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8 posts from April 2016

We collided with serious wildlife action in Lansing, Michigan at Hawk Island Park

Hawk Island on a Wednesday.
It was a gray day, but, nevertheless, beautiful outside.

When it's not snowing, raining or hailing here in Lansing, Michigan, my wife and I try to go to Hawk Island Park on the city's southeast side.  There's a trail there that circles a big restored gravel pit.  It includes a small island in the middle.  It's perfect for walking on most days in the spring, summer and fall.

My wife and I went there yesterday to walk the 35 minute circuit.  We parked, clicked on the walker's version of Runkeeper and started walking.  About half way around, we first saw one deer, a few more than a whole herd.  They were bold in their closeness to us.  Then walking about a hundred yards more, we saw a whole herd on the other side of the trail.  None of them had horns.  

They were close to us and seemed as interested in us as we were with them.  And then one got spooked and they quickly left and passed right in front of us.  It was a great spectacle of nature.  Check the video.


Baby-boomers have the answer to putting a new door on your house?

How many of you feel comfortable putting a new door in your house?  I don't.  That's way beyond the limits of my do-it-yourself capabilities.  Hiring a professional carpenter would cut into the old pension check.  So, what do you do?  We hired a retired baby-boomer with the necessary skills.  It's a real win-win.


Win 1

We went to Home Depot at my friend's direction where we picked out a new backdoor along with a storm door.  A new lockset was added.  With the aid of my trusty smartphone camera, I took pictures of what I wanted, showed it to my friend and he picked them up.  Using the skills he gained from installing many doors at his home and others, he has started the process.  He says, it should take four hours.


Win 2

As our seasons change, we will have a new door along with a storm door that allows us to switch from screens to windows easily.  It's a great upgrade to our house.  


Win 3

Where do you go for your home repair work?  Do it yourself?  Hire contractors?  Do you have retired friends with the skills needed to do it well and but who don't need to charge the big bucks of a contractor?

Lansing, Michigan needs to raise an army to bring positive change


I've been to more than my share of meetings where people got together to work towards making our city a better place to live.  These included our neighborhood, our side of town and others.  Some seemed really positive for a while and then the hope they produced disappeared like the fog being burned off by the sun.

Our city government, including the city council and the mayor, seem to be drifting.  Lots of cliches are thrown around, but there doesn't seem to be a clear vision drawing people together to move change.

What about raising up an army?  Yes, I'm serious.  If people want to raise our city out of the muck and mire of the politics of insult and bickering, then we need to raise up an army for change.  As a recipe on how to do this, I recommend this article by a young woman who seems to have her finger on doing this in the age of social media and millennials.

Here's a quote:

Today, in an age that’s increasingly mobile, the most important organizing model isn’t an audience, but an army. By army, I mean harnessing a network of people to organize action, develop skills and ultimately take on a mission. In an army, people assume different roles depending on their commitment, engagement or skills — all things an audience alone cannot.

Interested.  Read this.  If we don't move towards real change, then things will stay the same and get worse.  The author is Gina Bianchini and she's organized an army of change for women at



LINK: Gov. Rick Snyder says his staff lied to him about the Flint water crisis


Keep in mind that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was the top executive of the old Gateway Computer company.  When he first ran, he billed himself as knowing how to run a big organization like the state of Michigan.

Then along came the Flint water crisis where he's accused of killing children and poisoning the city of Flint.

Today, he said his staff lied to him about what was happening in Flint.  In the Detroit Free Press, he talks about how he was misled by his executive staff.  This is worth a read.  Without getting all partisan, what should we learn from this?

LINK: Detroit Free Press story about Snyder saying his staff lied to him about Flint.  


With no snow, rain, hail or freezing rain, we are walking here in mid-Michigan


It's a beautiful walking day today in mid-Michigan. 

It's been a whole day since we've used the snow shovel here in mid-Michigan.  Overnight, there was no snow, no hail or freezing rain.  The sidewalks were walkable.  So, we did it with RunKeeper humming on our phone.  The walk was great.  The sun would shine and then disappear behind the clouds.  Maybe, we will do it again this afternoon.  

RunKepper has a walk mode and is perfect for keeping track of distances, speed and maps where you've walk.  This is all part of our program as I approach the magic birthday of 70.  Rain, rain, stay away.

Could U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin end up being the compromise candidate for president on the Republican ticket?


U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Looking for an alternative to the politics of insult? Read this piece about Paul Ryan.

I first started getting excited about presidential elections when I was in my early teens.  Before I could vote, I was not afraid to look at the candidates and get involved.  My involvement has trickled down to nothing this year.  And it's because of how the politics of insult has replaced the politics of ideas.  

In today's discussions, the key word seems to be the street version of anal spinchter.  That might cut it in the locker room, but not in real life.  So, I got more excited about the new iPhone than the candidates running for president.  

This morning I read this New York Times piece about U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and how he's working to bring real ideas back into today's political discussions.  He's working quietly to develop real answers to today's issues, rather than promises to just get rid of something like Obamacare.  He also talks about the politics of ideas versus that of insult.

Is this guy the real deal?  Might he break out as a compromise candidate at the Republican Convention in Cleveland this summer?  I don't know.  But, I will be watching.

Our past week here in mid-Michigan in pictures

My summary of this past week would be dominated by the weather where normally we would be using the grill, giving the lawn a first cut and giving our car a good cleaning.  Instead, we have been flopping between snow, rain and some occasional sunshine.  These photos are from my phone and record some of the highlights.  

Most important was from the sermon at church last night where we heard Pastor Jeff Manion of Ada Bible Church  talk about "The Land Between." It was a reprise of a sermon we heard him deliver a few years ago.  We found it valuable then and more as we get older.  It's about the times when we find ourselves in unwanted transition of life.  Those might be related to health, family, jobs, marriage and any other situation we did not want or ask for.



What about those life changes that turn life upside down?
What does God's Word say about transitions that we're forced to make.





Books from Ding Dong School.
How many of you older baby-boomers remember the old television show "Ding Dong School?" I found these on our bookshelves this week.



Okay, older baby-boomers, do you remember Miss Francis and Ding Dong School?  This past week I was going through one of our book shelves and found these two books that were mine when I was really young.  My mom would read this to me.  Miss Francis was a precursor to Sesame Street.  It was on in the fifties.  



Special orange muffins.
These were made from a recipe that my mom used when I was a very young child.


My wife was sorting through an immense collection of recipes that she's used during the past almost 35 years.  This one for orange muffins was from my early boyhood days.  My mom made them on very special occasions, like maybe once a year.  They contained orange juice from freshly squeezed oranges, shaved orange peels and lots of sugar.  Gladys made them this past week. My memory machine was in full gear.



Milestone for our Honda Civic.
We turned over 100,000 miles this past week on our seven-year-old Honda Civic.


Our seven-year-old Honda Civic turned over 100,000 miles a few days ago.  The car has been relatively trouble free with our regular maintenance.  We have shaved down our fleet of cars to one.  Before the kids made us empty-nesters, we had four.  The Civic is great for visiting our kids and grandkids who live in different states.


We do our taco salads healthy style here at our house.  Nutrition is something we try to watch, especially as I move into my 70th birthday.  Most of our meals our consumed on our couch with a fold down middle section that we use for a table.  Most lunches are eaten in front of Everybody Loves Raymond.  

What about 20 weeks of paid parental leave for both moms and dads?

Twenty weeks of paid parental leave.
What about 20-weeks of paid parental leave?

It would be easy to slide right on by this story about how Twitter will be providing employees, both moms and dads, with 20 weeks of paid parental leave.  One could just smile and say that it's just one of those trendy tech companies.

But, then you look at the statistic about the effects of generous leave benefits on kids, moms and families.

Business Insider reports in a story:

Research out of Israel shows the more leave men take to care for children when they're young, the more the fathers undergo changes in the brain that make them better suited to parenting. And a study by two Columbia University Social Work professors found that fathers who take two or more weeks off after their child is born are more involved in their child's care nine months later. 

And with the more leave dads take, the more income a mom makes.  

Any talk about this issue and this benefit with more traditional businesses and corporations?