Hum, advice?

I was reading articles on the Internet and got caught up with one of those titles that start with a number and follow with something that is interesting.  Titles like “3 Ways to Independent wealth.” or “5 Sure Fire Ways to Fire Up Your Sex Life”.  There must free Internet classes on writing these titles, for they are all over the Internet now. I’m sure they teach that if you put a number first and the word ‘Sex’ in the title, you are assured to get someone to click on your title.

The one that caught my attention was: “1 way to save your marriage”.  If it were not for the obvious fake way to get one’s attention, I would change the title of this blog entry to: “2 things can improve your life.”  You don’t really have to list two things, you just need to say it.  However, since I dislike this technique so much, I’ll not change the title.

This article was about a guy who was having problems in his marriage.  He and his wife were struggling and close to divorce. He had a shower thought that he had to do something different to save his marriage, so he had this inspiration. He woke up one morning and asked her: “How can I make your day better?” 

As I often do, I scanned the article trying to pick up the salient point or takeaway.  So, the next morning we were in the kitchen and ask Rita: “How can I make your day better?” 

She looked at me with this confused look on her face and said: “What?”

I repeated the question.

In her somewhat iterated voice, she replied: “I’m not going to tell you what to do?  That is not something we do to each other. We don’t tell each other what to do!”

I retreated mentally into the fetal position and thought:  “That didn’t work.” 

Our marriage is fairly good and, even thought we have our struggles, neither of us feel divorce is over the horizon.  But, it could be better. Like many couples, we get caught up with life’s busy times, Internet or device distractions and other demands.  So, I filed that idea of asking her how to make her life better on the shelf and didn’t ask that question again.  

But, I did think about  it. I started doing dishes while she made dinner. I would fire up the vacuum sweeper and clean up dog hair and tracked winter debris.  I would start laundry, or fold that she started.  Make the bed, I would suggest we eat out instead of expecting her to come up with dinner ideas at home. I would often think: “What can I do to make her day better?” But, I knew better to ask it out loud.

The jury is still out to see if any of this has any impact on our relationship. But these are things I should have been doing all along. If anything, it makes me feel better, more like a equal partner.  I’ll have to report back on this later. 

Meanwhile, I went back to find and reread the article and do research on the author who suggested this idea. I realize that scanning often misses key points.  He continued to ask his wife this question until she cried and they had a come to Jesus meeting about their marriage. I had missed that point, but happy I did, for I think it would not help us much. 

The author appears to have some credentials regarding writing, but I’m not too sure about his credentials in regards to relationship building or fixing.  You can judge this yourself by doing your own reading by starting with his blog: “How I saved my Marriage.”  I’m not suggesting you try this, but introspection is often helpful.

I have to go now and do some dishes and work on stop scanning things I read. 

After Shower Thought – 1/10/2018

Clean out the closet

I was looking for a pair of pants to wear after my shower this morning. I stood in my closet looking over my paints. I wanted something comfortable, leisure like, not business casual, not old-IBM formal black, but also not working in the garage ragged-like.  I didn’t want jeans with knees worn out and stains on them, nor khakis with the cuffs worn to threads. 

I had been thinking of my weight and how hard it was to loose that 10 – 20 pounds that I have been trying to loose for years.  Two summers ago, I had gotten down to 170 lbs, but that took open heart surgery to make happen and by that winter I was back up to 180.  Now, 18 months later, I was struggling to keep my weight under 190. I asked myself, maybe it was time that I admit I will never weigh 170 again. Maybe I will never fit into a 34 inch waistline. Maybe I should just stop worrying about weight but keep on eating more healthy and staying active.

Maybe I should clean out my closet. 

Keeping paints that I can’t wear only gives me a false sense that I have a large choice of pants to wear. So, I tried on all 14 pair of pants that were on hangers.  Many of these were many years old and some of them were purchased at the consignment store.  Of the 14 pairs, I could only fit into 7.  

So, I now have a pile of pants to get rid of.  If feels good to do this. Tomorrow, I may tackle the shirts.

It feels good to stop trying to do something that constantly disappoints me.  I may or may not get down to 170 lbs, but I am going to stop worrying about it. 

I will still continue to cut out sugar, fats, meat, to play the piano, write, learn things,  exercise, and have wishes, goal and dreams.

For now, it is time to clean out the closet in my my bedroom and in my life.





desktop time

So, I was sitting at my desktop doing some consulting work for one of my clients.  It was not a big job, and that was good for with my current back issues, sitting at the desktop is something that I needed to limit my time doing.  It should take me less than 15 minutes to do this job.

So, in starting this minor technical thing, I ran into a glitch. Glitches are common in  technical work.  So, an hour later of investigating and figuring out how to deal with the glitch, I got back to the one thing I originally sat down to do.  The glitch had to do with something in WordPress and just before I shut down my own blog that I use to test things, I noticed a few errors in my blog posts. How log can it take to fix these few errors?

An hour later, my back hurting I got up to take a break.  I answered a call, then as I went to put my phone down, I noticed an email arrived. I checked it and saw I needed to do another minor task for another client of mine. I returned to the desktop, with a bowl of cereal in hand.

An hour later, now my back hurting more and my cereal bowl empty. I went to shut down my blog that I had been working on to fix those minor errors.  Hum, I never noticed that many of the posts I imported from my Google blogspot had some many ‘uncategorized’ entries.  That needed fixed.

An hour later, I was still not done, now my back is really hurting and I needed to sit in front of the piano to practice some pieces before my lesson tonight.

So after five hours of sitting in front of my PC, I got up from my chair and left my screen with the blog still needing work. I hobbled away, my back bent and leaning to one side.

And we wonder why we are so busy these days, and why our body aches.


Reunion question of 2017


Rita and I want to answer the question of attending a family reunion this year.  We have given this a lot of thought because we really enjoyed seeing everyone and watching them interact.

 Having a reunion at Rick’s place is problematic for the east coast travelers (many of my immediate family). Our place is conveniently midway between mid-west family and east coast family.   Rita and I could offer to host it here to remove that traveling concern, and we would be pleased to do that if it were not for another issue that has emerged this year.

This issue is the division in the country and family due to the election.  The election has caused emotions and intensity to reach an extreme level.  The nation is divided and many people can’t talk to each other about topics surrounding it without reverting to name calling, anger, and other negativity.  This is true within our own family.  As kind of an elder of this clan, I want to tell everyone to go to their rooms and stay there until they can treat each other respectfully.  However, that demand does not work with independent adults.  And I like my family to be independent.

After much discussion and thought, Rita and I have concluded that it is too soon for some to put their beliefs and political feelings aside to enjoy each other.  I suggest we postpone the reunion until next year. That way, time may tone down emotions  and give us a chance to realize that family is more important than politics.

Sorry to be so blunt and hope you do not see this as unreasonable.  You all are way too important to me to allow the current political environment to ruin our relationships.

Colorado Trip

My son,  Adam, is hiking the Colorado Trail, which is a 483 mile trail from Denver to Durango.  He plans on taking about six weeks to that

Along the way, he has planned various resupply points.  I plan on flying to CO Aug 5th through Aug 17th and plan on hooking up with him at one, or maybe , two resupply points.  They are marked on the map below with purple pins.

Map of Adam’s hiking plan, showing my plan to hook up.

Also, there is a 4 wheel drive road that goes from Silverton to Sony Pass where I may meet him on trail (of course I may bring water, candy bars, and non-trail food).

Here is a link to the 4 wheel drive trail.

I’m actually toying with doing that drive trail (60 miles?) from Lake City to Silverton, hooking up with Adam at Sony Pass.  That may be a hoot!

This blog entry was started in June, 2016.  The trip to CO was canceled due to my need to have an immediate open heart surgery to replace my Aortic valve.  (I also started a blog entry about that also that I'll post later.)  This blog entry was never finished or edited. I posted it here for archival reasons.

May 2016

There was a time when I worked in the high tech industry that I had to write status reports every month.

I hated that.

I tried to get creative, but more often than not, I was asked to keep with the ‘standard’ format.

So, now that I’m retired, I often wonder: ‘Just what did I do last month?”

So maybe I should write a status report.

May, 2016


Windblown Studio work:

  • Did two gas firings.  One was a regular glaze firing which came out fairly good considering the cones were made pointing the wrong direction.  Instead of them falling away from each other, cone 9 fell into cone 10, and 10 fell into 11.  The firsts time I noticed that was when cone 9 fell at the bottom and pushed the other two cones down with it.   This make it somewhat difficult to tell when to shut down the kiln. But experience paid off and the results looked good.  The second firing was to fire four saggers.  This was to go to 1650 degrees Fahrenheit.  It, also came out good.
  • Private Raku firing:  On May 30th, we did a private Raku firing.  The rain hold off until our third and last firing.  We finished it in light rain. The results were very good. The kiln held up for another firing, only needing some minor door Kaowool repair. Rita got the best piece out with a platter that was turned upside down in the can – giving the red bronze luster glaze good reduction and a copper that is just spectacular.


  • An call to my skin doctor got me an appointment to have him check a lump on my temple.  He removed it (with a scapula)  and the lab tests showed it benign.
  • A call to eye doctor got me an appointment to check my left eye. It was having rings of light flashing when I moved my eye a certain eye. Being concern about a detached retina, he checked it and said it as note the retina but rather the vitreous pulling on the retina.  Had it been accompanied with lots of new floaters or other material floating in my vision, that would indicate a torn retina.  But is wasn’t, so now, I just get a light show when I’m out at night.
  • My normal annual visit with my GP was more of a discussion with her about my heart and blood test results. My cholesterol was up (over 200) as was my triglycerides. This was disappointing since I have lost about 13 pounds since April and have been eating much more healthy than ever.  The doc said a weight loss can actually increase triglycerides. However, keeping with the cardiologist’s desires to get my cholesterol down,  she put me on a statin called Atorvastatin ( a Lipitrol generic product).  Her quote was: “If cardiologist had their own way, they would have lipitrol in the drinking water.”   She also ordered a pulmonary respiratory test to make sure my shortness of breath is not due to some lung problem.
  • My stenosis  still haunts me. Cutting grass, walking up the hill, playing ball with the dog, cutting up wood, walling to the mailbox, and anything strenuous causes shortness of breath. frequently minor chess pain.  At night before I go to sleep, my heart and I have this conversation:  It says: “I’m not healthy” and I say: “keep on pumping.”


  • Zoe got sick. Some kind of allergic reaction. I suspect it is the flea collar.
  • On May 13th,  I went to MA  to visit Chris  and see his boys play little league games. The game was canceled but I did get to see them practice.   I stayed at Eric’s and we had a few drinks and conversation together. I caught Neil and Dianna going to the movie: Jungle Book, so I tagged along.  I also got to see Georgia’s piano recital, which was a great experience. (see blog post)
  • Technology consulting this month was just under 10 hours.
  • Replaced the kitchen faucet.  The difficult part was getting the old one out of the sink. I actually had to take the sink out in order to get the nuts removed from under the faucet.  The new one went in easy compared to that.
  • Finally finished the wiring from the drawing room project. I installed the two way light switch in the kiln room and wired up the outlet to finish all the circuits in the drawing room.
  • When I cut the upper field of grass, I had to rake and pick up the ‘hay’.  Hope to not have to do that again.

The Recital


May 15, 2016
Northampton, MA

After spending over 70 years on planet Earth, I find little that moves me to tears.  But I recently attended a piano recital to see my granddaughter play and was surprised that I was touched by the other kids playing.  This recital was a special moment.

Click to play the music recorded below while you read on.  (I was going to make it auto play, but find that aggravating in other sites, so I put the playing control in your hands.)

If you pressed the play icon, the Beatles piece you are hearing was performed by a boy named Levi who was somewhere between 10  and 12 years old. All I could see is his blond curly hair as he sat on the piano.  He not only played the  piano, but he sang into a microphone. With his lips almost touching the mic,  he looked like a 12 year old  Randy Newman.  The audio is not very good for I recorded it with my cell phone  from the back of the room and Levi  had trouble keeping his mouth close to the mic while he played the base notes.

What touched me was not necessarily the quality of this performance, or any of the other kids that performed, but rather the expression of their passion for music.  I saw  Madeleine perform a piece she wrote herself,  Noah move his body in beat while playing the Star Wars theme, the tapping foot of Nicholas when he did his own jazzed up version of Lightly Row.

Kids age 10 – 12 do not  exude their passion for music, especially at a piano recital. They are normally terrified of missing a note, or forgetting what comes next.  They just want to get their playing done quickly and off stage.  But, what I saw that Sunday afternoon were a bunch of great kids that love  music and they were not ashamed to show it.

My granddaughter’s performance was good. She showed her feel for music when she put in the appropriate pause between notes for effect. She was not in a rush to get the performance done. She wanted you to feel the music, using the silence between notes to instill that touch.  If you were not noticing, you may think it was a mistake, but it was deliberate and effective.  Who teaches kids to do that?  This is special.

A few days later, after I got home,  I would catch myself humming  Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da.  When I listen to these pieces, it still  brings tears to my eyes.

I emailed the teacher thanking her for doing such a great job and wishing her to never stop. Teaching young’ens to play the piano, a number of people can do that.  But to teach them to improvise,  compose and put a happy Beatles  tunes in your head for days,  now, that is great!


Dogs are missing Rita

The dogs (and cats) miss Rita. Zoe is constantly looking for her, going out front to the car, waiting for her to get out, sitting on the porch looking at the driveway for her to arrive. When she is inside and needs cuddling, she snuggles up with Sue.

Sue is just missing somebody to play with her or feed her. But she she goes outside, as she just gets outside, she turns her head and looks for Zoe as if saying: “Arn’t you comming?”
They are great friends.

First Blog Post

Rita is away, taking care of her mom, who at 92, is recovering from back surgery. So, that leaves me at home with Sue, Zoe, Toby and Charlie, our two dogs and two cats. Other than working full time and overtime at my day job, I get to teach her pottery classes, work on the garage which we are trying to complete, take care of the house, yard, and do some technical work on the side.

Keeps me busy.
So, I started this blog in order to test out blogging, since I have some technical work to do in that area and to see if it is a place to store my thoughts, musings, stories, to do lists, and other things that can be expressed in writing.
I’m also looking for an alternative to Facebook Twitter, which I joined as a way to keep in touch with my kids and family.
So, now I must leave and get my butt to work.