Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 Reading

 I am going to go ahead and post a list of the books I read this year. I am in a bit of a reading lull right now and don't think I'll finish the one I have started. If I do, I'll add a post-script to this post. I'll add comments below. 

1.    The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg (F).

2.    When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (NF).

3.    The World's Largest Man by Harrison Scott Key (NF). 

4.    A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (F).

5.    Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (F).

6.   Good Apple by Elizabeth Passarella (NF). 

7.   The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson (F). 

8.   Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Mongham (F). 

9.    The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (F).

10.     Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (NF). 

11.     The Tender Bar by J.R. Moeringer (NF). 

12.     Divided We Fall by David French (NF).

13.     Congratulations, Who Are You Again? by Harrison Scott Key (NF). 

14.    The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away by Jonas Jonasson (F).

15.    Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad (NF).

16.    The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (F).

17.   Sooley by John Grisham (F).

18.    West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge (F).

19.    The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (F). 

20.    Faithful Presence by Bill Haslam (NF).

21.    Jack by Marilynne Robinson (F). 

22.    A Promised Land by Barack Obama (NF). 

23.    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (F).

24.    The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (F).

25.    The President's Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (F). 

26.    Reasons to Live by Matt Haig (NF).

27.    Forty Autumns by Nina Willner (NF). 

28.    The Great Blue Hills of God by Kreiss Bell (NF).

29.    The Best of Me by David Sedaris (NF).

30.    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (NF).

31.    My Last Name by Eric Schumaker (F). 

 I was about even with fiction and non-fiction this year, which is unusual. In years past it has been commonly about one-third non-fiction and two-thirds fiction. But as I've said before, I don't have any real goals -- I just read them as they come, and I enjoy good non-fiction as much as good fiction.

And this year I seemed to hit on some really good non-fiction. Harrison Scott Key, author of "The World's Largest Man" and "Congratulations, Who Are You Again?" is a great find. The first one, a memoir, is his first, and the second is the story of how it came about. These are two of the funniest books I have ever read and I can't recommend them enough. 

Speaking of funny, I read a couple more by David Sedaris, who never disappoints. All the other non-fictions were enjoyable, but my hands-down favorite was "Forty Autumns," recommended to me by Kelly (who also never disappoints with her recommendations), the story of a woman who escaped East Germany, told by her daughter. 

On the fiction side, John Grisham's "Sooley" was a departure from his usual legal thrillers into the world of sports (basketball) and it was another Grisham page turner. All the fiction was also good (including the other Grisham book, "A Time for Mercy"). "Jack" by Marilynne Robinson probably rose above the others. It includes characters from her previous books "Gilead," "Lila" and "Home," and the writing is, quite simply, beautiful. 

"The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop" and "The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek" would be in a tie for second in fiction for me this year. 

Happy to comment on any of the others you might be wondering about. Send an email and we can discuss. There is not a book listed here I did not like. 

It was a good reading year. As I said, here at year-end I'm in a bit of a lull, but I expect things to pick up once the holidays are behind me. The TBR stack only gets higher! 

It was also a good year on the blog, with 28 posts, the most I've had since 2011. I still enjoy reading your blogs and I'm happy to have added a couple to my regulars this year.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year -- and happy reading, of course -- to all of you. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Considering risk

It will soon be two years we have been dealing with COVID. Two years! 

I'm one of the cautious ones. I still believe the best path is to follow the science (even when I might be ridiculed for saying that because it's become a buzz phrase); listen to physicians and epidemiologists who know what they're talking about because I am not trained in that field; and consider the risk. 

I work in risk assessment for a living. It involves coming up with a "risk appetite" which means deciding how much risk you're willing to take. This decision is made considering the controls in place to mitigate risk (e.g. in the case of COVID, the vaccine) and governing yourself accordingly. 

It's more complicated than that, but that's the basic formula. 

I have a fairly tolerant risk appetite at this point. I have had the two-part vaccination and the booster. Between the second vaccination and the booster, I had a "breakthrough" case which was like a mild case of the flu, the worst of which lasted two days. I got a monoclonal infusion offered by the hospital my physician's office is affiliated with. I feel fairly well protected. 

Because I'm still somewhat cautious, I wear a mask to the grocery store and hardware store. Tonight I'm going to a concert at the local symphony call, and we will be asked to wear masks. I have no problem with this. 

In small groups, I don't wear a mask. I don't wear one to church, although I might start doing so again, or choose to watch online again, if the cases in our area increase. I am not afraid of getting deathly sick should I get COVID again, but I want to think about those around me and not spread it to them.  

I don't know what is going to happen with the omicron variant. I understand it spreads faster and is more transmissible than other variants. But it seems symptoms are not as bad as they are with the others.

My company still allows folks to work from home and that is what I am choosing to do, but it's more because I would have to travel if I were to go onsite than fear of getting sick. Working from home, for me, is a matter of convenience. I have folks who work for me who are going into the office some, and they are doing fine with it. 

I don't plan to go into lockdown or semi-isolation again unless required to do so by our local governments. I could be wrong, but I don't see that happening.

Like everyone, I am tired of this. But it's what we have to live with, for now anyway, and I'll continue to assess the risk and carry on. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Winter in the South

Last week, leading up to Friday, we kept hearing we could be in for some bad weather Friday night and into Saturday morning. 

All day Friday, it was blustery and warm. I wore shorts all day, which is not terribly unusual. My WFH (Work From Home) attire is generally casual. But in early December, one would think, to go outside, I would change into pants. 

Not necessarily where we live in Middle Tennessee. We could easily have an early winter snow in December (unusual but not impossible), but we could also have balmy days with temps climbing into the 70s. So it was shorts, inside and out, all day Friday. 

 I'm not always a devoted student of the weather, but with the winds picking up during the day, I glanced at the weather app on my phone and joined Wife watching the evening TV weather report. 

The meteorologists were telling us to beware of bad storms and possible tornados. A line was already forming to the west of us. 

Before I went to bed about 10:30, high winds had already done extensive damage to a nursing home building in west Arkansas, near Memphis, killing three. Tragic

Wife is more of a night owl than I. She told me to go to bed. She would stay up and come get me if she thought we needed to go down to our basement, our safe place when the tornado sirens go off. 

She went to bed somewhere between 2 and 3. She told me she was aware of the storms all around us, but had decided the tornado sirens and/or weather alerts on our phones would wake us. 

At 3 a.m. we were hearing those phone alarms. 

We got up and tuned in to one of the local TV stations. The meteorologists were tracking severe thunderstorms with high winds and were detecting rotation in some places above the ground, meaning possible tornados. 

Meanwhile, we could hear the wind howling. Over the years, we have taken the precaution of going to the basement for much less. With this kind of wind, it was time to go. 

Just as we were gathering a couple of blankets (although we hardly needed them -- it was 73 degrees!), the power went out. Our phones are both equipped with flashlights and Wife grabbed another high-powered one. 

We stayed in the basement about 30 minutes. Wife was able to pull up the TV station we had been watching on her phone for a few minutes, until the signal was apparently lost. We got just enough to know when the worst was in our area and, of course, we could still hear it. 

We went back to bed about 4 when the worst seemed to have passed over us. It took me a while to go back to sleep, but after I did, I slept until almost 9. I went outside to inspect things. There were lots of limbs, big and small, in the yard. The small, decorative Christmas trees on the front porch had both fallen over, and a couple of the wreaths on the windows were blown around from one side to the other. 

Our neighbors had the same situations and many of them were already out in their yards picking up the limbs. I soon joined them. 

Our electricity was still out. We had no idea how long that would last, so Wife went to a nearby convenience store and got some ice. We filled a couple of coolers with it and transferred some food from the refrigerators, holding out enough for some lunch. We kept the freezers closed. 

We had been planning to attend a Christmas program at a nearby church at 3 p.m. I don't know why, but it had not occurred to us they might also be without power, but as we pulled up about 2:30, we were met by a church member in the parking lot who told us that was indeed the case, and the 3 p.m. concert was canceled. There was another scheduled for 6, and they would have it if power was restored. 

We certainly didn't want to go home, so I suggested a visit to my favorite craft brewery, hoping they would have power. Blessings abound, and they did! It had been steadily getting colder throughout the day (a cold front was ushered in with the storms), so it was nice to have a warm place of refuge. 

The tap room at this brewery is not like a seedy bar, but more like a cozy little enclave where people are friendly and well behaved. Wife and I sat at a table and played three games of Rummikub (typically, she beat me every single game) while I enjoyed some of the tap offerings. (Wife is not a beer drinker but is a competitive game player and thoroughly enjoyed beating me in Rummikub).

We stayed there a couple of hours. On my phone I checked the website of the church having the Christmas program and, alas, they were still without power and the 6 p.m. performance had also been canceled. 

We stayed at the brewery a couple of hours and from there went to a nearby restaurant and had dinner. We arrived home about 7:30. Still no power. The outside temperature had plunged to about 40 and the overnight low was expected to dip a couple degrees below freezing, so we were bracing ourselves for a cold night. 

We lit some candles. I grabbed my laptop, which was fully charged, so we could watch a movie. 

About 15 minutes after arriving home, however, the lights came back on. Soon the house was cozy and warm. 

It is now Sunday morning and I slept soundly last night. It's about 29 degrees, but according to the five-day forecast, it will be 68 Wednesday. That's winter around here. 

Folks to the west and north us did not fare as well and are now dealing with the destruction and devastation storms and tornados can bring. My heart breaks for them. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021


 Thanksgiving is very much in the rearview mirror now and Christmas is upon us. 

As I wrote last month, we had 19 at our Thanksgiving tables. All went well, and how Wife managed to get everything on the table all at once, and hot, is beyond me. But somehow she did. 

We don't decorate for Christmas or put up the Christmas tree Thanksgiving weekend or earlier, as so many do now. In fact, it's December 9th as I write this and while Wife has hung greenery and decorated the mantle, and I have put up some outside lights, we just got the tree today and it stands naked in the family room. 

We still get a real tree and for the second year in a row, I went to a lot, picked it out and scheduled it for delivery. They put it in a stand outside, then brought it in the house. They even "upgraded" me to a new stand, free of charge. 

I might have felt bad about that, but given the handsome amount I pay for the tree and delivery of same, I don't. I'm thinking they throw a few of those stands in the delivery truck for the people who have stands they don't think are adequate, and I'm sure they can easily absorb that cost. The stand I have, a five-prong one, seems perfectly fine to me, but if they want to throw in a new one, who am I to argue? 

We will get it decorated soon enough, probably by the end of this weekend. For the two of us empty-nesters, I ask you: what's the hurry? 


Longtime readers of this blog know our family has an international Christmas Eve. Each year we pick a different country or region, and the food and decor are centered around it. This year will be Ireland, a country Wife, Younger Son and I have visited. 

Only Christmas Eve for us will not be on December 24th. We will have Christmas Eve on the 26th and Christmas Day on the 27th. This allows the ones with children to be at their own homes Christmas morning. Younger Son and his fiance will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his fiance's family. 

Everyone will join us late Christmas Day or on the 26th, and that's when our Christmas observance will begin this year.  Wife and I are happy to be flexible and get everyone together when it works and we're just glad to get together. 

And I suppose it gives us more time to get the tree decorated! 


Monday, November 15, 2021


It is ten days until Thanksgiving, but we are well into preparations. I think we are making up for last year when Wife had COVID, and her parents each died from the blasted virus, 13 days apart (her mother on Thanksgiving night). 

Some friends brought Thanksgiving dinner to us and, because we were being cautious, I ate on the deck and Wife ate at the kitchen table. I stayed at some friends' guesthouse through the quarantine period. 

It's hard to believe we are a year out from all of that, but we are, and this Thanksgiving should be much different. At last count, we will have 19 humans for Thanksgiving dinner, maybe 21, as one invitation is still out. It will be all our family, plus my DIL's parents, plus Wife's sister and family. The still- outstanding invitation is to some friends. 

Four of those in attendance will be our grandchildren -- two four-year-olds, a two-year-old and a one-year old. I guess I could say it will be organized chaos, but I probably should not make such a prediction, as the chaos will likely be anything but organized. But it will be good chaos. 

Wife is, however, HIGHLY organized in making preparations. She has already done most of the grocery shopping and is making things to put in the freezer. Because we will have various and sundry folks staying here from Wednesday through Sunday, she's also preparing food for those other days too. 

This is her strength, and we both know it, so she gives assignments to me which I am happy to carry out. We will be out of town this coming weekend, so it's important we have a lot of the logistical preparations made before we leave, so she can concentrate primarily on cooking next week.

Tonight we put a table cloth on the dining room table, and one on the long table we have set up in the living room. We will have to serve from the kitchen table, so the extra table in the living room is a must. 

It's an old eight-foot table that was in my dad's office years ago, and which I used as a desk when I was in law school. It has followed me ever since. From the looks of it, it has seen better days, having been used over the years for displaying garage sale items, various school projects and refinishing furniture. There are nicks, cuts and paint and varnish stains on it, so the table cloth is very much a necessity. 

But with that table cloth thrown over it, it is lovely, and I think my father, a master of frugality, would be pleased to know it is still useful. 

Wife fusses and frets over the seating, and how comfortable people will be, but I remind her it will all work out and they will all just be happy to be here. If elbows happen to bump together at tables, don't you think that makes it all the more festive and cozy? 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Western vacation photos

 I'm the worst when it comes to posting photos. Should I ever retire, one the first things I should do is take a computer class where I can learn a few things about how to navigate such things as the cloud. For now, I plod along. 

But I promised a few photos from our vacation to the west, so here they are. Again, if you have never visited these areas, I highly recommend this trip. 

                                                             Sunset at the Grand Canyon

                                                                        Sedona, AZ

                                                               Slot canyons near Page, AZ

                                                       Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

                                                                Zion National Park, Utah
                                                                 Zion National Park  

Enjoying refreshments at our hotel outside Zion

Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Moviegoer

 I still plan to post more about our recent vacation and include pictures, but need a little more time to get some in order. In the meantime, Kelly's recent post about a classical reading challenge piqued my interest. I try to read one or two classics each year, but I plan to join the challenge to motivate myself to read more.  I recently wrote in my weekly column about one I recently read, and thought I would share. Vacation pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Out west

 Wife and I were supposed to have spent the last week in Hawaii -- specifically, Maui. 

When Wife retired a couple years ago, her employer gave her a gift card good for air flight with all the airlines. It had an expiration date. 

(As an aside, because I have for 25-plus years worked in finance and banking, specifically banking law and regulation, I know gift cards cannot have expiration dates unless the issuer has met a number of disclosure requirements. I knew this issuer had not met those, so I thought, "aha, I've got them," and couldn't wait to let them know, and defer our use of the card until this *&^% COVID thing is done and we could use it for overseas travel. Alas, the issuer was from another country, and did not have to comply with such. The expiration date would stand). 

Since, due to COVID, we are still not comfortable traveling overseas, we decided we would be OK with Hawaii. We went there on our honeymoon 37 years ago and Wife has always wanted to return.

So we booked the trip back in the spring. Using the gift card was not easy, as travel had to be booked through the issuer, but Wife was able to make it work. 

Because we have accumulated a large amount of hotel points with a certain franchise, Wife was also able to book a place for us to stay using those. It would be a vacation with some great discounts. 

We did not give this a lot of thought until along about August when the delta variant was surging. We began to hear that Hawaii was reinstating many COVID restrictions, such as limited occupancy in restaurants and attractions. The governor of Hawaii asked visitors to reconsider and postpone visits to give them time to regroup a bit and hopefully get their cases down. 

We decided maybe it was not the best time to visit Hawaii, so we canceled. 

But not to be deterred, Wife quickly switched gears and began planning a trip we have been trying to take for years, to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and other national parks in Utah, as well as some other places in the area.

On Saturday morning, October 2nd, we flew to Las Vegas, where we got a rental car. We drove that morning to Hoover Dam, and later in the day to the Grand Canyon south rim.  

After a couple of days there, we drove to Sedona, AZ, then to Page, AZ, where we visited the slot canyons, then into Utah where we went to Bryce Canyon National Park, then Zion National Park. 

We flew back from Las Vegas, after spending one night there, this past Monday, October 11th. 

These were all places I had never visited, and had never even been in the states of Arizona or Nevada. The beauty was spectacular, and I will give more detail and post some photos in my next entry. 

Wife continues to plan great travel for us in our "golden years" and I continue to be grateful. I still have about eight states to visit to have made it to all 50, and I told her I would like to make that a priority. (Iowa is one of them, blog friend Ed!)

Friday, September 24, 2021

WFH Part Three (Final)

One more thing about the WFH environment. It has spawned massive quitting of jobs, so much so that it even has a name -- The Great Resignation. Do an internet search and you'll find all kinds of information about it.

It seems extended time at home got folks to rethinking a lot of things, including their careers. 

Some members of two-earner households decided they could get by on one income. 

Others decided life is too short to work for a toxic, narcissistic manager. 

Still others concluded, as I have mentioned previously, WFH is a good fit, and when their employer said, "Come back to the office," they said, "I don't think so," gave notice and found a job in which WFH is acceptable. 

It's fascinating stuff, and yet another example of how the pandemic has turned things upside down. 

Employers are in a dilemma, of course, as workers are quitting in droves. Companies are finding new ways to entice employees and I suspect some, who are harping on the "come back to the office" message, might have to back off a bit if they want to retain good employees. 

I don't ever remember it being like this, where workers have these kinds of choices. 

As for me, I'm hoping to ride my current train to retirement, WFH or not, although it's what I'm doing now and it looks as if it will last a while. 

I'm not ready to hang it up just yet. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

WFH Part Two

In my last post, I commented on some of the intricacies of the WFH (Working From Home) environment, specifically the impasse that seems to have been reached between some employers who want their employees back on site, and employees who would rather continue to work remotely. 

In some cases, employers will eventually say (and some have already said), "This gig is up. Come on back." 

But those employers who do that, do so at the risk of losing folks. As I previously said, right now good employees have the upper hand. 

And I suppose some employers are fine with that. Nobody is non-replaceable, they say. And I would agree with that. 

But then again, employers need good workers and even if they are saying they're not doing the WFH thing, how long will they be willing to see good employees leave and have to rehire and retrain? 

My blog friend TB had an insightful comment on my WFH post, explaining how he is a project manager and feels as productive -- even more productive -- working from home as he does if he were in his office. 

I am much the same way. TB also said, as part of the WFH world, we have had to become better communicators, and I couldn't agree more. But with everyone being available online, it is not overly difficult. 

Many companies were planning to bring folks back, at least part of the time, after Labor Day. But with the delta variant and increased cases, in many cases those plans were postponed. Some of us are now 18 months into remote working. 

If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it's that we don't know what we don't know, and I would not begin to predict anything. 

But I'll say this. If vaccination rates increase and we see a pattern of cases decreasing, say, over a period of 90 days, I think we'll see companies gearing up their "come back to the workplace" themes around the first of the year. But I've been wrong before. 


Of course bad apples spoil it for everyone, and there will always be folks who try to game the system. 

There are instances where WFH folks are holding down two jobs! I no longer have the link, but there was a WSJ (Wall Street Journal) piece a few weeks ago that reported on about a half-dozen folks who are managing two different positions. In return for confidentiality, they described to WSJ how they do it. 

They say they are able to manage their calendars and phones and strategically manipulate days off, with neither employer being the wiser. And they, of course, pleased to be receiving two salaries. Apparently there a more than a few folks out there doing it. 

Although incredibly deceitful and dishonest (you have to lie like cray to make it work), supposedly it's not illegal. 

But even if I could sink that low on a moral level, I couldn't handle the stress. 

Monday, September 6, 2021


The acronym that is the title of this post is WFH - Working From Home.

I don't know if the acronym predates COVID, but it has definitely come into its own since the beginning of the pandemic some 18 months ago. 

Many companies, after sending folks home in the beginning, brought folks back after a few months. Some have done it more gradually. Some have developed hybrid models, with a combination of working in the office and WFH. Others have maintained the WFH model. 

I find it fascinating to observe. The fact is, a lot of folks like WFH. They claim it saves them all kinds of commuting time and gas money. It helps with family life. 

All of that is understandable. 

Consequently, these folks would like to continue WFH. Some employers, however, want their employees on site. 

What is especially interesting to observe is the standoff between the employers who say, "Come back to the office" and the workers who say, "I don't want to."

I'm old school, so I tend to be of the opinion that WFH is not an entitlement. If your employer wants you on site, I suppose that's where you need to be if you want to keep your job with said employer. 

Or, if WFH has become a non-negotiable for you, perhaps you need to seek employment with an employer that will allow it. 

But therein lies a bit of the rub. We are at a place in history where employment is a seller's market, meaning many skilled employees have the upper hand, and many employers desperately need workers. 

"I'll see your 'you can't work from home' and raise you with 'see if you can find someone to fill this job that has my qualifications.' " 

Who is bluffing whom? It's hard to tell. 

But these are interesting times in the workplace. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

A funny

A get a daily newsletter at work, full of industry-related items, that usually includes a humorous anecdote at the end. 

I thought this one was great. Fortunately, I don't find myself having to identify streetlights, crosswalks or some other such nonsense in order to enter comments on your blogs these days. But I remember when I did, and how frustrating it was. 

Couldn't have said it better myself: 

"Just spent 30 minutes trying to prove to a computer that I'm not a computer because apparently I don't know what street lights look like." 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

COVID update

 I seem to have made it through COVID no worse for the wear, except for some lingering congestion (which is not uncommon for me, as I have chronic sinus stuff) and I still can't smell anything. 

The smell thing is interesting, and I realize how significant it is. I am pretty sensitive to odors and it's really weird how that has left me. A friend suggested smelling herbs. I took a big whiff of fresh basil last night. Nothing.

But things could be much worse. I think the sense of smell will eventually return and I occasionally catch a whiff of something, as if it's trying to break through. 

I feel pretty armed against COVID now, having been fully vaccinated, having the antibodies that come from having had COVID and having had the monoclonal antibody infusion. I think I have a lot of fight in me now! 

But Wife and I are still being careful. We've stopped going to church again, have cut way back on going out to eat and we are wearing masks when we go to the grocery store. If nothing else, I don't want to make others uncomfortable. 

Here where I live, there are battles in the surrounding school districts about masking. I don't get it. I think if I had a child in school who was unvaccinated, I would be all about it. 

But there are still these folks supposedly concerned about their rights. And I'm tired of hearing about it. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In sickness and in health

To summarize the past week, I'll start with one week ago tonight (it is Thursday, August 12th as I write this). Wife and I had our "Simple Suppers" group at our house. This is a dinner club we have been in for a few years and we recently resumed meeting after a hiatus during the pandemic. 

There were ten of us last Thursday night. We had a great time and Wife outdid herself with a delicious meal. 

On Saturday morning the 7th, Wife's birthday, we drove to Huntsville to have brunch with Daughter and her family at their house. Younger Son drove the short 90-minuet drive from Birmingham. We had a delightful time and another wonder meal prepared by Daughter and SIL. 

In the early afternoon we drove to Atlanta. Older Son, Wife and I went to an Atlanta Braves game that night and had a great time. Sunday morning, our granddaughter, Older Son and DIL's youngest, was baptized at their church and it was a special time for all. DIL's parents were also there and we had lunch at Older Son and DIL's house before we headed back home in the early afternoon. 

Sparing you all the details that led to this, DIL ended up coming to Nashville Monday morning with her two. Older Son would be traveling and her plan was to let her parents, and Wife and me, take turns with the little ones while she worked remotely as much as she could. 

Any daytime care we would have given would have fallen to Wife, of course, since I still have my day job. 

We had dinner with some friends Monday night and as we got up to leave the restaurant, I felt the slightest little tickle in my throat, the kind of thing I have felt in the past as I felt a cold coming on. There are times it disappears as fast as it comes, and times it stays around. I didn't mention it to Wife and hoped it would be the former rather than the latter. No such luck. 

Tuesday morning, Wife notified me DIL would be bringing our almost four-year-old grandson for the day. I thought about it for five minutes before confessing to Wife that I felt a fair amount of congestion and given the circumstances . . . . 

Her next call was to DIL to notify her. DIL said she would not be bringing our grandson. 

Being what I thought was overly cautious, I went and got tested for COVID. Of course I don't have it, I thought. I'm fully vaccinated and I'm still very careful, still wearing a mask in most public places. 

As Tuesday wore on, I felt tired and achy. I was also cold. When I woke Wednesday, I felt as if I had not slept, even though I had slept eight hours. I knew I had something but still didn't believe it was COVID. 

At 8 a.m. I got an email with my test results. Positive. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I have what's called a breakthrough case. 

Yesterday I felt lousy. I had a nasty cough, was fatigued and cold and had a terrible headache. I laid around most of the day. I let folks at work know I would be largely off the screen. 

Today I was some better. My cough has subsided a bit and congestion is confined mostly to my head now. And apparently my case is typical for a breakthrough. If I understand correctly, the vaccine is designed not necessarily to prevent COVID but to mitigate the symptoms and keep me out of the hospital. I have felt crummy, especially yesterday, but it could have been much worse. 

Where did I pick it up? From someone at our house last week (everyone was vaccinated, so nobody wore masks)? From the baseball game? From church? Who knows? 

Wife and I are isolated from each other and of course we're both in quarantine. I'm mostly upstairs and she is down, but I get to come downstairs and stay in one room during the evening. 

She, of course, is being a real trooper and making sure I have everything I need. 

I've not lost my sense of taste and/or smell, but food definitely tastes different. It's hard to describe. 

Vanderbilt Hospital, with which my doctor's office is affiliated, sent an email offering an antibody infusion. I talked to them today and described my symptoms. It was suggested I make an appointment for their next available time, next Tuesday at 8 a.m., and cancel if I am significantly better by then. 

So here we are. Oh, and yesterday was our wedding anniversary. 

In sickness and in health . . . 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Colorado 2021

 It really was a grand summer vacation with the family. 

With four little ones, it was not what one would call relaxing, but we knew that going in. 

With 12 humans, four of which are four and under, going out to eat with everyone was not going to happen. So, except for "sibling night," when Wife and I kept the grands and let the young adults go out, we all ate in every night, and everyone was assigned a night to cook. 

It worked out beautifully. The respective chefs were creative and resourceful, and we had some delicious meals. 

There were various hikes, a viewing of Breckenridge's July 4th parade, a lot of hanging out on the back porch where there was a wonderful view, and various side trips taken by different members of the group. My favorite day was Wednesday, when Daughter and her family, Younger Son, FDIL and I made a drive over to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the prettiest places in the world and where I worked the summers of 1980 and '81. 

(As Wife has said, I never really got over it. And I'm afraid she is right). 

The guys and I went fishing on Thursday, which was not nearly as successful as our excursion on the same lake in 2018. That was also the day there were two Emergency Room visits, so that might have also put a damper on things. But a day, or half-day, on a lake in Colorado is still a good day. 

It was warmer in the mountains than I have ever been, although still glorious compared to our southern summers. Highs during the day crept up into the high 70s (I know, cry me a river), but there was virtually no humidity, so we could hardly have described it as hot. I don't know if this is the result of the western heat wave, global warning, or what, but I hope it was a fluke and not a trend. 

Wife and I have a trip to Maui planned for early October, just the two of us. She's determined we will return to pre-COVID travel, and she will take me with her when I'm available. For now it's back to work. 

(Attached pic if of the grands July 4th). 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Air travel

I'll post details on our vacation in my next installment and will use this one to tell you about our air travel. 

We were able to pay for nearly everyone's airfare on this trip with credit from canceled trips during the pandemic. We had to kick in a little ourselves, but not much when you consider we had 12 humans traveling.

There was a time when I did not mind flying and there was even a time I rather enjoyed it. Not anymore. From parking at the airport, to going through security, to being squeezed into seats that have enough leg room for less than average sized folks, it's not my thing. 

But it's a means to an end. I am married to someone who loves to travel and she often wants to take me with her. Since I still work, a long road trip is generally not in the cards. So we fly.

And this trip was my idea. I love the Colorado mountains in the summer. Again, I didn't have time to drive, so I sucked it up and got on a plane. 

The flight to Denver to eventually meet up with our family for a week was my first one since before the pandemic. It had been about two years. 

Things were not that different, except for wearing masks in the airport and on the plane. And food and drink service is condensed, to say the least. 

But it's still stuffy and crowded, no different from previous flights. 

Wife and I had a direct flight from Nashville to Denver the afternoon of Thursday, July 1st. It was supposed to be about two and one-half hours. 

But when we got to within 30 minutes of landing in Denver, the pilot advised us we would have to circle for a little while because, due to storms in the area, there were a number of planes "backed up," needing to land, and we had to wait our turn. 

About 30 minutes after that announcement, the pilot advised we needed fuel (which I always love to hear from a pilot), and we still could not land in Denver, so we would go to Albuquerque.

To summarize, we landed in Denver about five hours later than scheduled. We were supposed to meet friends for dinner, and they were kind enough to postpone our original meeting time. We still made it, going straight from the airport to meet them, and we pretty much changed clothes in our rental car (don't judge me). 

Younger Son and his fiance had even worse luck. Their direct flight from Birmingham, scheduled to leave at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 2nd, didn't leave until well after midnight. They arrived at the Denver hotel where we were staying around 3 a.m. 

They had similar (bad) luck going back on Saturday, July 10th. Their flight connected in Las Vegas, and the plane from Vegas to Birmingham had a flat tire. Everyone on the plane had to de-board while it was repaired, and it was another red-eye flight for the two of them. 

The good news for them was they each received $200 in flight vouchers from the airline for their trouble (100 for each trip), so they have a start to their honeymoon fund (assuming they go somewhere that airline flies). 

The rest of the family had relatively easy flights going and returning, as did Wife and I on our return flight. 

As I said, it's a means to an end, and I suppose, considering people are back to flying in droves, all things considered, the airlines do a pretty good job of getting travelers safely from place to place. Sometimes there will be delays and I get that. 

But it's still not my preferred method of travel. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Family vacay 2021

We just returned from one of my favorite places in the world -- the mountains of Colorado. 

For the second time in the life of our family, we rented a house in Breckenridge for a week. It was crazy and chaotic, and there were two Emergency Room visits (everyone is fine, thanks), but it was also glorious, beautiful and crazy fun. 

There were three more humans in the group than the last time we went, in 2018 (see previous reference to crazy and chaotic). Accordingly, we have learned to manage expectations, as well as to expect the unexpected. Getting all 12 from one place to another is not unlike herding cats. 

Wife and I flew to Denver a couple of days ahead of everyone arriving and visited two different longtime friends. The calm before the storm, if you will. 

There were flight delays and rental car mishaps, but eventually we were all together in the aforementioned beautiful setting. I'll post more about the trip in the next few days. For now, I'll share a pic from one of the days we successfully herded the cats into one place -- this time for a family hike.  

Monday, June 21, 2021

The family is growing

My youngest (often referred to as "Younger Son" on this blog) got engaged about a week ago. 

He has been dating his intended for about two years, all told, with a short break for them to get their bearings (I guess). 

He told his mother and me at Christmas he intended to propose in early summer. In March, we were invited to Birmingham (where he lives) to meet her parents, and over that weekend his mom went with him to have a ring designed. 

He was able to use two small stones that had been a part of a ring worn by his grandmother (Wife's mother), and he purchased a bigger one to be in the middle. I don't know much about rings and such, but it looks beautiful to me. 

He told us he hoped to propose on June 12th, and he would like to have us there for a celebration after he popped the question. 

Everything came off without a hitch. He proposed at a park in the community where he lives, a spot they have often gone to walk his fiance's dog. He asked his sister to be there, in hiding, to take pictures. Most important: she said yes!  

Her parents hosted a gathering at their home. Both families were there, as well as friends, to wish them well, and it was a joyous occasion. 

The wedding will be next spring in Birmingham and, as far as I can tell, plans are well underway. 

Our family continues to grow, and we could not be happier. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Masks off

Life is slowly returning to normal around here as mask mandates are lifted and people begin to be out and about more. 

We are in a dinner club and we resumed meeting last night. We met one time last summer at an outside pavilion, and although it was enjoyable, it was nerve-wracking trying to stay an appropriate distance from folks, especially since a few didn't care about abiding by the guidelines anyway. 

My employer is bringing most folks back onsite in September. I work for a regional financial institution with a presence in 15 states. We have about 19,000 employees and nearly all the non-customer facing ones have worked remotely for 14 months now. A lot of folks would prefer to continue remote working, but for most, it will be back to the office. 

While my employer is not requiring employees get the vaccine, it is being strongly encouraged. I have three direct-reports, and I am supposed to encourage them to get it. I know I have at least one who is resisting it. 

While I am 100 percent in favor of folks getting vaccinated, and I have gotten the vaccine myself, I have decided not to fret over those who don't. If they want to continue taking the risk, that is their decision. I tend to think it's a selfish one, but again, I'm not going there. (And I acknowledge those with medical or religious objections -- even though I don't know anyone who has either). 

From what I'm reading, it seems I have a less than slim chance of getting COVID from an unvaccinated person, and if I do, it will be mild. So I'm not going to sweat it. 

We have not gone back to church although we will soon. We watch it online and I've seen very few masks among the congregants, so until I got the vaccine, I had no intention of going. 

This past year has been a lesson in humanity, hasn't it? Here where I live, a group of parents sued -- that's right, sued -- the school district for requiring masks. (Fortunately, a judge had the good sense to dismiss it). Last year at a local farmers market, a person wore a mask that had these words: "This mask is as worthless as our mayor." 

I suppose that's because the mayor imposed a mask requirement. Our governor, rather than imposing statewide requirements, decided to leave it to local governments. 

Those are just a couple of examples of some of the complaining I witnessed by folks who believed putting a piece of cloth over the nose and mouth violated their rights. 

I just never thought it that much of an imposition to wear a mask. Did wearing them curb the incidents of new cases? I can't prove it, but I think it did. And in my opinion, by wearing one, you were saying you cared enough about the people with whom you came in contact to take every reasonable precaution. 

In my view, it's that love-your-neighbor thing. 

I still see folks wearing them here and there, and I'm still wearing one in the grocery or hardware store when I go. 

From what I read, we have not reached herd immunity, nor will we anytime soon. But case numbers are going in the right direction and I don't think we're going back to the restrictions we learned to live with. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

New day

It's a new day -- I have a new laptop computer! 

I've had a couple of Dells over the years and, to put it nicely, I hated them. They were bulky and got viruses within a year after I had them and the support folks were no help. I have not had a computer to call my own for several years. 

My children said I should get a Mac, but here's the thing: my needs are simple. I want word processing, the internet and a place to store a few pictures. And I want to join the occasional video call. 

So I could not justify spending the money for a Mac, even though I'm sure they are fine machines. 

I've been using my work computer to type my column, sending it to my personal email, then forwarding to my editor. That's not optimal. 

For other things, like posting a blog, I use Wife's desktop. She inherited it from her job from which she retired two years ago, and it has its quirks. But since it's hers, I really can't complain. I've had all kinds of problems with Blogger and I suspect it was in large part (a) user error and (b) not really knowing the ins and outs of the desktop computer I was using. 

So as I contemplated buying my very own laptop, here's what I knew: I had not been happy with Dell. I don't want to use Wife's desktop anymore. And I don't need anything fancy. 

For work, I have an HP that works beautifully. For that one I also have at my fingertips tech support for a company that employs 19,000 people, so that’s probably a big factor in why it seems to work so well for me. But still,I know my way around it. 

So that is what I got for my personal use and it's what I'm using to make this post. It was not expensive and it's early yet, but I'm optimistic. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Still running

Some newer visitors here might not be aware that, years ago, I became the custodian of a pickup truck. 

Well, you probably don't even care, but I thought it was a good subject to write about today. 

I say "custodian" because, even though according to the State of Tennessee I would be the legal owner, I keep the truck in my possession pursuant to an agreement with my older son, who lives in Atlanta. 

When Older Son was living in Dallas, he still had the pickup truck we had bought for him when he was in college. It's a green 2000 Chevy Silverado, affectionately called the "Green Machine." 

He loved that truck, but it was not practical for the amount of driving he had to do with his job in Dallas, scouting out commercial real estate sites. 

So in late 2014 when he decided to get a more fuel-efficient vehicle, he did not want to part with the Green Machine. He proposed that he entrust it to me for an indefinite period of time. 

I was happy to oblige. You can do the math and figure I've had that truck for a few years now. When he moved to Atlanta the year after he entrusted it to me, I thought he might want it back, but he said he would like for it to stay with me for the time being. 

And I don't know what I would do without it. I use that truck all the time. And I learned quickly that friends like to have friends who have trucks. The Green Machine has been loaned out numerous times to folks who are moving or need to move large items. 

I always have to give a tutorial to those who drive it. It's quirky. You don't want to try to lock it because the driver's side lock was picked one time, so putting the key in the lock is not reliable and the keyless lock doesn't always work. 

The brake light occasionally comes on but my mechanic has assured me there is nothing wrong with the brakes. Every once in a while the "Low Coolant" light will come on, but I've checked it and the coolant level is fine. 

So you can pretty much ignore the warning lights, I tell the temporary drivers, unless it's not one of those two. Then you might need to call me. 

I don't like to use bad language, but in this case I think it's justified:  the damn squirrels in my yard got up in the engine and chewed through some hoses, doing several hundred dollars' worth of damage. (There is not a space in my garage for the Green Machine). 

After repairs were made, the aforementioned mechanic suggested hanging a couple of plastic bags of moth balls underneath to repel squirrels. It's been several years and that seems to have done the trick. 

A borrower of the truck once called to tell me about the bags. I told him to leave them alone. 

The Green Machine has 202,000 miles on it and is doing well. It passes the annual emissions test required by the state. 

I don't know that my son will ever want it back, especially since he now has a late model Silverado, so why would he need it? He has said his son, who is three, might like to have it someday, but we have a few years to deal with that and I don't know if it would last that long. I think Older Son's current truck will be good for my grandson. 

For now, the one I have is awfully handy and serves me well. And of course there is great sentimental value. 

Its most recent use was hauling mulch home from the hardware store. For a berm in my front yard, I could park it in the street just a few feet away for ease of unloading. Below shows the truck bed a few minutes after I finished. Job well done, Green Machine. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Go figure

 As many of you know, I write a weekly column for a local publication. I have wide latitude to write about whatever I wish, and it's largely an Everyman narrative, as an observer of life. My editors are great about posting my exact words, with an occasional spelling or punctuation correction, for which I am grateful. 

Although infrequent, I express an occasional opinion and will sometimes touch on the political landscape. I have readers who agree and disagree with me, and I receive emails from both sides. I am always happy to get feedback, and I enjoy the interaction.

I have no problem with someone taking issue with something I've written and, in fact, some of the more thoughtful correspondence has come from those who disagree. That is fine with me. 

And it's funny, I've been accused of being both far right and far left. People perceive things in a variety of ways. 

I am always quick to say I don't purport to have all the answers on anything. I like to think of myself as a listener, and  I give due consideration to those who send emails taking me to task for something. 

A few months ago, however, a guy sent an email with a subject line that simply read: "What a jerk you are!" There was no additional content. I replied politely, telling him there was nothing other than his subject line, and asking if he meant to say more. (I admit I was almost certain I already knew the answer, but wanted to at least give him the benefit of the doubt). 

His response read as follows: "I don't want to spend any more time on your incredibly dishonest and biased column . . . I have unsubscribe (sic) to the Home news."

There are no paid subscriptions to the publication. You can sign up for a daily email and/or you can agree to donate a nominal amount per month (as little as five dollars) to support the efforts of the publishers, but anyone can read the content for free. 

But since he said he was "unsubscribing," I forwarded the email to my editor, who recommended I not further engage with him. She was not the least bit concerned about losing him as a reader. People who resort to name calling, she said, are not interested in having civil correspondence. I did not reply to his last email. 

That was back in January, right after the storm on the Capitol in Washington. I had written that, in my opinion, then-President Trump had lost any credibility he ever had. Obviously, this reader disagreed. 

Fast forward to last week's installment in which I wrote about the COVID vaccine. You can read it here:

I thought this was pretty benign, and respectful of others' opinions. But guess who didn't think that? The same guy who in January called me a jerk and told me he was "unsubscribing!" 

He said I might think the vaccine is the way to put this behind us, "but there are a lot of intelligent people that do not agree with you including 40-50% of the health care workers you are praying for."

(I don't think I said I was praying for anyone, but I appreciate his believing I'm a person of faith). 

He also said I was "flippant" and "disingenuous."

There is so much I could have said in my response to him, but I simply thanked him for writing and explained that if I came across as flippant and disingenuous, I must not have done a good job expressing myself. Two people very dear to me died of COVID, I told him, so it's a matter I take seriously. 

I also told him I was glad he was still reading, making a mild jab at his previous email. 

Not surprisingly, I've not heard from him again. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Tomorrow Easter is celebrated in most of the Christian world, also sometimes called "Resurrection Day," the day in which the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated.  

I say "most" of the Christian world because Orthodox churches follow a different calendar and their Easter Sunday is different from other Christians traditions. This year it's a whole month later. I won't get into all of that -- mainly because I don't understand it -- but suffice it to say, at one point or another, Christians the world over celebrate the resurrection of Christ. 

As a lifelong church attender, I have rarely missed an Easter Sunday in church. Last year, with the pandemic, was one of those rare years. Tomorrow we will be with my daughter and her family. Her church is having an outdoor service. Since I'm only half-way vaccinated, I'm thankful for that. 

My favorite hymn of all time is ""Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Most traditional churches have it played as the opening hymn on Easter Sunday. In the Methodist Church in the small south Arkansas town where I grew up, as it was played and the adult choir processed down the aisle to take their place in the choir loft, there was often a brass quartet accompanying the pipe organ. It was glorious and it gave me chills. 

The text was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The first verse is as follows:

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia!

Sons of Men and Angels Say, Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens and earth, reply, Alleluia!

There are a total of six verses, although I'm only familiar with the first four. The words are stirring and I would urge you, if you are so inclined, to read or listen to all of them. 

Early in my adult life, I joined a non-denominational church. It's where Wife and I met. An offshoot of the one we attended in Little Rock, Arkansas is the one we are now a part of here in the Nashville area. It's great, but I don't love the music, and I miss hymns like this one. There might or might not be a version of this played/sung, but it won't be in the traditional way (I won't be there tomorrow, anyway, and of course I have no idea if Daughter's church will sing it). 

But thanks to technology, a stirring rendition of this old favorite is as close as YouTube. I'll also go into my living room, open my old Methodist Hymnal, play it on the piano and sing it myself. 

Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen! He is risen indeed!  


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Half-way there

 Yesterday was momentous. 

I got part one of the COVID-19 vaccination. 

It's been a long time coming and I'm thrilled to have taken this step toward normalcy. 

A friend had told me Wal-Mart opened up a portal every night at midnight for a rolling week, and you could schedule an appointment a week out. She's a night owl, so offered to do it for me. Shortly after midnight last Saturday night/Sunday morning, she scheduled my appointment for 5:40 p.m. yesterday at a Wal-Mart about a dozen miles from my house. 

The pharmacy called about 3 p.m. yesterday to confirm I would still be coming and said I could come whenever I was ready. By 4: 15 I was vaccinated. 

I thought I would be getting the Moderna vaccine, but when I arrived, I was told they had switched to Pfizer. It made no difference to me, of course. 

Although I begrudgingly say anything positive about the Trump administration, I am appreciative for those who got things moving last year to make this thing happen. It is nothing short of miraculous that we have vaccines scarcely a year after this nightmare began. 

If Trump had not acted the way he did (like a big baby who didn't get his way), never acknowledging Joe Biden as the new president, Biden would have likely expressed his appreciation himself. 

But we'll not go into all that today. I am even more appreciative of President  Biden and his administration for expediting this process. 

To be sure, we are not back to normal yet. I suspect it will be another year before we go into crowds without giving it a thought, and all sports and concert venues are back to capacity. I might wear a mask in public the rest of my life, because I think it protects me from all kinds of stuff floating around in the air. 

It is also possible many of us will remain in the remote workforce. A lot of folks like it, and for most of us, it works. Patterns in work are cyclical, and I suspect we'll have a large segment of remote workers for a few years to come, and then will not be surprised to see more companies having people coming back onsite. 

I'm happy with whatever happens. I can ride this work-from-home gig into retirement (although Wife might not agree with that) or I can go back to an office. At my age, the longer I can work and build up my retirement account, the better. Plus, I am not ready to find other things to do to occupy my time every day. I'm a creature of habit. 

Anywho . . . . I'm half-way there. I'll return in 3-4 weeks for the second shot and shortly thereafter, I'll be hugging anyone who crosses my path. 

Calm down, I don't really mean that. But if you're in the neighborhood and you're longing for a warm embrace, stop by. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Winter blast

 Like so many of you around the U.S., I've been hunkered down here in Middle Tennessee this week as a winter storm came through. 

Ours started last Sunday, and the first wave came primarily in the form or sleet and freezing rain, with a little snow mixed in. By Monday, there was a layer of ice coating everything, including my driveway and street. 

Older Son and DIL had requested Wife's presence in Atlanta this week. They both had COVID, and by the time both of them had experienced it, about three weeks had gone by and they were both way behind with work, among other things. And Wife was only too happy to have some time with the grands. 

So Wife left last Sunday before stuff started falling. As she drove south, she drove out of it. 

So I've been going it alone this week. Since I work at home, my world has been pretty small. By Wednesday (yesterday) most of the streets had been plowed or salted. They didn't make it all the way to our end of the street, but everything was packed down enough by then that I could make it out of the driveway and down the street to where things were cleared. 

I made a run to the grocery store, along with hundreds of others who were stocking up on provisions as I was. Most everyone was cordial and polite and we waited patiently in line. I think we were all glad to be out among humans. We are already limiting our socialization during this pandemic, so a winter storm only adds to our feeling of isolation. 

Seems I made the grocery run just in time. By late afternoon, white stuff was falling again, this time in the form of snow in big flakes. I must say it was beautiful and this morning I woke to a blanket of white over everything. We had about four more inches on top of the ice that was already there. 

I stayed in again today, and we had a little more snow this afternoon. It has not been above freezing since last Saturday, but our friends the meteorologists are telling us to hang on, the sun will shine tomorrow and we'll be in the high 30s Saturday. By late next week, we're supposed to be in the low 60s. 

Having nowhere I had to go this week, I must say I enjoyed the snow. It has been a few years since we have had any significant accumulation, so it was fun to watch it fall and see if pile up. 

But now that it's done, I'll be ready to welcome spring and hopefully get the COVID vaccine around the time of its arrival or shortly thereafter. 

Yes, spring will bring hope this year. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

My secretary

 I  love old wood furniture. It's something instilled in me by my late mother. 

She would buy old pieces at flea markets, estate sales or garage sales that sometimes looked like junk. Well, sometimes it was junk, but she would buy it anyway. The junk would eventually end up in a garage sale of her own, or would get passed on (sometimes to me, and I would promptly dispose of it -- I didn't want her junk, either!).

For the non-junk, however, she would strip, sand and refinish. With a couple of exceptions, I haven't gotten into that, but maybe someday. 

We have a number of my parents' old pieces in our house. Some of it has been so old that it hasn't lasted, and although there's a twinge in my heart to do it, I'm more willing today to get rid of it than I used to be. 

The value is mostly sentimental. I look at our kitchen table and chairs, which my mother bought second or third-hand (or even greater-hand than that), and I hear its creaks, and I think of her. I don't think it will last forever, but it serves us well for now. 

There are a few things that are genuine antiques, like the corner cabinets in the dining room and the secretary in the family room. 

You may not be familiar with the term secretary other than as what we used to call administrative assistants who traditionally typed and filed. I started my working life long enough ago to still work with them and was lucky enough to have one a few times, and let me tell you, they were underrated. 

But that's not what I'm talking about today. I'm talking about what is generally an upright piece of furniture that has a fold-out platform that serves as a desk, drawers below and a glassed-in cabinet above. Many of them also have wonderful little slots and nooks and crannies perfect for holding important (or not so important) papers. 

The one we have in our family room was in my parents' home, and in my grandmother's home before that. It is made of walnut and it is a gorgeous piece. I have no idea what it might be worth, perhaps not that much, but it doesn't matter because I will never get rid of it. If the time comes that we downsize, I'll pass it on to one of my children and if none of them wants it, I'll shame one of them into taking it. One of them needs to have it and think of us when they see it and I'll tell them that if that's what it takes. 

I digress. 

After Wife's parents passed away in November, we eventually had to go to their place and decide what to do with their belongings. They had gone through a significant downsize of their own a few years ago and had moved into a two-bedroom cottage in a retirement community. They had, however, kept a fair amount of the furniture from their house. 

There was not much of that anyone wanted, with everyone (Wife and her sister and their respective families) living a considerable distance and the logistics of getting it being tricky. We were able to consign most of it out to a sale and auction company. 

There were a few pieces, however, that we earmarked for Younger Son for his bachelor apartment, and I agreed to put them in storage in Little Rock for a couple of months, retrieve them for him later and deliver them to him in Birmingham. There was also a piece I wanted: a secretary. 

It's smaller and sleeker and a lighter color than the one we have from my family, but like the one we have, it's beautiful. I had always admired it and always secretly hoped we could get it someday. 

I'm pleased to say I now have it. Since I work from home now, it was the solution to a dilemma I've had for nearly a year regarding where I work. It's ridiculous, with only Wife and me in this sprawling house, that the only place I could find was our walk-in closet. But for reasons I won't go into, that has been the case. And although I've managed, it has not been optimal. 

But now I have this lovely piece - a secretary with its intricate features and myriad compartments. It's in one of the bedrooms and takes up very little room. I put my little collapsible computer table next to it at a right angle, and I have an office that is all mine -- just what I need. 

Best of all, I feel two people with me who I dearly loved. I hope they love that I'm using it. I'll take good care of it and if I have to, I'll shame one of my adult children into taking it one day. Guilt is a great motivator. 

Here it is, right after I got it, closed up, and then being used to its pull potential. (Thanks, Billie and Walter). 

Friday, January 8, 2021

That was nothing

My post earlier this week, asking if you thought you would live to see a president of the U.S. trying to persuade a state official to change election results so the votes would appear to be in his favor? 

I hadn't seen anything, had I?

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Did you ever?

Did you ever think you would live to witness a President of the United States try to pressure a state official (the Georgia Secretary of State) into changing election results so said president (who, two months after the election and two weeks before he has to leave office whether he likes it or not) might be able to overturn the will of the people?  

Or did you ever think you would live to witness a President of the United States say he is counting on his vice president, who will preside over a joint session of Congress tomorrow to confirm the Electoral College votes, as set forth in our Constitution, to disrupt the process so that the Constitutional process, not to mention democracy itself, are thwarted? 

I have been patient with Trump supporters. I've told myself they follow their consciences just as I do. But how do you support this? It's a question I would like to ask the two senators from my state (I refuse to call them "my" senators) who have pledged to disrupt the process tomorrow, which has firmly assured I will never cast a vote for either of them.  

It's about so much more than Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. 

I've seen a lot in my life. But I've never seen anything like this.