Category Archives: WTH?!

Why?

What do the Russians want with me?

I have finally regained control of my blog after an amazing barrage of messages from Russians. I have removed all the comments from posts — it was easier than going through the more than 20,000 (!) comments and deciphering which ones were real, so I just deleted all of them. If you feel as though you commented before it just may not be deja vu you are experiencing.

So what about my blog attracted the Russian onslaught? I realize I am a man of great importance, but what about my message got me targeted? Am I too obviously American? Did my support of John Bel Edwards in the Louisiana governor’s race mark me as too liberal (I swear it was for two reasons — he is from Amite and I could not bring myself to vote for his opponent without needing a shower afterward). The attacks began shortly after his election and continued until this year. Is there a connection?

Good news, though. Obviously those pesky Russians could not have tampered with the 2016 election as they were clearly too busy spamming the blog of a fifty-something-year-old dude in ‘Merica. I guess that means I am an influencer. Of what,…

So, I’m back and will continue to comment on what it means to be over fifty. These colors don’t run!

And if you don’t hear from me for a while, please come look for me…

Incognito so they can’t find me

Not the Plan, the Sequel

You have got to be kidding me.

Yesterday we sat in beautiful weather in Tampa to watch the New Orleans Saints lose on a long touchdown pass with nine seconds left in the game. Today we sat in atrocious weather in Orlando to watch LSU lose to Notre Dame on a long touchdown pass with about a minute-and-a-half left in the game. Maybe it’s us?

New Year’s Day bowls are a wonderful tradition. When I was a kid the four most important games of the college football year took place on New Year’s Day. If your team happened to be playing in the Sugar, Orange, Rose or Cotton Bowl, you knew you had enjoyed a fantastic season. And the winner of one of those games was almost always crowned the National Champion, mythical though the title was.

It’s a little more diluted now, with seven or eight games on New Year’s Day and a playoff to determine the National Championship. I think the bowl LSU and Notre Dame played today is now called the Citrus Bowl — it was called the Tangerine Bowl when I was younger — but after the bombardment of advertising I can really only tell you with certainty that it was played in Camping World Stadium and presented by Overton. I am not familiar with either Camping World or Overton, but their names are forever stamped in my brain. At least until the next barrage of advertising.

It rained for most of the game and the play reflected it. We had great seats and we cheered for the Tigers with all our hears. I am really glad we stopped for rain gear yesterday, and it worked pretty well at keeping us warm, too. We were hoping for a little better weather for tomorrow since we are here in the home of Disney, but it looks like cold and rainy is en vogue for the rest of the week.

We fly home on Wednesday morning to finish packing up the house. The moving van is coming next week.

While neither game had the ending for which we had hoped, I am glad we got to make the trip before we move away from Louisiana.

Go Saints and Geaux Tigers!

It rained most of the game. By the way, did you know the game was presented by Overton’s?
A brief respite from the rain. It didn’t last…

Not the Plan

Well, that sucked.

Saturday was great. We got to Tampa and had a great evening with Don. Talked about everything that has happened since we were together in July. Got the tickets to the game. Good times.

We got up this morning and the weather was perfect. Hung out with Don. Went to lunch. Then he had responsibilities so we headed out.

Our first stop after lunch was at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Why, you ask? Well, today’s beautiful weather in Tampa is not going to be continued in Orlando tomorrow. A very large, wet cold front is expected to blow in tonight, and Peggy and I did not bring any wet weather gear on the trip. We stopped at Dick’s and got Peggy a rain suit and me a rain jacket for tomorrow’s game before proceeding to the Bucs’ stadium.

Raymond James Stadium is a beautiful place to watch a ballgame. It is much smaller than Tiger Stadium, and there are no bad seats in the house. Our seats were on the home side in the corner of the end zone; a great vantage point to watch the Saints whip the Bucs and claim their first South Division championship since 2011.

Not so fast, my friend.

After leading for much of the game, the Saints gave up a bomb for a touchdown with :09 left in the game to lose the football game. They should have also lost the NFC South championship, but fortunately Atlanta beat Carolina and the Saints got the division title. That was not the way you want to win a championship, but you takes what you can gets.

After the game we drove to Orlando. It is only about ninety miles across the state, but as soon as we got in the car the rains began. It rains in Florida like it rains in Louisiana, so we were comfortable driving in it. What was not comfortable, though, was the thirty degree drop in temperature. Sunshine state, my a$$…

We made the executive decision to order dinner in the hotel instead of going back out in the rain. There have been Disney fireworks to greet the New Year. We will watch the ball drop in a few minutes. Then we will go to bed.

It was great seeing Don, and it was a beautiful day for a football game. Now we have to get ourselves prepared for the big game tomorrow.

Hopefully, we will be better luck to the Tigers than we were to the Saints!

It was a great visit with Don…
…and a beautiful day at the stadium, even if the wrong team won.

Winter Wonderland

I had to make a trip north this week. I realize Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri are not north to some folks but they are all north of here. It was cold; really cold. We ran into icy roads and high temperatures in the low 20s, so it was the kind of stuff we really aren’t used to down here.

We came back to San Antonio on Wednesday night and it was actually chilly in San Antonio, too. I went into the office on Thursday and came home at about 5:30. I took this picture at 6:25…

Wait! This is San Antonio?!

Damn north followed us home. I sent the picture to Peggy in Baton Rouge and she told me it was supposed to snow in Baton Rouge the following morning, too.

Now, the “following morning” is Friday, and I am supposed to be driving from San Antonio back to Baton Rouge. I wasn’t counting on bad weather where I am headed; I was just concerned about getting out of San Antonio!

The roads were fine in San Antonio this morning — the ground had been too warm for the snow to stick on major streets. So, I went in to the office and Peggy sends me this picture:

Peggy and the cat enjoying a surprising snowfall

I never really considered Peggy a “one-upsman” but I am pretty sure she trumped me with that one. This is the second-earliest snowfall ever in Baton Rouge, a place that gets snow about once every ten years. The snow started about 3:30 this morning and she and Sandy were outside enjoying the fire and a cup of coffee by 8:00. Well, I’m fairly certain Sandy did not have a cup of coffee.

There is still snow on the ground in both places, but it does not appear that there is any left on the roads. I am leaving San Antonio now to get back to Baton Rouge for the weekend.

Wish me luck!

Go Stros!

OK folks, this might take a while…

I was born the same year as the Houston Astros and have been a fan for my entire life. Since the Astros were to closest team to Baton Rouge when I was growing up they were the team of my childhood.

I remember listening to Gene Elston and Loel Passe on my brother’s transistor radio in the bedroom we shared in Baton Rouge (now you’re chunkin’, Larry Dierker!). I remember when Loel retired and Dewayne Staats joined the booth, and I remember when Dewayne was “traded” to the Cubs for Milo Hamilton.

I loved Jimmy Wynn, Joe Morgan and Rusty Staub and cried when each of them was traded. I loved Denis Menke and Doug Rader and Cesar Cedeno and I cried when Don Wilson died. I loved Jose’ Cruz and JR Richard and I couldn’t believe it when we got Nolan Ryan!

I watched Roger Metzger and Joe Morgan turn double plays, I watched Dickie Thon and Phil Garner turn double plays, and I watched Craig Biggio and a thousand shortstops turn double plays. I watched Larry Dierker pitch, I listened to Larry Dierker on the radio and I watched Larry Dierker manage the team — and be great at all of them.

I loved the orange and blue, I put up with the blue and gold, I hated the brick red and I rejoiced when the orange and blue returned. I loved the Astros from afar, and then I moved to Houston for sixteen years and loved them from nearby.

I watched the Killer B’s and I died a little when Randy couldn’t get us over the hump — it hurt even worse because one of our boys starred for the other team in that series. I cheered for Roger and Andy and just couldn’t believe the steroid talk. I loved Jeff Bagwell, and yes, I cried again when Ken Caminiti died.

That background information might help explain some of what I am feeling tonight. I was a season ticket holder when this core of awesome young men was losing 324 games in three years, but I could see the future coming!

Besides events and dates involving my blood family, November 1 will now join January 4, 2004 and February 7, 2010 as one of my happiest memories.

Thank you, boys, for making 55 years of waiting worth the wait.

Geaux Astros!

Go ‘Stros!

Surprise

It has been a few weeks since I have been home. A combination of things has kept me in San Antonio, so it was nice that Peggy came to San Antonio to visit this weekend.

Peggy came during the week for a nice visit. She has a project and has to go to Dallas on Monday, but we were able to enjoy a long weekend together.

On Saturday, Peggy and I took off to visit one of our favorite places. We had not had much time alone with the opportunity to talk over the weekend, so the drive to Marble Falls was as much for the conversation as for the sightseeing. We made the drive to visit the world famous Blue Bonnet Café.

As usual, the Blue Bonnet was outstanding. The conversation was something else.

I promise I am a good husband. Loving, supportive, attentive, communicative.

But every once in a while I whiff big time. Peggy is pretty good about calling strikes when they happen.

When I took the job in San Antonio I made the conscious decision to continue living in Baton Rouge and commute to San Antonio. Peggy and I had a hard time finding a church home when we moved to Baton Rouge, and we now have a wonderful one where we are active and happy. Peggy founded an exercise and training ministry at our church that began this summer. I knew we were about to have our first grandchild and I could not ask Peggy to move to San Antonio and leave her so soon. We love being close to the activities at LSU. And…

Peggy let me know today that she is not happy with the arrangement. We got married to be together and she does not like my absence — we have been loving empty-nesting together for more than ten years now. In my defense I told her the same things that I wrote in the paragraph above. She kindly looked at me with pity for my stupidity.

So, when we go back to Baton Rouge next weekend we will begin the process of putting our house on the market. When it sells she will join me in San Antonio. I will be happy to have her with me all the time, but I’m still worried about the other stuff.

Here we go!

Beautiful girl on the San Antonio Riverwalk
At the Blue Bonnet, where she set me straight…

What a Summer

Five years ago. It is almost hard to believe it has been that long.

Peggy was in the beginning stages of dealing with her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, and I knew it was going to be a tough summer. I decided to rent a place at Lake Travis for the entire summer so that we could go anytime we wanted to and relax. Man, did we need it and did we use it.

We joined a boat club where you pay so much each month and you get to choose from whatever boats they have available at the time. Since we really didn’t care what kind of boat we got it was perfect for us. Most of the time we got pontoon boats, even though it was just the two of us. It was perfect for us. We would find a spot in the lake to anchor and just lay there or swim until we felt like moving to another spot.

If Peggy wasn’t in Dallas with her mother we were there on the weekends. I was working on a special project in Austin for my company, so we were there on a lot of weekdays, too. We finished each day in the pool and then sitting on the back deck watching the sunset.

We took a million pictures that summer, but one popped up today that is one of our favorite memories from the summer. It wasn’t Peggy in a bathing suit (though those were several of my favorite memories) on the boat; it was us on the back porch one night after dark. We would sit out there having a drink and smoking a cigar and talking about everything that was happening in our lives. Every night Peggy would want to take a picture while we sat out on the porch, and every night I would tell her that it is too dark for a picture. Finally, one night after we had spent all day on the boat, finished it in the pool and were enjoying the back porch, I agreed to let her try.

We have laughed about that night ever since. Understand, at the lake after dark it is dark. To take a picture you need to use the flash. When you are in the dark and your eyes see a flash, what do they do? That’s right, they close.

The more pictures we took and the harder we tried to keep our eyes open, the funnier it got. If the neighbors had been outside I am sure we would have irritated them. But we still laugh about those terrible pictures. And that wonderful, terrible summer.

We finally got one picture where we both kept our eyes almost open and without too pained a look on our faces. That picture was among the ones that popped up today as a “five years ago today”. There were awesome pictures of my gorgeous wife in her bikini on the boat, but this is the one that prompted me to write:

At our photogenic best

I started laughing again as soon as I saw it. And I just laughed when I attached it.

Sometimes you just have to do the silly stuff. It helps with all the other real stuff.

Quick Getaway

Peggy and I ran over to Lake Charles for a quick getaway. With the lead-up to Easter we haven’t been able to go anywhere for several weeks, so I decided to take Friday off this week and we drove to L’Auberge for the weekend.

I like arriving on Thursday because the weekend crowd is not yet here. The casino is busy but not packed, and the restaurants are crowded but there is not usually a wait. More importantly, the pool is not full of drunk people. Yet.

April would be a little early for significant pool time, but the pool is heated. The temperature outside is not too hot this time of year, so April and May are two of our favorite times to visit.

If you are a people watcher it doesn’t get much better than this. Today was a perfect example. Peggy and I are out in the pool, having a conversation and minding our own business. There is a group of four women near us having a good time and several drinks. After a while, one of them comes over to us and says, pointing at me, “You might be from here. But you (pointing at Peggy) ain’t from here.” I laughed and told her we lived in Baton Rouge. She then asked Peggy where she is from. When Peggy told her Dallas, several “I knew its” were voiced.

Peggy was offended that we have lived in Louisiana for the past three years and she is not considered “from here”. I told her to consider the source — did she really want to seem to be from the same place as the lady asking the question? It was actually a compliment. Peggy hasn’t quite accepted my logic just yet.

We’ll get breakfast in the morning and then head back to Baton Rouge. This place is great when you just need to get away and relax a little.

And have I mentioned that it’s free?

At dinner
Poolside. She does look too good to be from here…

Party Like It’s 1999

We have stayed busy this week.

We had a fun ornament exchange party at a friend’s house on Tuesday. A great time and a lot of fun singing since Doug is an incredible pianist.

Then we went to New Orleans to spend Friday night. I would never want to live in New Orleans, but visiting for a couple of days is always fun. We have season tickets to the musicals at the historic Saenger Theater (less historic now than it was prior to Hurricane Katrina, but much nicer now than it was then!), and we usually try to spend the night nearby when we come to town. We have a particular favorite hotel in Canal Street that is close to everything we like to do.

Several of the hotels do a tremendous job of decorating for Christmas, so this is always a fun time of year to visit. We ate at the Palace Café on Friday night and visited the Ritz, then we ended up at the Bourbon House for lunch on Saturday. Our tickets for “Jersey Boys” were at 2:00 pm, so we hung out in NOLA until showtime and then drove back to Baton Rouge after the play to get ready for the Christmas celebration at our church on Sunday morning.

Sunday was an absolute blast. I was a guest singer with the church quartet because one of the guys was sick. The Christmas at Istrouma was a great morning of worship and celebration. I even wore a suit to church (let’s just say it’s been a while).

We came home and had a fantastic dinner that was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Now the countdown begins.

The bloodletting begins in thirty-six hours. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Fun times at the ornament swap party
Great time at the Bourbon House before the play
Photo op with not the real Senator John Kennedy. You can tell it’s not him because I am taller than he is…

Day of Reckoning

Who knew how hard it would be to pick a date for surgery?

As soon as the doctor said “two weeks with the ankle elevated above the level of the heart  and four weeks totally non-weight-bearing” the calendar watch began. Who has four weeks to spare?!

So, the office Christmas Party is December 9 and “Christmas at Istrouma 2016” is December 18. I am not willing to miss either of those events. Besides, Christmas and New Years kind of provides a natural two-week lull. So…

December 20 is the day that will live in infamy.

The good news is I have plenty of vacation/sick time at work. The bad news is I have plenty of vacation/sick time because I am not very good at being still. Two weeks with my leg elevated does not sound like a good time. At least I can get that done in a reclining chair so I don’t have to be in bed for two weeks.

December 20. There’s a lot going on between now and then, and I will probably add some more stuff just to make sure we don’t miss out on anything.

I’m sure Peggy is really looking forward to it, too.