The Future is Coming

This author is old. When I was a child, talk of the future included nuclear power plants. (Yes, Atoms for Peace was a real thing.)

Understanding computers – introduction to the idea of binary – languages with names like Fortran & Basic — filled conversations when I was a young adult. (Internet? Is that like computer terminal time sharing?)

Now, with the weather patterns changing and more people than ever before on the planet — another adaptation needs to be made.

Have electric vehicle charging stations reached your neighborhood? Your workplace?

No, the charging car is not mine.


A New Season?

Less than a week ago, spring arrived on the calendar.

I’m not sure about your location, but here in the Midwest…

Mother Nature appears to have been confused much of March. She’d give us a day or two of spring, then step back to winter. Wait — how about a taste of summer? Within a span of three or four days we’d have every season — except for fall color.

I scrolled through photos inspecting views from recent Marches. Many of them ended with photos of spring flowers. Perhaps a few lucky, or talented, gardeners will have blooms this month — however I will need to be satisfied with one lonely crocus. (I tend to forget I planted some years ago and one hangs on.)

Kite flying season is in full swing in this puzzle. When did you last fly a kite? Do you have a suitable place close to home?


Excellence Required

Firefighters need many skills.

They need to be strong and agile. Able to drive a large vehicle into and out of tight spots. Have knowledge of local streets — GPS is good, but has occasional problems. They must not fear climbing ladders or dragging hoses.

A firefighter needs basic cooking skills and tidiness. Friendly and cooperative are musts when living in close quarters and working as a team.

In addition — they need excellent packing skills!

All of this — plus a few things out of frame — needs to fit into one truck. Not just fit — but be organized for use.

Does someone have a diagram?


Is it Spring Yet?

According to my calendar, spring begins in two days.

According to the scene out my window — I’m not so sure.

March is one of those unpredictable months — even more so than others. Some years you think Mother Nature is having mood swings as the temperature soars on a sunny afternoon a day or two before measurable snow buries the brave daffodils and tulips. Will it rain? Some days. Snow? Possible. Sleet? Maybe. Ice? I hope not.

Perhaps it’s best to wait until the March temper tantrum passes before sending out new growth — or switching to summer wardrobe.

March 1 — a good time to keep buds closed.
April 1 — I hope this weather is not a joke.

While the ash tree cautiously opens to show leaves, the grass greened without hesitation.


Welcome to my City

Pre-pandemic (I expect many of us will divide our lives by this event), I had decided that the time was right for me to have EXPERIENCES rather than collect THINGS.

Therefore, on a spring afternoon, I boarded an airplane, crossed my fingers my luggage took the same flight, and became an international traveler. I’m not counting Canada or Mexico for the purposes of this blog — they are fine countries and I enjoyed my time in each — that’s for another day.

Culture shock — to a person raised rural, currently living in a modest size city, and never visiting anything larger than Chicago — London is huge. No matter how many history, fiction, or guidebooks you consult, the trip from airport to hotel introduced me to more of — everything — than I expected.

Trafalgar Square

On an independent adventure my first afternoon, I consulted the map, asked a few questions at hotel and underground station. Then I “followed the herd”. It’s memorable to emerge into rainy, spring air and be greeting by this fellow. “Welcome. My friends and I will guard this pillar. No funny stuff tolerated.”

Have you had a memorable sculpture encounter?


Quick — Say the First Occupation

This is a test — of the playground or water cooler variety — say the first occupation that comes to mind with the following prompt.

Romance novel heroine.

Did I hear teacher? Nurse? Secretary? Dress shop owner? Perhaps chef or flight attendant.

Come on, people — think out of the mid-twentieth century box — we’re finding successful women in a much broader range of occupations. Try again —

Ahh…that’s better. I hear doctor, lawyer, pilot, and architect. Each of them suited to a modern romance novel. However…

when the book title is Comfort Zone and you have the clue above…

Yes, Janet Zwingel is an HVAC tech — good at her job and respected by her peers. Perhaps this is what happens when you let your daughter tinker in the garage and assist when you repair neighborhood cars.

Kindle readers:


Fun and Puzzles

The manufacturer calls it a “puzzle within a puzzle”. At 550 pieces and a nice size for my coffee table (puzzles are for TV reruns, news, and other programs where sound is more important that picture), I’ve assembled this more than once.

Authors are cautioned not to use cliches — or at least very few.

So they can let the pent-up cliches flew free finding them in this scene.

My personal favorite is the fellow in the lower left corner.

Does a certain one catch your fancy?


Friday Treat

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final day of the modern work week!

During my working years, Fridays were important, but did not always signal the end of the week. That’s the thing about working in health care — it’s one of those 24/7 occupations. More than once, when working on a national holiday, I wondered out loud if we could convince people not to have accidents, heart attacks, or babies for a set time so we could take the day off. Hint: It didn’t work.

So you’ve been good — worked all week — want to treat yourself to something special.

Are you hungry yet? This is Black Forest Cake — perhaps you can find one at a bakery on the way home from work. Or some other flavor of cake. Then this evening — prepare your favorite drink, cut a piece of cake, and settle in with a good book. (If you select Comfort Zone you can read why the heroine makes a Black Forest Cake, why, and who she shares the first attempt.)

Kindle readers:

Nook readers:


Last Call

The party ends at midnight. Set down your adult beverage. Remove your mask. Put the beads away.

Until then…well, it’s PARTY TIME! Also known as Mardis Gras.

New Orleans is in the spotlight in the United States. Other cities along the Gulf Coast hold their own celebrations. And St. Louis celebrates in an old, French portion of the city.

Parades. Color. Noise. Music. Drinks. King Cakes. A little something for everyone. I do advise, if planning to attend the St. Louis parade the Saturday before Ash Wednesday (the largest event), keep an eye on the weather. It varies from snow and freezing, to balmy and clear.

Mardis Gras accessory — didn’t bring any? Attend a parade and snatch a few from the friendly, generous people on the floats.