uly 27th, 2023 

“ 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 511 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

It’s our first week, AC (after Chloe). We are going through withdrawals as we return to our normal routines. Our other granddaughter, Darrian moved into her first apt since college. So we will be going through a lot of changes at our house. We are holding Darrian’s cats hostage, so we know she will come to visit:)

As a long-time, van, VW bus, and truck owner, I have been fortunate to be called upon by my friends and family to “move house” as the Brits say, many, many times in my life. The work was hard. There were always pressures… deadlines to turn over the keys or when people had to go to work. But I always enjoyed myself. My memories are of laughter, hope, and music. There always seems to be a radio blaring at both the from and the to locations. We would sing alone hefting that unbelievably heavy sofa bed up those 3 flights of stairs or drinking a beer sitting on boxed in between runs. Take-out buckets of chicken or extra-large pizzas were ordered to feed the slaves. The days were exhausting and the nights usually involved painting one or the other of the locations. But this time I mostly watched my daughter, granddaughter and grandson pack and carry things to the cars and truck to take to her new apartment. 

I was tooling along at 75-80 mph and suddenly my driver’s side front tire goes flat. There was no sound. One second everything was hunky dory and the next I was trying to cut across 6 lanes of traffic to get off the road. It was just so sudden! About 4 hours and $800 later I was back on the road with new tires. 

This week I learned some stuff:

    • Covid has passed without infecting any of the geezers in our house. That is the main concern. BJ had about 1 day of symptoms and 10 days of isolation and boredom. 
    • Over the past six months, I have learned how important getting 8 hours or so of sleep each night is healthier. And during that time I have taken my 5-6 hour average to just over 8 hours!! As part of the Heartline Study, I got my Apple watch that tracks my time in various stages of sleep, heartbeats per minute, and respiration. I have also learned that when your Apple Watch is not fully charged and dies during the night, it only records the time you were in bed (vs asleep) to the point when it died. It has happened a few times so I am setting a reminder to charge the watch before I go to bed.
    • July 27th is the  208th day of 2023. Just 151 days till Christmas.  On this day in 1866, the first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable is successfully completed, stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland; Today in 1890, Vincent van Gogh shoots himself and dies two days later; The Geneva Convention of 1929, dealing with treatment of prisoners-of-war, is signed by 53 nations today in 1929; On this day in 1940, the animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny; Today in 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.; Giosuè Carducci, Italian poet and educator, Nobel Prize laureate was born today in 1835; Hans Fischer, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born today in 1881; Today George L. Street III, American captain, Medal of Honor recipient was born in 1913 ;Jerry Van Dyke, American actor was born; Gertrude Stein, American novelist, poet, and playwright  passed away today in 1946; Today in 1963, Garrett Morgan, American inventor (of the Traffic Light and Gas Mask) passed away; Bob Hope, English-American actor, comedian, television personality, and businessman passed away today in 2003; Sam Shepard, American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director died today in 2017; Finally, we lost Tony Dow (AJA Wally in Leave it to Beaver) American actor, film producer, director, and sculptor in 2022. 

This week’s Website Update:

    • Last for our Vocabulary Quiz.
    • A New Musical Trivia Quiz!! Yeah!!    
    • This week I revisited my Beef Bourguignon. It was wonderful but I recognized that the recipe was overly complicated. I revised it and reposted it.  I also discovered that I had failed to post my coleslaw recipe. It’s posted now! I also corrected a nice summertime pasta dish and my Crab Stuffed Portobello recipes and reposted them. I am slowly revamping all of my recipes to use less oil and remove salt in favor of salt substitute. I have learned in Cardiac Rehab that most of the time you can get by with just some olive oil spray. When I say Salt substitute, I am not talking about that nasty “potassium” salt. That stuff is just wicked – Not sodium but not good either. I use the “herb replacement” salt substitute. I won’t lie. It does not taste like salt but it helps you miss salt a whole lot less. We use Can’t Believe Its Not Butter instead butter but to be honest I am not sure it is significantly better than butter. I am experimenting with Turkey bacon. So far not very impressed. 
    • The Home Page quote for this week is from one of my favorite poets, Richard Brautigan,  “ I’ll affect you slowly as if you were having a picnic in a dream. There will be no ants. It won’t rain.

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

    • I am preparing my stained glass work area for the window project. 
    • I am happy to report that I have taken up my red pen for the paper edits on Grandpa Stories. After all this time I hope I can find the source document file. 


    • We all hope that our children and in my case grandchildren grow up as nice people who successfully find their way out of the nest into the world. But. The day it happens is a happy sad day. This week our Darrian moved out into her first apartment. We are excited for her but I am already missing her. 

Music Update: 

Here is a new batch of music for you to try out.  Enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • Derek and The Dominos — Thorn Tree in The Garden — This is a very very deep cut from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs released in 1970. Bobby Whitlock wrote it but I think it’s Eric singing.
    • Big Something — UFOs Are Real —  My friend Darrel turned me on to these guys. They have such a full and tight sound. This one is from their 2017 release called, “Tumbleweeds”.
    • REM — Man On The Moon (Live) — Just another wonderful song from one of my favorites. This is a live version from the “Songs for Japan” album.
    • Steely Dan — Night by Night — I was lucky enough to have some friends from high school who became excellent musicians. This was one of the songs they did at every gig. It was just so tight and hot. All the audience Somerset played for loved it. This is from their “Pretzel Logic” album released in 1974. 
    • Moody Blues — Story in Your Eyes  — My wife and I were lucky enough to see these boys on their last tour of America. It was in a great venue in Escondido. We got this CD at the concert. They were all a bunch of grey-haired old farts but it was like seeing an old friend. This is from their “Lovely to See You (Live)” released in 2005.
    • Dan Fogelberg  — Nether Lands — Dan had one of the most beautiful voices in the business. One of my favorite singer-songwriters that should have been in the  R&R Hall of Fame decades ago along with many others overlooked. This is the title cut from his album released in 1977.

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!