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Which way did he go? Where has he been? Where is he headed? So many questions . . ..

Archive for the category “Musings”

Where DID 2016 Go??

Here I sit, New Year’s Eve 2016, pondering the past year.

Seems to have just passed with a *Whoosh!*

Didn’t really take a vacation.

Took a few long weekends, took some time when Brother Bob came up from Nevada, and some more when Daughter Jen came out from Kansas, but that’s about it.

A couple family members crossed over.  I don’t deal with that situation at all well, so I’m going to pull a “Forrest Gump” and say “And, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.” 

Got all the materials for the Puddle Duck Racers, but didn’t get any progress made on them.  Want to get them done while the boys are still at home.   Also want to try my hand at an Open Goose, which is the 12′ version. Something that me & the boys can throw on the truck and go lake fishing from.

Got just about two more years to work before I can retire at full benefit. Don’t know what I’m going to do from that point.  Probably get a part-time job to fill out the retirement until I can draw Social Security 4/5 years down the road.  Would like to work with other vets, or other seniors, or something.

Dug out some beef short ribs and have them braising on the stove to make stew from.  Boys think they smell pretty good.  Better take a break and go add the rest of the veg . . .

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

Another Year — Almost Gone

Wow!  Where did 2016 go?

My wife is still beautiful.

One son moved to the country and became a ranch hand.

My daughter moved to Texas.

Another son is attempting to get his adult life launched in the retail arena.

The two still at home keep growing at an alarming rate.

And, the dogs & me keep getting older . . .

Wow.

This is a NEED-to-read article!

Spotted an article titled “Our Schools Are Committing Civilizational Suicide” at Intellectual Takeout in my Facebook feed.  Very good article.  Anyone who has children who are coming up — or who cares about the world we will leave the coming generations, needs to read this article — and then think about it seriously.  Are we creating generations with little or no sense of their own heritage?  Are we just creating fodder for the multi-national corporations?  People with elastic morals and ethics?

How do You Deal With Death?

It’s a question that I’ve asked myself most of my life.  I’m the youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son.  So, I was kind of born into a life where Death visits frequently.  Compounding the situation is that the generations tend to get spread out in my family.  My parents were in their 40s when I was born.  My oldest brother took a day off work to come and got Mom & I from the hospital, because my Dad had been hurt in an accident at work and couldn’t drive.

There’s nineteen years between my oldest brother, Lee, and me.  Conversely, there’s 26 27 years between my oldest son’s birthday and his youngest brother’s. (Thanks for the math assistance Jen! =:) )

I never met either of my grandmothers, and only have fleeting memories of my grandfathers.  When my grandfathers passed, there were a few years of respite.  Then, I started losing uncles & aunts.  I’ve also lost cousins and nephews & a niece.

You’d think – by now – that losing people I love would be old-hat, right?  Nope. Not even close.  I’m considered by most to be a big & fairly burly guy, and, I’m still fit enough to drag myself up a steep hiking trail with a 50 lb. pack on my back (Granted: I take more rest breaks than I did at 45.), but I still have tears running down my face at funerals, and my family has learned to not let me try to speak at them.  People tend to think you’ve extended the wake when you’re sobbing into a microphone.

I’m a Christian, so I know that I will see them all again.  Yet, I’m totally unmanned when it comes to dealing with the death of people I care about.

John-O accompanied me to the memorial for an old friend and mentor this past weekend, and he asked me how you deal with the death of someone close to you?  I had to be honest and tell him I never have figured that out . . .

 

A Season of (Dis)Repair

Workbench

The van popped its timing belt on US-101.  Good news is that the 3.3L V-6 used in that model is a non-interference engine — which means that when the belt went, the pistons did not bash into the valves, destroying the pistons, the valves, the heads and pretty much the whole engine.  Being a mini-van, it’s going to be a enough of a challenge to change the timing belt.

  • Also needs:
    • Two new tires
    • Front brakes
    • New muffler
    • New serpentine belt
    • A tune up
    • Don’t need, don’t need, done, done &  done!
    • Not bad – considering it’s on the high side of 220,000 miles.

UPDATE:

The van is out of the shop.  Tires and brakes were not as bad as we thought – we’re good for thousands of miles yet on both.  She runs like a dream, and Omer changed out the top and bottom main seals which will take care of the (slight) engine oil leaks while he had the engine apart to replace the timing belt.   The spark plug electrodes and the distributor contacts were so eroded that it’s a wonder that she ran at all.  He also says that the compression is good on all six cylinders — so, we ought to get a lot more miles out of this engine.  🙂

Unfortunately, there’s bad news to got with the good — there’s some body damage from a wind storm that occurred while it was waiting to go into the shop.   Omer is going to see what he can do about popping the fender out when we take it back to have the vent window motors replaced.

Truck needs:

  • Oil change & lube job
    • Done!  Also had the differential flushed.  Much happier little truck, now.
  • Need to take it to a detail shop so they can determine which body drain is clogged and flooding the cab before any *more* electronics die.
    • <rant removed>
    • My lovely bride applied a thin bead of caulk to the rear window seal, as an experiment, and the leak issue is now solved. =:)
  • Remember to thank God (and our neighbor, Jo) for the truck.
    • Otherwise — I’d be walking to work. 24+ miles, each way, uphill – both directions – in the rain, most days. <humble><blessed><thankful><happy>
    • This is an ongoing exercise, and one that I need.  I too suffer from the American malady of always wanting more & better.  That little truck fills the bill in that it’s paid for, it gets me from Point A to Point B and back again — reliably, it can haul what we need hauled, and it’s fairly economical.

House & Yard

  • Need to replace the toilet in the front bathroom with one that will actually flush – and, hopefully – do it without overflowing. #EWWW
  • Need to get the fan replaced in our bathroom.
    • Done!  So nice to be able to shower in our own bathroom again. =:)
  • Need to replace the fence gate that’s being held up by prayer, the trash & recycle cans, and a short chunk of re-bar.  (The neighbors will be thrilled – it needed to be replaced when we moved in — a decade ago.) #ItsAboutFlippinTime
  • Really need to tear the deck off the play house and re-do it.  Before someone falls all the way through it.
    • Need to replace the door on the playhouse.
    • And at least the portion of the floor where the @#*! squirrels chewed through it to give themselves an escape hatch to evade the dogs.
      • Consider using cold-rolled 1/4″ steel plate.  Yeah, it’s hard on drill bits — but, it ought to slow down the squirrels, somewhat.
    • Probably should also install hardware cloth at the eves, so they can’t get in that way.
    • Do a thorough post-rodent clean-up.
    • (Find out if it’s legal to squirrel hunt with a flamethrower.) #GoodCleanFun

Workshop

  • Repair the drawer that was broken in the package on the cabinetmaker’s bench
  • Support the bottom shelf so you can actually set something on it without it falling out of the dados and hitting the floor.
  • Build an assembly table.
  • Build some decent & useful sawhorses.
  • Build a shaving horse to make oars, masts, sprits, etc.

And, oh yeah:

The dryer died last night . . .

Ed, Brenda & I tag-teamed that puppy.  Field-stripped it, (You have to tear dryers down to the bones to do anything.), replaced the broken belt, the thermostat and the breaker.  Then, we put it all back together. It dries! =:o)

Good thing we got our taxes done.

Like The Man Said:

  • Be thankful for needing car repairs.
    • It means that you haven’t had to walk everywhere.
  • Be thankful for home repairs.
    • They mean you haven’t been living out in the weather.
  • Be thankful in all things.
    • For God has been taking care of you — all of your life.
      • Whether you’ve been paying attention, or not.

 

History Repeats Itself

Especially for those who refuse to learn from it . . .

RollaKS04141935-Duster-FDRPresidentialLibrary

Dust storm approaches Rolla, KS – April 14, 1935 – Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library Collection.

Hubris

I just finished watching a show about the American Dust Bowl Years titled “Black Blizzard” on History Channel.  It was a pretty good analysis of the disastrous Dust Bowl years in the Great Plains, as well as the government policies and programs that lead up to them.  “Plant more wheat!  Eat more bread!,”  “Breadbasket to the World!,” etc.

For anyone unfamiliar with that portion of our history, I highly recommend the 2-hour documentary.   Right at the end though, there is a bit of irony:  The narrator says “Others need to learn from our experiences, as today we are seeing giant dust storms in Western China and Sub-equatorial Africa.”  To give them their due, they do cut back to a pair of Dust Bowl survivors from Oklahoma and Texas who warn that we are experiencing years as hot & dry in the High Plains now as they were in the years leading up to the Dust Bowl.  One says that the only reason we are not seeing dust storms like they had in the 1930s is because they are pumping water out of the Ogllala aquifer at unprecedented rates to irrigate crops and pastures.   He warns: “When the water runs out – and it will – we’re going to be in trouble.”

But, there is more to the story than that.

I remember my oldest son & daughter’s great grandfather telling me in 1980 that we were heading back to the Dust Bowl just as fast as farmers could rip out shelter belts, fill in water retention ponds and runoff waterways, and flatten contour terraces.  The culprit?  High wheat prices and new large-scale machinery that let one man farm more acres of land.   We were pheasant hunting in Northern Kansas, and he showed me a one-lane county road that ran between two large wheat fields:  “See that road?  Five years ago, it was two lanes wide with a ditch on either side.  You can’t drive on it for a week after a rain, now.  If the county doesn’t stop these guys, it will be gone in a couple years.”

Yet, it’s the people in China and Africa that need  to learn from our mistakes?

AbandonedFarmCimarronStripOK1940

Abandoned Farm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1937  –  US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs On-line Collection

Come Sail Away!

Sailing off over the horizon to distant places has been a dream of mine since I was just a kid FishermansBaySunset. .  . (WAIT! Wasn’t that just yesterday?!?)

Anyway, when I’m pondering the future, I’ll call up my favorite search engine (of the moment) and enter something like “voyaging on a budget.”  Yesterday, I got a hit for a site that I hadn’t seen before:

Capt. John’s The Frugal Voyager’s Cruising and Living Aboard website

Capt. John will be 70 this year, and has spent the past 20 years living aboard and cruising to distant ports.  So, he has a base of experience from which to speak.  He’s also very good at advising you how to have a stress-free life afloat. Things like don’t buy more boat than you need, avoid sailing with “Capt. Boat Payment,” how to avoid sailing into thin financial waters in paradise, how to keep your boat bug-free in the tropics, who to not take advice from around the marina, and why – if you are the one with the dream – you should send your spouse/s.o. – to sailing lessons from a qualified offshore sailing school, etc.   Lots of really great advice.

I’m still cruising the site and enjoying the content therein.

 

An Appropriate Graffiti Companion

To Yesterday’s Post:

BeesLeave

The commentary is accurate.  Most food & forage crops require pollinating.

How we used to die; how we die now

Source: How we used to die; how we die now

A pointed and poignant look at how people have passed over for centuries contrasted to how more than one half of Americans die today.  This is written by an Emergency Medicine physician with over twenty-five years experience.

12 Life Lessons Learned From The Great Depression

Source: 12 Life Lessons Learned From The Great Depression

Another good one from Rachel at How to Provide.  My parents were married during The Great Depression and passed along many lessons learned.  If you don’t follow the international financial news, right now the Chicken Littles of the financial sector are going on about “bubbles bigger than ’08.”  How serious is it?  Are they truly warning of dire circumstances in progress and death and destruction in the pipeline?  Or, are they just trying to sell whatever financial instrument or commodity that they’re hawking this week?  I don’t know.  I tend to be an optimist and believe that they are trading on fear.  But, I could be wrong.

If you would like a look into the insights of the international financial wizards and pundits, here’s an article at (Where else?) How to Provide titled “Deflation Threatens to Swallow the World.”

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