I am currently in the midst of a reformation, or perhaps a recalibration. I let a lot of things go to pot over the last year – the yard, my weight, my language. During the course of Cyndi’s illness I became something of a short fuse, and could spew forth curse words at the slightest provocation, not at Cyndi mind you, nor the girls, but certainly within their hearing. I was circumspect enough to hold my tongue in public, but it was an effort.

Dropping a knife on the floor while loading the dishwasher would garner a few muttered choice words. Breaking the pull ties on a trash bag would generate a brief, though quite vocal, soliloquy. More serious matters would likely result in a regular diatribe of profanity.

I always apologized to those around me after one of these outbursts, and I felt bad for losing my temper, still the cursing went on.

After Cyndi died the cursing did not stop, nor noticeably decline all that much, despite the lower stress levels. Until one day, after apologizing to Em for going off on some insignificant matter within her hearing she said to me, “It’s like you don’t have a filter anymore.”

That really gave me pause.

That is not the person I want to be.

So, I have been making a concerted effort to cut down on my cussing. It had turned into a bad habit, and one I need to break.

Breaking bad habits is not easy, but I am making steady improvement. As silly as it sounds I try to give myself positive reinforcement simply by saying, out loud to myself, “I didn’t cuss.” It seems to be working.

Know what? I actually feel better about myself now. I only wish I had seen the light sooner, so my wife did not have to listen to my foul language in her final months. But regrets get one nowhere. All I can do now is continue to try to improve.

I am making steady improvements on those other fronts as well. I am slowly losing weight, and the yard looks much better.

I think Cyndi would be pleased.



I’ll be out on the road soon, embarking on a long overdue vacation. The plan is to work my way west, through South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and on to Washington to visit an old friend along the coast. It’s always more fun to travel with a friend than alone, so another old and mutual friend has agreed to go with me. We can share the driving, and out west that’s an important feature.

We plan to hit the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, then on to The Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Then it’s on to Devil’s Tower to look for aliens, Yellowstone to try to avoid being eaten by bears, and the Grand Tetons for some fabulous photos. (Is it possible to take a bad photo of the Tetons?)

We’ll work our way though Idaho the long way, then on to Mount Rainier, the Seattle Space Needle, and ultimately a ferry to my friend’s place.

The return trip will take a more southerly route but is less planned in case we have to make tracks. If all goes well though, we will see central Oregon, Idaho again, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Mesa Verde, and Pikes Peak. That’s a lot to take in, so we may have to skip some of the sites on the way back.

The purpose of this trip is two fold. One, of course, is to see our friend. The other is that I hope the change of scene will be restorative for me. You may know that my wife died in February, and the last three years have emotionally drained me. My creative spark is pretty well gone. This trip just may rekindle it, and I know she would be glad for me if it does.

I’ve laid in a two week supply of groceries for the kids, who will be dog sitting for me, and stocked up on a two week supply of The Best of Friday Flash to take along with me. I plan to drop them off along the way, either as public nuisances, err… surprises, or as gifts to anyone who happens to find me along the way. I’d love to run into some of the folks who have been participating in #FridayFlash all these years. So if our paths come close please drop me a line and maybe we can meet up for a chat over a cuppa whatever (I don’t drink coffee).

I hope to give my first one away in or around the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska, on Tuesday, May 21st. I’ll be the fat old guy wearing the ESRI cap and carrying around a copy of BOFF1. Just say, “Hey,” and it’s yours.

I expect the next give away will be in the vicinity of Mount Rushmore. I’ll update, with pics, as we go. Now we just need to hope the snow is finally and truly gone.

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