March 23rd, 2024

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine.  I have decided that the UJT will remain focused on Ukraine until we can all rejoice at the end of hostilities.  It has been 777 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • I seem to have passed through the “ides of March” better than Julius Caesar in 44 BC, at least this year.
    • After 71+ years of meals, I have discovered that I enjoy breakfast the most. As a boy, I used to get up early and go fishing for bass. My brother Pat and I would have eggs and bass fillets fairly often in those days. My Grandma Margaret got me into truck stop breakfasts on a road trip when I was 11 or so. I have eaten full English Breakfasts in London, Brighton, and Poole UK.  All good. Spanish breakfast in Madrid comes dangerously close to lunchtime. Germans love their fresh rolls and wurst. In Paris, I never saw anyone eat anything but croissants with their coffee, I lost my Eggs Benedict virginity at the restaurant just inside of Hampton.VA at the hotel the Grateful Dead stayed when they played at Hampton Coliseum. I wasn’t eating with the Dead but it felt just a little cooler falling in love with one go my favorite morning dishes where they ate. I am not sure where but somewhere in Southern California, I fell in love with Winchels Donuts. Jack in the Box Taco Supremes and Breakfast Burritos. Bubba would have turned his nose up at many of the oriental breakfasts I have enjoyed. For a while, I got out of the breakfast business. Trying to lose weight or be too busy but since retirement, I try to have a nice Breakfast before I tackle another hopefully happy day in the land of the Jacaranda.
    • I got to see my primary Doc again this week. She is so great! She may be the 2nd best listener on the planet (Marsha Clark has held the top spot for many years!) . Unlike others I have met in her profession, she doesn’t seem to feel the disdain her peers feel when dealing with us –  the unwashed masses – mere mortals. She is kind, helpful, tolerant, and validating. She leaves no aftertaste often felt when “bothering” a doctor with a question or asking for further explanation. Most of the time she anticipates my query and never leaves that “because I said so” justification that I find so unfulfilling.  I may not always like her answers but I understand them and most importantly, trust them.
    • You can find out all about today in history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • This week’s update includes some new recipes.  The first is a “Fast, Easy, and Tasty Wet Burritos” dish that we really liked. I also came up with a rather interesting dish featuring numerous flavors, textures, and tastiness – “Kielbasa, Pirogi & Sauerkraut” 
    • The Home Page quote for this week’s wisdom is from an autonomous source: “ Just because I can’t sing doesn’t mean that I won’t.     I might add, “Just because you can’t sing, does not mean you shouldn’t.”

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:  

    • I am back to beating up stuff in my backyard! This week it is my wisteria vines. After a decade of threatening, I am attempting to train them to climb over the arbor, not through it. I am also attempting to promulgate some cuttings from the vine as well. I am considering getting one of those orange multi-tiered planting systems that enable you to plant like 50 garden plans with a compost system in the middle.  I have a huge hankering for some fried green tomatoes!!!


    • My grandson received a commission for an oil painting he did. As far as I know, this is his second paid commission for art. His success reminded me of the joy all my kids and grandkids have given me.  I am very proud of all my grandchildren! They seem to take turns delighting me in very different ways but with some pretty interesting similarities. None are perfect but all are perfectly wonderful people. They are all smart, creative, and diligent in their pursuit of their goals. While the eldest pursues her career in science, her brother explores his artwork, and their cousins, excel at sports and music. They all impress the hell out of me with their intelligence. Their parents have always been an endless source of joy and fulfillment for me and their mom. Life is funny. All my life, I said that I lived without regrets and I suppose it is true as far as it goes. But you find out things about what you did and didn’t do that humble you on the verge of regret. I have always believed that we do the best we can at the time – guilt and regret are completely unproductive forms of love.  I seek to find the words and deeds that will fill the gaps in my performance as a father, husband, friend, brother, and co-worker. But they don’t come easy nor is there any guarantee that they will help at all at this late date. I have no choice, but to try.

Music Update:  

I used to just key off the last song played from my iTunes library. But now, I have gotten used to collecting songs I want to share over the week like i do Vocabulary words. It makes for a very eclectic list. Enjoy.

I have a pretty good collection of vinyl records but sometimes I have to use downloaded versions because the vinyl copy attended too many parties. In the case of Toto Iv, I am actually using my second or third copy of the record so its in pretty good shape.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • Tedeschi Trucks Band   Love Has Something Else To Say— These guys are just so good!!! This is a great tune from their 2011 release, “Revelator”.
    • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young  — King Midas In Reverse (Live)— This song comes from their iconic live album, “Four Way Street” released in 1971.
    • Joe Bonomassa Story of a Quarryman (Live From the Royal Albert Hall)—Speaking of iconic live albums! This one came out in 2009.  This boy kind of snuck up on me. But I am awfully glad he did.
    • Hotei — Immigrant Song —I think you have to have real courage and something important to add if you decide to cover a truly great song.  Hendrix did with Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”. These guys bring something to the party too. This is from their 2004 release, “Electric Samurai (The Noble Savage)”.
    • Mat Kearney — Closer to Love — I owe my daughter Jessica thanks for hooking me up with this guy. I have enjoyed every album we  met. This one is from his “City of Black & White (Deluxe Version): released in 2009.
    • Led Zeppelin — Ramble On— This is just an amazing song by an amazing group of great musicians. This is a great tune from their Led Zeppelin II album released in 1958

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; Always remember… The best is yet to come! As always, thank you for being my friend!