This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More on My 50th Class Reunion and Memories

I'm sure that the photos of my 50th high school class reunion will only be of interest to the members of my class, but I am posting them here to make them available to my classmates for viewing or copying if they so wish.  As I expected, when I first arrived at the reunion I was somewhat apprehensive.  There were only a couple of people that I had seen in the past 40 years so I did not expect to recognize very many at all.  And I was right.  When I first arrived I said to myself, "Who are all of these old people?  Are they classmates or spouses?"  Thank goodness for name tags, for once I knew who someone was I could immediately see through the many years to find that young face that I once knew.  If you wish to see them, the photos are on a photo page labeled "CHS Reunion" (bottom of index in the right-hand column).

A lot of old high school memories came back, some of which I have written about on this blog and some that I had not recalled for the past 50 years.  I find that my memories of high school are somewhat selective.  I remember a lot of the very good and very bad but not a lot of the in-between.  Except for some of those extremes plus football and track I remember very little of my junior and senior years.  Most of what I do remember is with fondness.

I have never had what I would consider a very good memory.  It became worse after my return from Vietnam when I began repressing a lot of memories.  I tried going about my life as if Vietnam had never happened.  I didn't think about it much or talk about it and I was rarely asked about it.  I stuffed most of my memories into "my little black box" that is deep inside of me.  This is where unpleasant memories go to stay and it is very difficult to retrieve them.  It's not like I had memories of gore and such.   I was in an artillery unit in a large base camp that was relatively safe.  Some have said that it may have something to with "survivor's guilt".  For whatever reason, I sometimes repress feelings and emotions yet I know how I am "supposed" to act and when necessary can display the expected expressions and say the right words.

I would like to write a book about my army experience and and its resulting effects on my life but I am having a very difficult time remembering enough to do so.  I started the book 20 years or so ago and I have a fairly decent outline plus lot of notes that I have managed to extract from my memory by reading memoirs of other vets and going back over old letters and photos that I have.  Early on, I attended a couple of group sessions for Vietnam Vets but had to quit because it made me more depressed hearing them tell of their terrible experiences!

Since Vietnam I have been in therapy on and off (mostly on) and have been diagnosed as suffering from moderate to severe clinical depression (working in management for Abbott Labs in N. Chicago, IL was probably enough by itself to cause it!).  I really do feel pretty good these days, especially since retiring from Abbott in 1999.  Of course the handful of pills I take every day helps!  Better living through chemistry I always say!  Carol Ann may disagree, but I feel that I am able to function and perform quite well in everyday life.  After moving to Nacogdoches, TX in 2000 I have been working part-time and call-in as a clinical pharmacist in a local hospital.  I have no management duties and it is the most satisfying work I have ever done.  I retired from that job as of January 1 this year so that we could travel more and for longer periods of time but I have already begun going back on an occasional call-in basis to help cover for vacations and such.  I enjoy the mental stimulation and clinical problem-solving of working in an acute care environment too much to completely let it go.

Enough of my rambling and disclosures.  I promise more upbeat and humorous stories once we have begun our two month trip to New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California in August.  Meanwhile, you may have to put up with the occasional piece of drivel.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Piney Woods Native Plant Center

The Piney Woods Native Plant Center is 42 acres of native forest and gardens located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.  The goal of the Center is to promote education about conservation and use of native plants of the southern forests.  It serves as a living laboratory for pre-school through college students and is a great resource for the community.  There are two miles of handicap accessible pathways that lead through a native bottomland hardwood forest.  The Center also includes the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Demonstration Garden, which was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson in 2000.  It features over 100 species native to the East Texas Pineywoods.

My photography Meet Up group met at the PWNPC early last Saturday morning.  Here are a few of the photos I took (once again, I apologize for not knowing the names of the plants).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Dog Likes Broccoli

Carol Ann hates to go grocery shopping.  I don't really mind it.  It's certainly easier than some of the things I should be doing around the house.  Plus, it makes me look good, volunteering to do something that she hates to do.  Carol Ann gave me a grocery shopping list the other day and I went to the Kroger store not far from the house.  One item on the list was broccoli, a tasteless green vegetable that is "good for you".  If I put enough lemon juice and salt on the stuff it's not too bad.  At our Kroger store broccoli is sold by the stalk, not by weight.  I looked for a small stalk but apparently someone at Kroger doesn't really like the stuff either and were attempting to get rid of it because there were no small stalks.  Actually there were small stalks but they were rubber-banded together to make big stalks, which made you have to buy more than you really wanted.

Carol Ann steamed the stuff for supper (that's southern-speak for "dinner") and I ate as much of it as I could.  Still, after we finished supper there was a fair amount left over.  As we were cleaning up the dishes my dog, Mia, a chihuahua/dachshund mix, began jumping up and down begging for leftovers.  I thought, what the hell, I'll be mean and give her some broccoli.  I held out a flowerette (doesn't even sound like something edible, does it?) and she almost took my hand off she was so fast.  I figured she was expecting meat and would spit the broccoli out as soon as she realized that I had tricked her.  But no.  She chewed, swallowed, and began begging for more!  Amazed, I kept feeding it to her until finally Carol Ann made me stop, afraid the dog would get sick.  Why does she never seem to worry that I will get sick from eating it!

P.S.  This blog is just about to register it's 10,000th "hit" (page viewing).  I honestly never expected more than 40 or 50 tops when I started it earlier this year in January.  I had no intention of continuing it once our trip to Mexico was over but I enjoy writing and when I realized that there were actually some people out there who would read my drivel I decided to keep going.  I realize that some of you may consider this particular post, excitement over a dog eating broccoli, somewhat odd but I needed something to write about and there is no trip coming up soon.  Take care.