Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This & That - January 4, 2017

Hi Bill

It has been awhile since I have communicated with you. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. Pat and I had a wonderful holiday season, but it is nice to resume our normal lives. Today I thought I would provide you a glimpse of our life on the frigid plains.


Well it’s January and if you know anything about the climate in the northern plains states, then you realize that it is cold here in South Dakota. Last night it was a few degrees below zero and today it got up to about 10 degrees or so. Pat and I consider ourselves to be South Dakotans now since we have lived here for more than 30 years, although some of the born-and–raised South Dakotans would still not call us real South Dakotans. However our 30+ years in SD has taught us that single digits below zero is really not extremely cold. A few weeks ago we endured temperatures of -30 degrees, and below -20 degree temperatures are routinely experienced during our winters. Anyway the last few days it has been subzero during nights and in the single digits during the days, which has been more than cold enough for me, especially when there are winds blowing in the 20-30+ mph range to help cool us down outside (and inside). The amazing thing is that we actually feel lucky that this cold wave did not bring much snow. We have only about an inch or so of snow on the ground – at least when the wind lets it lie around.

So what the hell does a retired couple do when it is snowing, blowing, and cold enough to cause frost bite on any carelessly exposed body parts that might be swinging in the breeze? Believe it or not, in South Dakota we pretty much try to do whatever we want. Even retired people try very hard to do whatever strikes our fancy without worrying about the weather. Unfortunately, some people take that stubborn attitude to an extreme point and sometimes find themselves in bad situations. I mean whenever the temperature is -25 degrees, with two feet of snow on the ground, and the wind is blowing the snow around you don’t want to take your Fiat out for a drive on the interstate! Sometimes, doing whatever you want is not smart, but luckily we really don’t see that many Fiats around here.

So Pat and I are not planning on driving to Sioux Falls today, even though we have a much bigger vehicle than any Fiat. However, we may drive a couple of blocks to the Shopko, or to the County Fair, here in Dells to pick up some things and give our legs a little stimulation. I may also just drive around town to warm up the car and give it some exercise. I like to drive the perimeter around our charming little town during these “exercise the car” episodes.  It would be nice to visit a Starbucks for coffee and a snack, but there are no Starbucks in Dells. However, there is a local coffee shop that does serve lattes.

So what do we do when we don’t want to go outside on a wintery day in January? Well there are always the Major Crimes DVDs to binge-watch. We recently finished watching the entire Sopranos series again on DVD and then we started re-watching our collection of Major Crimes DVDs. In addition, both of us read a lot of books (fiction) and that consumes some of our time. Pat also spend much time doing cross stitch and I am obsessed with vinyl music albums. We also like to talk to each other, although sometimes my babbling can irritate Pat. Go figure! Anyway, neither of us has much of a problem with boredom.


Like most people who know me, you may have seen some of the music posts that I have been posting on Facebook and other platforms. I love listening to music and I’m addicted to vinyl, which I have a lot of and the stock continues to grow. Maybe some people believe that I choose to force the music I listen to onto all my friends via those Facebook posts. If you like music you may understand that we who love it, tend to be overly pushy about getting our friends (or even acquaintances or perfect strangers) to listen to (and appreciate) the music we consume. Let me say that I do not consider myself to be any music authority. However, posting the cover of the albums that I listen to, with a brief description of them, is an excuse for me to listen to (and buy) more albums. It also provides a sort of visual and written inventory of my albums and a reminder of the last time I listened to them. I have accumulated a large collection of vinyl over the years and most of the albums that I purchase recently are secondhand and acquired for only a few dollars each. Of course I do occasionally buy some new albums. Well, I probably have said enough about my music fetish and everyone should feel free to ignore my music posts. However, I would be very happy to read your thoughts and opinions about them, even about the albums that you don’t like. I also welcome recommendations for album posts.

Bruce and Clark at Pat's parents house
sometime in the 1980s.
Longtime Friend

Last week I got a call from Bruce, one of my best friends during my last two years as an undergraduate at Pitt. Bruce and I met while we were each living in one-room apartments in the basement of an old apartment building at 317 North Craig Street. We quickly discovered that we had similar personalities and interests and became very good friends. We still remain friends, even though we haven’t seen each other for many years. Bruce lives in California where he has worked for a correctional institution for many years. We try to keep in touch via email and occasional telephone calls, but it had been a long time since we had last spoken via telephone. We had a very enjoyable chat about old times and current times. It was great to learn that even though we are both getting older and we are coping with some health problems, we are still enjoying life. Bruce is able to take advantage of the exercise equipment where he works and he seems to be in much better shape than I am. Hopefully, that fact will prod me to exercise more regularly. I can always be hopeful!

You’re Almost Finished

Well, this post has not gone where I thought it might go when I began writing. I just don’t seem to be very focused today. Pat would inform you (maybe warn you is a better phrase) that Clark has a tendency to sort of lose his focus sometimes (actually often) and things sometimes get weird. I fear that has happened this morning. However, I figured: Why should I not subject you to my rambling? Who knows what people will enjoy?

I believe it is time for me to bring this missive to a pleasant and fulfilling conclusion.

… ?

… !

… ?

I’m done! 




  1. Clark,
    Keep posting the music reviews. I enjoy most of them. I wish I were as focused on my music. I enjoy it but my senior citizen ADD takes me to other places.

    1. Hi John - I have no plans to stop posting about the music I listen to. I love music and I like to pretend that I know something about it. I also need the brain stimulation that listening to music, writing about it, and posting online about it provides. Thanks for noticing my music posts. I also have a bit of ADD which keeps me active, although not always focused.

    2. Hi John - I have no plans to stop posting about the music I listen to. I love music and I like to pretend that I know something about it. I also need the brain stimulation that listening to music, writing about it, and posting online about it provides. Thanks for noticing my music posts. I also have a bit of ADD which keeps me active, although not always focused.