HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Went down to "Stately Johnson Manor", the domicile of Stan and Nancy Johnson and current house guest, former New Yorker, Thomas (Blinky) Johnson. As usual, just as I merged onto Highway 94 East I began remembering items I wanted to bring with me but forgot, most importantly my camera so that I could have documented the weekend.

I made my obligatory stop at The Norske Nook and sat at the counter so that I could harangue my favorite waitress, Marlene. After a breakfast of two eggs over easy, hash browns, white toast (they bake their own bread) and flagons of coffee I returned to my Scion steed, stopped for fuel at the Speedway just before the entrance to the interstate and made a killing on fuel at $2.54 a gallon. (Still seems ludicrous to refer to gasoline over two dollars a gallon as a "killing").

The rest of the trip was uneventful save one very hairy moment just east of Camp Douglas. I was in the fast lane passing a fellow traveler with my cruise set at 72 mph when suddenly the car ahead of me braked hard to turn around at one of those turn arounds that are only to be used by police and emergency vehicles. Unable to veer into the right lane, all I could do was stomp on my own brakes, listen to the screaming of lost tire tread and the sound of cell phone, hard cover book, sun glasses, and ceramic coffee cup careening off the passenger-side dash.

That is the closest I have come to dying on the highway in years.

Earlier, a white Mustang with no plates went flying by me like I was standing still and I mumbled to myself "there's never a cop around when you need one"

This time I screamed it amid much cursing and administering my social finger. Twenty miles later just as i am settling down, I see the flashing red and blue lights of a state patrol cruiser on the shoulder of the left lane and wonder of wonders, he has captured the white Mustang.

I wanted to stop and tell him about the ass that almost got me killed but realized I had no license plate number and it probably was far too late anyway but at least there was the small satisfaction of the Mustang. I can't imagine the fine!

I am far from perfect. I got a two hundred dollar ticket on Short Street for going ten miles an hour over the limit - in fairness to myself I will mention that the speed limit used to be 45 and had recently been lowered to 35.

But I digress.

I arrived at stately Johnson manor where Chef Stan had prepared boneless chunks of chicken thigh, coated and deep fried, served with two dipping sauces of Korean origin - one of which was very hot. (So I was told - I am a coward).

I had brought along my lap top computer and was delighted to find that Mr. Johnson has gone "wifi" in house, so I was shown to my suite in the basement where later that night I spent way too much time surfing instead of sleeping.

The first time I went into the bath room (barefoot) I was delighted to find that the tile floor is heated! Talk about luxury!

Sunday morning the boys all went out for breakfast at the Avenue Bar, which is something of an institution, a great sports bar and cafe near down town Madison where I ordered what has become my "usual" as of late, eggs benedict and they were the best I have had!

We then returned to watch the Packers muddle through to a victory over the hapless Bears.

The return trip was uneventful although I had some trouble staying awake most of the way. I hate that.

This morning, while I was pouring my first cup of java from my very "60's" looking carafe that I bought at a second hand store I began thinking about how much enjoyment I get out of saving money through finding little treasures such as that carafe. The same day I bought the carafe for under $6, (I had previously broken two Melitta carafes over the course of a year @ $18.00) I also bought two pair of hardly used tennis shoes - a pair of Adidas and a pair of Asics - as well as a pair of little used Bass boat shoes, and a solid wood brick-a-brack box with glass cover, which I bought to use as a spice rack here at the bungalow @ a mere $5.95.

Some time ago I found a really nice (in my estimation) two shelf "blonde" book case with sliding glass doors, again with a very '60's look and I got it for under $20.

In the grasp of icy cold winter, i think it is time to start making weekly trips to the second hand stores!


This from my good friend Matthew Capell down in West Texas:

Gentle Thoughts for Today -

Birds of a feather flock together . . . .and then shit on your car.

A penny saved is a government oversight.

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement .

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40 ) are XL.'

If you think there is good in everybody, you
haven't met everybody.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.

Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words 'The' and 'IRS' together it spells 'Theirs...'

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when yo u stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.. Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it's called golf.

Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth . . .. . . . . AMEN!


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