Categories
the week in review

We need to come up with a different title format…

I started to write about today and was beginning to type “Today is Sunday August 8, 2021”. Then it hit me. That is really kinda dull. Although a somewhat nerd-like title, do people actually care about what I did for the week? Probably not. Even more important, would one even get that from the title “Today is Sunday‚Ķ” Kinda how the evening news either started or ended some 50 years ago. Of course, that title doesn’t really say anything other than it is Sunday August 8. It is a dull introduction. Really doesn’t excite the reader that “hey, maybe there is something interesting hear, something that I can spend a few minutes of my busy life to read, to laugh, to learn”.

After all, I am a rather boring human being. I admit that, otherwise I am not being open and honest. If this blog is to truly express… “The purpose of this blog is for me to explore things that interest me as I plan for my next 50-plus years on this planet. Starting out, I am writing about my family and activities, but as time progresses, it will be about anything. Stay tuned, check in often and enjoy the ride.”, then I am pretty sure that the next 50 years may be as boring as the first 50 years. At least on paper.

And so I leave the title with my secondary thought, which is “we need to come up with a different title format…”, not telling the audience, or for that matter, myself, what am I going to write about today?

Perhaps the unknown will carry the reader forward to at least review today’s ramblings. Clearly I may have found some new sense of posting on TheMcKeeSpot, especially since my record of late in terms of posts has been just awful. Well lets start with the usual and see where it goes. Maybe I can get into a rhythm and write more frequently. I found it interesting that last weeks post had over 30 hits in terms of people stopping to check out what I had to write about. Maybe we can keep the momentum and increase the visits.

This week was uneventful, like most weeks. Didn’t find my soulmate, the winning formula for happiness, or a bank error in my favor and millions in cash. I didn’t retire, yet, to start the next 30 years of my life, or is it 50?

Today started like just about most days. Up early, but I feel somewhat rested as I think that I may have gotten over five hours sleep. Rare for me of late, but I have been tired and afraid that being well off my sleep and not eating well, I will find myself run down and then sick. In the past, this was the cycle of sorts. Long work hours, get run down, then be out for several days. Sick, sick, sick. Recover, and then resume the cycle anew. Not a positive quality of life experience. However, as I have gotten older, certainly past age 50, the cycle has subsided. Still get the atypical 4 hours (on average) sleep, but the cycles of dog-tired sick happen less and less.

And now, welcome to the age of COVID. When I go out and about around town, I find myself wearing my mask indoors. But on the sidewalk, walking across the grass near Ashley Pond, no mask. In stores, I wear my mask. In groups, sometimes, whether it is indoors and outdoors. Are my civil liberties being violated? To quote others, it is simply “my body, my choice”. It’s that simple.

The view walking past Ashley Pond on August 8, 2021. Note the haze in the background.

This weekend I find myself feeding the horses as the kids are on a mini-vacation with their mom. School starts next week. As you can probably expect, they are not excited. In the age of COVID, the new normal is not the same as the old normal. Not for the better, maybe for the worst.

AT THIS POINT, I LOOK AT THE CLOCK AND REALIZE I HAD BETTER STOP IF I AM GOING TO KEEP MY MORNING COFFEE CABAL WITH A FRIEND. CERTAINLY MORE TO FOLLOW…

On my stroll for coffee, I spy two local celebrities.

The two geese who call the pond home…Homer and Edna. The only celebrities who have frequented the pond recently.

A typical Los Alamos Sunday at the pond. An older couple eating a McDonald’s breakfast on a nearby picnic table, a young family chasing their kids, a dog taking his owner out for a morning stroll. Of course, I know none of them but we all are obliged to say hello.

I have since returned…A supercharged conversation with a caffeine high on sunny, somewhat warm but pleasant day. Yep, by then I was into my second cup of coffee, having already had one earlier in the morning from feeding the horses. Wow, away for over two hours discussing the end of the world as we know it and the decline of the American civilization. How work was last week? The usual mayhem from the management ranks, retirement, the stock market, the future.

Of course, any conversation this week in Los Alamos would have to also acknowledge the 76th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb. My friend and coworker asked me if I managed to observe the dozen or so individuals protesting at Ashley Pond yesterday. Holding their signs, acknowledging that the bomb is illegal and immoral. My response is that “so long as the world remains an evil place, I can go to sleep at night knowing that we can also turn the world into an uninhabitable place in a few hours.” Just as global warming is destroying to ecosystem because of the log-term actions of man (maybe), so too can man decide to end it at the push of a few buttons.

How is that for a positive, a healthy view of the future? Neither positive, healthy or an exciting view. But then perhaps my negativity is a characteristic of what I have been reading for the week. Soon, people in California will not be able to get bacon because of a statewide vote a few years ago on a particular proposition related to the inhuman way hogs are raised. Then it is on to the ongoing debate as to whether the 2020 election was fair, free, correct. Of late I find myself reading about the preppers. Those are the people who are preparing for the end of the world, the next American Civil War, the zombie apocalypse. The Luddite in mean enjoys reading about how to prepare for tomorrow.

And then my mind really starts racing. What if COVID is god’s answer to overpopulation? What is wrong with America? I no longer understand this country, or is it I no longer fit in this country? Has it changed for the better, or for the worst, or I just didn’t see it as it passed me by? Did I care? Should I care?

Yes I care because I have two kids who will be returning to school this week. One in high school, the other in middle school. Sadly, it is clear to me that my generation will not be leaving a country and a planet, that is in better shape than the previous generation. We can change that but it will require much cooperation across the planet. As my friend commented on earlier this morning, we humans are like the COVID virus. We mutate to prolong ourselves, but we leave the host, whether it is the virus attacking the body, or humans on our planet, we leave the host in a condition that is worse than it was in when we started.

The view from the stables this Sunday morning. On most days, the sky is blue and one can see the Jemez mountains. Not today, as smoke rolls in from the wildfires in California and elsewhere…

Today we are under a polluted air advisory for the area. It is the smoke from the western fires, but you cannot smell the smoke. But the haze is consistent with air circulating from fires. As the photo above shows, it is very hazy. If in doubt, look at the photo below. One cannot see the horizon, let alone the mountains across the valley. looks worse than those years when the fires were actually burning closer to home.

Looking across my lot to the neighbor’s stable lot. Normally the sky is blue and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains can be easily seen in the background. Today there is nothing except several horses in their paddocks.

And so I leave today’s ramblings much like I started. Unsure of a title, unsure of tomorrow, unsure of what is next. Until next time…

Categories
the week in review

Today is Sunday June 12, 2021

Happy Sunday to all of you out there. It is another beautiful but hot day in northern New Mexico. The sky is blue. The sun is out. Slight breeze but in the upper 80’s with very little humidity. Monsoon season should soon be upon us. We can use the moisture.

…currently in New Mexico

Our air quality is poor today because of the smoke from several forest fires raging in the southwest. Several fires within 75 miles of Los Alamos have consumed almost 2000 acres of largely in uninhabited areas in the state. Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer and other trees, some plagued by beetles and drought are contributing to the smoke. One fire that has erupted in the past 72 hours is burning in the Pecos Wilderness. One can see the smoke over the mountains above Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I hope that the forest service can contain it because I recall fondly hiking there with friends for about a week over 20 years ago. Other fires are burning in Arizona so the summer fire season is here and in full swing.

Closer to home, daughter is at a horse competition today. Her first since before the pandemic. She is slowly getting back into the saddle, so to speak. She is on a loaner horse for the competition, and is planning to take an exam in a few weeks to increase her ratings for competition. This is like

Daughter in a dressage practice ride on Ziggy. The direction of the photo is due north. The clouds in the upper left corner of the photo are actually smoke from the fire in the Pecos Wilderness.

the third time she has rode Ziggy this year. If she does well in the competition today, that should help improve her psyche for the ratings exam in a few weeks. She rode him years earlier when she spent some weeks working at Goose Down Farms. She is there for the competition today and hopefully this weekend will help her find the motivation to return to more frequent practicing and riding this summer. It is a real compliment to her natural skills in that she can get on just about any horse and can ride, practice and compete. She loves it and it keeps her out of trouble. I’m ok with that!

Son is spending the weekend on some computer gaming site where they are also having a competition. I don”t know the what, where, why or how. But if it keeps him happy and out of trouble, that’s ok with me as well.

Today I find myself pondering several things happening in the world that impact my little world in northern New Mexico. We find ourselves in a hay shortage. Probably the result of the drought that the southwest has experienced over the past few years. Rain and snow has been limited over the past few years, which is making the drought conditions worse. It is dry, and our normal hay deliveries from southern Colorado will not start up again until late July. So now that we find ourselves with two horses, we find our barn short in hay. So yesterday I spent hours driving around and was able to eventually purchase some hay from San Marcos Cafe and Feed on route 14 (south of Santa Fe), after several stops at other establishments. True capitalism in action as it looks like the farmers drive their trailers there and just unload on a first come-first serve basis. Cost a few dollars more, but what hasn’t increased in cost since before the pandemic. Everything is going up in price: gasoline, groceries, clothing, beer, ammo. You name it. Companies continue to charge more for less. My Oreo’s and Chips Ahoy cookies now come in smaller packs, all for the same price. My Flonase allergy spray costs the same $44.99 but now I get 40-less doses for that same price than last year. And it comes in the same bottle with the same packaging.

Of course, I in my Honda Pilot (no trailer) had them stuff six bails into the back. The way I figure it, several of these trips and we can build up extra while we wait for the normal deliveries to resume. We have been told to expect about 20% LESS this year from our normal supplier in Colorado and so alternative sources will be better in the long run.

Jasper and fresh hay from the back of my car.

Needless to say, daughter was able to swing by after the competition and purchase an additional seven bails. That should hopefully hold us over until July, but we will continue making these trips to get more over the summer as it appears many of the suppliers, local farms and feed stores are low on hay and other supplies in general.

But the general lack of being short in many commodities appears to be true across the economy as the country recovers from the pandemic. Food, semiconductors, gas, and blue jeans to name a few. I have been trying to upgrade my clothes, as many of my jeans have holes in them and may not suitable for work. Unfortunately, I have been trying to do this at the end of the pandemic, and further, restricting my choices to Made in the USA. There are a number of vendors out there, and their ability to manufacture is limited. And while I am bothered by having to wait weeks, or even months, I am sticking to the idea of only buying things that are Made in the USA. As a nation, we need to return to making everything here. It may cost a few dollars more, but it is the right thing. Maybe our larger companies will return manufacturing back to America and then the economic prosperity and engine that drives this country will allow it to return to greatness.

I have also been thinking about all of the upheaval of the pandemic and how things suddenly became short in supply. To that end, I am stocking up on food rations, medical and other supplies, ammo, and general things to get me and my family through the apocalypse. The zombie apocalypse as

Stockpiling for the zombie apocalypse.

my son refers to it, or the pending economic meltdown that I fear is coming.

For me, that means doing more to take care of myself. Eating better, healthier, eating less and exercising more. After all, I tell the kids that I plan on living forever.

If we have learned anything from the pandemic, our government can only do so much to protect us. Evil nations will stop at nothing to tear us apart. If anything, the pandemic should tell us that even though we are one planet, we are not one nation, or one people. Rugged individualism is necessary to protect our families. There are stupid people in this country will stop at nothing to bring us down. Some of them are even elected representatives in our government. They do not subscribe to the idea of rugged individualism and only believe that government can do it all. It cannot. That is also a lesson that the pandemic should have taught each and every one of us. Our government continues to spend money that our children’s children simply do not have. We alone cannot solve the world’s problems and we need to stop acting like we can. We need to reverse thinking like that and take care of our own people. And if we can return manufacturing to this country, it will improve our overall economic outlook and make things better for us and our children.

As for me, I spent part of the weekend out and about, trying to see if the new normal is the same as the old normal. We are not there, and it is unclear to me if we ever will be, or if our politicians will allow us to return to the old normal. I will continue to explore this over the summer and write about it in future postings of TheMcKeeSpot.

The author and his favorite horse Ruby.

So with that, I bid you all a happy and healthy Sunday. Make it a great week and hug your kids, your family and friends and your pets. Until next time…