Fall 2014 October 21 Tuesday (Forty Years)

64 degrees this morning. 56:30 minute walk, five earthquakes in past 24 hours.

40 years ago today, I started as the Administrative Assistant to the City Manager of Liberal, Kansas. It is my first “professional” municipal job and I think created a good base for the rest of my career.

It is a blur now, of course, but I remember waking early and driving around town, looking Liberal over.

I had just graduated from Wichita State University with my M.A. in Political Science. By chance, I found out about the position in Liberal and applied for it.

For those of you who don’t know, Liberal was about four hours from Wichita on US. 54. I would be ver familiar with this trip over the following years!

When I say I learned of the job in Liberal “by chance”, I really mean it. As I recall, I had either gotten stood up for a date or just had the date wrong.

As I went back to my house, I stopped at a traffic light. My Advisor from Wichita State stopped beside me, recognized me and yelled there was an opening in Liberal, Kansas. I applied, and the next 40 years was history.

The City Manager told me “this is your office, I want a grant”, so I proceeded to write a grant to redevelop a part of town that was considered the area of town where help was needed. (It was a good choice. I admire the City of Liberal and the Liberal City Manager of recognizing the need and directing resources to meet the need when it may not have been politically popular to do so.)

The area involved about a definite 20 block area of town of deteriorating houses etc. The program involved putting in decent streets, fixing the drainage, upgrading houses, provision for a neighborhood park etc. Years after I left Liberal, (about 25 years), I drove through and was pleased that the program had generally worked.

I enjoyed the interaction with the community (it involved intense “citizen participation”, which I had written a detailed research paper on for my Masters Degree.)

Anyway, 40 years ago today, my career in city government started. I probably would do some things different now, but I wouldn’t change my career path for anything.

Spring forward 40 years and i am in the stage of embarking on my “encore” career. There is a good chance that I will be assigned to my “field office” (my home) next week and will start working my territory, although probably with a more experienced person.

During my walk this morning, I noticed the first Christmas decorations of the year. I was surprised, but, on the other hand, Christmas Trees are already appearing in stores.
I guess if you’re going to the trouble to put up Christmas decorations, you may as well enjoy it!

Probably picking up the car today. I sure there will be something I assumed would be on the car that isn’t. On he other hand, there may be something on the car I didn’t expect! As long as it gets me around in a reliable manner, I will be satisfied.

That’s it for now, Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

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Fall 2014 October 20 Monday (Forty Years Ago-On the Road)

60 degrees this morning. 56:44 minute walk, 2 earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Another great day Sunday, weather wise

Forty years ago today I was driving to Liberal, Kansas to start my first full time job with a City. I was hired as the Administrative Assistant to the City Manager (later Community Development Director). I had no idea what the following 40 years would bring!

Actually it wasn’t the first time I had worked for a City. I worked for a city in high school and actually helped the water superintendent try to find a water leak. We dug up this persons yard and for the first (but not the last time) I heard someone threaten to sue!

I finally “witched” the water line with a couple of clothes hangers.

We spend a large part of the day cleaning out (or rather, reorganizing) the garage so we could get two cars in it. (It is actually a 3 car garage, so it was kind of embarrassing we could only get one car into it!)

We stored stuff in the attic, tossed more stuff and otherwise downsized and reorganized.

I’m pretty confident we can get both cars into the garage, or at least I hope so now!

I heard the author of the “Hot Zone” on Meet the Press (the book about Ebola I had read years ago) and he wrote the book in 1994! Talk about an early warning ignored! I remember wondering when I read the book why I didn’t hear more about it, or rather more about why there wasn’t some campaign to develop a defense to Ebola.

To top that, I saw a “Frontline” report on the growing of a disease resistant to antibiotics, due to the use of antibiotics for animal food, which gets into the dust etc. Again, right or wrong, there are powerful groups who have a financial interest in ignoring this problem.

This has been ignored for almost 40 years! (1977) when the problem was first observed and reviewed by the Federal Drug Administration!

Aliene has been advised that there are more Gluten problems like she has due to hybridization of food etc and other addictive.

Makes you wonder when it will acknowledged and studied. In this case, it wasn’t just food, it was also the dust that could cause problems in people.

There is an art exhibit from Chinese artists with art just since 1976 near me. I plan on going to see it. It is supposed to be one of most comprehensive shows of artists after 1976 (after the Cultural Revolution ).

Still entertained by “Lonesome Dove” on my morning walk. I am enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would, which is always nice.

Again, I am seining a lot of material to the landfill that should be part of recycling. Today, for the first time since we first moved in, I have more trash than recycling. (Two 96 gallon cars full of cardboard etc. and two overflowing recycling bins with two bags of additional recycling material.

Why they don’t recycle corrugated cardboard or supply covers for the recycling bins (the wind has been known to blow here!), I don’t know.

As I have mentioned previously, the next city over has bike paths, walking trails an landscaped roads (at least the new ones). Here they are building the same old junk, no walking or biking trails, sidewalks that quickly get overgrown (or parked on by cars who ignore the sidewalk). It is too bad, but the next time we move, you know where we are moving (as is everyone else!). It is like Lakeland used to be.

Have two days of compeer truing (training in the software we use) and then hopefully I will be assigned to my home office and start working independently, or at least handling my own territory with a senior persons observing.

Planning on picking up the new car today (assuming it is ready). They had to go to Texas to pick it up.

That’s it for now, Monday, October 20, 2014.

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Fall 2014 October 19 Sunday (Lonesome Dove)

56 degrees this morning. 56:42 minute walk, six earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Another super day Saturday, weather wise.

We resumed unpacking and relocating items to finish setting up home offices (one for me and one for Aliene) and clean and sort our the garage.

It is slowly getting easier to toss stuff. We took several boxes of items to the local Goodwill.

I got my “Apple TV” hooked up in my office. (There isn’t any cable tv hookup in my office, which may be just as well since it is a “home work” office and not an office like I used to have that I did a variety of personal office items. I can use Aliene’s office for that also.)

One thing, in order to deduct the office as a “home office” I have to use it “exclusively” for the purpose of the office, so I am trying to comply with that so I can deduct it off my taxes, plus the research I have to do in my home office is fairly intensive and requires concentration.

I am trying to upload my pictures to my Flickr Account. I was surprised to find I have two Flickr accounts (and maybe more), but my main one is RobertPaulWherry. I may attempt to merge them, although I only have 19 photos on my other one.

I think I can use my Flickr account to organize my photos, if I am figuring it right. I also believe iPhoto is being changed and made much more powerful.

Trying to decide where the car is going to live. We need to have some items in the garage, so it will be a matter of how we place the cars and also the other items. (Other items include bicycles, a garage refrigerator and various tools etc. that belong in a garage and not the house! )

Started listening to “Lonesome Dove” on my walk. I have never tried to listen to a novel on my walk before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go, and I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to go relatively well.

I maintained interest and got involved in the novel. I don’t plan to make it a habit, I like listening to non-fiction on my walk, but I wanted to see what the novel “Lonesome Dove” was about.

I believe in about March of 1989, it was a tv series, and of course it was a popular book before that .

I have never read the book and didn’t watch the tv series, so it is all new to me. So far, it has been somewhat funny and interesting. I hope so, since it is about 36 hours long!

One quote that struck me was the comment that “She talked about a lot less than she knew and he talked about a lot more than she knew, so they were a perfect match”.

I normally listen to music or news on my car radio, but I am thinking of getting some Spanish language iPod podcasts etc. Much of my “field” area involves people whose primary language may be Spanish. I don’t expect to become fluent, but it may help me understand and make myself understood better.

I felt the chill in the weather this morning and thought it was getting to that time when I would not really be warm again until next summer. It was actually a nice day today so I may have more of a chance to enjoy warm weather.

Had an episode this mooring of an extremely rude local persons. My first thought was that would never happen in Memphis and I think that is true. It was insignificant in the overall scheme of things, but some of the causal rudeness and thoughtfulness around here is amazing.

That’s it for now, Sunday, October 19, 2014.
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Fall 2014 October 18 Saturday

5i6 degrees this morning.56:05 minute walk, 6 earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Aliene’s arm etc. are still feeling better after the “nerve block” shot, although she still has headaches. She is taking a second shot next week and then will meet with the Doctor to discuss her headaches and the results of the shots on her back and neck pain.

We bit the bullet tonight and bought a car for me for work, a hybrid Toyota Camry. We bought it though the Internet (Consumer Reports), which is similar to the Sams and Costco etc. programs. It will make a nice car.

The 0% interest also helped. We financed for the full 72 months, since it didn’t make any sense not too.

It always amazes me how, when you are looking at the car, they try to convince you the car is so reliable and the dealership is such a good place to get it maintained.

Than, after you buy it, they try to sell you a maintenance policy and try to convince you how the car will fall apart and how expensive the dealership is as they try to sell you a high profit maintenance policy! No wonder car sales has such a poor reputation for ethics and lying.

Kali and Katherine came over Thursday night. They went to look at the car with us (and also provided me with some idea of how the car will drive with four adults) and then we ate at BJ’s.

BJ’s is one of the few places that we can get a good selection for a vegan and a person who is gluten intolerance and a person trying to follow a low-carb diet. A challenge, to say the least!

I actually started on a “low card” diet several years ago.. At first I was very careful about not eating carbohydrates and it worked well. I still limit them (almost never any bread or potatoes etc.) although now I occasionally allow myself some.

I don’t keep track of carbs and fruit and vegetables, since they are “slow” carbs. Anyway, I don’t worry about the carbs in fruits and vegetables.

Actually my normal breakfast (oatmeal/honey/blueberries, and an apple w/peanut butter) is about as high in carbs as it can get, but my Doctor said that early in the morning was a good time for carbs,if you were going to eat them.

Now we are going to have to figure out how to get the items we stored in the garage out so we have room for the car! Also, I need to finish up my home office, since I think there is a good chance I’l be assigned to my “home office” as early as next Friday or a week from Monday. It is pretty well set up, I just need to put the finishing touches on it.

That’s it for now, Saturday, October 18, 2014.

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Fall 2014 October 17 Friday

60 degrees this morning. 55;12 minute walk, 4 earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Beautiful day today, one of those days when you love to be outside.

Aliene (cautiously) is already feeling better from the shot (The Doctor said to allow 72 hours), so she is optimistic as she dares to be.

This was just of her arm and neck pain and not her headaches, but it seems to be helping her headache some also. Hopefully it will help and continue to last.

I really don’t see how she stands it. I can deal with temporary pain/discomfort, but I’m not sure how I would deal with chronic pain.

Anyway, the signs are good that the shots may work.

Spent some time with our granddaughters today, which is always fun. It seems they change in front of your eyes at that age!

Spent the day at work working with accounts, trying to learn the new computer system by applying/working through real problems.

There is a little lull in everything, it is fall break, so a lot of people are involved with children and grandchildren etc. who ares out of school.

It is strange how my daily routine has changed. The morning still runs in “hyper time” from the moment I get up until I actually leave for work. It is easy to get behind, since I follow a very tight schedule.

Gone is the 8-10 cups of coffee before I go to work, now I drank about 1 1/2 cups and grab some coffee at McDonalds as ai head or work.

I still haven’t figured out where to get coffee at work, so I only drank coffee if I happen to go somewhere for lunch or take break and to the convenient store about a mile away for a cup of coffee. Major difference there.

Speaking of coffee, I recently found that Taco Bell has outstanding coffee, which surprised and pleased me. (McDonalds also has some excellent coffee.) 

Of course, to me, a good cup of coffee is one I don’t spill on my shirt, on my pants or on something in the car! Starbucks has super coffee but their coffee cups tend to spill in cars.

Although dramatic change was i used to read three newspapers in the morning, now they arrive so late, I read two at night (and they are the morning paper).

And, while both of these are major changes, it’s ok with me. Hopefully it will change when I start m “home office” routine (since I will save about two hours per day in commuting, and other aspects of it). I expect I will drank more coffee, but I”m not sure what else may change.

I don’t think my walk with change. That has been a basic part of my life (with the time a little longer now) for at least 30 years and actually I started almost 40 years ago. Again, I find that change happens and I need to enjoy whatever the time may bring.

That’s it for now, Friday, October 17.

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Fall 2014 October 16 Thursday (Robert)

58 degrees this morning. 56:05 minute walk, one earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Oddly enough, after years of being “Bob” at work etc, while I was still “Robert” to my family and a few other persons, I have become “Robert” at work.

I think it started because I always sign documents etc. as “Robert”. There is another “Robert” at work and persons started calling me “Robert” and I started answering the phone and introducing myself as “Robert”.

Somehow, it erased some of the psychological slime I felt on myself (figuratively speaking) from the last few months of my time as Lakeland City Manager when I felt the newly elected officials were betraying the trust of the residents. I do not intend to “get over” my anger towards the Judas or the spoiled brat and his toadies. If that is wrong, that is just the way I feel.

Fortunately, it is just anger and resentment. I enjoy my new job and the people I have met and wouldn’t necessarily change that. As Robert Frost said about two roads (or t least the way I interpreted it), that I can’t go down two roads, so I will enjoy the road I am on, and remember with fondness the good memories I had of Lakeland and not be all that concerned with the bad memories of the last several months there when I felt the trust by citizens in elected officials was betrayed.

But that doesn’t mean I still don’t resent it and am angry about it.

In a way, being referred to as “Robert” at work created separation from one stage of my life to another stage of my life.

At the same time, I realize that many good friends and family members refer to me as “Bob” (and i certainly wouldn’t want to grandchildren to quit calling me “Grandpa Bob”) or any friends who know me as “Bob’ to change.

However, irregardless, I like being called “Robert”” at work and by customers. Somehow, it just recognizes that life has changed.

Any family or friends who know me as “Bob” (or Robert for that matter) remind me of a happy stage of my life, so definitely, if you read this, don’t change anything! I have fond memories of being called both “bob” and “Robert”, it just may be time for me to be called “Robert” by people at my new job and this area.

Aliene had a “nerve block’ shot today to help with some of the pain she has been having lately, including some chronic headaches created by neck problems. She doesn’t like to complain, but I know she has been in a lot of pain for the past several months and I hope this helps!

She seems to have a good pain management Doctor, which helps.

The “field training” today included some new activities and was fun. I learned quite a bit, and perhaps better yet, learned some aspects I didn’t know and that I need to learn!
Still working on my “home office”. I want it ready so when I am assigned here, I feel comfortable in it ands am able to be effective and productive in it.

That’s it for now, Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Fall 2014 October 15 Wednesday

47 degrees this morning. 56:03 minute walk, two earthquakes in past 24 hours.

Funny how 47 degrees is warmer in some cases (like this morning) than 54 or even 61 degrees on other days.

Chilly/cold weather is definitely here. I know in a few months, 47 degrees will be “warm”, but right now it is still cold!

First day of “in the field” as the “lead” while I am shadowed by a more experienced person. As usual, what you don’t expect, happens and the day was a lot different then I expected, but it was overall good and, best of all, I learned a lot.

One factor I know was coming,but couldn’t really plan for, was the new version of computer software had just been started. Although they did a good job of training for the upgrade, the usual bugs, changes etc. came up. Nothing really serious, but it took a lot of time to work through.

It was fun, and, as usual, I realized how much I still don’t know, although I think I’m at the point where I can work through almost anything by knowing where and who to ask the questions.

It feels strange “starting over” again. I remember my first City Manager job, I was reading magazines and books n city operations, As time went on, I realized some decisions I was making were being made based on experience and I didn’t need to really think about it, I just know.

Of course I learned I had to avoid being too automatic where I a situation may be slightly different and require a completely different decision.

First time on my drive to work that an accident delayed me, in this case enough to actually make me late. I always wondered what someone did when they were delayed by one of those long traffic jams, and i know how. You just sit there and wait. There isn’t a thing you can do about it.

Today (Wednesday), I have a “field day” in a new area, with a person I haven’t met before. It will be an opportunity to learn some new techniques and ideas.

Right now, I mainly need to go through the process and learn what I don’t know by actually doing “live” situations.

I noted my journal entries are getting shorter. I think I just have to say what I have to say and sign off. It seems to run in cycles.

It could be that we may be developing new routines, which may tend to curb my thoughts as I concentrate on what I need to learn at work etc.

It could even be the arrival of cold weather, which I always found to be sort of restraining.

I really miss getting the newspapers early in the morning, but am adjusting. (I read them in the evening.) Since I know this isn’t a permanent situation, it is something I can deal with.

Something I never expected to do was get by a en entire day with just one cup of coffee, which I frequently have done in the recent past! While I haven’t felt any withdrawal pains, I prefer to have my coffee!

I believe I know I can get a cup of coffee which is what is important! I can leave the office and get coffee, and I can always stop and get coffee when I am in the field.

Of course, I hate drinking coffee in the car, since I tend to spill it, so I decided to that I would rather not have coffee than spill it!

That’s it for now, Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

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