On a Return

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Greetings fellow bloggers. I’ve missed your presence both here and on your blogs. Isn’t my personal greeter adorable?

Some have noticed that me snooping around with some visits, and (of course) my posted dedicated to #9 honoring the 9th anniversary of my little corner of the world.

The family is making progress with helping an elderly aunt. The task at hand seems monumental, but that’s not unexpected. We know there are several months of work ahead, so we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel – but that will come. Hopefully the light won’t be another train.

There’s never a good time when it comes to dealing with elderly relatives. Good news is that we see progress on important milestones, plus our aunt is generally receptive to what we suggest. Unfortunately for us, our tasks were put on hold for a bit because of a long-planned vacation during August.

The Vacation

  1. A 5-hour drive to Chicago to eliminate a flight leg (each way) and for considerable financial savings
  2. Flew Chicago to Reykjavik to London Heathrow
  3. Spent 4 days in London (our first trip to the UK)
  4. Bused to Southampton to make the Caribbean Princess our home for 12 days cruising the British Isles (including a stop in France)
  5. Bused from Southampton to Heathrow for our flight to Reykjavik – instead of transferring to another flight, we stayed for 3 days
  6. Flew to Chicago, then made it to Cincinnati a few hours before the eclipse (about 90% coverage)

Our vacation was a good one, and I look forward to sharing various aspects about the trip with you. My apologies to my UK readers because I came to your wonderful region without stopping by to say hello. Our time in the ports are short, and we try to see as much as possible … and we stayed busy in London (which is easy to do).

Even though my plate remains full, I will return to posting on an irregular schedule. After all, I do have posts in the queue ready to go.

Hope all is well with everyone! … and here’s a fitting song for you.

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On a Month Without

For us, January 2017 started with change questions. What would a month be like without ballroom dance, without handbells, without volunteering, without our friends, and without our normal routine?

Jan 1: We left Cincinnati on a cool, foggy morning for a day of driving, which included a light rain that occasionally became more – but not a constant rain. We noted the slow increase in the temperature.

Jan 2: The final 4.5 hour drive, again with intermittent rains of varying strength. Dry at the time of arrival, but the view of the surf while unpacking told a different story – the dangers of a nearby tornado – so down to the lower lobby we went. The evening storms off the coast provided an extraordinary light show that was worth watching – but the next morning would be a positive omen.

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Jan 3-5: Cool but comfortable days. Sometimes shorts, sometimes jeans, but always long sleeves and usually a jacket. Good enough to find our routine of breakfast, lounge, walk, lounge, lunch, lounge, walk, lounge, shower, dinner, cards/television, and sleep.

Jan 6: A stormy day that also brought falling temperatures – a good day for a movie (La La Land).

Jan 7-9: The northerly winds delivered quite the chill, yet no matter how cold, it was warmer than home. Walkable days, but shorter distances.

Jan 10-19: After the initial transition day, a string of days of sunshine and 15-20 degrees F (13-24 C) above normal. Perfect days to continue the routine. Days that would treat us to glorious sunrises, colorful sunsets, and brilliant nightly moons.

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Jan 20-21: Although temperatures remained above normal, unstable air delivered an angry sea and occasional storms – even tornado watches and warning severe enough to interrupt normal television. Good days for movies (Hidden Figures and The Founder).

Jan 22-25: The normal routine returns as storms are gone, but the above normal temperatures remain. It’s been quite a streak of warmth.

Jan 26-27: Normal temperatures finally arrive – 60 F (15 C) by day – 40 (4 C) at night. The breezes are cool. Sweatshirts and jackets are the order of the day. Some people in shorts, others not.

Jan 28-29: Noticing the temperature decrease during our return drive home – a home not along the sand and waves, but one of wonderful sunsets when the sky is right. Home – the permanent one, not the temporary. A home with colder temperatures and light snow in the air. Home – the place (while we were gone) that had 1 sunny day, 6 partly sunny/party cloudy days, and only 7 precipitation-free days in January (although overall temperatures were above normal). Home – the place for ballroom dance, handbells, volunteering, friends, and normal routines – just not the routine of January 2017.

That was our January in Orange Beach, Alabama. A time when we had a different routine – one of first-time snowbirds. A time when I drafted over 20 posts the old-fashioned way – on paper – so I now face the daunting task of getting them ready.

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On Easing a Return

Although I’m recovering from various aspects of life, I’m trying to ease myself back into the Land of WordPress. It’s not easy. Besides getting back into the swing of my life as a volunteer, ballroom dancer, blogger, and whatever else life brings my why, I’m suffering from jet lag and a withdraw from a travel med that is a story in itself. After all, this is where I’ve been.

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When cruising, I use the TransDerm patch (Scapalomine) for my motion sickness. It works well, but there is one possible side effect that I’m the lucky recipient … I get motion sickness 36-48 hours after coming off the drug – Woo Hoo! … and it’s very, very bad!!!!

I’ve learned to use over-the-counter meds to step-down the body, but also during this time, I must limit my computer time because the flashing screen quickly aggravates motion sickness … as does watching television, driving a car, and (or course) moving in a circle. In other words, no fun.

But hey – life will be normal soon – which means time to use this button.

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

 

On Fall Break 2015

Over the past few weeks, I have struggled with visiting other blogs and my own writing. Experience tells me that’s a sign of needing a blog break. Besides, I normally take one in the September-October time frame. So, the stars are aligning for me to take a blog break, thus I’m hitting the Pause button.

Most of my blog-break time will be Level 1 – Total Abstinence – however, I will creep a bit of Level 2 as I hope to write a little during that time. (For those needing more information about the levels of blogging breaks, click here.) To help separate myself during the break, I’m turning off my notifications. Meanwhile, my comments are On because I will be phasing myself into break oblivion.

Regular series as Monday Morning Entertainment and Satire Bits gave me a chance to share bits from my personal life, which many seemed genuinely interested. Now that those series are no more, so is my personal sharing – so going into the break is a good time for an update.

After my year off, I didn’t return to the handbell choir, but my wife still plays. They recently played this version the Led Zeppelin classic – Stairway to Heaven. (Consider playing it as your background music while reading).

My golf game started the season with a bang, but then I hit a 6-8 week spell of what I described as my worst golf in 30 years. However, I righted the ship.

For those who miss my list of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations, I promised to provide my main sources – and here are the top 2 – this one and that one.

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Ballroom remains part of our life. You may recall that I doing a tango routine for a showcase event at a private studio. It’s not with my wife, but she approves of my partner. It’s been an interesting experience, but because of the time commitment, I’m not sure if I would do this again. Nonetheless, here’s the song – which is a tad fast, so we slowed it down.

I continue volunteering with ballroom dance for those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. It’s a very rewarding experience, and I try to attend most of the weekly events. Unfortunately, this year I’m going to miss their competition, the event started my interest. (Remember this post?)

I recently started serving as a volunteer in an English Second Language (ESL) program for adults. It’s off to a good start. Regardless of their individual reasons for being in the US, each of them wants to improve their proficiency in English.

However, our season of ushering at plays is underway. We recently saw The Secret Garden, and young artist (Caitlin Cohn) in the lead role impressed both of us. We are curious to see how far she climbs on the ladder to stardom.

I’m a Christian who believes in Interfaith dialogue and efforts – both within Christianity AND between different religions. The Friday’s Interfaith ceremony at the 9-11 Memorial in NYC was very moving!

My initial plan is to stay away 3-5 weeks, but time will tell. I encourage you to visit bloggers you may not know -the good people listed on my Sidebar and those on the Blogroll page – especially the New Acquaintances section. Regarding all bloggers listed today, I hope to reorganize them in the future.

To lead you into my break, here are several videos for you to enjoy. Take your pick – a singing two-year old, a singing comic, today’s comics doing their version of a classic routine, or a major hit from many years ago that still sounds great today.

Wishing you all the best and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.




On Touching the Core

Who are you? Who am I? Not only how do we identify ourselves, but also, what identifies each of us?

I’ve embedded many videos on this pages during my blogging time, but some stick with me. They touch my core. They define who I am.

The European immigrants of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century impacted the world. My paternal grandparents were in that group while my maternal family remained in Europe.

I believe the majority of the world is good. In a global environment when language can be a barrier, other things can link people – such as smiles, kindness, and respect. Blogging is has reinforced that to me, and so has Matt.

The ending of some movies cause a tear – yep, It’s a Wonderful Life does it, and so does this one.

Human behaviors are complex and quite wide-ranging. That given, there is a lot of bad in the world, but one cannot deny the power of I’m Sorry.

I believe universal creation is spectacular, and creation is ongoing. From our tiny perspective, the wonders of the universe are just for us. Whether Earth is home to the only life in the universe doesn’t matter to me, but nobody can deny this perspective.

Any favorites here? Are their videos that define you?

On a Burger Trail

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It was about 2003 as I was working on a long-term project for an upstart company. A retired friend and I would talk about him coming down to my work area for lunch. Our target was a nearby establishment having a local reputation for good hamburgers.

He came, we went, had a good time, and even discussed the burger. He returned a month later, but we went to a different place for a burger – discussed and compared. Another time, a third place, a third burger, and then ranking the three. Little did we know about the road ahead.

My project ended, but we continued trying different places – especially ones with a positive reputation or recommendations. I’m not sure of the timeline, but a third friend joined us after he unexpectedly lost his job; thus more comparisons, rankings, and notes.

In July 2005 I decided to start a blog to post reviews of our ventures. I hustled to get local readers by commenting at various local blogs and bulletin boards … then a major (and unexpected) break … a high-profile writer at the Cincinnati Enquirer contact me, and he wanted to have lunch with us. With a photographer and his notepad, we met at the place of our choosing.

I was in Abilene, Texas the day the Enquirer published. Emails were flying into our mailbox, but I didn’t respond because the link to the article was malfunctioning. I did my morning presentation in Abilene, and I was anxious during my flight to Cincinnati. I returned home to discover a call from a local radio station whose powerful signal reaches most of the country, let alone a feature article in the paper’s Life section that extended to an inside page, and many comments on the blog. Yep – the next night we were on the radio for about an hour.

Receiving burger recommendations was one of the benefits from the publicity … thus the reviews chronicling of the adventures of Bucky, Freddie, and Wolfie continued. Eventually, we were also featured in the Enquirer’s weekly entertainment paper – CinWeekly. A local food personality also invited us to her radio show. An upstart podcast company also did a 30-minute interview.

Our journey continued for a few more years. Jobs, projects, or health issues caused us to fade away. Nonetheless, a touch of pride still remains for being one of the Cincinnati Burger Guys … so, Happy Hamburger Week.

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From the top down: Freddie, Bucky, and Wolfie

 

On an Autobiography: Blog Style

BabyPic1) I was born here

2) … but grew up 4,614 miles (7,26 km/4,010 nautical miles) to the west of my birthplace

3) … and A, I, and O are were important letters

4) I wasn’t consider a troublemaker, but this strange night happened during my senior year.

5) Upon graduating high school, I traveled to the opposite corner of the state for college 

6) … where one of my favorite things was this, which delivered a surprise moment 

7) Since college graduation, my home has been this metropolitan area

8) I married my college sweetheart on this date

9) … spent most of my professional years doing this

10) One of my proudest moments was delivering a strong message at my mother’s funeral 

11) We now live in this town

12) … and we enjoy travelling like this way

13) This is our favorite local pastime

14) … but I also did this for about 12 years before stepping away this year

15) All in all, a good life, a happy life, with its share of ups and downs … yet my heart is still with my heritage (one and two in the same region)

16) Blogging here for the past 6+ years (since August 2008), and I’ve grown to appreciate goodness of so  many good people across the globe.