It’s Baaack!

This morning I awoke and peeked out he window at the 2013 Monet Vision. It looked the best it did all year-long. Bathed in white it looked better than the white theme I tried to make this year. For the past twenty years I have commented on the pussy winters we have had, but this year promises to become the winter I know and hate, . . er I mean love. When you live in Illinois you have to love winter or you are not worthy of living here.

This week we experienced the joy of breathing below zero temps and decided that Arizona looks pretty good. Then it snowed three times counting today. The first was a shoveler. That’s a powdery snow fall that is less than two inches deep and it is not worthy of wasting gas in the snow blower, so shovel I did.  The next day, it snowed again. Another powdery one inch not worthy of a blow job. In fact, because I had a doctor appointment early, it didn’t even get a shovel job. This morning when I opened the garage door there was nine inches of powdery snow in front of me: Hear that all you guys who moved to Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida? This was definitely worth a blow job. Except, my blower was not ready. I had it serviced, I had fresh gas, but I removed the blower-chute when I stuffed the machine into the trunk to take it for service. The winters have been so pussy, that I kept gambling on not needing to get it completely functional. It took fifteen minutes to install the chute and three pulls to get it going strong

Lucky for me the Frankfort snowplow had not yet come by to fill the driveway with a block worth of snow moving at forty miles per hour. My trusty Honda, inherited from my son who moved to snow-less Houston, moved right through the powdery stuff. The temp measured 31.4 degrees F at my front porch.

I had about 90% of the driveway completed when I noticed the snow was no longer flying out the chute. Instead, it packed into the chute and didn’t clean very well at all. The temperature was now above 32 degrees and the snow was, as we used to say as kids, “good packing.” That meant it is perfect for making snowballs and snow men.

It took about an hour to finish the drive and the walk in front of my house and the walks in front of the neighbors on each side of me. A few years ago, this would have taken me less than forty minutes and I would have had a great workout. This time, it took much longer and it tired me out completely. That is Nature’s way of telling me that the old bod’ ain’t what it was a few years ago. I guess it is the result of too many glasses of Cabernet and endless hours in front of the computer doing absolutely nothing.

After clearing the front, I tackled the patio to gain access to the bird feeders. There wasn’t a single dove, cardinal, or sparrow in sight. Must be the snow, I thought, until I heard the screeching call of a hawk. He sat in a tree observing the action around the feeders. I reveled at the sound of his call as he obstinately stayed perched and screeching high above me. I was shoveling a path around the post feeder and the hanging feeder at the window when I spotted Grandma Peggy peering out keeping the hawk under surveillance. Now that’s neat, a predator observing his prey while being observed by a constable protecting the prey. The look on Peggy’s face was enough to scare any hawk from the area.

I took some pictures with my phone and declared the 2013 Monet Vision had finally achieved a state of  beauty worthy of talking about. Remember, Churchill said, “never, never, never, never give up.” I’m glad I didn’t because the garden finally looks good.

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the waterlessfall

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The Hawk keeps surveilance

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Snow Angel

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the bird tower

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Grandma Peggy keeps her eye on the hawk

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Front Drive

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Walkways

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My flag Flies Everyday

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2013 Monet Vision September reference

True Hero

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The name Oliver North came to my attention when he was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan presidency and forced to resign. Tho He came across like a true marine, tough, honest, and dedicated to America. North was among the first to name radical Islamist terrorists.  Oliver North is a decorated Marine and recipient of the SIlver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. In addition to being so decorated as a military man he is also a novelist. I was not aware of that until a fellow blogger recommended this book.

The story of Heroes Proved takes place in the year 2032, just twenty years from now. The transformation begun in 2008 by Barack Obama has evolved more completely. The current president, a woman from the Progressive movement, is a real bitch. Her number one aim as the most powerful leader on earth is not the state of the country but rather winning the next election. Her focus is on getting to fund-raisers.

The story opens when a terrorist group pulls off a successful bombing, and kidnapping in Houston. I would have thought in twenty years the Transformed USA would have eliminated terrorism in the world. It is not so, in fact, terrorism has spread into many new groups and countries. The world is somewhat ruled by the United Nations, but rather weakly at best. Oil is still in big demand and the Houston attack has sent oil soaring toward five hundred dollars a barrel. Gasoline at the pumps is six dollars a gallon.

North’s story covers terrorism, the twisted administration of a woman president, drug cartels, a nuclear Iran, and some very dedicated ordinary people who become the main characters. Technology has progressed to supreme states in identifying and tracking us no matter where we are. People have tiny electronic id’s implanted in them. You know, like those used by Veterinarians to track a lost pet. Facial recognition identifies anyone captured on corner cameras posted everywhere within minutes. In other words, the Progressive Transformation of the USA has made us into a total spy state, all under the guise of keeping us secure.

The story switches between the search for the perpetrators of the attack on Houston to finding the kidnapped scientist, to the citizens who plot to find and rescue the scientist, and the sinister woman president on her quest for re-election.

North lost me a bit with his use of military acronyms, but the characters are mostly ex-military and government employees who tend to speak that way. At the end of book, I found a fifteen page glossary of terms which he used to tell the story. Had I known it was there, I would still be reading because of the many times I would have referred to the Glossary. Instead, I formed a picture in my mind of what the devices were and continued reading.

As is usual I found the first fifty pages very slow as the characters developed I also found it confusing as the acronyms overwhelmed me. After that, the read went into high gear and it became a “I can’t put it down” story. I did just that, I spent two nights reading instead of playing solitaire in front of the TV. I got to the point where all was going well, and I began to feel the warm glow of a happy ending coming, and then it happened. Oliver North delivers a last chapter that will take your breath away, and change any opinion you may have of about who the real enemy is.

Burning Gas-River Walk

A few weeks ago Peggy and I took an extended driving trip to points west. My eldest granddaughter was graduating from high school. She is my first, and I couldn’t miss that ceremony.  Dana moved to the Houston area with her parents a year ago. I should say her parents cruelly dragged her out of the Frankfort High School to live in Texas with them. She survived and thrived as did her siblings. They love Texas. She graduated in the top ten percent in a class of one thousand. Not bad, because that is where she was in her Frankfort school. I am so very proud of her, and look forward to more grandpa moments in the future. She is enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin. UT doesn’t understand what is about to hit them; this girl is taking over.

It took us two days to drive to the graduation and my sorry excuse for an ass cannot take those marathon drives anymore. Instead of squandering the driven miles on one event, Peggy and I decided to make something bigger out of it. I planned an even longer driving trip to visit some places I have never seen, and some that I haven’t seen for a long time. I’ll chronicle each place in separate posts.

We departed Houston with the Garmin set on San Antonio.  Nine years ago, I spent a winter in Phoenix and wanted to visit San Antonio on my way home. I tried to book a hotel on the River Walk to learn why San Antonians brag about it so much. I also wanted to visit the Alamo. Much to my surprise there wasn’t a room to be found anywhere in town on the dates I wanted. It turns out I wanted to pass through on the same week as the NCCA March Madness Basketball tournament was happening. San Antonio is a Regional playoff city and the hotels were full. I by passed San Antonio and scooted home instead.

Peggy and I stayed at the Holiday Inn on the River Walk. Most of the hotels in San Antonio are on the River, so it wouldn’t have mattered where we stayed. It was a short walk out of the hotel to the river. We were glad we visited. The River Walk is definitely a cool place to see. I was really impressed with the Venice like bridges and the gondolas taking people on tours. We took the gondola and were not sorry. It is a great way to see everything.  I can spill words all day long, but it is better to watch the video with my photos. The short movie will tell the story much better.

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