Deviled eggs

I just spent several minutes searching for an entry in my first journal. Well not actually my “first” journal, but the first one that has continued for any length of time. Sixteen hundred seventy seven days. Whodda thought I’d ever develop such discipline?

The search was a washout. A dud.

But, more accurately, the journal entry from that day is lame. That’s the only way to describe it. An event that has become a story that I’ve told repeatedly, a story that makes me laugh each and every time I tell it, did not make the journal. No mention.

Not even a hint of it in my 11/28/12 journal entry. WTF?!?
How could I have not written at least two words: “Deviled eggs?!?!?”
There are entries on 11/28/12 and 12/1….but the twenty-ninth and thirtieth are two days with no journal entries.

We had Sunday dinner at Shelly’s good friends on the 28th. I was still auditioning for friend approval. I guess all of us were. The last line of the journal entry for that date says: “Time to get ready to go meet patty and robert….game on.”

The next journal entry, posted on December first, comes in at just under two thousand words. That’s a lot for one of my journal entries.
We had spent a couple of nights in Branson, and had seen The Hillbenders at The Rock House. It was one of our first hotel stays. A good time was had by all. Enough said about that 12/1 journal entry…
So here’s the story from November 28, 2012 that I have told numerous times.

Prior to that November night in two-thousand-twelve, Shelly and I had probably talked about eggs two dozen times during the 7 weeks we had known each other….almost always while having breakfast together.

I had heard numerous times that “I don’t eat eggs. I don’t like them.”
Not an omelet? Nope.
How about a souffle? Ugh.
You gotta like quiche though, don’t you? I hate quiche.
Cheesy scrambled? No way.
How about a fried egg on a burger with Canadian bacon? Yuck!!

Well, I don’t remember what else was sitting on Patty & Robert’s dining room table, on the first time I was ever in their house. But it do remember immediately noticing the large tray of deviled eggs, and hearing an excited Shelly: “Oh my favorite! I absolutely love deviled eggs!”

If there hadn’t have been a small child in the room I’m pretty certain that I woulda dropped a couple of F-bombs in one of my pet phrases, or at least an “are you shittin’ me?”

I was floored. How can you not eat eggs, yet love deviled eggs?
I don’t know.
It doesn’t matter.
But it does make for a good story…
I love the story. But what I really love is reading through those times in my journal, back before we were exclusive.

We met via OkCupid. One of our profiles included this: “So, at this point in my life I cannot be your one and only… However, I am not opposed to falling madly in love.”
The others profile was looking for someone to have fun with…“a playmate.”

Reading through those early journal entries, I’m a little surprised that I didn’t include a tidbit about the deviled eggs revelation. But there was a lot going on at that time.

I was witnessing my Mom’s steady decline. My marriage had been over for awhile…but it wasn’t yet over from a legal viewpoint. I was listening to more new music and seeing more live music than I had in years.
And I was falling in love…something I never expected to happen.
My journal mentions that I had three songs “on repeat” the week before that Sunday dinner.

George Strait singing “I ain’t here for a long time, I’m here for a good time…”

Brandi Carlile singing “The story.” I had never listened to her before Shelly sent me a link. Certain of the lyrics really hit home with me in 2012.
“…So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to…”

And of course there was a song by Jackson Browne.
“…Love won’t come near me, she don’t even hear me
She walks past my vacancy sign
Love needs a heart, trusting and blind
I wish that heart was mine…”
Lately this song by Amos Lee has been on repeat.
“My heart is a flower
That blooms every hour
I believe in the power…”

I do believe in the power of love.
I do believe in having a good time….that “it’s half full, not a half empty glass, Every day I wake up knowing it could be my last…”
I do believe that stories are better when you’ve got someone to tell them to…
I do believe that “Love can change the world in a moment, But what do I know?”
I do believe in enjoying every bite of every sandwich.

Be. Just BE.

Me and the Police—Part One

I have had “conversations” with fellows wearing badges three times since moving back to Missouri in 2011. Two of them are a tad bit bizarre. The other was mundane….I was clocked doing 78 in a 60 in Highlandville on our way home from The Rock House. The only story there is what I coulda done with the $217.50 that it cost me…
The most recent event was just three days ago…and will be the subject of Part Two.

What follows is copy-and paste, word-for-word from my journal entries for June 16 & 18, 2013…including spelling errors, incomplete sentences, lack of capitalization, profanities. I did delete the portions of the journal from those dates which don’t relate to my stroll. The words in quotation marks are 99% accurate….
ok. so this story is gonna be a doozy.

I go for a walk on varvera road, and it ends with me having to pull dad from the dinner table with my dying mother to talk with a deputy sheriff.

I had been walking for over 30 minutes, talking on my cell to my uncle john the entire time. Doing “laps” up and down the road. Just racking up steps. Having a really good conversation…talking about our gardens and dad’s garden….talking about the weather….talking about fishing….talking about them selling their business, ways to structure the sale, and tax consequences of the alternatives.

I’m on a lap heading toward the highway when a huge black truck stops and the driver rolls down his window….i ask john to hold on.

“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, i’m just fine.”
“Are you sure you’re OK?”
“Yeah. I’m just taking a walk and talking to my uncle on the phone….my dad lives just down the highway.”
“And you’re sure that you’re OK?”
“Yeah, I am sure that i’m AOK. Thanks for asking.”

They drive off. I start joking with my Uncle John.

“Do I have crazy eyes? Do I look like i’m not Ok? That was strange. If somebody messes with me, I might get crazy eyes!! I’ve got a long fuse, but if somebody messes with me, i’m sure i’ll get the crazy eyes….”

we both laughed and kept talking about the possible sale of their business….

about 15 minutes later the black truck passes again, this time headed south on varvera road. We wave at each other.

A few minutes later i’m almost back to 221 and I spot a sheriff’s car turning onto varvera road. I make some flip comment to john. “well now I guess the sheriff is gonna ask me if i’m ok….jeez.”

the deputy stops, rolls down his window and says “what are you doing?”
“i’m taking a walk and talking to my uncle.” (john is still on the phone)

“you can’t walk on this road.”
“it’s a public road isn’t it?”

“no it’s a private road, and the owner doesn’t want you walking on it.”
“Who are you, and where are you from?”

“i’m visiting my dad. He lives right there. Dad had that house built almost 25 years ago.”
“where do you live?”
“i live in springfield.”

“why are you walking this road?”
I lift my shirt and show him my pedometer hanging on my belt.
“i’m pretty serious about walking. I’ve been walking this road every time I visit him for months now.”

“well you can’t walk this road. You need to go home.”
WTF?? I need to go home??? this guy is an asshole!!

I walk off. And continue talking to uncle john, who was still on the call.

“did you hear that?”
“sort of…”
“he says it’s a private road…and then tells me I need to go home???”

I start walking east on 221, on the other side of the road from the folks’ house, and walk past their driveway. The deputy is still sitting on varvera road. He can see that i’ve walked past dad’s driveway.

I tell john what i’m doing…that i’m going to walk to the bridge to look at doe run creek…that I can’t get to the creek on dad’s land because the guy who called the sheriff on me has messed everything up so that there is lots of standing water on dad’s land….and the creek is messed up too.

I think about continuing to walk east on 221, but realize that I don’t have my wallet or ID on me, so I cross the road at the bridge and start walking back toward the house.

The deputy pulls onto 221…in front of another car and moves slowly. the asshole is also a bad driver!! I tell john that he is creeping along and say “if he pulls over and hauls me off, it will cost you money because i’ll fill a wrongful detention suit against your county….and i’ll win!!”

the deputy pulls into dad’s driveway, just barely off the road and stops at the gate. He is glaring at me.

“i told you that you needed to go home. Do you live here?”

again with the “go home”???
and i’ve told this guy that i’m visiting my folks.

“this is my dad’s place. I told you that. I told you that I live in springfield. I’m visiting him on Father’s Day.”
not only is he an asshole. he’s as dumb as a box of rocks.

“is that your car?”
“yes. The vehicles in the garage are my dad’s” {my car has florida plates}

I walk off and head into the garage. uncle john is still on the phone.

“one more time with this ‘go home” stuff?? what the fuck? does he think i’m lying and walking into a stranger’s garage.”

I walk to the back of the garage and tell john that the deputy can’t see me back there…
“i bet he drives up here to check on me!!”

and he does. Un-fucking-believable!!!

I tell uncle john that I need to hang up and go get dad.

I open the door. Mom and dad are at the dining room table. Dad is on the phone with paula. I tell him that I need him to come outside and tell the deputy that I am his son and that i’m just going for a walk.

Dad goes out and talks to the deputy. He tells him that I am indeed his son. That paula and I have been walking on this road for quite awhile. The deputy says he needed to check on my story and that I shouldn’t be walking on this ‘private road.’

The deputy leaves. finally.
Text to Shelly on 6/16/13 at 7:53 pm. You won’t believe what i just went thru on my walk…it involves a deputy sheriff. Unbelievable!!

From Shelly on 6/16/13 at 7:54 pm. Oh no! Are you in jail?
To Shelly on 6/16/13 at 7:55 pm. No…but i’m righteously indignant!!
I called Uncle John back. “i only get one call, and i’m using it to call you….” we both laughed.

I told him that I was going to find out if it was a private road. He said that the county commissioners could find out for me, and that one of them goes to his church. He suggested that I contact Patrick Mullins….and I will.

it all comes down to the way the deputy handled it….being gruff, accusatory, and telling me that I needed to go home. WTF??!!

If he had been pleasant and simply said, “it’s a nice day for a walk, but this is a private road and the owner has asked me to tell you that he’d like to walk elsewhere” I would had said ok, walked in and asked Dad if he thought I was a private road…and either way i’d have still followed up to find out.
But the guys attitude, and especially telling me that I “need to go home” did not set well with me. he’s got a badge, a bad attitude…and no brains.
{what follows is from the 6/18/13 journal entries}

it’s almost noon…just got out of the shower. I was sweaty after my long walk…..on varvera road.

Earlier I called and left a message for county commissioner patrick mullins. He was out….they took a message…and he called me back in just a few minutes.

I told him that I was related to john stevens, and that I need to know if varvera is a county or private road. He said he could find out, but that if it was ok with me he would pass this to the commissioner who represents this part of the county. I said “sure…i would like that.”

a couple of minutes later the phone rings and it was the guy in charge of the county road department. He told me that varvera road is public…he also suggested that I speak with the county commissioner based on the way the deputy handled the situation.

He passed me to gay wilkinson, who confirmed that the road is public…and that he was surprised that the deputy didn’t know that. He said I should feel free to walk the road any time I want, and that if anybody said anything that I should have them contact him. He gave me his cell number, and said that either I or the person questioning me could call that number at any time.
While the 2013 journal file was open, so that I could copy-and-paste the above journal entries, I scrolled down a bit. Here’s what I wrote early on the morning of June 30, 2013:

scurrying to hit the road for doe run…
for a family get together. 🙂
and to watch Mom die. 🙁

she died at 1:21 pm on July 1, 2013. I’m sure that she didn’t think it was all that funny to see a sheriff’s car in the driveway.
I didn’t. I still don’t.
Some people who have badges are arrogant assholes. Most aren’t….like the guy I’ll write about in Part II.
This song is about the city cop in Highlandville with the ticket pad….  I can’t have a blog post without some music.

1,164 days…and counting

Over the years I have made numerous attempts at keeping a journal. It was always short-lived. Only a couple of times did it even last for double-digit days. All that changed as of October 26, 2012.

My first entry in my current journal was written the day after Shelly and I made our first road trip to Kansas City. We had met for the first time a few weeks before that, and I was intrigued by her…and her daily journaling. My journal began: “this will be page 1 of my journal. I need to start writing every (or at least “most every”) day. We’ll see how I do. Discipline is not my strong suit.”

Counting today, it’s been one-thousand-one-hundred-sixty-four days for this attempt at keeping a journal. Not too shabby for someone with as little personal discipline as me. Keeping a digital journal has several advantages. The three biggest ones: (1) I can easily search the document when a question comes up, e.g. “what variety of lettuce did I plant…and when did I plant it?” or “what did we do on 1/2/2013?”; (2) I can copy&paste to/from the document; and (3) I can read what I wrote!! My penmanship was never very good…and now it is mostly illegible. I often can’t decipher an item or two on my grocery list…

I have had many other colossal fails in my past, in addition to diary disasters. I’m only gonna write about one of them, depending on how you look at what follows…

I knew I had no chance at being successful with New Year’s resolutions, so I never/ever wrote a list. That sorta changed on page 1 of my journal, 1164 days ago…and counting.

I didn’t call them “resolutions,” they weren’t very specific or measurable as written, and what I wrote was pretty generic: “With page 1 of this journal, I pledge to watch less tv, but probably more movies…listen to more music….read more….get in better shape….go to bed earlier. That’s a long enough list.”

How have I done re the “pledges”?

I do watch much less live tv than I used to. I very seldom watch “news” or “talking heads” on television. Years ago I used to spend a couple of hours a day, and even more on Sunday, watching news shows. Cutting that out has been one of the smartest things I’ve ever done….I don’t miss the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. I also have significantly reduced how much time I waste watching sports on TV, almost eliminating pro sports.

I check out lots of DVDs from the library, and I can do some serious binge watching. Not being subjected to commercials, or having to wait a week for the next episode, are just 2 benefits of the DVD approach to watching a tv series.

I have always listened to lots of music. Since leaving Floriduh in 2011, I have listened to more new music than I had in a couple of decades. There is lots of good stuff out there. Lots of shitty stuff too. It’s the rare week that I don’t pick up music CDs at the library. (Note: I expect that I will have a LOT of blog posts in the future that are music based.)

Reading? I’ve always been a reader. These days, mostly I read magazines. I have subscriptions to 6 different publications. Then there are daily Facebook and Yahoo news feeds. Often a book going too, but not always.

Get in better shape? The question mark pretty much sums it up….colossal fail. 10K steps a day is not enough. I need to do more than walk. But exercise? I’ll start tomorrow. 😉

Go to bed earlier? Shelly does go to bed early, and I almost always meet her there to chat, cuddle, and yada yada. But I almost always get up and head to the living room after she dozes off; several hours later I’m back in the bedroom….often after 1 am.
“That’s a long enough list” is no longer true, as I have more new pledges.

1. Write at least 1000 words in my journal every day. (any blog post will count toward that day’s target.)
2. Spell check each day’s journal entry before I save the file. (I hate doing a search for something later and seeing words like “vareity” and “letucce.”)
3. Nothing to eat after 8 pm. (a challenge for me, as I do like to graze….)
4. I will do my damnedest to never bring up the name of a certain judgmental, angry, controlling, vindictive, negative person. I may, or may not, reply when his name is brought up in conversation. Life is too short to waste precious moments. This particular person is now “he-who-must-not-be-named.”
For 2016, I’m also gonna make my original pledges more specific, and somewhat measurable.

TV. I do have a guilty pleasure: noon with the hottest judge on television, marilyn milian and “the people’s court.” I’m not giving that up, nor do I plan to stop watching the Daily or the Nightly shows. I’ll watch sports selectively…and I will watch lots of March Madness. In an election year i’m sure I’ll find myself watching some “news.” But i’ll think twice before I turn the telly on….and won’t think twice about turning it off.

Music. I want to listen to at least 2 new CDs every week. they don’t have to be new releases in 2016. just new to me. they don’t have to be new artists. but at least 2 a month have to be by someone i’ve never listened to before.

Reading. At least one book a month, in addition to keeping current on my magazines and my FB and Yahoo feeds.

Get in shape. Same walking target, for now, as last year: 12K steps a day. From an exercise perspective: a goal of 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week on the machines and weights in the Abbey’s Rec Room. (This is gonna be a real challenge for me. not the walking. the “exercise.” i hate that stuff, but I know it would be good for me.)

Go to bed earlier. My goal is to be asleep in the bedroom by midnight.

One other pledge: Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

Be.  Just BE.


I have mastered the art of procrastination. I have been practicing the art itself for most of my life. This piece is a prime example of my level of mastery: writing a blog has been on my to-do list ever since I heard the word “weblog” in the late 90’s. When you couple my expertise at procrastinating with my almost complete lack of self-discipline, the fact that I ever get anything done that requires effort is very surprising. It only took me about 17 years to finally start blogging by beginning to write this…but will I even finish and “publish” it? Will it be my opening blog entry, or just another document in a folder on my laptop?

When one considers what I did for a living for most of the time that I was a W-2 guy, and that once upon a time I had people close to me who thought I was a serious Type A personality, my well-developed skill at procrastinating doesn’t seem to fit.

I had a moderately successful career in the tax division of what at the time was the largest accounting firm in the world. I spent the first half of that tenure in a practice office with it’s long hours, many deliverables and deadline upon deadline. The last half was in the firm’s tax software business…with more of the same, i.e. hours, deadlines and deliverables….in spades. I seemed to thrive under pressure, often times of my own creation because of the delay in getting started.

I have tried several times over the past 40 years to write a journal. I’ve started one half-a-dozen times. My most recent attempt started 36 months ago, and so far I have managed to write something almost every day. Sometimes it’s brief and boring, i.e. my mundane daily events. Oftentimes it includes copies of texts, sent and received. Other journal entries might be copies of e-mails.

This blog thing doesn’t have any personal sense of urgency. I don’t have to do it. I don’t need to do it. I’m not getting paid to do it.

I’m not even sure that I should do it. There are lots of things that I want to write about that might upset friends and family. I’m thinking that they know more about my life and my lifestyle than they acknowledge. I’m thinking that they know more about my thinking, and how it differs from theirs, than they want to believe. I’m thinking that opening up could be hurtful to some people. But maybe not. I guess we’ll never know unless I move forward, huh?

Will I be able to do that? To put myself out there via other musings. That’s the question?

Maybe I will be able to summon the same discipline and the same approach here that I finally have been able to accomplish with journaling.

Time will tell. Speaking of time…elapsed time since I started this document and the day I posted it online: 11 months, give or take several days. I really do have this procrastinating down pat don’t I?