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MAY 15, 2021

Running Update

My exercise regimen has almost always been cardio, and specifically running. As spring showed up this year, and with it the biting bugs, heat, and hot sun, Patty and I decided to move our daily regimen to the gym.

I've shared most of that story before, but today I want to take a moment to reflect on how it's going. I've never been much of a treadmill kinda guy, but the music player and the earbuds have made all the difference in my ability to crank up the treadmill at the gym and get in my 3 miles each day.

When I first moved to the gym and I was trying different paces for my running. As usual, I fell into the speed trap pushing my pace to 8 minute miles. That pace wasn't too bad when I was younger but it didn't take too many long recoveries to show me that I needed to slow that pace down just a bit.

My log shows that I experimented by changing the pace each mile and varying it anywhere between 8 minutes and 9.5 minutes per mile. For this month I've landed on the 9.5 end of that scale and am very happy with the results for 3 miles per day.

Every now and then, when I'm feeling a bit spunky, I'll mix up the pace in each of my three miles and pick up the speed a bit. But, for my general objective, my intention is to keep it in the 9.0 to 9.5 range, and most likely on the slower end.

So far in 2021, I've logged 365 miles with 36 miles here in May. I'm right at 7,492 miles logged since I started logging my runs and hope to keep up with my running until the Lord calls me home.

I guess we'll see.


MAY 14, 2021


When it comes to beautiful plants and beautiful gardens, Patty is the green thumb in our family. She has a great spot in our yard next to the house and has filled out four 4x4 raised beds.


She also has a row of plants immediately next to the house that includes Gardenias, Meyer Lemons, figs, and a beautiful Oleander.


Each bed has been carefully crafted...


...and she already has a beautiful sunflower growing tall that we both enjoy!


Up by the house, on the canal side, she keeps another garden growing in large pots and there's always a spectacular sight to see.


The same can be said for her pots in the ocean side garden!


Plus, it's always a treat when she brings her handiwork into the house for us to enjoy!


Recently, I added a new feature called Side Notes. I tend to write a day ahead and, as a result, some of the things that occur and might be worth writing about go without attention here on the blog. It has happened often enough that I want to make a change.

Side notes are now located at the end of the daily post and, as I said, will reflect any additional things that might be worth sharing on the day that they occurred. They will be added after the daily post goes out (and may be added more than once in a day) so it may become relevant to check back on a previous day's post for any side notes that might have been added.


MAY 13, 2021

Movie Music

One of the things I always aspired to was composing music for film scores. It's a wonderfully creative venture with which to be involved, even if I never moved beyond rookie status in my accomplishments.

As I've mentioned before, I'm also a big fan of watching movies and I'm always listening to the film score to both hear what the composer chose and what I can learn from it. The more movies I watch and the more composers I get exposed to brings with it the opportunity to observe the consistencies in some of their styles.

James Horner was a perfect example. I noticed his tendency toward themes that included and were built around low notes in the low registers of the instruments that he selected. It seems like he uses that approach at some point in most of his compositions.

Well, last night I watched Ghosts of Mississippi with Alec Baldwin and Whoppi Goldberg. As I listened to some of the music, I realized that I had heard that style in another movie, but was struggling to identify it.

I looked up the composer for the film I was watching and it was Marc Shaiman. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize his name. I was also not aware that the movie was directed by Rob Reiner until I saw it while chasing down the composer.

It was Rob Reiner's name that prompted me to remember the other film. And I was guessing that since Rob Reiner directed both films, there was a real possibility that he had specifically asked Marc Shaiman to score both films.

My hunch was right. The other film I was reaching for was A Few Good Men. After finally identifying the mystery movie, I was able to recall the music in it and was amazed at how similar the film scores were in both movies. It's always interesting when something like that happens!


Well, when it comes to weight loss, weight maintenance, and diet, it's amazing how easy it is to fall into old and bad habits. And, with regard to those bad habit traps that I keep running up against, it's even more amazing how easy it is to justify what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, and why I'm doing it.

I suppose it's a healthy exercise (no pun intended) to challenge my thinking from time to time, lest I fall into an OCD trap and start doing things for the sake of the regimen and not because they make sense.

Going back and forth on some decisions has enabled me to try things both ways and make sure I know which direction brings greater benefit and makes more sense.

I'm intentionally not being too specific here because it's a learning process. I'm leaving everything open to challenge and change since everything I'm doing works together. Changing one thing might require that I change another.

The good news is that Patty and I are both being very honest with ourselves about what works and what doesn't, despite any sacrifices that are required along the way. Generally, we're doing the same thing but since we're not wired exactly the same, our regimens don't include exactly the same things.

That just makes it all the more interesting from my perspective.


Recently, I added a new feature called Side Notes. I'll be announcing this new feature for another day or two in case anyone misses it. I tend to write a day ahead and, as a result, some of the things that occur and might be worth writing about go without attention here on the blog. It has happened often enough that I want to make the change.

Side notes will be located at the end of the daily post and, as I said, will reflect any additional things that might be worth sharing on the day that they occurred. They will be added after the daily post goes out (and may be added more than once in a day) so it may become relevant to check back on a previous day's post for any side notes that might have been added.


MAY 12, 2021


A couple of days ago I was at the gym. As I was driving out of the parking lot after my workout I noticed a bumper sticker with flowers all over it on one of the other cars. The sticker also contained two simple words:

Kindness Matters

As a guy with Asperger's (and who knows what all else is in that mix) my focus on the task far too often leaves me insensitive to those around me. In fact I'm learning that there must be some OCD in there as well because I'm too often focused on being efficient when there's no real need to be. And, it often becomes a distraction to pull my focus away from the people around me.

It truly pains me to look back at what I didn't know. In fact, it really pains me to consider the season with my parents when Asperger's wasn't even on anyone's radar. What must they have thought? I wish I knew then what I know now and could go back and offer them an explanation for my odd behaviors.

The good news about being a dude with Asperger's is that I don't tend to fight anxiety and I don't tend to look back or cry over spilt milk. That's fortunate because it enables me to let go and let God...

I think dad understood because he exhibited some of the same behaviors as did his father before him. So, maybe the apple didn't fall too far from the tree, as they say.

On the other hand, my neurotypical mom must have felt completely out of place in our household. Fortunately, I can look back and see that her deep love for me stood stronger than did my oddities. And now, the wife with whom I am so blessed picks up right where my mom left off and carries love, patience, kindness, and understanding to a new and much higher level!

Thank you Lord for showing me these things. Please help me to learn how to be more like my dear, sweet, and servant-minded wife!


This is what the weather looks like over in Pensacola, Florida and about 200 miles to our west. If it holds together and makes it over this way, as I would expect it to do, it's going to be an interesting day!



In our bible study, Patty and I were in Romans 14 today. It's really interesting to see that God formed each of us unique to the other and that his mercy and grace meets each of us at a different place, sensitive to our uniqueness. That really is amazing when I think about it, that God recognizes the strengths and weaknesses that He put in me and that He utilizes my strengths and cares for me in my weaknesses.


And, this is what the weather looked like when it finally caught up with us around 2:00 PM. Plenty of lightning, thunder, and rain, but doesn't look nearly as threatening as it did earlier in Pensacola.



Yesterday, I added a new feature called Side Notes. I'll be announcing this new feature for the next few days in case anyone misses it. I tend to write a day ahead and, as a result, some of the things that occur and might be worth writing about go without attention here on the blog. It has happened often enough that I want to make the change.

Side notes will be located at the end of the daily post and, as I said, will reflect any additional things that might be worth sharing on the day that they occurred. They will be added after the daily post goes out (and may be added more than once in a day) so it may become relevant to check back on a previous day's post for any side notes that might have been added.


MAY 11, 2021


Wow! Do I ever have a story from real life for today's post!

I was going to title this post Patience & Kindness and it was my intention to write about what God's doing in my life in both of those areas. However, God moved in a (technical? and humorous!) way to point out that each topic deserved its own post. So, I'm saving Kindness for tomorrow and opening with Patience today.

Both topics also sit on God's fruit of the spirit list, which consists of nine important things including Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. I could use a lot of work in all of those areas, but I'll start with the two that I tend to believe are in need of the most attention.

I should also mention that my NIV bible lists forbearance in the place of Patience. Personally, I prefer Patience because I think it better distinguishes itself from Self Control, which is also on the list.

Yesterday I had one of those real life experiences. If I could rewind the tape, I would have responded very differently. As I rounded a bend in the road, I pulled up on a police car with flashing blue lights and a wrecker. Both appeared to be stopped so I pulled on around using the left lane. What I did not know was that they were finished and were both pulling out to depart that location. So here I am, still in the left (wrong) lane, with both of them picking up speed over in the right (correct) lane.

What was my hurry? In retrospect, I wish I had stopped and waited. I wish I had show a little patience. What would it have hurt for me to wait? In the way that only a person with Asperger's could and would do it, I decided to be more efficient and get on around so I didn't have to wait. I could have easily caused an accident with my attempt to avoid a perceived inconvenience that in reality would have been no inconvenience at all other than a few minutes of my time.

Lord, help me every moment of every day to discover opportunities to be more patient, and to exercise those opportunities. Help me become more aware of my surroundings and remind me that there are real people in each scenario that could be helped by my patience or hindered (and possibly hurt!) by my impatience.

Lord, please remind me that it's not about me but it's about the witness to others that my patience might provide! Lord, let me demonstrate that I care about those other individuals, even if and when they might not be concerned about me.


Well, I woke up this morning about 4:30 AM to hit the restroom and it came to mind that we're still facing a gas crisis. I looked up online the two gas stations that are close by and found that one is open 24x7.

So, I called and they said they had gas. When I hung up, it came to mind that the lady who answered the phone said, Kangaroo. I realized that I thought it was a Marathon station and checked the number to make sure I had called the right place.

I called once more and a different lady answered with Kangaroo again. I confirmed with her that it was indeed the Marathon station. I mentioned I was out of gas and she assured me they would have gas for me when I got there.

So, I slipped on some clothes and off I went just after 5:00 AM. When I arrived 8 of 10 pumps had vehicles and I slipped into one of the remaining empty spots and filled the tank. Whew! I thanked the Lord right there on the spot, offered a big sigh of relief, and went into the store to get a cup of joe.

The lady who waited on me was very nice - especially for that early hour and she told me that the truck had been there only about an hour ago to refill their tanks. She also mentioned that the store would probably be out of gas again before the morning rush was over. That made me feel good about my early morning adventure! And so here I am, at dark-thirty and in a quiet house, typing in the story and more thankful than ever for God's grace and gas supplying plan!


Today I'm adding a new feature called Side Notes. I'll be announcing this new feature for the next few days in case anyone misses it. I tend to write a day ahead and, as a result, some of the things that occur and might be worth writing about go without attention here on the blog. It has happened often enough that I want to make the change.

Side notes will be located at the end of the daily post and, as I said, will reflect any additional things that might be worth sharing on the day that they occurred. They will be added after the daily post goes out (and may be added more than once in a day) so it may become relevant to check back on a previous day's post for any side notes that might have been added.


MAY 10, 2021

Website Categories

Even though I've chosen to take my website and generally aim the design in the direction of a blog, I've still taken some liberties that aren't quite in keeping with traditional blog designs. You don't have to look very far to see some of the differences.

Once such example is that I've taken a bit of liberty in the way I'm treating Categories. You may notice that I've grouped them with my Home button. This could be a bit confusing to the user, but it has spared me going in directions with my code that I just didn't want to go.

First of all, there are a number of posts that will be viewed by clicking on Home that will not show up under any of the other categories. This is because they're probably not topics about which I write that often. In fact, I initially didn't have any categories listed and only added them in later to help those who might be interested in reading about a particular topic or two.

With this post I'm introducing a new Ham Radio category since it's an interest that earns a lot of my time and about which I've either written or mentioned in more than a few posts. It's also the focus of my Twitter account so I wanted those who might visit this site from that location to have easy access to posts (or mentions) from that category.


On the way to the gym today, Patty and I were a little over a mile from the house when we both noticed something crawling through the grass no more than a foot from the side of the road. Turns out it was a baby alligator. That was not on my list of expected roadside wildlife and so it took a moment to wrap my head around what I was seeing. And, what a surprise to see one that small and to see if so far from the water. Not sure what to make of that?


Weather on the way! Waterspout spotted off of the back deck and a screen grab of the current situation as seen on the WCTV weather phone app.




Well, I was talking on the Tallahassee repeater to a new friend who is down from Athens, Georgia and headed back home tomorrow. He was sharing with me about the challenges he was having at a gas station with the large crowd that was trying to buy gas. He mentioned that he hoped it was just a random thing since he needed gas to get home from Tallahassee back to Athens.

Shortly thereafter I became aware of the hack that occurred on the Colonial Oil pipeline and decided it might be time to go fill the gas tank, just in case. Well, got to the intersection with two local stations and both were already out of gas. Wow! That's the price I pay for being out of touch!

With the low fuel situation I was facing in my car, there was nothing I could do but head back home and wait it out. I can't afford to drive all over town finding empty gas stations and not have enough gas to even get me back home.

So, back home I went and upon my arrival, the computer says I'm good for about 75 more miles. That ought to get me somewhere to refill if and when more gas becomes available.

We're okay for a good while on all other supplies so it may just be a hurry up and wait game.

We'll see...


MAY 09, 2021

Painting Project

Hard to believe in that busy day I had yesterday that I finally wrapped up my painting project. Stilts caulked and painted, stairs painted, house exterior painted, and finally the canal side deck was painted yesterday. I also put a nice coat of white semi-gloss on the deck rails and the place looks like a new penny, even if I say so myself.

Right when you top the stairs that lead up to the house, there was a well worn path on the deck that leads to the front door. Even outside of that well-worn path, the existing paint job was in dire need of a new coat.

As much as we are big fans of Walmart, I can't say the same for their paint center. Hate to be negative, but they never had the paint that I needed, didn't know when it might come in, and had big problems tinting the paint to the shade that it was supposed to be be.

All of that led me to pay a higher price at Ace Hardware and the difference has been night and day. I'm using a custom color in my best effort to match what was already on the house. Ace color matched it perfectly when they upgraded to a new base and every time I buy more, it matches perfectly.

I also learned that I prefer to buy a gallon at a time instead of the five gallon lot that I tried. Just too hard to handle and too much trouble to use, especially considering that I wound up pouring it into one gallon paint cans to make it more usable with brushes and rollers.

On a side note, the twinkle lights on the ocean side of the house were old and dying and it was nice to order and install a new string over there. It really adds to the romance of the place!


MAY 08, 2021

St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

One of the things that's easy to take for granted around here is that we live in a wildlife refuge. Between the wildlife and the forest that is maintained for the wildlife, it's a beautiful place to live.

Just driving to town or home from town is a spectacular sight each and every day that we make the trip. There's no telling what we are likely to see, whether it's wild hogs, bobcats, gators, an amazing assortment of wild birds including wild turkeys, or even the rare sighting of a black bear.

Passing through the refuge in the evening while the sun is setting or in the morning while it's rising increases the odds of a sighting as these seem to be primetime for roadside feeding. A deer sighting is quite common during these periods of the day.

And even when the animals are nowhere to be seen, the drive through the refuge is always beautiful!


MAY 07, 2021

Ham Radio Stuff

I mentioned in a previous post that we moved to our current home on 5/5/2017. Two days later on 5/7/2017 I had my ham radio station in place, operable, and made my first contacts on single sideband. And now, four years later and on the anniversary of that station going live, I've logged 5,000 contacts with 1,266 of them on sideband and 3,734 using digital modes, mostly FT4 and FT8.

It's by far the most active I've been in my 48 years of ham radio. Having retired in July of 2018 also made a big difference in those totals! And, I must say that the digital technology showed up just in time to help us overcome the poor conditions we've experienced with voice transmissions during this horrible low in the eleven year sunspot cycle (which has basically provided seasons of silence to our hobby in former decades.)

In case you're not aware, the digital technology I'm enjoying specializes in overcoming the weak signal problems that arise during poor radio transmission conditions. These technologies are known as weak signal modes and it's truly amazing to be able to watch our computers talk to each other when the station operators can't.

It's also quite amazing to see the incredible distances that are covered in making these contacts. I've already made contacts in all 50 states and in over 125 countries located all over the world. Without this technology (or far better band conditions) this would certainly not have been possible.

Here's to more exciting contacts with new countries that I haven't worked before.


MAY 06, 2021

Laptop Stuff

The hard drive on my laptop has been slowly but surely dying. There have been plenty of warning signs and I've been fighting things and putting off the obvious for a while now.

It started when my laptop was doing disk scans and fixes pretty much on its own. And, since that started it's only gotten worse. Anytime I booted the machine it started a disk scan, so I knew things were getting bad.

Then it started slowing down rather dramatically so I was pretty sure the hard drive was being forced to dance around an ever increasing number of bad spots on the drive, although I had not yet gotten to a point where I had lost any data.

I purchased Patty and I the same HP laptop, but she resorted back to her nice desktop and packed her laptop away. Well, that saved me the time and money of having to buy another one, so I started the arduous task of saving everything on Patty's laptop and transferring everything on mine over to her's.

There were quite a number of significant projects that came with the transfer. Included in the list was the wsjt-x ham radio program that I use, which was by far the most demanding of the projects. There was also my Filezilla program and all of the files for this website. Fortunately, those were copied on the server so I wasn't very concerned about losing anything on that particular effort.

There were several other pretty substantial projects that came into play as I continued the transfer, but one of the more troublesome was bringing Patty's old laptop up-to-date with both the operating system and the security system. I don't think I realized what I was going to be up against with those!

On some of the larger efforts, deciding in what order to perform the required tasks was also a rather complex item to manage. Fortunately, that's the kind of thing I enjoy and since there was no deadline looming (except for my concern about the ultimate death of my failing hard drive!) I was able to plan it out and execute the plan step by step.

It's good to be operational once again!


MAY 05, 2021

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo to you! We're also celebrating four years here at Dolphin Jump and this is the fifth and final post in the series. Click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, or here for part 4.

We are so blessed and grateful for God's goodness in providing us with this beautiful place. It's so very humbling to enjoy what we could not have even imagined only a few short years ago. The townhome was a blessing, but we stand in awe that God had a bigger and better plan.

I think the most special part of the move was praying over the house and asking the Holy Spirit to move in with us, and for God to surround the house with His angels. As we have done before in previous moves, we prayed in and over each room in the house asking for God's peace and joy and His prosperity and protection to reside there.

The big things that come to mind as part of our journey and life in our new home include the move in May of 2017, my retirement from IBM in July of 2018, Hurricane Michael in October of 2019 and moving Patty's mom in with us later that month, the impact of Covid-19 in 2020, losing Patty's mom right after the New Year rolled in, and receiving the vaccine and trying to get back to normal here in 2021.

Once again, Happy Cinco de Mayo to you!

Now, it's time for some chips and salsa! :-)


MAY 04, 2021

1 days to go

This is the fourth in a series of five posts. Click here for part 1, here for part 2, or here for part 3.

I don't mind admitting that one of the things that was most concerning about our move was the baby grand piano - all 600 pounds of it! While still in Pensacola, I called Payne movers, specialists in moving pianos, and spoke to Ronnie Payne.

I was so impressed with Ronnie that I asked for a quote on moving all of our belongings. The quote was quite reasonable and so the plan was set.

Ronnie and his team loaded our truck early Friday morning and everything went very well. They arrived right on schedule, mid-morning Saturday, and got right to work with unloading.

The initial plan was to bring the piano up the three flights of stairs first thing while the movers were fresh, but somewhere along the way the move of the piano was shifted to the end of the job. While we made great use of the old elevator for most of the smaller items, it was not going to be of any help in getting the piano up to the third level. As such, Ronnie and his team took apart what they could and then heaved and hoed to move 600 pounds of piano up three long flights of stairs.

Fortunately, all went very well and the piano was set safely in place along with the rest of our belongings. Patty and I took it from there and after only a day or two, had everything unpacked and in place.

On an extra note, that old elevator always worried me and while I used it to load things like groceries, I don't think I ever rode up in it. So, it felt like no great loss when hurricane Michael took out the first floor elevator shaft.

We converted the rest of the shaft to storage and in October of 2019, we moved Patty's elderly mom in with us and added a nice cargo lift outside to get her up and down. It was a big improvement over the elevator in my mind and remains a big blessing to us, even after Martha's passing.

More tomorrow when the countdown concludes!


MAY 03, 2021

2 days to go

This is the third in a series of five posts. Click here for part 1, or here for part 2.

One of the things that was interesting about our arrival to our new home was the hurricane shutters. We had never seen the house with them closed up, so that was quite an interesting and visual experience.

In fact, I don't think I'd ever seen such substantial hurricane shutters before we bought this house, and that was a real plus for me in terms of feeing safer and better about the storms and hurricanes. We unlocked and opened them and, once again, it was a beautiful sight with a beautiful view, both inside and out.

I vividly remember the look on the faces of the previous owners when we mentioned our plans to live here full time. Little did we know that most all of our neighbors had other homes and considered the homes in this area as their weekend retreat.

Like everyone else around here, the previous owners left the water turned off and would turn it on anytime they came to stay. So, I went on a mission to find the water meter and cut the water on. For one reason or the other, when I cut the water on the guest bathroom sprang a leak and Patty called out to let me know what was going on.

I quickly cut the water back off, shut down the toilet valve in the guest bathroom, and cut the water back on. A quick repair and we were back in business, but I remember thinking that we didn't want or need any more excitement like that during the move.

More tomorrow when the countdown continues!


MAY 02, 2021

3 days to go

This is the second is a series of five posts. Click here for part 1.

After we finished supper at El Jalisco's we left the restaurant and headed for our new residence which, according to the GPS, was still around 15 miles away. We had already made the trip once before, but now we were making it as new and blessed owners of a gift from God on the Gulf and located in the beautiful St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

We arrived to a relatively empty house Friday evening since the movers would not be arriving with the rest of our belongings until Saturday around mid-morning.

We purchased some of the furniture from the previous owners and spent the first night in a fully furnished guest bedroom, filled with wicker and a super-comfortable queen size bed. Like all rooms in the house, it has a view of the water and we enjoyed the beautiful view and weather on the first evening and morning.

Oh, and we didn't forget to bring with us the all-important coffee and coffee pot!

More tomorrow when the countdown continues!


MAY 01, 2021

4 days to go

We're going to start the countdown here on May 1, 2021. The countdown is T-4 or four days left to go! One might ask, 'Four days left until what?'

Well, four days left until Cinco de Mayo, but that's not the real object of this countdown. Cinco de Mayo does fit into the mix, but not for obvious reasons.

You see, four years ago on May 5, 2017, Patty and I moved down to Live Oak Island in Crawfordville, Florida to take ownership of our new home and to spend our first night in it.

On each day of the countdown I'm planning to share something about the change that took place in our lives and how it all unfolded. So, here goes...

on May 5, 2017 we made the 231 mile, 2.5 hour drive over from Cantonement to Crawfordville. It would be almost another year before we brought Martha over to once again live closer to us. And, the delay in bringing her over actually worked out very well for us since we needed a place to get out of town and crash when the threat of hurricanes was looming.

So, how does Cinco de Mayo fit in the mix? Well, we arrived in Crawfordville for our first night and while driving along the main street (highway 319) we decided to look for a place to eat. When considering what we wanted, we both landed on Mexican (unaware that it was Cinco de Mayo and that this might make a difference.)

We found and pulled into El Jalisco's and it's been our Mexican hang-out ever since! We enjoyed that dinner at the original location, which has since been moved up the road to a new location in Crawfordville, but still on highway 319.

More tomorrow when the countdown continues!

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