Years ago I saw a sweatshirt that read “Being Retired Means Never Having A Day Off.” I thought it was funny. Now, not so much. I’ve got to prune a couple of cherry trees. They block my view, but in summer they block the sun that turns our living room into a food dryer. Unacceptable in winter, when grown men have been known to stand outside with a Mason jar on a sunny day and beg for just one ray to pour itself in for keepsies. So it’s time for my Pacific N’West banjo (that’s a chainsaw anywhere else) and a sorry piece of work because spring won’t be half as much without all those branches dressed up in their blossom best. Just another chore. Just another pebble to ripple the pond.


I just bit on a thing that said I was the ?-thousandth person to visit a site. Me. I usually want ID from someone paying in cash. Now I have to sit back and sweat out who I let into my computer and what they mean to do about it. My trove of secrets is manifold: Where are my extra house keys? (I don’t know.); Where do my books rank on Amazon? (Don’t know, don’t care, Never count your chips until the last hand.); Will the Seahawks repeat? (Not telling.); Are my manuscripts safe? (If you want to read some stuff that needs revising like a fish needs water, go to it.); What is the meaning of life? (Not on my computer, but I know that one, too, so neener neener.). In short, what you can find out about me from my diabolical machine won’t hurt me. Given half a chance, however, I sure as hell will.

Too Much Everything

I don’t know Robin Williams. Was never anywhere near him. I’ve known more than my share of suicides, I always felt terribly sad, as does anyone. I’ve always wondered why it happened. What could be horrible enough to demand such an act? In the end, though, whether it’s friend or acquaintance or stranger, all that’s left is loss and dismay. I’ll try to understand – again – and I’ll be mystified – again. But the real horror sets in with the realization that any of us is capable of it. May God grant him and all like him the peace they so terribly seek.  


Shutting down for the night. Good day – some good words strung in sequence. Listening to a lady named Judy Carmichael playing piano on Pandora. I’m in love with Pandora. As for Ms Carmichael, she’s only the best jazz pianist I know about. Her group glistens, her playing soars. If you know slide piano, she’s it. If you don’t, that’s like not knowing honey on hotcakes. Get some. And if you’re a neighbor and she needs windows washed or a flat fixed or something, call me. But not unless she’s home rehearsing.

Shakes Head, Not Understanding

Good day today. Got my ARC of Expedition Indigo from Stacy Allen, and no one deserves success more than her. Got a very kind reminder from Larry Verigin (Dark Seed) that bourbon will iron out my aches and pains. Noted with considerable alarm Susan Gunderson’s pictures (who can count the titles?) of her naughty tomatoes. Success, compassion, dirty vegetables.Such a varied bounty. I exult.

Way Back Machine

Yard work day. Pruning shears, barrow, heavy lifting – all that and a temperature reaching for 90. I haven’t put in a day like that in way too long. Felt good. I’ll hurt tomorrow. OK. In an hour I’ll be sleeping like a marble slab, but right now malt beverage is in order. Secure the butts, Gunny; see  the brass is policed up.The smoking lamp is out.

Get Yours

Yesterday’s paper said we’ve given more money to Afghanistan than we paid for the Marshall plan. It added we should expect less accomplishment in return. I read stuff like that and my anger about greasy CEO’s sags a bit. When you live in a country whose leaders think bribing thieves and retrograde morons is the key to peace, why get mad at our homegrown thieves who are smart enough to dodge their taxes and watch the rest of us send our money to tyrants?  

New Day

Just got off the phone with our son, talking about 3D printing, He’s been kicking the stable gate for years waiting for this stuff. It’s our century’s answer to steam and electricity. He sees the potential. Just for starters, imagine a guy in Marfa, Texas who can take your salt-water ruined Rolex (you should be so lucky in the first place) and duplicate it, Precisely. Watch out; these little “ain’t that amusing?” toys are going to change the world.Exciting times.




Sometimes I like to imagine being a farmer. It’s so much more pleasant than actually growing things. I would point to my tomatoes. I would, but I won’t. They’re far too sensitive. A careless glance and they break out in blossom end rot. (Suggestive definition, no?) Good weather? Sunshine is brutality; they hang limp as scolded children. A good, cleansing drink of water? Cracks to hide in. But I am a slave to their luscious beauty, trapped in a humiliating one-sided relationship. Until I need a salad. Right now will do fine.

Of Immelmans and Power Dives

At least a half-dozen hummingbirds, fledglings and adults, have staked out the yard. A batch of dragonflies have claimed it, as well. Show-offs, every one of them, and belligerent. Stand out on the back deck and you’re in the middle of ongoing 1918 dogfights. All we lack at McQuinn Aerodrome is Snoopy and the Red Baron quaffing root beer.