of us is a day of rest, it’s a day of gratitude, a day of self evaluation, a day of planning and looking forward, a day for connection, a day for stepping away from it all.

And for me, my day ended with my little guy, who qualified to swim in the deep end of the pool in June, made it to the regionals and scored a 3rd place in diving. It has been a great week, and tomorrow starts a new one, I am looking forward to all of the opportunities, and in particular the opportunities to excel. The opportunities to do more and to be more, the opportunities to be a solution, the opportunities to be more Christlike and less christian.

on a saturday

On a Saturday

Who knew there were so many days in one week, this is cramping my fingers and stressing me, and apparently I’ve got one more day to go. Sometimes it does feel like the days run into each other and overlap and you become confused they just sort of end up being like a run on sentence and its even worse if you throw a holiday in there then you really do forget what day it is. My Saturday, or at least some of the events that culminated on Saturday did actually begin yesterday. The fates actually have no regard for days or hours, these are man-made contrivances. It seems that Liam had contracted some obnoxious little bug, complete with sinus congestion and the dreaded drainage. Truly nothing unusual or of major concern, except for him, he’s doing his best to milk this and get an Oscar for best attempting actor on the way to achieving the “Man Flu”. I truly understand the misery he feels, especially since I woke up this morning with all of the same symptoms. Understand that I’ve earned my trophies and am entitled to an occasional bout of the “Man Flu”, but it seems nobody got that memo.

It really isn’t anything major, some over the counter Dayswill knocks it down within 20 minutes. It’s not da Rona and all is well. But don’t tell anybody, I’m still trying to squeeze a little sympathy out of this. Liam actually is feeling a little better. He’s decided to tackle his room, since he got a new bed on the occasion of his birthday, it really wasn’t a present it just timed out that way. He loves it, it’s his big boy bed, it’s not a bunk bed, it has a real mattress. To celebrate this, he’s cleaning his area and has discovered that his male siblings are all slobs, which really is consistent and doesn’t actually go away for many years, if at all. But he was having a righteous fit, and probably justified. So we separated the boys and sent the younger culprit in to take care of his responsibility. When Dakota came down with a trash bag full of detritus I chuckled, when I saw him grab an empty bag to go get more I commented “So this is a two-bagger?” and he said “Well, It is a big room”. He had the presence of mine to move quickly out of my vicinity.

I had to go to the store, as always. I went into the Safeway and around aisle 6 I started coughing, at aisle 7 I had to sneeze. Blew the mask off of my face and it snapped back with a vengeance, like a 1960s cartoon and I looked around and saw two Glocks and a 9 millimeter pointing at me. I very slowly and cautiously reached for my wallet, in slow motion, so as to not agitate anyone, I opened my wallet and pulled out my Fauci Ouchy certification card and let them know that all was well.

Today was one of those days where I had lots of customers, back to back and all delightful, having fun. We shared conversation and acknowledged passions. We laughed and we smiled, they asked questions and got answers. It truly was a great day from that standpoint.

Saturday’s child is fair of face. Its beauty is there to be recognized. But all days are able to be fair of face, to be fun, to be delightful or to be disastrous. And all of these days will continue to repeat themselves, one day at a time. But the days themselves are inert. They simple are, there are no attachments, no requirements, no controls. They simply continue to progress, one day at a time to complete a week and that then continues to complete a month and then a year ad infinitum. The days are merely measurements of time and the presentation of opportunity. Days have no feeling, no interest, no prejudice, they simply are. They are a creation of ours to measure time.

The measurement of opportunity is a different matter, although it’s not the responsibility of the day, each day carries with it a new opportunity to excel. It is up to each and every one of us to seize those opportunities from that day, not seize the day as indicated with “carpe diem” but seize the opportunity, the opportunities are what matter, and what we do with the opportunities is the important part. Whatever day, any day, every day, the other day, the next day, today are all available for seizure, but let’s not let them become yesterday, a lost day, the day that got away, a forgotten day without seizing what we can. “Carpe quid potes, si potes”, seize what you can, when you can.

On a friday

On a Friday

TGIF, it’s the day everyone has been waiting for. For me, it’s just another day. Of course I love what I’m doing and that helps me look forward to tomorrow. I don’t wear a watch, I haven’t worn one in years. I have lots of watches because they fascinate me as works of art, but I don’t wear any of them, not even sure where they are. I don’t have an alarm clock, I get up when I’m ready and sometimes even when I’m not ready, and that’s not a pretty sight. I have certain morning routines and procedures that I go through to get ready for a day, it is ill advised to interfere in any of that.

Yesterday, my little buddy Oliver managed to get himself into some serious trouble, and Grandma wasn’t around, so he had to deal with me. The trial was swift, the sentence handed down without mercy. I took his phone. His normal crew of lawyers refused to represent him in this matter since they were the victims of his bad attitude and general unpleasantness. He appealed to every court, he cried foul, he told whoever would listen, which got him nowhere. At some point he surrendered or at least went to bed.

This morning, I came stumbling out searching the doorway to the necessary, trying to find my eyes and my brain, putting on shoes and teeth, moving around to undo all of the kinks and checking to see if all of my parts were still attached and working. While I was doing that, Oliver had taken my Tervis, filled it with coffee, put in 3 ice cubes and set it down in front of me and then ran off. I took my coffee, went outside on the porch, lit a cigarette while I waited for the inevitable, one sip and two puffs in and here he comes “Can I have my phone back?”. I don’t think he liked my answer, he went away for like 15 minutes before trying again. He is persistent, but I’m even more hard headed than he is. It took a few more hours before a genuinely contrite Oliver came along and confessed to the error of his ways, understood the reason why those errors presented a problem. He got off with time served and probation.

I had some delightful customers come by and pick up some plants. We had a good visit, I missed the first one but Deb took care of her and made her happy. I got back in time to deal with the second one and she too was delightful. In both cases, we took time to talk with the customer, understand their needs and wants. We made shopping an pleasurable event, not a chore. When I was talking to the second customer, I explained to her why I was dropping my prices. The first reason was because I can, but the second part of it is that this is a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun, a diversion. It’s a hobby where you build your own safe haven away from the stressors of the week, it’s a way to relax. It should not be a scenario where the cost of the hobby creates more stress than benefit. She liked that and said “well maybe I’ll take both of these”. Yes, we made a profit but more important than that, is in both cases we made someone smile.

In the mail today, I got a postcard from Liz Brent. Liz is a Realtor as well as being a community dynamo. I’ve never actually met her, but I’ve had plenty of communication with her. Liz’s postcards are always interesting. The one today was full of facts about the status of the real estate market, last year versus this year. A brief discussion of what’s needed to free up additional affordable housing. Her previous mailer talked about the impact her company and the efforts of her associates, and the groups that she sponsors have made on our community. What’s peculiar is that she didn’t offer to sell me a house, she didn’t offer to buy or list my house. She just shared information. It’s another example of a community based business interested in the well being of their community and the people that make up that community. Compassion, concern, consideration come first, commerce will follow. Friday’s child is loving and giving.

A lot of businesses today are like the characters in the Wizard of Oz. No heart, no brain, no courage, no clue. It took a series of events and the steadfast desire of a young woman to return home, to a place that made sense, to a simple non-gilded place full of love and family to move all of these characters forward.

on a thursday

On a Thursday

“Thursday’s child has far to go”, now makes sense to me, in fact the term “it’s been a long week actually now makes more sense to me. I like the part where I get more sense because there’s a lot of people that think I need it. Apparently sense comes in a lot of different flavors because some people have suggested that I should try “good” sense, while others proffered that I would benefit most from some “common” sense. I might be in the market if anyone has an offer or suggestion for something better than good or common, anybody have anything in the great or exceptional range?

For me, Thursday started yesterday on two different fronts. I was out walking one of the big dogs and Deb had just finished walking the other. As I was on my way in, I heard a noise, right in the area where Deb and the old blind girl she walks at night would normally be. But they had finished and were already inside. But the noise I heard was unmistakable, it was the crackling of the widow maker’s call. I stood still and watched as a branch dropped from an old tree on the corner and then the call repeated and the top of the tree came down and hit the ground with a thud and bounced, bounced right out and on to the road, closing the road. Deb called 311 but all circuits were busy, I went online to get the main number and saw the notice that the phones at the call center were down, called the main and it too repeated that “we’re sorry” message, and indeed they were correct, 311 is sorry. But we have a blocked roadway. So Deb called the county police non-emergency number and explained it all to them, and they were gracious, and obviously they found it serious. About an hour later, a crew arrived and moved the tree out of the roadway. Around noon today, a Montgomery County crew arrived with a loader and a dump truck and a crew, they cut the tree pieces, picked them up and then swept the entire area, quickly and efficiently, and they were gone. I have to say, that I was proud of the police dispatcher and the county, and particularly the county crew, they got’r done.

The other part of Thursday that started on Wednesday and maybe even a little before then was a little different. I saw some water-color work by a local artist, someone I know. I told my wife about it, I sniveled, I whined but I was unable to move her. Shortly after that, the artists wife put up some pictures of the artwork, my wife is friends with his wife, and she loved the artwork and ordered two pieces. Which he delivered today. The power of wives is totally amazing, I didn’t need to grovel and beg, I just needed his wife to contact my wife, so that I could get art work from my friend who I think highly of, not just as an artist, but as a human being. I truly do have this man crush for him, and I’m not ashamed of it. We have so much in common and we both have a sense of humor that allows us to laugh at the folly of humans, while we continue to work a never ending process to fix the problems. But in the meantime, he has some of my plants to help him focus and meditate and I have his beautiful interpretations of life that I can look at and be reminded of the beauty in the world.

This afternoon one of our neighbors came by and asked if there was a possibility of getting some help, for a minor thing. She had barely finished asking the question when my wife responded with “we’ve got your back”. Because, that’s what we’re supposed to do. Shortly after that discussion, my wife and LilyAnn left to pick up a bed for Liam, a real bed, a big boy bed. And it was a monster, but LilyAnn and my wife loaded it in, strapped it down and got’r done. Me, I packed up some plants to ship out, I dealt with the brats for a while before they left for the pool, I did the dishes and the pots and pans. I watered plants and otherwise puttered around, while my wife was out delivering meals on wheels.

Now if you read this, you would think that I’m a lazy ass and that my wife does all of the work. While I’m ok with that thought, you have to remember that it’s simply Thursday. Around here, there are no pronouns associated with what has to be done. Today, was her/she day to shine, while I dealt with the background support. Tomorrow, it might be my day or she might have another go at it, but always, we do it together. It’s a team effort that gets us through the week. It’s a team effort spread across many variables, friends, neighbors, the county, all of us coming together to make it a successful day. And tomorrow, we’ll start all over again, and tomorrow, Friday is the realm of Friday’s child. Friday’s child is loving and giving. Tomorrow promises to be a great day.

on a wednesday

On a Wednesday

I guess by now you have figured out that I’m doing more than a monologue, I’m doing a a septology or a heptology depending on whether or not you lean towards the Latin or the Greek side, but be careful with that decision because as you know, today is also known as hump day. But overall, today has been a relatively quiet one, with the only true excitement being that it’s Liam’s 16th birthday. We’ve spent most of the day explaining to him that it’s not a national holiday, he can stop looking at the front yard wondering when they will start building the monument.

Liam’s birthday dinner request was steak, steak fries and a salad. The steak fries I’m making from fresh potatoes, the salad like all salads here is of course different. It’s always more than leaves on a plate hosting strange flavorless red things. It’s an entire construct of various different types of leaf vegetables, various other ingredients, and today topped off with sliced Campari tomatoes, all dressed in a sweet vidalia, olive oil and lemon-lime dressing. But today it was easier, my new paring knives arrived. Yes, that was plural, I got 2 knives, since I have 2 kitchen bitches. They are sharp, the knives that is, the 2 KB’s aren’t too bad either, both of them have sharp tongues.

The birthday boy is of course happy with his presents. But while I was out today, I was looking at a book about the history of Maryland parks. Liam wants to visit all of the state parks as a sort of pail list, that’s like a bucket list, but you do it early enough when you have the energy to do it. Anyway I leafed through the book and looked at all of the pictures which were about the history and development of the parks. About the history of DNR and its predecessors, when I came to one picture I realized that I was there for that event although not in the photo. How dare they call this history, I prefer to view it as current events of yesterday.

As a part of my daily reading, I get the summary from the Maryland Reporter, which I read without fail. Because politics and jousting are the state sports it’s important to stay up to date on all of the stats. One of today’s articles really troubled me with an article about Maryland being one of the worst places to start a business. Please understand that I adopted Maryland as my home in 1969, and I’m proud of my home, so anything that comes along that is negative can easily upset me, like refusing to put Old Bay on your crabs, that’s just wrong. But I’m also a realist and understand what the article was saying, I especially understood it as I’m trying to build a business in Maryland. There were some things in the article that were quotations from various organizations putting the blame at various door steps. High wages were mentioned, but I have to say that I can’t agree with that, fair living wages are a necessary part of our future.

But the arguments about regulatory issues are certainly more valid. In themselves regulations are necessary to maintain safety, environmental protection, and a level of quality. Without regulations those who have would have free reign to contact their business in a manner that only benefits them and is a detriment to their host community, my state, my Maryland. But there are issues in the mindset, the very nature of which has people looking at Maryland as being anti-business. It’s an approach that is punitive in nature instead of beneficial and productive. It’s a scenario wherein you tell the state that you’re having a problem and need help. Instead of helping you move forward, they hand you an administrative citation and a hefty fine, and thank you for making their job so much easier. But they still didn’t help you. Wait until you see how much the next fine is.

Business in Maryland, like business in most states, pander to the one big score, that one fish that would make the economic developers heroes. But the rest of the minnows, the ones that overall provide the most jobs, the ones that grow to be major employers, the ones that start here and grow here, they are ignored. They are not worthy of any effort, far below the threshold of indulgence. We are quite willing to invest in companies not from here, willing to give them everything and anything even though they are part of the destruction of small business in our communities. Amazon can have anything they want, waivers, tax abatements, new highways (without tolls), and in return will give us sweat labor and more people on EBT.

Today, I went by a small strip shopping center where a new tenant is building out an existing commercial space, to fit their needs. A small restaurant probably only a thousand square feet a the most. Coming in to Montgomery County with their second location. I looked at the permit postings in the window. The electrical permit had no fee showing on it, but I truly doubt that it was free. The general remodeling permit was $4900. That’s less than a seconds worth of revenue for Amazon, a company that doesn’t pay taxes. But for a small local business, that’s a hard hit. A hit before they even find out if this will work, a hit over and above the actual contractual costs of prepping this space that has been vacant for over 5 years. They will be a benefit to the community, and we have welcomed them with open arms, the open arms holding the collection plate. We didn’t kiss them on both cheeks. Instead welcomed them to kiss our proverbial governments cheeks, the cheeks of their asses.

This is business in Maryland, if you’re a Maryland small business or thinking about it, forget about it. You’re on your own. If you are a business that wants to devastate our communities, destroy our environment, extract all of the revenue you can and send it elsewhere, it you want to make major changes in our communities and redirect our lives and our livelihood, if you are a business that has no consideration or concern for the well being of Marylanders, If you’re a business that wants to reshape all that you see into an image that you have regardless of the impact, then Maryland may be the place for you. And with your help we can come out as the most business friendly state in the nation, we can move up in that measurement while we drop in all of the other measurements. The land of pleasant living can easily become the land of easy pickings, or it could become the Free State, where everyone is on equal footing and everyone is encouraged to grow, to be happy, to lead and to build. Maryland is often referred to as America in miniature, it’s time that we perfect that and let Maryland be the place where we value the American dream above the political dream, the dreams of those in power looking for quick fame and a comfortable retirement, at the expense of our people.

on a tuesday

On a Tuesday

I stumbled out of bed this morning, and got to see my oldest daughter before she headed off to work. Just before she left, she told me that she loved me, and left a suture removal kit next to my coffee. Now my daughter is a medical professional, and she’s damn good. She loves to tell me that there will come a point in time when she will be changing my diapers and wiping my drool. I tell her that I will be seating at the oceans edge with a growler of beer in my hand and let the tide take care of these issues. With all of her bravado, this trained EMT is incapable of taking care of these minor issues, she won’t even cut my hair. But she scored me a kit and left it for me, that’s love. The problem is that I’m seriously right handed and of course the sutures are all on my right hand. The easiest solution was to ask my wife to take care of it. For her that was no problem, she has Vet Tech training, and I’m just another old dog.

As she was working on my hand, doing the clip and tug thing, my grandson walked into the room and panicked when he saw this. He said she’s not a Doctor, what if she hurts you, OMG, etc. I reminded him that indeed she has been Doctor Mom for a long time, and if he didn’t believe that, he should look at her name, D.R. Weverink. She’s a Doctor. So, my stitches are out, I have a small bubble bandage on the area and I’m healing nicely. I heal very quickly, which is a saving grace for me, since I have tested that premise so many times.

Yesterday, the control cable on the riding mower broke, parts are on order but the jungle needs to be tamed. The only way to do that is with the push mower, to mow the remaining acre, and that portion of the acre that is out front, right where judgmental people can see our failure to maintain the societal mandated mono-culture of disaster. No problem, the three oldest boys jumped on that and took turns mowing and cooling until it was done. Understand that when I say the 3 oldest boys that includes Kayley. Now Kayley is most definitely not a male, not even to the most distanced observer. But she runs with the two older boys, can keep up with them, can outrun them, out work them and takes great pleasure in putting them to shame. She who takes no shit from the boys is known as She-ra.

Speaking of the boys, and this time I mean the younger two, the insufferable pair, who are usually joined at the hip while also swinging at each other, the ones who are miserable without each other, but can only tolerate each other in 15 minute segments. Fifteen minutes of I hate you and fifteen minutes of “let’s go do this”. They were playing on the hex-box, with their headphones on, communicating with each other, at least eight feet away, playing a game together, fighting, arguing, kicking and screaming. I’ve been in real gun battles that were quieter than this. And they both ended up being sent from the room and are without the hex-box. They hissed and spit and moaned and complained, they blamed each other and declared their undying hatred for the other, and then they went to the pool, together.

I spent the afternoon re-potting the plants from yesterday and getting them ready to meet their new homes. I had to go out to the deck several times, rearranging plants that are waiting to go to their new homes, and I stood there and looked at all of my orchids in bloom and admired them, and thanked them for sharing their glory.

And as the day waned, I realized that once again I would have to feed these people. And I remembered that my other daughter had given me 3 focaccias to deal with, which I promised would be on the menu tonight. And there I was, like a competitor on “Chopped” looking at what they have to deal with. Time to get tough, time to cut the focaccias and make it look like I know what I’m doing. Time to see what’s in the fridge and what’s available to make this be a work of art or a disaster that everyone can bitch about. I made a garlicky cheesy olive oil butter and herb kind of slime to put on them, and then, I saw my salvation, a big bucket of salsa that we had to have but nobody ate. Salsa down, cheesy slop on top and in the oven it goes.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and I’m sure that it too will bring forth another day of excitement, another opportunity to excel and another reason to tell you another story. But I’m also sure that it will be full of moments, little moments, little things. The ones that will ultimately become memories, that are worthy of sharing, that are full of joy. The simple little joys of every day life, the important joys.

on a monday

On a Monday

In fact, virtually every Monday, except for holidays then its a Tuesday, I go on a road trip to Gettysburg and beyond. The purpose of the trip is to go to the greenhouse and replenish my inventory and find new and exciting plants for my customers. It’s more like an expedition than a road trip, it’s a hunt and an exploration. Even the trip there is an adventure, the ride is full of entertainment. It’s a couple of hours of solitude, just me and my thoughts accompanied by all of the memories and thoughts stirred up by Willies Roadhouse. Today was no exception, “Jambalaya” came up on the playlist, one of my favorites and I don’t care who performs it, but little Brenda Lee is certainly one of the most dynamic, sixteen years old and standing 4 foot 9 inches, she eats the words and spits them back out like a Cat 5 hurricane. I always enjoy her performance, but today, I noticed the saxophone. The Sax player adds energy to an already explosive presentation. I love the saxophone, and then it dawned on me that, my grandson Liam is learning to play the sax, and I had to have him listen to this gem, which made him smile.

At my pit stop, which is mandatory at my age, I stop at the Sheetz in Thurmont, easy on and easy off the highway. I held the door for a young man who looked at me and said “Thank you, sir”. I did what I had to do, grabbed a sandwich and headed back up the highway towards more adventure. I always get off on the Steinwehr Ave exit and drive across the battlefield to catch up to US 30, it’s actually quicker and certainly far more pleasant and scenic. When I got to where I had to turn off, the road was closed, again. It’s been six weeks and the road in front of the hospital is still closed, how long does it take for them to find the shovel that they lost? I weaved around and got on the highway again.

Finally, in the distance I saw the hoops and domes of the promised land, the future, my reward for the trek. I park and I enter the land of glory. I walk into a greenhouse and the earthy aroma, the peaty moist tinge to the air, the blends of all of the greenery and the occasional flowery add in from the various plants, it’s like trying to describe the scintillation of a single malt scotch, and then there’s the visual beauty of all of the array of nature’s gifts lined up to be selected. I walk through with a box to load like a kid on an Easter egg hunt, trying to find the best eggs, trying to find the hidden varieties, trying to get the most in my box before those other pesky kids come along. I move quickly gather up all of the treasures and take them to the accounting area and then double back to take that last final look to be certain that I have all that was there waiting for me, and as always, I drag those last few stragglers back with me. I get checked out and I load my treasures, my little green precious and I leave for my next stop.

Off I go, a few more miles in these woods, a few miles to go to gather my weekly hugs from my daughter and grands. This of course is the highlight of the expedition, I have found what I was seeking, I have been graced to receive something that is always waiting for me. Whether or not I found any treasures this day, I always know where the end of the rainbow is, and the pot of love is always there waiting for me.

So many people search for those special moments, those special treasures, Marco Polo searched the planet for the spice of life, others seek love, or seek that special moment of joy, a moment of tranquility, away from the maddening crowd. But all of them look so far into the distance without ever seeing what is so near.

Community standards, a whimsical concept

Community standards, a whimsical concept

Have I got a deal for you, would you like to buy an American Silver Eagle for $19.95, you have to hurry because supplies are limited but if you order up to 10 of them we can give you a significant discount and free shipping. That’s an ad I saw today. Now for those of you who don’t know, a Silver Eagle is a coin issued by the United States Mint, it is legal tender and is one ounce of 99.9% pure silver. The market price on silver today is around $25 per ounce.

Now if that’s too rich for your blood, well then how about Morgan Silver Dollars from the 1800s, at $10 a piece. We can offer these so cheap because a coin shop that has these is going out of business and needs to liquidate them. Insert picture of charming old couple in their coin shop. How about a nice backhoe and front-end loader for your yard for only $49.95 delivered. Such a bargain.

Now if you already have a backhoe, and all of the various silver dollars you can carry, you’re bored of shopping all of these fantastic deals, I do have an alternative for you. Especially you red-blooded American males, who are God’s gift to women in your own minds. How do you feel about lonely women, or widows that are looking for something that they are missing? As a qualifier, let me show you my abundant ass and too large to be restrained tits. I can’t show you more than that, but if you follow this link, you don’t even need to pay anything to see everything that I have to offer in great detail. And if your ass isn’t up to par to match these, we do have some pills to sell you. And for you gentlemen who like what you see but are coming up short, we have a device that will fix that for $19.95, and if you’re just not up to it, we have a special on non-certified lawn clippings that are all organic and will help your organ prepare for duty, a month supply is yours free all you have to do is pay shipping and a modest handling fee. Please have your credit card ready.

I’m truly amaze that Joel Osteen isn’t here combating all of the perversity, fighting for your soul to protect you from foolishly surrendering your dollars, praying that you will see the light and not buy in to the falsehoods and sinful pleasures of the flesh, hoping to convert you and your dollars to flow in his direction where he can offer you a pass to heaven for only $49.95, no shipping and heaven doesn’t charge sales tax.

And all of this is in the world of Facebook, the community standards that Mr. Zuckerberg insists that we adhere to. So basically Zuckerberg’s community is open and welcoming to frauds, liars, cheats and whores, as long as they don’t use offensive language or attack any of the wrongs in the world. As long as we don’t proffer opinions on how to make the world better or how to solve the failures within our society. While I understand the attraction of having an endless supply of silver coins, as did some of our religious leaders, the idea of an endless supply of tits and ass and a well enhanced tool to deal with them is of course a very intriguing concept, but you failed to offer up a small island where the water flows like wine, or beer. Osteen is also failing in that arena, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

But really, if that’s your idea of community standards, you should be required to register with the state, so your neighbors can be notified and have the opportunity to move to a better hood.

right to repair and the demand to repair

Right to repair and the demand to repair

A friend of mine was concerned about my mental well being which we all know is a lost cause. But he was afraid that writers not producing was caused by a brain cramp, you know like when you eat ice cream too fast. He didn’t want to see me suffering. I have the best friends. So he sent me a request to write about a certain topic. He wanted me to write about “The right to repair”. It’s a subject that I’m familiar with but most people are not, most don’t even know about it. It’s not a right outlined in the Constitution, although I could say it is covered under the 43rd amendment and a whole bunch of people would get pissed off and want to push someone off of the edge of the world.

Although, the concept currently deals with the right to repair electronic items, it’s an idea that has reared its ugly head before. The automotive industry didn’t want you tinkering with their cars, they wanted that work done at their dealership garages using only their parts. Because they wanted to get that revenue since repairing it meant you weren’t buying a new one. Although now, this whole scenario has been killed, you can have your car fixed wherever you want to, with aftermarket parts or even used or rebuilt parts. You bought it, you own it. But in case of new cars, read your extended warranty coverage very carefully.

The central issue of right to repair is the concept that you bought it, you own it and you can do whatever you want to with it. Do you remember in the olden days, on the back of the radio or TV there was a warning label, “Stop, no consumer serviceable parts inside” or some such nonsense. That was the beginning of the indoctrination. But your ownership and your desire to do with your property as you see fit runs contrary to the industry standard of planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is absolutely essential for the success of manufacturing industries. Vanity and ego are the next parts that they need, consumers competing to display their wealth and acumen with the latest and greatest, the newest and the best, like a bunch of Peacocks.

One of the leaders opposing the right to repair is Apple. Part of their justification is that while you’re in there replacing the battery you might accidentally stumble upon some of their proprietary secrets and be able to bypass them. If I could do that, then I should be offered a job by Apple or maybe one of the Android companies. All I want to do is change the battery on a phone that costs over a grand and Apple has done everything to thwart those efforts. But they aren’t alone in their desire to squeeze every little bit and byte and blood and dollars out of their product and their customers. Companies that contribute to lobbying efforts against Right to Repair are cumulatively worth about $10.7 trillion. They include Tesla, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Lilly Inc., T-Mobile, Medtronic, Caterpillar, John Deere, General Electric, Philips, eBay, plus the big five.

The idea of spending a few dollars to repair something that costs thousands of dollars to replace is insane. It goes from the sublime to the ridiculous, replacing a battery or a screen, replacing a capacitor which was originally provided by the lowest bidder with the lowest quality standards. None of this is difficult and most of this is a few dollars in parts. But the masters of greed want you hooked for life continuously replacing with the newest and the greatest. But there is a flip side to the whole planned obsolescence issue, the waste of natural resources, the tremendous amount of environmental damage resulting from constant mining and extraction, from manufacturing, and the financial strain on the consumer, all for a few extra dollars for those who don’t really need it.

A few years back as we were facing a crisis of electronic waste in this country we started seeing a number of states introducing bills for manufacturing take back and responsibility, wherein the manufacturers had to pay into a fund that would aid in the recycling of their products. While this may not be directly related to the issues of the right to repair, it’s an interesting concept nonetheless. Imagine if you will the idea of turning the tables on the manufacturers and require them to deal with a right to repair, a need to repair all of the damage that they have done to our planet to maintain their level of excessive profits with no benefit to the world that they are destroying in the process. We should impose a demand to repair on those who have pillaged and plundered, a demand that they participate in undoing the damage they have done. A demand that they repair our planet, a demand that they reconsider all of their processes so that they are of a benefit to the whole.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to fix what I can, I bought it, I own it. And I will continue to insist that you repair the damage and harm you have done to my home, it’s ours and we own it.