Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
A special People Magazine edition is all about American heroes and the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog is included. Those dogs have become part of our culture recently for the amazing work they do.
Had the chance to go to a high school graduation party this afternoon held at the Willoughby Farm right in the middle of Collinsville. If you haven't been there recently you should go, it's a farm like the old days. Sort of.
And finally, Chris and Lisa Durham with their son Jacob who was celebrating having graduated from Metro East Lutheran High School.
Many years ago Dale was given an old Divco milk truck from the Farm Fresh owners down in Chester, the kind of truck which was once used in home dairy delivers. For some time the old truck was taking up space in our driveway, but then was taken to a rural area outside of Collinsville and stored in a friend's storage barn. There it sat for years waiting for Dale to get it going again. Yesterday he arranged for a restoration company to get it and take it to Precision Restorations on Forest Park Parkway where it will begin the long process of a complete redo.
Dale could not be more thrilled. He delivered milk in a truck like this during college and seminary summers.
As of today the total of mattresses and ladders which fall onto St. Louis highways stands at:
Mattresses 90 Ladders 52
I have wondered why so many mattresses fall onto roadways but after reading a request from someone who asked if anyone had any of those hooked bungee cords they could borrow to hook their mattress onto the car in order to move, I think I know now.
Last night voters in Great Britain voted to leave the EU-Brexit. I honestly don't understand what this means or even what it ever meant to form a European Union in the first place. Someone said the original idea was to form an American type coming together like our states, but I just don't quite see that. Here are two tweets about the exit from the EU, both taking a very different point of view.
An interesting article on "10 Things on Your Desk to Throw Away". The point is that too much clutter can cloud our concentration and most of the stuff isn't necessary. "When in doubt, throw it out." I can kind of agree with this, too much stuff sitting around makes me crazy and I like most of this advice since we have, over time, had all of these things on the desk at one time. Not today, though, I'm happy to say.
The best one of the ten was to get rid of pens that don't work. I mean, seriously, we have so many pens and most have long ago stopped releasing any ink. We keep them out of laziness and maybe the fact that the pens' have some sentimental value. It came from a convention or meeting we liked.
The entire list is found here and good good advice. Now it's time to swallow hard and open the junk drawer. That will be a vast wasteland of old pens, paper clips, pennies, years old receipts and who knows what.
Here's our shared desk today, not too bad but there are useless pens and paper which need to go. And what the GoPro handle is doing there I do not know.
The Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog program has received a lot of national attention during the aftermath of the Orlando murders. 12 of these Golden Retrievers who spend their days helping to make people under stress, tragedy or loneliness feel better headed down to Orlando within 24 hours of the horror. The images of these dogs and the people who hugged them, smiled at them were amazing. They also spend time with school children which is the fun part of their job.
Locally we have several of these Comfort Dogs, Holy Cross in Collinsville is the home of Esther and the seminary shares Noah with Timothy Lutheran Church in south St. Louis. Also Sheba who just arrived at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Washington Missouri and Tabby who is based at St. Paul in Des Peres. Today during the 11 to noon hour on Fox2 in St. Louis these 4 will be on the air as their handlers explain what these dogs do.
I've heard their air time may be around 11:30-ish, but you never know for sure. I plan to turn on the local news at 11 and just wait. These dogs are wonderful.
This short bit of humor from the New Yorker gets it exactly right. The title is, "Please, Oh, Please, Update Adobe Flash"
This is perfect for me this morning because my web pages will stop working and then a little box comes up which tells me "Adobe Flash has stopped working, do you want to quit or continue?" Neither! I want Adobe Flash to go away and leave my computer alone. This happens several times a year and in the end I'm told to update Adobe flash. Good luck finding the update place. Here are a few lines from this article which contains more than I have pasted in, but it is all so true.
Please update Adobe Flash. Your Flash Player is out of date.
Please update Adobe Flash.
A security risk to your current Flash Player has been detected, and it is strongly recommended that you update your version of Adobe Flash.
We’re just going to keep sending you reminders, you know. Every day. Forever. You may as well just update your Flash Player. It’s important.
The computer will prompt you for your administration password. Please try at least ten variations of the password you usually use until you get locked out and have to request that your password be e-mailed to you.
IDOT has announced that due to the Illinois budget impasse they will be stopping all road construction on June 30th. My first reaction to this was, "yay!" but then gave it a bit more thought. Does this mean they just barricade lanes and routes they've been working on so it will be even more difficult to get past?
Actually the Metro East doesn't have all that much IDOT work going on so it wouldn't affect us that much.
Another question is, will this action if carried through be taken up by public schools in the fall and they not open? It's time Illinois legislators start working together and stop standing on partisanship and get a budget passed.
Metro Link controversy is in the St. Louis news...again. What's it been, several decades? St. Louis Mayor Slay wants a north south extension to the light rail and announced that opinion yesterday. Then, St. Louis Country executive, Steve Stenger, voiced his unhappiness with Slay and the plan claiming the county has been left in the dark over these plans.
This is not a political party split, democrats v republicans since both these men are democrats. It's all about what's going on in "my back yard". Territorial stuff.
It's too bad there has long been local fighting over territory where metro link is concerned because after several decades not much expansion has been done and most areas of the St. Louis region aren't served by it. This is the same old story like after interstate 170 was beginning construction. It dead ended at highway 40/64 and Eager Road. It would have served the region well if political types had over come the opposition to continue south, but no, regional arguments won the day. Now, it's almost impossible to get to south county without having to slog down 270 with a million other people.
The same regional deadlock stopped metro link from going out to St. Charles Country which it should have. How many traffic jams could have been avoided if only commuters had had the option to take the train? Taking the train to work is a given in most cities, but not here.
I don't know exactly what's going on with Slay and Stenger but my belief is Metro Link should be expanded and not just north and south but East and west and into other places in Illinois.
Tonight will see a Strawberry moon which will also be full and present on the first day of summer. A strawberry full moon hasn't happened on the summer solstice since 1948.
Cool, I thought. A red hued full moon to look at. But no. It won't be red or pink, just your average, run of the mill, full moon. It's called strawberry because years ago native Americans believed the first full moon in June meant strawberries were ripe for picking
After church this morning Lizzie, Darren and the 3 boys came by and we loaded up the car and headed out to the town in which Dale began his ministry. Back when we were really really young. Each Father's Day the church puts on a chicken dinner which serves up some of the best fried chicken you've ever eaten. They've been doing this since around our 4th year there and I'd guess half of Washington County comes to eat.
I don't know what they do to this chicken but it is amazing.
Up until last year when Father's Day saw lots of rain and mud, it had always been outside in the little park behind the church. It went inside the new fellowship hall and worked so well they stayed with the inside this year. And, the heat today made being inside welcome. The lines for carry outs and eat-in's was continuous. And when you consider Venedy has about 25 houses at most, this is amazing. Good food brings people.
After we'd eaten the boys played catch and climbed a tree
I walked around the old church cemetery which was our backyard back when we lived in the parsonage. Some of those buried there were born in the late 1700's.
Then a Venedy friend of ours who was serving up plates of dinners told us her son was combining the wheat field at the edge of town and would the boys want to ride along for a bit. Would they!
The rest of us stood in the gorgeous field of gold and watched. At one point Connor got to drive (steer)
After a couple passes through the field it was time to unload the wheat kernels into the grain truck.
"The nearly 7,000 members of Teamsters Local 688 plan to boycott Schnucks Markets Inc. following the grocery chain’s decision to lay off more than 200 union warehouse employees and outsource the jobs." I'm assuming the hope is that many other shoppers will go somewhere else today as well.
I can understand how hard it must be to have worked for Schnucks in the warehouse, often for years, and then find yourself out of a job as the company gives the work to an outside concern. Part of this story mentions that last year Schnucks listed its revenues as 2.7 billion for 2015. That sound like a lot and it is, but 2.7 billion is not profit, it is before the bills and salaries are paid. But I'm guessing the Schnucks family is still doing well.
What is pretty obvious is how many Schnucks grocery stores there are. Frankly, they are everywhere. From where we are at the seminary we can easily go to the Richmond Center Schnucks on Clayton Road, it's one of the busiest. Or, we could go to the one off Maryland Ave on the border of Clayton and Ladue. Or the one on Manchester and Brentwood. On the Illinois side they are in Collinsville, Granite, Edwardsville, Fairview, Belleville. You never have to go far to find a Schnucks.
This is nice to have close at hand and most are busy so all these stores must be profitable. But I have noticed two things as I grocery shop a lot. 1. Some years ago Schnucks ended their traditional shelf stocking at night and most stocking is done during daylight hours. This was certainly a cost cutting move but has to be one of the more annoying aspects of grocery shopping. Every day in every store aisles are filled with large pallets filled with boxes as stock people fill shelves. There are days when it's almost impossible to get what you need around all this. Round a corner with the cart and wow, no room to get through.
And 2, not all Schnucks stores are treated the same. There must be some demographic studies done which show some towns don't need what others have available. For instance, the Collinsville Schnucks is about the only one I've been in which does not offer the Boar's Head deli meat and cheese. Why is this? And that store's produce offerings are shrinking. The lettuces, green vegetables are stuck on the back wall looking about as unappetizing and low in variety as any Schnucks store around. Why is this? Do Collinsville shoppers not care much about vegetables? There are plenty of the tried and true, apples and oranges. But they really have shrunk this area in comparison.
I'm going to check and see how many cars are at the Richmond Center store today because this one is often said to be the most profitable in the chain. It's always crowded and the parking lot full no matter the day or time. It should be easy to see if the boycott works at least at this store. One look at a less than full parking lot should tell the tale.
Since Microsoft downloaded Windows 10 unbidden to my computer I've noticed day by day that it is much slower. I'm guessing I'm going to have to spend some time eliminating files or some such to help speed things up. Some days it's almost like having a dial up again as I wait for a page to load.
Yes the Illinois budget is in a standoff. Yes Illinois is in a financial crisis. But oh, yeah, we need to borrow 550 million dollars for road construction. The state got a low interest rate on this loan, but could have done even better if it were in better financial shape.
But seriously, road construction again? We always seem to find money to keep our highways jammed up but not for schools or other strong issues. The strongest lobbying group must be road work entities.
It's been unsufferably hot this week, it's way too early for this kind of heat and very few people have had time to acclimate themselves to this. When Katie began cross country training the summer before her freshman year in high school, her coach told her (and us) that the human body will adapt to heat but not cold. But the body adapts in a gradual manner with consist outdoor activity. I've never forgotten that and think of this each time I come across people who must work outdoors all summer-highway workers, lawn service people etc. Unless we are constantly outdoors we probably haven't adapted to the heat all that well.
So it was that my car's air conditioner blower began to work only on the highest setting. While I was happy that it at least worked, it became problematic in that the front seat got really cold and it was really noisy. Not to mention that I was concerned about the possibility of bigger problems with this. I made an appointment Monday to have it fixed on Wednesday but asked first if it was safe to be driving around with this issue. It was, I was told, fine to drive, the issue does not affect the actual engine but if the high setting went out too, we'd be pretty hot.
The problem turned out to be the blower resister which is often under the glove compartment or nearby. It looks something like this, or this. It pulls out and a new one is put in. When it goes bad, you'll often see what looks like scorch marks where each setting went out. This is what happened with ours.
So if this ever happens to you, you'll know what the problem is. The only other thing that could cause the fan to only work on high would be the switch but most often it is the blower resister.
iPhones have the option for owners to put in a 4 digit number to keep the information safe should the phone get stolen or lost. However, it occurred to me today after reading a story that that passcode wall may have one problem.
What happens if you're out on a bike or in a car and have an accident and are unable to communicate with emt or hospital workers about who to get in touch with. Your phone won't help those people get in touch with family if they can't get to the contacts. We both have an ICE contact in our phone, In Case of Emergency, but Dale has his phone locked with a passcode and I do not. EMT workers could notify Dale about me, but the reverse would be tricky unless there is a system I haven't heard of yet.
Last Saturday Christian came by about the time the Belmont Stakes horse race was about to begin. After watching the race we got to talking about that sport and I asked if he and Connor would like to go and see a race live at Fairmount Park in Collinsville. And so we picked today since it was an afternoon event. I was shocked when we pulled up and saw the entire parking lot filled with cars, so many cars we had to park way off in the northern most section of grass and gravel. Wow.
But the inside is huge and although there were people everywhere, we were able to sit about anywhere and walk anywhere. I confess I have never been to Fairmount Park before today so this was an eye-opener. There were families, young people, older people, people who seemed to be teachers on summer vacation etc.
I had no clue about the betting process so just skipped that part and we watched several races from different places. Outside, inside and over by the horses warm up area. That last area was the most fun, the horses were right next to us. We had lunch and the cost was shockingly low especially compared to Busch Stadium. 2 dollars for a 16 ounce aluminum can beer. I skipped that too, but boy, the food costs were low. And, the admission was 1.50 for me and the boys were free. Can't beat that.
We also wandered through the souvenir tables which were fun, but the things they had for sale didn't really interest any of us.
Lutheran Church Charities has a Comfort Dog program which brings comfort and love to those who are hurting, sick, lonely. The dogs are all Golden Retrievers, trained from puppy on to be petted and hugged. There are now 100 of these dogs all over the country and a large group of them and their handlers headed to Orlando yesterday to be with those still in shock and pain from the horrible night club killings.
Some of these dogs started out the day at Trinity Lutheran Church in Orlando with its pastor, Bill Brath. Bill was a student here at the seminary in our early years and I remember him as kind, funny and a man who was going to be a wonderful pastor and it seems he is.
There's Bill in the middle of the dogs ready to meet people.
Out on the street near the nightclub.
There's just something about seeing these dogs at bad times which helps people emotionally.
Our church in Collinsville, Holy Cross, has its own Comfort Dog, Esther. She did not get to go to Orlando, but was in Concordia Missouri a couple of weeks ago when two high school students drowned during a class trip.
Esther. These dogs have been on many national news reports in the past 24 hours.