Building 3


Building 3 in Housatonic, Mass. Always love the look of this building. Recently, the roof beam supports caught my eye. Guess it was the gentle curves against the straight lines. This building is just down the road from a good friend.

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Summer mushrooms


#mushrooms

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On this 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001


I remember 9/11.

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Photo illustration courtesy of PEO Soldier.

It was Tuesday morning. I was in Montana, stationed with the 341st Space Wing at Malmstrom AFB. We were in the second day of a wing-wide exercise.

At 6 o’clock that morning, I came into the battle staff to start my 12-hour shift as public affairs representative to the commander. It was going to be a day filled with various exercise scenarios and long periods of tedium.

Not much was going on after the change-over briefing. Everyone was waiting for the scenarios to begin.

Shortly after 8:45 someone from the adjoining support battle staff came in and told us to turn on the news. A plane had just struck the World Trade Center. The battle staff director did.

We saw coverage of the clear blue New York City sky. We also saw its iconic skyline marred by smoke billowing from one of the towers.

We all sat stunned and in disbelief.

I thought how could anyone not see such a large building on such a beautiful day.

People began calling their offices and families to tell them what was unfolding.

The live coverage kept unfolding before us. The assumption was this was some type of accident. Shortly after 9 a.m., I noticed the second plane slide into the screen. It came from right to left and was momentarily hidden by the towers. Nobody else seemed to see it, certainly not the broadcasters.

The second fireball erupted at 9:03 from the second tower.

This was no accident, I thought.

Everyone in the battle staff now knew America was being attacked.

And it didn’t end. Approximately 30 minutes later, another plane struck the Pentagon.

What was going on?

A lieutenant colonel sitting in front of me knew I had an upcoming assignment to the Pentagon. He turned to me and said rhetorically, “Do you still want to go to the Pentagon?”

Then the news reported a plane crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Again, what was going on?

The base went into lockdown. No one came on, no one left. Everyone began refocusing their work to support whatever the future had in store for us.

The rest of my day consisted of preparing my commander for media interviews. Eventually, he turned that responsibility over to me. Requirements of the job and from higher headquarters demanded his time.

It was a busy day of answering media queries and conducting on-camera interviews.

After almost 16 hours, I finally came home. There was a voicemail on my answering machine.

“I know you’re probably at work…,” the voice of my mother came through the phone. She was crying. No mother wants her son in a war.

I will always remember 9/11.

Brinkley nearby


Nothing like having a buddy nearby when not feeling well.

Whatever has been going around has been with me for a week. It just makes me feel tired all the time.

Was trying out this new Pressgram app. Brinkley was laying near me and was gracious enough to help pose for this picture. He’s a good buddy. I’ve long considered myself a cat person, but Brinkley has shown me how dogs are a man’s best friend.

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‘Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas,. …’


How is it one can spend years not hearing a song and then suddenly several times?
This anomaly recently happened with an iconic country song.Lisa and I have a ritual when driving on the weekends. We listen to the 70s station on satellite radio. The station generally features old broadcasts of Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40.”
We hear songs that we haven’t heard for years. Often times the long-forgotten songs bring back memories. Sometimes we look at each other and wonder not only how the song became popular, but who thought it was a good idea to record it.

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The Luckenbach, Texas, sign over the post office.

The other weekend were driving, and yes, listening to Casey Kasem. I forget all the songs, but one stood out. It was Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas” featuring Willie Nelson.

I can’t remember the last time I had heard that. Hazarding a guess, it was in April 1977 when it was popular. I was 14 then. I probably last heard it during a family Sunday drive in dad’s Dodge Polara. The car the radio tuned to a country station.

The next day, Lisa and I drove to church. It was a different time of the day than the day before. Casey Kasem was doing his countdown. Wouldn’t you know, it was the same broadcast from the day before. Out of the 40 songs from the broadcast, we heard…

“Luckenbach, Texas.”Twice in two days, that made us chuckle.After church, we ate at Moe’s Southwest Grill. Noise from the patrons and the music filled the restaurant. We sat down, said grace and began eating. The music was just loud enough to be barely heard over the commotion. Nothing was particularly distinguishable. Then we heard…Let’s go to Luckenbach, Texas
With Waylon and Willie and the boys
This successful life we’re livin’
Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys
Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and
Newbury’s train songs and Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain
Out in Luckenbach, Texas, ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain

For the uninitiated, that was the chorus to “Luckenbach, Texas.”

We had just experienced a Luckenbach hat trick.

As of today, it’s now been six days since I’ve heard Waylon and Willie wailin’ and warblin’.

Are you really seeing what there is to see?


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“Two of those shirts are for you,” my wife said. She recently came home from a quick stop to our favorite megastore to by herself a couple of blouses.

I noticed the two checked shirts. “Are these mine?” They are, she said.

“They are the same color,” I said. Lisa knows I’m colorblind but is still taken aback when my weakness appears.

“No they’re not,” she said. “One is blue and the other is pink, which are the two colors you have the hardest time seeing.”

I’ve known my whole life that I am colorblind. It doesn’t really bother me. I don’t know anything else. People often ask me what being colorblind is like. They can’t imagine it. I tell them I can see colors but can’t always distinguish them. I say it’s like seeing a sign in Arabic–and you can’t read Arabic. You see the shapes of the letter but can’t understand them.

Another example is I invariable confuse red and brown M&Ms. (I would of had a hard time fulfilling Van Halen’s contractual provision of no brown M&Ms if it came down to me!)

That’s colorblindness.

This got me to thinking about how this was a metaphor for life. We all have weaknesses and limitations that constantly affect our lives. Sometimes we know about them, and sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes our family and friends know about them, and sometimes they don’t.

Is it no wonder disagreements, miscommunications and misunderstandings arise? We assume everyone “sees things” as we see them and is capable of understanding us.

But what if you can’t see pink…or blue?

Or what if your impression of a chair conjures up an overstuffed leather recliner but to someone else it’s a straight back chair?

People think and see things differently. No one is either right or wrong–unless they are violating law, ordinances or mores. They just see something differently from how you see it. Do you think that’s the secret to life?

Blue or pink checked shirts, I don’t care. I appreciate the lesson they taught me.

What have they taught you?

Son of Snowmageddon…maybe


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In the interest of veracity, this isn’t a photo of the impending snow storm for the Washington, D.C., metro area. It’s Brinkley standing on a pile of snow from Snowmageddon. Three blizzards slammed this area in December 2009 and January/February 2010.

However, listening to the news it’s not hard to conjure up an image of this is what Washingtonians are expecting. The meteorologists are calling for 1-3 inches for northern Virginia. They forecast more further south in Virginia and across the Chesapeake Bay into southern Maryland.

However, just the hint of snow in this area tends to cause great consternation. People flock to the grocery stores to stock up on milk, bread and toilet paper.

People race home trying to get ahead of the traffic tsunami…only to get caught up in the commuting chaos.

Oh, the joys of living in Washington.

Not sure if the snow’s coming. I do know the sun will come up tomorrow…and there’ll probably be no snow.

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