Away from home

I rushed to the airport this morning trying to get back home at a decent time to see my kids tonight. I had it all planned in advance. I had to get back when I planned. Sadly, I now find myself sitting at the airport, waiting six hours for my rebooked flight. If all goes well, instead of getting home by dinner, I am home by midnight. It’s not just my time or plans ruined. It cost my employer money because of added time for parking, meals, and since my flight gets into New Mexico after 9pm and then it’s two hours by car, I can actually stay in a hotel an extra night.

Really, you don’t have a spare plane that can reposition and get me on time? Maintenance really takes that long and you cannot shuffle flights so that I could get home sooner? It’s me so yes dammit I will be selfish. I have your app yet the technology that should of alerted me to these problems did not. It was experiencing its own technical problems so you said. Had I been alerted, I could have kept the rental car for awhile longer, returned to my meeting, or at least have enjoyed a nice restaurant away from the airport. Instead, I am here, writing about you.

Where I work, some call travel a perk. Others call it an unnecessary evil that comes with our jobs. I hate travel. Others love travel. My desire is to win the lottery with enough money so that I can travel on a private plane. You rebooked me and now I have a crappy seat. The other day I posted on my Facebook page photos at your hub, where you claimed to be making improvements with upgrades. I presume you think that these will make our travel experience better?

I think not. How is a reduced sitting area in the terminal improve our travel experience? How are places to line up based upon boarding improve my experience? You have already reduced our legroom. Perhaps you should redo the seats in the terminal to mirror the lack of space we will have when we can actually get on a plane.

When I checked in my luggage, I thanked the attendant for ruining her plans. It’s not her fault and I told her that. She agreed. Unfortunately she is the face that you put in front of me. She listened, I complained. I thanked her and we went our separate ways. Now my checked luggage is setting there, unlocked because the government searches it in the name of security. Odds are that it will NOT make it to my final destination. This is the voice of experience talking because I have been down this road before.

As I sit at the airport, I see the clouds rolling in. Yep, I am certain that I will experience additional delays this afternoon because of weather. My weather app tells me that there is a 70% chance of afternoon Thunderstorms by 4pm. Just about the boarding time for my flight from Augusta to Atlanta.

Hopefully I’ll get home based upon my revised itinerary. I’ll let you know. At least I’ll have my questionnaire that I will be sent by e-mail asking me about my experience. NOT!

ramblings of a madman

Internet services

The internet has changed a great many things about everyday life. From how we do our jobs to research and communication, music, entertainment, and of course buying things. The buying of things has been a significant change. Directly or indirectly, Walmart stores have been blamed for the decimation of Main Street USA. Many of the brick-and-mortar stores that did not or could not embrace the internet have failed because they were already weakened by Walmart. I saw it first hand in my hometown in Pennsylvania. Walmart, and a few other stores have been able to survive the Amazon juggernaut by competing directly against them. They have had to figure out how to fold the internet into their stores. Main Street continues to survive, albeit in a very weekend condition.

Over the past several years, I have shopped less and less in a brick-and-mortar store, and it is easier to order something online. That said, it has not been without frustration. This subject is indirectly tied to my frustration. I find myself on business travel this week. Thus, I have to board my dog this week. The place that I have chosen allows me to access a webcam in their room. The problem is that you have to know which room, and what the camera password is. That said, I have tried the password, including multiple spellings, upper case versus lower case, across all 20 rooms. No luck. Of course, it is after hours and no one is there, or at least no one is answering the phone. I have to assume that there is someone there with the dogs. My dog has stayed at this place four times. I have seen a deterioration in the service in this area in my last two trips. Not happy with the service at this juncture. I do my best to support local small businesses, but the person-on-person interaction is key.

Conversely, I have had very good service from E-Bay, but Amazon has been hit or miss. It is difficult to gauge the quality of the product from Amazon. They provide information, but good luck trying to determine if it is “Made in the USA”. In some categories, Amazon offers the same quality as I have had with E-Bay, but that has been only in a few areas. With either website, I have yet had the experience to return a purchase.

Buying things on Facebook has been a completely frustrating. I have had three items that I have purchased from a Facebook ad never arrived and months in some instances to get a refund; and two items that were purchased and took months to be shipped. The one item has several websites devoted to the fraud associated with the product. Two years and no refund or shipment of the purchase. I have given up on it. It is clear to me that Facebook takes limited responsibility on the vendors, the quality of the ads, or trying to satisfy those who purchase from sites that advertise on their website.

I know lots of people who do not purchase stuff online. Others prefer going to a store and purchase items, often after researching the item on the internet. I like that approach as well. The great unknown in the internet is that people can get credit, purchase things, and the debt just continues to suck people in and have less and less for necessities. The internet fails to make a direct connection with people, who are necessary to create the service.

What do you think. I could go on and on about this. I am not an expert, but I know what I like and do not like.


Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all of the dads out there. It was a very quiet day around here. Son was here and daughter had a horse riding competition. Daughter did well. This was her first time riding two different horses in two different categories. She took first in both. Conversely, son stayed here inside, playing some computer games. Not sure if he took first or what game he played. Whatever he played, it kept him busy all afternoon. That was good because I really wasn’t feeling well.

Just as we do on Mothers Day, the kids had cards for me. They usually have something like “from your favorite son, or your best daughter” written somewhere on either the envelope or inside the card. Some years they make them. This year, like most, they are store bought cards. Nothing fancy. No singing cat or dog. It’s the thought that counts.

The act of giving cards is another activity that I find missing in today’s technology driven world. A hand written note conveys far more emotion than an electronic card, e-mail or text. The fact that time was taken to actually get a card, to sit down and write something, anything, makes it a message from the heart.

I, as many of my friends on Facebook, posted images of their kids or themselves with their dads today. I did the same. My photo had son and daughter together, outside the stables with the horse. I take a great many pictures of myself with the kids, or the kids by themselves or together. These are my pictures of our family. Conversely, I don’t have photos of myself, or my sister, or the two of us with our father. Let’s just say that my father and I were estranged over these past 40-plus years, even up to his passing a few years ago. That action was the product of family divorce, and I definitely do not want to make the same mistakes as he did. It’s tough, sometimes I don’t get it right, but I keep trying.

Until tomorrow.

ramblings of a madman

Ramble On

I was thinking that today I could sleep in and have a relaxing weekend. Did not happen. Awake at my usual time. Start today off early and right. Ain’t going to happen. Son is sound asleep. Dog is typical crazy… ”where is my morning walk”? Daughter has a riding competition today and as usual, up late rushing to prepare, now tired and grumpy. “Do you have my show shirt”? “It was in my dirty clothes basket”. “ The white one that is stained and dirtied”? On and on. Ding goes the phone as she texts me from her mothers house.

Yesterday was flag day. I didn’t hang my flag. Why? Too busy running around? Work, school camp for son, old age, tired? Realized that yesterday was the first day in four weeks that I did not write. Not because I forgot, or didn’t have anything to write about. I guess it was the understanding that only one person visited my blog yesterday. Should I worry that only one person visited? Subjects boring? Maybe. Slow day? Better things on line to read? Probably. Not really advertising that it is out there, bearing my sole for all to read, to laugh, to comment on. Dammit I paid money for this site and the experience, and have made the commitment to see where it takes us.

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do
Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams...

from Ramble On by Led Zeppelin as determined from a Google search. It is important to acknowledge the words and ideas of others. In the internet age, I am not sure how this is best accomplished. Probably not as simple as a reference in a journal article. Add that to my list of things I need to learn to keep me out of trouble.

Yet as I sit here and type away, sounds of Led Zeppelin ‘s “Ramble On” are running through my head. Literally and figuratively. Maybe my blog is more of a journal and I am trying to capture my life’s experiences in it. The past, the present, the future? Something for posterity when I’m gone and my young kids have something to remember me by? Earlier this week in the morning coffee cabal, we were in fact talking about “here today, gone tomorrow”. However the subject included former managers at work, one hit wonders in the music industry, and other things. Including our own immortality, which quickly transitioned into “why are we here, what mark will we leave on the next generation of employees that we have hired”? Are we renaissance men or renegades? Probably more like geeks.

Sorry. Took a break to get clothes out of the washing machine. Wow! How many pants does my daughter need for riding? Why is the dog going crazy? Yes, I am composing this on real time, on the fly. Sun is up, dog still wants walk. Now going through my head is that image of putting the needle of a record player on a record, no not Led Zeppelin II, and the screech of the needle just going across the record. That sound of I just ruined the vinyl album.

Subject, subject, subject… for now, this is a blog. As time progresses, I expect it to morph into a website with a blog at its center. But that, I am sure is farther down the road. Opinion, commentary, the daily story, things rambling on in my head? Life as a single dad? Retirement? Investing? Hobbies? Kinda rehashing similar topics in my earlier post “My story, or is it?”.

I have given some thought about writing the Sunday post as a weekly wrap up of the past weeks writings, or a summary of what happened the past week. Could go on for hours about politics, news, world and local events. However, I think those topics turn most people off. I enjoy them and like talking about them. Like I could go on and on about the twenty four libtards running for President, or our current President who certainly has broken the mold but is really unpresidential in his behavior, and actions, and such. Government is suppose to help us solve our problems, not be the problem. Unfortunately, both sides of the aisle are the problem. The spirit of compromise that is necessary for democracy is dead. Is democracy dead in America?

Son bellows out his breakfast wishes. Dog wants in. The dog wants out. That’s my queue to end it here, edit and post. Until next time, “ramble on”.

ramblings of a madman

kismet or karma

Two words that some may think mean the same thing. I looked both up using Google search on the internet for each word. Kismet means destiny or fate and has the synonyms include fortune, providence, predestination, luck, karma. Conversely, karma in Hinduism or Buddhism is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. In essence, what happens to a person is the result of their actions.

My belief system is structured around many ideals. One of these is that if one person wrongs another person, that the person who commits the wrong will someday suffer a fate because of their actions. I really truly believe that. What goes around comes around…That said, I wonder when their fate is determined and if they fall. Will they fall? Unfortunately, that has not been my experience. Bad actions cause more bad actions and the person does not fall. Rather, they continue to win, to do better, to achieve their goals. I see it around me a lot.

Is it because I am wishing bad things and I am disappointed? Is it wrong to wish ill-will onto others? Is that my character flaw? Am I just as bad because even though I was wronged, I should be the better person? Is it because I lack the religious convictions of turn the other cheek, do unto others as the would do unto you. WWJD?

Upon further reading, I came across something called the 12 laws of karma. Is this equivalent to Newton’s third law of motion ( for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction). The laws are meant to set you on a path of good karma and free yourself of bad karma. In some ways, it is like the force (in Star Wars).

If you are interested in the laws, I am not going to repeat them hear. Check out for more information. Other sites had similar information. Suffice it to say, after a bad day at work, a simple idea worked out well for today’s blog entry. It’s short, original and enlightening. What do you think?



Since I have had to set up my own household, the kids and I have adopted two dogs. Both animals were from our local county animal shelter. The first was Abby (photo on the right). The second and most recent is Jewel (photo on the left).

They are part of our family.

Abby was a long hair mixed bread who was an older dog. The adoption papers suggested that she was perhaps 10 years old, and came to our local shelter after living in the Taos area. Set in her ways, she would always great me at the door when I came home, often sitting there looking outside through a window that was floor height.

She immediately fit into the family, but was not the kind of dog who liked to wrestle with son. Even though he picked her out of all of the dogs at the pound, she was my dog. When she wanted something, it was me that she would always visit. Short walks were fine, but she certainly would let you know when it was time to go home. I think that is a trait that she learned from my kids. We had Abby for a little over two years before she passed away from a seizure. We have a lock of her hair, a paw print and her cremated remains in a picture box in the dining room of the house.

At her passing, I wrote a little poem. It went like this:

Rest In Peace my four-legged friend.
Our time together, albeit brief, has come to an end.
I rescued you from the pound,
You rescued me from being lost.
Together our love and friendship grew.
I already miss your wagging tail, and your growls of joy when you roll on my pile of dirty clothes.
Your barking when you would greet me at the door, 
was evermore poetic with the kids in tow.
My loss of joy makes this pain so acute.
It will exhaust me with each passing day I am sure,
But in the end, we will meet once again.

Some months passed before we got another dog. Her name is Jewel. A pit bull terrier, she equally had a troubled life. Abused and injured before she was two years old, I can only describe her as a very lovable ball of pure energy. Just looking at her chasing her tail wears me out.

She also likes to look out the window next to the door. And she loves long walks that allow me to really get a workout. She also is my dog even though the kids picked her at the pound.

In my life, I have only had four other dogsthat I called part of my family. They had less interesting names: Tinkle, Tippy, Buffy and Dash. Dash was the family dog after I got married. She was the dog who was around when the kids were born. A golden retriever, Dash was a great dog. The other dogs are from my childhood years growing up in Pennsylvania.

Dogs are just great. They are family.


It’s about a quarter past nine as I sit and write this. Trying to write something every day. Kinda like Chemistry in graduate school. Equally important that I ran one experiment a day. Whether it was the necessary synthesis for starting materials, kinetics of chemical reactions, spectroscopic evaluations, or even modeling on the computer, I felt it necessary to do one reaction a day. So it is true with this new adventure. Just took son back to his mothers place; talked to daughter earlier as she is at Goose Downs working and riding in preparation for this weekends event.

I have been awake now for about 18 hours. A typical day. Never get much sleep on the weekdays. Three to five hours is the norm. Eight is sleeping in on the weekend. I usually start the day between 3 and 4 am. Hot tea or coffee, read, shower, take the dog for a walk. This morning we walked a little longer than normal and managed to come across 4 deer feeding in the yards around the place where we live. Got to work by 5:45 am. Usual day in terms of status and schedule meeting. Addressed questions about some equipment, worked with the quality assurance engineers on a new certificate of analysis for product specifications. Meeting on implementation of some new process monitoring to make us more efficient.

Left work after 4 pm to pick up son from summer camp. He didn’t want to go but I think he is actually have fun. It is tiring him out, a good thing. Cooked dinner, had to get dog food at the grocery store. Dropped him off at his mothers. Strangely, I too find myself very tired, having eye trouble. Looking at the dog who picks her head up from the sofa at the sound of the hospital lifeflight helicopter flying overhead.

That about does it it for me. It is hot this evening, not much of a breeze. Will make sleeping difficult. Until tomorrow.


My story, or is it?

As I think about subjects to write about, I have been thinking about a pathway to guide me through the summer months. I started this blog based on a conversation at work with a coworker, during one of our morning “coffee cabels”. They often deal with work issues, but this one morning, the discussion focused on retirement, what to do after retirement, whether to retire and return part time, or under contract to another company. The work stuff focuses on what is working, what is not working, our management, solving this or that technical problem. Sometimes the conversation triggers thoughts about almost anything. I try to make a mental note about those things; ideas for a future blog post.

The pathway was my thought about the fact that my topics ramble on in terms of subject. While some themes have emerged, I think it will take some time to improve my skills, improve my subjects, and how the fit together. As an example, lots of my posts speak about my kids. I love them, but I don’t think they read my blog. I’ll keep trying.

Now in my third week, I have been exposed to many fellow bloggers in the past few weeks. I find their stories and subjects equally interesting. Some deal with writing, animals, art, a variety of topics. Some readings that I have exposed myself to suggest writing about one or more of my hobbies. I have some future plans in this area and will lay those out over the next few months. I have lots of interests, but they all clearly are not hobbies. Book reviews, movie reviews are all fair game, but I fail to see how writing about those subjects will separate this blog from others. A book review about my reading might appear. I bet you all are interested in how far I have gotten in Atlas Shrugged (7 pages). Fishing, hunting, hiking and camping are also fair game. I won’t write about sports or skiing, although an occasional shout out to my teams is permitted. Similarly, food and alcohol are things that I enjoy, but I am neither a cook, critic or a connoisseur. Lots of blogs on history and politics but I don’t want to alienate half of the audience who would disagree with my political views. But then again, I would not be true to myself if I didn’t write about these things.

Some of these topics go to the heart of why I started this blog. It’s obvious that writing and communication are important in my job, with my friends and coworkers. It’s all around us. It’s also under assault (in my opinion). Just spend some time on Facebook. Read the comments to any article. Whether you agree or disagree, there is someone who has an opinion, or will tell you why your opinion is wrong, bad, stupid, or just embark on a characterization of you in detail in comparison to a part of the human anatomy. It doesn’t matter if your male or female. That is what is wrong with Facebook. But it gets worse as they try to have “community standards” that they impose. The imposition stifles free speech and communication of diverse subjects. We cannot have a debate, which is what is destroying our country, or democracy. That is a strength of social media, and for that Twitter might be better ( I am not on Twitter, but really, the limited character size constrains us). It is why we cannot compromise, we cannot move forward together. It’s sad that this has been the turn of our country since the 70’s by my recollections. But here we are. This blog isn’t going to fix those issues, but I will at least be able to express. Myself. And I hope that you will respond in kind and join me in these conversations. I’ll keep trying. I won’t be right all of the time, or most of the time, but I need to express myself.


Pony Club

If you spend time with horses, you eventually get introduced to the United States Pony Club. They aim to teach young and old riders the proper rules for taking care of a horse, as well as riding and eventing.

In preparation for my daughter’s next event, she has a mounted pony club meeting today. The have regional and location-specific clubs throughout the country. My daughter rides as a member of the Santa Fe Pony Club, which is one of the clubs in the Southwest Region.

So I dutifully took her to the place where they ride, which is south of Santa Fe. Santa Fe has several places in the area that offer riding and host events, including polo. Just past Lamy, on the way to Galisteo is Goose Downs Farm. This is the place where my daughter rides and trains often.

They offer training for dressage, show jumping and cross country for all ages. Indoor and outdoor. As you know, the weather in New Mexico is nice for most of the year. Today was sunny and low 70’s. I just love the blue sky. You can rent a horse or bring your own. Today my daughter road Wyatt, which is not her horse. We will transport Ruby down later in the week. I like to tell Ruby that she is going to the spa for the week.

Sadly, she was ill prepared for the mounted lesson today because she forgot her equipment, but practiced the dressage course for her ranking in preparation for next week.

Goose Downs has a riding event coming up next weekend ( You can board your horse there for a fee, and they even have a bunkhouse where you can stay if your coming from afar.

So while she practiced today, I helped groom the place in preparation for the dressage events this weekend. Thus I managed to get several miles in while pushing the mower.



As I sit here in the living room this evening, I am trying to figure out what to write. Usually, there are several subjects during the day that pop into my head. Some cause me to think longer and harder than others. It’s the one that I ponder the most that writes itself. That is the one that becomes the subject matter that I write about in the evening. I was setting here this evening, alternating between the TV, my beer and things on my iPad. Lots going on today so there are many topics to write about.

Then my solitude is interrupted by the kids. That quickly escalates into an argument about ice cream sundaes. Something that is a special treat has now become an everyday treat in the mind of my son. So as the sucker that I am, I run out and get them. Daughter has a friend from school over for a sleepover. Right now I am actually quite angry at both of them for different reasons.

Upon my return, son knows he is in the doghouse but he just cannot comprehend why and his typical response is “I’m sorry”. However, as I try to explain to him again, he has never comprehended the concept of an apology and that with it comes the idea that he will not do that which he is apologizing for again. Literally it can be a matter of minutes and he is back at it. We have this conversation over and over and over. He just does not comprehend the idea.

Disclaimer. Both of my kids have been diagnosed and are taking medicine for ADHD. They are not in the zombie state that one often thinks of with ADHD medicines. Just the opposite. And to those who suggest that it is overdiagnosed, and the medicines are over prescribed. There is a clear difference between both of them with and without the medicine. Over the years we have tried everything. The symptoms in a boy can and are often very different in a girl.

I often wonder if it is me. Like me, both have anger issues. I’ve tried over the years to work on it, and have been somewhat successful, especially around the kids. Not perfect but getting better as they get older. Sometimes my actions remind me of my life in growing up. Then I wonder if it’s a product of the divorce. As I am the product of divorce, I do my best to be there, treat them equal, and try to talk to them every day. Conversation was never a big thing in my household.

They are very different. Daughter is outgoing, has her horse, lots of friends, tries new and different things. She is on her own journey. Son has a hampster. He is a lot like me in many ways. He keeps to himself. Somewhat shy, an introvert. Has a couple of friends, but with school out he doesn’t keep in touch or try to play with them over the summer vacation. Doesn’t excel in sports; actually has no interest in sports. He is the one I most worry about. Hopefully next week will be better because he starts a summer camp and his tow closest friends from preschool will be there. Hope that goes well.

Today was a beautiful day outside. Both spent the day inside. We went out and I got them new bikes for the summer. Their older bikes were too small for them. Bring them home and nothing. Put them in the garage. They did not go for a ride. Ditto with daughter and the horse. No riding today. It’s clear, and although he doesn’t say so, I think he feels slighted by the horse. It’s a big expense and so he sees things. One can by lots of game coins or things for playing online video games for the cost of some horse things. We tried to get him interested in horses. No. We talked about chickens, rabbits, or goats. Initially displays some interest, but like most things, he will loose interest and then it becomes my responsibility. In general, I’m not one to force things upon either of them. It never turns out well in the end.

And just like that. I am done with this evening writing assignment. I covered the five or six topics that went through my mind during the day. Might be long winded rambling, but there it is.