I’m sure one or two of you who read Honey & Quinine have been wondering how I’ve been doing with my vow to not bring wine to my home because it would impede progress with my higher priorities. Well my intention was compromised in the course of this evening (Wednesday the 13th) when my attitude toward the day-to-day burden of life was boosted by unforeseen circumstance to a higher plateau which I didn’t expect to happen but which I happily acknowledge tonight about 11:48 in the pm. As the occasion concluded, I began whispering to myself “WHAT THE HELL, I’LL BUY THE DAMN WINE! Minutes later I did: a gallong of Carlo Rossi Paisano because Hy-Vee didn’t have BURGUNDY. The Paisano will do. I’m not drinking to lessen the impact of previous weeks’ distress; I am celebrating a turn for the better. After I get the rest of this post out if me, I will drink the rest of the wine only when I’m not compromising what I really need to focus on and I’ll be sharing more about that in my next post in about a week.

Earlier tonight I attended a new open mic event for crafted spoken word poetry at Wm. T. Vans After Hours Coffeehouse (address and details later this year) which for the second month in a row. I had an excellent time at the first one I attended and tonight, circumstances conspired to allow me to shine, as a poet, as a sharer of poetry, as I have seldom shined before. It restored my faith in the authenticity of the man and poet I have always THOUGHT myself to be. Suffice to say it was a very good night. The evening’s emcee, Will Redwood is a local aspiring artist of significant talent. He was a fine emcee. I had decided, after early arrival , to read a Conger poem from one of my books of poetry, to recite a poem from my other book of my poetry, and to recite one or two poems by Vachel Lindsay.

The poem from my first book Minstrel’s Ramble: to Live and Die in Springfield, Illinois was written February 16, 1971 I was sitting in the student lounge at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. I remember the place as though it was yesterday. I wrote a poem which seems — so many wayfaring years later — to be the story of one consistent aspect of my life. That aspect, one of the MANY negative aspects of my life, is evident here. I wanted to tell strangers the day before Valentine’s Day, something about who I am, and this poem seemed strangely appropriate for this occasion. Here it is.. . . . . . I’ve just discovered I can’t arrange the lines here in this blog as I arranged them in print, so you need to know that these ////// indicate the end of the current line before the start of the next line. The power of the poem is significantly crippled by this, but I’m charging ahead, because I believe in the poem, and I hope you like it.

When Someone Inspires . . . . by Job Conger

I will write for her enchanting form and mind./ forms and thoughts/ from my pen and heart,/ lines of inspired imagery/ and lilting, lusting hopes./ Singing of dreams/ of times in which I want to embrace her/ and rush with her to hot times at a Hyatt Regency/ predicting ecstasy/ surrendering hearts/ and good times coming our way,/ I will flower the path to love/ with roses of words/ and as I do,/ I will write the end/ before the beginning!

Thanks for reading this post.
Live long . . . . . . and proper.


I was reminded early this year of my unpaid balance due to the local county health center, and I sent them a check last week. Since my fall a few years ago (details on request; I don’t want to bore you without your consent) and the minor stroke a few winters after that, I’ve been totally happy with the nurse practitioner who monitored my physical recoveries over about a year and a half. The progress I was making with improved blood pressure, lung efficiencey and weight (eventually from 205 to 170) , was consistently challenged by a bothersome counterpoint to my describing, toward the end of each visit, how hopeless, depressed and darn-near immobilized by sadness I’ve been feeling. It is an everyday companion, chipping away at my shoulder when I’ve not been in face-to-face contact with people I enjoy. I didn’t want to consider her suggestion of engaging a health clinic “counselor” to facilitate (no pun intended) an improvement in my ongoing tussle with portents of doom.
Eventually I arranged a first visit. It went fine. Regular weekly visits led to bi-weekly visits, all consisting of me telling her what pained my life. It was as though I was a confused 10-year old telling “mommy” how my day went at school . . . only the about 45 minutes per session every week or two. As each visit approached goodbye time, she’d ask me what would be my challenge to address until we talked again. Sometimes she’d suggest a goal when I stumbled, frustrated. There was no attempt to engage anything more profound than that.
I am content in coming to understand that THIS effort to determine if I understood my problems and was able to identify logical, realistic approaches to addressing them was WHAT COUNSELORS DO. I hoped for more probing questions from her; suggesting paths to treating the outcomes of aberrant symptoms manifesting themselves in my life. Her NOT suggesting paths toward ameliorating the symptoms disappointed me. The solution offered was a common anti-depressant. I voiced my disinclination to pharmaceutical solutions but after putting up the good fight for a few months, and then deciding I was working against myself if I didn’t at least give them a try.
ESCITALOPRAM 20mg. popularly known as Lexapro, was a mixed blessing. The morning after I had taken my first one, I awoke with no hint of anxiety and depression. It was unreal. It seemed I could not force anxiety. It was no longer in my “toolbox” of woes. I could be sad, occasionally, upset by kinks in my high-wire walk through life. But it didn’t slow me down. Hours I had devoted to web sites with adult photos became hours spent reading aviation history, biography. working on my aviation museum. About two weeks into the pill thing I returned to gaze longingly at anatomy I’ve considered darn-near rapturous for decades , just to enjoy the views. That’s when I discovered something missing: my libido. It’s described in all the Googled sites about Lexapro. When I politely described the unexpected loss to my counselor, I made it clear, smiling good naturedly, that, my life was not ruined by this discovery. After all, I could buy myself a decent dinner if I had a dollar for every year since I had most recently shared a bed with a woman. I’m not at all happy to reveal that, to concede that.
The more I pondered my new INCAPACITY, the more I began to realize how losing the ability would probably be a more profound blow to me than the disappearance of ANXIETY from my life. . . . . . . . . so I stopped taking my bed time Lexapro. I still have most of a 30-day supply in case I change m mind. I have not shared my decision with my health clinic counselor or my nurse practitioner who will return from months off for maternity leave to the clinic in March. Time spent with my counselor had girded my resolve for winter . . . . . I made it through the entire Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s seasons with making an appointment to return. (HUZZAH! HUZZA!) and it WAS a SOLITARY, SILENT 25th. As of January 27, 2019, I do not plan to make another appointment with her.
I’m learning to channel my prodigal nemesis ANXIETY into positive outcomes. I will need ANXIETY, when it’s time to say goodbye.
I’ve not had alcohol in the house since 2018. There have been days since December 31 when I drank the last drop, when I’ve really WANTED to bring another gallon jug of Carlo Rossi Burgundy home and get lost to myself with it. The longer I decline it, the more confident in myself I become.
Until I run out of days this year, I am determined to affirm to others, and to yours truly, that I AM the man I imagine I am.


Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.

As I published my most recently, I anticipated I’d be publishing once a week, like a “letter to Mommy or Daddy” from the front lines as I engaged my trench-war battle for life. It’s not worked out that way though I think about sharing the news five or six times a day. Life continues to bewilder me. On this Monday, off from my part-time employer, with four tasks on my agenda to complete before considering this day well addressed, I suddenly have put all that on hold to write this blog at 11:30 am.

My four tasks are: 1 list contents of a large box of model airplane kits and take it to the vacated upstairs, where it’s still a daunting disarray of furniture and disrepair from the damage inflicted by the renters I evicted last May.;
2 BEGIN to CONTINUE organizing aircraft photos by name — Piper Cub, Boeing 707, Supermarine Spitfire — on separate CDs where they may be shared. This project was delayed for four months when the computer used for that data was broken. It’s working again.;
3. Move more large boxes of stored model kits from my living room and dining room to storage upstairs.; wash dirty clothes in basement laundry room while continuing to organize aviation resources nearby down there. I have no heat down there, but I’ve learned in recent weeks that when I am focused on the task, I can do it regardless of cold. It’s like mowing the lawn on a sweltering day in August: when there3 is no doubt that THIS is the time to DO IT, the heat or cold become secondary. And the work gets done; NOT during the days or weeks of feeling bad about putting things off.;
4. Spend some time (just an hour would do) in the model workshop better organizing resources and spending at least 15 minutes building any of probably 150 models that are on shelves not completed. Having so many models IN PROCESS, not displayable gnaws at me like a guilty conscience. Yet, I know it’s all my doing because of the days I have allowed to sap my resolve as a vampire bat might relieve me of my blood.

The black cloud of inevitable cancelling life because of the DEMAND from my insurance company that the entire house be Jacked up and a new foundation installed underneath by JULY has be joined by another black cloud of foreclosure from the roofing contractor who installed anew roof over my house back in 1998. During the past 3 years I’ve made no payments to him because my upstairs was vacant or without income and I was waiting for the tenants (friends at the time) to start paying for the rent and utilities as they promised to do. Read my earlier posts for the sordid details. Last week, I wrote him a letter explaining my circumstance and offering to meet with him to reach a realistic plan of action to avoid foreclosure. I’ve not heard back from him, but it’s early. If foreclosure comes, I imagine it will come before the August deadline to have the house repaired. And IF it does, I’ll be opting out of life sooner, rather that later.

In the closing days of my last full year. I decided that I could no longer live with myself as I had during the ending “daze” of 2018, indisputably the worst year of my life. I stopped buying wine for the house. To find a scintilla of satisfaction in the time remaining I HAD to be more productive. My “fool’s recourse” of returning from employer, eating dinner with a handy gallon jug of Carlo Rossi Burgundy, napping from 7p to 11p or 1a, arising to putter around the house, putting a few things away, jabbering on Facebook until 3:30 or 4:30 am and returning to living room recliner/rocker until 8:30 or 9 and them more putting things away before driving to employer. I’ve not slept on/in my fine bed in my bedroom since last September or so because I need the flat space for aviation projects in process. Since the start of 2019, there has been no alcohol in the house. I drink iced tea or coffee and read or make progress with the aviation projects. I’m reading a LOT these days, mostly aviation history but also a book I “liberated” from the mess left behind upstairs: Little Girl Blue, an “authorized” biography of Karen Carpenter of pop music fame. That book moved me more than any other book I’ve read as an adult. Karen is not an obsession with me. I’ve not looked for more about her. . . . . but her tragic life touches me. I don’t know why. . . . . . So when I decide to sleep, usually around 11 or 12, I take one or two sleep aid pills I purchased off the shelf at a supermarket. Sometimes I take no pills at all. This is what I’ve been doing since the night of January 1/2. It’s working out okay.

I’ve been typing this post since 11:20a Monday the 21st. I AIM to post more frequently. No is time to proofread, have some fresh, sliced melon and grapes for lunch, read a little more of a biography of Neil Armstrong, check Facebook and email and engage points 1 — 4 starting about 1p. Thanks for reading this post.
Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

First a fast look back at last week. Goals ACCOMPLISHED strengthen my determination to accomplish MORE, and I’m off to a good start. 2019. day 1, I did something I can’t remember doing for– I don’t know; say — 20 or more years: I cleaned the interior of my car, took lots of receipts discarded envelopes from bills paid locally, a few magazines I’d purchased but not taken into the house. By the way, my “car” is actually a Blue Dodge Caravan with the rear seats removed to I can transport large boxes. I refer to it as my “car” because it’s easier this way.

A few days later, I picked up my 35mm camera from Creve Coer Camera where I had taken it last March to have the dust inside camera and 300 mm telephoto lens removed. Since moving my AeroKnow Museum out of the building at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (which is probably the heartbreak of my LIFE) I’ve used a smaller, digital point’n’shoot camera to snap what few pics I’ve taken since last July. I expect I will never take another picture with the BIG Canon Eos 20D, but paying for the cleaning, not making them continue to wonder if they’d ever see me again, THAT was important to me: putting a ribbon on the long-neglected transaction.

Over the weekend, I signed up with the photo storage enterprise FLICKR PRO. I’ll be able to share pictures with friends and the public at large without asking you to join anything like Facebook. That was a positive though so far I’ve posted just a few pictures.. . . . . I was invited to play some of the songs I’ve written and recite some oi my poems and poems written by the internationally acclaimed early 20th century poet Vachel Lindsay at a “pop-up art show at the meeting-room-equipped Joe Gallina’s Pizza restaurant in lyrical downtown Springfield. These events allow invited local visual artists to display and sell their talent. Some of the time, people attending actually STOPPED their chatting to listen to me, Generally, I don’t like to provide “background music” while bystanders provide my “background noise,” but it was a friendly evening. Met some talented local artists and made some new friends. . . had a terrific time!

Sunday I purchased 25 storage boxes needed to “store” a small portion of the TON of aviation history resources I brought “home” last summer when I vacated my museum enterprise from the airport. I’ll better explain all this in the weeks ahead.

I have resolved to significantly improve my outlook by altering how I live. Way one is my vow to stop drinking wine at home. Drinking gallon jugs of Carlo Rossi Burgundy (about $15 per gallon) wasted my time. Since last July I have felt so SAD about my fate, I have wanted to spend as much of my life sleeping. If there were a pill I could buy to knock myself OUT four hours at a time and then, after awakening at 10 or 11 and working on the aviation thing until 2 or 3 am and returning to sleep for another four or five hours, I would have taken that pill during the second half of 2018. My wine regimen was (for my budget) more expensive than it should have been. But it was essential for the preservation of a toe-hold on sanity. It took about a week to empty a jug. Despite working four days a week and engaging poetry and music with local acquaintances, the rest of my hours have been ghostly quiet and solitary, even when engaging social pursuits, being nice to everyone and connecting with no one. I have survived NINE days with no Carlo and have doggedly determined to make progress at home, making the inside look as neat as the inside of my car. I’ve determined that to facilitate slumber, for the first time in my LIFE, I have started to take “sleep aids” pills from the medications aisle at my favorite grocery store. As long as they do. I will stay with this routine..

. . . . . . . . Live long . . . and proper.

First Night Springfield is an annual festival of entertainment and arts in lyrical downtown Springfield every December 31 that runs from 5 pm and, for most of its duration, concluded with a big midnight fireworks display between the Illinois State Capitol Building on the west and the rest of downtown on the east. For the past few years, the BOOM BOOM has BOOMED starting at 8 pm. I’ve been a featured entertainer (songwriter/folksinger) and participated as part of larger presentations of poetry several times. This year I looked forward to being one of several poets sharing poems they’d written about art work downtown applied to the exposed brick walls of buildings in the heart of the city.

I committed to writing a new poem about the re-created painting originally produced by Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay to accompany a poem he wrote about the construction of the new Panama Canal, slated to be completed in 1914. At the moment I promise to write a new poem or song, I begin THINK about my approach, gather facts for introducing it to the audience and usually pen to paper the day before I share it. This technique is like using live ammunition when training infantry to fight. It CONCENTRATES FOCUS. I had been directed by the emcee of the event that there would be no time to introduce my poem. “No extemporaneous remarks,” I was told. I was “cool” with that. They knew what they wanted, and I was happy to be permitted to be a part of the program.

My approach came to me at an informal planning conversation. I knew I wanted to write about the image on the building’s north wall. My poem would be about the VISUAL ART; not just a parroting of Vachel’s verse. BUT I would include Vachel’s poem in the course of describing the visual image! My concept was approved by consensus of the participants . . . two weeks before I planted my keister at my “ohm” (home) computer and wrote it.

Here is my final draft of my First Night poem . . . . .

Of Dawning Destinies
by Job Conger written December 31, 2018

Where the hemispheres of north streets
meet south streets on Washington
in lyrical downtown Springfield . . .
a few doors north on Fifth Street,
the world’s west hemisphere meets the east
in Vachel Lindsay’s painting.
Here, two cultures embrace
in his vision of the wedding of the rose and lotus.

In 1912, the completion of the
Panama Canal approached.
The first ship would transit
the modern world wonder of 1914.
Vachel’s eloquence, in imagery and hue
is shared today on a building’s north wall,
a testament in brick and mortar metaphor
as ageless icons intertwine.

Vachel’s portrait in rhyme
harmonized with the painting.
He wrote:
“Flags of the Pacific
And the Atlantic meet.
Captain calls to captain,
Fleet makes cheer with fleet.
Above the drowned edges,
A wind of wooing blows.
The red rose woos the lotus.
The lotus woos the rose.

“The lotus conquered Egypt
The rose was loved in Rome.
Great India crowned the lotus
(Britain, the rose’s home.)
Old China crowned the lotus.
They crowned it in Japan.
But Christendom adored the rose
Ere Christendom began.

“The lotus speaks of slumber.
The rose is as a dart.
The lotus is Nirvana.
The rose is Mary’s heart.
The rose is deathless, restless,
The splendor of our pain.
The flush and fire of labor
That holds, not all in vain. . .

“The genius of the lotus
Shall heal earth’s too-much fret.
The rose in blinding glory
Shall waken Asia yet.
Hail to their loves, ye peoples!
Behold, a world-wind blows
That aids the ivory lotus
To wed the red, red rose!”

Behold these final moments
of 2018 as wayfarers remember
and savor the joys
of that distant yester time!

I’m TRYING TO remember how to add a few pictures to this post. After I figure out how, I will return to this post and add them . . . .

Live long and proper.

Let the Goo Times Roll

A few days ago I promised to more frequently post on Honey & Quinine, and now that the first day of 2019 has passed, I’m making good on that promise. Resuming today was intentional early into the late daze of 2018.  I had received a “kick in the head” from Whimsy the Fate (WTF if you like) but didn’t want to sully your last days of 18 with the laments of my last days of that year. During those weeks I also considered walking away from  this blog and my AeroKnow Museum as well. A few readers have encouraged me to resume, and so I have.

I am a social being. I’m also okay with being solo now and then but I’m not okay with going solo so much! Every person I know today is an acquaintance. This depresses the bejeebers out of me.  I wish I had two or  three friends I could call or email once or twice every few months to meet for coffee or lunch, not for anyone to buy my lunch;  I’d gladly buy my own. I have some close acquaintances whom I “interface with” a few times a month, but they are “arms’ length” people. Most of the time, I successfully maintain my persona with them. Sometimes the real Job Conger oozes out of  cracks in my persona, and sometimes a close acquaintance becomes a stranger, or at best a distant acquaintance. I haven’t been in lust, or better, in love with a woman since about 1986, and I really miss being in love! My reluctance to share friendly patter in the understated direction of “amore” with women I find attractive is easy to understand: I have: little money and no future. I’m not mad about this. As I sing in a song I wrote  but seldom sing, “Together forever hopes,, duets in the sun, I had my chances, and I blew every one.” 

As you may know from reading my Honey & Quinine posts in 2018 — and if note here’s the nutshell — Last May I  evicted the  tenants living in the upstairs of my duplex  I live downstairs. and they left tons of their possessions a HUGE utilities bill and  significantly damaged their part of the house. I’ve lost rental income since summer of 2017 and I’ve been paying a little at a time to return the upstairs to rentable condition 

Income from my part time employer and monthly Social Security income was not enough for me to maintain insurance for home and car.  The Hanover Insurance Company dropped me.  Troxell Insurance found another insurance company to provide house and car coverage at a better rate:  Auto Insurers Co.  Everything is insured now.  About a month ago, Troxell informed me that the new company had inspected the outside of my house and soon after sent me what I consider my death warrant:  The  foundation of the house is damaged. I have until July to have the  house jacked up and a new foundation put in underneath.

That’s all for now. Next post is “only a day away.”

Live long and proper.

As I Was Saying . . .

2018 has been the challenge of my life thanks to the upstairs former friends I evicted after a year and a half of their not paying rent and utilities and significantly damaging the place. The place will not be in rentable condition until next April or May. It’s a long story.  Due to re-designing the roads leading into the local airport and drastically changing the building where I’d been developing my aviation museum . . . I had to move out, which in my case required me to re-focus my operation there and dispose of thousands of pounds of former resources — as in delivering them to dumpsters. What I saved is crammed, as though with a shoehorn, into my quarters at my duplex.
On the positive, I still have my part-time employer, and I’m in good physical shape. Mentally, it’s a different story. I was visiting a counselor at the local county health center, and that helped.
I will update Honey @ Quinine after the new year begins.