Sorta kinda calaveras literarias for 2020

Oct 31-Nov 2 is known as Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. This is a holiday celebrated by many of the Latin American countries, especially Mexico, which honors and remembers our friends and family members who died. I will not be able to conveniently visit the gravestones of those I remember because I now live in Texas and those resting places are over 900 miles away. So, in the spirit of the holiday, I am writing a collection of “calaveras literarias” about the deceased (rather than traditionally about someone living) as a humorous eulogy to help me remember the silly and funny aspects of those loved ones. Rest In Peace, Family

1991 – Kenneth J. “Kenny” Swaim

“Papaw”, my mom’s mom’s dad

Papaw let me drive his lawnmower; we hooked up the trailer with our tools, ready to clear the debris; I kept pushing the throttle forward, but he said, “Go slower!”; not paying enough attention, I drove the tractor up a tree.

1992 – Phyllis Jean Swaim Henseler

“Grams”, my mom’s mom

1997 – John “Johan” Schilling

Gramps’ best friend

1997 – William J. Swaim

“Uncle Bill”, my mom’s mom’s brother

1998 – Derek Alan Hartman


2001 – Jessica Ellen Martin


2003 – Fred Bloebaum Jr.

my brother’s dad’s dad

2004 – Freddie Bloebaum

my brother’s dad

2010 – Shelby Nicole McCarter

my youngest sibling

2011 – Reba Preece Swaim

“Mamaw”, my mom’s mom’s mom

2015 – Dawn Michelle Henseler Starr

“Auntie”, my mom’s sister

2017 – Elaine Henseler

“Nan”, Gramps’ second wife

2019 – Gilbert Ed McCarter

Shelby’s dad, my mom’s 3rd husband

2020 – Tommy Allen Oaks

“N9QAQ”, my mom’s 2nd husband

My Night Sky Observations for 5/1/2020 01:00AM CDT

Haven’t yet been able to fall asleep. I’ve laid in bed for two hours, pondering the most pressing issues in my life right now. Mind doesn’t shut off, hard to fall asleep. Basically, just replaying the issues in my mind to create a mental list of these things that need to be converted to an actual Task List in order to effectively solve the problems. Do I really have that many problems that their solution is so pressing and deserving of my attention that it deprives me of precious sleep? Or do I just enjoy solving problems? 😅

Didn’t turn on any lights as I arose from bed, walking to the living room/kitchen. Our gadgets emit enough light with their LEDs to see at night. Even with this much “light pollution”, I noticed it seemed strangely bright outside. And quite a bit louder than I thought it would be. Besides the cricket-like bug still chirping, there are also several birds tweeting back and forth. It’s 1:00 AM for chirping out loud!

Oh, right, sky observations… 🤓

The moon is half-illuminated in a yellowish tint, sitting on the western horizon at about 30 degrees:

My Sky Guide app also revealed the constellation Cancer the Crab, sitting directly under the moon, although I’m unable to see any of those stars with naked eye:

Standing on my back patio, facing North, I tilt my head back about 80 degrees and turned just to the west, the Big Dipper is plainly visible, with its handle pointing south and the scoop is being emptied on to this large tree on my neighbor’s rear properly line:

The very mature maple tree in Timothy’s yard (neighbor to the East) mostly blocks my view of the eastern and north eastern sky, except for a small gap between the tree and his patio roof, where one brighter star and one dimmer star are still visible to my naked eyes. According to Sky Guide, these are Altair and Tarazed of the constellation Aquila, The Eagle, The Thunderbird:

For having this much artificial light pollution, it’s interesting just how much less of the Sky we’re able to see. Our 24/7 cities and their inefficient street lights are sending light in all directions rather than concentrating it or restricting the beam of light. Here’s an example of the levels of ALP in the DFW metroplex:

Here’s some live screenshot video captured through the Sky Guide app:

Rediscovering the music

I love discussing music with Derek. During a chat yesterday, he shared with me an album from his teen years. I, too, wanted to share a memorable album with him from the same era, but I could not recall a specific memory. In hindsight, I wish I’d logged my music experience during my formative years.

Oh! But wait, I still have a couple of “car visor CD holders” stored in the closet! Other than transporting them from one closet to the next over the past two decades, I haven’t listened to a Compact Disc since 2012, when I started using Spotify. Let’s bust out the discs and try to match a memory with each.

Here are 40 music CDs Alicia and I could not stop playing during the 2000s and 2010s with a few quips for my own memories. 😎