Safety First

Safety: my dictionary begins with freedom from danger and a protective device before moving on to definitions which apply to football.

I’ve yet to come across an absolute safe activity. Even sleeping can be dangerous in those odd moments of earthquake, fire, or flash flood. Unpredictable humans and animals necessitate a person to be alert for safety concerns when driving, riding, or walking.

Yet some activities are safer than others. And some which include danger are necessary. But many of these can be made safer by planning and equipment suited to the task.

Take the example of this man. While I personally would need a tremendous amount of money to do his job — he moved about doing his work. Yes, he’s paid. Well, I hope.


The structure on the left is a two story building.

Behind him are power lines.

A major street is out of scene to the right.


No Matter the Weather

Run. Run. Run. For fitness and fun. Ignoring the heat, the rain, and the cold.

My circle of acquaintances includes several runners. Yes, they are a hardy group. Some of them leave warm, cozy beds in the winter to don running gear — including hat and mittens — to jog along a trail or a path in the park. Do they enjoy watching their breath form vapor clouds as they run? Or does the shower feel good and the coffee taste better when they return to their homes?

One St. Louis runner outdoes them all. In warm weather he’s surrounded by splashing water. On special occasions the water is tinted. (On purpose.) Then during the coldest months he runs exposed above his shallow pool.


Run! Running Man. Run!


Special Building for a Special Location

Recent Friday blogs have featured branches of libraries in large, public systems.

Not all libraries fit that model. Smaller town will have one building, or a portion of the building. Frequently these are remodeled from previous businesses or perhaps even a home.

Churches often have libraries with collections primarily for members. Hospitals will have libraries filled with standard texts and recent periodicals. (We all want our physician to be up-to-date.) Schools often have one library per building plus a bookshelf or two in each classroom.

On one of my vacation trips we happened upon a library specialized in content (emphasis on one portion of university studies), but also specialized in construction. Strong winds, rain, and snow will not harm this building. It also matches the style of the living quarters and other structures in the observatory complex.

Mexican library0001_crop

A cozy building for students and staff  at a high point in the Mexican Baja.


Floral Wall Decoration

Unless you’re a bachelor that I’m related to — you hang some decorative objects on your living space walls.

Prints of famous art are popular. Enlargements of family or vacation photos find a place in many homes. Perhaps a favorite plate or a shadow box holding small items from vacation trips decorate a room. Original artwork? By a professional artist? Or a family member with talent?

Flowers are a popular theme. They have cheerful colors and tend to bring an illusion of sunshine and fresh air inside with their image.


I’m going to pass on these cheerful and dramatic beauties.

My rooms are too small!



Neighborhood Landmark

Are buildings female? Like ships? Indulge me and read along.

She’s a grand lady. Designed with a sturdy appearance, to last a century or more. An anchor for the neighborhood. A destination for young and old, rich or poor.

She’s stood on this corner in a municipality long ago absorbed into the city. She was build at a time when “grand entrance” included stone steps up from the sidewalk. Tall wooden doors open to a tiny vestibule — designed as a sort of air lock to keep cold winter winds from sweeping all the way across the main reading room.  High ceilings, marble steps to the daylight basement, high grand windows.

And modern touches. A series of computers for patrons to use. Bar coded materials checked out via computers. Knowledgeable clerks willing to assist.

A modern library in an elegant case.


Welcome to all. Children can read in the same space parents, grandparents, and also great-grandparents came to discover new friends in books.



Crossing the Creek

The park appeared tiny from the road past the hospital. Aside from a modest parking lot and a little wild area along a small creek there wasn’t much too it.

Well…there was this footbridge. It must lead to something.

So on a fine January day, I parked in the lot and went exploring. I needed the steps for my exercise program. And when weather permits I prefer fresh to mall recycled air.


Step, step, step over the creek. The wooden planks bring the story of the three Billy goats crossing the bridge where the troll lived. (O, that’s an old story which my father told with much expression.)

Asphalt paths wound past ball fields, branched to give a choice on into the woods or loop around on the level past a second parking lot. I took the wooded route and admired the woods at rest. Leaves on the ground. A few patches of brown grass. Rocks exerting authority when the eye is not distracted by busy summer growth. A few birds gathering lunch and calling to friends.

It’s good to take a risk and cross over the bridge to explore.



New Year, New Branch

Library, that is. Actually it was open to the public for a handful of days at the end of 2015, but it you like to round and make it easy to remember — 2016!

The second day it was open I went and checked it out. One incentive — two items I’d requested had arrived.

Everything outside the building is raw, tiny plants and virgin pavement contribute to an “unfinished” feel. This is underscored by the houses still under construction next to the library building.

Inside the feeling of “new” and “not quite done” continues. Signage directs patrons to the various departments. A large, open staircase leads to the second floor. An entire wall of windows plus upholstered seating makes a pleasant place to read a magazine while glancing out at traffic on a busy road.

On my second visit — returning items — I was introduced to an automated return system. One item at a time. Wait for the green line. Wait for the green line — but I thought I did. Conveyor belt takes it away and directs it to similar items for reshelving.

Give me a few more visits to get better acquainted and I think I’ll like it. Yes, the old branch was cozy and familiar. It was also crowded, parking at peak times could be a problem, and electrical outlets for computers were at a premium.

Will it become my "second home?"
Will it become my
“second home?”

List, list, and another list

Bet you think I’m a list maker.

You’d be right. But today I’m going to challenge you to be one too.

Make a list — one item counts — of something new you want to do this month.

Got it? Okay, are you going to do it this week? Today? As soon as you finish reading my blog?

When you finish your item, I want you to record it somewhere. This can be an email to yourself or a friend. A word or two on a calendar. Or a portion of a journal entry. Did you enjoy the activity? Do you want to repeat it? Can you use it as a reward when you accomplish a difficult but necessary task?

It’s not too late to make 2016 the year of the NEW THING!

And when it comes time to write the annual holiday letter or review the year as you prepare for New Year’s Eve, you may discover that you’ve had adventures and new experiences to enrich your life.

Best of luck in 2016!


Adjusting the Goal

Today an entire year, unmarred by trouble or mistakes lies before us. Fresh. Clean. A chance to start over. Maybe we’ll get more of it right this year.

It’s also a time to set goals. Begin new, better habits.

Did you set goals – or make resolutions – a year ago? How did you you? Do they need some adjustments? Did you make them SMART? That stands for:

Specific : exactly what do you want to accomplish?

Measurable : how will you know when you reach it?

Attainable : does it depend on you? Or can another person block it?

Realistic : this is not the time for me or my peers to resolve to have world peace.

Time sensitive : do you have a deadline?

Think about these. And keeping it positive — I usually begin mine with  “I will…” come up with a goal for 2016. Either an adjustment of a previous goal or something new and shiny.


One example of an adjustable goal.

My goal to share with readers:

In 2016 I will pay off my car loan.

Good luck!