Retirement Is Close At Hand


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I’ve been absent of late and for a good reason.  Although the doctor stated during my last oncologist appointment that my medicine is not working, I’m still feeling pretty good so I’m taking advantage of it and getting some things done around the house.  With that being said, I had to increase the dosage by 100mg and it’s starting to take a toll on my breathing.  Not much mind you but just enough to where I know that eventually, I’ll have to have more fluid drained from around my lungs.

I’ve got 39 more days to work and boy am I ready.  It can’t come fast enough. I’m supposed to meet with HR on Tuesday to discuss my retirement and post-retirement insurance.  More about this later.

The last four years have really played havoc around my house.  I’ve been fortunate to have a wife who is willing to cut the grass around the house but the other duties have gone by the wayside. My deck on the back side of the house needed cleaning four years ago and now it’s, well, pathetic.  The deck was black with mold and some of the hand railings needed to be replaced.  For the last three weeks, I have spent the afternoons and weekends cleaning this deck.  I have finished with the inside now to do the outside and then paint or stain next.

I have found the time to do a little bit of photography in the last few months.  I’ve really taken a liking to lightning pictures.  I’ve spent hours waiting on a storm to come through just close enough away that it would make a good picture while staying far enough away that I won’t be a target for a lightning strike.  I’ve had a few storms to come through.

There was a Fourth of July celebration up the street and I was fortunate enough to take some pictures of some fireworks from my front yard.  I didn’t get all I wanted because at the same time I was trying to get my drone off the ground to video the event.  My phone kept locking up so I had to settle with just the pictures.

I am currently sick with a sinus infection.  I went to the doctor today.  The drainage is making me cough and my chest is hurting.  I had plans on washing my truck and cleaning the outside today but that didn’t happen.  Maybe I’ll feel like doing it tomorrow.

Until next time.


Boy Scout Changes



Here is the truth about the Boy Scout Changes. This is an email I received from our scout executive.  For pictures and the video attached, please click for images.

Scouting’s Family Program No Images? Click here
Video and images

To: Greater Alabama Council Unit Leaders, Chartered Organizations, and Parents.

From:  J.T.Dabbs, III, Scout Executive

Re: Family Scouting program

As you may know, the national board of the Boy Scouts of America decided last year to make available for those chartered organizations, who wanted to offer it, a family scouting option.

This option would include the following Cub Scout options beginning in June of this year:

· Packs could have girl dens and boy dens, but not coed dens.

· Packs could remain all boy and not serve girls.

· A new all-girl pack could be started.

Beginning in February of 2019 this option would also include an older girl program that models the Boy Scout program:

· A chartered organization that has an existing Boy Scout Troop could offer for girls in the community the same program in a separate troop for girls.  There is no option for girl patrols or boy patrols, only a Troop for boys and a Troop for girls.

· A linked leadership structure would be available, you would have separate Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters for each troop, but the Committee Chair, Chartered Organization Representative, and committee members would be shared.

It is important to understand that the Chartered Organization, the entity that holds the charter to your unit, (usually a church or community organization) makes the decision on which option to offer.  We suggest that unit leaders begin discussing now with your chartered organization what works best.

You will find in this special edition of the Digital Eagle links to all the documents and information related to the BSA Family Scouting program.  Also, the website has all of the current information and is updated with new information as soon as it is available.

Some key dates to keep in mind:

· June 1, 2018 – New Cub Scout Option for girls will be launched.

· June 1, 2018 – Updated program material available in Scout Shops.

· February 2019 – Program for older girls (Boy Scout Age) will be launched.

Thanks to each of you as you continue to serve the youth of our community.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.


Here is a one-on-one interview with BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh discussing and answering questions regarding the new program.


How to start a girl den within your pack or start an all-girl pack: 

You start a new girl pack just like we have always started new Cub Scout Units, you can get step by step instructions here in the Unit Performance guide, located at

• The first step is to contact your unit’s Chartered Organization Representative to have the approval and direction of the Chartering Organization.

• Chartered organizations always have the option to select from the numerous BSA program offerings. They can select all or one of the BSA programs that they feel best meets the needs of their members and the communities around them.

• The starting of all girl dens within an existing Cub Pack will be to recruit and train your new Den Leaders. Most Cub Scout training modules along with the required Youth Protection Training may be found at

• Your Unit Commissioner, District Commissioner, and District Executive are great resources for additional training for leaders.

• If your Chartering Organization wishes to start an all-girl pack, then contact your District Executive. This will be a separate unit in terms of registration and organization.

• An adult male can lead an all-girl unit, just as we already have adult females leading all-boy programs. Youth protection requirements still apply to both male and female participants. Two-deep leadership is required at all meetings, events, and outings. This is a minimum requirement and additional supervision may be necessary, depending on the nature of the activities and the size of the group.


How do we Recruit?

National BSA has begun to publish recruiting materials for the new Family Scouting Program for Cub Scouts.

Your unit may use these images and documents to help recruit. The Greater Alabama Council will also be printing flyers to use as well.




Camping, Delivering Scouting’s Promise

Camping is a hallmark of Scouting, and it is important that our Cub Scout Packs and the new program for older girls follow all of the BSA guidelines for camping.  In Cub Scouting some camping activities are age appropriate and others are not, and anytime Cub Scouts are camping, make sure you are abiding by BSA camping policies found here:

The BSA Youth Protection policies also have important information related to camping, more information on these topics can be found in the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, for example on all overnight activities where boys and girls are present, male and female adult leaders must be present.

The entire family can benefit from the camping experience, there are several resources and studies that you might find helpful. The American Camping Association has great information on the value of camp,  that information can be found here:

Boy Scout Summer Camp, Benefits every parent should know,

For more about the impact of scouting on your family, take a look at the Tufts University study that looks at how Scouting builds character in 6 areas;

Also if you are interested in a family camping experience at Philmont Scout Ranch this summer you can find more information here:









Here is a good story on Cub Scout Adult Volunteer Jennifer Clutter and her all-girl den which is operating in the early adopter program.



Older Girl Update

As Scout Executive J.T. Dabbs, mentioned in his opening letter, the older girl program which will serve girls aged 11 – 17, will launch on February 1, 2019. Here is a link to the most frequently asked questions regarding this program.




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Today’s Thoughts 4/27/2018



While I’m sitting here waiting for my sleep aids to take effect I can’t help but wonder what life will be after I retire in a few months.  I don’t have anything really planned after I retire other than the norm…such as yard work, paint the house and other odds and ends that needed to get done. My wife thinks that I should maybe find another paying job.  The problem with that is, except for the last few months, I’ve been in and out of the hospital and doctor’s office so much that I can’t build up any vacation time.  Every time I build up some hours something happens and I’m back in the hospital again.  Usually, when I go to the hospital, I’m in there for four or five days with the doctors running all sorts of tests.  It’s always the same results; fluid around my heart and lungs.  They don’t listen to me though, and off I go for a battery of tests.

Anyway, maybe I can find a part-time job, working only three days a week or so.  I’ve even thought about getting my CDL and becoming a school bus driver. Work a few months out of the year and off during the summer.  I think I’d like that.  Except, my wife doesn’t think I’ll like that. Said I don’t have the temperament for it. I’d probably throw a fit and get fired.  Maybe…maybe not.

I’ve tried raising bees.  I’ve got everything needed to raise a couple of hives.  They keep leaving though.  The last hive I had was doing so good. They had made enough honey in the super that I went out and bought a hand crank extractor.  Two weeks later, the original hive was gone and other bees were robbing all the honey out.  No honey for me and no bees.  After three times of losing the bees, I think maybe beekeeping is not for me.  Too expensive just to have the bees leave.

I have an HVAC contractor’s license.  I guess if all else fails I could go into business for myself and work on peoples air-condition units.  I tried that years ago, found out that people want you to do the work for free.  Ended up having to get payment up front before doing the work just so that I would know I’d get paid.  I stayed too busy and plus, I don’t like working in people attics.  Too hot and too cramped.

I did photography work as well for many years.  I did mainly weddings.  There again, people wanted you to do the work for free.  Had signed contracts but yet when the wedding was over, I would spend weeks trying to get in touch with them to get the remainder of my money.  Another thing about weddings.  There were a few wedding that never started on time.  I would tell the bride to be there at noon if the wedding started at two just so that we would have time to get all the pictures done before the wedding.  I had one lady show up ten minutes till two dress in blue jean shorts, wife beater t-shirt and her hair still in curlers.  Remind you now, the wedding started at two and she shows up at ten till still needing to get dressed.

Sleep meds are starting to kick in.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Some Days We Ride–Others We Walk


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I was so looking forward to getting out today and do some serious riding.  I even left work early.  It didn’t happen.  I got a little over two miles from the house and I heard the dreaded pop. I knew immediately what it was.  At least I got some exercise walking home.  Question? For those that ride, do you do your own repairs such as replacing spokes?  Do you keep such items in stock?

I’ve been bitten by the riding bug!


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This past weekend gave me the opportunity to get my bike out and ride.  It was only 10k but at least I got out there.  I had planned on riding more when I got home but my better half had other plans.

While riding Saturday, I noticed some things that needed attention on the bike so I took it to my local bike shop to have it serviced. It’s been since 2015 since I’ve done anything to it being that I haven’t ridden it much since I got sick.  I took it to them yesterday and picked it up today.  I couldn’t have done it any faster but I definitely could’ve done it cheaper.

I’ve already told my better half not to plan on anything for me to do tomorrow evening because I’ve got plans. Plans which includes riding as far as I can and as long as I can.

Stepping Out on Faith


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I just signed up for the 29-mile Crimson Tide Ride in Tuscaloosa on July 28th.  I’ve ridden this ride several times but when this medication started messing with my lungs, I was no longer able to do so.  Right now, I feel like I can do it again.  It’s true that my longest ride so far this year has only been a little over eight miles, with the time left before the ride, I’m confident that I’ll be able to do the ride.  That is if my new meds don’t interfere.  If I continue to improve, I should be able to do the 36 mile next year.  I understand it has several more hills to overcome.

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Yesterday, our company participated in the Birmingham Corporate Challenge.  There were several events ranging from tug of war, corn hole, homerun derby, dodgeball, cycling and several other events. I participated in the 10k bike stroll.  It was a very simple route.  It was a three-mile loop that you had to do twice in which about a mile of it was a long hill.  This hill nearly whooped my butt the second time around.  Having forgotten my water bottle didn’t help matters any.  The event actually started with events on Thursday and ended about 6pm on Saturday.  Our company came in second overall last year.  It was sponsored by Chik fila and they gave out free chicken sandwiches.  I can’t wait to see where our company ended up in the standings this year.

Today’s Thoughts 4/19/2018


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Got home late yesterday due to having to work later than normal.  I had my day all planned out before I got to work which included getting off early and trying to extend my mileage from 10 to at least 20 or more miles.  Didn’t happen.  I got to work and found out that I was going to have work the desk dispatching calls all day.  Which also meant I IMG_20180418_174749wasn’t going to be able to get any cycling in.  Not a total loss though.  I did stop at the track and got my 10,000 steps in for the day.

As much as I like getting out on my bike and ride, it’s important to me to get out and do something to enjoy the outdoors, even if it’s just walking on the walking track. Most of last year I just didn’t feel like getting out and doing anything.  Once I made it home from work, I didn’t have the energy to do anything but to shower and relax in front of the television.  I gained weight, my A1c went up and basically felt like crap. Now that I have my health back, for the time being, I’m taking advantage of it and getting out and doing something.  In the short time that I’ve been feeling better, I’ve been able to get out and ride, three times so far, I’ve gone to the track a few times and my A1c has come down a few points.  When I feel better I’m able to take better care of myself.

Stay Healthy!!

Hazards of Cycling (Part Two)


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As much as I love cycling and the benefits that it has, you’ve got to consider some of the hazards that come with it.  Living in the suburbs, I have a limitless place to ride. But to get to it I have to travel on some busy roads.  While most vehicles obey the three-foot law, others do not.  And another thing, some do not take into consideration that while passing me they don’t think about the oncoming traffic.  I’ve seen several near misses.  One of these days I’ll get to witness a wreck.

Another hazard is dogs.  The one in this video is always there.  I’ve squirted water, yelled, kicked and nothing has stopped this dog from chasing me.  While this dog hasn’t tried to bite me others have.  The ankle biters are the worse. At least with the big dogs, they tend to stay on one side of you and bark.  The ankle biters are all over the road.  You never know where they’re going next. One of my wrecks was from dodging one of these ankle biters.

I’ve often thought about using mace to squirt on the dogs but after thinking about it I’ve decided that given the wind I don’t want this stuff coming back in my face. That would be bad. So, for now, I’ll stick with wasting my water by squirting the dogs.

In closing, let me say this.  The benefits of cycling will outway the bad.  Just keep a mindful eye on your surroundings if riding in the city.

Be careful out there

Cycling Can be Hazerdous to Your Health


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When I first started cycling, I was using a bicycle that I had purchased from a fellow co-worker some twenty plus years ago.  That meant the bike I was riding a bike that was close to thirty years old.  I used that bike for nearly a year before purchasing my new Cannondale.  The old bike, a Trek, had what I call suicide shifters.  The shifters were on the down tube and you had to take one hand off the handlebar to shift gears.  Most of the time I had no issue with doing so but sometimes, with the bike being so old and poorly maintained, the shifters didn’t work well and I would lose concentration and off the bike I would go.  Luckily, the whole time I rode this bike I never had any broken bones, just minor road rash.




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My 35 yr old Trek after a minor incident.  I still have this bike.



My new 2013 Cannondale





Saturday Blues


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I’ve spent a lot of time today on my computer, mainly deleting old files and moving some files around. Just trying to get more organized.  While doing so I found some GoPro videos of some bike rides that I’ve been on.  I decided I’d share one with you.  This video is of the Old Howard Bike Ride.  This ride is located in Perry County, Alabama.  The event benefits Sowing Seeds of Hope.  Here’s the link to the event

The video is less than 2 minutes of the first twelve minutes of the ride.  It is a century ride but I only rode 30 of those miles.  As you can see, it starts off pretty flat but it gets pretty steep toward the end.

If you’re ever in the area around the mid part of April and if you’re a cyclist, I would highly recommend this ride. It goes through three counties of the historic Black Belt.  In fact, one of the rest stops is at a historic Victorian home. Again, it’s a charity ride and it goes to a good cause.