November 30 – each day, all the year

each day, all the year
Oh how I Hate Ohio State
Game Changes Nothing

I was about to start this line with “I am sorry but I like University of Michigan Football.”

I am not sorry.

There is nothing to be sorry about it.

The CEO of GANNETT once said, “33% of the population of the United States are rabid sports fans. 100% of sports fans in the United States think every IN THE United States are rabid sports fans.

I understand that.

And I am not sorry I like Michigan Football.

I am not a ‘Michigan Nut.”

I do not own a pair of MAIZE and BLUE checked golf pants.

I own very few MICHGAN branded items.

I do make sure that my shirts and sweat shirts say just MICHIGAN.

I do make sure that the word is printed on in a straight line.

No arced MICHGAN.


No Block M’s.

No fancy lettering.

For me, it’s tradition,

Back when my older brother’s and sister’s went to Michigan, you had a choice of T Shirts.

Blue MICHIGAN on GOLD and Gold MICHIGAN on Blue.

This style is getting rare these days but the wife understands.

And I understand that this isn’t for everyone.

I come by this tradition honestly.

Grandpa Hoffman graduated from Michigan in 1911.

My Dad graduated in 1942.

5 of my brothers and all 3 sisters graduated from Michigan.

I graduated in 1983 from Michigan.

3 Brothers-in-Law and 2 Sisters-in-law graduated from Michigan.

Not sure, but I think 6 or 7 nephews and nieces are now Alumni.

So I make no apology.

I like Michigan Football.

I hate Ohio State.


Enough said.

November 29 – Thanksgiving, give thanks

Thanksgiving, give thanks
given much, why deserve this …

Being Dutch, I think that I am always standing on thin ice.

The ice is transparent and crystal clear.

While I am standing firmly, I know I am on ice and I can see through the ice to the deep water on the other side of the ice.

And maybe, the ice I am standing on is melting.

It is difficult for me to just celebrate.

I can lose myself in the moment, sure.

But at some point I will look down and think about the thin ice.

If I was anal enough, and maybe I am, I could take a yellow pad and write down everything in my life that I am thankful for.

Thankful to God for all his many gifts.

At some point, I have to look at the other side of the ledger.

I have to ask, why me?

Why do I deserve this generosity?

It is certain that nothing I have done to earn such a reward.

I cannot answer that question.

I am reminded of something that Ben Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend.

Ben wrote, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”

Ben certainly wasn’t Dutch.

But I think he was on to something.

Much of what I am thankful for, I DO NOT deserve.

They are gifts.

Gifts from God.

Gifts from God who loves us and loves to see us happy.

I am thankful, beyond thanks, beyond words, for that.

November 28 – peel, chop, boil, roast, bake

peel, chop, boil, roast, bake
stir, strain, mix, cool, slice, serve, eat
then time to have pie!

I have read that cooking appeals to some folks as it is a do-it-yourself project that you can do in less than one day.

Count me in.

Thanksgiving maybe my favorite holiday.

I think its great that we have a day put aside to recognize that we have much to be thankful for.

I like that it was Lincoln that issued the 1st Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

I love the food.

I love the anticipation of the food.

I love the smell of the food.

And I love the preparation of the food.

Starting with a vast selection of ingredients and turning them into different dishes that are all ready to eat at the same time.

I love the challenge.

And I am thankful that I don’t have to do it every day.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Please note there is some historical discussion that the proclamation was written by Seward and not Lincoln.

Nevertheless, Lincoln was the President.

November 27 – turkey anxiety

turkey anxiety
big enough, thaw, roast, carve, eat
all these leftovers

Each year the same anxiety.

Turkey presents such interesting problems.

Often overlooked is, will it fit in the oven?

And don’t forget that bag of stuff in the backend.

Don’t throw out the neck but save it for soup. (Oh, right)

I got rid of much of my turkey anxiety but how I view the overall operation.

My wife’s favorite part of the meal is mashed potatoes and stuffing COVERED with TURKEY GRAVY.

For me the meal prep is all about the gravy, the gravy, the gravy.

For me, the entire meal comes down to the gravy, the gravy, the gravy.

As I view it, I am just making gravy.

Gallons of turkey gravy.

The fact that the turkey gets cooked in the process along with a bunch of other dishes is incidental to my goal.

It is amazing how much less anxiety there is for me overall since I am focused on the gravy.

All my eggs are in one basket and I am watching that basket!

Somehow, it all comes off.

The Butterball Turkey people maintain a HOT LINE for those whose turkey anxiety has put them out on a ledge.

They also handle any turkey related questions.

The Butterball people have published some of their favorite queries.

One that stands out for me was from a lady who discovered a frozen turkey that was 20 years old.

She called to ask if it was still good to eat.

The Butterball people told her that as long as it had not been thawed out, it was okay.

But, since it was 20 years old, the flavor might not be the best.

The Butterball people, to their credit, did recommend that it while it was okay, it might be best if she bought a new bird.

The lady paused and then said, “You are right. I’ll donate this one to my church food drive!”

Maybe the meal is designed so that we can give thanks that it happens once a year.

But I will have a repeat performance on Christmas.

Gosh darn those Pilgrims.

November 26 – I commute to work

I commute to work
Friend teleworks from kitchen
Both wait to go hom

At work, I am part of a support team that works with television stations across the country.

The support team works from locations across the country.

I commute into downtown Atlanta everyday.

One of my coworkers teleworks from her home in Texas.

The other day I messaged her in the middle of the afternoon and said, “Can we go home now?”

She replied, “I work from home and I still can’t wait to get home.”

Something nearly, perfectly, wonderful about that.

Still, how do you leave your job at work when you work from home?


Just maybe.

There is some unexpected value to that awful commute.

November 25 – I did it myself

I did it myself
it did not work, back to store
our motto, said Lowes

It was a moment of remarkable candor so I am remarking about it.

Fixing a dripping kitchen sink, I bought the wrong part at Lowes.

When I went back to get the right part, I announced to the clerk at the Customer Returns Desk that, “I did it myself and it did not work.”

He came right back, “That’s our motto!”

November 24 – confabulation?

imagined experience
replace memories

I ran across confabulate in a wonderful paragraph in my reading the other day.

In the Social Animal, David Brooks writes, “The unconscious mind merely confabulates stories that try to make sense of what the unconscious mind is doing of it own accord.”

I liked the word confabulate.

I was pretty sure I had heard it before.

I was pretty sure I knew what it meant.

I looked it up to make sure.

The first definition, engage in conversation; talk, seemed to apply to Brooks’ use of the word.

There was a 2nd definition listed.

    fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for loss of memory

That definition demanded more investigation.

My question, is the confabulator making things up on purpose?

Telling a lie in other words?

Or are these imaginary memories born out of frustration for lack of real memory?

Or are these imaginary memories there because that is how the confabultor really remembers them?

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary gives this use of the word, ” A major characteristic of brain-damaged patients is the tendency to confabulate—to hide and dissemble about their damage.”

To me that sounds like its all made up except that it refers to brain damaged people?

Merriam-Webster also states, ” Confabulate is a fabulous word for making fantastic fabrications. Given the similarities in spelling and sound, you might guess that “confabulate” and “fabulous” come from the same root, and they do – the Latin fabula, which means “conversation, story.” Another “fabula” descendant that continues to tell tales in English is “fable.” All three words have long histories in English: “fable” first appeared in writing in the 14th century, and “fabulous” followed in the 15th. “Confabulate” is a relative newcomer, appearing at the beginning of the 1600s. “

Fantastic fabrications?


It’s a great word.


November 23 – take 10 everyone

take 10 everyone
movies, yes, need in real life
who is in charge here?

It happens in movies and on TV where a group of people, all engaged in some effort, reach a point of confusion or performance or something and the person in charge yells, “take 10 everyone” and all work stops and everyone can go off to their own little corner and regain focus, think or just do nuthin.

I need that today.

I need someone in charge to yell ‘Take 10 Everyone” and I can go off in my corner and do nuthin.

In that 10 I also want my head to stop hurting.

My brain to stop thinking.

My stomach to stop churning.

My eyes to focus.

My knees stop aching.

My sinuses to clear up.

My sense of smell to come back.

Just for 10.

Just 10 for me myself.

10 what?

10 minutes I guess but I would settle for 10 seconds some days.

10 hours would be really nice but I won’t hold my breathe.

10 days, hmmmmmmm.

10 weeks, oh come on.

Just a short break.

But I want to be conscious of the passage of time.

I don’t want to close my eyes and have it be 10 minutes later.

I think that some people smoke so they can take a break and sit with a burning cigarette just to watch those beautiful trails of smoke go by as time passes.

Just a short break.


Who makes that call.

Who is in charge here?

November 22 – troubles we suffer

troubles we suffer
memory of pain drips in hearts
so we gain wisdom

Wisdom comes through suffering.
Trouble, with its memories of pain,
Drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
So men against their will
Learn to practice moderation.
Favours come to us from gods.

― Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Aeschylus (c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is often described as the father of tragedy. Academics’ knowledge of the genre begins with his work, and understanding of earlier tragedies is largely based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the theater and allowed conflict among them; characters previously had interacted only with the chorus. (Wikipedia)


Aeschylus begins in Greece describing the return of King Agamemnon from his victory in the Trojan War, from the perspective of the towns people (the Chorus) and his wife, Clytemnestra. However, dark foreshadowings build to the death of the king at the hands of his wife, who was angry at his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia, who was killed so that the gods would restore the winds and allow the Greek fleet to sail to Troy. She was also unhappy at his keeping of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra as a concubine. Cassandra foretells of the murder of Agamemnon, and of herself, to the assembled townsfolk, who are horrified. She then enters the palace knowing that she cannot avoid her fate. The ending of the play includes a prediction of the return of Orestes, son of Agamemnon, who will seek to avenge his father. (Wikipedia)

November 21 – that awful question

that awful question
each morning, again at noon
what is in my lunch?

Before we begin let me say that I understand that the ‘awful question’ I will be discussing would be a welcome issue in much of the United States and the world for that matter.

That being said, it is an awful question.

I question I face each work day and have faced since about 1972 when I started bringing my lunch with me to Riverside Junior High School.

Not, “What is for lunch?”

But, “What is in my lunch?”

I make and pack my own lunch each morning.

I dread it.

For one thing, coffee is about the only thing I want when I get up.

Coffee is about the only thing that my stomach will stomach.

There was a time when my favorite breakfast was an ice cream sandwich.

There was a glorious period in history when Oreo Ice Cream sandwiches were available.

At my age, that just doesn’t seem appropriate, so coffee it is.

How then, with food not something I want to think about, can I make a lunch?

I watch the clock and as the minutes run out of morning, I say to myself, “Got to do it!”

At this point, all I want is to get this over with.

What is the fastest sandwich I can make?

I check the fridge.

Any cold cuts?


Any packable fruit?

I make an uninspired sandwich as quickly as I can.

I start with and empty cold cut container to hold the sandwich.

We save these containers and their lids for leftovers and such.

I like these better than a baggie as I have eaten too many peanut butter sandwiches that have been squashed flat.

I take the empty container and toss in a piece of bread.

Then I drop a slice of cold cuts or cheese or cold cuts and cheese or maybe spread peanut butter on it.

Then another piece of bread on top and snap on the lid.

The sandwich is done and in the lunch bag.

Now the chips or pretzels or maybe, if I am really lucky, some oreos which I put into another plastic container and into the lunch bag.

Is there any fruit?

An apple, orange or banana?

If the oranges are clementines, I pack 2.

If its a banana, I have to think if its edible.

I have to ask that question because my wife likes bananas to be light green and chewy

How she can eat an unripe banana is beyond me.

There are some days when we have leftovers.

A container of lasagna or chicken alfredo is more than lunch, its a relief that I don’t have to make anything.

Often at dinner the night before, I get excited when I see that there are leftovers for my lunch.

I will be sitting with my coffee and watching the clock move and say to myself, lunch is ready to be packed up, and I sit for one more minute with a smile for my good fortune.

I slide the container in my lunch bag.

Wrap a fork in napkin.

A plastic fork?


That just isn’t right is it.

I drop the fork into the lunch bag and seal up the Velcro flap.

Lunch is packed in my back pack.

That should clear up any mystery as to what is in my lunch bag each day but, for me, the question still nags at me.

When lunch time rolls around, which is 11AM for me, I still ask myself, “What’s in my lunch?”

I am hungry now and hopeful.

Even though, I know the answer.

I am reminded of the summer when my brother, Tim, worked in construction.

He needed at least three sandwiches a day.

But he couldn’t stand the thought of, one, having to make them, and, two, knowing what was in his lunch.

Not that he was any master of the kitchen.

I have a memory of him standing in the kitchen holding an empty water pitcher and a can of instant powdered lemonade and saying to me, “do you know how to make this?”

Anyway, my brother Tim started paying my brother Pete a dollar a day to make his sandwiches.

That lasted until there was an argument over the selection of sandwiches.

Tim wanted them all different,

Pete felt that a ham sandwich with a slice of cheese WAS different from a cheese sandwich with a slice of ham.

I understand what Tim wanted.

I know what is in my lunch.

Maybe that is why it is such an awful question.