December 31, 2018

The Year in Review

As 2018 winds down I can only wish it good riddance. I will not look back on the year with the same degree of rancor I viewed 2017, but I won't rank old '18 as one of my favorites.

A quick reflection on the year that was, reminds me I did stuff. Things happened. My favorite teams were more successful than not, but did not win The Big One. I worked, I loved, I lost loved ones. We had a moderate but enjoyable vacation. I spent a couple of weeks in Mexico. My health was pretty good; not great for a man of my age, but I'm alive and kicking.

We made it through 52 weeks and 364 days. Enough said.

We have no big plans for the evening. There will be no champagne. I think we will go for a moderate steak dinner. We might go see a movie, depending on the wait at the restaurant. We will sit on the couch and watch the countdown. I will enjoy a kiss from my wife to welcome the New Year and shortly after the TV confetti and music I will trudge upstairs to bed. Ho hum, ho hum.

If you are going out, don't drink and drive.

December 30, 2018

Didja Notice?

I'm late reporting in today. You might not have noticed. My musings have been a bit spotty of late. Posts are filled with the mundane trivia of my pitiful existence. It could be that after forty-two nearly fourteen years and 6,272 posts I have finally run out of stuff to talk about?

A good friend is torturing me with pictures from the beach in Southern Florida this morning. They are on a mini-vacation this week between holidays. Well, it is 70 here too -- in the house where I am drinking coffee and listening to...Supertramp (at this moment). Outside? A brisk 25 degrees.

In an effort to give the Evil Jeff Bezos access to my entire life, I set up my new Amazon Echo device yesterday. Actually this new full-sized model is replacing a Echo Dot in the bedroom. The old mini speaker was just too quiet in the large room. The bedroom has cathedral ceilings and the sound was lost when I wanted to listen at volume. That means I have one downstairs, one in the bedroom, a Dot in my office and one not hooked up. Maybe I'll put the spare on the patio this spring to listen to baseball games? More likely, Big Brother will let me know where to put it so my whole house is covered. The SJW Democrats will want to make sure I don't sneak into the front bedroom and have wrongthoughts.

Have a great Sunday.

December 29, 2018

Today's secret word is "Beguiled"

Sinatra is crooning softly in the background. The coffee is hot and black and delicious. The furnace is blowing warm air as I peck one-fingered on the little iPad keyboard. I'm sitting on the living room couch typing this morning. My office is still filled with the deterious of Christmas wrapping: boxes, rolls of paper, boxes of gift bags, and boxes of...boxes. Don't ask.

Usually we leave the Christmas decor up and the lights on through New Years. I am ready to get it down now. The house will be gloomy and plain, but I am done with it. The One In Charge will determine if it is time.

I suspect it hinges on if people are coming over on New Years Eve.  We invited another couple over.. I think they are holding out for a better offer. I'm good either way. It is not like we are going to party the night away anyway. We are looking at dinner and cards if we have guests and dinner and maybe a movie if it is just me and the wife. 

Plans for today? More coffee. I will read your blogs. I need to drag my butt out and get a little exercise. I haven't walked for about a month. The Doc ain't gonna be happy with my lab results. I'm sure I can find something on the old TV to watch. Maybe I'll try and fool around with the wife. I have not fulfilled my weekly quota of rejection yet, since my customers and prospects were closed for the Holidays. She is always good for an extra "no" "go away" and "I'm not interested" when my ego needs a firm kick in the pants. 

Have a great Saturday. 

December 28, 2018

This post is rated PG13 for no reason whatsoever

A few thoughts on this final Friday of 2018:

It is payday. Woot.

It is not a long weekend, but next week is a short week. I am not off on Monday.

Work is so boring this week. Yesterday, I tried to read an article titled "Psychoacoustic Methodology for the Noise Reduction of Bevel Gears"  I got about as far as the title before I had to go get more coffee. I never got through the first paragraph.

I'm not the first to point it out, but how did Trump shut down the government? Congress never passed a bill for him to sign or veto. The President can ask for anything, but Congress controls the money. Anyone who states otherwise is ignorant or a liar. There is no third option. You can blame Democrats or Republicans as your politics demands. Congress shut down the Government, not the Executive Branch.

I don't care what the morning radio team thinks, crinkle cut French fries are the best.

I had my busted tooth yanked at the emergency dentist Sunday night. I am still sore. My jaw is still swollen and I have a bruise along my jawline, chin and seeping down my neck. I look like I engaged in a bout of fisticuffs with recalcitrant relatives at a drunken holiday feast.

Maybe I did.

I'm off to the office. It is so strange to actually "go" to work. I'm still not sure I like it.

We are going to have a new grand baby in the spring. The wife suggested we could use what used to be my office for the baby. We could move my desk into the guest bedroom. Surprisingly, I have to agree it makes a great deal of sense.  I will miss "my room" though.

Something will have to be done about those brown walls in the guest room if I'm to move my stuff in there.

December 27, 2018

Post holiday blues

Hello blog world. I hope Santa made every wish come true for you this year. Did you get that Barbie Dream House, a GI Joe with Kung fu grip, perhaps a new bike? Oh well, maybe next year.

After a satisfying long weekend it was back to work for me yesterday. There were about five people in the whole office. Pretty much the rest of the company world-wide was closed, as were my customers, so the phone and email systems were silent.

The good news? While yesterday seemed every bit a Monday, it was really Wednesday. I need to get through today and tomorrow, then another short week next week. Too bad Monday is not a holiday for me though.

So it goes.

December 25, 2018

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. 



December 23, 2018

I have on my Santa Claus socks this morning

I went to bed late and got up early. I'm tired and surly.

That was not an intentional poem.

I have a massive toothache; it started yesterday morning and by evening became a throbbing that reaches into my sinuses. I'm not sure I can tough it out until Wednesday. I'm not even sure if the expensive dentist-in-box emergency place is open this weekend. I have a few prescription pain killers left from my summer bout with the shingles. We shall see.

We have a few administrative things to finish up on the Christmas calendar. We are taking the granddaughter to a movie today. The wife wants to bake cookies. She is going to make some candies to hand to the neighbors. Presents need wrapped. While the wife does her baking thing this evening I will drag a dust rag around the house and vacuum. I cleaned the bathrooms yesterday.

Tomorrow I will make some food to take to family gatherings. We are hosting Christmas diner here. I have a big old turkey thawing in the garage fridge. Mashed spuds, noodles, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and rolls will make up the balance of the carb-heavy feast Tuesday afternoon/evening. My daughter is bringing dessert. Unfortunately my oldest boy cannot make the trip from Colorado. He will be here in spirit.

He confirmed his big box of Christmas presents arrived yesterday while he was at work. His roommate brought it in before it could be swiped by porch thieves. I wager the odds are 98% he opened every present last night. Even as a small boy he bugged to open his presents early.

Things are set. I am going to can my holiday posts just as soon as I wrap this one up. Enjoy your Sunday.

December 22, 2018

6265

Forty years ago today I went on the first date with the girl that became my wife. Pretty much everything that is good in my life stems from that date.

Who finds the love of their life at 16?

December 21, 2018

The never-ending travelogue



The Cholula pyramid is the largest pyramid (by base size) in the world. It rises 180 feet and its base measures 1,480 x 1,480 feet. It is huge. Here is a view of Cholula  from the top of the pyramid. The active volcano Popocat├ępetl (17,802 ft) rises in the background.




 This is the Church of the Virgen de los Remideios on top of the pyramid.

The walk to the top was hard; not only was it steep, but Cholula is over 7,000 feet above sea level. For reference Denver is just over 5,200 feet above sea level. Yeah, I was having a hard time catching my breath walking up the steep walkway and stairs.

Both pictures taken by the author. Ain't cell phones wonderful? I especially like the one of the church.

Fixating on Friday

I'll be home for Christmas was swirling in my brain pan as I trudged across the tarmac to board my little commuter jet to Houston yesterday morning. El Popo was reflecting the early morning sun and the cool wind cut through my fleece jacket. I scored an exit row. That gave me extra leg room I honestly did not need. I exhaled a sigh of relief as the plane leapt off the runway. I had just the hassle of customs and then one more flight to get back home.

I have been on the road 13 days in the month of December. For the record, counting today, there have been 15 working days so far this month. Ten of those days have been on foreign soil. Yes, Virginia, I am ready to be home. Thankfully, I think the heavy travel will slow significantly after the first of the year.

The wife has borne the brunt of Christmas shopping and the associated holiday chores. She is frazzled and worn out. I plan on doing what I can to help out over the weekend, despite my real desire to just relax in my own home. And while I really love Mexican food, I've had enough for a while. I am really looking forward to the turkey and traditional fixings I have planned for Christmas dinner.

I finished Jeff Shaara's novel on the Korean War, started and finished an Archy McNally mystery novel, and started on an anthology of western short stories on this trip.

Anyway, I have a conference call this morning and then I am off until next week. I can live with that.

I think I'm gonna go get some donuts. What kind do you like?

December 20, 2018

Just a thought before I go

I thought the Trumpster was supposed to be a world-class negotiator. Maybe he should go back and read his book again.

I'll admit it is hard to negotiate when your team constantly gives up concessions behind your back.

Maybe someday the Stupid Party will wake up and discover just why Trump was elected in the first place.


About the title:


December 19, 2018

Uppity Update

One more night then I wing my way northward. I'm ready to be home. I have a quick conference call on Friday then I'm done until after Christmas.

I have nothing of interest to report and judging by my recent readership you act like it.

I'm working on a special post for the weekend. I'm not sure I can pull it off.  We shall see.

Have a great evening.

December 18, 2018

Chalupas pablanos

I'm better, thanks for asking. I have decided the issue was my metformin, not the food.

Another long day today. I left for the factory at about 8 am and got back to the hotel around 10 pm. Part of the time was going for a first class Mexican dinner and had time for some quick sight seeing. Look up tne pyramid of  Cholula and Nuestra Senora de los Remidos Church. Yeah, I walked up there. It was the equivalent of 18 flights of stairs.

I think this will be my last trip down here for a few months. That's good. I'm ready to be home.

TMI

It has been documented in the past that my meds occasionally give me...issues. I have chronicled my destruction of restrooms on more than one occasion.

This is the first attack on foreign soil. I'm not convinced it is my meds. It could have been that plate of tacos I had for dinner or perhaps the chunk of pork floating in a red sauce I was served for lunch. In any case I have been at it since about 10 last night. Let me tell you Mexican hotel toilet paper is a far cry from Charmin.

I have been abroad probably more than 40 times, if you count Canada. About 20 if not, including China twice and Mexico 3 times now. This is the first time I have been beset with a travelers disease. It is also one of the first times I left the Imodium/Pepto at home.

I can attest that this situation stinks.

Ha!

December 17, 2018

ba doomp


A retired gentleman went into the social security office to apply for social security. After waiting in line for a long time, he got to the counter. The woman behind the counter asked him for his driver’s license to verify his age.

He looked in his pockets and realized he had left his wallet at home. He told the woman that he was very sorry but he seemed to have left his wallet at home.

“Will I have to go home and come back now?” he asked.

The woman said, “Unbutton your shirt.”

So he opened his shirt, revealing lots of silver, curly hair.

She said, “That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me.” And she processed his social security application.

When he got home, the man excitedly told his wife about his experience at the social security office.

She sniffed at him, “You should have dropped your pants, you might have qualified for disability, too.”

December 16, 2018

Today's Secret Word is Mundane

One of the good things about my new gig is that I can wear jeans for everyday wear. Just not to visit customers (duh). The downside is that my collection of jeans is pretty ragged. I had a pair that was decent and one good pair. That won't cut it. We bought a pair last week and two more last night. I hate to drop $40 bucks each on Levi's right before Christmas, but I knew I was going to have to get some new clothes when I took the job. Cubs T-shirts and ripped jeans or shorts were fine when I spent the days barefoot in my home office; in corporate America, not so much. Even if the office was business casual my two or three pairs of Dockers was insufficient. I needed new clothes in a bad way. I just wish the timing was better.

I stopped by the foreign currency exchange place yesterday. She only had $3 worth of Pesos. I didn't bother. I guess the bell boy at the Marriott is screwed again this week. For some reason the hotel will only convert Euros. Indianapolis International Airport doesn't have currency exchange, nor does the tiny Puebla aerodrome. If it don't go on the corporate expense account credit card, it won't get bought.

We got a little Christmas shopping done last evening, but we have a long way to go. Unfortunately, the wife is going to have to bear the burden this week. I will try get her something Friday when I'm back. A hint or two would sure be nice though.

I'm off to refill my coffee cup. Have a great Sunday.

December 15, 2018

Easy Cherry Compote

I finally picked up my new glasses yesterday. They have been ready for a good while, but travel. They are sure different.  I have had wire rims for as long as I have worn, or was supposed to wear, glasses. That is to say about 40 years. The new plastic frames are gonna take a bit to get used to. The eye-wear lady was right, they make me look younger. The wife was right too when she said while the glasses make my face look less that of an old man, it emphasizes my gray hair. I am not dying my hair, I can assure you of that.

I could take a picture and show you. I won't because I am lazy. One of the downsides of keeping a sooper sekrit blog life is that none of my email addresses actually works on the old blogeroo. I would have to take a selfie on the phone. I am not good at it and I come out distorted and looking askew, I could then email said bad picture to myself. I would then have to save it to my hard drive. Then I must sign out of my gmail account and sign into my blog account. Then I could download the picture to the blog. Frankly, you do not care and I am not going through the trouble to post a picture I will erase in a day because I am paranoid about my real life.

The wife and I attended the company Christmas party last night. A good time was had by all. We failed to win any prizes or giveaways, but such is life.

It is going to be a short weekend. We have my granddaughter's birthday party today and then tomorrow I am off once again to the land of sombreros and tacos. I opted to travel on Sunday to avoid returning on the Friday before Christmas.

Remember when I was complaining about never getting to travel? I started on the 12th of November.When this week ends I will have traveled 19 days for work in just over a month. That is why I have been pretty much absent from these pages. Things should get better after the first of the year.

Anyway, you now have my typical long Saturday post full of stuff you do not care about, but isn't that the whole point of blogging?

December 14, 2018

Time

I don't have any.

What say I revert to the timeless and unloved Friday Music today?



You probably have not heard this one

December 12, 2018

Dear Guy

...in the big Silverado quad cab, your truck just looks stupid with the lift kit and luggage rack on the roof.

Yes, I said luggage rack, on a pickup.

Only in Toledo.

December 11, 2018

Going with the party line

It is another busy week in corporate America. I'm off to do my Willie Loman thing this afternoon accompanied by my boss. We have stops scheduled in Ohio and the greater Detroit area over the next few days. We will hit the road after the office Christmas pitch-in lunch.

I'm not a big fan of pitch-in meals because that means other people have touched my food in kitchens of dubious cleanliness. I am not reassured by the request from last month's office suggestion box that signs need to be posted in the restrooms advising employees to wash their hands. That means someone witnessed a piss n' go at some point. That miscreant will bring food. I don't want to eat it.

Friday night marks the Office Christmas Party. That is an event I would gladly skip, but my wife is looking forward to it.

Saturday is my granddaughter's fourth birthday party. At some point Christmas gifts need to be bought and wrapped.

The boss wants me back in Mexico next week. I am going to resist as much as I can. The prospect of flying back into the US on the Friday of Christmas weekend seems a rotten idea, if you ask me. I bet I do not get my way.

December 9, 2018

Ou est Phillipe?

Some scientists believe everything we ever learned is stored away in our brain waiting on the synapses to fire in the correct sequence to recover  them. Nothing is "forgotten", it is just buried in dusty, unused files down in the basement.

Some scientist believe in global warming, the Earth is flat, and the sun revolves around our planet. Do I need to discuss phrenology, leeching, the certain belief that applying horse dung would heal cuts? Scientist are wrong all of the time.

I studied French in high school and the first years of college. At one point I could speak it on about a fourth grade level. I could read it at about a high school level. When I was on France about 15 years ago I could speak at about a kindergarten level and read at about fourth grade. Now? Forty years removed from my French education I can speak a few phrases, understand none and read only a few words.

If I run across French in ordinary circumstances -- a foreign film or a passage in a book, I have little to no comprehension. It might as well be Hungarian or Cherokee. Strangely, every time I go to a foreign country my French comes back a little. I'm in China and I think of French phrases. In Mexico it was the same. In fact, I think my few phrases and words of Spanish were mumbled with a French accent.  Why is that?

It is weird because anyone who has read any of my musings will readily attest I can barely communicate in coherent English.

December 8, 2018

I Have Returned

I am back in the beautiful Hoosier heartland. I don't want any Mexican food for a while. Well at least for another week or ten days. I'll be back in Mexico then. Sigh.

I wanted to get back to travelling again. I really said that, didn't I? Clearing customs back in the US is a pain. It always has been. Now there are kiosks where you answer questions about stuff you need to declare. This was a form you filled out and handed to the customs agent in the old days. Now you wait in a very long line to use the kiosk. It scans your passport and prints your answers. Then you get to wait in line to give your paper to the agent. So you have added a queue to the already too-long process.

They had two agents working the American Citizen line at the Houston Airport yesterday morning. There were probably a thousand people in the various queues. In addition to my little jet from Puebla there were three big 747 s puking passengers at the International Gates.

After you get through customs you get to go through airport security again, even though you have never left the airport! My carry-on never left my hands, but that doesn't matter. Those with checked bags took their bags from a carousel then walked 20 feet to put them on a different one. I think it is a baggage handler union plot.

I had more than 1-3/4 hours budgeted to clear customs and make my connecting flight. I made it on with six minutes to spare. I was last on the plane and they slammed the door shut behind me. Almost an hour and a half just to clear customs.

The company provided a driver to and from the airport. The driver who picked me up at the hotel was the same who delivered me Monday evening. It is not like we are old friends. He spoke broken English at best. My Spanish is a few words. Yet he felt compelled to hug me and wish me a Feliz Navidad. Yes, I said he hugged me.

Long-time readers might know I really hate to be touched by strangers. Hugs are high on the list of  stuff I don't want to encounter from the random public. At my Mom's funeral one of my oldest and closest friends even asked before she hugged me. I've known her for more than 45 years. 

For some reason my December 7 post failed to publish yesterday. This post content was not what I intended to scribble (electronically) this morning either. Oh well, you get a long post complaining about minor stuff. I suppose that is what I do best. 

Have a great Saturday.

December 6, 2018

Are you there?

Where did everybody go?

I guess you don't care for my running travelogue.

December 5, 2018

Situation Critical

Hola Amigos. There a little Spanish for you. What? Oh, por nada.

Today was a long day. I left the hotel at 6:15 am and got back right at 9:00 pm. The next person who says "I wish I had your job Joe" I'm gonna kick in the crotch. Let me tell you something. Real Mexico is waayy different from tourist Mexico. There is a definite 3rd world squalor to the place, albeit some areas are quite nice. The people have been as kind as can be.

I don't think I'll go out for Mexican food this weekend though.

One terrible awful thing has happened. I am out of Chapstick. I'm not sure how I left home without a spare. I'm out of travel practice I guess. Is it a big enough issue to alert my International SOS app?

Midweek Musical Interlude



I've always found this tune a little sad,  I guess because the point Judy sings this in the movie is poignant and sad. The original lyrics were "for next year we'll be dead". Garland refused to sing those lines, so they were changed. True story.

Maybe.

I'm doing fine here in Mexico. I'm certainly not at the resort areas, that is for sure.

Maybe.

I wrote this on Sunday. For all I know I have been kidnapped and murdered for the 153 pesos in my pocket. If by Saturday I don't post the secret safe word we all agreed upon you will know an impostor has taken over the old blogeroo.*



*Except the for occasional joke I have canned for you to ignore in the future. -- that was/is the real fake internet me you have grown to love.

December 4, 2018

International Man of Mystery

Waddaya know, there is interwebz here at the redacted hotel in nope Mexico. I'm not surprised, it is a global chain -- rhymes with Hariott. I dug out the old iPad to do a little blogging. Strangely, most of he TV channels are in Spanish, outside of Fox, CNN, and the NFL Network. I'm watching a rerun of Sunday Night Football while pecking out this riveting tale one fingered.

So far the food has been pretty good. Nothing too strange. I like Mexican food in general. Unlike China, forks and spoons are plentiful. I am glad I don't have to worry about chopsticks any more.

The trip down was uneventful. I connected through Houston and arrived at the hotel around 9:30 last night. I had no issues with customs and my driver was waiting when I came out of immigration. I have a new stamp in my passport opposite my Chinese Visa*. I have a way to go before I can match my old expired passport. It had a good two dozen entry stamps.

Anyway, I don't think any sightseeing is on tap this trip. It will be work-hotel-work-hotel. Oh well. I did get a good picture of the nearby volcano. I will try to post it when I get home.

I have got to learn some Spanish if I am going to spend a lot of time here. Oh, just ignore those parts of tommorrow's post that are not relevant.



* Actually I have two Chinese entry visas. One was good for one year and it expired, the other is a ten year entry visa and will outlast this passport.

December 3, 2018

Quick hit

Late one night at the insane asylum one inmate shouted,
“I am Napoleon!”
Another one said, “How do you know?”
The first inmate said, “God told me!”
Just then, a voice from another room shouted, “I did not!”

December 2, 2018

Do Dictators Dictate with Diligent Diction?

One side effect of working in an office with other people is fewer opportunities for me to check out political blogs or news sites. That means you get very little in the way of politics from me these days. Depending on your point of view that might be a good thing.

I gave up on political talk radio a long time ago, so I don't miss that at all. I do miss my sports talk radio though. I have been so busy learning stuff I wouldn't have time to listen to anything anyway, no matter where my desk was parked.

My little Echo Dot just played some Booker T and the MGs. It is impossible not to smile when the boys from Muscle Shoals are jamming.


See?

Although the audience seems to be dead. Maybe they spliced in an audience from a lecture on ancient Greek Pottery onto a performance of the MGs. Watch Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper jam. How can you sit on your hands like that?

Look Ma, it ain't Christmas music!

There you have it, a stream of consciousness Seinfeldian post about nothing. I'm not sure why you bother with this old blog any more but I'm glad you do.

Enjoy your Sunday.

December 1, 2018

RIP George

President Bush the First has passed away. A war hero, tycoon, politician, CIA Spook, President, class act; George HW Bush will be eulogized far more eloquently and detailed elsewhere.

It is raining cats and dogs this morning. At least it is slated to be warm. I have classic Christmas music playing in the background as I type. I'm trying to decide if I want to mess around on the interwebz or go get some donuts.

It is really raining hard...

The new job is going well. I'm a little less overwhelmed. It seems there has been a lot of turnover in personnel in my tiny division of Really Huge Company. We do stuff a certain way , no one knows why, but there is a certain German exactness that we adhere to the procedures. Whatever. You take the Man's dollar and you do what the man says. 

You should brace yourself to endure a continued lack of posting next week. I'm off to the land of tortillas and sombreros for the week. My Spanish is only slightly better than my Chinese. At least I can mumble a few words in Espanol. I might read it a little. I certainly cannot understand words spoken to me at all. That's me, the Ugly American. I'll type this same paragraph this spring, substituting "German" for "Spanish" when I head to the corporate HQ. 

Serious housecleaning is on tap today. Some friends are coming over this evening to play some euchre and hang out. It seems like I'm gonna have a good Saturday. I hope you do too.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005