On Springtime Blooms Return

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For we in the northern hemisphere, spring is the air – so flowers are plants are showing signs of life and flowers have burst forth for the underground bulb from it’s winter sleep. Although I didn’t sleep in the winter, I have been on blog break since late March – so hey – this post has nothing to do with flowers – but just an analogy marking my return to posting.

Image from 123vectors.com

Because I had a Pause Button, it’s time to restart. I usually use this after a break, but I couldn’t resist the opening bloom analogy.

I did take some time during break to continuing editing the future beach walks that is, the ones I wrote this past winter. They are far enough along to restart the series soon.

Spring also means the time to ramp up golf season. I’m behind on my pre-season routine, but that’s OK because I’m not a fanatic. I simple enjoy playing the game.

News from the Mueller Report came forth shortly after starting the blog break. I considered having a special post, but decided it was not worth my time and effort. After all, it seems the report has gone like I anticipated – and the party faithful on both sides of the aisle are demonstrating predictable behavior that favors a party-first mantra over what is best for the country. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani continues to demonstrate that Disney would never hire him because he beyond goofy.

Washington is so messed up, I’m not convinced the Founding Fathers could help. Then again, that would be interesting to hear their take.

Sometimes I take blog breaks because of travel plans – but not always. After all, a blog break within one’s normal routine is also important. Then again, I’ve been gone long enough that both are possible. OK – I’ll spill the beans. We cruised from San Diego to Miami on Oceania Cruise Line’s Regatta.

 

Here are a few thoughts about the ports

  • San Diego – A beautiful city
  • Mexico (Cabo San Lucas & Acapulco) – Overrated
  • Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal) – Antigua is a special place
  • Nicaragua (Corinto) – Second poorest country in the America’s (behind Haiti)
  • Costa Rica (Puntarenas) – Pick you eco-tour
  • Panama Canal (cruising) – An engineering marvel
  • Cartagena (Columbia) – Beautiful Old City, vendors abundant and bothersome
  • Havana (Cuba) – Unquestionably my favorite stop

To help reset the Start button, here’s a song that we heard a lot on the cruise.

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On Blog Break Spring 2019

Yes – it’s that time again. A time for a blog break. After all, you know my mantra – blog breaks are good. Because of the respect I have for my readers, I prefer announcing my absence. This time I expect 4-8 weeks. This post is just a collection of random thoughts before Blog Break.

I will be staying away from blogging for most of the time, but I probably will work on future posts. You may see my presence shortly after this and slightly before I return.

Golf league starts in about 5-6 weeks – so, I should get the clubs out of the basement.

Cheers to Dale for her maitre ‘d work at the concerts. However, I know she’s very busy at this time, so the blog break gives her a break. This video is for her.

 

Speaking of the concerts, I’m considering scaling back the concerts to the first and third weekends (instead of every weekend). Your thoughts?

March Madness will be in full swing this week. Personally, no team with a losing record in conference should NOT be in the tournament unless they win the conference tournament. These teams should do bump smaller schools. It’s that simple. UC is in the dance, but I don’t expect much – so the bottom line for me is ABK … Anybody But Kentucky.

Bummer: We had a 10-day tour scheduled for late June into early July going Seattle to Glacier National Park and back. The company cancelled the tour. 😦 …. and we already had non-refundable airfare tickets. Now we have to go somewhere and back by mid-November to use the credited dollars on Southwest Airlines.

I’m a few days into temporary bachelorhood as it’s time for my wife’s girls cruise (that is, the guys aren’t allowed). For me, that means dance when I can! When people ask me what I do for a week, my response is simple: 1) Whatever I want, 2) Whenever I want.

 

My heart sank at the news about the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand. Pauline, my favorite Kiwi, is a regular here – and my support is with her and her nation – yet I also feel helpless.

I’ve got the feeling the Mueller Report will come out during my absence. Oh well, I still believe it will not meet the expectations of Democrats, so it will also be a relief to Republicans who will also sidestep important points.

I stated this line before about President Trump and continue to use it. “He’s a pathetic person and even worse leader; plus he brings most of his problems on himself.” Some say I’m not harsh enough. Yes – it’s tame – but countering it is difficult because it is not threatening.

As I head into Blog Break, here’s a song that I greatly enjoy. From The Greatest Showman, “A Million Dreams”. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Fall 2018 Return

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Greetings fellow bloggers!

Some have noticed my return from comments. I haven’t posted since 18th September when I announced my blog break. On that post, some may have wondered where I was going, but Eleanor blatantly asked. After all, some of my blog breaks are travel oriented – but not all!

It’s time to confess. This blog break was about travel. Long-time readers know we enjoy cruising – but nope – not this time! However, we did partake in another passion – Europe!

When 2018 started, we’ve never taken a bus tour. Oddly enough, this year involved two bus tours. The first was the 2-week bus tour of many US National Parks in the west. Although I have already posted some initial thoughts about the experience, posts about the those sights are finally in the queue.

Meanwhile, many Americans are acquainted with Rick Steves from his Europe travel shows on PBS. I’m guessing many Canadians also know this American travel guru. Because we know a good number of people who have taken and raved about Rick Steves’ tours, we decided to take one to a past of Europe that is new to us – Eastern Europe.

 

A couple of notes about the image. The numbers inside the circles indicates the number of nights in that location. We had an extra day in Prague before the tour started. The tour ended in Lake Bled, then we extended it with two nights in Trieste, Italy (red dot & my birthplace) and one night in Venice (blue dot as it was our inbound airport).

Although I hope to do dedicated posts about each stop in the future, below is short adjective for each stop.

  • Prague, Czech Republic – romantic
  • Krakow, Poland – surprising
  • Auschwitz/Birkenau, Poland – somber
  • Slovakia (drive through) – naturally beautiful
  • Eger, Hungary – quaint
  • Budapest, Hungary – grand
  • Plitvice National Park (Croatia) – stunning
  • Rovinj, Croatia – soothing
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia – urban relaxation
  • Lake Bled, Slovenia – enchanting
  • Trieste, Italy – a time capsule
  • Venice, Italy – It’s Venice!

I’ve returned to my normal home routine of ballroom dance, the handbell choir, working at the golf course, and more – so now is the time to return to my WordPress friends.

Before ending this post with a video, I want to announce that Pronouns: The Musical resumes on Saturday, 21 October at 1 am (US Eastern) with Act 10 featuring songs with They in the title. (It’s more difficult than I imagined.)Upcoming acts are Them and It.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the song!

On Blog Break: Fall 2018


 

It’s blog break time again. This time I’m hoping 4-6 weeks, therefore sometime in the last half of October. As with other breaks, I will probably precede posting with some visiting to make my presence known. Meanwhile, below are some odds and ends.

The blog break puts a pause on Pronouns: The Musical. They is the next act, followed by Them and It.

The previous post was the last one for the year. My plan is to write more the next time I return to the beach. I wouldn’t expect anyone to notice because the posts were months apart, but the previous walk was not the only time the walk featured waves. As a matter of fact, I used different versions of the same song (Waves – Mr. Probz). Check them out.

I will spend part of my blog break preparing posts featuring last spring’s bus tour that took us to many western US National Parks.

College football is in full swing and Saturday was a black day for the Big Ten – which lost 6 games to non-conference foes – of which 5 teams are NOT in a Power 5 Conference. Because the league has 14 teams, I prefer referring to the Big Ten as the Big Can’t Count – or the Big Can’t Count Past 10.

Think of Ohio as a square. Cincinnati is in the lower left corner, I grew up in the lower right corner, and went to college in the upper left corner. Sunday morning I went to Toledo’s (upper left corner) newspaper site to read about a college football game – and I was quite surprised what I saw as the feature article – an article about my small time in the opposite corner of the state that is a 4-hour drive – an article about a small town in rural southeast Ohio that struggles on various levels. Here’s the article.

Our current town has one of its water towers very close to our residence. Over the past several weeks, it’s been interesting watching workers clean then paint the water tower.

 

Wow – this headline from Pew Research is powerful and laughable: Republicans, Democrats See Opposing Party as More Ideological Than Their Own. Here’s the article.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. For purely their own selfish reasons, it is interesting how both political parties try to use/not use this document, use/not use words of the Framers, or use/not use the Federalists Papers.

“I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babel, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” (Ben Franklin)

Has anyone converted to the new Gutenberg editor on WordPress? If so, please share some of your thoughts.

Interesting Blog-Break Reads

Clearing the Unused Headlines from The Onion

  • Body positivity caught in illicit tryst with conventionally attractive lover
  • Cashier forced to incorporate humiliating new phrase into every customer interaction
  • Grocery store bar actually has great little Happy Hour, reports man with a series problem
  • Climate researchers warn only hope for humanity now lies in possibility they making all of this up
  • WHO warns against eating fish and keeping active following death of world’s oldest woman
  • 10-year-old yelling at mom to watch cannonball while she’s trying to scope out younger men at pool

So for now, and I’ve stated many time before, blog breaks are good. Enjoy this upbeat summer song because when I return, fall will definitely be in the air. Then again, it’s fitting for the approaching summer in the southern hemisphere. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Beach Walk No. 16

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

We started 2017 with 4 weeks on the Alabama coast where I started this series. After returning home last year, friends asked if we would do it again next year – to which I always said “No” in a serious, disappointing tone. After they grabbed the hook, I added, “Nope, not 4 weeks – next year will be 6 weeks.”

Instead of all of January, snowbirding 2018 went from mid-January through February. Yes – I was blogging from there – and started my recent blog break from there before returning home. This walk combines thoughts on my first and last walk – plus several after thoughts.

The fine, whitish sand squeaks as I find my way to the water’s edge. As I walk the beach I noticed similarities from a year ago.

Shells still collect on the sand. The heron still patiently stares across the water waiting for the next meal. Pelicans still glide near the water’s surface and dive from many feet above.

The seagulls still squawk. Lanky sandpipers still carefully stroll the water’s edge while the sanderlings continue to amuse me with their frantic ways. Multiple dolphins still occasionally pass by. Sand crabs still appear to move sideways as the scurry down their hole on the beach when hearing approaching footsteps.

I note differences as I walk. Although an ongoing process, the sand has noticeably shifted in some areas. On the other hand, that’s what sand does.

Our daily patterns are still the same as we are relaxed being away from any sense of normalcy. Sort of an alter ego from daily life at home – an alter ego worthy of its own walk.

Last year we collected shells displaying a variety of variations on a theme – but this year it was about uniqueness.

 

Last year we arrived knowing nobody here. This year we quickly connected with a couple from then. Last year we didn’t have any visitors, but this year we hosted my sister-in-law for a week. Friends from Ohio rented a short distance away for a week. We had lunch with friends from our street at home. We even saw the best man in our wedding (now in Oklahoma) who happened to be passing through on a week-long mountain biking journey.

I walked a lot while on this coast during the six weeks. The goal of many people is 10,000 (10K) steps per day. I typically got that by noon and easily exceeded 20K on most days. As my time ends, the soles of my feet are smooth – but a persistent warm glow of tenderness serves as a reminder of the many steps during my 45 days. Life as an alter ego is grand.

A year ago my mind was extraordinarily free to think – but this year, personal thoughts preoccupy my mind. Good news is that more beach walks are on the way – more walks than last year.

I took a blog break because blog breaks are good. I’ve resurfaced with a beach walk because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Blog-Break Time

Odds and Ends
Thanks for birthday greetings. Receiving birthday greetings from around the world makes the day extra special! A Saturday birthday was a good time to celebrate the entire weekend. Besides, my variation of on-this-day-in-history was different for me.

We in the US just celebrated a holiday. Which is correct: Presidents Day, President’s Day, or Presidents’ Day? The answer is simple: 1) It depends on who you ask because style manuals differ – and 2) it depends on how the law is written in each state. That’s crazy! In this case I favor Presidents Day.

A salute to high school students becoming activists regarding gun violence.

I missed my prediction about the US hockey team. Fortunately they played Slovakia twice – but that team beat the Russians.

Time for a blog break. I’ve been going strong since September, so I’m ready for some time off. I’m guessing 2-4 weeks of no posting. Nothing urgent at this end, but I know the time is right. Besides, blog breaks are good!

That doesn’t mean I won’t be preparing future posts, but I will reduce my online presence – but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop by. In other words, time will tell. I imagine returning sometime in March – preferably in the first half of the month – but one never knows.

In the spirit of Opinions in the Shorts, I conclude with some Onion Headlines, Interesting Reads, and a song.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Teddy Bear feels terrible for sparking “What are We? Conversation
Area ladder never thought it would end up as bookcase
Pet turtle going hog-wild on terrarium’s new stick
Man hates it when trailer gives away entire premise of movie
Archeologists unearth ivory trumpet dating back to prehistoric jazz age
Cute new dog helping single man pick up tons of hot shit
Raytheon unveils military robot capable of composing poignant poems about horrors of war

Interesting Reads
Birth of the Academy Awards
An international comparison of health care systems
Is tech dividing America?
A changing Saudi Arabia
(Blogger) Toilets for the half-assed … (a must see)
(Video) Now this is a tough commute
(Photos) 2018 World Press Photo Contest nominees

Until we meet again and as Garrison Keillor says, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Good Reason

I’ve often stated, “Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.”

This is one of those times. Besides working around personal plans, we have a high-priority family situation requiring time and effort: helping an elderly aunt with some important facets of her life. The tough part is being separated by 3+ hours of driving. Timing is not good from our end – but hey – one must do what one has to do.

Time away from here should be 4-8 weeks. I want the bloggers here to know about my absence from posting, so this is my way of saying thanks for caring and all is well with us.

To send you into an unexpected break, here’s a new one from The Piano Guys … and its title is fitting for this post. See you upon my return. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.