On Returning from Blog Break Summer 2019

 

Greetings! For whatever reason, this song popped into my mind while preparing this post – so hey – why not use it!

Image from 123vectors.com

Hoping everyone is in good health and spirits as we continue on the trek toward fall. Then again, those in the southern hemisphere are moving toward spring! I missed everyone – then again, I continue to embrace Blog breaks are good as an important mantra. Time to hit the Play button.

I’ll be back in the blog saddle for about 5 weeks because something expected popped into my life that requires a 2-3 week hiatus. Thankfully, not a serious concern.

To celebrate a return, let’s jump into a Weekend Concert featuring songs by the King of Pop. Michael Jackson takes the stage this Saturday (7 September) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). We’ll go back-to-back weekends with a 14 September concert. (Act TBA).

Contrary to Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, something has been on my mind for most of 2019. As I mentioned several months ago, I’ve been contemplating stepping away from my little corner of the world. Without any fanfare, 28 August marked my 11th anniversary, so I’ve been blogging for some time. Although I still have the energy to host and post, my interest in rebuilding readership and reciprocating is waning – and the latter is very important to me.

During the recent blog break, I drafted my closing “retrospect” series. Because writing the closing felt right, the time may be right – but not right now! I foresee early 2020, but time will tell. Meanwhile, I will carry on by cleaning out the closet by finishing posts that I never finished.

We planned the recent break more than a year ago. Last year we took a fabulous Rick Steves tour to Central Europe that included Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia. So a perfect sequel would be our first-ever river cruise on the Danube that included Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. A great trip into the part of Europe visit the least – and only Prague and Budapest were duplicates from last year.

 

Travel posts as I’ve done in the past will not happen. Remember – I’m phasing out! Besides, I posted very little about our spring cruise from San Diego to Miami through the Panama Canal. However, I may do a summary post or something about river cruising – but no promises. However, feel free to ask questions.

Meanwhile, back to my regular routine. Golf league will continue well into September. I’m already back to working at the course. Ballroom dance continues. September means be beginning of handbell choir and ushering the new season of plays. Fall means football season, something I enjoy watching, but it doesn’t consume me. I’ve returned to a casual fantasy football league, which should be fun. There’s plenty to keep me busy!

I’ve used this song on multiple occasions after returning from a blog break. For me, it still fits. Have a good week!

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On a Blog Break: Summer 2019

 

Before I embark on my summer blog break, below is an abbreviated edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

The Doobie Brothers concert surprised a few people. With a blog break on the current docket, I do not know who the next concert will feature or when it will occur – but I have some ideas to consider during the blog break.

Unfortunately, on celebration day falls during the blog break. August 28th marks the 11th anniversary of this place – my little corner of the world.

My golf game resembles a yo-yo – but I still enjoy playing.

With August being the final month of summer, that also means September marks the return of handbell choir rehearsals, volunteer ushering at the Playhouse, fall festivals, football season, and more.

Has anyone watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix (about Cambridge Analytica)? If so, what did you think?

Last weekend gave us two mass shootings – including one in Dayton, Ohio (a bit less than an hour drive for me). Interesting how events like that affect you differently when they are closer to home. Events in El Paso and Dayton give Congress more opportunities to do nothing.

The Republican “mental issue” claim as a key cause of gun violence has resurfaced – so I ask an important question to Congressional Republicans: What legislation have you passed in the past five years addressing the mental health problem? I asked my representative. In his response letter, he didn’t answer the question – so the answer is none!

A state representative near me and close to Dayton blamed mass shootings on the following: fatherless families, transgender and homosexual marriages, drag queen advocates, recreational marijuana, violent video games, failed school policies, hatred for our veterans by professional athletes disrespecting our flag and country, Democrats in Congress, disrespect for law enforcement, anti-Trump voters, and last – but not least – the icing on the cake – you guessed it – Obama. Yes – the one who made this statement is an office holder elected by the majority of voters in her district.; which to me is sadder than the one making the statement.

The leader of the Ohio Republican Party asked Candice Keller to resign for the above statement, but (as of this morning) she’s standing by her statement and refusing to resign. “Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my (state) Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”

A thought to remember about politics. The party’s goal is to win, therefore finding candidates with the best chance of winning and representing the party. Therefore, the candidate is in an office to represent the best interests of the party. After all, how much time does the office holder (and their organization) spend fundraising for the party and their re-election? The answer is simple – a lot. Therefore, the office holder’s interest in solving issues and representing the non-party flock in their district is (at best) superficial.

As I’ve stated numerous times on these pages, blog breaks are good. How long will this one be? To be honest – I don’t know – but I hope to return in the first 10 days of September – time will tell. Until then, I hope you visit the many good, talented, friendly people I list as A-Team Premium Visitors on the sidebar, plus others on the BlogRoll tab.

By the time I return, summer will be on its last leg – so here’s a classic from years ago to lead me into my blog break. Check out this chops! Keep smiling!

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.

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

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.