Shootin' the Breeze

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The Yacht Club

Shootin' the Breeze

Sugar and I have invited outsiders to pay us for coming to our ranch for various purposes that, until now, involve horses.  For example, we have boarded horses, taken people for trail rides, given riding lessons, and hosted birthday parties for kids at which the attendees got to ride horses led in the arena.  We have a horse hotel, for which I got two inquiries this very week.  We even had a pumpkin ranch, but I don’t want to talk about that because advertising costs exceeded income.  I also don’t want to talk about our horse-breeding operation because our stud has been transformed from a stallion to a gelding.  He doesn’t want to talk about it either.

Today we just “launched” a new venture — The Cross Creek Ranch Yacht Club and Marina.  We are branching out from the horse facility operations.  We are going nautical.

The rains and flooding…

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The Teacher Who Could Not Learn

Shootin' the Breeze

I know a couple whose daughter was born with many severe problems.  The doctors did not expect the baby to survive, but she fooled the experts and lived nine years.

The little girl’s name was Abby.  She had two older, healthy, athletic, bright  brothers.

Abby’s  mother spoke at her funeral, which I attended.

She said that the doctors did not believe that Abby’s minimal brain was capable of thought.  She could not learn.  She never walked or talked.  She could not even roll over.  She was utterly helpless her entire life.

Her mother then offered a profound insight.  Abby could not learn, but she could teach.  She taught patience, she taught acceptance, and she taught kindness.

I suspect she felt love.  In her small world, she was always secure.  She lived at home and was cared for by her parents and brothers and occasional friends and professional caregivers who gave…

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Miss Sugar’s Driver’s License

Yesterday I posted how Miss Sugar desecrated her driver’s license. Today’s blog is back in time about when she obtained that license.

Shootin' the Breeze

This was the year that my wife, Sugar, had to renew her Colorado driver’s license, so I accompanied her to the appropriate government office.

Sugar took a number at the door, #341, and awaited her turn.  She made friends with another lady there, who said it took her three hours to get her license.  She must have been exaggerating.  I made a mental note to counsel Sugar about choosing her friends wisely and to beware of pathological liars.  It was apparent to me that we would not be there long.  They were already up to #297.

In order to renew one’s license, one must bring documentation other than one’s expiring license, which documentation must document one’s current address. So, when it was Sugar’s turn to go to window #8, she showed the young man our electric bill from REA mailed to our P.O. box.  She also had her Colorado Teacher’s…

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Choose Wisely or Pay the Consequences

As years go by, human beings pay the price for choices made early in life. This is my story.

I will use a literary technique of telling the last thing first and then going back in time to explain why something is happening in the present. Please try to stay with me.

My dermatologist noticed a defect in my senior skin on my chest, so she did a biopsy and then reported I have a little patch of melanoma. She sent me to a plastic surgeon to cut it out and patch me up. During these office visits I heard implied criticism of my lifestyle choices, such as ignoring the importance of wearing sunscreen and hats and sunglasses. Bullshit like that. I confessed that I had been a lifeguard and also often played tennis without a shirt in the halcyon days of my youth, without diligently using sun screen.

Then it got more personal and even racist. “With your light skin, you should be extra careful.” I was being criticized for a lack of melanin. The plastic surgeon even remarked that it is not necessarily sun exposure but genetics that can cause melanoma. He said that some people get melanoma “where the sun don’t shine.” He probably thought that would make me feel less guilty about my lifestyle choices, for which I am accountable, but now I feel guilty about my chromosomal choices.

Now let us go back in time, to when I first made my choice of skin tone. My memory is not clear because I was so young, but I estimate it was around nine months before I was born, during conception. My brain was not developed but that is no excuse. Apparently, I chose to go along with my parents and picked chromosomes for dangerously light skin. And now I am paying the price.

I am okay with my XY gender chromosomes, but this skin choice was foolish. Some folks change their gender later in life, following the science, but it seems too late for a leopard to change its spots. I am stuck with who I am.

Gramma’s Favorite

Mothers’ Day is coming up. Grammas are included.

Shootin' the Breeze

There was a time in my life when I could do no wrong.  Actually, I could do wrong many times, but not in the eyes of my Gramma.  She told me that I was the best boy in the world.  Often.

My sister was, coincidentally, the best girl in the world.  Each of my cousins was either the best girl or best boy in the world.  When my cousin Bob got married, his new wife became the luckiest girl in the world.  I have over the years reminded Lynn that she holds that title.  Bob reminds her too.

It might seem to you that Gramma was inconsistent by having more than one grandchild be the best in the world.  But to her, who was without guile, she meant it every time.  She believed it.  We all could simultaneously be the best.  She often was scared by how awesome we were. …

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Shootin' the Breeze


Occasionally, I introduce y’all readers to some of our animals.  Today’s featured friend is Scamp the Wonder Horse.

After you read his story, you will understand why I call him that.

Scamp has an interesting background.  Unlike our registered Quarter Horses (A.Q.H.A.), Scamp is of mixed parentage.  His sire was named Certified, an Arabian stallion.  His dam was a Paint mare named Flashy Girl, who was a champion show horse.   Scamp was intended to look like a Paint, but he mostly took after his father, except for white socks in front and a big white blaze.  He is registered as Certified Flash in the Half-Arab Registry.  His only friends are Quarter Horses.  He does not fit in, yet he does not know it and they do not know it, so I guess it does not matter.

Miss Sugar bought Scamp when he was a foal, only about five months old…

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Blaming My Father

Those of us who identify as victims need to have someone to blame. I blame my father that I am not a movie star. Let me explain and you will agree with me and join in blaming my father for my station in life. It is somewhat complicated, as folks often say these days.

This very week, I went to the dentist. It was a new dentist since the time I last went to have my teeth admired. A lot can happen in four years. I went to the same dental office; however, I learned that my former dentist was no longer there. Dr. Swanbom had passed away since my last appointment. I am sad about that. I wish he had simply retired.

My new dentist appears to be a young female dentist, who wears a mask, so I would not recognize her in the grocery store. She is very nice and has a cute sense of humor. I did not ask her what her preferred pronouns might be, so I just called her doctor.

Some things have changed in the practice of dentistry since my last dental appointment. Dr. Swanbom used to let me spit in a porcelain spittoon. The people who took over his practice have no spittoon. Instead, the dental assistant sucked out my mouth with a vacuum. I miss the spittoon.

What does all this have to do with my father and my lack of movie stardom? Well, this recent dental visit triggered memories of dental experiences several years ago, when I was a young lad.

As I recall, I was in about 8th or 9th grade when our family dentist, Dr. Jim (who was married to the sister of my Aunt Toots, who was married to my Uncle Forrey, who was a brother of my mother, who was married to my father, who is the subject of this story), referred my mouth to an orthodontist. Apparently, Dr. Jim was in over his head and needed to send me to a specialist.

Dr. Jim had been competent enough to care for my teeth through the early years. That dental care included an emergency visit to his home a few blocks from my own when I banged my then-recently acquired front teeth into the handle of my wagon and came up spitting pieces of aforementioned front teeth, resulting in them appearing jagged. Dr. Jim kindly filed them down so they were not jagged, just a little shorter than they had been in the past. In following years, Dr. Jim cleaned my teeth and put in numerous fillings, but that is where he drew the line. Someone else would have to put on braces.

So, Dad took me to the designated orthodontist. Maybe Dr. Jim got a kick-back. I don’t remember the name of the orthodontist, but I remember what he said. He cruelly pointed out that my teeth were “too crowded.” He recommended having two teeth being pulled to give the remaining teeth more room. In order to urge the surviving teeth to move into the holes that would be created, he said he would install metal braces. Dad asked about cost. He was given an estimate.

Dad listened to the estimate and turned to me. I will never forget what he said. Actually, I should say what he asked.

“Are you going to be a movie star or something?”

I was not confident enough to make a guarantee.

So then Dad, although untrained as an actual dentist and being unlicensed as well, made a suggestion.

“How about if when you are studying you push your teeth into the vacant spots with your thumbs?”

So that is how we proceeded. The teeth were pulled. I pushed the next door teeth toward the gaps as I studied. Occasionally, even regularly, Dad would check on me as I was studying to make sure one of my thumbs was pushing a tooth on one side or the other of my gap-toothed mouth. And the teeth gradually moved, yet I still have gaps on each side of my top front teeth. The spaces are not that noticeable when I have my thumbs on each side of my mouth. Some people notice my thumbs though.

As a result, I am not a movie star. (The denial of braces might not be the only reason.)

Lia Thomas vs. Me

I read that Lia Thomas, a swimmer who won an event or two in the NCAA National Women’s Swimming Championships, has had her feelings hurt by those who are critical of men competing in women’s events. Those critics point out that biological males have physical advantages over women in a number of athletic endeavors, including swimming.

I wonder how he/she/they would feel about racing me, a biological male swimmer. (This blog includes stories about my participation in the Senior Olympics, with pictures).

Let us make a comparison.

I was born a biological male. Then, after several years, I experienced puberty, which resulted in me becoming a grown-ass man.

Lia, by contrast, was born a biological male, then experienced puberty, which resulted in him/her/they becoming a grown-ass man.

See the difference?

If you do not see it yet, let me add that I have what scientists call “male genitalia,” whereas Lia has, by report of women who shared locker rooms with Lia, “male genitalia.”

Now you get it, don’t you? Lia uses female locker rooms but I use male locker rooms. That is key.

Another difference is that I entered men’s events and Lia entered women’s events.

Finally, we wear different swimming suits. My suit does not cover my manly chest. Lia’s suit does cover Lia’s chest. Lia is modest at the pool, just not in the ladies’ locker room.

I need to consult with my cis-gendered female wife first, but I am thinking that to even things out, I should probably use the ladies’s locker room too. Just to make our competition fair.

Missing General Eisenhower

Before he was President of the U.S.A., Dwight Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander of the military operation known as D Day, which, as you should know, was when the American military and European Allies landed on the beaches of France. This effort was well-planned and eventually resulted in the defeat of the Nazis. (My father was an 18 year old soldier who was stationed in England when the Nazis were bombing England and then, on orders from General Eisenhower, invaded France with his infantry battalion and others, and remained in France and Belgium until the Nazis surrendered).

President Biden supposedly planned the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, which has not been accomplished. For some reason, President Biden withdrew troops before removing civilian Americans who are in Afghanistan, then sent some troops back to protect the Kabul airport so Americans can leave, except the Taliban controls the checkpoints getting to the airport, and are beating some of the Americans who are trying to get to the airport. There is chaos. President Biden is hoping the Taliban will allow Americans out. He is not so sure about the Afghans who helped the American military. They seem to be on their own.

Also, having considered every contingency, President Biden is abandoning billions of dollars worth of military equipment, such as helicopters and tanks, as a farewell gift to the Taliban, who are Islamic terrorists.

I believe that President Eisenhower would have handled the situation better. So would President Trump and probably every other president that you can think of with the exception of Barack Hussein Obama.

Dante’s Disappearance

The following true story is not for the faint of heart. Therefore, if you, knowing your own self, identify as someone who is faint of heart, then read some sissy blog somewhere else. But it is up to you, dear reader. Do what you think is best.

Dante came to our ranch with his owner, Johnna, who booked a camping site at our ranch through Hipcamp. (My wife, Miss Sugar, and I are both, obviously, very hip).

Dante appeared to identify as a male domestic cat. Johnna, in clear violation of Dante’s HIPPA rights, shared personal medical information about Dante. She told us that his history includes being neutered and declawed. If I was Dante, I would want that history to remain private. (Do not interpret that comment to infer or imply that I myself have been neutered or declawed. I am simply empathizing with those who have been neutered or declawed, such as Dante).

One might expect that anyone who has been both neutered and declawed would be particularly careful about staying safe. One might expect that anyone neutered and declawed would not run away into the wilderness, where there are creatures that have not been neutered nor declawed, and, I might add, such creatures are categorized as predators whose missions in life involve hunting and eating what they hunt. We frequently see or hear coyotes. We recently saw a bobcat by the clothesline and later caught it on camera crossing out lane. Years ago we saw a mountain lion crossing the bridge. I assume that none of those predators have been declawed.

Dante, however, chose to sneak out of Johnna’s recreational vehicle and then made a separate choice to run away. He chose to not come when called. He chose to disappear.

There is a cat named Camo who lives on our ranch in the capacity of being a barn cat. Camo has never been inside our house. Camo itself is a predator, who is a mighty hunter of rabbits and mice and voles and negligent birds. Camo has not been declawed.

Miss Sugar, having been informed of Dante’s disappearance, and always being eager to help, went to town and rented from the feed store a live animal trap intended for catching raccoons and foxes and the like. We baited the trap with cat food. We caught a cat the very first night. We caught Camo, not Dante. We released Camo, of course. We kept setting the trap and kept catching Camo until we saw the futility. I concluded that Dante was, as they say in Westerns, a goner.

Johnna stayed a few days, frequently and optimistically checking the trap in the barn and releasing Camo. She put up a flier at the post office about her missing cat. But she could not stay forever, so she left without Dante. She was very sad. Miss Sugar promised to keep an eye out for Dante. Johnna sent many text messages, inquiring daily about Dante.

Three weeks went by without any sign of Dante. We assumed that he would not be coming back. But then he did.

Sugar spotted something in the tall grass by the river, near the chicken coop. She got down on all fours so as not to scare whatever it was she noticed. She gently called Dante’s name. Low and behold, it was Dante indeed. Sugar grabbed him. Although he has no claws, as mentioned previously, he does have teeth. He bit Sugar. Ungrateful feline. Sugar hung on, out of kindness to Johnna, I suppose.

Sugar carried Dante to our house and fed him dog food in our kitchen. He gobbled it up like he had not eaten for awhile. Sugar then put him on our screened-in porch with water and food and an improvised litter box. He was not happy. He was not grateful. He meowed constantly.

Sugar immediately contacted Johnna. She was grateful. She said she would come get Dante in two days. It was Friday. She made the seven hour drive on Sunday. They were reunited. It was heartwarming.

I am amazed that Dante survived for three weeks. He might be a pussy, but he is a survivor.

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