White House nightmare

My wife told me, yesterday, that my depression over the election has lasted a long time. “Long time?”, I say.  “How about another four years?”


My life-saver has been writing. Lots of memories and thoughts from a bipolar point-of-view. Four books on Amazon (Bipolar Dad; Scatterbrain; Bits&Pieces; and Straggler). More to come with our bipolar President.

On the good side of my brain, I am thinking that my Blog and my Podcast will have an endless stream of material. I mean, what have we done to ourselves?

I just read the Des Moines Register Opinion page, particularly columnist Rekha Basu (rbasu@dmreg.com). I always like her writing, so I’ll share her thoughts.

“Now appointed to run our country, the posse is all white and very rich. I see no reflection from all our ancestors, white, black, Asian, Latino, native, bringing their respective stories and struggles and experiences to help shape policies. But the rainbow hue is replaced by a monochrome of billionaire men with silver spoons in their mouths.”

“For Cabinet posts, instead of people who have dedicated themselves to public service and study the solutions, we get titans of industry with deep vested interests in the outcomes of public policy on their holdings.”

The scariest aspect of this Wild West White House is that the leader appears to change his mind so often. And he holds a grudge. And he publicly goes after people that disagree with him. I am sensing that we now have a new member of the 6-million strong tribe of Americans that have differing degrees of Bipolar Disorder. Some are very erratic. Some are under control with medication. And some, continue to need help and to continue fighting the STIGMA hurdle of talking about mental illness. It is time!

#NewCivilWar  #bipolardad.podbean.com #Amazon #Scatterbrain #Straggler


Many Thanks


Summerfest  grandkids photo, will have three more in this shot next year. (Ethan, Lucas and ????)

So many chances to be Thankful. Last night, gathered at Emily’s house (she and Daron are such good hosts); holding our newest grandson (Lucas William Mundy); posing for a grandparent photo with that girl I who captured my broken heart on Spring Break ’73; having my girls help me with portion control!; listening the growing grandchildren get along with their cousins and make a date for an overnighter; and going home with ‘leftovers’. And speaking of leftovers, I think it is time for lunch.

Today, instead of doing battle at the Malls, I was blowing and vacuuming and raking four bags of wet leaves. Probably the latest in the year for that activity. Probably the last one on my block to get it done. But, I got help from Bailey and we loaded up four bags (double my usual effort).

Gone Goose

Letter to the Editor–reprinted from Des Moines Register (Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

Goose will face migration without companion

As a school bus driver, in Ankeny (IA), I watch the growing flocks of ducks and geese around our two high schools. I see them often enough to know when they are “paired up.” I really enjoy watching the little ones grow and follow their mother.

This past Monday morning was a sad one. One of my flock is gone. A large (10-pound) Canada Goose was hit by a car in front of Centennial High School.

I assume it was someone distracted. Maybe a cellphone thing? Maybe in a rush to get to school? Certainly, it could not have been on purpose. Right? The driver was probably unaware that geese do not frighten, like chicken would. The geese, now full of grass and grains getting prepared for the big flight south, expect the traffic to slow when they walk across the street.

Up until Monday, the courteous and patient drivers would wait. Until Monday, this one goose was getting ready for the big migration. Until Monday, this one goose had no idea that this bus driver would stop traffic to pick up its lifeless body and gently move it to the curb.

When I did that, traffic stopped like in a funeral procession. And I felt bad for the “mate” standing on the curb, about 20 feet away — waiting for her traveling companion to bounce back to life and start that journey.

Quick, enjoy this grandson.

This past summer seemed to go by much faster than previous ones. Taking a break from tour bus driving allowed for more writing and family business. I launched two podcasts (Bipolar Dad and Bus Biz) that I am having fun with.

We got up to Minnesota for a great personal visit with Charlotte’s brother Dave Julien and sister-in-law, Joan. We had a family reunion (Swanson family), out at Big Creek Park. We got over to Wisconsin for Annie Julien’s wedding. We had a lengthy visit from Jenna and the boys from Le Mars. And I got a ‘cool’ 5-day driving assignment for a German TV crew shooting in the U.S.

Maybe it was the great weather? Maybe it was the on-again, off-again chances to fly up to Alaska? (Which, sadly, did not happen due to the return of my Fear-of-Flying).

The current grandson-in-the-spotlight (Callaway John Ingle) will lose the status of being the youngest, very soon.

Clare is expecting her first child, the first week of November. 

No words can explain the thrill of being a grandparent. It is a singular thrill, all to itself. A self-esteem boost, like no other. A reminder of how quickly life passes by. You look back and take pride in your family tree. You marvel at the similar traits the grandkids quickly adopt from their parents. Your focus is narrowed to the health and welfare of your child and then her child. The “Circle of Life”. The rekindling of your own parenting experiences. You recall the look in the faces of your parents when you present your child for their first visit and inspection.

Nothing in life can compete with being GRANDPA and GRANDMA.  :)))))

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This past summer, while enjoying big brother Easton’s Siouxland Stars tournament, Cal kept grandma Char and grandpa Jim busy.


Back-to-school problems.

Back to school problems? Oh, yessirree! This is my sixth year as a school bus driver and I have always asked why I like the job. I must say it is the constant challenge and disruptions to the status quo. This year is no different. Our neighbors to the west, Waukee, Norwalk and Johnston all made it on the nightly TV news and the Des Moines Register. More students, new managers, loss of benefits, upset parents and school staff SURPRISED by it all–no problem, we got it:)))

Source: Back-to-school problems.

A really fun wedding


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There are those times when a family really needs a wedding. The end of summer, give-me-some-good-news time. Last weekend, we drove north to the pretty state of Wisconsin for that experience.

This past Saturday, at the Eau Claire, WI Golf and Country Club, we had one of those very special days. Tragedies and funerals had hung over the heads of the bride’s side of the family and this day was a glorious explosion of “positive” emotions and vibrations. It was time to smile and be happy.

We were all hoping that the cooler weather and the threatening clouds would not dampen this day. And we were in luck! The breezes cleared the clouds and the temperature was mid-70’s. Many of us had our fingers crossed because we had travelled long distances to celebrate this union. And as I age, I am certainly reminded how much effort is needed to pack and travel and party!

We came to cheer Alex and Annie, but we also were cheering for Annie’s mother and father–Dave and Joan Julien. We all wanted this day to be a great one for the bride and groom, but also for Dave and Joan. The Swanson Clan needed this day to be as uplifting as it could be.

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Gliding smoothly across the ‘wedding green’, Dave escorts daughter Anna to the start of her new life as Mrs. Alex Paupore.


Annie and Alex planned the entire thing. And it went well. If anything was off, we did not notice. We are still “hashing it over”, here in Iowa. It was a very well orchestrated, ceremony, reception with great food (my steak was the BEST), and a fun laughing and dancing reception that we will continue to compare to all those that have gone before this one. Good job, you kids.

Thanks for getting married and inviting us:))) Uncle Jim and Aunt Char.

Climbing out of depression.

Here we go, two-for-one. We just got back from a 3-day in-state visit to a daughter. It was more than a 4-hour drive, so for some, this could have been more than an in-state effort. Still climbing out of the fear-of-flying panic that gripped me this past week, after receiving tickets from my sister to come visit her in Alaska. Grandson therapy worked it’s magic. So this episode will be included in both my Podcasts — Bipolar Dad and Bus Biz. I am quoting George Carlin, my all-time favorite for saying it like it is!

Source: Climbing out of depression.

240th — 4th of July

July 4th, 2016, marked the 240th year since a collection of colonies unified and sought independence from Great Britain. But, independence actually was not declared on that July 4th, 1776. It was July 2. Our annual celebration is, instead, a memorial to the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence, cementing our dedication to this grand experiment of democracy.

Cellphone2016 268Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

Here are some random questions:

1.) What five individual rights/freedoms does the First Amendment protect?

2.) If both the president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?

3.) The president has 16 Cabinet advisors. Name all the Cabinet-level positions.


1.) Religion, speech, press, assembly, petition the government.

2.) Speaker of the House.

3.) Secretary of the Treasury, defense, labor, commerce, interior, state, housing and urban development, energy, education, transportation, veterans affairs, homeland security, agriculture, health & human service, attorney general and vice president. 

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Bipolar Dad

Retired US Postmaster, now driving a school bus talks about all things BIPOLAR…recovering from a warm lakeside afternoon where the stories were flying during Charlotte’s-side family reunion (Swanson)…it can be exhausting to eat so much, while talking a lot and keeping up with all that is going on…I’m glad we were able to go and I’m thankful for all those that made the trip to join in:)))

Source: Bipolar Dad