Brews To Go

One of my favorite duties as a platoon leader was “Right Arm Night” – the practice of an officer taking his platoon sergeant (his “right arm”) out for a beer late on a Friday afternoon after a particularly hard week at work. Despite the fact that I am a nondrinker I feel it is one of the best of the army’s traditions and is great for morale and cohesion. My own platoon sergeant SSG Kraft would nurse his beer while I’d knock back a Shirley Temple1 as we’d share ideas just as valuable as the more technical conversations we’d engage in during duty hours.

My platoon leader days are long past but I have friends that I relate to in much the same way I did with SSG Kraft. Some of these men are friends of long standing dating back to my sophomore year in high school, but I’ve also more recent but equally solid friendships with current neighbors, recent students, and fans of my work. The only drawback to this newer group is the manner in which they are scattered all over the country, which precludes a group activity anything like a “right arm night”.

For instance, Damen DeLeenherr lives in British Columbia. He’s a family man working in the healthcare industry, but in his free time he’s building a home for his family and plays Battletech. Battletech is a tabletop miniatures game involving giant fighting robots, the development of which I was heavily involved with in the late 1980’s. Damen commissioned a Battletech-themed piece of art a couple of years ago, and since that time we’ve gotten to be such good friends that I think of him as another nephew.

It was Damen’s birthday a week or so ago, and while I wanted to give him a birthday present I didn’t plan very well – anything I found on line would be almost a week in getting to him. The puzzle just got all that more challenging because as the day went by I realized that what I really wanted to do was buy Damen a beer. The resemblance wasn’t screamingly obvious at first but he brings to mind a new millennium SSG Kraft with tattoos and 21st century haircut, and a brew seemed more appropriate than the totally tacky cash option I’d finally settled on…but there wasn’t much I could do to get some suds to him.

Then I got to thinking.

 You can deliver send/receive flowers in the space of a single day – why can’t we do that with beer? Picture a network of brewmeisters scattered all over the globe but linked with telephone and Internet like FTD or Candygram. Place an order through a local dealer before noon and by the end of the day your buddy could be knocking back a cold one. The idea is still in its infancy but I did come up with some names for the business.

Names like:

  • UberBrews
  • PayPabst
  • BudHub

I just have to remember to include Shirley Temples as one of the options.

  1. A nonalcoholic drink comprised of Ginger ale and a splash of grenadine garnished with a maraschino cherry. Kraft always maintained that I had more class than most tee-totalers: “While they get soda pop you order a mixed drink!”

(Props to Marty Calderone for nudging me back in front of the keyboard. It’s been extremely difficult getting back into the creative saddle since my “second go-around” but Marty’s words of encouragement have helped immensely)

Marking Time

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a look at this page, and I was surprised to see that the last time I posted anything was the 28th of last month – and while I long ago came to grips with the way time sprints even faster with each year, I was saddened that I haven’t been able to keep up with the race. I always figured that whether I was sitting at my desk in the studio or balancing a keyboard on my lap while curled up in my papa chair I would always be able to write.

Well, it looks like I may have been a little overoptimistic, but then I’ve had my share of distractions, with most of them involving health issues to include:

  • An upcoming Mohs treatment to deal with a trace of basal cell carcinoma on the tip of my nose.
  • An upcoming  second injection of Covid-19
  • A change in pain management for my never-ending battle with ankylosing spondylitis is not going well.

…all of which means  a marked uptick in pain, anxiety, and depression. I’m hoping that I will make my way through this particular rough patch, but I always wonder if this is the point at which I become bed-ridden or worse. I try to fight the fear but sometimes it gets ahead of me and all I can do is drift through the day and continue trying…which includes typing out something out like this.

In the same way marching a unit soldiers requires “marking time” – keeping step in the same place – to keep the parade running properly writing notes like this will hopefully keep me functioning until better days.

Thanks for your support


Wrestling Day Reverie

Weird day. Pain meds definitely NOT working and my sleep pattern is upside down (laid awake all night then slept today from dawn until mid-afternoon.) I want to grumble at getting my plans up-ended, but as hard as I work at it I can’t get perturbed.

It’s just too nice a day, and definitely the kind of Christmas I’ve come to expect in this stage of my life.

I’m spending time with people I love and we’re all safe, warm and most definitely well-fed. For just a little while the curtains are closed and we’re safely walled away from 2020 with all the magic our favorite quilts and Christmas music can muster.

For Miriam

We spent part of the month in a “social distancing times two” situation when my Beautiful Saxon Princess was tested for Covid 19. Our family physician was concerned about symptoms that came to light during a regular check up so our family spent our days lurking in our individual lairs – BSP kept our bedroom while I camped in the studio while Meghan and her family pretty  much had the run of the rest of the place.

As most of my collectible “stuff” is located in the studio I was able to avoid feeling sorry for myself but after 42+ years of marriage its hard to sleep alone. Long ago I found out that doing something for someone else is the best mood elevator EVER so I spent my time putting together some Tinkerbell art for my grand-niece Miriam.

Modified Tinkerbell art that is.

Life had dealt Miriam a pretty flat hand of cards and she spends most of her time immobile. Speech and vision problems isolate her even further so video provides most of her entertainment. She loves the color and motion of “chop-socky” shows like Inframan and has a particular fondness for Tinker-Bell so I came up with posters for her depicting Tink as alternately a Rambo-type adventurer and a crew member from the original Star Trek series.

2020-07-02A TrekBo2020-07-01A TinkerBo