Friday, November 24, 2017

I Can't Contain my Excitement

This nifty little concession stand like building showed up outside our building the other day and I really marveled at the speed at which it was built. it seemed like it was not there one day and then completely built the next. I blamed myself for not being aware of my surroundings, but...then I began noticing little things, like the holes at the bottom and the style of the siding.

Closer examination revealed that this little food shop had been just delivered like this, nearly complete!  How did they do that? Was it built on a trailer, or maybe partially built at another location and then delivered? 

Closer inspection proved what I was looking at.  This building was once a shipping container!  It was the holes in the bottom that caused the tumblers to drop into place. 

Once in place, it only took a couple of weeks for the insides to be fitted out and then food was served!  The idea is that a different food vendor will be using the space every day. 

Couple this with the new music space just to the left there (You can't see it, I'll take more photos when it's complete) and you have  a new downtown relaxation destination. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017


I'm going to go off the standard southern insights for this post and touch on something more national, if I may.  

If you're like me, you've grown more than irritated in seeing those articles and videos (lots and lots of videos) posted everywhere which decry 'This Reporter Slams Trump!' or 'That Celebrity Eviscerates Trump!' each and every one of them shows some person of interest (reporter, senator, celebrity, soccer mom) all speaking simply the truth of the lies and terrible leadership skills that President Trump has shown in his first 3/4 year in office.

Basically, the one thing so many of us want to happen is to have  Trump Impeached. But the question remains: WHEN? Ok, so why not now?  Your next question might be 'what does it take to impeach?' Let's get down and dirty and get the information we need now and quickly.

First and foremost, Impeachment is decided and instigated by the House Judiciary Committee, which then turns to the Senate to convict.  

Historically, this committee has issued Articles of Impeachment for acts in three general categories:
 1 - Exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office.
 2 - Behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office.
 3 - Employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.

It has been suggested that Trump has exceeded the bounds of office, but no one can actually state for sure, even though most Americans feel he has.  As for numbers 2 and 3 above? Trump seems mostly concerned with number 2 (no pun intended.) and more and more it seems Trump is concerned with  #3, making money for himself and his "1%" friends.

So, with this knowledge, what can we do?  It's time to force Impeachment Proceedings.  In order to do that, we need everyone to ACT NOW!  
  1. Write your Congressman and Senator.  You can do this quickly using Resistbot. Text 50409 with the Word RESIST, and follow the instructions.  
  2. Sign petitions. Click here to Sign the Petition
  3. Contact the members of the Judicial Committee and demand they begin impeachment proceedings
  4. Share this page with your friends, your co-workers, your dog groomer - in short - everyone.

Below is a list of the Judicial Committee members and their email addresses. Most of them only accept email contact from their constituents, but the Chairman has a House.Gov email address.  Here is what to say: 

"As a taxpaying and voting citizen of [Your State] I am formally demanding that the House Judiciary Committee begin the immediate impeachment of President Donald Trump on the grounds of behavior grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office of the Presidency as well as employing the power of the office for personal gain." [Be Sure to include your full name.]

Here is the list of Current House Judiciary Committee Members. Everyone should email the Chairman, Bob Goodlatte. There are also 3 names below that accept emails from anyone*. For the rest, find your Congressman on the list and use the address/email form beside their name and send them the above letter.

..REPUBLICANS.. (Majority)
Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)  EMail Bob Goodlatte
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI-05) Contact Page
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) Contact Page
Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01) Contact Page
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49) Contact Page
Rep. Steve King (IA-04) Contact Page
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08) Contact Page
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) Contact Page
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) Contact Page
Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02) Contact Page
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10) Contact Page
Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04) Contact Page*
Rep. Raúl Labrador (ID-01) Contact Page
Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27) Contact Page
Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09) Contact Page
Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) Contact Page
Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) Contact Page
Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX-04) Contact Page
Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) Contact Page
Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01) Contact Page
Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04) Contact Page
Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05) Contact Page
Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04) Contact Page
Rep. Karen Handel (GA-06) Contact Page
..DEMOCRATS.. (Minority)
Ranking Member John Conyers (MI-13) Contact Page
Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10) Contact Page*
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) Contact Page
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) Contact Page
Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) Contact Page
Rep. Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04) Contact Page
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22) Contact Page*
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) Contact Page
Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) Contact Page
Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02) Contact Page
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) Contact Page
Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01) Contact Page
Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) Contact Page
Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33) Contact Page
Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08) Contact Page
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) Contact Page
Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) Contact Page
* These Representatives allow emails from anyone.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Family, At All Costs

Southern people are family oriented. Anytime there is a gathering, it's always a family gathering. Big families or little families, it's an important connection.  And it's amazing to me to see several generations of the same family all living in the same little holler* and seeing each other every day. I grew up in a close family, but we now live in different parts of the country and rarely actually see each other face to face.We communicate a lot, but distance keeps it down to emails and social media. Even if we had only landlines and snail mail, we would regularly connect.  I know this.  Family is important. 

Which makes it all the more confusing to hear stories of families who don't speak to one another. To me this is hard to understand.  I hear stories all the time about "Oh I haven't spoken to my brother since he broke my pen in the 3rd grade."  or "She wore my blouse and stained it and I haven't spoken a word to her since."  Of course I'm making light of this with insignificant examples. To me, regardless of the transgression, regardless of the affront, there has to be a way in which we stay in communication.  I've had cross words with my family and yet we still stay in touch.  We live at opposite ends of the country but we still do what it takes to stay a family.

30 years ago, I had the misfortune of attending my great aunt's funeral.  She was one of 11 children and was the last of her siblings.  I remember her saying "Well, there's only me now." Without family, she was feeling lost. Most of them had lived close their whole lives. AND they stayed in constant contact. (This, before cell phones and social media!) She died less than a year later. The connection to family is life giving, life sustaining, important beyond your-my-their needs or wants. Do whatever you can do keep that connection from being lost.  This is why we're here, to be part of that family part of that connection, part of that love.  

Look at those people who pop up on the news, relatives of some mad bomber or murderer. There they are, supporting their kid, their brother, their family, even after he/she's brought down the full weight of the media and the world on them.  Why?  Family.  The ties that bind. A connection that cannot, should not be denied. It allows them to say "We love you in spite of what you've done, what we've done, what's been done; and we're beside you regardless of those events."

Why we choose to cut off a family member is not as important as realizing that the connection is lost.  Be it a blood relation of sister, brother, mother, father or cousin or the family and extended family, adopted brothers, children, step fathers, step children, the list goes on.  Love does that. I would say "Blood does that" but we all know that true family goes beyond blood. Love does not cut ties. Love doesn't hold a grudge. Love doesn't determine who's worthy or not. At least it shouldn't. It doesn't matter what happened in the past. Leave it there.  Create new memories now and in the future before it's too late.  When you or they are gone, there is no going back and rekindling the love you once had.

And if you're the one that broke the connection, there is hope. You see that connection is still there, still waiting for you.  Regardless of what you've done, or said, or felt or thought, family is family.  

I could fill this little blog post with all manner of quotes both biblical and secular about how family is above all; forgiveness is more important than anything but the one thing that matters is that  you need that person, those people, in your life. You need it, they need it we all need it.  No matter how large of a transgression, no matter of what was said, Familial Love conquers all. That connection stands far and above any  misunderstanding you may have.  Look past it, look at the love.

There is no time like the present to reconnect.

*In the south east mountains of the united states holler is used instead of hollow; a small rising valley region between two hills or mountains;often containing a creek or other fresh water source.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Southern Sun and the Eclipse

Image result for eclipse
It comes as no surprise to anyone that the US had a solar eclipse run across diagonally from Oregon to Georgia.  It should also come as no surprise that Nashville, my home, was in the 'Path of Totality' for said Eclipse. What did come as a surprise to me was that I had to work on Aug. 21.  At least my office set up to see the eclipse first hand, out on the plaza in front of the building. 
One of the guys in our office ordered in some special glasses (yes, the good ones) and we forwarded the phones to voice mail and headed out a good 30 minutes before to the moment of totality.
The plaza was full of folks from all over, and when the moment of totality came, it was breathtaking.  In a matter of moments, the sun winked out, and the lights in the adjacent buildings could be seen with the naked eye.
In some areas I'd heard that people shouted and cheered when the sun was covered.  At the Nashville zoo the cheering may have caused the animals a bit of concern but here in the downtown, people were a bit louder, but overall it was more a moment of awe.  To see something to amazing that could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime moment was enough to make you just stand and watch.  
The full totality of darkness lasted only 2 minutes.  Then the lights came back as the shadow of the moon moved on. Some people headed on back to work, others standing around using their special glasses to watch the event in it's entirety. 

Many years ago, my daughter and I watched a partial eclipse and used a pinhole in a piece of paper to see the shadow travel partially across the sun without looking at it.  The light around us then merely dimmed.  We still enjoyed it. Oddly, she is living in Cheyenne Wyoming which was also in the path of totality this time around.  The next one won't come until 2024 and maybe the two of us will be together again and can travel down to see it.  

One can only hope.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Causual Friday - Redux

The building I work in gives us free coffee.  It's a big 26 floor office tower with more than just my office group.  We take up only 1 floor and 2 half floors.  I say this as a precursor to the events which lead up to Causual Friday - Redux.  Yes, Causual, as in I caused this to happen.  

So, now imagine the amount of coffee that is prepared each morning.  I get  here about oh-dark-thirty and am waiting for the coffee when they open at 7.  There are usually 3-4 big containers of coffee to pick from.  Mmmm ....coffeeee....

But now comes the dilemma. Which coffee bin is the hottest?  Over time, I've developed a routine for this.  Usually, I bring my own refillable coffee mug.  Mug? More like barrell.  36 ounce.  Yes,  you read that right, 36 ounces.  (Don't judge me.  I like coffee.)  So, what I usually do is grab a paper cup sitting beside the big bins (it's self serve) and then run a couple of tablespoons of coffee into the cup. Taste. Pour what's left into my coffee mug barrel and move to the next bin. In only a few seconds I've found the hottest and fill my coffee mug barrel with it.

To help those that come after me, (read: late co-workers) I put the paper cup on top of the bin, flagging it as the hottest.  There was no big decision to do this, it's more of a habit that formed over time.  I didn't know how much I had affected the entire building. Every so often, I'd run into some guy from another office who would say "Hey, you're the coffee guy!"

Fast forward to recently.  I had taken a long weekend and was back at work, getting my coffee.  The lady who runs the cafe where the coffee is available is bustling about preparing for the day and she stops by to tell me how people had come in all morning the day I was out, and not finding the empty coffee cup on top of the bin would stand there, lost.  "Which one's the hot one?" they would murmur. You got to wonder at the fact that no one thought to do what I did, taste them all and then leave a cup as a marker.  No, they just felt...lost.   After a bit they would pick one and hope for the best.

So, once again, I've caused a Friday meltdown. Causual Friday.
Trademark, Copyright and Patent Pending.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shutter Eye Land

 A few years ago a tornado came through our little estate and took off with some shutters.  A search of the surrounding neighborhood and subsequent  yard sales found that my shutters were forever gone, leaving my house looking a bit askew. For years I've searched in vane to find matching shutters.  So, finally (Ok, so it's been nearly 20 years) I decided it was time to remove the remaining shutters and give my poor abode a more complete 'look.'

Not a major project, but let me digress and tell another story (as I always do) about the number of wasps that seem to hang around my yard, watching me work, buzzing me and in general making pests of themselves. For years I've always thought these pests were just part of the Southern Experience (yes, all caps, like it's a tourist destination or a ride at Six Flags.)  I also wondered where they all came from and blamed my neighbors for not being more proactive in getting rid of nests.  

So, I removed the first shutter and found:
Wasp nests.  Wasps will use old nests and mud daubers constantly build new ones,so it's important to get rid of them when found. And I found the mother lode!  Behind each of the 6 shutters I pulled down, I found literally dozens of nests for 3 kinds of wasps!  I even found a small birds nest.

With my favorite metal putty knife, I dispatched them all.  (And laughed maniacally the entire time!) The result is now that my house looks a bit more normal and less lop sided.  And will hopefully be less wasp attractive in the future!
Now, I just gotta do something about those posts by the walk.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Street Smarts and Music Appreciation

This last week was a busy week here in the Mid South.  Not only did we have the CMA Music Festival (Fan Fair for you older folks) but we also had the Bonnaroo Music Festival AND the Stanley Cup Finals! Today, as I'm typing this is the final day of Bonnaroom, the final day of the CMA Festival and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup plays here in Nashville.  I'm so glad I'm not downtown or on the highways! 

It's exciting to see so much of music and arts and sports happening in this area, but for someone who works downtown and commutes from one of the many bedroom communities, I have one complaint.  

People, People, People: Stop crossing the street without looking! 

I take the bus.  We all know that, I remind people of this constantly here in my blog.  The bus is 58 feet long and weighs a lot. Even more when it's full of commuters. It goes without saying that if you step out in front of the moving bus without looking one of two things will happen.  
  1. You will meet your maker, be he the big G.O.D., Buddha or the F.S.M.  In any contest of person versus bus, you will lose.  And it will be painful while it happens.  
  2. You will be lucky in that our talented bus driver will slam on the brakes causing all the people in the bus to loose their seats, sliding forward into other people's laps.  (Me? I lose my place reading, we all know this too.) 
When the first option happens, understand that we all will miss you, and your CMA tickets will be sold for face value.  When the second option happens, the bus horn will sound.  At you.  This is not a signal for you to show us your middle finger, but to get out of the frakking way, so that the bus full of commuters can make their way home.  

It's not difficult. Just look both ways before you step off the curb. (Something we all learned or should have learned at a very early age!) Stop looking at your phone, stop looking at that girl with the tight top, tight shorts and cowboy boots.  Look both ways.  Cross. 

I hope this little diatribe finds its way into the the mindset of those who attend CMA/ Bonnaroo next year.  

Oh and Go Preds! 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Southern Man's Tool Box - The Snow Shovel

It's a sort of running joke in my family that I own a snow-shovel.  "A snow-shovel?  In the South?  What you use that for, shade?" followed by the requisite "Hardy Har har!" Yes, here in the south we do have need of the wide mouthed, light weight shovel for the scooping of snow.  But sill they persist, they are jokers all.  

We do get very little snow here in the south.  (I am reminded that my family back in Colorado this week has had lots of snow. Yes, in May. Colorado, go figure.)  But I find that owning a snow shovel is important, but just not in the snowy seasons.

Oh yes, I do use it to scoop snow, sometimes as much as three days a year!  But where it truly helps to own a snow shovel is in the hot summer when I'm mowing the lawn.  

After I mow the yard, I clean up the mower by tipping it on it's side and using a putty knife to scrape out all the moist, finely chopped grass (read: chopped weeds) which collects on the underside of the shroud and above the blade.  Not cleaning this out in a humid environment means it will mold by the next time I get the mower out and that's no fun at all.  In addition, mold leads more to rust and my handy fossil fuel powered tools don't need that.  

So, I scrape out all the clogs and bunches of chopped grass (read: chopped weeds) and they form a pile there beside the mower.  It is the snow-shovel I turn to to get this pile scooped up quickly and efficiently.  I've used other shovels, with flat blades but I usually have to stoop too low to get things up into the scoop.  With the snow shovel, I have an ergonomic handle so I don't have to stoop so much and the scoop of the snow shovel is deep and holds enough that one scoop is all I need.  

I suppose I should start calling it a grass-clippings shovel,  but no one would look at me right again. 
Thus is the life I lead.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Southern Storm Elves

My brother smelled a blog post.  He was right.  Early last week, on Tuesday night, here in Nashville (ok, the suburbs of Nashville) we had some spectacular storms. There was lightning, thunder, rain and heavy winds. Trees were downed, electricity was lost, beers were spilled. (It really was a lot more damage than my witty commentary lets on.)  Most importantly, my big stick tree lost some major branches.  I call it a stick tree because, normally after every windy day, I find sticks of all sizes in the yard. Usually I just meander about the yard, morning coffee in hand while I pick them up and pitch them into the brush pile, but this was different. These were massive branches. You can see the far branch there next to my jeep was taller than the car itself.  These were so heavy I couldn't even lift them to move them to the brush pile. 

It happened during the day and when I got home that night I worked with a pruning hand saw (my chain saw has gone on to that big garage in the sky) to get those branches next to the house moved away from the air conditioner so that I could see any damage. Thankfully, the damage was nil. (Ok, so  I ruined a good pair of khakis but they were tight in the seat anyway, so not really a big loss there.) 

As I sat down to dinner, (late) I mused at the busy schedule I had for the weekend and the fact that I'd need to rent or even buy a new chainsaw to get these heavy behemoths out of the yard. I had to leave the branches where they were from Tuesday night until - most likely - Sunday. (Saturday was already full of prior commitments.)  

Then....well....strange things happened. 

Saturday morning, bright and early, I'm up and out of bed, headed for the coffee maker.  I'm normally up during the week at 4, but on the weekends sleep in until about 7, so the sun is up and the birds are singing. As I reach for the coffee grounds, I glance out the front window and see - nothing. (Cue frozen moment while I blink a couple of times and expect the view to change.) Well, yeah, I see grass and a couple of squirrels and my neighbors house across the street.  BUT what I don't see is the big branch that has been irritating me for 4 days.  Remember the branch taller than my car? It was literally gone. Gone!

Leaving my coffee for a moment, I head out to stand on the porch.  All the branches are gone.  Not just the one in front of the house, but all of them are just gone.  Even the few smaller branches I tossed into the brush pile are gone! The entire brush pile is missing!  The big city trucks with their big chippers would have alerted me to the work being done, but there was nothing the night before or early in the morning. I was stumped. I got coffee and stood by the window musing over what had truly transpired.

I came to one conclusion. 

Elves. Southern Elves. I mean, it couldn't be 'cobbler elves' as this wasn't shoes.  I hadn't left any cookies out for any of the North Pole type elves, and they don't clean up fallen branches, anyway. It also comes to mind that the Wizard Dresden (Dresden Books, by Jim Butcher) leaves pizza out for the elves that clean his apartment, but again, no pizza was left out on the porch.  We aren't affluent enough to have our own Harry Potter type house elves, so that leaves only one thing.  

Southern Elves.  Southern elves never-heard-of-before clean up fallen branches and wear camouflage (so you can't see them).  In the middle of the night they work quietly and completely carrying off the branches for bonfires and crafts.  It's the only explanation.  

Oh, but if that's the case, I think I owe them a case of beer.  I mentioned this to my neighbor who admitted he was the one to came out in the night and using an electric chain saw (electric?  really? In the south?) he chopped up all the wood for bonfires and marshmallow roasting.  Not making any fuss or sound, he was able to round them up and get them into his back yard in a matter of a couple of hours; all while I was on the couch watching TV. 

I thanked him. I praised his thoroughness. I shook his hand.  I retreated to my coffee.
No, I'm not giving him a case of beer.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Wax on, Wax Off

When you think of visiting Nashville, you probably don't think of wax figures.  You probably think of finding Marv and giving him a big hug or a hearty handshake.  Yes, most do.  But in truth, Nashville has just become home to the newest of attractions, one of only 22 in the entire world, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.  Joining the ranks of cities like Berlin, Bejing, London and Hollywood, Madame Tussaud's Nashville location is set to open TODAY.  

But there's a catch, so to speak. 

It will be Madame Tussauds’ first music themed attraction and the only location in Tennessee. This group & family-friendly attraction will provide an interactive experience, where you will be able to touch, see, feel and photograph the figures. (Within reason of course.)

Step into immersive iconic scenes and musical performances that are unique to Madame Tussauds Nashville. Take a musical journey from past to present, in this one-of-a-kind, music themed Madame Tussauds. Celebrate your favorite country, rock, jazz, and blues artists in brilliantly themed interactive settings.

So there you have it. A great new reason to visit the South, and Opry Mills Mall.  Like you needed a reason before.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Thank You For Being a Friend

When I was a kid, I had a lot of friends. As I grew, my friends grew with me, and as I changed from High school to college, I garnered more friends; and lost a few along the way.  That's  how friendship works. Proximity, interests, even work can give us new friends both permanent or temporary.  

When I came to the South, I had no friends living here.  I had to move from Colorado to find work. Colorado was in the midst of the 'oil crisis' and there were guys who had PhDs in Oil Engineering looking for the same jobs I was and it was getting harder and harder to cope. Nashville welcomed me. That's the south.  They accept and bond without question.  This is all part of that 'laid' back attitude that the south is known for.  All the more shocking when things go differently.

More than just the city; the people accepted me. I had new friends and new family almost from day one. People talk to you in the grocery line as if you've known them all your life. I know I go on and on about the Good Ol' Boys and the Good Ol' Boy Network, but without the friends I've made, the South would have been bleak indeed.

Everyone who reads this blog knows of my neighbor Bubba.  Neighbor Bubba (not to be confused with Brother Bubba) is not an actual person, but more a writer's amalgam of a lot of southern men I have known and admired.   One of these men whom I have had as an honest to goodness neighbor has recently moved from my neighborhood.  And, oddly, the friendship seems to have moved with him.

Our relationship wasn't too deep, but we spent many a long hour in projects and conversation along the way.  The man was a veritable fount of knowledge when it came to home repair and the use of power tools and a quick sense of humor that kept the work times lighter.  I miss that information as much as I miss the camaraderie we had while working. Even my wife enjoyed his jokes and easy going manner.

Without him, the Everlasting Living Room Project would not have been as easy.  He was there to help dismantle the fireplace.  Later, his expertise and knowledge were invaluable in getting the joists installed properly and to code.

So, now what.  Now, I guess I have to go and make  friends with those new folks that just moved in down the street and hope they know how to swing a hammer. I just hope they ain't nawtheners...

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Plastic Project - Part II

With the final steps to the Everlasting Living Room Project behind me, I've been looking at my cluttered patio (staging area for the work in the living room) and decided to finally do something about it.  The Plastic Project leaped forward as I gathered all my plastic containers and headed out to do battle.  
As I sorted and cleaned, I discovered something which put the Plastic Project into a Right Turn.  Mainly, once you put something into an opaque container, it's important to label said container. But this also means keeping the label facing out in storage. But this can cause a problem if you have many odd containers and labels fall off.  Alas, my collection of plastic isn't all that uniform. 
In addition, many items I needed to store were purchased in plastic containers themselves.  It seemed odd to move them from one plastic container to another, especially since these are labeled AND see through. Those nifty plastic boxes lock beautifully and you can toss them around without loosing any. What I needed is a way to store many of these boxes for easy access later.  Stacking them on the shelf is just asking for some squirrel to knock them off! (Yes, my shed is a known rave location for late night crazy squirrels.)
So I decided to concentrate on those things which came in cardboard boxes and which don't take much abuse.  It's not like I play catch with these, but after a week of use (See Everlasting Living Room Project Posts) and then storage in the not-so-humidity-proof shed, I can pick up a box of nails and either the bottom just falls out or the glue which was holding the box together gives way. Result: Nails everywhere, cursing and where's-the-frakking-broom-when-you-need-it grumbling. 
Then I came across this in a thrift store.  This is a nail/screw sorter and is two sided. It's not something I would have purchased outright at the hardware store (I'm cheap, what can I say...) I can take all my nails and screws that are loose and put them in one place AND it has a nifty sealing top.  I have since tossed out my small plastic containers in favor of these.  (Ok, not completely, there are some items which beg for their own little plastic container.  I use small Rx bottles for such things as jig saw blades and razor blades as they can be stored in a drawer and protect my fingers when I'm rummaging for other things.) 
Finally, the big bins.  There are many things like tools or sandpaper or paint brushes which can be grouped together and stored for when they are needed.  I use the big over sized bins you see above to group them and then write on the edge what's inside.  These bins then can sit on a shelf or can even be stacked with lesser needed things on the bottom and things I use a lot on top.
Empty containers waiting use on the patio.

There is a side note to the plastic project which I feel needs mention, for all those who feel that plastic is the godsend it appears to be.  Not all plastic is weather proof.  Yeah, I hear you scratching your head and saying "ol marv musta been into the wacky weed again.

Many plastics cannot take the year to year wear of weather.  Witness my own experience.  Wife's car runs out of wiper fluid. I head to the carport where I keep a jug of the stuff.  I pick up the jug which has been stored for a long long time.  Walking to the car, I grab the top and give it a mighty twist, bracing my thumb against the side as I expect the top will be a bit stuck.

You can imagine my surprise when the entire top in one hand and the handle of the jug in the other hand breaks off from the bottom and nearly a gallon of wiper fluid splashes across my shoes as the bottom half of the jug disintegrates when it hits the ground.  So, lesson learned? Check your plastics regularly for viability. Press on the sides and listen for cracking. Replace immediately if it does.Or just watch for cracks like this one:
Cracks appear from repeated hot-cold-hot again weather.

I am replacing a few of these today (if only I had thought of this before the Wiper Fluid Incident!) and I'm also hoping that storage in the shed, out of the effects of weather, will make them last a bit longer. The wiper fluid was kept in the car port where it was less shielded from the weather.

The Plastic Project has become a big success so long as I continue to keep the plastics in good condition. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Early even for the Redbuds, Bud.

Of all the plants and flowers you find in the South, none is as noticeable than the Redbud. Yeah, I know, catchy name, especially when you find out that the RedBud has - get this - RED BUDS. It's mind boggling, isn't it? Though not specifically Southern in origin or locale, the Redbud is a rather iconic tree due to the fact that it is one of the first trees to show its buds - its 'red buds' come springtime. The Redbud or Cercis canadensis is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, native to eastern North America from southern Ontario, Canada south to northern Florida but which can thrive as far west as California. It is the state tree of Oklahoma.

They are found all over the south and like Dogwoods, show up as the snows melt and the rains lessen and spring arrives. Which brings me to my topic of the day. Spring and Redbuds. You see, the weather this year has been so unpredictable that meteorologists are keeping a 'go bag' in the trunk of their car. More than unpredictable, the weather has been so unseasonable as to be almost unbelievable. Record highs even in places such as Denver, to places like Nashville, where usually we'd have had at least one if not two light snows by this time each year. This year, no snow at all!

And that means the trees are a-buddin and the Redbud heralds this weather change by popping out in all its glory. The Redbud you see up there is right across the street from my house.  The color is glorious and all I can do is wonder what's going to happen should Mother Nature wake up and bring us our usual sow and ice storms. Pink Snow is my guess.  

I suppose I should be more worried about the number of spiders and bugs under the house.  Time for a trip to the big hardware store. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

What's A Fella To Do?

This is a story that happened just the other day.  I write about it to help ease my frustration as well as to prove that things happen here in the South like they happen all over.
Amazing lifelike simulation!

It was early Wednesday morning and I was getting off the bus.  It's dark out, but downtown has it's own lights and stores waking up help throw light on the near deserted sidewalks.  I walked in the predawn light down one street and turned the corner into another, passing by the crazy old homeless lady that usually curses at me and was just about to the building where I work when I heard a noise. There are lots of noises downtown usually what with traffic and delivery trucks unloading, but in this early morning hour it was just me and the homeless lady so I stopped and turned around wondering what it was that had caught my attention.  

When I found when I turn around was a couple across the street and down a ways beside TPAC. You can see my amazingly lifelike simulation above. . The woman had her back to the wall and the man was standing in front of her and he had his face in front of her and he was really angry, getting loud and then soft.  I really didn't catch the gist of the conversation, but suffice to say that he was angry and she was getting more than her share of the outcome of that anger. 

He kept yelling at her and keeping her from going anywhere by putting his arms up and his hands on the wall on either side of her. I stood there for what seemed like a long time but was probably only about five minutes watching, unsure of what to do, or whether I should do anything.  He would yell at her and move around a bit, yell at her and then move a bit, getting more and more agitated.  I glanced down the street at one point and caught the eye of the crazy homeless lady and she lifted her arms in a 'what-can-you-do' sort of gesture. I gestured the same in return.  What do you know, me and the crazy old homeless lady actually having a conversation...

I'm not sure what caused the end of the conversation, which from where I was standing, was pretty much one-sided, but they finally picked up their stuff and moved on and I went on into work, still unsure if I should have called the cops or not. 

So, morning in the South, just like most places only with entertainment. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

What's a Little Change Between Friends

As I wander around the vast Southern Landscape (yes, I'm poetic today - get over it.) there are so many things that I do so love and love to spout off about, but this week, I'm going to delve into a little offhand something that sort of peaks my interest.

Backstory [no popcorn needed]:  I ride the bus to work.  Regular readers know this, but it's important to the story so I thought I'd reiterate it yet again. Now, I use a bus pass provided by the state (thanks, governor!) It's hard plastic like a credit card and allows me two uses a day, on days I work of course.  Most other people either pay with cash or they buy electronic cards like the ones you see above. They are printed on card stock paper and you can buy a package of rides, or just one or two and have them all on one card.  People who pay cash and don't have exact change, receive their change on one of these cards.

There's where this all comes together.

Just the other day, as I got on the bus to go home, I looked to my left and there on the seat beside me were TWO of these change cards.  30 cents each. I find these every so often, and each time I do, I wonder at our current state of affairs in which 30 cents can be so casually tossed away.  I mean, if these folks had a quarter and a nickel in their hand, would they toss it out so easily?   Probably not. But a card with 30 cents, spend- able only on a bus ride?  Yeah, toss it aside.  But wait...suppose you ride the bus regularly, and may need that 30 cents?  Now we're talking oddness of the highest order. 

It's ok for me, though.  Now, I know what you're thinking, if I have a bus pass, why pick these up?  The bus driver goes through the bus every day and is mandated to pick up anything left and either a) toss it in the trash or b) take to lost and found.  Cards such as those above fall into the 'A' category.  So, I collect them up and keep them handy for when some one gets on the bus one day and is just a few cents short. I just pass them one of these cards.  

It's a win/win for all involved,. They get on the bus, I feel good, and the driver doesn't have to toss it out. 
All in a day work - no wait, a days RIDE - here in the South.