Saturday, March 27, 2021



Vern's Potato Salad

Two very large russet potatoes, boiled, cooled and cubed.

One jar of sweet pickles chopped / one dozen hard-boiled eggs chopped / 3 green onions sliced / one can sliced olives / one carrot grated for color / three stalks of celery sliced length wise then chopped / two tablespoons sweet pickle jar juice / salt and pepper.

I folded in three large mayo scoops and two circles of mustard. Added a dash of black pepper / sliced greens of one green onion and wiped the edge of the bowl so as to be photo worthy.

This photo above is how I would present the salad on the table.

This is my father's salad. He always said that a jar of sweet pickles and a dozen hard boiled eggs with the proper addition of mayo were the secrets to the flavor. There is crunch and flavor in every bite.

Takes a little time to prepare, but I have always compared the above picture of dad's salad to every other potato salad I have tried. None have ever offered up the full potato salad experience as dad's recipe. 


FRIENDSHIPS: Times of our lives

The kid in me is still alive. I still get tunnel vision at any prospect of getting to do what I have planned and especially if it involves some playing. I liken those moments to being a horse put into the starting gate awaiting the gate to open with focus only on the track ahead. No distractions nor daily life responsibilities mixed in. The kid in me loves this and is annoyed by responsibilities that disrupts the play. Not to the point of being pissed off, just annoyed. I so love the freedom of the single path I have chosen for those play laps ahead.

But living a life comes with responsibilities and distractions. At 75 I get it and think I have adapted well. I can still get to those laps with a quick stop here and maybe a quick stop there. Getting the play laps in and my other work done does bring a day's satisfaction. So the kid and I have learned to get along and play together. 

As a spectator, I also get enjoyment watching others play.  I recognize those moments when good friends get together, get lost in each other and the play laps they have planned ahead of them.

Moving to east Texas has brought with it, out of a good luck of the draw, excellent new friends who live with in shouting distance. My wife and cattleman's wife have become the best of friends. Not a moment is lost where conversation does not flood their gathering circle. It is that exact moment where I recognize my wife has left the gate. Her only focus is on the track ahead with her running mate. Their hours ahead on a road trip or just sitting at the kitchen table become their universe. Oblivious to any world around them, they have left into their sharing of interests and ideas to the "Nth" degree.

Any talk from their husbands aimed at their circle, glances off with a wave of a hand or "a look." Not with any concern from either of them, but with the very best practices of no-never-minds. Their conversations and stories continue ad infinitum until an outside force breaks their circle. 

Watching my wife play is good for the heart.



About as good as an east Texas afternoon day can get. Sitting in rocking chairs, talking trash with neighbors. I looked down from their porch at their pond and asked if there were fish in it. Yep, catfish and few turtles. He said that they usually will surface when he throws some feed in.

Like kids, we both got up and took the side by side to his shop, picked up a half a coffee can of floating fish food and drove down to the edge of the pond. 

He tossed in a few handfuls and then the remainder of the can. A few moments went by and a dozen or so fairly large catfish started to hit the surface. They raised their heads, opened their mouth and skimmed the surface, filtering in the food and the water out. He says he feeds them from time to time, but mostly their are on their own with bugs, minnows and other pond life. 

And yep they can be caught on a light pole with a chunk of cheese or hot dog. But just one. After that one is caught, the rest wise up and will not bite.

Cell phone photography was all I had and took 50 quick pics. I was hoping for just one good photo. Will take the big camera next time, set up better to capture the next feeding. 

Watching those fish roll to the top of the pond and skim feed was a hoot and fun fishing without a pole and hook.



A drawing by "the after." Looks like an old Mustang hub cap!

"US intelligence agencies must tell Congress everything they know about UFO sightings....."

Yes I believe! Have for many years. Seems logical from historical collections of all the reported sightings and cave drawings of space craft. Things seen, sighted and carved into stone, and not of this world just might carry with it some credibility. 

Besides in a universe beyond imagination, seems reasonable we are not alone and that life much smarter than we, is also a reasonable assumption. 

That a constant government cover-up of every sighting is ongoing and consistent leads me to believe something extra-terrestrial is happening. Shutting off the space station live feed when these objects are captured in real time; yadda yadda yadda. 

I am interested in the report. All that will be disclosed.  How will they disseminate the truth?  

Can you imagine our current leader giving a press conference on this topic? The meme world will ignite. I suppose, "you know, the thing?" might play well in his "splaining."

Regardless, this disclosure will be historical and I expect it to be comedic in its delivery. 

Paul; the movie. If you have not watched, give it a try. Good actors and fun entertainment. Serious language alert, tho.


East Texas weather report this past week.

Rain,sun,thunder,comfortably,warm,cool,cold,rain,sun,rain,thunder,downpours,sun,rain,clouds,breezy,rain,clouds,sun and a few clouds.

No sooner that I was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt, I was back in the house putting on long pants and a sweatshirt, only to go back into the house three hours later and change back to the previous. Not complaining.

The garden is getting perfect sun and rain days back to back. It loves it and the new starts seem happy. The bucket of lettuce doubled in bulk in just two days. 

What I did not see in the new garden design and plan was how fast containers dry out and need watering. 

In my days of youth, this tree would be begging to be climbed. Today it is a thing of beauty, grace and a testament to surviving the tests of time. Visually majestic.


March is about to be history this year and with that the recognition that in a year seemingly just started, April arrives this coming week. Crabgrass taking over and all of the yard chores not gotten to last year are all waving for attention now. 

Time to start more evening cooking on the grill and taking time for a cold beer, rocking away a late afternoon hour on the porch with the bride. How to get in more play time and less work?

Appreciate the visit and have a blessed week going into a new month.

Sunday, March 21, 2021



(experimenting with font size in this week's blog)

Neighbors over to visit this past weekend and in the course of chatting outside they noticed we had a "Tickle Tongue Tree". They told stories of when they were younger, that they would slice off a part of the tree bark and touch it to their tongues. The 'tickle tongue" is likened to the tingling of a foot or leg that has fallen asleep and is awakening back to normal.

"All parts of the tree including the bark will numb the gums and tongue when chewed or sucked. Native Americans used prickly ash or tickle tongue tree as a painkiller. Native Americans chewed the bark for toothaches and drank berry tea for sore throats. The bark and berries are stimulants and have been used historically to treat digestive problems, rheumatism, skin diseases, nervous headaches, varicose veins and congestion. Prickly ash provides cover for wildlife and the blooms help to make a delicious honey."

A short walk out back they also discovered we have a wild Plum Tree.

A small tree next to the back yard tree line. It is struggling to grow and survive. 

After the big rains today (Sunday last) I will trim around it and pull it from leaning into and around the tree behind it. Two stakes in the ground with a little tension to get it started and better on its own. Closer monitoring from now on.

All of a sudden the new season is upon us (along with daylight savings) and normal growth and sprouting of East Texas greenery has begun. 



My wife (Dallas original) pointed mistletoe out to me when we first arrived in east Texas. Clumps of growth in host trees. 

Our neighbors have a few trees where mistletoe has a foothold. I ask him if he and his wife came out from time to time to kiss under the tree. He made me laugh out loud. 

Point here, I never knew this before. Now, damn everywhere we look, Mistletoe has found homes.


Bush Beans

They were just starting to poke their heads out Monday. 

I started them on damp paper towels for a few days and then set them in moist potting mix and under the Texas sun. Mother Nature!!

Sunday morning just before publishing.

All of these beans started out with the same exact environment to begin life. Bean genetics and mother nature? Lets see what another week in the Texas sun and rain will develop. Stay tuned.


Obviously over-sized and a challenge. First half of the sandwich was textbook BLT. So was the second half as it started to unravel.



Image from "My Radar App" this past Wednesday morning. Earlier that morning the approaching storm from the west was twice as wide and I expected it to last a few hours in passing. But by the time it make it to us it was no more than an hour. Quick moving and a good soaking.

Bright sun out later in the day and that has lasted through this weekend. 



Both my wife and I missed Thursday this past week. We figured that out Friday morning. Her was confused as was I. 

I was getting ready to take the weekly garbage to the end of the driveway for pick up. And I was also thinking about our get-together pizza night scheduled for dinner, picking up her computer and our shopping schedule that day. But therein lied the blank look. I asked my wife what day it was. She said Friday and that was correct. 

I told her I was getting ready to take the garbage as always planned on garbage pick up day, Thursday. Confused. 

We looked at our phones, yep, Friday. So what happened to yesterday Thursday. And so it went over a bowl of sliced bananas in cream for breakfast.

We reconstructed Thursday and what we had done. All seemed real. But why the 24 hour delay on prepping garbage pick up. Well hell, it just did not happen although that task had parked in some corner of our brains, but delayed a full day. Not good. 

I told her we need more posted notes. She said to put it in our phones for weekly reminder notifications. Very sad, but I did. 

So next Wednesday and every Wednesday hence forth I will get some notification to get the garbage to the curb. I fear that this is still no guarantee of future days lost as we age. 


This past week of green screen biden and his publicly calling Putin "a killer" is more than troubling.

The barbed wire circle of decision making in DC is way in over their heads. "****ery" with inside our borders is one thing, but there are things in all lives that we just do not mess with. I believe Putin is one of those things. Green screen is way in over his head. Holds true for all his decision making. 

Another world war? Seems more and more possible. Beyond imagination. Green screen is a toy that Putin can play with to include the whole DC Sshow. My guess is Putin will play these folks like an old fiddle for his own entertainment. Not for long though.

And the triple fall/face plant walking up the stairs of AF1. I find watching the video very sad. For the man and for this country.  


I am seeing floating stories that the price of food is going to go through the roof. Sounds plausible.  

Best put in a few more bags of rice and canned meat. 

Planting more garden. 

This coming problem is something we can all do something about today. Whole chickens still under a dollar a pound and an average cost of a loaf of bread is $2.50.

Canning, hot bathing, and dehydrating this summer. 

I thought that blogging about "The After" was a one tiered concept. Today it appears there are more "after levels" inside youmeandtheater. 


Awake at 03:00, wallowed till quarter to four and then moved quietly out of the bedroom. Her stays in bed another half hour, too, wallowing and then follows. 

Both of our computers have been gone through now and both running mirror software backing up on external drives daily. We have installed Dissenter Browser (based on Brave) and Duckduckgo as our entry portal to the net. Seems to be working wonderfully and getting reports of how many adds have been blocked and no tracking every net move etc. Good enough!!

I do my best thinking in the quiet of the morning. Peaceful here in east Texas. Just far enough away from the city and big city, yet not out in banjo land. There are hundreds of back roads, pastures, rolling hills and scenery to last us the rest of our lives. Her and I even have found time as of late to discuss a few day road trips for fun. Remember fun?

I have often said here I enjoy people watching and in these current days of radical change, this behavior yields wonderful moments of entertainment for me. Gives way to long talks of all things we find harder and harder to understand. But there is learning taking place in the watching of people out and about. 

While on the road to the bigger city for shopping at our local global market this weekend, I noticed a line of people inside the store. Older folk. Most mask wearing. General appearance of aging, some ailing. Many were peering over the shoulders of others as they filled out paper work. A dozen or so and the line was getting longer. So I asked! 

"The Vaccine." There it was. Nondescript worker bees handing out forms, offering advice and half dressed in unbuttoned medical garb. 

Our "local" global shopping market was giving the shot. 

And it is here at this point in this weeks blog where I sit at the edge of the rabbit hole. Do I drop down and let go of what I think about all of this or do I circle one more time and let you get on with other blogging? I so want to drop into the rabbit hole. 

Suffice it to say I knew it was just a matter of time before the offerings of this medical device would be available along with vegetables, clothing, sporting goods and a deli counter. One-stop shopping. 

The young gal re-stocking the shelves might well take her break and then be called to help in the jabbing line. Distribute medical advice and another cure all government programs to any shopper wishing that product. 

I responded to the answer to my question of why people were standing in line with an oh; "we have ours thank you." My wife looked at me, smiled and told me I was a bad man. I am not. Quite often though best to just move on.  

But within all of this, witnessing the lining up of so many folks for medical treatment from volunteers at our local shopping center just overwhelms my ability to grasp. I do not know how else to qualify all of this and the times we live in. 

Getting on the government buses and rail cars is not out of the question for a large portion of the American population. No questions asked. None. Nada. The promised ride to health and happiness, colorfully written on the side banners seems more than enough. 

It's an opinion. 

Could C19 preventatives be as simple as this?
A doctor's opinion shared-
Vitamin C   2,000 mg  1X Daily
Vitamin D3 5,000 IU   1x-2x Daily
Zinc      100mg          1x Daily

Worked the garden this weekend. Tomato plants along with most everything else hitting the stands. We get two plantings here now. A few weeks after the first round is planted, we plant another round. Harvest time doubles I am told. But nothing grows unless I plant. 

Thanks for visit. You know the drill. Heads up. Ask a lot of questions this coming week. Seek ideas and other opinions. Ponder. Wonder. Read. Skill sets for all.

Have a blessed week. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021


Vanishing point. They do exist!!

My wife kept looking the other way while I took this photo.

A Tomato Sandwich

Ranks right up there with PB&J if properly done. Fresh tomatoes, room temperature, on fresh bread, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and the mandatory diagonal half cut. 

I quite often eat one of these over the sink or outside just off the patio. No little finger in the air with one of these. A quickie, sloppy and not for public viewing. 



Neighbor stopped by last week with tractor and plow. Five minutes later I had two swaths of dirt turned up for planting extra garden. He said that this is very good dirt as he kicked at a dug up root. "Has been here undisturbed for quite awhile. Ought to grow garden just fine this season."

So potatoes in the ground, a few cabbages, second planting of more radishes. Radishes are an early grow, taste best then. Apparently get soft and hot to taste later in the season. 



If you like Asian food and flavors. 

Double the recipe but do not double the oil. Add your choice of sweetener to taste. A little goes a long way, but if you hit it just right, stir, taste, add, stir, taste, you will find this works wonderfully. Any sesame oil works just fine. Wife used blue sweetener.

Great on Jasmine rice, beef, pork and chicken. Fresh string beans, maybe broccoli. I found the flavor addictive and will most likely always ask my wife to make asparagus this way. 

These were leftovers the next morning. Not the best food photo. But it is the flavor here that kills. 

These were tender with the slightest crunch and eat like candy. My wife followed her mother's and sister's printed recipe above. Admits she has not made this for years. We were both more interested in getting this on the dinner table the other night and to dive into this sauce on steak, rice and asparagus. 

Take a few minutes and try it. Have the patience to tweak from tangy to sweet, depending on your likes.  A versatile flavor to add to your kitchen repertoire.



Paper-thin sliced beef, dipped in egg then flour/bread crumbs and quick-fried in oil on high heat. A drizzle of lemon is a must!


51,000 lbs. of Transformers

View from the crane cockpit. 


Searching for more flavor

What about this gallon of milk? Anything different?

Egg Foo Yung

Every morning now 'til the fresh bean sprouts are used up. 


EXCELLENT WAR STORY. From knuckledraggin my life away.

When men were men, could problem solve in the heat of battle and push a wounded F-4 to safety. I would so love to be in the middle of these two pilots telling this story from start to end. 

Does anyone even have a clue anymore of our history of everyday folks like this?

God bless them all I tell you!!


The After in east Texas has been experiencing warm weather, daily wind and low clouds. Very pleasant. Back into shorts, flip flops and t-shirts. Seventy three inside the house and 73F outside. Learning how the wind can dry out new garden plants living in buckets and bins.

Also introduced to garden weeds yesterday. Had forgotten about all of this maintenance. I need a good friend to come over every week for about an hour and teach me hands-on how to do this. Demonstrate through the whole garden. I will stand by, ask questions and compliment. 

Wife has to live with pin in the toe for two more weeks and wants to grumble some. She has had her fill with being tied down to a limping foot and having to watch every step. She is also a little pissy that she is still healing and her body orders a nap around 2PM each day. Heart-warming to watch her drop off the edge of the earth for an hour in her cozy chair. 

Texas fields are on a hard greening now. Very noticeable and livestock are once again on the good stuff.

But the 10 day winter did a number on yard plants and the such. Greenhouses have lost everything due to the freeze. 

We are in a wait and see for another month before we pull failed plants and replace if we can. Brother-in-law say he has lost a life time of landscaping in Dallas proper. 

Mask wearing is on the wane since the governor lifted all state mandates. BUT that behavior has taken root with many folk. And some businesses still want their employees to wear them. Signs on some entrance doors encourage customers to also continue the practice. NOT.

And: is C-19 vaccine or medical device? An article here. Do more research!

Big winds, T-storms and rain coming tonight and tomorrow. 

Thanks for the visit and you know I appreciate. 

Have a blessed week my friends. 



Friday, March 5, 2021


Vietnam, Central Highlands, 2nd tour. Strapped one of these on after breakfast and wore it every day. Flew back seat as aircraft commander, single aircraft, volunteer missions, tree tops, to places we never went. And because we were not flying there, we were not to expect being rescued. 

Sometimes life is at its brightest when walking close to the edge. But for me, not a place I wanted to walk too often, given the consequences of slipping. 

But, the flying was 100% textbook exhilarating. I found out (then) that I could live with my heart at zero, my ass on the edge of the seat and my mouth as dry as cotton. Flight-suit sopping wet and mind/body drained when the skids touched down at home base.  But the head rush is still beyond words and at the apex of any piloting bell curve.

Also front seat for awhile as instructor. 

The version I flew was the AH-1G. This pictured model is much later in the rotation of up-grades. The collective is full-up giving a visual of the rotor blades at full-up angle of attack. The only time this in flight mode happens is at the end of an engine out autorotation, just after applying full pitch to cushion the landing. I believe the noticeable cut back at the end of the rotor blades was for a quieter rotor system. Should look that up. 

Cockpit was 36" wide and the G model rotor blade was 30 inches wide. The aircraft carried a very nose low attitude at full tilt, straight and level. 

Puts a smile on my face and makes the trigger finger itch. 

To this day, a million years later, I am most comfortable flying anything at less than a hundred feet off the ground. I get nervous at higher altitudes. 

Flight logs show 998 combat missions during the two years flying with the 1st Air Cav and the 7/17 Cav. All in support of our ground troops. 

Memory lane. That was good for me!

(Helicopter above on display at the outskirts of Hawkins, Texas. Ugly rain day when I took this photo. A veterans' memorial. Very nice. Will return and fully note this memorial, the unit information on the side of the helicopter and share.) 


Still in week 1 of the bride's recovery from foot operation. Visited the doctor on Monday and watched as he uncovered the foot from operation day. Very clean, neat and artistic in the work he did. I enjoyed watching his satisfaction at his finished project. He touched and gently inspected the foot. Matter of fact inspection. 

In ten days, the pin and stitches come out. The pin is the size of a larger sewing needle and the little green clown nose is held on with an Allen head set screw.  It is indeed a work of art. Not sure though if you want to see that. But as builder of things, I very much appreciate his talent.

I look at this photo from that perspective. From a little research, this is a textbook photo "in the after" from this kind of operation. 

Apparently, this pin is a Kirschner Wire and common in these kinds of foot/hand surgeries.  Suffice it to say, this photo is a very straightforward end result of common foot repair practices. Enough!

I promise no more foot photos. 



Winter in east Texas has come and gone. Spring brings heavy rain from time to time I am told. Mother Nature is on the move. "Time to start planting."

One of the many roadside displays coming alive after quite a bit of rain and now days of bright sun.

Fields greening and cows/horses are starting to graze and come off winter hay. 

The bride's grandmother's lilies (gifted from sister) are two days into sprouting. These will continue to share much of the property here. 

Called a high fence and used to keep larger animals secure within acreage. The wire does not sit on the ground but rather is curled back (to the left here) a foot and a half or so. Designed to prevent animals digging under.

A better photo of the wire turn back. Feral hogs, though, are a problem and keeping them from coming and going is next to impossible. One member of this hog family lays on the ground behind where this photo was taken. 

Cattlemen and farmers give no quarters when hogs are found roaming and rooting up the fields. Hundred and fifty yard shot from a resting position. Hogs scatter quickly and become a moving target as they return to safety. I am told that they will quiet down before venturing back through this hole under the fence. And yep, fence mending this week. 

I am learning the ins and outs of hog hunting.  


Last year while the bride and I were pulling the plug leaving NH for Texas, my closest friend was also seeking ways to get away from the winter and forever lock downs of New England. 

He chose a sailboat in Florida.  Needed a little TLC,  but great bones. 

After months of some refitting/repairing/up grading and getting his family accustomed to being on the boat, longer trips out of Miami were in order. First out of the bay motor sailing. Then sailing in protected waters. Each time out his family has grown into the adventure. 

Awhile ago, sailing to Key West for a few days and returning to Miami. 

These photos were shared mid-week after another sail to Key West and to the Dry Tortugas.

Folks can continue going full-tilt Howard Hughes in the social graces and self-imprisonment mentality or grab at every day of life and living.

Getting away from the crazies world and maddening crowds can become more than talk. My wife quite often says that we can do anything we are big enough to do.  You have seen this here before.

Key West sunset

Leaving a harbor


Evening cruise

Under Sail

Side note:

Some 30/35 years ago, very good friends sold everything they owned. Home, 401K cashed in and other investments. Purchased a small sail boat in the pacific north west, motored it to the east coast and started an adventure of a life time sailing south along the Intercoastal waterway to the tip of Florida with two youngsters in tow. Yep, Key West.

This kind of decision has to be a 100%, pull the plug, decision of husband and wife.

I would have done the same thing and joined them in a heart beat. But!!!

They found jobs in KW. It was a time when everyone there was hiring. If you wanted work, it was available. The kids went to school and they progressed in both of the jobs they started. Into management. Kids did just fine. Hell of an adventure. Priceless in my book.

Adventures like this need to be done while young. Waiting for things to get better is a fallacy. 


C: drive clicking now more often. Then it settles down and starts clicking again. 

This tower use to boot up in a few seconds, now takes a minute or two. I have gone to weekly extending Windows up-dates to 10 days down the road. Windows updates just screws this system into text and black screen.

Always back-up daily before shutting down now. 

So, take the tower in to be looked at and get a new hard drive. Solid state, no moving parts? Or, do I put the money into a nice lap top for the things I do? 

But I do love this computer and desk I purchased specifically for a room in Texas. 

If I am gone here for a week or two, this will be the reason.
Yep, full failure yesterday. In the shop for diagnostics.

Using lap top back up. HT JY! Sometimes technology is wonderful.

More daily fresh fruit. Usually for breakfast. My body appreciates.

Thanks for the visit this week.