Saturday, June 30, 2012

Too many options

Two thousand-twelve is one of those years when Independence Day falls smack dab in the middle of the week, creating a two-weekend holiday. For many, today is the beginning of a 10-day summer vacation.

As said earlier this week, it's feast or famine for me.

When I first looked at my calendar back in January, I had penciled in a long Friday to Wednesday camping trip for this weekend, since next weekend is an "on ambulance call" weekend.

When a graduation party invite arrived, I modified my get-away plans.

Earlier this week, an invite to hang with a friend in West Michigan arrived.

So I'm torn as to what I want to do with the next four days. 

Sigh. Too many options! Here are just a few choices:
Go camping (always a favorite). With this intense heat, the trip sounds like both a great option and a potential exhausting experience.
Go to West Michigan -- Saugatuck -- for a couple days. I don't know why, but that drive seems like I'm headed to the other side of the planet rather than the other side of the state.
Stay closer to home, see some movies (to beat the heat). I have a couple list of movies, but never seem to make the time for viewing.
Stay home and clean the house, do yard work and prepare for our upcoming family reunion. HA!
Take a couple short day trips. Not out of the question.

Feast or Famine.

 Check out all the bloggarety at

Friday, June 29, 2012

It's going to be a WICKED night

Galinda and Elphaba - WICKED
 I'm so looking forward to seeing WICKED tonight at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on the campus of Michigan State University (Go Green!).

Uncle Bill will be sharing this theatrical performance with family: Jeremy, Cindy, Hannah, Matt, Lisa, and my buddy Ron.

I saw the show about a year ago and loved it.

Billed as "The Story of the Witches of Oz before Dorothy arrives," you actually get a back story to many of the characters along with some wonderful music.

Hopefully everyone enjoys it as much as I have.

I put this link to my blog because so many people come to the blog from my Facebook page.
Check it out directly at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Feast or Famine

Once the month of May arrives, it just seems like there are never enough hours in the day. Yard work, multiple meetings, camping and other travel or just going to the beach.

Tonight is one of the few nights I don't have a meeting, but I do need to work in the garden -- WATERING the tomatoes and pepper plants.  I'm actually at the point of adding an mini-irrigation system.  Thankfully this dry weather means the lawn doesn't need to be mowed.

The next few days of my life are almost scheduled with plans, albeit tentative, for down to the hour.

But that's how I get things down when I have a lot to do.  Plan, schedule execute.

Stop by the blog for the next few days and I'll tell you about some of the fun I have planned.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I just can't do it...

Sadly, this is what my hard boiled eggs look like peeled.
Sometime ago I wrote about soft boiled eggs.  Eggs and soldiers is what, I believe, they call it in England.

I have no problem cooking a soft boiled egg to near perfection.

But I cannot, not matter how hard I try, make a hard boiled egg.

Well, I can BOIL the egg.  Try to get the shell off the damn thing.

Even with ALL the trick: bring the water to a boil and turn off the heat, leaving the eggs set for 15 minutes; or boil the eggs for 5 minutes, then plunge them into ice water; vinegar in the water; baking soda in the water.  I even read on line where some woman had instructions how how to BAKE the eggs into a hard state.

This whole egg boiling thing is causing me concern because I need a couple dozen for a party this weekend. I hate picking the shells off cause some shells always end up IN the dish I'm preparing.

Thankfully the eggs will be chopped up. I'm pretty sure if I was taking deviled eggs, I'd be a basket case.

Hopefully some miracle will occur and the eggs will peel easily.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Egg on my face, perhaps, at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Movies to see in July & August

A couple months ago I posted a list of movies I wanted to see in the coming month.  I have failed miserably. Just not enough time between other committments.

But I'll give it a whirl and offer a list for July and August movie-going:

The Amazing Spider-Man - Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father's former partner.
TED - A story centered on a man and his teddy bear, who comes to life as the result of a childhood wish.
The Dark Knight Rises - Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face's crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
360 - A look at what happens when partners from different social backgrounds engage in physical relationships. 
Hope Springs - After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship.
The Expendables 2 - Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
Sparkle - Set in the 1960s, three sisters form girl group and soon become Motown sensations, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green - A childless couple bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. Soon, a child is born, though Timothy Green is not all that he appears.
Lawless - Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.
7500 - Passengers aboard a flight across the Pacific Ocean encounter a supernatural force.

Movie madness and more at

Monday, June 25, 2012

One reunion down, two to go!

Sunday was a long day with the "Newspaper Gang" reunion, followed by a couple ambulance calls.  I got home about 11:30 pm and the bed was looking good.

Not much time for blogging today, so I'll just share this "Gang" photo of those who were able to attend our gathering.

Front row, from left, Mary Drier, Robin Gaeth, Vicki McBrayer, Hope Haley, Sally Rummel, Mary Fournier and Fran Davis.

Middle row, Jean Norton, Bill Esch, Dave Eberlein, Mark Rummel, Betty Guenther and Jack Guza.

Back row, Judy Koch, Tamie Cook, Marie Lupp, Tammy Philp, Wanda Eichler and Pat Holland.

This is just a sample of the many people who were part of newspapering in Western Thumb of Michigan.

I'm really happy to have been part of that era.

More blogging from Bill at

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Our Gang from the Newspaper Reunion, 2011
Summer is a time when families, classmates and other throngs of people come together in annual events called "reunions."

This summer, I have three reunions on the calendar. The first is today when the "old gang" (and I mean old as in previous) from my life in the newspaper business are getting together.

We're going to enjoy a simple potluck dinner with lots of memories and even more laughs.  We'll get to catch up on what's going on with the people we used to see on nearly a daily basis.

As I get older, I realize it's important to attend gatherings like this. Especially when the reunions involve families.

In a couple weeks, we're having a three-day Esch Family reunion near Caseville.  Two years ago we gathered in Colorado. My dad's sisters, from Colorado and Arizona, and brother, from California, will be here with their spouses.  A few of my cousins will be joining the fun as well.

Then, in August, my mom's family will gather in Elkton.  This reunion is very much third and fourth generation of family.  Maybe that's what makes getting together necessary.

With the reunions, camping trips and other plans, summer will be gone before I know it.

So here's to enjoying everyday to the fullest!

A gathering of other stories are found at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How Refreshing!

If you're looking for a cool, refreshing summer treat, perfect for a picnic, family reunion or just enjoying on a hot summer day -- here is the recipe!

¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup cider vinegar
¾ cup white sugar
½ t. paprika
½ lg red onion-chopped
1 can black-eyed peas (rinsed)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can white corn (rinsed)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 whole each (green, red, yellow, orange) pepper chopped
½ to 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped.
Juice from a fresh lime, if desired.

Mix together.

Serve w/Tostito Scoops or other corn chips.

The longer this marinates the better it taste.

There's more refreshing reading at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lights of a Warm Summer's Night

I remember a summer night of my youth when the neighbor boys and I pitched our tents along the river in the neighbor's meadow. Laying on the ground looking up at the stars in the sky, I saw them for the first time in my life...


Familiar to most of us, (some call them Lightning Bugs) few realize that there are about 2,000 firefly species in the world, usually living in warm environments.

That blink blink blink of the firefly is actually an optical signal used to find potential mates. Scientists are not sure how the insects regulate this process to turn their lights on and off.

Regardless of how or why the firefly illuminates itself, it's an amazingly relaxing site that I can what for hours.

This past weekend, during the Canada camping trip, there were tens of thousands of flies lighting the wooded and tall-grassy areas that surrounds the campsites. Walking into the woods and snagging a few in my hands took me back to that childhood campout.

Just another reason I love summer camping.

My camera couldn't catch the brilliance of the fireflies. This photo is from the internet.
 See if fireflies is the brightest subject here at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice

Today, June 21, 2012 is the first (full) day of summer.  This year, the summer solstice began yesterday at 7:09 P.M. (EDT). The actual timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator.

Solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), meaning when the Sun (appears to) stop at this time.

It happens again in December at the winter solstice.

We've been experiencing temperatures what a very summer-like for the last few day.  But these temps are actually unusual for this time of year, with averages in the mid- to high-70s.

This day is a day that I both love because it's the longest day of the year. I also dread this day because, it's the longest day of the year.  As each day passes we'll be losing a few moments of light.

But I can't control the Earth, sun or moon. And as much as I'd like to think all three revolve around me, they do not.

So instead of focusing on the days getting shorter, I'll enjoy the light we have on this first day of summer.

Pass the sunscreen please!

More burning questions answered at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stars in the Sky

There's a song in my favorite stage play, Les Miserables, entitled "Stars."

In your multitudes,
Scarce to be counted,
Filling the darkness,

With order and light
You are the sentinels,

Silent and sure
Keeping watch in the night
Keeping watch in the night

You know your place in the sky
You hold your course and your aim
And each in your season
Returns and returns
And is always the same

I was reminded of this song while I was camping this past weekend.

My Canada campground neighbors were a group of young men -- perhaps 18 or 19 years old -- who obviously had never been camping. It was very apparent when they removed the brand new tent from the box and attempted to drive the tent stakes in by stomping on it with their foot.

A man nearly old enough to be their grandfather (that would be me) offered his tent mallet.I also gave them a fire-starter block and a lighter when they were trying to get a campfire going.

My kindness was rewarded by an invitation to join them for a cool beverage around the campfire.

Campers are often like a big family enjoying a common activity together.

As we sat chatting, one of the guys mentioned that he had never seen so many stars. It turned out that only one of the group of four had ever really been out of Toronto, where they lived.  They were all very impressed with the clearness of the evening sky.

We sat quietly for a few moments and looked toward the heavens.

It was then that I realized how the stars, in their multitudes, fill the darkness with order and light. True sentinels of the night.

And I realize now how I take the simplest things, like being able to look at the stars at night, for granted.

I remember now why I like camping, in a tent, out under the stars.

More camping and other yarns at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canada Camping: FBC

When you're camping, you still need to eat.  And there's no reason to eat just hot dogs cooked over a fire and pork and beans from the can.

I ran across a site that spoke about Freeze Bag Cooking.

What a great idea. For the most part, you need boiling water to cook your meals!

Here's one of my favorite recipes:

Omelet in a Bag

 2 eggs
 2 slices ham, chopped (optional)
 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
 1 tablespoon chopped onion (optional)
 1 tablespoon chopped green bell pepper (optional)
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tomato (optional)
 1 tablespoon chunky salsa (optional)
 2 fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)

*Crack the eggs into a large resealable freezer bag. Press out most of the air, and seal. Shake or squeeze to beat the eggs.
*Open the bag, and add the ham, cheese, onion, green pepper, tomato, salsa, and mushrooms. Squeeze out as much of the air as you can, and seal the bag.
*Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place up to 8 bags at a time into the boiling water. Cook for exactly 13 minutes.
*Open the bag, and let the omelet roll out onto a plate. The omelet should roll out easily.

Tuesday Tally will return, someday.
Until then, camping isn't the only topic on

Monday, June 18, 2012

Life from the back of a pickup

Living life out of the back of a pickup truck, even though it is just for the weekend, can be a pain in the butt.

My camping gear, shown in the photo below, is all neatly packed into appropriate tubs and totes. That's a part of the stressful craziness I create for myself. Every container has a purpose and is carefully loaded into the bed of the pickup in order they'll be needed.

The first tub inis a footlocker style container labeled Bedding & Linen.  It contains the AeroBed, sheets, blankets and pillows as well as towels for swimming and showering.

Next is another footlocker with my Coleman cook stove, pots and pans, utensils, dishpans and other cooking necessities.  Frankly, this tub is about to be left in the garage.  I prefer quick, simple meals, like sandwiches and chips.

On top of those two tubs goes my green-grass carpeting for in front of the tent.

Then I have tubs labeled:
  • Fire, with tiki torch fuel, propane tanks, a tent heater and fire starter blocks for the campfire.
  • Electrical, with extension cords and Christmas lights, for use if I have power.
  • Tools & Tarps. Sort of self explanatory.
  • Personal with my shower kit, first aid, suntan lotion, bug spray, a stocking hat and gloves (which I once used over the July 4 weekend) and other personal comfort items.  This tub acts as my nightstand too.
I load in the 10 x 10 popup awning, for in front of the tent and a cooler for food and beverages.

Setting up and tearing down camp has become a bit of a routine for me.  I have an order and, when I follow the plan, I can be set up/torn down in about 45 minutes.

Even with the routine of setting up, it can still be a pain in the butt.

But I still love it!

Blah blah Blogs at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dad's Day

Today is Father's day -- the one day a year set aside for backyard grilling and dad taking it easy for the day.

So many of my friends grew up in homes with an absent or (worse) abusive father. As adults they have little or no relationship with their paternal parent. I cannot image a life -- my life -- without the guidance and influences of my dad.

I'm so blessed that God gave me the father He did.

I LOVE YOU DAD! Happy Father's Day.
My Dad and I, March 25, 2011

Check out all the silliness at

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Hey, I'm camping this weekend and my blog-plan was to write about the trip to camp and post a pic or two of my site.

If you're seeing this post, it means that:
  1. I couldn't find an internet connection
  2. I didn't make it to camp (and I'm lost in the woods)
  3. I'm enjoying camping so much I forgot about the blog
  4. I don't care, I AM CAMPING!
 While I'm camping you can catch up at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bad Hair Day

Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a haircut during my lunch hour.  I was lucky, the barber who used to own the shop was there filling in for the current hatchman (Jason, you know I'm kidding).

I told him I had 20 minutes... he had me out of the chair in 15.  Gotta love it.

While he was cutting my hair which, by the way, is a one-length, number 1 guard buzzcut, we talked about bad haircuts.

It got me thinking and here, with the help of a Google image search, are some dandies.

Hopefully this is a good way to end your week.

Something for everyone at


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bad is Good?

So Madonna (the going-on-54-year-old musician) showed her breast to a recent concert audience? My first reaction was, “been there, seen that, bought the book.”

But then I got thinking.

Madonna Louise Ciccone has got to be one of the best self-promoters of all time.  The Material Girl has a way of getting attention when no one even wants to pay attention. Flashing a little (figuratively speaking) booby is probably worth a million dollars in paid advertising.

After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity… only a bad spin on a bad event or comment.

President Obama recently made a comment on the improved economy.  Mitt Romney isn’t about to let that comment die.  It’s publicity – attention being paid to the President, whether he wants it or not.

 So if there is no such thing as bad publicity, then that means Bad is Good, right?  Of course, Good is Good too.

So there’s only good (and bad-good)?  Now I’m confused.

My point, and I think I have one, is that Madonna can do a bad thing (as least in the eyes of some) and spin it into a good thing for her money-making machine.

Getting someone talking about you, when you’re trying to make a buck, is never a bad thing.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Circus Peanuts

I've developed a strange affection for Circus Peanuts.  You know, those semi-peanutlike shaped, orange ++colored marshmallow candy that cannot be good for you.

Nothing you eat is good for you when the first two items on the ingredient list are sugar and corn syrup. But damn I like the taste of them.

Today's most popular variety is orange-colored with a banana flavor. However, they were originally distributed with an orange-flavoring.

They were also once only a seasonal item because of the difficulty in a seal package.  Circus Peanut get very hard when exposed to air.

Modern-day Circus Peanuts my be colored yellow, pink, and white, including a variety of flavors, though orange is still the most predominant color and banana the most common flavor, by far.

Circus Peanuts manufacturers include Melster Candies, Spangler Candy Company, and Brach's, all producing a nearly identical product.  Many of these candy companies produce the produce to be packaged under other labels, like the one I purchase at Dollar General.

Amazingly (to me) in 1963, General Mills vice president John Holahan inventively discovered that Circus Peanuts shavings yielded a tasty enhancement to his breakfast cereal. General Mills formalized the innovation and created Lucky Charms, the first breakfast cereal to contain marshmallow bits.

I won't be eating Circus Peanut for breakfast -- the sugary content tents me make me tired.  Instead, I'll just enjoy a couple now and then as a sweet treat that's not good for me.

Circus Peanuts and other nonsense are all at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Ways to Start Your Day

I've been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While that may be true, we also need to feed our mind soul.  It's important to start the day out right, to nourish yourself.

Here's some suggestion on how to start your day:
  1. Pray. It's simple to do.  Just stop in your tracks, close your eyes for a moment and pray.  Give thanks for the day you're about to live (regardless of the demands before you) and ask for God's help should the load become too heavy.
  2. Tell yourself that it WILL be a good day. Forget about the looming deadline or coworkers on vacation. Item 1 in this list assures item 2.
  3. Smile.  No matter your mood or what's going on around you, smile.  That smile will make the boss wonder what's going on.
  4. Compliment someone. On second thought, compliment everyone.  Sometimes being nice(r) gets you through the most difficult day.
  5. Drink lots of water.  When you're dehydrated, even slightly, you will feel achy and tired -- especially as you get older.
  6. Skip the depressing news and turn on the Travel or Food channel.  You deserve more than violence and mayhem.
  7. Pray again.  Sometimes God is the only one who is really listening.
So what are you doing to start your day off the right way?  Let me know.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

It's not the heat....

Planter just south of 44 S. Main Street, Pigeon.
So what do you do when it's over 90 degrees and super humid? Plant flowers!

A few weeks ago this planter, located on Main Street in downtown Pigeon contained some overgrown shrubs and other crap.  I asked the DPW crew to rip them out and add some top soil, which they did.

I had hoped to get flowers in there before Memorial Day, but time and energy were limited.  Sunday, in all this heat, I had the time and, surprisingly, I had the energy.

So, a couple hours and a mild sunburn later, all the flowers were in the ground.

I chose yellow Day Lily with some Japanese Red Grass in between.  These are perennials and will fill in over the next few years. I discovered that perennials "Sleep, Creep, then Leap," during the first three years after planting. (Mental note to self: blog about the planter's progress in June, 2015.)

Along with the perennials, I added in some two-year old geraniums that spent last summer in front of the office where I work.  They wintered in the storefront next door to the planter, under the care of my friend Wanda Eichler.

Along with the geraniums are your typical purple petunias with a few Kiss Orange Flame Gazanias.

Hopefully they'll all fill out by mid-July and our local Farmers' Festival.

More ramblings can be found at

Sunday, June 10, 2012


There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
--Albert Einstein

Have you ever thought about how many opposites you face in your life? All the this or thats?

Light and dark, up and down, left and right, new and old, optimist and pessimist.  They're all opposites.

Sometimes life offers use choices of these opposites, other times, we're stuck with what is given to us.

But even when we're stuck with the hand you're dealt, you can look at it two ways... as if nothing is a miracle, or is everything is a miracle.

I think I'll choose everything.

Look at all my blog posts at

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'll Have Another

History will need to wait another day as I'll Have Another, that chestnut-colored colt who had good odds of becoming the first winner of the Triple Crown since 1978, was scratched from today's Belmont Stakes lineup.

Showing signs of tendinitis in his left front leg following a workout on Friday morning, I'll Have Another will be given several months of rest and then will be retired.

I don't follow horse racing, except for the Kentucky Derby.  It's just fun to watch and see what happens. This year was a totally unexpected win by a horse with a rookie jockey.

My interest increased as I'll Have Another won the Preakness two weeks later.

I planned to watch today's race and a historic run for the Triple Crown. Only 11 others horses have managed to accomplish that feat.

But I'm a fair-weather horse racing fan.  Now, it's just not as interesting so I'll probably be watching something on Food Network instead.

Read all my blog babble at

Friday, June 8, 2012


Have it your way.

We don't hear that slogan much any more.  It was a key component in the Burger King marketing plan.  An attack on the assembly line of McDonald's wrapped-and-waiting-for-you hamburger with ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions.

At Burger King, which is today is often called "B.K." you can get the standard burger, or with your choice of the many toppings they offer.

So what happened? B.K. restaurants are dropping like flies being sprayed with a can of Raid.

Again, what happened?

Could it be the filthy housekeeping of their buildings?  Could it the poor marketing campaigns promoting even poorer menu items that last innovation? Perhaps people just don't like flame-broiled burgers?

In my opinion, it's the crappy service from employees who just don't give a crap.

Three in the past month I have stopped at three different B.K. restaurants.  All visits were disasters.

Visit 1: I pulled into the drive-thru to order, and there I sat. And sat, and sat some more.  What the heck?  It was too early for them to be closed.  So I pulled ahead to the window and rapped on it.  Someone came and asked, "Can I help you?"

"Are you open. I was waiting back there to order."

"Yeah, our speaker isn't working.  What can I get you?"

"Oy vey!  Could you put a sign on the menu board," I thought to myself.

Visit 2: Returning from a transfer to Ann Arbor, myself and fellow EMS staff stopped to grab a bite.  We went inside to order.  It appeared that the manager was the ONLY person in the building with two people in line ahead of us. We ordered and soon someone came from the back to make our ordered.  More people arrive and order, but no food is coming out of the kitchen. Twenty minutes after our arrival, we were again on our way home.

So much for the idea of "Fast-Food."

Visit 3: Last night I order a Whopper Jr. and value-fries.  I told they were making my burger fresh, it would be a couple minutes, would I mind pulling ahead. So I did.

I was busy texting a friend, but then realized I had been sitting there a while. So I went inside.

The young woman at the counter asked, "May I help you?"

"Yeah, I'd like my order.  I've been sitting in the drive thru waiting for it."

"Oh, I bet this burger is yours.  Someone deleted the order off the screen."


"Would you like a free pop?"

"How about a free meal, including dessert."

"Sorry, I can't do that."

I took my food and left.  I doubt I'll go back to any B.K. again.  Unless I'm really really hungry.

A lack of management and training is why B.K. is on it's deathbed.

Rest In Peace, Burger King.

Much more blah blah blogging can be found at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Man In The Mirror

Yesterday afternoon I had a surprising conversation with someone who was blunt and to the point. Apparently he (and he claims others) find me to be a very negative person.  He used the phrases "back-stabber" and "whiner" among other things.

He refused to identify the "others" who were part of this group with a poor opinion of me, but it doesn't matter.

I know I have a sarcastic personality.  When I'm frustrated I tend to spout off, probably saying some things I shouldn't.  Probably saying things that could be taken the wrong way.

Honestly, I'm at a loss when it comes to the back-stabber reference.  I tend to have a big mouth and tell people face-to-face when I think of them.

I'll take the comments with a grain of salt, considering the source. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't take a look at myself in the mirror.

While I'm not a fan of Michael Jackson, his hit "Man in the Mirror" hit the nail on the head:

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change
Make That Change.

Read all my posts at

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's a love-hate thing

I'm in a Love-Hate relationship.  Sometimes it's all about love love love... others it's just hate hate hate. It's been going on for years and I sometimes wonder how I've tolerated it this long.

As Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

That's how relationships go when one of the people is more than twice the age of the other partner... And before you think I'm come kind of letch, I am the younger of the two.

My love-hate relationship is with my hometown, Pigeon, MI.

It's amazing how the community can come together for someone in need, pitching in to help. We're fortunate to have our own hospital, seven churches of various denominations, several large employers and plenty of civic clubs.

Of course there are many more things to love about our 109 year old town.

But sometimes hate creeps in... like when I need a loaf of bread at 7:59 pm and the grocery has already locked the door -- and placed a bagboy to stand guard.  I also hate that on warm summer night, before it even gets dark, all the restaurants have closed.  I also wish my movie choices were not limited to the two-screen theater 15 miles away.

Someone once asked why I never left.  My family is here and I've always had a good job here.

Another reason to love this town.

Other blog posts are at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Tips for Servers

I'm going to start by saying that waiting tables is NOT an easy job.  I understand that.

Being a good server (the politically correct term for a waitress), takes a little skill.  Being a GREAT server takes a LOT of skill.

A friend and I used to say we wanted to open a waitress school to teach people how we thought the job should be done.

With that in mind, here are few lessons I would teach:
  • Don't call me Hun.  I probably don't know you and if I do, I don't know you well enough for you to use a term of endearment like that.
  • Bring the menus with you.  Don't come to my table and ask if I need a menu.  I may not, but your employer would probably appreciate it if you promoted all the items you have to offer.
  • Know the menu.  If I ask questions, "I don't know" is not the answer I want to here.  I don't know either. Go ask someone if that what it takes.
  • Never assume that the cook won't prepare my meal different than normal. I was once in a nice restaurant and ordered the perch "pan-fried." The waitress told me it was served deep-fried. I asked if she could check with the cook.  She refused.  I ordered a dish of cole slaw.
  • Another assumption that shouldn't be made is that two people dining together are a couple. I was out with a friend for dinner when she ordered a bowl of soup.  The waitress turned to me, assuming I was her husband or boyfriend, and said, "She can order more than that, can't she?"  My reply: "Does she look like she needs more than that?"  I'm pretty sure the waitress slipped her the number for a safe house to escape her abusive relationship with me.
  • Don't make me ask twice for something I want or need.  I don't care if it's ketchup, more coffee, the side order you forgot... the tip I leave on the table depends on it.
  • Don't make me wait for my bill.  When I'm finished, I'm finished.  If you ask if I want anything else and I say no, that's the clue to bring the bill.  If I want to sit there any longer I will.
There's much more.  Maybe one day I will start that school.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee
That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me

I don't mind Mondays.  That's probably because I'm really a create of habit. I like my routine.  My sanity remains, in part, because of the consistency of the routine.

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin' you gave me no warnin' of what was to be
Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me

Even though I'm a create of habit, Monday usually throws something at me that is completely unexpected. Maybe that's what I don't mind it much... it's a routine with a twist!

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me cryin' all of the time

Many of us dread the end of a weekend.  I live for the weekend, which is a contradiction to my need for routine.  But my weekends are pretty planned, but not scheduled.  Sometimes when Monday comes, I am sad that weekend is gone.

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day
Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way
Oh Monday, Monday, won't go away
Monday, Monday, it's here to stay
Oh Monday, Monday
Oh Monday, Monday

Monday is Monday.  I can't change that, so I'll face it head on with a smile, looking toward the weekend.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Goodbye Art

"The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down."   -A. Whitney Brown

I think I've always had an interest in history.  Years ago, in my personal history, my high school American History teacher, Tim Anthes, made history come alive for me.  It was one of my favorite classes.

In 2003, our little community celebrated it's centennial with a large festival. I chaired a committee devoted to publishing a nearly 400 page historical account of the families and businesses in Pigeon. My involvement was from a graphic design side for this event fundraiser.

It was a thrill reading the historical accounts of so many families as I worked on the page layouts. It added to my knowledge of our community's foundation.

Art Woelke
But my local historical knowledge is pale in comparison to that of Arthur J. Woelke.

Art, as he is known to everyone, has roots very deep in Pigeon.  He was born here at the family home in Pigeon, December 4, 1927. I think the only time he lived away from Pigeon was when he attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

He spent a lifetime in healthcare administration, but he had a love for history.  The Pigeon Historical Depot Museum is filled with volumes of three-ring binders loaded with page after page of hand-typed accounts of events, families, businesses and building. There are hundreds of photographs of houses and other buildings with notations to the locations and occupants.

I cannot image the hours of time spent on this collection.  It's impossible to put a value on the information he amassed. I don't want to think about the information still in his head.

Today we say goodbye to Art.  He died peacefully this past Tuesday.

As a charter member of the Pigeon Historical Society, Art was honored by the Historical Society of Michigan with an Award of Merit for his extensive collection of local historical documents, photographs, newspaper articles and artifacts now on display at the Pigeon Historical Museum.

He took the took the Historical Society's mission to preserve history very seriously.

We are all blessed to have known Art and to have called him friend. His life is now history.

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
-- Oscar Wilde

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Socks Suck

For about the past year, I have been on a quest to find the perfect pair of socks.

I so often find the socks I buy either stretch out and slide down around my ankles or they're so snug that I lose circulation.

I'm a little weird about my socks. No, I'm a LOT weird about my socks.

I prefer something with a little weight to them yet not super heavy. They should be made of cotton or at a minimum a cotton blend.  I prefer something in a crew length rather than those that come up to my knee. I'm not crazy about argyle or any other pattern, just your basic solid color will do. The basic black, navy, and brown is the best.

It's nearly impossible to buy a single pair of socks. At least where I shop. They're usually packed three-pairs together with two of the same (great) color and one color I'll never wear.

A few weeks ago I thought I found the perfect socks.  They felt right to the touch and came in a three pack of all black. I wore them for the last three days. I have an ring around my lower calf from the elastic and my foot felt like it was in a cast.

Perhaps I need to take up knitting my own socks? Until then, I'll keep searching for the perfect socks.

Then I can move onto finding non-strangulating underwear. is where you can find all kind of goofy blog posting just like this one.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Chuck!

Chuck with two of his daughters, Julie and Gina.
Today is a special day.  It's my brother Chuck's sixtieth birthday.

It's special because, honestly, I had serious doubts he would make this to this birthday.

I don't think I told anyone that before.

See last fall, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I've never spoken to him about it, so I'm not sure if he fully understands how serious his condition was at that time.  He spent three days with a ventilator breathing for him.

I generally keep my cool with this kind of stuff. I've been around it enough to understand what's going on and how to deal with it. With him, I was scared shitless.

But that was then, and now is now. He's much healthier and his condition has improved greatly. He's lost 70 or 80 lbs, mostly fluid where it shouldn't be, and he's taking better care of himself.

So this birthday is special for him, for his family, for everyone who loves him.

Happy Birthday Chuck!  Hopefully there will be many more.