Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Bat Bike

Some time ago my oldest son ordered an electric bike.  Duane says it looks like something out of a Batman movie, so he calls it the 'Bat Bike.'

Due to shipping delays, it finally arrived this week.  It is painted a flat black color and has a removable battery pack that can be recharged.  Information on this kind of bike can be found by searching 'ecotric'.

The bike required some assembly  The owner of the local bike shop put the seat and handle bars on it and checked it out.  It was good to go.

Duane did a test ride to the Target store about two miles away, where he bought a backpack to hold necessities for mostly fishing expeditions.The bike performed perfectly.

On his way home, Duane passed the Sheriff's office that is close by his apartment.  There were three deputies outside and they called Duane over.  Turns out none of them had ever seen a Bat Bike before and were curious about it.  Duane showed them the bike and explained how his stroke had left him unable to drive a car.  The numbness in one of his legs makes riding a regular bike difficult, so he found the Bat Bike online and thought it might be the answer to his transportation problems.  The battery takes over so pedaling is unnecessary.

One of the deputies asked if he could take the bike for a spin around the block and Duane said he could.  Duane had a good test run and a nice conversation with the local law.

But all cops are supposed to be bad - at least that is what we are expected to believe.  I guess our local sheriff deputies didn't get that memo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Heads Up

As if there isn't enough crazy in our world, I have had some odd phone calls so far this week.

There have been the daily calls advising me to consolidate my credit cards.  This would be tough to do considering I own zero credit cards.  Sometimes I just play along and waste their time and sometimes I remark on their obvious lack of proper parentage and hang up.  Depends on my mood.

But this week I have received two calls from someone with an accent claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.  The first one I hung up on.  The second I played along with to see what the scam was.  Aparently my Social Security Number was used in connection with a crime in Texas.  They could not recite my number to me for verification and they could not tell me the nature of the supposed crime and they did not know the name of the police officer in charge of the case.  Then we had a short discussion about recording my calls and of attorney generals prosecuting fraud cases and they hung up on me.  I may be old but that doesn't necessarily make me stupid.

Todays call was from someone who said they were from a fancy sounding law firm  They tried three times to get me to say "Yes."  They kept asking if I was agreeing to accept the call, to which I replied three times, "What is the nature of this call."  Finally they told me that the call concerned a settlement of a lawsuit in which I was to receive a cash payout.  We then had a short discussion about phone call recording and fraud.  They hung up on me, too.  Don't know why.:)

Sadly, there are lonely elderly folks who believe that the SSA is calling them and that a law firm really has money to give them.

There has to be a special place in Hell for those who prey on the vulnerable elderly.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Had Enough?

A gang of thugs takes over several blocks in a major city and the mayor describes it as a 'Summer of Love."  Meanwhile, those criminals within this "block party festival" loot and damage businesses, terrorize residents, make demands.  They take possession of a police station.  Finally shots ring out.  Several people are wounded and one is killed, but the police and emergency workers are not allowed inside the borders to tend to the injured.  Even now when the takeover seems to be coming to an end, protesters are refusing to leave.  Read the story here.

Had enough yet?

Earlier this month, a young mother with her small daughter in the back, was driving home.  At an intersection, her car was stopped by a mob of about 20 Black Lives Matter thugs, who surrounded her car, tried to open the doors and jumped on her car, all the while screaming obscenities at the Mom and child.  The mother called 911 for help.  The dispatcher told her the police had been ordered to stand down.  Help would not be coming.  The suggestion was made that the terrified mother could call City Hall to air her grievances.  Read about it here.

Had enough yet? 

Minneapolis is a Democratic run city.  Has been for decades.  In Minneapolis there is a lovely park.  There are many loyal Democrats living around the perimeter of the park.  These truly liberal folks have agreed that no matter what, they will not call the police.  They favor defunding police departments.  Word has gotten out and now this park is covered in tents, housing at least 300 homeless people.  I have nothing against the homeless.  But with this encampment comes an invasion of drug dealers and other sorts of low life individuals.  I am afraid I can not drum up any sympathy for the people living near the park.  They seem to believe that all cops are killers.  They are seeing the reality of what they asked for.  Here is the story.

Had enough yet?

If you thought that Black Lives Matter was a peaceful organization, this interview with the leader of the New York chapter might change your mind.  He has said publically that if BLM doesn't get what it wants, they will "burn down the system."  Read about it here.

Had enough yet?

And as if toppling the statues of those who had a part in the making of our country and defacing our memorials wasn't enough, Shaun King, self acclaimed activist, has called for the destruction of all statues and depictions of Jesus Christ because..........wait for it..........white supremacy.  Here is the story.

Had enough yet?

So just how much more are we expected to endure before we are done.  I have reached my limit of patience and beyond.  I am too old to go out and knock heads together, but I still have a voice.  And so do you.  Maybe it is time we used our voices for something more than grumbling about the state of the world around us.  Our country is crumbling and if we don't speak up now, it could very well be too late.

I, for one, have had enough.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I've Been Busy

My groceries were delivered this past Thursday.  I am concentrating on food storage, so there were bags of sugar and flour and rice.  There were some odds and ends of canned tomatoes and fruit to fill in some gaps on the shelves.

I ordered 4 lbs. of carrots thinking I would cube them and dehydrate.  I keep much of my dehydrated food in freezer Ziploc bags stored in cardboard banker's boxes.  When I checked the box of dry carrots, I found it was full to the brim, so I cut the carrots into chunks and canned 7 pints.

Next were 4 bunches of celery.  I have never been able to successfully rehydrate celery.  It doesn't seem to matter if I blanch it or not, I always wind up with rock hard bits.  So now I just slice it and dehydrate.  When dry, I run it through my small coffee grinder, turning those hard pieces into powder.  I get the taste of celery without the unwanted rock hard crunch.

Next was 4 lbs. of pinto beans.  I soaked them overnight, filled each pint jar about 2/3 full, added a teaspoon of onion flakes made from my home dried onions and a beef bouillon cube for flavor.  This was topped off with a scant 1/3 cup of shredded ham.  I added broth from cooking the ham and processed the jars for 75 minutes.  I had one jar that didn't seal, so I used that for a taste test.  I like it.

The first canner load held 16 pints of ham and beans.  I had three pints leftover, so I sorted and washed 2 lbs. of Great Northern beans, put 1/2 cup of the dry beans in each pint jar along with the rest of the shredded ham and seasonings.  I used water for the liquid and processed them as for the first load.

All totalled, I got 19 pints of pinto beans and ham and 14 pints of Great Northern beans and ham.  Not exactly gourmet fare, but it will certainly fill empty stomachs!

I still have 10 lbs. of potatoes to dehydrate, but that will keep for another day.

Many of us grow gardens that provide us with vegetables and fruit to preserve.  I love the pictures folks post and the articles they write about their gardening efforts.  Takes me back to a time when I could do the same.  But there are also many of us who are not in a place where we can garden.  That doesn't mean we can not build up a deep pantry.

Some who were raised in the country like I was, tend to scoff at those who do not garden, home can and preserve.  I'm pretty sure we would all prefer home grown, organic.  But I'm here to tell you that in the end, it doesn't matter.  If the only means available to store food is to buy extra cans of food at the grocery - do it.  If your only source for meat is the grocery - buy it and freeze it.

Take a good, hard look around.  See those meat processing plants shut down due to the virus?  See those truckers who refuse to go into those areas where they do not have police protection?  See those thugs who are burning and looting?  What makes you think you will not be affected?

I don't care what the reason is for preparing.  But prepare we must.  For if this assault on our country continues to escalate, what you have on your shelves may be all there is.

Pray and prepare. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

This Girl...

turned 16 years old yesterday.  I am a day late with this post, but I think she will probably forgive the error.

Miss Maddie Mae is a busy girl.  She excels in school.  She danced in competitions for several years before deciding to get into gymnastics.  She plays a mean game of tennis.

But those are not the reasons I love her so much.  She is kind and caring.  She already is planning a career of helping others.  She has a delicious sense of humor.  And she is determined to do her very best in whatever challenges come her way.  But most importantly, she never fails to hug her Grandma when given the opportunity.

Happy Sweet 16, Maddie Mae.  This one is just for you.

Love, Grandma

Friday, June 12, 2020

We Are Back...

sort of.  Bars and restaurants in my area are finally being allowed to open for indoor service.  Of course, there are still restrictions.  The restrictions have nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with control.  Nobody seemed too worried about 'social distancing' during the protests and riots.  But a restaurant owner had better make sure there are six feet between tables.

I knew the bar next door was open on Wednesday evening when I heard loud voices and the sounds of a scuffle outside my windows.  Looking out, I saw two young men rolling about in the middle of the street, doing their drunken best to smack each other upside their heads. 

A few feet off to one side stood a little bit of a young lady, hands on hips, watching the proceedings.  After a couple of minutes, she said in a voice louder and more commanding than I expected to hear from someone who likely didn't weigh much over 100 lbs., "If you two don't stop being stupid, I am going to quarantine you both."

The young men stopped trying to bash each other, got up, dusted themselves off and meekly followed the young lady back into the bar.

Sometimes it is necessary to for me to concentrate on whatever humor can be found.  I keep track of what is going on around me, but if I concentrate only on the total insanity that is sweeping our nation, I will find myself in a pit of depression and I just do not have time for that. 

So as I relax in my recliner with my Kindle, I hear voices from the street below.  Two or three young men discussing the attributes of their motorcycles.  A couple of sweet young things discussing the attributes of the boys with the motorcycles.  And the voice of a young man, using his very best pick-up lines on a young lady who obviously is going nowhere with him.

Yep...things seem to be getting back to some sort of normal.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Graduation Under Lockdown

Several years ago, this little darlin' graduated from Kindergarten.  Her parents, my son and his lovely bride, were so proud.

This week, that same girl graduated from High School.  And her parents are still proud of her.  So is her Grandma.

Circumstances surrounding the two graduation ceremonies are vastly different.  At the time of Boston's Kindergarten graduation, life was good.  The only restrictions were those placed on children by their parents.  "Look both ways when crossing the street."  "Play nice with your sister."  "Eat your broccoli."

Things have changed.  A virus swept in.  People were confined to their homes.  Boston spent the last few weeks of her school year taking her classes online.  There was no Senior Prom.  Her graduation party had to be postponed until later this summer.  The traditional graduation ceremony was cancelled.

Boston's school, however, did a great thing.  They found a way to have a memorable graduation for the kids in spite of the virus and all the restrictions still in place.

My son drove his family to the school.  Lining the driveway were signs about the size of the political signs we see in yards - 380 of them - one for each graduate, with their photo and the word "Congratulations."  On a tall fence hung a huge banner honoring the school sports teams who could not compete this season.  Further on a stage had been erected.
When it was her turn, Boston got out of the car and walked across the stage to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" to receive her diploma.  Further down the stage, pictures were taken to commemorate the event.  Her family remained in the car but were able to watch their daughter receive her diploma.

The teachers who were taking part in the ceremony remained on the stage from 9 AM until the last diploma was given at 8 PM.  Those school officials have my utmost respect for doing everything they could under the circumstances, to give the Class of 2020 a graduation ceremony to remember.

But most of all I am so proud of this girl.

She kept up her grades while holding down one and sometimes two part time jobs.  And come fall, she is off to the University.  We feared that the U of M would hold classes online only, but I just heard today that the decision has been made to open the doors for regular classes for the fall semester.

Boston, this one is for you.  You make me proud.  Congratulations!
Love, Grandma