Sunday, August 18, 2019

Long Live Rock and Roll

Well folks it definitely turned out in our favor to have waited until yesterday to visit the R&RHOF. This is from their induction ceremony - we were quite a bit rowdier but it gives you a taste of the Zombies - a great show and it is not clear who enjoyed themselves more - the band, or we rowdier onlookers. I'll call it a draw. Again I ask - will today's music sound as good in 50 years? Colin Blunstone is amazing.


No disasters to report. The Travel Gods were kind to us yesterday.  I hope they favor us again today as it is repack and relax day. We need to be at the train station today - well - tomorrow by 2A for the final two legs of the road trip. The last one is a 20 hour plus jaunt through the Rockies and the Sierras that ends in Sacramento.

Rest assured if anything fun or embarrassing happens your intrepid reporters will be there to capture it and report back to you.  They don't call us the Slipstream Media for nothing, you know.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Gimp in a Strange Land aka What's Life Without a few Speedbumps Anyway??

Happy Friday y'all. Today began with a sleepless night and a great breakfast at the hotel  cafe. We decided tomorrow is to be our Rock and Roll HOF day. Surely Jann Wenner will be waiting with bated breath to see us. Ahem. At any rate we decided to  stick around again - Jim needs a Walgreens to refill his prescriptions and I need  a few things that missed my bags - toothbrush, hair brush, and also need to repair my crutches so..........

Back on the streets, Jim, the Gimp (aka Chuck) and our trusty steed the wheelchair. Clickity clack, rumble, thump BAM! oops - something brings us to a halt - a halt that almost sends the Gimp flying off the front end of our steed Nellybelle and startles Jim, the pilot and power. GRRRRR. We gather ourselves and off we go again. Hark - a CVS comes into view and the Gimp is happy as his needs can be met - Jim not so much as he needs the Walgreens. We wander the aisles and load up on Gimpy necessities and head back out to the street. The pilot and power - Jim - decides it is a nice day to sight see and maybe spot Walgreens so we head off in a new direction. BAM - another steed blocker rattles the Gimps teeth and startles Jim. Someone muttered damn but maybe it was just an on looker.  Hey - there is beautiful waterfront property near if anyone is interested. Ahem.

We reach another corner and BAM - grind. The left front wheel is in some distress. Not particularly surprising as even with the weight loss from all the hair Bobby C claimed the Gimp is a large fellow with several Xs in front of the L on his frame. But the Gimp can be clever and figures how to keep the wheel from being an issue so we trek back to the hotel. Success  seems within our reach. We stop for a break as the power part of Jim needs a break. After a 20 minute or so conversation we head to the elevator and a louder BAM ensues. Damn. (The Gimp fesses up this time and pleads guilty).

FUBAR time - effed up beyond all recognition. The left front wheel has  been Bammed to death. Literally. So here we are in the Cleveland equivalent of the Tijuana Jail - or so it seems. I am stuck with a crippled steed and left to guard the elevator - I mean I am stuck while Jim goes looking for the equivalent of AAA roadside service. He eventually returns with a hotel employee and a replacement steed but this steed is a mere pony. My new little pony. I manage to pop up and out of Nellybelle and wedge myself into the nameless pony but the wedging is is way too tight. We head back to the ranch that is room 239 to ponder what to do.  Having been joined by a suit and tie management type - very concerned and apologetic I might add - the Gimp finally comes up with an acceptable way to get off my damn little pony and into the more suitable new steed offered. I won't bore you with the engineering feat that freed the Gimp and elicited smiles and high fives all around but trust me when I say it was most creative. And now a very relieved suit and hotel employee retire to parts unknown, I suspect to celebrate being freed from a problem the had no idea how to handle. Great story to pass amongst the hotel employees for at least a week, I am sure.

Alas all is well that ends well. Jim is taking a nap while I write this and watch this weeks Yellowstone. Clearly the Duttons of Montana have larger problems than getting out of a much too small wheelchair LOL.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cleveland and the road so far

We are at- the Hyatt Regency Cleveland after about 30 hours on a train. Most of the ride was in darkness and the route from Carolina was rough and bumpy. I must sat - the AMTRAK people are exceptionally friendly and accommodating. We had a good lunch at the DC AMTRAK station. After a 4 hour wait we boarded the train (Capitol Express No 29) and hit our first real snafu.

Apparently gimps like me - who cannot climb the narrow, windy stairs to the second floor must have lower level specified on their reservation. Oops - my bad. The conductor had a hissy fit and gave me a number to call to try and get things corrected or I had to go upstairs. Not possible so I called the number he offered, The good news is an agent happily made the change to the ticket while the trip was in progress. However, the bad news was the next 2 legs of the trip had no room in the lower level unless there were some  cancellations. Sigh. Why would anyone willingly choose lower level over observation deck when the rockies and sierras are the view?

Yesterday was the second try at modifying our reservations. No luck so on to plan B. There is a second train (the 449 - we were on the 29) that could accommodate us one day later than originally planned so we made the change. There was also a seat on the 5 train - aka California Zephyr so I am safely covered - and it turns out the seat is actually the same physical location we have occupied so far so although Jim does not have an official lower level seat we may catch a break. Whew, We just get to Sacramento a day later.

Jim has peppered Facebook with photos of our day in Cleveland yesterday. We ate lunch at a place called The Chocolate Bar and our waiter was a young guy named Steve, We had a great time as Steve is a huge fan of 60s and 70s music and we laughed and talked through lunch - great food and conversation. Steve also recommended the barber I visited (again well documented by Jim on Facebook with photos.

Today is a new day - the adventure continues.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Final Trip Prep

Monday is the big day - a 1:46 AM departure from Charlotte via AMTRAK- first stop DC and then a 5 hour wait for the next leg, DC to Cleveland. Train schedules are no where near as convenient as airline schedules. I hope the train ride makes up for the scheduling issues.

Cleveland has a multi-day layover for planned visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and possibly the Pro Football HOF in Canton. 

Time to get packed. AMTRAK has fairly restrictive luggage size restrictions for carry ons - I have a 24" duffel bag to fill along with my laptop case. AMTRAK advertises luggage service just like the airlines for checking luggage - I always had good luck on airlines. Time to check out the train. 

I have lots to pack, fortunately this reunion is not a dressy one - at least for me. Just jeans and khakis and my collection of long sleeve pullovers. We PSORIASIS sufferers usually wear long sleeve shirts regardless of the season. As it turns out my elbows are clear at the moment, my legs not so much LOL. Oh well. Life's a bitch some times LOL.

I figure the packing will take ma about an hour - I will recruit my grandson to help. He will be pestering me about leaving my laptop so he can watch his TV shows - tough noogies Bubba. It travels with me. He is also coming up on school start time - that means he has to go to bed early and get used to getting up early to catch his 7AM  bus to school. He is a night owl like his mom.

OK - I messaged my grand daughter and reminded her that Monday night she is taking me to the train station. I board in Charlotte, Jim Furr - my old high school classmate and travel companion boards at Greensboro - the first stop after Charlotte. We get in to DC about 9:30 and then wait 5 hours to board the next train. We arrive in Cleveland at 2:30 AM or so. I'm hoping we can sleep on the train. Bad news - we cannot check in to the  Hyatt in Cleveland til 3:00PM -  looks like we get to sit  in the lobby and relax. A lot.  We leave Cleveland on the 18th.

That's it for final prep - will let you know how the train ride is going once we get started. Happy trails,

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wellbeing




Wellbeing - well-being -however you spell it is a generic term related to being happy. Merriam Webster defines it as the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous. It is closely related to several similar topics we have discussed lately like contented, gratitude and the like.

If it feels good, do it is a phrase we hear often and those things tend to feed ones  well-being. There is also a group dynamic for well-being  but frankly it is all a bit new agey for my liking and does not bear further discussion. Be sure to check Ramana's Musings for Ramana's take on the subject.


Image result for well-being cartoons

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reunions

This week's topic is reunions. I chose it because Ramana is attending one this week and I will soon embark upon a 6 day train adventure to California to attend my high school class 70th birthday party. The attendees of our 50 year reunion 2 years ago had so much fun they elected to hold one more - and it is scheduled for 8/23 in Sacramento, CA..

Attendance looks to be 80 or more Mt. Eden High School (MEHS) class of 67 members. I have not been to a reunion since the 20th if memory serves. Many things have changed. Under normal circumstances I would not attend - simply because my real HS friends are still my friends. We scattered asunder to many different places but have managed to stay close over the years. And then along came Facebook and suddenly old acquaintances and friendships have been renewed.
 Here's a pic of the old alma mater - somehow I do not think it looks quite this nice today and I guarantee it looked better with all of the garbage cans on the roof and the hundreds of rolls of toilet paper weaved throughout the trees and bushed. And then there was the time someone (yeah yeah -my friends and I) toilet papered the band room and filled the teachers office with wadded up newspaper. That was serious stuff back in the day - LOL. The fact that we had keys to the entire school really irritated the principal and his cronies. And the basketball coach went ballistic when his house was papered. He thought he was special because he lived in the Hayward Hills with lawyers and Doctors. At one point in our senior year Mayfair Market refused to sell us toilet paper - so great was our legend and reputation LOL.

So now we gather one last time. Time to renew old acquaintances and friendships.  Perhaps rekindle an old flame or add fuel to budding new relationships. Share in each  others successes and failures. Share photos of kids, grand kids and great grand kids. Nerds who struck it rich can strut and compare bank accounts, brag about who has the biggest boat LOL. But mostly this will simply be a  chance to get up close and personal with old friends. compare life stories. and have one last big-ass party to celebrate what for many were four very important years.

I was primarily a jock in high school - a three sport guy - football, wrestling and baseball.  I actually graduated in the top 10% thanks to my pal Benny dragging me kicking and screaming through advanced Algebra. He went to Oregon State and then the Navy. He is one person I'd like to see again but  he is not anywhere to be found. 

On a particularly sobering note, the list of class members no longer with us is very extensive. I also found that to be true of my late  wife's class of 67 at Skyline in Oakland. Particularly hard for me was seeing her photo on their  deceased students wall. I felt like I lost her again.

In case you wonder what I looked like back in the day, that is my HS photo in the middle of the three images at the top of the screen. Razor cut hair and all.Probably wearing Jade East, Brut or some other sickly sweet  smelling cologne. Possibly even Hai Karate. 

Reunions are what you make of them. Go to them with a smile on your face and a positive attitude and I wager you will have a helluva lot of fun. I certainly plan on that - after I collect on the hugs Vicki Martinez and Lyn Schuller have  promised. Yeah - those will be fun too.

See ya next eek, same bat time and same bat channel. Be sure to check Ramanas Musings to see what he has to say.



Friday, July 19, 2019

Contentment

Ramana picked this week's topic - contentment. Be sure to check his take at Ramana's Musings.

Contentment.  A state of happiness and satisfaction we all strive for and occasionally, if everything falls into place, achieve. Sometimes it sneaks up on us- I am content with a simple life due to financial restrictions - I live on my social security check. Acceptance is a primary step toward contentment, it seems to me.

Many people are content with their relationship with God. I am not one of those. I am content with my place in the universe. There is a spiritual bent to the universe that I am convinced implies balance in life. 

Contentment is clearly in the mind of the beholder. It is a very personal thing that can change as time or circumstances warrant. Personally, it is not something I have a lot of experience with.

Strange as it sounds, I think one of the longest periods of contentment I have experienced was when I was caretaker for my late wife Lynn during her struggles with Huntington's Disease. I was content knowing she was getting the care she needed from people who truly cared about her. I do not think one could ask for more under those circumstances. But beyond that and my contentment with my place in the universe, my experience with contentment is limited. Considering the clock is ticking, it seems my chances of future experiences are somewhat limited. Perhaps my upcoming trip back to California will offer something. It will be the first time I have seen a large part of my family in almost 30 years, Time will tell.

 That's my quick take on contentment. I wish I had more to say but as I said, I am relatively inexperienced with it. I do accept my lot in life which in and of itself implies a certain degree of contentment.