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(Click the pic for a larger view)

I can’t think of a better share to give on this beautiful Saturday. You will love watching this short, documentary.

It’s true, today’s temps may make a record for this day of the year here in Gainesville, Florida, but the clouds are white, the sky a deep blue and the breeze is swaying the flowers.


The butterflies are loving the orange blossoms and our flock of Gold Finch arrived last Saturday all the way from South America on their way up to Canada ( and Upper State New York/ Lake Bonaparte region) where they’ll summer. I love seeing them and setting out endless Nyjar for them to eat while here for 3 to 4ish weeks of the year. We have about 40 Gold Finch here so far but more will arrive.

It was fun to set out gift(s) from our in-laws and daughter who live in Okinawa, Japan. The glass work in Okinawa is world famous and the Japanese treat’s on the beautiful plate were yummy—my work mates all agreed. I couldn’t help but add our garden’s butternut and pineapple to the mix!


It seems an endless life and we get to be a part; the more we interact, the more life gives back—it’s a good deal all around.

And, best of all! We’ve a new kid in town; A girl who now has five brothers to bedazzle and bewilder. Of course, us guys are taking this very on the down low! Ha!

We hardly noticed her:-)

Well, my wife is busy in the kitchen making butternut soup so I should make my way out to plant more in our garden, to listen to the birds sing and the bees hum. And, sure, I’ll throw the ball for Shadow. Our neighbor’s chickens, Lucy and Felicia, will cluck around my feet always anxious to help me dig up the garden soil (and some of my newly planted seeds and plants).

A volunteer papaya tree is lovin’ the garden, too. (I’m thinking it’s over 25 feet high)

It’s all good. Right now, for us, Life is full of lemonade with time to spare and smiles to give and receive.

I hope you are well and happy—

Smiles from us to you!




Fun stuff…the advent of satellite infrared imaging is changing our understanding of our world’s history….there’s more to come…..

I’ve been enjoying reading about new discoveries brought to us by Satellite infrared imagining and there’s so much.  Huge rivers once ran through India to the Indian Ocean and now they’ve discovered huge cities once existed at this point! I’m thinking our timeline on Man’s history will soon be rapidly changing. Of course, our knowledge of our past has always been changing but, ‘We ‘ain’t seen nothin’ yet!’

In sixth grade I looked at a world map and told my teacher, Mr. Handly, that the continents looked like a puzzle that once fit together.. .the year was 1959. Mr. Handly looked over my shoulder and said, “No, they never were together…” Many years ago I visited the Grand Canyon and a Park Range came to my side as I looked over the vista before us… “You know,” I said, ” I think a huge down bust of water north of here at a higher elevation must have happened for perhaps even a thousand years and drained right thru here to lower elevations that are now our oceans…” The ranger smile said… “I never really thought about it.”

Anyway, there’s a lot to think about, to discover, about the future, present and our past. It’s all exciting….

I came across this mans YouTube  overview of the Sahara Dessert and thought it fun to think about….


The world’s largest non-polar desert, is actually the widespread burial grounds of countless, mysteriously unknown, ancient ruins & civilizations, that have …
Have fun and keep exploring!

(A Morgan-Franquemont reunion about 1951) Click the pic for a larger view.

Maybe I thought my sister might drop me—why else would I be crying?—pretty sure that’s my best diaper.

Remember being young for just a minute. There’s no hassle waiting to destroy the next minute, no bus, train, plane to catch or deadline to meet. No, you’re just young. Your skin is soft without a blemish and your hair shines like  grass after a brief rain.  You’ve learned to comb your hair but your not exactly sure why you do it. There’s no need to worry and everything feels right once your parents are home; the fire place sets itself and your dog is always fed. T.V. goes on past bedtime but you’ve seen everything you wanted to see and the day has come and gone like any other. Dreams come and go like the wind without cause or problem or forecast direction.

Everything just is. Do you remember now? Shoes or belts seemed useless unless you were playing dress-up.

(Our Son-in-Law running after his son.)

The world is an empty beach to run with dad close behind.

The sky is endless and full of mysterious clouds to watch as they drift by.

(My cousin’s son, Ross Franquemont, takes a selfie as he flies by the Northern lights in his U-2 plane.)

Remember the first time you stared at the clear night sky and realized there were more and more stars to see up above as your eyes adjusted to the blackness. Remember the morning dew on your bare feet. This is about the time you discovered ,’brain-freeze.’

There was so much to take in and share with your cousins and friends.

A la speed-o suit; that’s me.(Morgan dock at Lake Bonaparte-about 1956) ( AND… the person who edits this glob weekly* asked a good question: why am I the only one wearing a bathing suit? The dock is clearly wet?!?! Hmmmm)

Days come as easily as picking up a pencil. The scribbling on the paper wears a smile and it seems your masterpiece is, in fact, a heroic depiction of something meaningful to older folks—it’s some miraculous sketch of objects you’ve yet to see or a panorama of places everyone hopes to go. It’s good to be loved. Daylight loves you; nighttime is a blanket. The rain sounds loud upon the window pane and snow dances in street lights with winds that come from the moon you can’t see.  The pets always sleep on your bed.

Everyday is safe. Every night is cozy. You get along with other  kids, even with those who seem so different!

Being young harbors within it a certain kind of peaceful hope.

(View of Lake Bonaparte from our ‘half-way’ dock.)

Without notice, you assume the older folks will always be here.

Life seems a garden of acceptance.

You can wear any hat you want when you’re young!

(And on Youth Services hat day because we could.)

Routines begin to form. If it rains, you stay inside. If it is sunny you go out. Parents rush off in the morning and come back later after your nap but you’re never really alone, not that you’ve noticed or ever thought about. Tooth brushing is a daily important thing, not the best, but you watch as globs of toothpaste slide out of your mouth onto your cheeks around your out-stretched smile in the mirror and it tastes sweet. Tooth paste types change from being white, then striped, sometimes dotted or with a hidden line of stuff surrounded by white. You just do it.

You think broccoli may kill you but not if you eat just a bit. Vegetables are stupid but they’re the gateway to dessert.

I once thought food first filled my feet, legs, then my middle section, then my arms and finally my head: that’s when I was full. I made sure to save room in my head for dessert.  People talked over dinner but mostly we all came to eat. Someone would say something funny and we’d laugh but always, without fail, my dog’s head was near my lap, soft, warm, nudging my legs occasionally for that bit of something I didn’t care to eat or wanted to slip him anyway.

I hadn’t a care when I was young. Music filled the air and dancing had no steps, just movement.

Of course, I learned later in life that my life was not a universal experience. No, while I was in college there were children in Vietnam who awoke in the night to run out of their homes in fear Napalm bombs would hit their homes and burn them alive as it had some of their friends the night before. And other children weren’t lucky enough to live at all but died without ever knowing what a refrigerator was. Somehow, learning the truthful horror about some life on earth during my twenties put much of my childhood experience in a time-capsule that I cemented in a corner stone of myself.  My memories were too good sometimes to be shown in the face of another’s reality.

I’d been given so much and never knew. I’d been raised in the midst of modest but successful homes full of choices, flavors, designs, music,  friends and surrounded by mowed yards and shoveled driveways all owned by smiling people.

If you’re life was like mine, it’s okay. It’s okay that we may have been born some of the luckiest people on earth. Thing is, now it’s our time to give thanks. Now, if we haven’t already, it’s time for us to payback life anyway we can.  We have to fight for what we believe is best for this earth and give thanks to those who died for our right to do so. If we have something to teach, we have to do it. I think Thanksgiving has never seen a generation who has more to be thankful for than mine. Now, more than ever before, it’s time for my generation to stand up and speak about what we feel is right.

My generation owes the World a difference.

We can do this. It’s time to be young again, strong, wide-eyed, questioning and full of spirit. Spirits don’t age like our bodies, not really. Look in that mirror as you did as a child and see your face, see your smile and remember who you really are. You’re one who can make a difference.

We all can get along; we have to get along and help each other prosper—this is our task and purpose.

Franque23—Happy Thanksgiving.

*Barbara Mullenix gets all the credit for anything spelled correctly in these globs and none of the blame for all the rest….





Recently, someone asked me what I like to cook. I’ve always enjoyed cooking , and I’ve done much of our family cooking for over 35 years…I can’t say I’m much of a shopping type planner of a cook, but rather I use what we have or what has to be used at the moment when I cook. Perhaps, my biggest cooking feat was grilling about 28 streaks ordered rare to well up at the Lake house on two separate grills and delivering them as ordered at about the same time. To me, cooking is as much art as it is a sport. Cheers and beers… (but not too many beers or you’ll burn those steaks!)


Now, about chicken…( and I have to note here, that IF you are going to slice chicken breasts in half,, do it when they are slightly defrosted -enough to cut but not so defrosted they are difficult to handle.)


#1) Chicken Rolls.

Slice chicken breasts in half, length-wise and hammer flat to thin…Layer on the chicken in separate by not too thin amounts, cheese, (your choice), a Montreal seasoning of choice, while also adding basil( and an orange mint if you have it ) and diced, drained tomatoes usually with basil and garlic. Carefully roll up the chicken breast-it will try to break apart in places etc. -but just finger close the breaks and keep rolling. Use toothpicks to hold the roll in shape…jam turkey type stuffing cubes into both ends of the roll …baste the roll with olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of your favorite herbs. I top this all with cross striping lines of paprika for a nice visual. Put the rolls in the oven for about 40 minutes at 325 or so… hmmm… (Hint: You can add anything to the inside roll up mix you want.. .small pieces of spicy sausage works well…, small chunks of apple or some fruit but nothing that’s too wet.. .spinach -my favorite for the color contrast alone- works as long as you drain it well before adding…) Of course, variations include topping cooked rolls with any kind of heated sauce you like. I suggest a white wine Alfredo sauce with a heavy application of basil and pinches of turmeric and ginger. You have a white dish here so serve cooked and cooled sliced, red beets on the side with a small amount of green leaf underneath. Sprinkle the side dish with Italian dressing or choice….


#2) Thin, Spicy chicken.

I often slice chicken breasts in half, length-wise…then hammer them down until thin. I slice those thin fillets again into small pieces, add olive oil to pan-heat-then drop those thin pieces into hot pan oil, flip chicken almost immediately once the corners whiten and then remove (a slight amount of oil and water will rise through meat when done-be sure to not over or under cook the chicken)….I dab off the oil to dry chicken when done and lightly sprinkle with seasoning of choice…The thin pieces work great cold in salads and sandwiches or hot as a main meat dish. Have a wok? Toss the thin pieces in that…..


#3) Orange Glazed Chicken.

At home, we have lots of orange pulp from making OJ from our orange tree fruits, but you could buy cans of mandarin and mash those very well and strain…Place that in sauce pan with honey and water and reduce to a heavier smooth consistency. (If you like it,’zingy,’ add pepper and/or ginger. Like it different, add a heavy app. of dill and orange seed.) .. On the side while the reduction is working, thinly slice and dice, ( about one inch long) strips of peeled apple sprinkled heavily with cinnamon/sugar mix. Add the apples to the hot orange sauce and remove from heat…. this slightly softens the apples but keeps them from becoming mushy. Be sure to keep the apple slices a bit crunchy in the honey-orange sauce to put over any chicken. Season to taste; great on or mixed with rice, too.


#4) Garlic Chicken with Roasted Peppers

Use the chicken as prepared in recipe #2.

Slice a package of multicolored sweet peppers length-wise, swirl in olive oil and finely pressed already heated fresh garlic. Place the peppers in rows on tin foil. Bake at 350 for ten minutes, just enough to warm but not make the peppers soggy. Remove heated but firm strips of peppers from oven and place the pieces in one circular row along the top edge of a bowl. Place heated chicken in the center of the bowl and top with remaining olive oil and garlic drippings from the tin foil. Combine black sliced olives with crumbled blue cheese and sprinkle the mixture over the chicken. This dish works chilled or hot as a tasty, colorful, appetizer. The key is to keep the peppers cooked, but not too soft.


#5) Chicken Parmesan.

Hammer thinly sliced chicken breast, dip the breasts in whipped eggs, then pepper and salt before rolling in flour mixed heavily with crushed herb stuffing and grated Parmesan cheese. . Place in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes until top is crunchy brown and flip pieces and return to oven for about another 10 minutes. The key here is to broil each side of these pieces for about one minute to make sure the crust is crunchy before you top with sauce and layer of mozzarella cheese. Place back in oven and broil for a quick 3 minutes careful not to burn the cheese. Please have extra sauce available to use when served…


#6) Dicey Chicken Curry

I like to use Golden’s Curry (comes like a candy bar) but the type of curry and mild, medium or hot is up to you. Thin chicken by slicing in half and pounding well with mallet. Cut chicken in small squares and set aside. Simmer curry pieces until smooth and warm in pan, adding water until you reach the consistency you like-keep warm.  In a separate pan, place diced onion squares with craisins or you could go nutty here with thin almonds, crushed peanuts-etc…(pre-soften nuts well in warm water and drain.) Quickly heat the onions, craisin and/or nuts in hot olive oil stirring as you do. The key here is to warm the onion and the craisins and/or nuts until cooked but not too soft— dump this into warming curry when done. Toss chicken in separate pan of hot olive oil until cooked soft and add to curry mixture. Pick your pasta to smother…Sesame seed looks great sprinkled over the dish; parsley or a green leaf and fresh tomato to garnish the side.  (Hint: add a tad of red cooking wine to the curry sauce.)


#7) Pineapple, Orange Chicken.

Here, I prefer to cook my chicken breasts as they come, fairly thick, in olive oil, white wine and spices ( I’d use pepper, pink Mediterranean sea salt, sage and thyme) in a large stove top pan so I can make sure they don’t over cook. In another pan, combine sunflower seeds, basil, canned crushed pineapple with a few small chunks and mandarin oranges cut in half and cook in white wine over low hear. Add a light application of paprika, salt, pepper, orange peel and a dab of ginger to zing to taste. Stir and heat until the mixture is semi-thick. Spoon sauce over chicken breasts with a clump of chilled, diced, basil garlic tomatoes on the side along with a toasted roll of choice. Make your roll crunchy on top by splitting in half and broiling for about one minute before serving. Extra special roll? Slice ‘Old Crock’ Australian cheese very thin and place on top of hot roll so it melts. Three pieces of dark, green celery cut short and full of cream cheese look great next to this meal.


#8) Chicken with a hole.

This is a simple variation for breakfast your sleep-over victims will never suspect is coming.  Egg-in-the-hole is famous. Here, you simply replace the toast in that dish with a THIN, good-sized piece of chicken breast. (Thin because this is breakfast, and the chicken should not over ride the egg) Cook bacon medium and remove from pan leaving some of the grease in the pan. Add a can of diced tomatoes (any flavor) mixed with thinly sliced black olives to the bacon greased pan and slowly heat evenly. Cut a hole in the center of the chicken breast and place it in hot olive oil in another pan; once flipped, crack and egg into the hole in the chicken breast—be sure to time this dish so the egg is cooked to preference at the same time the chicken piece is ready to remove from pan. You can flip the chicken breast to cook both sides of the egg if so desired. I leave mine sunny-side-up for the visual effect. Place the chicken with egg in middle of the plate, place two spoonfuls of warm tomatoes and olives on top of the upper right side of the chicken breast and crumble warm bacon pieces onto the lower left side. Fruit goes well with any breakfast, so I’d serve a small amount of well-shaped, (Not mushy), warmed, cinnamon apple slices on the side.  If you want bread, make the rolls described in meal, # 7.

If you like coffee… you can’t go wrong with  WestRock Coffee Company..( google it.) I recommend the ,’Rich and Robust,’  RWANDA select reserve selection as offered.

And yes, I took pictures of all these dishes, but I’ve no idea which one of two camera’s I used and both batteries are well past dead… figures. Maybe, the lack of pictures will fire-up your imagination! Just remember to contrast your colors and textures when you cook. Chicken is white, so use lots or reds, and blacks or greens. Use any herbs you like.  I left many out since I hate it when a cook book delivers up a zillion herbs I don’t have to use…

Use what you have; now, we’re dancin’!








(Click on the pic for a better view.)

Neither of me is crazy–just pointing to the obvious.

Thing is, I love to do yard work. I hated to do it, maybe, when Dad asked me to but that work struck a nerve in me and it’s never stopped tingling.

It’s the little things that get me. Like today, seeing a random bird food seed spring up six feet tall with sunflowers next to the invasive Lantana all backed by a red crape myrtle now coming to bloom just spins my wheels.

The blue plumbago never fails to excite and it’s a good choice for Florida gardeners who don’t want to do much care for their planting… even a black thumb can grow this plant but don’t bring the cuttings inside unless you feel like picking up a zillion blooms off your floor.

I went to a movie with a date but ate it before the flick started…

Okay, I’m in love with a shrimp plant. I know, I know. How could this happen? Me, your normal run-of-the-looney-bin-guy and the next thing you know, I love a shrimp plant. This one’s tied up so it doesn’t sprawl into our front door walkway…thing is, this plant attracts all kinds of humming birds-so yeah, gotta love it. I missed the shot of one bird today-sorry.

Why do fries come in three sizes if size doesn’t matter?

Squash flowers have the nicest way of saying hello in the morning…I’m going to follow their lead and practice this on the next  few victims, err, people I meet.

Curb appeal could be spruced up a bit…it’s time to trim those box woods plants. As it turned today, I spent 6 hours trimming other plants and clearing fence lines. The box woods have to wait.

I’m not sure you can see this, but those are 8 foot high 1 by 2’s the tomatoes are towering over….

Nestled around the garden are the first few  butternut squash I’ve ever grown…Can you find it?

I’m thinking Monica milked the Clinton story for all it’s worth.

Moving on, I bought an Elantra this year and so far I’m extremely happy with this car…three drive gears give power, economy or normal driving options; the sun roof is a blast and the ride super smooth. Mileage so far is 31 MPG at an average speed of 26 MPH around town…but more, our Mulberry tree formed a beautiful arch for me to park under this year.

okay, Shadow, we’ll go out back….

The  green algae took my wallet for a ride this year with all this rain, but things are settling down after many hours of work almost daily..

A resistance sign to trickle down economics: Don’t Pee on Me

I saved over 40 two-year old pineapples from the cold this past winter and wondered what would happen… Well this happened… I’ve bunches of hand size pineapples….:-(

If I have three cookies and eat four of them-how many are left? (New math…)

Dale put some Peace plants on the back porch…very comforting to see and to be around.

Well, Shadow, that’s about it. Time to head back in and check out the bird feeder for squirrels!


You’d think in a male dominated society the saying would be, “He’s got Breast’s in the air,” not, “Balls in the air.”

I built this porch last summer…it was a bear of a job…the new plastic woods need joists every 12 inches or so….but I do love the work, the math, the shopping, the cutting, screwing, cursing…it’s all good. It took me about six weeks every morning from 6 am to 11 am before going to work to ‘get her done’….

Thanks for stopping by…

till next time.




Check this out to understand…

Ross didn’t start out this way, a hero now on international news. No, he started as a baby, then grew to be kind of lunatic 4-year-old who insisted on going to airports to watch planes land and take off. Basically, the kid was sick. Closets were recommended; no food for a week came up when that snot nosed kid wouldn’t leave  his dad my Cousin, Jed Franquemont, alone. “Take me to the airport ,dad!”

There were long discussions about the kids fascination for flight. If you can believe it, this little guy wished to be a pilot before most kids figure out how to dress themselves.

Nuts, it’s called. All of a sudden, this kid is taking pictures from a U-2 Plane?!?!?!

Anyway,  Ross probably survived thru the Grace of God, what do I know, he was just some punk of a kid running around making plane noises during family reunions up at Lake Bonaparte as I remember. I’ve got a feeling we launched him off the dock up at the lake more than once to see if he could really fly. Nope: the kid was a flat liner.

Hey flat earth people….it’s possible the Earth isn’t flat after all!

Then, one day I get a call from my cousin Jed who tells me the kid we worried about since the day he was born is a pilot in the Air Force.  Ha!whahahaha. So I cashed in all my bonds, whatever, figuring we were about to lose a war somewhere soon. That didn’t happen and we all started to wonder?

Next I knew this kid who wanted to fly before he could zip his own was flying Generals around Europe!?!?! I figured this had to be some sort of pedal push flight machine we never used as kids. Then I learned the truth.

How was Ross making all this look so real? Sell, Sell. Sell I said to Wall Street!

I need to go back a bit and mention that this kid was never known to drink much*, but , as it came out later, his friends in europe, and the entourage of followers who drafted his wings were huge, bigly drinkers. The result quickly became a shortage of name brand beers coming out of Europe . This forced those brewers and others to develop many off-shoot beers and labels to try to circumvent the slaughter of the known labels his followers were causing…Now, it’s all history. The world has One zillion labels of beer on the shelves, and all of this is due to Ross Franquemont and his followers.

Next, kinda like a meteorite landing on your head, this single ,”I wanna be a pilot, Dad,” nuisance of a son became a U-2 pilot.  What?!?!? I said, “Sell everything and buy land in Russia.”

Rain drops keep fallin’ on my head….Nay, don’t think so.

Now before the women of the world start hoping to join the 70 thousand mile high  club with Ross they need to know that this is Jessica Franquemont, Ross’ wife. Thing is she’s beautiful, smart, articulate, kind and deadly. So kind , in fact, that she says anyone can have Ross as long as they’re six feet under and well decomposed.  Momma bear raises her three little ones with a tight fist and eagle eye! Just forget it: code to live by.

I’m certain Jessica has a good aim…

Yep, this is Ross Franquemont with his wife.. 

A great guy, true husband and father of three…he makes all of us proud. “Sorry dear, I’ll be 70 thousand miles high in the air tonight so don’t hold dinner.”

Ross Franquemont: a true Hero.

NO, Ross didn’t sink a forty-foot jumper to win the NCAA basketball championship; he didn’t heave a hail Mary pass to win the football championship. All Ross has done for the past 18 years and counting is help keep America and the World safe.

When I look up, “Hero,” in the dictionary, Ross Franquemont is in the definition.




Ross- it was that Franque23 guy who wrote all of this, not me.. Cheers, Unc.




Can you imagine? You’re a bird-really.

In my youngest days I ran from the house because feet weren’t meant to walk. The wind breezed each ear with a rush of air that rustled my hair and forced a smile. Time wasted on the way to point Z from point A while every space between called for due notice. I felt I could fly.

Are we able to fly?

Or maybe just able to unzip a fly?

Society has so many distractions for adults, but not so much for the young.

Children have interests, things to learn, explore and discover. Curiosity is not a distraction but a way of life.

I ran outside whenever I could as a child.

Was that my shadow by my side? Did a car horn blow from far off? Was the grass still wet from the morning dew or had it rained last night making the dream real? There’s a bell, but not the ice cream man—that would be afternoon—and there’s a plane flying high over head that needs a wave hello. The flowers smell smooth and soft; the sun is a blanket the size of the world.

I only remember those locked away memories when it all seems to fit. Today, it fit.

Today was a morning like most others, the sun up before me and Shadow, our dog, bouncing around my feet as though it’d been years since we last spoke. It’s spring, but the grass has yet to learn and oak pollen and flowers cover the driveways, cars, litters the pool water and bird baths.  The living room bay window calls with a glancing beam of morning light my eyes had not expected.

That’s when I saw exactly my hope. The Goldfinch had returned! At first, only ten females with one male fluttered my eyes with joy. Then, there were 24 or more finch winging this way or that, splashing in the bird bath or hanging from the thistle socks and munching on the sunflower seed feeder.

I wait every year for their return and some years we’ve had more than sixty at a time dart through our front yard. They’re a ,’peeping,’ lot and those chattering calls easily pierce through our window to tickle my ears.  Their calls rake the yard outside invading any thought with a sense of home and peace. It’s a special, short period of time to share with this bird as they migrate North to South and then back. And I’ve often wondered if the Goldfinch I see up at Lake Bonaparte, New York, during the summer months could be some of the same Goldfinch I see in Gainesville as they migrate. People would call this fantastical thinking and I agree, but I still wonder-certainly, stranger things have happened.

And other birds show up….  

Who wouldn’t want to see this painted Bunting bird, but we haven’t- not yet.

American Goldfinch and House Finch on Thistle -these are our visitors…

 And we’ve had the Blue Bunting….wonderful to see.. The Male Goldfinch is a wonder as well.

The Tufted Titmouse is about the strangest named bird I can think of…

But then  what to my wondering eyes should appear this year?Ha!

This year for the first time ever, a Downy Woodpecker is visiting our sunflower feeder…that’s fun.

Of course, the ongoing family of Cardinals our feedings have help raise are ever present as are the chick-a-dees, sparrows and nut hatch.

I do wonder how birds see us. Certainly, they know—understand—we feed them. “Hey, the bald guy’s got thistle sacks, sunflower seeds and a bath again! Let’s roll on down…” Or, how do they communicate; I’m not sure. How do they know to come here each year? It bends my mind.

Can you, just for a minute, think about flying from Northern New York State to Florida or further year after year? And what do you see? Homes, rivers, oceans, lakes, prairies, houses, cars, roads and huge cities!!!….These birds, and others like them are real-time super beings….

Just imagine if we could fly?

Some say we do, but only after we die. Some say we fly as a spirit to an endless world of light and understanding. I wonder. Don’t you? What if deep inside we are so much like the birds who sings to us each day. What if the birds in our lives are singing to remind us that our flight is coming, and we will fly? What if the birds make perfect sense to our lives?

What a trip that might be if we really did fly? What would our song be?

Franque23 See ya 

(Of course, click on the pic for a larger view.)

I’d be cutting zzz’s right now instead of writing this glob if hair-head Shadow paws hadn’t decided my two-hour nap as planned was too long. But no, one hour pushed hocker I’ve-been-eating-grass face over the edge and illegally onto my bed. This found me clutching three pillows to my face as four paws  clomped all over my body. This criminal activity happens every morning and once my eyes open I see this:

Ol’ tail-cut-like-a-knife butt-head doing the two socks are stuffed in my face shuffle.

Morning, afternoon, evening, heck anytime at all finds Shadow with one sock in his face( only my socks are allowed-he knows.) He holds it there to protect us from his happy snapping jaws. But two socks in those jaws means we’re about to have extra fun throwing the ball or, as in the case of the picture above, that he’s been secretly foraging for treats in the laundry room….

This is Shadow under his mother—he’s that little black smidgen of a puppy on the right. Surprise! He’s eating!!(Shadow as pup, some weeks after this shot, was found inside the dog food bag.)

Shadow’s an all around I’m-here-for-you-pet-me great dog; he knows all the rules by heart and only breaks them as necessary: “there’s a squirrel on the feeder so I gotta bark and stretch way up high on the window,” is one of Shadow’s favorite moments of freedom from the rules.

Shadow is watching his “TV”…and for a ‘hint’ of a squirrel.

Of course, there’s more. That neighbor in our doorway has no idea how many times we’ve said, “No jumping…” because Shadow is not technically jumping with his paws on the new victim, but only springing up three feet high in every direction as if he were on a Pogo stick.

“I wasn’t really jumping.”

“Consider that I can fly before passing judgement.”


It’s amazing that Shadow never begs, not technically. He has unearthly powers of knowing when we have finished eating and it’s time to come over to us; that’s nice. No, Shadow does remain away from us while we eat but for one glitch in his near perfect manners. We about need to mop the floor after we eat anything Shadow loves-“I’ll stay in place with my jaws droolin’ like a turned on faucet as you eat; no problem.”


Dogs live in a contagious zone of happiness unless they are abused, sick or hurt. To be clear, dog abusers-whether they can play football of not- should be hung-up to dry for several weeks while random passer’s by get to whop the criminals with sticks. The only question is how long?

  “About twelve years.”

When you get down to it, dogs know right from wrong better than most people.

Toby toes knew not to open a present until he got the green light.

Sometimes dogs just can’t help themselves when it comes to smelly garbage cans, open refrigerators, a left cookie, a neat stuffed pillow to rip apart or other tantalizing components to life. Dogs will even try to steer their companion dog away from trouble, but often to no avail.



Right from the get-go they know right from wrong.

“Well, that might have been a bad idea…..”

“Okay, it was a bad idea….”

But who can say…


If shadow does make a mistake, chasing a squirrel that looks like our mailman’s truck,  he might try to ‘offset’ his slippin’ paws with humor…

and see if he can’t dig himself out…

Relentless Digging….puppy’s new American Native name.

In the end, it’s all about a dog’s tail.

You’re about to feed me, right?

The tail wagging give-away speaks volumes to those who care to listen. Seize  the day! It’s time to play! Thank goodness you’re up; it’s time to pee! How can you sit there on a day like this? These are the question that face dog owners everyday, question too hard to brush aside. If you try to ignore a dog’s truth then the ears get involved, the cocked head turns as an exclamation point and the, “I’ll sit and shake,” comes into play.

Dog is God spelled backward but in essence they are both about goodness. Go snuggle that here’s-my-tummy-to-rub  doggie face of yours…These are the great times.

A dog is Man’s best friend, and maybe teacher, too.



See ya…



Here’s a link to the story I tried to post this wkend. Thing is, this is as amazing as it is odd, different, astounding, maybe, astronomical.

I enjoyed the read. There is something about the Robin Hood survival motif that thrills the soul. I often favor the underdog in sports, and I guess people who for whatever reason move away from conventional ways of living rate as under dogs. Or, are they the smart ones?



But, to get the whole story you also have to read this link second…

I hope you enjoy the read, too.

Franque23 has gone fishin’








He spun his own yarn and could tell a good one, too…

Chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms are diseases in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, platelets, or certain white blood cells. Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells.

This was the bugger that ended Ed’s life.

We hoped for a break-through in stem cell research for about five years (it seems it may have been longer) but there was ongoing debate about whether stem cell research should be done at the time.

Buz achieved merit badges by the bunches-and never stopped pickin’ up honors and medals during his life.

Ed-who we called Buz- was third in the Nationals while wrestling as Captain of the Harvard team.

He was my captain as well. He gave me strength, courage, and cut a swath via his Mineola High School achievements wide enough for me to draft through.

No one ever had a better big brother—positive.

The song, The circle Game, runs through my head as I write this, and the fact that Buz never got to play out an old age end game. I’d loved to have seen that.

This is dad holding Ed….My mom always said Ed’s lips ran all over his face as a new born—

This is an impossibly great shot of his wife, Chris Franquemont, holding a picture and Ed’s hat while they were in Peru…that went on for 10ish or so years.

Ed and Chris loved Peru, primarily they worked in the area of Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, once capital of the Inca Empire. This is my recollection, and I believe they each spoke and understood the Quechuan language along with a few variant dialects.*

Thing is, I could go on writing about Ed’s accomplishments, a man mentioned in passing within the Smithsonian magazine but, really, a friend who knew him asked about Ed’s passing, and it occurred to me that others may want to know.

He lived via blood transfusion quite well for years after diagnosis hoping for a medical break through in stem cell research, and then for more years with discomfort and weakening condition. I spoke with him weekly-it was as though we were wrestling the same match, planning our strategy each month. The question was when to have the operation where 50% died on the table but a few lived well for about 5 to ten years after…..109-2

We had hope.

We decided to not take the gamble unless, until, it was absolutely necessary. That time came.


We had so many wonderful  sunup’s and sunsets. We wanted more.

Finally, a perfect transplant match for Ed was found near the region of Stuttgart, Germany.  Oddly, we have since learned that this is exactly the region where all the first Von Franquemont and Franquemont ancestry lived! It was soon to be Ed’s 57 birthday, and the day his operation was scheduled in the Chicago Mayo hospital. I went to see him the previous week, and the doc said Ed should go home for weekend to celebrate his birthday since he might die on the table during the upcoming operation.
 13769524_10157113592055487_2269551573294768511_n (1)
It all made sense.

We all hoped he’d make it.

Chris and Buz left the New Heaven Hospital that Friday and headed to their nearby home via car. Of course, Chris was driving.  A driver ran a stop sign and hit their car on Ed’s passenger side.


Mom, then almost ninety, took the news hard, we all did. It’s the only time I ever heard her question God.

Ed had no clotting abilities by the time of the accident. Once he returned to the hospital and was deemed not fit for a transplant due to  his serious condition after the accident, Ed elected not get any more transfusions. He called and gave me the news. I flew back up immediately, calling my job during an over lay in Atlanta to notify work I wouldn’t be showing up that day. It was an odd flight. We cleared the North shore of Long Island as we approached New Heaven and below was the north shore ocean beach cliffs Buz and I had spent many hours rolling, sliding and falling down as kids. To see them again wrench my gut and put my mind in a daze. I remember mumbling, “Wow; Wow; it’s them…” imgp6356-cropped-small

Next thing I knew a flight attendant was asking me if I was alright. I’d so many answers to give. “Yes. I’m alright.” It was easier to lie.


I couldn’t face the moment.

Buz had come to his last day. He was a great fan of my music, always encouraging me on— I sang one of his favorite songs the afternoon before he died … “There are places I’ll remember, some have gone and some have changed….” In my Life, by the Beatles…The Beatles – In my Life – YouTube

Somehow, I was lucky enough to spend his last night together with him, just the two of us, sleeping  in the same room as we had throughout our childhood days until he’d left for college.


Buz never let me down.

We spent hours talking about old memories of our childhood days, countless wiffle balls games,  pickin’ apples for dad in our backyard, scouts, our dog,  Socks, football contests with Bill and Pete Einhorn, and stink bomb disasters in our home’s basement. He told me his two biggest regrets were not having life insurance and not visiting our Lake Bonaparte camp more often.199-2
From our porch at Lake Bonaparte.

Ed gulped for air most of the  night. By four AM I told him I had to sleep, and when I awoke at 6ish he was unconscious. We never spoke again. I whispered in his ear to stay alive until we reached the funeral place. This was important as his death would be free if he was admitted alive–I don’t remember the whys of that, but he died one minute after entering building.


Buz came as a child and left a great man.

I got to hug Ed’s body in a private place before they took him for cremation. His muscles were sound, his face at rest. Tears, water droplets, came from the corners of both his eyes—they say this is a normal function of dying. Of course, I wailed; still do.


I thought Ed would be here now-

Buz had a libation service by the ocean behind the building where he’d died.  The day, one like so many, would never be like any other.  Breezy, cloudy, or was the sky clear and the sun bright, I’m the eye-witness who could not tell.  The man giving the service seemed to have a sense of how great Ed was. The water poured to the ground, never long enough, as the waves came to shore forever.


Time went so fast.(Ed’s on the lower left.)

That night I was alone in my hotel room and heard music playing over head.  The song, In My Life,  the one I’d sung for Ed the day before, and many more Beatles songs played for hours-piped right into my room! I thought it so odd for a hotel to do this! How could they know? The next morning while talking to relatives who stayed in the same hotel I heard there was no music—they all agreed.  I’d hallucinated the tunes, I guess, though forever I’ll believe Buz was there playing the music for me.


Buz had my back.

I loved Ed–a brother of brothers and adviser to so many.

Ed Franquemont, hosted the Nova special, Secrets of the Lost Empires: The Incas.  (found it here-you don’t have to subscribe; Ed comes on about 2 minutes in- ….

My heart is broken as so many others over the loss of this great man.

Now,  you know.
Paulette, thanks for asking.

*For much more on Ed Franquemont, what it was like to know him and of his accomplishments, see Abby Franquemont’s Face Book page.  She has some great writings on Ed and his wife, Chris. Thanks for those, Abby.

Some are gone or changed forever.(Ed; Sharon, our sister; Me.)

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April 2020