Archive for October, 2019

Paths traveled
10 26th, 2019

We’ve been invaded!  Over the past week-and-a-half we’ve been on the road for four solid days, each of which was spent trying to avoid one massive Semi after another. Probably a million of those beasts!

“I can’t control the traffic but I can regulate both the brake and the wheel.”
~ anonymous; and that I did for 36-plus hours. All without a hitch (other than some irksome badgering from the ‘navigator’ – and I am not talking about Siri).

But, it was all worth it. The days spent with Kirstin, Derek, and Kellen

The Game – Derek’s team, the Trojans, outclassed their opponent when they played a week ago Friday. Consider a score of 70 – 49 and each time that a class play or another score happened, the school marching band (in-the-stands) would be on their feet ‘pumping’ out one blaring piece after another. Now consider Derek doing this with a massive Sousaphone hanging on his shoulders. He did it all in style!

The Contests Twice we were off to cheer on the award winning Trojan Marching Band as they participated in a band contest. One was held almost two-hours away at Baylor University in Waco, TX, the other was local. But each had around thirty bands participate, one after another with about a five minute set-up break between. And no, we did not stay for all of it by any stretch! Still it was fun.

Something that had not occurred to me is that the kids are still teenagers and therefore are eating machines; Kirstin to the rescue. She heads a team of about ten other volunteers who together organize the feeding of about 120 monster eating machines. But, then these are modern times, so, its meat or chicken, vegetarian or non-gluten. And so it goes.

Similar teams of volunteers are just as busy, these folk keep busy with a variety of chores; fitting uniforms, transporting equipment, fund raising, selling of spirit wear, and chaperoning trips. It’s a lifestyle, which up until now was foreign to me.

Magnolia Market – Silos – was a mere stones-throw from the Baylor University’s stadium where the band contest was held. Plus, they offered a constant stream of trolley-busses to this market.

We’d been advised by ‘friends’ that if we did not go to this place they’d stop speaking to us. So off we were. Temperature was 95. Thousands of folk doing what I term, the ‘museum-shuffle’ past about 100 vendor stands. Each of which had a massive array of items all sporting one cutesy saying after another. There is a cup-cake bakery (waiting time about a half hour to gain entry) and a restaurant (waiting time about an hour and a half). Needless to say, Marcia and I were off to a nearby place, Hecho En Waco. Finally, immediate seating and a great offering of authentic interior Mexican foods – none of the Tex-Mex stuff; it was wonderful!

Buc-ee’s became (at Kirstin’s suggestion) the must stop gas station on the way back to Austin. The chain is sporadically located throughout Texas and complies with the “everything is larger in Texas” bit. I had NEVER seen a gas station sporting 120 fueling pumps. That’s not all, there is their wall of Jerky, an abundance of kitsch, down to an array of Goat-milk stuff from The Beekman 1802 boys operation.

Fini – We had a wonderful stay in a household that operated non-stop with go here, head there, pick up Kellen, drop off Derek, to teach a Yoga class. But, it all worked. And, old fogies such as we need an infusion of some energy now and then.

Having said that, it was good to turn the rental car in and open the front door to the corner of Chaos and Mayhem. What am I saying, what am I thinking?

Make your week a safe one. And as the old saying goes; “if you want to succeed, strike out on new paths.”

Remember, get ready for the time change – only a week away.

Till next week.


‘Perps’ and such
10 12th, 2019

Neighbors would say something akin to; “it sure looks like things are quiet at the Pastoors.” Hah! They don’t know the half of it.

Looking out the windows and all the nearby houses are pitch dark. See, right there I am ahead of the game. Not only that, but my coffee is already done and my day begun.

Sugar Plums? – Marcia had already turned in last evening. I was listening to the radio (old habits are hard to break). Distant sirens could be heard wailing – and getting louder. Then they stopped nearby. Looking out the window it were not Sugar Plums and Fairies that I saw. A half block away a car was wrapped around a large tree. Kids were bawling, mom had already been wrapped in a blanket for warmth, and dad (I suppose) was carefully loaded into an ambulance. And so, with that vision, my day too, was ending.

This morning, a new day. I knew it was a new day when, I realized I had woken up to the driving beat of Sam & Dave’s classic R&B song; “Hold On, I’m Coming”.

Turns out that today Samuel Moore (the Sam of “Sam & Dave” fame) turns 84. It’s told that the iconic, “Hold On, I’m Coming” song was supposedly written in about 10-minutes after co-writer Isaac Hayes called out to Dave (Porter), who was in a bathroom, and Dave replied; “hold on man, I’m coming.” See? It’s the perfect song to wake up to.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present“. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The ‘Perp’ – When the white Acura pulled up out front for the third time I’d had enough. Before, Marcia had seen a drug deal happen involving that car and enough is enough. I called the police. As two cruiser rolled up from opposite directions the Acura driver sped off with police in pursuit.

Long story short, the ‘perp’ crashed his car, ran off, was chased by police and K-9, was caught, and booked.

My police contact, Officer Anthony, sent me a quick update at the end of his shift;

”Hello Dirk!  Suspect was arrested with a gun recovery. Drugs recovered and he had felony warrants.”

Looking at what they nabbed I think it was all worthwhile getting this bit of garbage off the street.

My  brothers have now named me, “Barney.”

Blink For Marcia and I it meant walk and walk, then a bit more ‘walk’. In between it was being jostled and bumped around by a thick but friendly crowd. Some would hate this (Marcia), some thrive on it (me).

For those not in the know, Blink 2019 is; “one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation. Spanning 30+ city blocks, this four-day event features large-scale projection mapping installations, murals, urban artscapes, media light and interactive art.”

This evening you’ll find me back in town. In the ‘thick’ of it as people say. Enough said.

Fall Fair – To cap my quiet week, last evening I joined Adrianne, Vili, and Vai at their school’s Fall Fair. Several hundreds of little high-pitched screeching voices emanating from little bodies, each expending more energy than the law should allow. That is what it’s all about.

Always fun to watch, even joining Vili for a bit of a Corn-Hole game. However, walking back home listening to a few lonely crickets was exactly what I needed.

Fini – Yesterday we were able to wish Paul a Happy Birthday.

This week Pieter celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles, Abbey Road album with a 2-hour Podcast live streamed from his radio station – WKRT 95.7. Enjoy!

Tuesday morning Marcia and I will be heading for Austin to spend a little time with Kirstin, Derek, and Kellen. Not only that, but see a football game and a Band competition. Marcia is packed. I haven’t started packing yet. Not to worry though, the real nagging hasn’t yet begun.

Tomorrow evening we’ll be joining a group of friends for the evening. It’s been at least a year since we all got together. It’s amazing just how busy all of us retirees have become.

Make your week a safe one. And as Confucious once said; “wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

Till next week.


10 5th, 2019

Yesterday the soup (crazy Heat) wafted away. We’ve been home for a week. And, after a short episode of panic – we’d left a full pack of coffee filters at Northern Comfort – new ones were purchased and normalcy ensued.

Jason drove up last Friday to help me close up the cabin. Saturday morning after breakfast we got started. By 9:30 we had the dock lifted (something, if I’d been by myself would have taken me most of the day). And so it continued, each chore handled efficiently, smoothly, and without strain. It actually made a one-day closing up not only do-able but fun. By 4:00pm and all work complete, we headed out for Iron Bridge and dinner at the Red Top. “FANN-Tastic” 1.

“In a simple and a peaceful cottage with a beautiful view, you will not be dreaming about the palaces or the heaven, because you already have a perfect thing!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

A Cool Summer – Our summer at Northern Comfort was a short one. Oh, not in mere time, for that at times seemed long. But in summer weathers, for the truly warm sunny days of summer were few and these disappeared early.

So, for a few weeks on end, we had winds, clouds, and cold; perfect for reading. And so, I managed to get through thirteen books (enjoying twelve of them). Standouts were; Calypso by David Sedaris. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Samuel Pepys a Life by Stephen Coote. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The One Man by Andrew Gross.

There you have it, my ‘best of’ readings. A summer where much outdoor activity was curtailed and with no TV around became much more than merely pleasant; actually it was a spectacular time!

Sylvan Circle – is an annual Arts and Artisan tour. Looping around the Algoma area of our cabin, through a number of small towns and villages, it forms a 100Km loops and displays the works of fifty or so artists.

I spotted Marcia taking a second look at the works of a young artist. The young man was drawing at a large easel and describing his works. Turns out he was local to the area. Ray Fox is “an Anishinaabe artist working with graphite on paper, is inspired by the history of passed relatives and the wildlife around him.”

We both zeroed in on a limited edition signed and numbered print of a Black Bear (originally titled “Gizaanaang”). With our anniversary approaching it proved to be the perfect gift.

Cold but no frost – usually means minimal Fall color. For some reason we had plenty. Maybe not quite as bright as in past years, Glorious nonetheless.

Soup – is what we entered upon our return. A steady diet of mid-forties at the lake we returned to a week-long of high nineties. For a few days, not used to this heat, I skipped my walks. This morning it’s starting out at 50 and will climb to 79. Much better!

Later today we’ll, as the Brits would say, “give it a go” to try to unload the 300pound-plus woodstove which we drove back. It’s been quietly stored in the truck; nevertheless the time has come to dislodge it before it decides to hibernate there for the winter.

Fini – a couple of hours from now it’ll be watching Vili play soccer, then again tomorrow – yes, I am getting my soccer fix.

Vai, had five days of tests this week (1 to 1 ½ hours each day) to see where she stands as high school is less than a year away.

Dinah, we hadn’t seen since May. She’s turned into a stunning young
woman, I asked what she appreciated most about going to her new school
(Walnut Hills with 2,500 students). With a bit of reflection she answered she appreciated the freedom and disliked just how difficult it was making new friendships. Smart as a whip!

Marin we haven’t seen since his weekends are spent at his after hours work; he’s seeing and smelling the ‘green’ stuff.

I just renewed my Hosting Service, so I guess that I am continuing these weekly Ramblings (I am smiling).

Make your week a safe one, and push onward with enthusiasm.

Till next week.

1 “FANN-Tastic” favorite descriptor used by Lou, David Sedaris’ aging father (Calypso by David Sedaris)