Today’s Thoughts, June 21, 2015. Father’s Day in America.


Rainy and Foggy Day

Rainy and Foggy Day

Today is June 21st, Fathers Day in America. We are probably the only country in the world that can come up with all of these dedicated days to celebrate something or another. Most official Holidays in most countries are usually religious holidays but here, in America we celebrate anything at anytime. More often than not, it is driven by commerce as with every “special” day, there goes along with it gift giving or at the very least a celebration of some sort that involves spending money. I sound like a cynic which I probably am as for me, I was a failure at being a Father in a couple of times of trying. Maybe I am just a sourpuss because no one is making a fuss over me not that I would want them to as I feel uncomfortable when I get any special attention. Pity my dogs don’t know what day it is as I know they would make a fuss over me and give me doggie kisses. Maybe I’ll tell them. Doggie kisses? Maybe not.

Anyway, be that as it may as I’m sitting here looking out of the window and watching it rain .. again. I read in the paper that Austin, a city that normally gets about 30 inches of rain a year has already passed that mark and we are only 6 months into the year. Today, in 2012, the temperature reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit,a record for that day and today, 2015, we will be lucky if we reach 85. I’m not complaining mind you as 108 is bloody hot even by Texas standards.

We can use as much rain as Mother Nature wants to send to us. Both Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are still down from the perceived normal levels and although, the rain has helped quite considerably, we still need more.

I was able to complete my pressing outside projects. After several false starts due to the contractor going on vacation and not being able to get a pump truck because of the wet weather and Memorial Day floods, I ended up doing the entire project myself. I saved a bunch of money and lost a few pounds in the process and learned more about septic systems than I care to know. Anyone got a septic question? Bet I can answer it. Just kidding as learning is an ever ongoing process and every day brings new knowledge. Wonder what happens to those memories that I forget or have to spend considerable time in either retracing my steps or doing some serious thinking about what I was thinking about?

As I had to tear up the majority of the big deck in order to get to the septic system, I took the opportunity of replacing the wood that was showing signs of rotting out. After all, the deck has been there almost 30 years and although I replaced the original cedar with wolmanized after about 10 years of use, even that starts to deteriorate after 20 years wear and tear and weather. While I was at it and really in the swing of things, I completely tore out the lower deck and rebuilt it. So, all of my decks are in good shape and should see out my lifetime, however much longer that may be.

Power washing the deck

Power washing the deck

I wanted to power wash all of the decks and then re-finish them with some new fangled paint that is supposed to be 4x thicker than normal paint and after it is applied, one can dance barefoot on it! Yeah, right. The very thought of splinters is enough to send shivers up and down my spine. I got out my power washer from the shed and gassed it up and to my dismay, the gas poured out the other end as I poured it in my end. Damn thing had dried out again. Same thing happened last year and I took it to the shop to get it repaired. I think I used it once after I got it back and now this is “take two”. I loaded it onto my trailer and made the short trip (5 miles, short by Texas standards) to the repair shop who told me they were so busy that it would take a month to repair. I had no choice other than to leave it with them as it was no good to me like it was. Now, if I can only get into the habit of gassing up and starting up all of my gas-powered equipment throughout the year then maybe, I wouldn’t have this problem every time I want to use a piece of equipment.

My neighbor, Chris has a power washer and very willingly allowed me to borrow it. His worked just fine and I spent a busy couple of days washing everything that looked like decking. I was able to pretty much strip off all of the old red stain to bring it down to bare wood in most places. Now, all I need is to decide what color for the barefoot paint and for the sun to shine for a few days to dry out the deck. It will be interesting keeping the dogs off the wet paint!

Abigail looking for attention

Abigail looking for attention

Talking of dogs, life is continuing on without Abigail and although we are all still grieving, it gets a little better everyday. I swear that the other three dogs know she is no longer with us as they have all acted a little strange and out of character(for them) at different times.The temptation to replace her with another rescue is pretty strong but we will wait awhile before making any of those decisions. If you are wondering what happened to Abigail, she fell into the unguarded septic tank and drowned when my back was turned. By the time I got to her, it was too late. There is a poem about her at http://pondblog2011.mlblogs.com/2015/05/22/ode-to-a-dog-abigail/

My next project is to remodel the master bathroom. When I say remodel, I am only talking of the bath itself. I want to take out the bath and install a shower base with sliding doors and of course, all of the miscellaneous stuff that goes along with it. I am waiting to get a quote on it and will see what the contractor wants to charge before I make up my mind whether to contract the entire project out or save a bunch of money and do it myself.

I just took a walk around the garden in between the showers. As you can imagine, with all of the septic/deck work going on, only the bare necessities like feeding the fish and cleaning the filters has happened in the past 5 weeks or so and with all of this rain, the garden is now almost completely overgrown. I have to quite literally, push my way through the growth just to walk down the pathways. I thought maybe that I would be able to get to cutting a few of them back today, but with the rain, that idea is out of the window. Maybe tomorrow…One thing I am very grateful for is that my ponds were not on the Tour this year. With all of the septic/deck upheaval, I would have had to cancel as the yard was in no position to accept visitors.

Talking of pond tour, The Austin Pond Society has just completed theirs on the weekend of June 6,7. It was an unqualified success and although the number of visitors was down, that is mostly due to Austin being such a busy place with so much going on that it is generally recognized that nearly all events are not as well attended as in the past. Even so, I took that weekend out of my busy schedule to visit all 19 ponds and have written about them on the http://www.austinpondsociety.org website. I took over 700 pictures over the 2 days. One of the ponds was on the night tour and I took some really interesting pictures from daylight through dark as the evening transitioned. Below are a few of those pictures.

 

 

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What is wrong with us, why do we grow so bloody old?


Sunset in Texas

Sunset in Texas

I look at all the old people and say how the hell did we get this way
all wrinkled and bent and shuffling along barely able to walk a straight line
with cane’s and walkers and all kinds of aids just to help us get through the day
with memories short or hardly at all trying to think of what was just said
as conversing about any subject so small is hard when you can’t think of the words you need
they are somewhere on the tip of your tongue but just out of reach again, every one
and as for names, forget they exist as they have this habit of slipping away
the minute you meet someone new and they tell you their name
you hope you will keep it at least for a while
but usually no more than a word or two and you are left without a clue
“Who was that”, someone asks and your mind draws a blank
and you have to admit that again and once more
your memory has failed to log in the name so that you could repeat it again.

One thing for sure there is no doubt we are the best outfitted of them all
with hearing aids and implanted teeth and replaced knees when they grew weak
and don’t forget a hip or two or maybe a pacemaker to make the heart beat
and if that doesn’t work replace the heart with one donated by someone else
who was not so lucky and was not saved by the miracles of modern medicine’s techniques
for all we do is buy more time and all of the money we may spend
for all the new parts, our body to mend
but in the end there is no escape and death will come our souls to take.

A word of advice to you young people out there who physically think you haven’t a care
just look around you and you will see that youth will not last for eternity
and in the space of a few short years you will look like us with just the same fears
make the most of the time you spend on this earth for it is so short with not much mirth
Enjoy it, kick ass and never lose track for “It’s hell growing old” is my final comeback.

You are born and then you die…

Rest in Peace whoever you may be...

Rest in Peace whoever you may be…

Reminiscing…


The woman is always the boss

The woman is (nearly) always the boss!

It would be nice if I had a wife
to cook and clean and do the things
that wives of old used to do
before the World changed and all but a few
go out to work to earn their pay
breadwinners to save the day
equal in stature as the man of the house
when sometimes their earnings are more than their spouse
as Lawyers and Executives they have become
which takes up their time no longer as one
with babysitters and kinder garden a part of their lives
as they struggle to maintain the standard that gives
them comfort in knowing that’s how they live.

More than a few wish it were not so
a stay at home Mom is part of the dream
but sorry to say it will not be
because those things no longer exist
as times have changed and we have moved on
never to be the same again
as our parents used to live their lives
with Mom at home and Dad at work
and even though times may have been hard
with not enough money to go around
the kids still had food and clothes to wear
and they made their own fun out in the fields
closer to Nature than the kids of today
who are wired to computers and the games they play.

Do I still need a wife to cook and clean
or am I just living a dream
of the way that things used to be
I know that never to return
so to cook and clean I have learned
cheaper by far than having a wife
and for me with much less strife
as twenty years of living alone
with dogs for company who never talk back
and who worship the very ground and never nag
or ever have things for me to do
instead just happy all the time
and the one thing they let me be
and that is head of the family.

It must be said I am no prize
and no woman would want to live with me
at least not for long if they were smart
as too selfish am I to share my life
without causing a bunch of strife
and that is why I have no wife
after twenty years and that’s OK
as me and the dogs like it that way.

Writing Mood, Poetry or Prose.


Wonders of the mind

Wonders of the mind

After weeks of working on other things
videos and such with a different theme
I finally finished that piece of work
and can return to my roots and to my art.
Photographs and images are wonderful things
to capture the moment and make time stand still
it is a different view that the artist finds
looking through the lens the picture to define.

When I look at things through a writers eyes
my mind is the camera the picture to align
the words come to me and as fast as I can
I write them down before they decline.
sometimes they come to me in verse
and as a poem they appear on the page
whether they have meaning and a story tell
I don’t know if I’m doing it well.

How successful will be this poem of mine
do the words actually rhyme
is there a story to go with this verse
or is it just a jumbled up mess.
I guess regardless how others see
whether they hear the words I write
I write for myself and not for them
these words, these poems are mine to lend.

It seems poetry is the nicest way
for me to write the words I see
and although short pieces of prose I do
there is something inside of me
that wants to put everything in verse
and I do not know which is worse
bad poetry not written at all well
or bad prose with no story to tell.

I guess dear reader you must decide
for you are ones that I hope reads this stuff
regardless of how you may find
I will continue to write as it comes to my mind.

“Thanks for reading my blog”

 

 

 

 

Rain and the Joy of Youth


Rainy and Foggy Day

Rainy and Foggy Day

Today I walked out in the rain
and turned my face up to the sky
it soaked my face and my clothes were wet
and yet I know the reason why
I did not want to wear a coat
or carry an umbrella high
I just want to feel young again
and do things I had forgotten how
as growing up or growing old
takes all the pleasure from the soul
and all of the childhood things we did
when we were just little kids
like walking out in the rain
playing yet another game
walking through every puddle in sight
feet are soaked but we’re not uptight
instead with fetters loosed and no one to care
we revert back to our childhood dream
and with the rain that is teeming down
our spirits soar as we feel free
knowing that this liberty
will only last through the time
until age our spirit does remind
we are no longer kids and free
to walk that way out in the rain
as adults we can do what we like
and the choice is ours how we decide
but the carefree way it happened then
can only be if we’re young again.

 “Oh to be young again and splash through the puddles without a care…”

Follow Up to Friends…


Danny with his buddy Richie

Danny with his buddy Richie

When I wrote about friends the other day
I was thinking more about those away
not because they fell ill and died
and caught everybody by surprise
or because they had an incurable disease
which was going to take them
however we choose
as we have no say in someone’s life
to live or to die is not ours to decide.

No, I was thinking more on the lines
of all of those we have left behind
as we live our lives they have no say
and if we needed to move away
the friendship however strong at the time
eventually ended with no ties
as each moves on with new friends to replace
those who are now no longer in grace.

Luckily for us as we move on
briefly missing the ones who are gone
replacing them is not easy to do
as people are gregarious and soon
they meet new people to nurture and grow
whether in contest or just to drink beer
to boost each other or to give good cheer
a helping hand when in need
that’s what friends do
for friends to succeed.

Were they the “Good Old Days”…


Hailsham High Street

Hailsham High Street

When I was young many years ago
and growing up in a time so slow
until the War to end all Wars
changed the way we were to grow
the telephone was here to stay
had been for a while and to this day
I remember that I looked in awe
at it when I tried to make a call

Back in those days with no direct dial
an Operator answered your call
and tried to help in any way
to place the call to have your say
not long after the War did end
Television became a household word
and though we could not afford our own
to friends and neighbors we would go.

Time does what it does by marching on
and computers entered into the fray
and the world has changed to something new
at first only just a few
soon everyone now knows how
to type and send e-mails and such
and work out complex theories on life
or do simple math or ledgers to keep.

Every desk across the world
is not complete without a PC
and different skills are now required
for humans with the ability
even the telephone has changed
with mobile devices more powerful yet
that every person in a civilized world
thinks they cannot do without.

People walking down the street
appear to be talking to themselves
as conversation they hold any time
much to the annoyance of their fellow-men
of the modern gadgets of the age
the mobile phone is the biggest bain
it has turned us into an inconsiderate group
as it takes over our lives on a different plane

Some people are so tied to the thing
that they keep checking the phone all the time
for fear they have missed that important call
or are forever messaging
the world has become a sorry place
with humankind a forgotten race
with gadgets taking over the world
face to face conversations being replaced.

Sometimes I wish that many years ago
when this first started after that War
that time had stood still and had not progressed
and had brought us to this day and age
wishful thinking on my part
but life was much simpler then
and it has no comparison to now
but we knew nothing different and yet
somehow we all got by and life went on
kids went to school and men to work
and women stayed home to do their part
and people knew how to read and write
and hold conversations with other folks
and visit each other in their own homes.

People walked everywhere and to their place
and they were a much fitter race
bicycles were the way to go
and even though they may be slow
they cost very little in terms of gas
just a pump with the legs is all they asked
and cars were for the very rich
a luxury for most it has to be said
envied its true but realistically absurd.

Would I really like to wind back the clock
with outside outhouses and a single tap
to provide running water in the kitchen sink
and fireplaces to warm and provide the heat
and everyone knew what was their place
and no one would consider stepping up the pace
as leisurely as those times might have been
for the working guy the pickings were slim.

No, as much as a slower pace would be nice
it’s impossible to have time standstill
and looking at it from a different way
this blog for instance, how could I write
if a computer was not available to me
as pen and paper are romantically nice
is way too slow in our quest for speed
as for cell phones as they are called
as long as an annoyance I try not to be
and get few calls which is what I like
I guess I’m a part of this century…

Laptop.Part of the Modern World

Laptop. Part of the Modern World