Tag Archives: High Plains Blogger

Blog passes milestone

Boasting is not my forte, but I do feel the tug to brag … but only just a little.

High Plains Blogger just passed a significant milestone. My most recent post was the 601st consecutive day I have been able to post a commentary.

Don’t stand and applaud, please.

Just understand that writing this blog is important to me. I wrote opinions on all manner of issues for many years during my full-time career as a newspaper journalist. My career ended more than a decade ago, but my desire to keep writing has remained intact.

Therefore, I want to share this bit of good news … at least it’s good news to me.

I am asked on occasion: How do you write so often? The best answer I can find is: It’s what I do.

There is no special talent. I can’t identify any truly great work in all the items I have posted since I began writing this blog in 2009.

I simply take great joy in posting these musings. It keeps me alert. I intend to keep High Plains Blogger active for as long as I can string sentences together.

More good news? I am still willing and able.


Blogging = journaling

You might already understand — those who have read this blog over time — that I am addicted to posting items on it.

I am in the midst of a lengthy string of consecutive days posting items on High Plains Blogger. It’s up to 585 days in a row. I am not even close to slowing down.

This is my way of suggesting that blog posts are my version of writing in a journal. It’s simple for me to sit down at my laptop sitting on my desk inside my North Texas man cave and pound out thoughts on issues of the day or just hammer out a commentary on this or that matter that interests me.

This is my version of “journaling.” Friends have encouraged me to write a journal while commenting, for example, on my mourning the passing of my dear bride, Kathy Anne. I have declined respectfully, telling them the blog takes the place of a journal. It accomplishes the same thing.

I actually have tried to write a journal. My wife purchased for me a set of notebooks on which I would write a journal during a November 1989 trip I took to Southeast Asia. I lasted only a few days. I couldn’t keep my concentration riveted enough to write down the thoughts in the notebook. I couldn’t even take the time to pen my thoughts as I returned to Marble Mountain, just south of Da Nang, Vietnam … where I served during the Vietnam War.

Had I been able to carry a laptop during that marvelous journey I would have been able to write something akin to a blog as I ventured from Thailand, to Cambodia, to Vietnam.

The blog has served me well at many levels. I want to keep writing it for as long as I am able to string sentences together.

So far … so good.


Blog = journal

LA CENTER, Wash. — I have made a command decision on whether I am going to write a “journal” chronicling my progress out of the darkness after my bride’s tragic passing two months ago.

It is that I am writing it already. I have been doing so on this blog. I am doing so at this very moment.

My heart is still broken. It might be irreparably damaged. However, if the docs who treated Kathy Anne for the cancer that claimed her were unable to “control” the tumor, perhaps I can control the pain that tears at my ticker. I will seek to do that with this blog, although I assure you, I won’t write forever about this tragic event in my life.

For as long as I have something to offer, though, I will do so and High Plains Blogger will serve as a journal of sorts for me.

It’s helping me along the way as Toby the Puppy and I continue our lengthy journey.


Getting ready for the road

I made a command decision, which I can do because I don’t have to answer to anyone else these days.

My departure date for points west will arrive on March 15. I am heading to the Pacific Ocean. Then I’ll head north. I am going to continue writing this blog along the way.

Why continue? Because … I am on a 521-day consecutive blog posting streak. High Plains Blogger is now in the midst of the longest streak of consecutive days when your blogger — that’s me — is posting commentary on this and that.

I’ll do so from the road. Actually, I intend to do plenty of sight-seeing along the way.

For example, I am hoping to cross Nevada along what I am told is the “Loneliest Highway in America,” which is U.S. Highway 50. It is a scenic stretch of roadway. I look forward to seeing it. The lonely road will take me to Lake Tahoe and then to California, where I will see my cousin and his wife before I head to Santa Cruz and stick my feet in the frigid Pacific water.

I haven’t yet told Toby the Puppy of my plans. I’ll wait to spring it on him. He’ll be glad to hit the road with me.


Writing becomes addiction

Discoveries of oneself come at the most astonishing moments. In my case, my latest discovery comes at a time of intense personal grief.

I have learned that writing this blog is therapeutic. It is cathartic. It gives me comfort.

My beloved bride passed away on Feb. 3. Writing about the event and the journey on which I have embarked since then has filled me with an intense desire to keep writing on this blog, which I created so many years ago. It is full of archived text and pictures. I look back on much I have posted and am, frankly, amazed at the volume of material I have launched into cyberspace.

My chronicles about political matters and public policy remain the focus of this blog. I intend to keep firing away at those who deserve a brickbat or three from me. I also intend to offer bouquets to those who deserve a good word — or three — again, from me. High Plains Blogger isn’t limited to just those matters. I also want to offer “slice of life” observations, which I have done since the blog’s beginning.

I will beg the indulgence of those who read this stuff, as I will continue to write about my journey through grief.  Why do so? Because I know in the depths of my soul that many others have traveled along this path before me. They can relate to the pain I am enduring. I want them to know I salute their courage as they have found their way out of the darkness.

Therefore, I can think of no better venue — at least for me — than to put words into my laptop and send it your way. It’s good for me to write them and I hope it is good for those who read them.


Love is overpowering

I feel a compelling need at this moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who have reached out to my bride and me in this most challenging time in our life.

My goodness, the outreach has come from many quarters, some of them I didn’t expect. Just today, a neighbor approached my son and me as we were walking toward our home in Princeton. She asked, “Where is your wife? I have missed seeing her.” I told her what you already know, that she is in the hospital recovering from a setback she suffered the other morning when she was stricken by a seizure.

My neighbor started crying while offering her prayers.

We continue to look forward to her beginning her treatment for cancer, which will come when the top-notch medical staff at Medical City/McKinney gets her seizures “under control.”

The love my family and I are feeling has been overpowering and, of course, so very welcome. It is coming from former colleagues of mine and of my wife, people I know only through some vague social media connection, from actual friends of both my bride and me and from total strangers.

This outreach helps buttress my belief in the general goodness of humanity.

As for those who have reached out and who have extended their hope for a positive outcome — which my family and I embrace — I hope they see this brief blog post and know my thanks to them comes from my overflowing heart.

My gratitude extends far beyond any measure.


Lessons keep piling up

One of the many lessons I am learning as I cope with my life being turned upside down, inside out and shredded into a million little pieces is that my emotions can run across a gigantic field.

I am alternately frightened, heartened, saddened and joyful. Sometimes those emotions come all come at once.

My wife’s fight against cancer is just beginning. She is tough and resolute. We are hopeful for a positive outcome, and we have ample reason to expect one. Her radiation and chemo treatments begin soon after she leaves the hospital where she has stayed since Dec. 26. Her discharge date is just about at hand.

She is receiving expressions of love and support from far and wide, from people we know and love, from casual acquaintances, even from people she’s never met. That love strengthens me beyond all measure.

And I’ll be candid about one more point. I had said on this blog that I would take a break from commenting on political matters as we commence this fight. I am withdrawing that pledge. Why? Because I feel strong enough emotionally to dish out some criticism and yes, offer some praise when it’s warranted.

The love that is coming our way is delivering that strength.

For that, as well as for the love that is pouring in, I thank you.


‘More to life than … politics’

Mitt Romney wasn’t speaking to me in real time when he told a black-tie crowd in 2012 that “There’s more to life than … politics.”

The Republican presidential nominee was speaking of his relationship with his opponent in that year’s election, President Barack H. Obama and how their differences in policy didn’t create undue personal animosity.

Well, Romney’s words are speaking loudly and clearly to me now. My wife in the midst of a struggle against a potentially serious illness. Her challenge has become my challenge, too, along with our immediate family. Indeed, this time in our life will test all of us.

However, I am going to take a page from my bride’s playbook, as she is the most resolute person I ever have encountered.

What is the nature of this illness? She underwent surgery this week to remove a growth in her brain. The surgeon submitted samples of the tissue to a pathologist to enable him to “know what to call it.” We are waiting to learn the results.

Her fight consumes us fully. Thus, I have decided to take a break from the normal contents of this blog, which often includes political commentary that contains its customary ration of criticism of pols and their policies.

Why is that? Because I, too, have learned the vivid truth of what Mitt Romney said more than a decade ago.

There truly is “more to life than politics.”


Personal matters take over

I feel a compelling need to report to you that I am taking a break from my usual rants about this or that in the world of politics.

We all experience things in life that put all of that nonsense into its proper place, which for me at this moment is the trash bin. I plan to fetch it all from there eventually.

Just not today.

My bride and I are dealing with a serious medical matter that requires both of us — as well as our immediately family — to be strong. She’s already the toughest person I know. She is the one with the challenge right now.

I will be standing with her.

I plan to provide some details when I receive them. I do not plan to get too specific. Some things need not be shared.

I am likely to dig out a few archived blog posts to share with you. I also will speak about our journey as it unfolds through this challenging time.

As of this moment, your blogger is taking some time away from the hustle and bustle of political crises to concentrate on much more important matters closer to my heart.

No one is closer to me than the love of my life.


Enjoying the after life

No, I am not dead. Not by the longest shot imaginable. I am delighted to report that there once was a time — long ago — that I wondered whether I would enjoy my life once I quit working full time.

I am even more delighted to tell you that the answer is yes. Not just yes, but hell yes. I am enjoying myself more than I could have imagined when I was full of piss and vinegar.

Time has this way of tempering one’s passions. It tempered mine, to a degree, particularly the passion I had every day as I prepared to go to work as a newspaper journalist. It did temper my passion, though, for commenting on issues of the day. I remain dedicated to that proposition more than ever … or so it seems. The difference now is that my commentaries are solely my own and I do not answer to an editor of a publisher.

That is not to say that I am free of restraints. Good taste and societal norms do keep me reined in a bit … but it’s only just a bit.

I remain delighted and full of energy to keep writing this blog and keep my head in the game.

One of the things I learned a decade ago when my career ended that there surely is a post-journalism after life. I am living proof that it exists. Unlike the big after life, I am still around to tell you about it.

I just wanted to share the good news with you.