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The United States of Trump

Published for Sunday - December 31, 2023

USofT

Written Saturday - 12/30/23 7:00 AM

The title of this post is also the title of the latest book I finished reading (listening to) on Audible. While it's my 14th book on the system, it is by far the best book I have chosen to purchase and read on Audible so far.

The book was published in the fall of 2019 and was written by Bill O'Reilly.




The Snows Arrive!

Published for Saturday - December 30, 2023

Snows Arrive

Written Thursday - 12/28/23 04:15 PM

I'm typing this a day ahead since the Snow family is slated to arrive today. I don't want to be in a position of having to pull myself away from the crowd in order to go and type a post.

Admittedly the picture is a bit off the mark for the post, but close enough. Snow arrives - get it?

Besides, I thought the pic had a lot of character and even some emotional value.




Wintry Mix

Published for Friday - December 29, 2023

Wintry Mix

Written Wednesday - 12/27/23 12:50 PM

That's what the weather guessers are calling for. A wintry mix.

According to the weather guessers, it should arrive Thursday night leading into Friday morning. The Snow family may wind up driving in some of that if it does indeed arrive as forecasted.

They're calling for a 10% chance of a wintry mix starting around 6 AM and continuing through 7 AM. Doesn't sound too promising for our location, but we'll see.

Addendum: 12/28/23 04:05 PM

Well, it looks like the wintry mix is no longer in the forecast for our area. In fact, the low for the night is forecast for 33 °F. Since we tend toward something close to 10 degrees above the norm, I won't even be looking to do a drip in our area.

I'll probably wake up early and check the temp to ensure that I don't need to drip a faucet at the last minute for some crazy change to the forecast.

Addendum: 12/29/23 08:30 AM

The wintry mix showed up after all, on the map but not at our place. It did go all the way down to I-20 (about 15 miles south of us) but skipped over us on the way toward Georgia. Do dripping and everything was fine.




The Snow Family

Published for Thursday - December 28, 2023

Snow Family

Written Wednesday - 12/27/23 8:35 AM

It's a very old picture but as good as we can do until they arrive. Maybe then we will get some pictures of everyone together with those much older grandsons.

The Snow family is traveling now and should arrive sometime Friday. We can't wait to see them.

They should arrive ahead of their furniture by several days and will be staying with us until everything arrives. At that point, we can get over to the new place and start unloading everything.

What a joy it will be to have them close by. The new place is beautiful and will provide a wonderful living arrangement for the entire Snow family.




1000 Miles

Published for Wednesday - December 27, 2023

1000 Miles

Written Tuesday - 12/26/23 7:45 AM

Well, I started off running 2 milers in 2023. On February 4th, I swapped over to 3 milers and continued until sometime in October.

On October 11th, I started doing 2 milers on the days I had weight training. On November 27th I started doing 2 milers every day, except the for the 6 days in December when I essentially doubled up and did 4 miles to get ahead.

On Christmas day, I did my last 2 miler and crossed the 1,000 mile threshold. I'm taking off for the rest of the year. According to my running log, I missed 3 days of running during 2023, which included a hospital visit and two overnight visits with Jonthan and Amy.

I think I'll pick up the two mile runs after the departure of the Snow family and I'll continue with my weight training as well. Sounds like the running goal will be around 700 miles for 2024.




1 Message

Published for Tuesday - December 26, 2023

1 Message

Written Monday - 12/25/23 1:30 PM

Last night I came across a movie that took me where I didn't expect to go. The name of the film was, 1 Message.

I say it took me where I didn't expect to go because it had a very big surprise ending. I almost didn't stay with it, but I'm so glad that I did.

It's a story of a woman who finds hope in one of the more difficult places that life could take her. It's a movie with bits of wisdom scattered throughout. It's an unusually long movie, (about 2.5 hours), but one that has a lot to offer for anyone willing to take the lengthy trip.

The byline or tagline says it all: A body disfigured by cancer. A treasure found inside.




Merry Christmas

Published for Monday - December 25, 2023

Christmas

Written Thursday - 12/21/23 1:30 PM

So, what is the reason for the season? The season is Christmas and the reason is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I'm so grateful that God put in me a desire after His heart. I cannot imagine living in another country with a different focus or, for that matter, a portion of this country where the focus is anywhere and everywhere except on God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

Thank you Lord, for providing your son and a way for each of us to enter the kingdom of God. For it is in, and by, His name that we find our salvation and the promised eternal life.




Get Used to Different

Published for Sunday - December 24, 2023

Different

Written Saturday - 12/23/23 4:25 PM

In episode 7 of season 1 of The Chosen Jesus calls Matthew to follow him. Later Simon says, 'This is different', to which Jesus responds, 'Get Used to Different.'

It's a powerful line in a powerful production. Equally powerful is episode 8 where Jesus meets the woman at the well. What follows will tug your heart like it's never been tugged before.

Also in episode 8 is the powerful scene where Nicodemus decides not to follow the call of Jesus in favor of his 'comfortable' life. I wept for Nicodemus as he wept in the production.




The Christmas 'Munch' is Coming

Published for Saturday - December 23, 2023

Christmas Eve

Written Friday - 12/22/23 9:30 AM

Looking forward to having Jonathan and Amy over for a festive Christmas. Patty plans to make a 'munching' spread and it's always great.

Her Ceviche has recently been a big winner with everyone and I can't wait for her to do it again with this Holiday. Oh, and her homemade chips are amazing too! When combined with the Ceviche, the combo just can't be beat.




Banner

Published for Friday - December 22, 2023

Banner

Written Thursday - 12/21/23 8:20 AM

If you visit this blogsite at all and pay much attention to the way things are organized or laid out, you may have noticed that the banner at the top of the page is missing. You can see the word banner which is the alternate when the image goes missing.

Well, this has happened once before and I did something to fix it. Now it's happened again and I have no idea why. I have wondered if I did something to make it quit working, but the things I do on a daily basis here don't even come close to affecting the banner.

This is one of those technical puzzles that is a real pain. Everything seems to be as it is supposed to be, but the banner just does not show up. I guess this will be a technical problem that will capture much of my time and attention until I get it fixed.

Addendum: 12/21/23 12:30 PM

Well, as can be seen here on the site, the banner is showing again and all is well. The banner quit showing up in all places that have different code. It was clear to me that the image behaved as if it was missing. That's because I could still see the alternate name of Banner everywhere the file was supposed to be located.

However when I went searching, the banner image file was still in place. A review of Google suggested one possibility might be a corrupted image file. As such, I copied another file but the problem persisted.

I'm not sure how or why I came across the solution, but I vividly remembered causing the problem. I just didn't recognize that I caused it back when it happened.

That's because I was using technology that I don't typically use and am not sure I even know how to use. A folder was somehow selected and when I moved my cursor it was dragged and dropped into a different location. When I discovered the issue and moved the folder back to the place where it belonged, Voila, everything started working again.

To be quite honest, I didn't even know that FileZilla would allow me to drag and drop a folder to a new location. I guess that's what made the issue so difficult to debug.

So, my assessment of the issue was correct - the system was not finding the image. However, my guess(es) as to the cause of that problem (the relocated file folder) were incorrect. That is until I finally came across the problem and in a place where I least expected to find it.




An Overnighter With Jonathan and Amy

Published for Thursday - December 21, 2023

Jon Tree

Written Tuesday - 12/19/23 5:40 PM

In a previous post, I announced we had been away for an overnighter. We spent the night with Jonathan and Amy and enjoyed their wonderful hospitality.

We also enjoyed the beautiful view of the fireplace and the Christmas tree. It was a wonderful and cozy setup.

By the way, Jonathan was not sleeping as it may appear. I think I snapped the picture on my phone right when he blinked. LOL!

Fire Place




Catching Up

Published for Wednesday - December 20, 2023

Catching Up

Written Monday - 12/18/23 7:00 AM

On Monday, I published a post entitled Hanging Around. I purposely left some information out because I didn't want to announce that we were going to be away for an overnighter.

Well, since that time I posted about a wonderful Nutcracker Ballet we attended. I would add that I also met with an inner ear doctor who gave me a clean bill of health on the ear side of things.

The doctor (whom I really like!) described a scenario called an autonomic nervous system disorder and more specifically referred to as dysautonomia. He wants me to pursue that direction with another doctor. Having reviewed the material, I can definitely buy-in on that approach. It makes sense to me.

The challenge will be that it's a heart matter but not necessarily reflective of a defective heart. The following two websites provide a great deal of good information: click here for the first website. and click here for the second website.




The Nutcracker Ballet

Published for Tuesday - December 19, 2023

Nutcracker

Written Monday - 12/18/23 5:35 PM

Patty and I were treated to front row seats on a live orchestra over in Birmingham for the official production of The Nutcracker Ballet. To say the production was amazing would be putting it lightly. The production was incredible featuring the Birmingham Ballet Company and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

I snapped a couple of pictures of the Pit Orchestra and one live shot of the conductor during the production. It was an experience I will not forget and one graciously provided (with dinner) for us by Jonathan and Amy.

The keyboard player nailed The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Harpist added a touch of magic and elegance to the entire performance. (See third picture below.)

Nutcracker 1

Nutcracker 2

Nutcracker 3




Hanging Around

Published for Monday - December 18, 2023

Hang Around

Written Sunday - 12/17/23 10:30 AM

This post is going to hang around for a while. That's because I won't be able to update to the Tuesday post until sometime on Tuesday. More on why, (and what that means) later on.




Weather

Published for Sunday - December 17, 2023

Rain Z

Written Saturday - 12/16/23 9:15 AM

While our forecast calls for rain, the automated weather map has it skipping us completely. That's not an unusual occurrence around here.

We're scheduled for rain Saturday and Sunday and who knows how that will work out with our drive over to see Jonathan and Amy, not to mention all of us going to the Nutcracker Ballet.

We're planning to spend the night with Jonathan and Amy and while Jonathan has to get up and out early on Monday, we plan to sleep in a bit and get up with Amy and grab some coffee before we head to my doctor's appointment.

I hope the testing being done by the inner-ear team proves fruitful because if it doesn't, I'm going to have to change gears completely. No telling what is going to happen on that one, so I guess (and as I've said so many times before) we'll see...




The Interpreter

Published for Saturday - December 16, 2023

The Interpreter

Written Thursday - 12/14/23 12:50 PM

I always enjoy a good movie, even if I've seen it before. Such was the case with The Interpreter, a film directed by Sydney Pollack who happens to be one of my favorite directors.

The film also starred Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn who both filled very likeable roles in the picture. It's not often that I care much for either, but this was definitely an exception.

Two things are for sure: If Sydney Pollack directed it he will be in it and it will be a good movie. He generally has a small supporting role but it's always a good movie and worth watching. So sorry that we lost him back in 2008.

On another note of interest, I don't find that I like horror flicks because I don't enjoy (like some) being frightened during a movie. However, in a rare instance one of the scenes in The Interpreter had a moment that sent chills up my spine. I knew it was coming and it still did the chill thing.




Goals!

Published for Friday - December 15, 2023

Goals

Written Wednesday - 12/13/23 11:20 AM

I'm a goal type guy. I like goals but I'm the first to admit that they can get in the way of life.

That's why I'm working ahead to ensure I meet my running goal without making a major upheaval of life to secure it. I've stored up 5 extra runs which means I can now miss 5 days and still meet my goal of 1,000 miles in 2023.

I will definitely be off schedule for my December 18th run, which means I may miss it altogether. And, the Snow family may arrive as early as December 28th which may mean that life will force me to use those last four stored up runs on the last four days of the year.

It's quite possible that I may be able to get those last four runs in anyway, but I like the idea of utilizing those stored up runs and taking the last days of the year off from running.

I may have to store up another run or two to deal with any other unknowns that come my way. But right now it doesn't look that way, so no need to get too far ahead on the running front. We'll see...




Heart Rate

Published for Thursday - December 14, 2023

Heart Rate

Written Tuesday - 12/12/23 8:30 AM

Sometimes I can't tell the difference between heart rate and simple tired muscles. It's so easy to mistake one for the other.

There are times when my muscles start screaming at me and it's so easy to mistake that for a fussy heart rate. This morning provided a great example.

According to my Vivo Active 3 smart watch, my heart rate only got up to 127 in both my workout and my run. I sure thought it was higher but it must have been my muscles that were doing the screaming and not my heart.

Another factor is my breathing. Sometimes when I step off of the treadmill I feel somewhat out of breath. I tend to see that as a heart related matter when I'm guessing that it must be more related to tired muscles.

That's the only way I can interpret what is going on - assuming my Vivo Active 3 is providing me with an accurate picture of my heartrate. I wear the watch band pretty tight hoping for an accurate heartrate reading. I suppose there's a lot riding on my numbers.




Journey to Bethlehem

Published for Wednesday - December 13, 2023

Journey to Bethlehem

Written Tuesday - 12/12/23 11:50 AM

I mentioned the film in yesterday's addendum here on the blogsite. But it deserves a full post dedicated to the movie. It was that good.

I don't know what I was expecting, but it sure wasn't what I got. The film went far beyond anything I could have anticipated. It was really good.

The movie also touched me in a way I could have never expected. I hate getting choked up at the movies. But I guess that's the way it is with such a good movie.

I can't wait to own the movie and to watch it again.




Busy Day

Published for Tuesday - December 12, 2023

Busy X

Written Sunday - 12/10/23 7:00 AM

With a busy Monday coming up (our anniversary) I suppose I better write this post well ahead of its scheduled publication. I'm really looking forward to going out for dinner and a movie to celebrate 47 years together.

We've already decided where we want to go for both. I sort of starved myself yesterday so I could pig-out for the eat out meal. Besides, I was hovering in the top of my range so it was time to peel off a pound or two (or three.) Smiley

Oh, and popcorn and a diet coke will definitely be a requirement at the movie.

Anyway, 47 amazing years sure have flown by in a hurry. I have no idea how many years remain, but I'll cherish each and every one of them!

Addendum: 12/12/23 11:35 AM

A quick report on Dinner and a movie. Lunch was great. I ate way too much. But the movie, Journey to Bethlehem, was way beyond any expectation I could have set. What an amazing production. And the songs were incredible.

All I can say is, wow! I'll definitely buy the movie when it becomes available.




Busy Day

Published for Tuesday - December 12, 2023

Busy X

Written Sunday - 12/10/23 7:00 AM

With a busy Monday coming up (our anniversary) I suppose I better write this post well ahead of its scheduled publication. I'm really looking forward to going out for dinner and a movie to celebrate 47 years together.

We've already decided where we want to go for both. I sort of starved myself yesterday so I could pig-out for the eat out meal. Besides, I was hovering in the top of my range so it was time to peel off a pound or two (or three.) Smiley

Oh, and popcorn and a diet coke will definitely be a requirement at the movie.

Anyway, 47 amazing years sure have flown by in a hurry. I have no idea how many years remain, but I'll cherish each and every one of them!




47th Anniversary

Published for Monday - December 11, 2023

47

Written Saturday - 12/09/23 11:40 AM

Today marks our 47th anniversary. (50th if you include our dating years.) Patty offered that distinction so I thought I would add it here.

There's no way I could give adequate credit to my wonderful soulmate. She is a blessing beyond description. But I wanted to take some time to say thanks to her for sharing so many wonderful years together.

Hard to believe we've known each other for some 50 years or so. And it's also hard for me to believe that someone would invest so much goodness into my life as she has done.

Patty is a pleaser and I have enjoyed the wonderful benefit that comes from that characteristic of her life. I'm told that our two personalities don't align well for a good marriage. I suppose I would have to claim the fault in that. And yet she loves me in a manner that few men enjoy.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful mate you have provided for me! As my dad always said (and with which I agree) 'I got better than I deserved.' There's a reason she is so well loved by so many - especially the kids. It's hard not to love such a warm, caring, and kind-hearted person.




Rainy Days

Published for Sunday - December 10, 2023

Rainy Weather

Written Saturday - 12/09/23 10:35 AM

Well, as I write it's Saturday the 9th and looks like were in for some rain today and tomorrow, or at least that's the forecast anyway.

I say that because the forecast often doesn't describe the reality of things. It seems we often get more rain in the forecast than we do on the ground.

Monday is our anniversary and there's no rain in the forecast for that day. More about the anniversary in tomorrow's blog post.

One of the things I try to keep up with is freezing weather. That's because I want to make sure I do the drip thing or those nights where temps are below freezing. Looks like we may be facing such a situation Sunday night going into Monday. We'll see...

Addendum: 12/10/23 09:30 AM

Rainy

Looks like we got almost 2.5 inches in that gullywasher last night!




Phone Upgrades - Galaxy A14's

Published for Saturday - December 09, 2023

Galaxy A14

Written Thursday - 12/07/23 6:05 PM

Well, it was time to upgrade Patty's J3 Galaxy phone. Her's is a couple of years older than my A10e and mine is O.L.D!

Verizon had such a good deal going that I decided to go ahead and upgrade mine too. The Big, Big, screen was just to irresistible. I also have another techie thing I want Patty to have for Christmas. An iPad. (She knows about it.) But they were out of them at Walmart.

I suppose Amazon will work just fine. In fact, yesterday I also ordered some black running shoes and will keep my dirt filled pair for better work in the yard. The other yard shoes are so bad that they don't grip my feet and bring about bloody toe nails from the lack of grip while climbing those slopes in our yard. Ouch!

Anyway, back to the phone stories, the helpful person at Walmart had some major technology problems so I volunteered to take care of the problems from my home based wifi. That was a big mistake since I had no real idea what I was doing.

The good news is that I figured it out and was able to get everything up and running. Whew! Phone upgrades are far worse than the torture of buying a new car. I thought buying a car was a major pain, but that was before our recent phone upgrades.

By the way, I just checked the price difference between Walmart and Amazon, and the difference is substantial enough to entice me to take a ride to another Walmart a bit further away than our closest one in Atalla. The other one is in Jacksonville and they have the iPad in stock. Smiley




House Hunting

Published for Friday - December 08, 2023

House Hunting

Written Thursday - 12/07/23 10:40 AM

Back in November, I was writing in a cryptic fashion. I was sharing things like errands but not sharing the why or other specifics about those errands.

Well, I've been given permission to share more details so here we go. It turns out that our daughter (Allie) and son-in-law (Josh) and our two grandsons (Noah and Gabe) are moving back to the states.

They've spent a glorious time in the Marshall Islands and Josh is taking a new job in the Atlanta, GA area. Because of how infrequently he has to go into the office with the new job, they are moving to Tallapoosa, GA, just about 1.5 hours away from us and with a similar but smaller distance for the commute.

What a joy it will be to have them back in the states and close by. We've been running interference for them in the house hunting department.

They've had several places that they wanted us to check out and share what the pictures were unable to provide. They put in an offer and it was accepted, so now they're playing the hurry up and wait game. Looks like they'll be back right around the first of the year.

We're so excited for them and can't wait to see them. Oh, and what a beautiful place they've purchased. They are sure to enjoy it.




Pearl Harbor Day

Published for Thursday - December 07, 2023

Pearl Harbor

Written Wednesday - 12/03/23 4:15 PM

It happened about 82 years ago on December 7, 1941. The United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii suffered a major surprise attack by the Japanese.

The initial strike took place on a Sunday just before 8:00 AM, local time.

The strike was incredible and it still amazes me that we pulled out of this one without becoming part of Japan.

Both incredible versions of the movie, Midway (1976 and 2019), did a great deal to foster my understanding of our amazing defense.




What To Write?

Published for Wednesday - December 06, 2023

What To Write

Written Monday - 12/04/23 1:05 PM

What to write? Every now and then I have one of those kind of todays. And today is one of those kind of days.

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day and I wrote about that yesterday to cover tomorrow's blog post. But I don't really have anything to write for today and that would wind up posting the day after tomorrow.

Maybe I should take more risks and let the days get closer so that whatever I write is truly fresh on my mind. However, having one of those kind of days like I'm having and having it with a looming and pressure-filled deadline is not a good thing.

So, I'll stay with writing ahead, even if I wind up facing one of those 'What To Write' kind of days as a result. Fortunately, without much if any of a readership, it's just not a problem. Smiley

Ah, the benefits of using a blog to serve more as a scrapbook of memories. Even if there's some downside in my decision to write something each and every day. Smiley




Our Christmas Cat

Published for Tuesday - December 05, 2023

Small Cat

Written Sunday - 12/03/23 7:00 AM

I suppose Lily is our Christmas cat. I don't think this is the first year she has decided to make the base of our Christmas tree her napping spot.

Big Cat

Her presence makes the whole picture look cozy, warm, and inviting. It's a real treat to see her under the tree and taking a snooze.

The challenge was taking the pictures without disrupting things. On this occasion, she was agreeable and quite willing to work with me.

It's always good when that happens, because it doesn't always happen.




ISS

Published for Monday - December 04, 2023

Doug Wheelock

Written Saturday - 12/02/23 8:55 AM

This is a picture of Commander Doug Wheelock back in 2010 and aboard the ISS or International Space Station. When I contacted him, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say, 'Welcome aboard the International Space Station.'

I made the contact with Commander Wheelock back on November 20th at 22:07 UTC. Speaking of honors, it's probably the most notable memory of my ham radio hobby.

Since that time my daughter actually had an opportunity to meet the commander at a teacher's event when she and her family lived in Dallas, TX. She mentioned our contact and of course that seemed to get his attention as she shared with me.

What a cool thing!




Wondering

Published for Sunday - December 03, 2023

Wondering

Written Saturday - 12/02/23 8:35 AM

I just finished making a bunch of distant contacts on the FT8 and FT4 digital modes of my ham radio. It's such a treat to contact individuals in foreign countries.

My relatively new hexbeam has provided me the opportunity to reach new locations which I have never before contacted. India and Thailand would be good examples.

That got me to wondering. After all, many of the contacts I make are of those individuals who live in countries that are at war and are in deadly war zones.

When I do QRZ.com lookups on their callsigns I noticed that most have withheld their addresses. I can only imagine why they have done this but it makes sense.

There are a few places, like North Korea, with which I am not allowed to make contacts. But much to my pleasant surprise, many of the questionable regions do permit contacts. China would be a good example.

Some of the war zones, or potential war zones, that I have successfully contacted include Israel, Russia (both the Asian and European regions), Taiwan, Ukraine, China, Israel, and perhaps a few others.

So earlier I said that these contacts got me to wondering. Wondering about who these people are that I'm contacting and what life is like for them in these war zones where they feel a need to withold their address on the QRZ.com ham radio website. What are they thinking about their situations and does ham radio help them feel more a sense of normalcy?

I consider it an honor to make these contacts with these individuals and even those in other countries that may not be at war or in a war zone. God bless them all!




Colin Ford

Published for Saturday - December 02, 2023

Colin Ford

Written Friday - 12/01/23 1:45 PM

I just finished watching Karen Kingsbury's A Thousand Tomorrows. It was a great and inspirational story.

But best of all, it featured Colin Ford in the lead along with Rose Reid. I say best of all because Patty and I know Colin Ford from another life where we produced features and short films with our company, Pocketwatch Productions Inc.

We had the wonderful joy of doing six productions over a period of seven years. Included in the list were a TV pilot, a feature film, a documentary, and several award winning short films including one that eared a Silver Telly.

It's so amazing to have worked with folks who went on to do big things and Colin is no exception. As a young boy, he played a lead in one of our comedy short films entitled Baptism Sunday.

Since that time he has gone on to do big things such as his role as a ball player opposite Dennis Quaid in The Hill and another recent project in the Ryan Murphy production, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story - TV.

Congrats to Colin and his mother, Kim, who worked hard to help her son.




Still More About Books

Published for Friday - December 01, 2023

Books X

Written Thursday - 11/30/23 7:30 AM

I had purchased two of Mark Levin's latest books. First was American Marxism which I spent the day reading (listening to) cover to cover.

The second was The Democrat Party Hates America. I look forward to taking that one on next. After that, I'll be purchasing another book with the book credit I mentioned recently. Not yet sure which book that will be.

It's also that time of the (new) month. I suppose a bit of update will be required here on the blogsite. Next month's update will include a brief and easy update to the copyright year. It used to be a difficult and complex change, but not since a few years ago when I altered the environment and produced a much easier update.

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