Love Me Some Chlorophyl


I have been reminiscing about my childhood recently. I’m not sure why, I have no desire to live there again. I’ve lived out west for far too many years. East Texas is a lovely country however and I love visiting from time to time.

The summers were glorious as a child. I knew what you could eat and what not to. I knew the poisonous plants that would give you rashes, poison oak, poison ivy etc., and the places most likely to harbor a water moccasin or cotton mouth. There were even a few swamps around and the occasional alligator and huge and I mean huge constrictors. The dirt roads were wide enough for a school bus and a pickup to pass. I remember this one constrictor had his head in one ditch and his tail in another. I treated that big boy as a force of nature and left him the hell alone.

The above creatures were fairly easy to avoid. Keep your eyes open and don’t go where they are likely to be. The real problem was the bugs; mosquitos, ticks, chiggers,  and no-see-ums. These were the parasites, the bloodsuckers. Then there were ants, wasps, bees and hornets. These guys didn’t usually bother you if you left them alone. I had a friend that threw rock at a hornet’s nest, one of the hornets seem to follow the rock’s trajectory back and popped this kid right between the eyes, He was not a pretty sight. There was also a bug called a blister bug. If it landed on you and you smashed it, everywhere the insect’s fluid touched would develop really nasty blisters. I can vouch for the truth of that from first hand experience.

Loved the summer storms. The lightning would light up the night sky and the thunder would rattle my grandparent’s old farmhouse. The really bad storms, the tornado watch kind of storms, would have hail, high winds, sideways blowing rain, lots of lightning and thunder that you could feel in your bones. Loved them too, made you feel alive all that energy being released.

My grandfather had a dog named Chubby. He wasn’t chubby but had been as a pup and the name stuck. This dog was my companion and protector when I went on my summer forays into the forest. The woods were thick and in places the undergrowth near impassable. Chubby always took point and led the way. He hated snakes and killed several. He was bitten by water moccasins three times that I know of. My grandfather was not one to call a vet for a dog. Chubby would go stand in the stream and let the cool water reduce the fever. Over time he may have built an immunity to the venom as well. Chubby joined the family when I was one and when I was fourteen he went into the forest one day and never came back. Cool dog, he is a big part of my childhood memories.

The humidity competed with the temperature in summer to see which would be higher. The temp and humidity both in the 90s was not uncommon. It was miserable. You stayed in the shade as much as possible and cast forth a prayer for a cooling breeze. Of course, that kind of weather only made the cold watermelon and homemade ice cream that much better. I lived on iced tea. Still do for that matter.

I’ve rambled on long enough. The picture below as well as the picture on the front page of the blog are both from East Texas. The forest is still thick and beautiful in places but there are more homes now and clear cutting has taken  a toll on that beautiful land.

Enjoy the photo.

Till next time, be healthy, be happy, be creative.

Categories: East Texas, Forest, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Saturday – A poem and a photo


Well, my friends, it has been a long hard week and my synapses aren’t firing at their maximum potential. In fact my mind is pretty much mush. So in view of the mental deficiency inherent in mentally draining work coupled with chronic sleep deprivation, I have decided to share an old poem and a photo. The poem is one I wrote several years ago and speaks of the moments when the colors of dawn are at their glory. The photo, surprise, surprise, is of a sunrise. I captured this shot one morning in Phoenix, AZ. I hope you enjoy.

Aurora’s Gift

Aurora, goddess                                                         Chill morn warmed
of the dawn;                                                                by distant fire;
nature’s beauty,                                                          a song of thanks
newly spawned.                                                          from avian choir

Behold the wonder                                                      Ever-changing,
of earliest morn,                                                          ever new,
the sky, her ebon                                                        beauty quickly
raiments shorn.                                                           fades from view.

Sol and Terra;                                                             Look swiftly now
ageless tryst,                                                               while splendor lasts
darkness flees                                                             too soon by far
with sun’s first kiss.                                                      the time is past.

With feline grace                                                         The magic wanes
dawn arrives;                                                               with Sol’s ascent,
morning breaks;                                                          the dawn, the moments,
the world revived.                                                        quickly spent.

Clouds on fire,                                                             Then it’s gone,
sunbeams prance;                                                       so soon, so swift;
light and shadow,                                                         again tomorrow,
ancient dance.                                                             Aurora’s gift.

Overgrown Elf

There it is my friends, my Saturday morning offering. Hope this brings a smile to your face. Nature is far lovelier than words can ever convey. The best a poet can hope for is to paint a picture in the reader’s mind’s eye. I hope I succeeded.

I tried but lack the knowledge necessary to center the head and move the sig and date to the right. My inner luddite strikes again.

Till next time, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Friday – patience rewarded

I have decided to share some of my favorite photos. I am fortunate to have a camera that takes better pictures than I am a photographer. It makes me look good. This particular photo was taken in the parking lot of a restaurant in Phoenix, AZ several years ago. The restaurant is no longer there, a victim of the recession.

Subject change – I went to the gym today. It was Friday, the coach knows I have two days to recover so it was pretty intense. That’s good though, if you don’t push yourself beyond what’s comfortable you never get any better. That is true for far more than working out. Anyway, lots of aerobics, lots of practicing combinations,bands, squats, stretching, etc., and it had recently rained and the unusual humidity was kicking my butt. Anyway, I survived, got home took a shower and took my blood pressure – 99/68, which explains how I was able to do a masterful imitation of an overgrown sloth. Felt much better after some food. I was merely exhausted. Hope I sleep well.

Subject change #2 – I have been thinking a lot about the difference between religion and philosophy lately. I am expert at neither religion or philosophy . Having said that I do observe and what I’ve seen in my sixty years leaves me to believe the following. Religion is based on following the tenets of the particular religion in question, questions are allowed but the answers have been decided by someone or some body that determines the ideology inherent to that particular religion. If one is unable to accept the answer given the options are to keep your doubts to yourself or find a new religion. Philosophy is all about questions, the questions and the answers change as one’s age and circumstances change. The question may be universal but the answer is probably unique to the individual posing the question. If the answer received either from self study or from a mentor is not what one wishes perhaps the question should be rephrased or perhaps the answer is correct and the person asking the question is not yet ready to ask that question.

This is very basic I realize and religion and philosophy are both subjects worthy of words far more eloquent than mine. The point I am trying to make however is still, I believe, valid. Religion generally attracts people who expect others to give them the answers to life’s mysteries. Philosophy generally attracts people who seek their own answers. The philosopher is not attracted to a one size fits all answer to their very personal questions. And yes, there are exceptions, there always are, hence the word generally.

Weekend only eight work hours away. Is that cheering I hear? Yes it is. It is me cheering. Saturday is unscheduled, that probably means at least some household chores. Sunday is breakfast with friends, then trying to become a hermit and write. It has been too long since I have written anything. If I don’t find the time to write soon, my brain to going to either wither or explode, neither is acceptable. All these characters rattling around my head clamoring for me to tell their stories and life keep getting in the way.

Scale said 251.0, keep plugging away, that’s eight pounds gone.

Nothing more to say. Have a great Friday and a better weekend.

Till next time, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Boxing, Exercise, Philosophy, WeightLoss, Writing | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Poetry Thursday


Happy Thursday, one and all. We’ve nearly survived another work week. To celebrate, let’s all take the weekend off. What? Oh, you’re doing that already, well never mind then.

I received good responses to my post, “Strive to live the ordinary life in a non-ordinary way.” A lot of philosophers out there.

The above quote made me think of other quotes that I have found inspiring, profound or thought-provoking. One of my favorites is by Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

I see too many people who blunder through life seemingly unaware of how the chaos inherent in their lives is similar to or a virtual repeat of past  experiences. If they would take a moment to think about cause and effect, to reflect on past actions and the outcomes that developed therefrom, these individuals might have a less stressful, more emotional fulfilling life.

We all need to reflect inwardly upon occasion, to take stock of where we are, emotionally, spiritually and physically. If we don’t know where we are, how are we going to know how to get where we want to be?

Enough philosophizing, I am not particularly good at it but I keep trying.

Today’s poem is called “The Dark,” and is about the things that go bump in the night.

Scale said 252.0 yesterday. Looking for the 240s next week sometime.

Still writing “The Curious Item That Fell From The Sky.” The trouble is not that it is a particularly difficult story to write. The problem lately has been finding a block of time big enough to “get” into the story. Deadline is still aways off. Hopefully, i will have it finished before my writing group meets again.

Enough rambling for one day. Thanks in advance if you take time from your busy schedule to read these scribblings.

Till next time, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Philosophy, Poetry, WeightLoss, Writing | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

More ramblings

This my second post today. I was unable to post this weekend. I was, unusual for me, busy socializing. I am normally a bit of a hermit. The hours I work are not conducive to social interaction. Noon is my midnight. When I am awake and alert most everyone I know is sleeping. To socialize on the weekend entails disrupting, what I laughingly call, my sleep schedule. Most third shifters flip their sleep schedules on the weekend to spend time with family or friends. Monday night at work is never pretty.

The picture of the flower is one I took while on vacation in Missouri several years ago. It was early in the morning and the dew still lingered on the petals. I have taken lots of flower pictures over the years, this is one of my favorites. There is no particular importance to the picture other than I wished to share it. It is a bit of nature’s fleeting beauty. Beauty is something that should be shared simply because it exist.

I also want to share a poem today. I will post another Thursday but I was in full luddite mode last Thursday and the whole poem thing just didn’t happen. The poem is called Nature Wild. It is a poem about a time that was nearly gone when I was a child. I lament what we have done to nature even while I enjoy the fruits of what that abuse has wrought. I was raised in the East Texas piney woods. The forest was vast and healthy. The undergrowth was so thick so at times to be near impenetrable. It was a wonderful, wonderful place to grow up. It is still lovely but I remember it from fifty years ago and the change saddens me. The children growing up in that part of the country today will never know the wilderness that I and my childhood companions knew. A lament, I recall, that my father shared with me nearly fifty years ago, Too many people, too many houses, but people have to live somewhere and it might as well be somewhere lovely. I hope the children living there now enjoy the beauty. Overpopulation, the logging industry and climate change all make me fear for that lovely land.

The picture on the front page of my blog was taken by me in East Texas a few years ago. It is one of the few places I saw that really captures what the forest was like when I was a child. There is remnants of an old house hidden behind that mass of greenery. If you stand at the edge of the road you can just make out the roofline. The old place may have collapsed by now, Nature has a way of reclaiming what is hers.

Thanks for letting me ramble. I hope you enjoyed the picture and the poem.

Till tomorrow, be healthy, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Strive to live the ordinary life in a non ordinary way.


I came across the above words while researching rune stones. What extraordinary wisdom is encompassed in these few words. Few will live a life that leave their name emblazoned upon history. The vast majority of us will be remembered by few, other than family and friends, once we are gone. Our time is brief, and the wisdom necessary to use this time wisely is, quite often, learned by trial and error. In effect, we learn from our mistakes. Some learn more quickly than others and, if we are fortunate, we never stop learning.

I am fortunate in that I am acquainted with a few extraordinary “ordinary” people. They are each unique and special in their own way. I see in them qualities that I admire and deem worthy of emulation. These individuals treat others with respect and dignity, they exhibit patience, they share their knowledge freely and do not denigrate others to feed their ego. Are they perfect, no, each is striving to improve, to be better, to be more. They are “aware.” This awareness of self allows them to learn, to improve, to grow. This awareness of self allows them to live an ordinary life in a non ordinary way. I will enjoy watching the process unfold.

New subject, I had hoped to re-prioritize my day to day routine these last few days. The weekend was busier than anticipated, as a result, I still have no over-arching plan. Work, sleep, writing, proper diet, exercise, household chores and sleep, each takes time. To spend time on one takes time from another. Lately sleep has been given short shrift but that cannot continue. Without proper sleep nothing is done as well as possible and anything worth doing is worth doing well. My desire to do many things well is forcing me to do that which I really dislike, live a structured life. The inherent rebel in me chafes at restrictions, even when they are logical, serve a worthy purpose and are self induced. I guess this will be a test whether I want to accomplish these goals as much as I think I do. I will keep you posted.

Another new subject, occasionally, life visits upon us an occurrence that is, strange, totally unexpected, too cool and extremely motivating all at the same time. Today I was at my favorite coffee shop, seated at the counter having coffee after breakfast. A fellow, a few years older than me sat down two chairs away. He ordered coffee and struck up a conversation. The conversation turned to fitness, diet and exercise. He made a comment about exercise and out of the blue said, “You box, you know what I mean.” Now I don’t know this guy, never saw him before today, so curious, I ask him, ‘How do you know I box?” His response floored me. He said, “I trained for pro years ago, I can tell.”

As of September 17, I will have been taking boxing lessons for a year. I have dropped twenty plus pounds and kept it off. Yet when I look in the mirror I still see a 60 year old guy that needs to lose considerable weight. I am in good shape for my age and weight and the coach tells me I look thirty pounds less than my actual weight but I still have a gut. I am unsure exactly what this stranger saw but I find the experience extremely motivating, from a weight loss perspective as well as added motivation to increase the intensity levels at the gym. This is the most telling proof to date that all those hours at the gym, the sweat, the sore muscles, the gasping-for-breath aerobics, are paying off. Too cool, dear reader, way too cool.

I still need to regiment my day so as to get the most done with what limited free time I have. This should be interesting, the adult responsible me trying to reign in the inner child, I-want-to-play, me. Historically, the inner child eventually gets his way. I will have to factor in some play time, maybe I can keep appease the spoiled brat side of my nature. Query, if I give the inner child a time out how can the adult get anything done? Anyway, must go, things to do, things to do.

Scale said 257.5, see above about inner child getting his way.

Till tomorrow, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Boxing, Exercise, Philosophy, Poetry, WeightLoss | 4 Comments



Before anyone gets offended the first “F.” in the title stands for finally. However, feel free to substitute another word if you feel so inclined.

Major workout today, the client after me canceled. The coach asked if I needed to be anywhere. I said no and he said he would rather beat somebody up than sit around for thirty minutes doing nothing. My thirty minute workout turned into a fifty two minute workout. At my age, 60, and my job, sedentary, I need all the exercise I can get. No boxing today, weight training: bench press, rows, hammer curls, flys, and triceps and core training: planks, reverse crunches, side taps and crunches. A few squats and we have ourselves a killer workout.

Got home and after showering promptly stubbed one of my little toes. It hurt so bad I forgot to cuss. It isn’t broke but it is going to hurt all weekend.

Busy weekend coming up. Taking my eighty year old Mom out for lunch tomorrow. She is the Scrabble queen of the apartment complex where she lives. I hope I am as sharp and spry at eighty as she is. Saturday night my wife, a friend from work and I are going to a dinner theater where “The Expendables” is showing. Sunday evening a friend is coming over to watch Dr. Who. I left Monday open so I can spend some major time trying to finish my current writing project.

Have started corresponding with my sister’s youngest daughter. She lives not too far distant but is young and has a life. She is, however, a fan of my writing and she was surprised I started a blog. Well, as far as the blog goes, so was I. It is a joy to communicate with people a generation or more younger than myself. The young people I associate with have, for the most part, not become jaded by life’s trial’s and tribulations.

One can hear story after story of lazy, spoiled, unskilled, disassociated young people who feel entitled to a paycheck and a good life without putting forth the work necessary to make it happen. That is because the media can’t make a story out of young people doing well. The great majority of the young people I associate with are extremely bright, some bordering on genius. They tend to look at the world with a healthy cynicism yet maintain a sense of humor and the hope that a better future lies ahead. This encompasses young workers in fields as diverse as waiter/waitressing, bank employee, technical writer, supervisor, typesetter/proofreader, the coach at my gym and cashier. That is a few, you get the idea. I wish them all well.

I do not wish to discuss politics on this blog, I will however say that whoever wins, at least we will have a respite from the incessant BS associated with presidential elections.

Been buying music lately. I try to keep up with at least some of today’s current artists. Brought in albums by Bruno Mars, Fun, Jason Mraz and Anna Nalick. My taste is music is quite eclectic. Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Classical, some New Age and some of the older Country. More about the artist than about the genre. Recently been listening to a lot of Lenka, Anna Nalick, Birdy, Eliza Doolittle, Lissie and Katie Herzig. Hence bringing in some new male voices. The last ablum I purchased with a male lead was Vampire Weekend.

I’ve rambled for quite long enough. I am going to chill with some tunes and then go to bed. I might even have a night cap. What the hell, it’s Friday.

The scale said 254.0. See I told you it was water weight.

Till next time, be safe, be happy, be creative. And of course, enjoy your three day weekend.

Categories: Exercise, Music, WeightLoss, Writing | 2 Comments

Thursday, the day before Friday


Hump day has come and gone, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. Now we begin that part of the week which I call “the countdown.” When I get to work tonight, 3rd shift, in case I neglected to mention it, I will say to myself, “only 16 hours till the weekend.” It is not that I dislike my job, as far as jobs go I’ve had far, far worse, it is just that I like my non-work life so much more.

I was going to post a poem today. Sorry, but I still don’t seem to have the insert/upload thing down pat. It works great, gives me a link and an anchor and when I test it it goes to a download file. I will try to master this talent as quickly as possible. I have mentioned in an earlier post that I am a luddite and working with computers is like swimming against the current. Well, here’s proof.

I finished a scene on my current project. It is a short story titled “The Curious Item That Fell Out Of The Sky.” It is taking longer than I wanted it to basically because I have overbooked my waking hours and am having difficulty finding some writing time. I have other projects that need attention and loose deadlines for each project. Deadline in the sense that when I meet with my writing group, Gypsy Muse, I would like to have it ready for them to critique.

Other stuff, we are losing another experienced employee in my department. This lady has eighteen years experience and will be sorely missed. We are having a pot luck to send her off. I wish her well in her new endeavor.

Gym tomorrow, I may have mentioned the coach likes really intense workouts on Friday. The theory being, I have two days to recover. The coach is 24 years old and already has three years experience in physical therapy. This is, I believe, his last year in college. He is working on a degree in kinesiology. I am 60 years old and tell him from time to time that if I didn’t pay him, I would have him arrested for elder abuse.

Nothing more to say except that I am thinking about writing a short steam punk story. It will entail a bit of research but steam punk is pretty cool and would lend itself well to a story populated with unique, curious and eccentric characters. That just happens to be the kind of crowd I like to hang with.

Must finish other projects before starting new one. Must finish other projects before starting new one. Must finish other projects before starting new one. If I make that sentence a mantra maybe I’ll actually wait to start another project. Probably not and here’s why. I tend to write about whichever character is telling me their story, in other words, yelling the loudest. Sounds weird I know but that’s the way I write.

Oh yeah, the scale said 256.0, up two pounds. It’s water weight, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Till tomorrow, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Exercise, Writing | 3 Comments

Mind, Body, Spirit, Your Personal Trinity

It’s Wednesday, for the first time in a while I got to sit and chill, after working my butt off at the gym of course.

I joined  a couple of blogs, placed an order on Amazon and listened to some music on iTunes.

This whole blog thing is interesting, I lead, basically a pretty average, pretty boring life. However, it’s a good life, I laugh a lot and at my age I’m pretty cool with boring. But trying to find something interesting to say daily is a bit of a challenge, but in a good way.

My job, I am proofreader for a major printing company, can be extremely high stress. The documents we work on are very stylized and each customer’s document has a different style. We often have a high volume of work due in a short period of time and very few people to do the work. Basically, I need a way to relieve the stress. Writing and boxing are my two major outlets.

The writing is an interesting hobby, at least in my small circle of friends, who by some strange coincidence write, used to write or wish they had time to write. I hope to make my writing an avocation when I retire, which seems like a long time emotionally but a short time in actuality, six, no more than seven years if you’re curious. Writing allows me to leave, temporarily, all the stresses behind and visit a place where I am in total control. I make the decision what my fictional world is like, who populates it and what trials, tribulations, successes, failures, joys and tragedies befall them, In essence, in my little creation, I am God, too cool. If a reader finds my creation interesting and/or entertaining, beyond cool.

The other thing I do to relieve stress is take boxing lessons. I do it for the exercise and the off chance I may need to defend myself someday. I try to avoid places and situations where that might prove necessary but you never know. Beating the hell out of a defenseless punching bag is a great way to relieve stress. The half hour on any given day may consist of weight training, aerobics, practicing combinations for speed or power or a mixture of the two, left jab, speed, right cross, power, or left uppercut speed, right uppercut power. Different days focus on different things, footwork, defense, attack, stamina or combinations. For strength training there are kettle bells, barbells, bands, huge ropes, sledge hammers and tractor tires, etc., etc., etc, you get the idea. I nearly forgot stretching and balance exercises. I can’t do this all in thirty minutes of course but with all these options the coach is able to make each session different.  I have no clue what to expect when I walk in the gym and I find that interesting.

Of the two main ways I relieve stress, one I have total control, the other I just do as I’m told. Surprisingly, for me, these two extremes keep me pretty mellow. I find that interesting as well. I still have days when i’m a grouch but they are few and far between.

I stayed up too late again but I have enjoyed writing today’s post. Articulating these hobbies of mine have given me a new awareness of just how important they are to me. Writing is exercise for the brain and boxing is exercise for the body. Together they help make me a happy, contented person. Mind, body, spirit, the personal trinity, I hope your trinity is as healthy as mine.

Tomorrow is poetry Thursday. I may post a short story instead of a poem, depends on my mood.

The scale was kind today: 254.0, down 5.5 pounds so far. However, it is getting late and I am hungry so if the scale tomorrow stays the same I will be happy.

Till tomorrow, be safe, be happy, be creative.

Categories: Boxing, Exercise, WeightLoss, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Didn’t I Tell You


Well, the cable guy came today and I was right, it is more complicated than I thought it would be. First, the cable line got cut years ago but that’s a good thing. The reason it is a good thing is that I’ve lived here over twenty five years and I’ve never had cable. When the cable guy checked the address, Cox didn’t show any record of anyone ever having had cable at this address. So the cable line was installed by whichever cable company worked this area before Cox. I am perfectly content to get the current technology with a new line.

Of course that means Cox has to dig. First, before they can dig they have to get a permit. To Cox’s credit, they had a guy out here today getting the measurements etc., necessary to get a permit. Once they get the permit they will call and let us know when they’re going to dig and install the cable – to the house. Then another crew will have to come out and install the cable inside the house. Once that is completed my computer guy will make sure that the computer is tweaked to maximum and I will be able to download data approximately 16 to 18 times faster than with DSL. Like I said yesterday, more complicated than I thought it would be.

Computer guy tweaked the system today so that basically I can download and/or rip CDs with a minimum of input on my part. The less interaction I have with a process the more likely it will be successful. That, unfortunately, is the truth. Computers are not something I grew up with, the learning curve has been steep and long and only now do I feel like I understand what is going on. And then only on the most superficial level and often I am wrong. I see people in their twenties and thirties that grew up with these beasts and they know them like an old friend. My computer friend tries to keep things as simple as he can for me and my wife. I applaud his efforts.

Finally learned what I was doing wrong with the links. Check back Thursday to see if I remember what I’ve learned. Every Thursday I will try to post a link to either a poem or short story. Feed back is welcome, constructive criticism will be given proper consideration, kudos will be given even more consideration and any troll like comments will be deleted post haste. Hope you enjoy Thursday’s offerings.

i haven’t had a chance to write today so I am going to take an hour when I should be sleeping and write on my current project.

Oh, nearly forgot, the scale today said 255.0.

Till tomorrow, be safe, be happy, be creative.

The Overgrown Elf

Categories: WeightLoss, Writing | 4 Comments

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