Category Archives: Technology

Being different…

Bryan's "designer" cast. He has limited sympathy for Bob's texting injury.

A friend of mine posted a message a few days ago on my seldom-visited Facebook page about a recent blog post, and I just got around to taking a look at her message today. It was a nice note, and I really appreciate Jane’s concern and support.

My tardiness could mean one of several things; A) I err by expecting others to instantly read my posts yet can’t take the time to read the messages of others, B) I don’t spend much time roaming the Facebook landscape and C) Facebook doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me.  I hope ‘A’ isn’t entirely true, but I think ‘B’ and ‘C’ hold smidgens of truth.

Make no mistake, I am a gnat bite on the globe-sized entity that is Facebook.  Part of my reluctance relates to time; recently, a local mother made news when she banned her teen daughter from Facebook for a week.  The young girl claimed withdrawal symptoms from her four to six hour a day Facebook habit.

Bob sports his real cast. Empathy, let alone sympathy, have been hard to come by.

It’s hard to spend one hour, let alone the young woman’s four to six hours, on anything every single day.  Sure, I like to know what people are up to but there is an intimacy that is missing online.  At least my obsessing with letters can be measured in minutes, not hours.  Perhaps it’s my way of being different.


Bridger update: Two more inquiries have come in.  The able-bodied Reid looks to be on board, too.  FYI…airfares from Charlotte to Denver appear to be in the $430 range, and $528 round trip to Jackson Hole.  Denver is a sturdy but esthetically pleasing 5-6 hour drive to Pinedale, WY while Jackson Hole is roughly two hours.


October 11, 2010

Ellen/Reid: Well, it seems I’m in danger of becoming one of “them.”  By them, I mean a Southerner.  Because in the last few weeks, I’ve cooked okra twice (it’s pretty good) and also fixed up a mess of fried green tomatoes (also better than you might think), finally got a North Carolina license plate for the Harley, watched some NASCAR (just a few minutes), and while tooling around on the bike stopped by fields for a first hand look at peanuts and cotton.  On one stretch of road saw some tobacco over yonder but we didn’t stop.  I don’t think anyone down in these parts will ever confuse me for a local but the assimilation is happening as we speak.

I’m starting to learn where towns are like Florence, Laurinburg, Chester and Reidsville.  What I do know after this weekend’s bike ride is that there are no, or hardly any, straight roads in the entire region.  It is as if state road planners dyed a pot of spaghetti and poured it out on a large piece of paper.  Where ever the spaghetti hit the paper was the road scheme.  We rode to Danville, VA on Saturday, and according to Mapquest, the trip was roughly 150 miles.  That’s a shade over two hours at Interstate speed.  But the trip took nearly five hours because, without exaggeration, we took no fewer than 15 different roads to get there.  There weren’t enough bread crumbs to help us follow the path.  I couldn’t replicate it now by memory if I had to.  It was just bizarre.  Felicia and I laid the road maps for North Carolina and Iowa side by side.  It was hilarious.  Iowa was almost totally a grid of north-south, east-west straight lines, while North Carolina was a literal jumble of roads.

I’m going to make my plans for Thanksgiving this week.  Ellen, I will likely get up there on Tuesday because I’m late enough in making plans that all the Wednesday seats are filled.  Part of me would like to drive to get the stink blown off but let me see what the airfares are.  I’m excited to see your refurbished digs and the new furnishings.  Reid and I can handle all the cooking and whatnot.  That will be our role as guests.  Glad to hear you have a touch because mine is where a fair amount of my sleeping is done.

Your uncle did all the work to rid much of your grandparent’s house of stuff this past weekend.  He wasn’t too pleased that I wasn’t there to help him out but as a practical reality it just wasn’t a reality for me to be there.  All of your stuff is in the basement of a friend of mine, Pete Z__________, who was nice enough to hold it until you, or your mom, can get to Omaha to retrieve it.  I e-mailed your mother to see if she could help but she won’t be back in the Midwest until past the middle of December, so we’ll lean on Pete to hold your stuff a little bit longer than we might otherwise want.  Ellen, this includes the china, and Reid, this includes whatever it was you picked after the funeral plus some kitchen stuff Ralph and Gayle thought you might need to stock your new little kitchen.

My cousin Tom was the first to step up and say “yes” to a trip to the Bridger Wilderness at the end of July in 2011.  He’s always been an outdoor guy and the drive isn’t too onerous from his home in Eugene, OR.  It’s closer than Charlotte, that’s for sure.  I’ve got room for 8 to 12 folks so if either of you want to go backpacking…Ellen, you could even bring Henry along for the hike.  He’d love it.

Well, I’m gonna sign off for now as there’s a conference call on tap in about an hour that I have to prep for.  As soon as the T-Day plans are known, you two will be the first to know other than me.


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Trouble in the social space…

Henry slowed down enough for Ellen to snap this picture...moments before he probably made the neighboring pile of leaves his own.

The news in New Jersey of the suicide of a Rutgers’ student has cast social media in a untirely unwanted light.  It’s hard to keep up with all that’s been said about the situation.  Suffice to say none of it has been good.  There is trouble in the social space.

But it doesn’t take a trained eye to say that elements of social media are out of kilter.  To its legion of addicts ever in search of the next titillating post or video, it has become all about staggering speed, it has become about the impersonality of nothing private and it has become about volume of viewers.   And yes, it can become about cruelty.

The discussion has little to do with the how or the what of what I write about.  Later this morning I will write to Ellen and Reid, and at least for a few days, they will have the letters to themselves.

But the discussion has much to do with how we go about, or perhaps condone, accountable communication.  A mob mentality is at work that exposes something none of use should be entirely comfortable with.  It may as well scream ‘Look at me’.  Behind that scream, with the potential to grow exponentially, are the voices of dozens, then thousands and then millions of bystanders who want nothing more than to be entertained.

Unfortunately in New Jersey, no one was listening to the victim.  The pack has pulled up stakes and moved on to the next social media phenomenon.


Here is last Monday’s letter to the kids.

September 27, 2010

Ellen/Reid: It’s been raining off and on since yesterday but that is a good thing after months of roasting in the hot sun.  You guys have had rain in spades, we’ve had it by thimblefuls.  It’s a little late for some of the dry spots down here but we’ll take what we can get.  This morning was one of the first truly cool-ish mornings we’ve had in some time.  The leaves have to be turning where you live.

This weekend’s party sounded like a hoot.  Nonnie would have been in all her glory what with her old pals.  To have been a fly on the wall watching the old girls drink free wine and jabber.  No doubt you guys were on your best behavior.  Ellen, it was a riot to hear about Tim stuck in the receiving line with the ladies.  Talk about a fish out of water.  Your mom called last night to apprize me of the goings-on.

I turn in my first column to the Charlotte Observer this week.  Hopefully they will like it.  My beat is the senior housing market.  Man, what a testament to my age.  But it is a humongous portion of the paper’s readership.  It was interesting to hear from my editor that they’ve had a spate of ethical breeches by freelancers in recent months so – knock on wood – I should be a breath of fresh air for them.  If and when it’s accepted, let alone run, I’ll send you a tear-sheet.

Reid, I’ve fine-tuned my web site even more and will get you the latest update in a day or so after it has gestated even a little bit more.  Your push for a new mega-powered desk top sounds like the right move although building it yourself sounds like something of a task.  Hope you’re up to it because it would be all Greek to me.

I was out for the morning installment of my daily walk yesterday when I breezed by a homeless man sleeping in an alcove along my route.  Cars were roaring by not 10 yards away.  I took a snapshot on my phone and posted the picture.  His plight put mine in perspective.  There is always someone worse off than you.  Either their living situation, their health, their income, you name it.  There but for the grace of God go I.

In a way, I’m kind of enthused about REI.  Even if it is temporary, it is an outdoor space I know and identify with.  Of course, if something else comes up I’d add that to my work itinerary, but at least they are giving me a shot.  I’ve got to juggle the trip to Nebraska around the ‘group interview’ process but at least I’ve cleared the first hurdle.

On a sad note, my parsley plant on the front porch looked denuded, and sure enough, it was being devoured by black and yellow striped caterpillars.  One by one, I squashed them flat.  Only then did I think to do a Google search for North Carolina caterpillars, and, to my anguish, found out they were Swallowtail butterflies in training.  And here I’d annihilated the entire squadron.  What an ogre.  I feel terrible.  Next year I’ll replant the parsley, and they can have their way with it.

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Texting = de Quervain’s Syndrome…

The little nodule on Bob's wrist is a sign his knotted-up tendons have rebelled against his rampant use of phone technology.

My friend Bob in Des Moines goes under the knife soon for an entirely self-inflicted, and typically painful, ailment known as de Quervain’s Syndrome (aka washerwoman’s syndrome or mother’s wrist).  Basically, it’s a repetitive motion injury.  It was first identified in 1895 by a guy named Fritz, and Mr. de Quervain had no idea his observations would apply to more than scrubbing floors and lifting babies.

Seems Bob has texted way, way, way more than a wrist can handle.  Look up the textbook definition of repetitive motion injury and you’ll see Bob’s name.  Bob is a tech guy’s techie.  He knows his way around an iPhone better than anyone alive.  That includes the developers.  Just as the rest of us are trying to figure out how to direct dial, Bob pushes the boundaries of tech-knowledge.  In Coeur d’Alene he drove us nuts with continual and usually unsolicited demonstrations of “apps” that ranged from a circular rotating compass to guide our way if we got lost to a hand-held seismograph that recorded his heart beat or jolts when the SUV hit bumps in the road.  We rode Bob hard (the derision was good natured) about his addiction to technology.  Bob’s loss is the hand surgeon’s gain.

Let it be said that unless I begin to sit awkwardly at my laptop keyboard, I should manage to avoid de Quervain’s Syndrome or a similar overuse ailment.  I suppose correct posture and proper ergonomic design of a keyboard are a saving graces to letters.  Bob will recover soon enough to rejoin the ranks of texters, although I hope he’ll subscribe to whatever  “app” will make it easier on his thumbs.


Here’s today’s letter to my mother.  A seven minute exercise from start to finish.  Things are improving for her medication-wise.  I hope this letter adds a minute or two of brightness to her day.

September 24, 2010

Mom: Officially it’s supposed to be fall right now but the weather guy says today will be another day in the 90s.  Your first frost can’t be far behind and we still worry about sun screen and tee shirts.  There are now drought conditions in some parts of the Carolinas.  I have a little drought situation in my own neck of the woods; the plants in my window boxes are goners since they had stopped flowering and I stopped watering them.  I’ll replant something in their place.

Was on the porch the other day when I noticed that my parsley plant was awfully scrawny and didn’t have many leaves.  On closer inspection, it was filled with a yellow and black banded caterpillar of some sort.  They had munched the plant to nearly nothing.  So I picked them off and squished them.  But in an idle moment I wondered what they were so I looked up North Carolina caterpillars on the Internet.  It seems these were destined to turn into Swallowtail butterflies, and here I’d just assassinated about 20 of them.  If I’d known that I would’ve let them live.  Incredibly, the background on the worms said they preferred plants in the parsley family.  Well, they found mine to their liking.

Was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last weekend with some friends from Des Moines.  These were guys I’ve known a long time, and it reminded me how I’ve not been able to see old friends for quite some time.  So it was good in that regard.  We played golf and had a great time eating and laughing (drinking wine a little bit, too).  We played a course where they had an island green you had to take a boat to reach.  The kicker was if you hit the green on your first shot you got a certificate.  I plunked my ball in the water the first day but got a certificate on the second day.  It wasn’t a gimmee in that it played about 165 yards both days.  Nice course, and it was in the mountains which I have missed.  Flew over some familiar mountains in Wyoming.  That was fun to see.

Ellen goes to Des Moines this weekend for some event.  Reid told me last night he wants a new computer but this time he’s going to build one.  How the heck do you build a computer?  He’s already got a jazzy laptop but he says that’s not powerful enough for all the stuff he wants to do.  Don’t ask me what he wants to do but he needs a mega-computer to do it.  Good for him.  He had a good review at his ad agency job this week.  That made his week.

Not much going on in these parts.  Probably take the bike out for a spin this weekend.  Likely will head to South Carolina for the day Saturday.  The forecast is for rain on Sunday which is sorely needed around here.  Of course, the big news is I leave for Grand Island in a couple of weeks and will see you very soon.  Just make sure the ice cream shops are still open, and I’m sure we’ll find a good joint for a burger and a beer.


Filed under Contact, Friends, Technology, Writing to friends

A three part endeavor…

I know the paths very well on these mountains. It's the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming: my favorite place in the whole world. I'm going back there in 2011 come hell or high water. These wonderful peaks are a big part of what you'll read about next Tuesday.

Writing is, I think, a three part endeavor.

A huge chunk is inspiration.  Researchers know that writers write best when they have an emotional connection to their subject.  Then there is affinity.  If you identify with the written word, you’re money ahead.  The final leg on the tripod is the diligence to refine your skills.  Like anything else, the more you work at it, the better you become.  Practice, practice, practice.

So it was that as I idled in the coffee shop at the Charlotte airport the other day, a young woman seated next to me was pecking away at her hand-held.  Her thumbs would punch a few keys.  Moments later an apparent response came in, and she’d then hit a few more keys.  The process repeated itself for a few minutes.  My eyesight is such that I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) make out her keystrokes.  What was she learning?  Certainly she wasn’t crafting full sentences or punctuation.  Even so, she forced herself to form ideas and thoughts, however cryptic.  I wondered, too, how or if she might make the transition to the sort of writing I prescribe because you can’t live by acronyms and partial sentences alone.

She got up and left soon enough, still pecking away as she walked.  Her approach was better than nothing, although her ingrained habit may not allow her to stretch her writing wings far enough to move beyond the small screen of her phone.


Here is last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid.

September 13, 2010

Ellen/Reid: You cannot believe the itinerary Jane H____________ sent me for this week’s trip to Idaho.  It’s almost a work of art.  I forgot to bring it to the office but I will photocopy it so you can see the attention to detail.  Every bone in that woman’s body is creative.  I’ve had to force myself to not look forward to the trip but now am getting somewhat jizzed over it.  It will be good to see the guys.  I talked to Dave last week and he’s easing back into things.  My assumption – and wrong at that – was they pulled up roots and moved to Naples, FL.  But they are back in Des Moines.  I’ll call you two from the road this week.

Your uncle is dead-set that I will be in Nebraska the week of October 4.  Sounds like an Odyssey to me.  I’ll make a bee line straight to Grand Island to see your grandmother for a couple of days and then we’ll work around your grandparent’s home in Omaha.  Ellen, your idea to stash the fine china at Jane’s place is a good one.  Consider it done although I wouldn’t mind the further Odyssey to St. Paul to see you and Mr. T.  Reid, if I head up to MN then I would likely stop in Chicago to see you.  Most of the tools will be given away to Goodwill although I’ll keep some aside for you and will bring those to Charlotte.  I suspect my car will be filled to the gills once I get back home.

Nothing happening on the job front.  No interviews.  That’s mildly discouraging although from what can be gleaned from the business pages of the newspaper it’s not entirely uncommon.  I’m far from giving up, however.  Ellen, your comment about the ‘R’ word isn’t too far off.  It has some credence to it.  In some ways it might be okay to scale back the totality of the work effort, particularly if something hourly could be found.  So I may well go down that path although, Reid, I still want to build out the web site for a side – and perhaps full time – PR and media relations business.  I still have something to contribute in terms of skills and experience.  It’s just hard getting people to take notice.  If I did find something hourly, say, at Williams-Sonoma or some place like that, then I could write in the morning and work in the afternoon and early evening.  I would be down with that.

To compensate for things I’ve been taking more walks.  Therapeutic in every sense.  I can blow the steam off, think about things to come, blow off a little more steam and just get in a pretty good workout.  Usually its 45 minutes to an hour or a bit more (minimum 2.5 miles and usually 4.25) although last weekend I got carried away on a six miler on a hot day and was really dogging it the last half hour or thereabouts.  I’ve learned my lesson.

We have established that there is literally no traffic on South Carolina highway 341 out of Florence toward Charlotte.  It cuts straight through backwater portions of South Carolina and in all honesty, in 50+ miles of table-flat road there was only one or two cars seen in either direction the entire way.  It connects nothing to even more nothingness.  Backwater South Carolina is interesting for no other reason than the housing.  Much of it is manufactured.  The Harley is the best way to see the countryside especially at 50 miles per hour.  If I had hair, the wind would blow through it.  Lots of riders in those parts don’t wear helmets but I keep mine on.

Haven’t played golf with my singles group in going on two months now.  Every time someone asks me when I’ll come back my response is ‘when I get a job.’  No other way to approach it right now.  As much as I miss golf and the group it will just have to be this way for the foreseeable future.  My hopes are still high, so I don’t want you two fretting too much about your old man.  Things happen for a reason, and when the right thing does happen, you’ll hear me yelling from here.

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The Mindset List…

Speaking of incoming students, here's Ellen's second grade classroom in St. Paul, MN. Almost all her incoming little ones are immigrant children.

Beloit College in Wisconsin does a cool thing every year that earns it tons of media coverage; it publishes a Mindset List to remind faculty and staff that incoming freshman have a different take on the world. Profs, therefore, need to take the chiefly age-related differences into account as they teach lest students go glassy-eyed.  The hope is to keep classes relevant and therefore stimulating.

For example, don’t inject Dan Quayle into lectures because students won’t know (or care) who he is.  Rodney King?  Who’s that?  Omit from technology classes that phones once had cords.  Few profs realize few students are in the dark about U.S.-Soviet cold war tensions (how do you stay mad at a nation when you lived side by side in the space station?).   Kids view the computers we used as museum relics.  Or that Clint Eastwood was once best known as Dirty Harry, not a director renown these days for artistic films.  Students are used to lickety split in TV, media, social contact.  In other words, they have bypassed all that was familiar to the rest of us.  What’s old will remain old.

But I found one item on the list to be reassuring.  Jessica, an incoming frosh, disagreed that her generation never writes in longhand.  “When I have time, I like writing letters to friends and family,” she said.  “It’s just a bit more personal.  And yes, I write in cursive.”  Hey, kid, your grade for the year: A+.


As it’s Wednesday, we’ll pull this letter from the long-ago archieves when the only aim was to keep Ellen and Reid entertained and occupied briefly while they were in college.

August 22, 2004

EB and Reid:

We had a great weekend.  You guys weren’t here!  Get it?  You guys weren’t here.

In a couple of weeks, people will ask us ‘what artistic or thought-provoking movies have you seen lately?  Sense and Sensability?  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress?  The Living Sea?”  “No,” we’ll respond, “the only one we’ve seen is March of the Penguins.”  That’s the best we can do is watch a film where furry little birds trudge 70 miles to huddle in -80 degree temperatures and the three year old RIGHT NEXT TO US says ‘what’s wrong with the bird, mommy’ or ‘I haveta go pee-pee’?  Hey kid, so hold it already.

Actually, we spent the rest of the weekend moaning about how sore our hips were from the backpacking trip.  Geez, we’re just getting old.  And when I mention that to your mom she jumps all over me, “You’re only as old as you think you are.”  Yeah, well I may think I’m young but my hips think I’m old and decrepit.

Ellen, skip this paragraph because it doesn’t pertain to you.  Reid, Nick ________ went to one of his summer school finals ON THE WRONG DAY and subsequently failed his conditional status situation at Iowa State.  Now it’s on to DMACC for at least the next semester.  Make sure you have a calendar.

Nonnie was supposed to come over for dinner last night but she opted out because they were having a good meal over at the retirement home.  Our voice mail for her shouldn’t have told her we were having chicken tenders and fries.  I’ll have to try that again.

Went on the Harley for about 100 yesterday, and 300 on Thursday.  Bike’s runnin’ good but still can’t attach my bags until the parts come in.  A vandal stepped on my rear pegs and broke them off, and the bags share the same attachments.  Reid, pawned one of your medium sized Harley shirts off on Louis across the street.  He was in Hog Heaven.  The _______’s went through Sturgis while on vacation and all bought rally t-shirts.

We went to Wakonda for a pool party Friday night, and when the DJ started, your mom was insistent that we dance, so we danced.  There are two things I can’t stand to do.  One is sing, the other is dance.  So when we left, I’m literally wobbling up the stairs and the ________ come up to see if I’ve had too much to drink and do we need a cab.  That’s how bad the ankles have gotten.  That’s when she started all over again on the ‘you’re only as old…’  Can it, honey.

Well, that’s about enough pontification for now.  EB, you’d better draft a note to parents alerting them to the dangers of sticking tongues on cold playground bars or that ‘we strongly advise parents to encourage their children to walk on the playground because running on loose gravel could result in injuries’.

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Filed under Adult Children, College, Contact, Correspondence, Technology, Writing to college students

The last letter writer…

Evil Rat skewers kindly Goat in Pearls Before Swine.

Every morning, the last section I read in the Charlotte Observer is the comics.  I’m mostly after Zits and Dilbert although other panels catch my eye now and then. 

One such nugget popped up Thursday, August 5 in the quirky strip Pearls Before Swine (excuse the fuzzy cell phone photo). 

In short, mean-spirited Rat gave thoughtful Goat a plaque as the last letter-writer in America

Hey, Goat, I’m with you pal.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how many letter writers are out there but we’re obviously a pretty quiet, under-the-radar bunch. 

Not to get all gushy, but what troubles me is a widespread perception that letters are strictly for fuddy-duddies.  The inference is letters are beyond passe as even an occasional way to stay in touch or correspond particularly with kids like Ellen and Reid.  Truth is, the perception is hard to refute.  Where’s our legion of PR folks when we need them? 

Yet the realist knows there can never be an effective and orchestrated campaign to rally the faithful.   ‘Paper’ is too far gone.  Perhaps we lead by example in the hope others will keep the old ways  in reserve to be called upon when the time is right.  In the meantime I don’t mind pecking away. 

The last letter writer?  You could do a census of us on one hand, but  hey, you’d have to count Goat, too. 


August 2, 2010

Ellen and Reid: Well, the job thing seems to alternate between idle and full steam ahead.  I’d prefer more of the latter over the former.  It’s two weeks now, and some possibilities have fallen off the job board and now the work will be in the trenches. 

There is every likelihood that the search will spread further and further outside the bank.  My preference to remain in-house probably isn’t going to pan out for a variety of reasons.  But that is the hand I’ve been dealt and so it goes.  People have been incredibly helpful and caring, and now the task is to leave none of the stones unturned that they have put in front of me.  I’m not so much concerned about age as I am just finding the right fit.  I’ve told people that at this point my drive isn’t so much to be a Chief but to be a good Indian.  There’s been a lot of quiet time for contemplation since the deal went down and it seems to me that my best work would be in the written end/content preparation side of the business.  There are a lot of different twists and turns to jobs in the bank and some of those paths I’m just not very good at. 

The job I was looking for at _______ University just wasn’t the right fit for them.  I had the lion’s share of communications skills but when it came to the foundation side and fund raising knowledge, I just couldn’t mislead them.  They would’ve seen right through that.  My hopes were very high but I’m effectively out of the running.

Ellen, Thanksgiving sounds fine.  It would be great to have ya’ll down here (catch the Southern lingo?) but let’s see how this job thing ultimately turns out.  Hopefully there will be something in the hopper by then.  Reid, I don’t have the foggiest about what you might be thinking for either of the holidays.  Whatever works for you works for me because you have two families competing for you and Ellen has the desires of three to balance.  We can just play it by ear.

Your grandmother made the trek to Grand Island this weekend.  She had a good, long drive to her new home and I hope she could see the cornfields and towns on the way out.  A trip by car was probably welcome for her.  Talked to your uncle last night and she made the trip in good order.  Her attitude seems fine.  I’ll have her contact information for you soon enough.  According to Ralph and Gayle the facility is very nice although her room is somewhat downsized from what she had in Omaha.  That really doesn’t matter in the long run.  Last night they went out for an ice cream cone and she surely appreciates just getting to break free of the chain if even for just a little while.  I have some guilt in not being there to help with the move.  If this job thing is allowed to happen, and if there is even a week before I might start whatever new job awaits me, I’ll make the trip out West to see her. 

No action on the sale of your grandparent’s house.  Some guy wanted to rent it for nine months but your uncle deep sixed that request and that is fine with me.  Hopefully the real estate market in Omaha will shake loose at some point in the near future.  It’s tough to know your grandmother will never see the house again.  They made the abrupt move and there wasn’t any time to collect themselves and look around for what they couldn’t have known to be the final time. 

This note is a tad shorter vs. the other weekly letters, in part because I’ve got to hop to it this morning while the names I need to contact are still fresh in my mind.  If anything breaks you two will be the very first to know other than the neighbors who will hear me yelling if there is good news to yell about.

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Maybe its just me…

No one seems to talk about a generation gap anymore.  Generations – Gen-Xers, Twenty Somethings, Boomers, Gen-Y, etc. – appear content to stay confined within the walls built by their age group.  Maybe its just me, but I don’t see free and easy cross-generation mingling.  Kids – anyone under 35 – won’t have much to do with those of us who are gray, balding, and rounder by the year.  When the older set (me) is around, the young crowd stands stone-faced and un-speaking in elevators, passes us silently in hallways, sits away from us at lunch.  The gap is hardly static or rigid.  It’s width fluctuates based on circumstance and willingness to close the distance.  For all we know and in the absence of generation-busting give-and-take, anyone younger than me might well view us matures as standoffish and gap nurturers.

Perhaps it is instead a technology gap, them tethered to their hand helds, us more comfortable with in-person conversation.

Yet the gap lives and I’m certain it exists within families.  How we ought to narrow the gap is anyone’s guess.  Like all wars, victory is won in small, incremental battles.  My battles to keep relevant with my two are waged weekly.  The weapons at my disposal are what you see here a few times a week plus whatever time I’m granted on the phone.  Emails?   Those remain sheathed.

So I’ll keeping chipping away and try to nickle-and-dime it to death.  I feel the presence of the gap some days more than others.  Then again maybe its just me.


Wayback Wednesday.  Today we go kinda way back.  Five or six years ought to do it.

June 7


Well, summer is here.  Just last week it was cool, now it’s near 90 with more to come.  We’ll take it, however, as winter will come soon enough.

Reid has surprised us by literally bouncing out of bed at 6:30 every morning to head off to work in grubby jeans, inside out (?) t-shirts, and dusty work boots.  He sure likes the cash, and by gosh he’s been saving a fair portion of it, too.  One of the good sides is that he doesn’t stay out during the week nearly as late.  Most nights, he’s here by midnight, although he crashes after work and snoozes pretty hard.

We’re catching ourselves with post-Scooter moments.  When I get up, I think ‘oh, better let the dog out.’  Or, ‘better feed the dog’.  We’ve got his picture and collar (with tags) prominently displayed.  People have been sad to hear of his passing.  Your mom says we see him up in the puffy white clouds.

Grandma and Grandpa headed for Sundance, Wyoming this morning.  They’ll go through the old route via the Sand Hills of Nebraska.  Grandpa wants to take a pilgrimage of sorts.  He probably won’t get up there again.

Actually, they’re taking the same highway Bob ____________ and I took last Friday up to Ft. Robinson.  It was a wet trip but still fun.  We both just love the Sand Hills.  No better ride on a beautiful day as far as we were concerned.  We had one ticklish moment Saturday morning in the rain.  Bob’s BMW bike almost didn’t start, and we were literally hundreds of miles from the nearest BMW dealership.  I’m not sure what we would’ve done.  Saw antelopes and deer and a few turtles.  Saturday morning was 170 miles of solid rain.  My face felt exfoliated from the stinging raindrops.  We stayed with Ralph and Gayle Saturday night.  Ralph was the same as usual: talk and tell jokes.  He’s glad you’re doing well.

The countdown is on to Nonnie’s move.  She’s just paralyzed with fear and angst.  That drives Nancy and your mom nuts.  Lots of TLC needed on this one.  You can guess who will do the heavy lifting.

So, the mushroom goes into the bar and says ‘bar keeper, give me a beer.’  To which the bar keep says ‘we don’t serve your kind here.’  ‘Why not?’ replied the mushroom.  ‘I’m a fun-gi.’  Get it?

That’s the best I can do.  Let me know how things are going and what your schedule is.  Toodle-ooh.

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