Separation Anniversary Weekend

If you’re a strict constructionist, the anniversary should be celebrated on March 6 each year. That’s the date from the calendar back in 2011.

I’ve chosen to celebrate the annual event on the first Sunday of March, i.e. a day rather a date.

And after this past weekend, which was one great roadtrip, I think I’ve decided that the first weekend of March should be designated “Separation Anniversary Weekend.”

Continue reading

Things that survived the move to Mo: Part One (KY jelly and athletic cup)

In early 2011, my marriage of 37 years ended. A few months later I moved back to Missouri…and I was traveling lightly.

I never expected to live in the Show-Me state again. After we left MO over 40 years ago, when we had to pick our first password (probably for an ATM in Corvallis), we chose “misery.” Over the years, when required to change passwords, we went with misery1, misery!1, Mi$ery, etc. I was still using it in 2011.

She might still use a variation of that word. I have no idea.

What I do know is that my heart is still in Oregon; I never want to live in Floriduh again; and I’ve got lots of soft spots for Missouri these days. Lots of them.

I’m not expecting to pick up and move west soon. But then, I’ve never been much of a planner. When I do move again, it will NOT require an 18 wheeler, as 3 of our cross country moves did.
It won’t even require an 18 foot truck.
Ok… a little bit re the 2011 move itself, from Tampa to my sister’s at Table Rock Lake: 1 (one) box with my amplifier, cd changer and turntable came via UPS; my car trunk was packed with the essentials; the only piece of furniture that moved was in my backseat…the kiddie rocking chair my folks got for me when I was 2.

Everything else was shipped via the United States Postal Service. About 30 boxes. Most of it came via the “media” rate: books, cds, vinyl, slides, pictures. There is a story there…but not today.

I travel lightly these days, relatively speaking….compared to most people…and compared to myself 15 or 20 years ago. But there was a lot more stuff moving back to MO in 2011 than had left in 1976, when EVERYTHING fit into my 1976 Beetle, so I haven’t gone full circle.
A couple of recent days were “purging days.” I tossed, recycled and shredded a lot of things those two purging days. But I still have too much stuff.

I came across lots of interesting things during the 2-day purge. Lots. I coulda spent a few hours with each of several of the boxes I sorted thru. I’m sure there are some stories there.

There were some letters I’d like to have the time to read. If I only had the time….

{I haven’t hit a tap since I sold my 2nd and last franchised store back in early 2011…but I never seem to have enough time to get everything done?? What’s up with that?}

And then were the things that are pictured here. I don’t think I ever knew who did the wood carving. I assume that the words were the result of a group effort of several folks on my team. There were lots of memorable times after I transferred to Sarasota. Most of them good. And mostly because of the people.

I was on a few great teams during my years at Arthur Andersen. My roles changed several times over the years, but I don’t think I ever really enjoyed a team more than the State Manager and Tax Director teams who honored me with these plaques.
I have been told that I have a pretty good memory. It, however, is not improving. This is my third time living in Springfield, MO. The first time here, I won first place in a contest for the teenage sunday school class at the largest baptist church in town. I memorized a shitload of bible verses. Lots more than the person who won the red ribbon. Lots more. It wasn’t close.

Today about the only verse I could get right would be John 11:35. I’d have to struggle to tell you what I did last Thursday….and I doubt I could memorize 100 words of dialogue.

So here’s what I remember about the prized possessions pictured here, with my memory distorted by time and a work-hard-play hard history.

I received the first one at the one and only surprise party that was even thrown for me. (That is a separate story….it was my 10th anniversary with AA&Co.)aattg-survival

In the first couple of years that I was in SRQ, I occasionally went to lunch with a fellow who had transferred from Dallas. We would laugh at what a mess the office was organizationally. It was black humor, as the place really was fucked up….especially for the “red-headed, step child”…i.e., my product and teams. He and I would often say that I should have a tube of lube in my credenza along with the fifth of Maker’s Mark.

When Frick or Frack stopped in to say something idiotic, David said that I should just open the credenza door and say “you don’t mind if I have a couple of fingers first and a little jelly before you tell me to bend over again, do you?” (I wrote about Frick & Frack back in October….)

One day David and I had lunch at a new Amish restaurant in town that was in a strip center with a RiteAid. After the obligatory piece of pie and discussion for the continued need for lubricant, we walked into the pharmacy and I purchased a tube of KY.
I never did say, to their faces, what he suggested. But it was close a few times. I did have a few discourse doozies with F&F.

I did pull the tube out to make a point quite a few times when my door was closed. It was always fun to press the button under my desk that released the door, have the person react to the door closing behind them, and then see me reaching inside my credenza.

I’m sure that some of the folks who worked for me in the trenches had that experience. They knew where I kept the KY. And when they presented me with the plaque everyone knew what I was thinking. Later, I often displayed the plaque on a book shelf in my office.
The plaque with the cup was given to me at an office wide holiday meeting/party. I was pretty speechless when I was handed this plaque in front of 250 people.support_the-cup

My team came thru for me more times than I could count. They also knew that I would got to bat for them. They knew that I would not be silent about things that matter. I had to dust myself off sometimes.

My memory ain’t what it used to be, but I remember driving home with a plaque riding shotgun, music cranked up to 11, smiling from ear to ear and laughing at my good fortune.

I often have trouble finding the right words. I’m sure that I stammered and stuttered when I received each of these plaques. Heck, I can’t find the right words now…25 years later.

Life was good then. It’s good now. I was fortunate to have worked with lots of good folks. They made my life better. Some of them still do. They gave me lots of good memories.

It’s an Anniversary

A year ago I posted my initial blog entry. I wrote that the elapsed time between starting the introductory piece and posting it was about 11 months. This was on top of a few years of internal dialogue about “putting myself out there.”

I was prolific for awhile, posting 10 musings in the month of December, 2015. In January there were 7 and 5 more in February. Then I pretty much went silent….at least when it comes to my blog. Only 8 items in the next 10 months.

I’m not sure why I stopped writing. It was probably two reasons:

  1. The crazy politics of 2016.
  2. The fact that nobody reads what I write, i.e. looking at the stats was more than a tad bit depressing.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have let the fact that I might piss off a few people I’ve known for a long time, or a few relatives, been a factor. (See #2 above….they most likely wouldn’t have read it anyway.)

If they really know me, they know that I’m a LIBERAL, especially from a social perspective, and I’m proud of it. I’m still waiting for someone to provide evidence of any advancement of the human condition for which conservatives can claim credit. I can provide a LONG list of advancements thanks to liberals…but I won’t do it here and now.

Regarding the fact that nobody reads my blog, my response is to tweak the lyrics of a great song (Dog) from a great band (Bottle Rockets):

I love this blog

It’s my blog

If you don’t read or like this blog

That’s okay

This isn’t about you

It’s my blog


I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions, but when it comes to this blog I do resolve:

  1. To post more regularly
  2. That most posts (not all) will have a lyric component
  3. That some posts will be overtly political.a. This assumes that the flimflam fascist who will take the oath of office as POTUS does not shut down the Internetb. That my political posts will be fact based, unlike the Lies that spew from the Drumpf on a constant basis.
  4. That I’ll ignore the stats of the blog. I’m writing this for me. If you happen to read something you like, it would be nice to know. If you don’t like it or don’t agree with me, that’s OK too.

RE #4, as usual singer-songwriters say it better than I ever could. These lyrics from 44 years ago have been some of my favorites for a long time:

“But it’s all right now, i learned my lesson well.

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…”

“Dad, would it be hard to hijack an airplane?”

Fifteen years ago today, on September 9, 2001, Joseph and I were flying back to Tampa from El Paso, connecting thru O’Hare. (You take what you can get using frequent flyer miles, even back then.)

We had flown to El Paso so that we could see the Oregon State-New Mexico State football game. OSU won the game 27-22. (Go Beavers!!)

We had a great trip. Did lots of sight seeing. Ate some real Mexican food. But the most memorable part of the trip has always been the conversation that my 11 year old son and I had at thirty thousand feet after he came back from using the lavatory, somewhere between ELP and ORD.

The first words out of Joseph’s mouth as he sat down in his window seat were these: “Dad, would it be hard to hijack an airplane?”

The question came from out of nowhere, so I tossed it back at him. “Well what do you think Joseph? Do you think it would be hard?”

He boomeranged it back. “You fly all the time Dad. Every week. What do you think?”

I remember saying this: “I don’t think it would be all that hard. When we walked thru the metal detector we could’ve had plexiglass knives, or maybe even a short plexiglass machete, stuffed down our pants.”

He asked me if there were guns made of material that couldn’t be detected by the metal detector. I told him that I wasn’t sure, that there was a law prohibiting undetectable firearms….but that if you wanted to hijack a plane you wouldn’t care about that, or any other law.

Joseph asked, “But even if you snuck a bunch of those knives and machetes on this plane, how could you hijack it?”

“Suppose the door got stuck, that you were trapped inside and couldn’t have gotten out of the lavatory a few minutes ago. Do you think I could’ve broken in to help you?”

Joseph smiled at me and I said “Dad you coulda broken through that no problem. It would have been easy for you.”

“Yes, I could have. When we get off this plan in Chicago, take a look at the door to the cockpit. It’s about the same as the lavatory door. It would be a piece of cake to kick it in.”

Conversation over as quick as it started. He was back playing on his game boy, when he wasn’t looking out the window. I was back to reading my Newsweek. I don’t remember if either of us paid any attention to the cockpit doors as we walked off the plane. I do remember however that our connecting flight in Chicago was delayed a couple of hours.


I took the 5:30 am Delta flight out of Tampa the morning of September 11th, 2001. At 8:45 I was sitting in Grace Dietrich’s office in Virginia Beach prepping for our standing Tuesday morning 9 am call with the Andersen software development team in Sarasota. Just as the call started she scribbled a note and passed it to me: “A small plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”

A couple of minutes later I was upstairs with Rodney Thompson and his team. They had a TV in their graphics lab. We watched a 767 crash into the south tower. Live. It was NOT a small plane. It was surreal.

Flights were canceled for several days. I drove a rental car from Virginia Beach back to Tampa. Lots of “thinking time.”

Our house on Apple Ridge was in the TPA flight path, about 10 miles due north of the Tampa airport. For the next week the silence and the empty skies were eerie.

I’m pretty sure that I hadn’t had another thought about what Joseph and I had talked about only 48 hours earlier, when Grace passed me that note a few minutes before 9 on the morning of 9/11.

But I’ve thought about it 100s of times since.