Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, October 11, 2019

Home again

One week after Barb's funeral I entered Olmsted community Hospital in Rochester Minnesota for a total knee replacement. That was followed by a three-week stay in Spring Valley Minnesota's nursing home for rehab. Now Lily and I are back home together for the long haul. I expect to be driving again in a week or so and fully functional within a month. Adapting to my new normal will no doubt take longer but it will be done though I only know this for sure, some doors will be close behind me and others will open. Time will tell. For certain I will continue my two blogs and reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
Ray A. K. A. Troutbirder

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The October horse

This is the final volume in the Masters of Rome series and covers the time from Caesar's search for Pompey in Egypt to the battle of Philippi, which marks the end of the “liberators” and the beginning of the final rise of Octavian to Augustus. It is a book as much about Octavian as it is about Caesar..

 The current volume recounts Julius Caesar's final years, focusing on his involvement with Cleopatra, and his final campaign in Spain. As Caesar's fame and power grows, so does the discontent of the Roman elite. Perhaps, if they had the benefit of reading McCullough's works, they could have seen how the pressure of the ever-expanding sphere of Roman influence, and the reforms instigated by Marius, required the focus of a single, brilliant man to steer its vision. However, to the powerful men of the capital city, who have watched the power of the Roman Senate erode from absolute, to merely advisory within a single lifetime, his ascendancy is percieved as a grave threat to their cherished way of life.

So this long time fan of Colleen McCullough grabbed this book as soon as he saw it on sale at Goodwill. I do love Roman history and read the entire series Masters of Rome. What a clinker for me. Maybe just because I’ve entered my golden years but the endless complexity of the genealogy and names previously mentioned in her series was just playing too much. The drama was exciting. The characterizations interesting. The confrontations seem true and on and on. But the fact is while I knew the plots and what it was all about I couldn’t keep track much of the time of who was talking and even sometimes about what. I started skipping parts which I never do and thought the book would never end. Sorry about that fans of this wonderful writer but he seemed tired and inattentive to making the story flow for me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Dear friends it is with great sadness that I inform you Barb left Cottagewood for her final reward last night September 10 at 2 AM. She appeared the last several to be calm days calm and composed. Tony was with me and Deanne appeared the next morning. Today the three of us met Jim hindt the funeral director and later father Mahreddy of St. Ignatius parish for Saturday’s mornings wake and eleven o’clock service.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Saying Goodbye

As those of you who are my long time blogging pals know Mrs. T. (Barb) is in Cottage wood memory care and now under Heartland Hospice authority a private business for Medicare.  She is safe, comfortable and quietly waiting to meet our son ted again who is with God. Our youngest son Tony who teaches High school science in Arizona, flew up to say goodbye to his mom several days ago.  We are now just waiting  sharing  reminescences, laughter and tears.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

A new book on Troutbirder II

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve had to give up many of my outdoor nature adventures due to a variety of minor but annoying disabilities including including benign essential tremors and vertigo. Thus, I’ve taken up some new hobbies such as learning to cook in the kitchen instead of the wilderness, attending two different churches on alternate Sundays, reconnecting with old friends and weeding my gardens the old-fashioned way by hand and coloring  books for adults. Speaking of books and cooking I recently purchased two cookbooks and for my a national once a month book club I’m reviewing one of the cookbooks. You can read the exciting details and even see a new flower in the process by clicking on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Actually this is not about the rock 'n roll musical back in the day. This is about Mrs. T's German Shepherd dog Lily. A. K. A as  a G. S. D. Barb always said that those latter initials actually stood far German shedding dog. Here's the proof from yesterday August 24's single day  combing done by myself. Case closed.
Okay all of my hunting dogs as well as Baron the huge German Shepherd were kenneled outside with an entrance to our unheated garage and a comfy doghouse. Lily rescue dog which she  is has lived indoors with outside privileges surrounded by an invisible fence around the whole property. One very lucky and sweet dog I'd say.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Residential school closes


A recent story in both the Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers caught my eye. The headline in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune stated end of an era for troubled boys. St. Paul’s century old boys totem town closes. I was there for two years while an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota. Basically as a volunteer supervisor/playground director every weekend. I got 2 college credits in the process as well as improving my resume to achieve my goal as a senior high history teacher.

Boys Totem Town  was a residential program for up to  adolescent boys age 14-18 who had been committed by the court to treatment for committing offenses and demonstrating risky behavioral concerns in the community. I learned a lot in my two years there and some of it stood well when it came to discipline issues in the my own career. I also think the reason for closing was well-founded. With better methods of dealing with delinquency have  less and less incarceration. Keeping families together, community support and so on as well as much less serious behavioral issues all were making a difference. At closing there were only two boys still in the facility.. That’s a good sign.

In a roundabout way the nostalgia that this newspaper item brought up reminded me of an interview I had with my principal in my first high school job in small town rural Minnesota. I would be teaching senior Social studies meaning my classes would be17 and 18 year olds. I was 22. In a fatherly manner to a young rookie teacher he noted my experience with delinquent boys that small town farm girls were not without their wiles. Be careful he noted and I did. What he didn't warn me about was a bunch of unmarried female colleagues. That included one who later boasted that following her girlfriends suggestion she admonished the superintendent to hire a single male to replace the departing senior social studies teacher. Or in her own words she had requisitioned me. I had no chance whatsoever. It was all for ordained.
Two retired teachers on their 50th anniversary

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Locked out

No, not the house, nor the car, nor the computer. It's my damn  E blog owned by Google who won't let may into my very own Troutbirder and Troutbirder II. And if you don't think the like of Google, Amazon and a few other corporate mega giants aren't about to take over the world you are sadly mistaken. I expect a bill for zillions of dollars to soon be extracted from my savings account. However, this is round two of this particular crisis within the past two years. With the help of a former student of mine and owner operator of Spring Valley Tech Solutions LLC I will be able to submit a book review to Troutbirder II on Caesar's immortal the Gallic wars which opened with the words Veni, Vidi, Vici.  I came, I saw, I conquered.