Love and Promises…


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With so much rain these past few days here in my part of Texas, I have been able to catch up on a lot of the things that I had been putting off or had not gotten to. I’m talking blog work and such that requires a lot of my attention. I’m definitely not talking about cleaning and dusting my house. It would need a long winter socked in by about ten feet of snow to even come close in giving me enough time to complete that task. As we very rarely get snow in Central Texas around Austin, I am quite safe in predicting that my house will not get cleaned any time soon. The floors get mopped because I have three dogs but absolutely no dusting even though the  dogs do contribute to the layers of dust that covers everything. If I could just teach them to dust…

Maybe I need to get one of those, whatchamacallits, darn it, what are they called? I know, they are called wives. Wait a minute, I already tried that, three times in fact and they didn’t work for me. Anyway, the modern wife doesn’t know anymore about cleaning and dusting than I do and has even less inclination to do that sort of work. It would be a lot cheaper to hire a maid service than to get another wife which is what the modern wives do anyway. I am too old and set in my ways to share anything with anybody unless I don’t want it for some reason or another and then I will gladly give it away. Besides, at eighty years old, what could I offer anyone besides my unbounded selfishness, my dirty house and inept and decrepit old body.

The one thing I am still good at as age begins to take away some of my finer points is the ability to recognize a beautiful woman as I pass them in the streets and in the stores while I am out and about. This is to the extent that I stare straight at them with no subtle sideways glances and no attempt to hide my obvious delights in their beauty. Some of them probably think of me as a “dirty old man” and in retrospect, I probably am but what the hell, what else is left? I think I might enjoy a slapped face or a biting remark just because it would remind me that I am still alive and bring back memories of when I used to “love” others. It’s true, I fall in “love” with every beautiful girl I see.

Which got me thinking about “love”. What is love anyway other than being a four letter word?  It has got to be the most used word in the English language at least between two people. The guy says it to get in her pants and the girl says it to get into his wallet. Or maybe she has bigger designs and wants to take the whole thing, house, car, bank account…I love my camera but it is not capable of responding. I love my dogs and cats and all animals. Well, most of them. They do not have to give me anything in return but they do. I wonder if in their little brains or their nervous system, they have anything close to love. I know they have affection but is that the same thing? Probably is for them.

I “love” to hike but how can love be returned from such a static environment. I love the English Premier League and watching Wayne Rooney play, I love audio books and listening to a good story, I love my car and on and on and from anything that I love, is it returned to me as love? I don’t think so. It’s like watching a show on television where the couple are running for their lives and it looks hopeless and he tells her, “I love you AND I promise to get you out of this”. How the heck is he going to do that when all the odds are stacked against him and yet he makes a “promise”? I guess if they are both dead, technically, he didn’t really break or keep it and of course, a good screenwriter will save the day for him but even so, “promise” is another overused word with very little meaning. Those three wives all “promised” and they are all gone…

Don’t get me wrong. I like most people and as far as I can tell at this late age in my life, have no known enemies. All of those that wanted my head in my early days have either died or at the most become senile enough they can’t remember that I chased after their wives. Some people I like much more than others but the truth is, I don’t love any of them and neither will I promise to save them from the end of the world.

There are some exceptions of course, most notably sons and daughters but I was not including them in this particular conversation. But, I promise to leave each of them a million dollars. Now that one is easy to break.  Such is life.

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Why do we act the way we do?


In the words of the Simone and Garfunkel song, “Slow down, your going too fast”.

I was in the grocery store the other day, standing in line waiting to check out. It was a long line and was moving slowly. Eventually, there were just two people in front of me, a man of about thirty or so with just a few groceries and at the head of the line, a woman of about the same age. She did not have an excessive amount of groceries herself but when it came time to pay, she had apparently left her credit card in the car. A quick word to the cashier and she ran off to get it.

Meanwhile, the rest of us had to stand and wait as the cashier could not complete the transaction until she returned. I could see that the gentleman in front of me was growing agitated and all of a sudden, he produced his own card and told the cashier that he was going to pay for the other woman’s groceries which amounted to $32:00 and some change muttering something like “Life is too short”. He then checked himself out and his bill was less than hers by some considerable amount. As he walked out, there was still no sign of the first lady for whom he had paid.

I moved up to the register and commented to the cashier that I needed someone to pay for my groceries like he had. She said that she had never had that happen before and I believe her. I have no idea if the guy had any intention of getting the money from the other lady or whether he was so impatient that he was willing to blow it off. I collected my things and inserted my card looking at the person behind me who didn’t take the hint. The other lady had still not returned as I walked out of the store.

This got me thinking not just of this series of events but of our younger and middle aged generation as a whole. Both of the people involved in this incident were about the same age, one who unfortunately forgot her credit card and the other who did not have enough time to wait for her and went ahead and paid her bill.

Why did he do that? Was it because he was just being a nice guy or because he was so impatient, he didn’t have time to wait.  Did he have to be somewhere or was it just plain impatience?

Which brings us to the bigger question of our current generation who are always in such a hurry. If you happen to be in rush hour traffic or any traffic if it comes to that, which I can tell you from experience is NOT a good place to be as you are quite literally taking your life in your hands when driving on the roads in and around  Austin, Texas. You get cut off from both directions, speeding cars, tailgated, get the finger and the ever present honking of horns, cars driving on the shoulder and a general air of selfishness and bad manners and it all comes down to time, intolerance of the other guys on the road and impatience.

If anybody should be worried about time it surely should be us older people. After all, we don’t have much of it left compared to the people in those other cars that are still working. We should be the ones in a hurry to get places as every minute we can save, gives us one more minute on this earth to enjoy life. Instead, we accept the fact that all the hurry up in the world is not going to accomplish much except frustration and anger at the other guys all around you. Lets face it, feeling angry and frustrated is NOT a good feeling.

I wonder if the rest of America or maybe, the rest of the world are like this. Is it something that is common to our current generation? What has happened to good manners and respect for the other guy? Have we become so selfish and self centered that we believe that the whole world revolves around us? In some ways, I am glad that I am old and don’t have many more years on this planet as I personally don’t like the way the world is shaping up. There is a lot to be said for the good old says. Life sure was a lot slower and much simpler and most people respected and helped their neighbors if they needed it and not for the same reasons that the gentleman that we first wrote about. He was in too much of a hurry to wait…

 

 

Going for a drive.


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If I have been working out in the yard or sitting at my computer writing, I very often take a break late in the afternoon to go get a Starbuck’s Latte. If I don’t have to go grocery shopping, I sometimes take a drive out and about listening to an Audiobook and enjoying my drink. Currently, I am listening to Stephen King and the Dark Tower series and am totally enthralled by his magical writing. Oh, to have his mind and to dream up the scenarios that he does. All I can do is write about what I see or do or what others do. I just don’t have a devious enough mind that it requires to write a novel or a mystery. Too bad as I would really like to.

I never usually have any particular place to drive. I just let the car take me wherever it wants to go. This time, we headed towards Fitzhugh Road in West Austin, crossed Route 12 and continued along until turning off onto Bar Ten Creek Ranch Rd S. At one point, this road crosses Barton Creek which was flowing pretty good at the low water crossing. Not enough to be dangerous but enough to wash the tires. I happened to have a small older model Kodak that I carry with me for just such occasions and just had to stop to take some pictures. It is a good little camera and allows a certain amount of adjustment which is why I still keep it. I parked the car and proceeded to shoot a whole bunch of images of the creek and the road leading to it through the archway of trees which created a wonderful canopy. When I had taken all of the pictures I needed of the creek, I stopped a couple of other times to take more images of the road as it stretched out ahead of me and another of a view of trees and hills off to my right.

The Texas countryside has all kinds of beautiful pictures just waiting to be captured.

Austin Pond Society SPLASH! Party 2016


DSC_2278Today, the Austin Pond Society held the SPLASH! Party that always precedes the upcoming Pond Tour. This “Party” is really a way to get the Owners and the Volunteers together to pick up their packets of instructions and money boxes that they will each need on their respective day of the tour. In some cases, the owners get to meet the volunteers that will be working their ponds for the very first time.

As a part of the way to entice both parties to attend, the Pond Society puts on a brunch to any and all who show up. This year, it was breakfast tacos with fruit or donuts for dessert.

A special thanks goes to Gary and Cathy Ragan for hosting this fun event. The Ragan’s have hosted an Open House party a couple of years ago for members of the Austin Pond Society. They have this really pretty stream that flows alongside of a double deck ending in a small pond at the bottom. It is a considerable drop in about 25 ft in length.

As with all of these pictures, if you click on anyone of them, it will make the pictures full size and then you can move along using the side arrows. Tap on the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

They also have a cute collection of “Rubber Ducky’s”and a fish statue.

Gary has recently installed a Petanque court which is a bit like Boce.The purpose of the game is to lob a heavy ball with enough backspin to get it to stop close to the smaller ball. There is probably a lot more to it than that, Several visitors were trying out their luck in playing and there was enough interest that the court was in use for the entire two hours of the get together. Ed Priest and Thierry Amisse are the petanque players who were giving instructions. Refer anyone interested to Gary Ragan at kragan@austin.rr.com

Below are a few pictures of the players enjoying themselves.

The Pond Tour Committee were very well represented, all wearing the red Tee Shirts designed to represent this year’s tour. All had different jobs to do handing out packages of instructions for the volunteers, money boxes for the owners which also included their list of instructions, serving the brunch and generally busy wherever you looked. We have to thank this dedicated group as without them all performing the various aspects of what it takes to put an event like this together, it just would not happen. Way to much work for one individual.

The Ragans have a beautiful yard both front and back. Below are pictures of some of the highlights

The rest of the pictures are of the members, volunteers and owners enjoying the food and the company.

Finally, but not last is the attention given us by Mollie, the 12 year old puppy.

Summer Time


DSC_1647As in, change the clocks one hour either forward or back
depending on the time of year
Spring forward and Fall back is how we remember
it takes a while to get used to the changes
not necessarily that sleeping and waking up are out of sync
which of course they are
but that for several months, I have gotten into a routine
now I have to change it
and in seven months will have to change it back

During World War 2, the clocks were changed twice
instead of one hour, it would be two
and it would still be daylight at 10:00 pm at night
that was in England during the “dark times” of war
changing the clocks didn’t help
they were still very “dark times”.

I read somewhere
that some states in the USA do not go along with it
They keep the clocks the same
throughout the year and the states around them
have to conform to their time
if they cross the borders.

I have an automatic self setting alarm clock
that cannot keep the time
it insists on being sixteen minutes off
and out of sync
with the rest of the world
I have tried to reset it
to no avail.

Thank Goodness, I am retired
unless I have to be somewhere
time is immaterial to me
I only look at the clock
to see if it is time to watch my favorite team
Manchester United, play soccer, on TV
for ninety minutes.

Now that I am old but not yet feeble
time is slipping away
where before, I was always reasonably sure
there would be another day
now, not so much
and eventually, it will be my time
and no longer will I care
about changing the clocks.

 

The Spirit.


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One of these days before I get too old
I think a story should be told
of all of the things I have seen and done
and places I’ve been and the race I have run
of all of the wonderful things on this earth
the places, the people, good times and bad
the moments when losses have made me sad
of people and pets all a part of life
they come and they go each special to me
replaced by new as the old passes on
and all that is left is a memory, a song
to relate to each in a special way
will our paths cross again in some future day
who knows what happens when life has gone
we know the body does not march on
but does our spirit each our very own
continue to live in some special place
mixing with others like those we have known
in our life before here on this earth
when our spirit has a more physical form
and flesh and bone is always the norm
how will we know which spirit is which
with no features to recognize no face to view
and what form will the spirit take
the breeze in the trees the wind on my face
but wait, no face will be mine to feel
no eyes to see, no hands to touch
just a spirit stirring the trees
drifting along with the breeze.

Thoughts on a Rainy Day


DSC_1319Living in Texas, anytime we get rain, it is welcomed with open arms. More than a day or two of overcast skies and we yearn to see the sun again.
Such are the intricacies of the Texas mind.

We never had any winter this year. It barely got cold enough to wear a jacket let alone a heavy coat.

The plants are already full grown as there was no frost to knock them down. Good for not having major clean-up and bad because the new growth is restricted and it will require twice the work to cut everything back.

The fish came out of their hibernation early this year because the water warmed up much sooner than is normal. It was fun to see them active and feeding time produced its usual spectacular results.

I was able to start the pond renovation much sooner than I would have expected because of the mild weather. Does that mean that we will have a lot of 100 degree days this coming Summer forgoing Spring and moving directly into Summer?

My birthday seemed to come around much sooner this year. Are the years getting shorter?

Is global warming for real or was this Winter just an oddity?