10 July 2019

Tough Decisons-

Our "Schnoodle" Lucy was 13 in June. If the 7-yr rule applies, she gets around mighty good for a 91 yr-old female... begs to go with us on our nightly 3-4 mile walks. We DO have to help her with tasks requiring the ability to jump... getting up on the bed or sofa. We happily help her to do that.
But she has begun to have some of the other "old dog" problems: Growths inside and outside her body.

Our Vet has identified two "squamous-cell carcinomas" on her chest. She also has MANY warts beginning to form on her body that the Vet says is normal for poodles. And she now has a fatty growth starting to expand on her flank that could be benign or malignant. At this point, I don't even want to know which.

Is it sane to spend a fortune on an old dog to correct problems like these? (We're by no means wealthy.) And if you do try to intervene to help, how long before a similar problem recurs?

This is a smart dog. She's the lowest-maintenance dog I've ever owned, and I've owned some mighty good dogs. We've often made trips in our car rather than fly just because we wanted to comfortably bring her along.

We're now realizing at some point in the not-too-distant future we'll have to make a horrible decision.
When does her quality of life degrade to the point where she'd want us to let her go?

Again, we all take on the responsibility of pet ownership knowing, in 10-15 years, (if we're lucky), we'll face a heartbreaking loss. And the loss is more crushing when you have to say, "Yes, let her go".

We're almost there.
And even the thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

27 June 2019

Second Verse... Same As The First !

The new Taurus SHO is in our garage. It looks EXACTLY like the old one, except the new one has a moonroof.
It's weird. Turning the old car "out to pasture" after five years of faithful service actually made me sad. And there are just enough niggling little differences between the old and new to keep us on our toes for a little while.

It smells new.
What's that worth? :)

16 June 2019


The "24 Hours of LeMans" has just come to completion.
The fastest cars on the circuit were hybrids... Toyotas with gasoline engines supplemented with electric motors. They added electric power to their internal combustion engine to total about 1000 horsepower.

There is now a racing series similar to "Formula One" that features electric cars. The cars are VERY fast, but WOW is it weird to hear them race around the circuit, hearing almost no noise but drivetrain whine!
Completing the "Formula E" race requires the use of TWO cars. When battery power on car #1 is depleted, the driver switches over to car #2 to finish the course. And that's the problem STILL with total-electric cars isn't it? Range.
And it's why we see a predominance of hybrids in the electric realm.

But boy, they are really pushing the idea of hybrids during this race. And like "anthropomorphic climate change", I still have my doubts.

I've heard horror stories about the waste left behind in the process of manufacturing these lithium batteries. And when the batteries reach the end of their lifespan, will the cost of replacing them make the overall cost of owning a hybrid (or electric) car cheaper than owning a car powered with only an internal combustion engine?
Only time will tell. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure.

Pardon me while I look around for the cheapest price on gasoline.

24 May 2019


Long ago I promised myself I'd never be so comfortable that I'd pass up a penny on the ground.
In New York on the way to the subway to visit the 9-11 memorial, in light rain, I saw a penny on the wet sidewalk. I stooped and pocketed it.
Only later when I took a look did I see the date...
1947. The year of my birth.
It's a keeper.

And I'll share a ditty one of my former helo students shared with me...
"See a penny? Pick it up. All day long-
You'll have a penny!" 

21 May 2019

Before They Became Toasters...

Officer's Candidate School was hard.
I learned the secret early on. (And that knowledge also illuminated many of the secrets of life!)
Refuse to quit.
When someone tries to piss you off, smile and ask for more.
So I made it. I graduated and pinned on my "butter bars".

I promised myself early in the OCS program that if I graduated and started getting a regular, "almost livable" paycheck, I'd treat myself to a new car.
So in November of 1967 when I went shopping for a car, what did that 20-yr. old have to choose from?
400+ Cubic-inch engines in virtually any manufacturer's line...
426 Hemis in various Chrysler products.
427 Monsters in Chevrolets and Fords.
400's in Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, and Buicks.
MUSCLE CARS. Cars with individual personalities.

I had long lusted for an Oldsmobile 442 owned by a friend in High School.
But when the new 1968 442's came out in November of '67, they had changed the body style from the squared-off, boxy '66 that I loved.
But I didn't HATE the way the new car looked, so I plunked down the cash, and took delivery of the car a month after ordering it.

I owned that car for 6 years and put 96,000 miles on the odometer.
During that time I replaced the water pump and the front wheel bearings.
That's all.
And I LOVED every moment of driving that car.

How things have changed.
In 1970 you could walk through a parking lot and identify EVERY make and model car by looking at its ass.
Try doing that today.
Gas mileage rules. And mileage is ruled by aerodynamics and the wind tunnel.
And that makes all these four-wheeled pieces of crap look like members of the same, inbred family!

Our Taurus SHO is faster, more comfortable, more luxurious, more reliable, and quieter than anything made back when I promised myself a new automobile.
It gets better gas mileage (on regular unleaded fuel) too.

But it's an appliance.
It's not exciting.
And I guess, for this old man, that's a GOOD thing, huh?

13 May 2019

Then I Saw Her Face...

Now I'm a believer.

How many times have you been in love?
One of the great things about becoming an old man is that I now know that seeing a beautiful face;
Loving what I see...
Will lead nowhere.
So I've learned to just enjoy God's artwork.

I've been in love several times in my life
And when you know it cannnot lead to a "happily ever after" ending, that's a special kind of pain.
But the saying "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" is true.
I'm glad to have experienced that pain.

26 April 2019

Come sail away with me...

We are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as I write this, halfway 'twixt Hamilton, Bermuda and Horta, Azores. With the help of some amazing technology, we still have a decent (not perfect) internet connection and can watch "Fox News" on TV in our Stateroom. Our disembarkation point is Lisbon, Portugal. There, we pickup our rental car to drive to Gibraltar. "The Rock" has always been one of my must-see's. I've reserved quarters for two nights at Moron Air Base. With that name, we just hope our reservations there come off without complication!

Yes, it's been a while since I've blogged. I've discussed before how Facebook has made a dent in the urge many former avid bloggers have had to share their feelings on their blogs. But I do have an audience here that I don't have at FB, and I feel guilty when considerable time has passed since I've shared my doings and thoughts with you here.
(Some of you should be grateful you're not on my "Friends" list. 

I DO rant.)

This is Sara Jean's fifth cruise; my fourth. We're on the same ship we were kicked off when I compound-fractured my ankle in Santorini, Greece last year. We like the boat. It's big enough to provide lots of diversions. Alcohol is free, unless "top shelf" is a must for you. And with a capacity of 760 or so "guests", it's not so huge that it inundates small town ports when the ship docks.
And we're now taking a look at a cruise next October that sails out of Venice, Italy for 11 nights and includes many Mediterranean stops, including Santorini, and finishes at Athens, Greece. I want to go back so I can have GOOD memories of lovely Santorini!
If you'd be interested in cruising with us, let me know. I'll forward information to ya.

We are blessed. My family is healthy. I've got good neighbors taking care of our property back home, including one wonderful guy who picks up our mail daily and will mow our grass once while we're gone. Lucy is the guest of two wonderful people that love her as much as we do, and would kidnap her if they could figure out how to erase our memory of her.
Life is good, folks. When I can figure out how to painlessly burn these calories, life will be perfect.

Be safe and well everyone.

09 April 2019


For almost thirty years I held down two full-time jobs.
For almost twenty of those years I worked two full-time and one part-time job.
I was exhausted much of the time. But I LOVED the work.
Yeah, my family time suffered somewhat. But my family is now reaping the benefit of my past efforts.

I know there is always a "Back in my day..." factor, but I don't see many young people striving to succeed as I did.
In Arizona, "Help Wanted" signs were EVERYWHERE, while many intersections were occupied by folks with "Homeless and hungry" placards.

I know... I'm a dinosaur.
But I'm a very confused dinosaur.
Have we simply lost the ability to derive Joy from work?

16 March 2019

New Vehicle?

We've had a couple interesting encounters this week, both driven by our experience with our 2014 Yamaha Super Tenere.
If you come here often you know we had a problem with the bike. Just before we arrived here in Gilbert, Arizona, our son reported the bike wouldn't start. On 27 December we had the bike towed to the dealership/Service Center where we bought it. Staring New Year's Day in the face, we figured it might take a while for them to get around to fixing it. But after two weeks, when we still hadn't heard from them, we gave them a call.
"You need to come and see this."
(Our experience there is described in an earlier post here. See below.)
The intake valves had carbon caked onto their stems.

They were confused as to how to proceed.
Their confusion sent me scrambling online to do some research.
I don't much like what I've found.Turns out, all gasoline direct-fuel injected engines are susceptible to this problem.
That includes our car... a 2014 Taurus SHO.

The Yamaha has 30,000 miles on it. This is the earliest stage most people report beginning to have a problem with intake valves coking up with carbon.
Our Taurus has 30K miles on it. (VERY low mileage for a '14 model year car.) But the fix for intake valve problems on the Taurus?
Remove and replace the cylinder heads... obviously NOT under warranty.

So I thought, "Why not trade it for a new Taurus SHO?"
Ford, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to focus on SUV's and will not make the Taurus in '20 so if we want one, we MUST buy it now.
There's a car nearly like ours at a local dealership. We went to try to negotiate a deal.

They want $46,000 for the new car. They want to give us $18,000 for our (like new) '14 model.
I won't repeat what I told them they could do with their offer.

I used to be able to fix most things ailing my car.
No longer.
Cars and motorcycles are now computers with engines and wheels.
And some of this technology is gonna bite us in the butt and require BIG BUCKS to fix when things go wrong.

We got the Yamaha back yesterday.
They STILL didn't fix everything that ails the bike, but it runs fine and we simply wanted to get it out from under their roof.
Total bill? $4200.00.
But they gave us a break on the parts and I paid $2400.00 to drive it away.
I'm angry, frustrated, and confused about the future.
How do we avoid this happening again in 30K miles?

Hyundai and Kia's 100,000 mile warranty looks mighty attractive right now!

13 March 2019

Typing Paper

"Grab that restaurant coupon for me son",  I said.
"Where is it?", was his response.
"It's on that sheet of typing paper" I replied, pointing to it.

He had no idea what I was talking about.
I forgot... they call it "keyboarding" now, don't they?
Is it now "keyboarding paper"?