Saturday, December 30, 2006

Playing with a deck of 51...

One of the earliest songs I remember playing on the radio as a child spoke of playing solitaire with one of those...I still have that mahogany cased Motorola. "How Much is that Doggy in the Window"... Peggy Lee's "Fever"...they all take me back to boyhood instantly.

51 has snuck up on me; 50 didn't bother me, there was kind of a top of the world feeling to it that I loved! Now there's some "going down the other side" of the "hill" involved. Knowing that I may outlive the polar ice cap doesn't help a bit; I never in my life dreamed that would happen in my grandkids lifetimes, let alone my own!

So as I sneak up on 2007, I reflect on the past 50 years and hope that in another 50 we are all still here gathered in our cyber circle. May 2007 bring you each Joy, Hope and Happiness!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'd rather fight than switch...

if that's what getting into "the New Blogger" is going to be like! Things have been in limbo for a while here!

Hopefully it was just the transition and all will settle down now!

The 2 days of Christmas went well; 1 coat that was too short for Talia and none of the things we bought for my Mom fit (kept telling Dottie 3X, but she didn't believe me). The coat we already tried to exchange, but the only ones left were smaller, so now we get to shop for a different one.

The worst of it was that John only asked for one game, Final Fantasy 12. I bought deluxe editions back in November, the week they came out, and put them away for both boys. Bill and Laura asked for theirs last week as they were on winter break at college; that was fine. Christmas afternoon at his house, John opened his deluxe two disc special edition in the pretty metal case and the game disc was missing!

Needless to say, I was crushed. The only place that sold them was Gamestop; I was there when they opened the next morning, the store I bought it from and was told they were sold out of them and the manager put a used one in our case and couldn't understand why I was upset!

Dottie was livid! I ended up going to another store and buying a 3rd one, giving it to John and keeping the used one...

Speaking of which, I had avoided my PS2 since I hurt myself last year, knowing how many hours I can lose in a good RPG, but last week I picked up one of the games I got last Christmas I hadn't played...I've logged 75 hours at this point...(Dragon Quest 8; I played all of the "old" Dragon Warrior games along with the boys as they were growing up).

Off to run some errands and then meet Dottie at Sears to return Mom's clothes. Border's is across the street and I got a gift card for Christmas...I think I'll be going there while I wait for her to get off work!

Tomorrow I guess I have to re-write my profile, as the half-century mark becomes 51!

I hope all your holidays were wonderful and the New Year brings each of you the joy, happiness and love I wish you all!


Monday, December 18, 2006


I'd have never believed a week could fly by so quickly!

Noel's birthday went well. Dottie took her "antiquing" to Atchison as a surprise while I waited for the grandkids to come home from school and fixed dinner. She had a great day, as did we.

Monday and Wednesday there was lots of shopping-more than we had planned on having left at that point! Some things weren't available until last week, others hadn't been put on the list yet...

Our 30th anniversary was Thursday. Dottie's sister Jane and her husband had enjoyed our being in Vermont for their 25th this last summer, and our 25th slipped by in the fog of Dottie being told she had terminal cancer (she didn't, but we were lucky!) when they found the cyst on her kidney, so they made a point of making sure we enjoyed this one. They arranged with our younger son to get us a gift card to somewhere we'd never ever go to eat! Valet parking, the whole bit! We've never gone anywhere like that since we've been together...we just don't do things like that, lol, always figuring we should do something else with that kind of money! John got the card before he left town, Noel gave it to use on Tuesday but with instructions not to open it until our anniversary. Not knowing what was up, we opened it, along with our cards to each other and the gifts I got her at midnight on Wednesday, then she went to bed because she had to work that day.

I had roses delivered to Dottie at work that day as a surprise. They were (and still are) gorgeous! Being between sizes again (going the wrong way, sadly) I called the restaurant to ask about dress code (there are places on the Plaza that are coat and tie only) and they said jeans were acceptable with a nice shirt or sweater, thank goodness! Dinner was wonderful, and it was a great evening until it was time for her to go to bed.

I had known Noel was fighting a cold the day we were there; I didn't know the grandkids had been fighting a stomach bug for days before that. The bug caught up with me about 2AM on Friday, and I'm still not quite over the aftereffects. I hadn't "hurled" in 28 years (for me things always go the other way) but I did that day! I thought I was better on Saturday, and we did some more last minute shopping along with the weekly trips I didn't get done on Friday while she was working; that almost became a mistake.

Sunday I didn't dare go anywhere, so we started wrapping gifts. For once, everything is pretty well done except for a few things awaiting some more last minute things we'll pick up tomorrow. After years of promising we won't be wrapping on Christmas Eve, we might actually not be!

In the "whirl" of it all though, the Chrismas letter didn't get written until last night, and just finished printing because it had to await editorial appproval this morning, lol!

I'm very disappointed in myself for not getting around to check in with everyone last week; I hope you all forgive me!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just a quickie...(ahem, not that kind)

Dottie's foot is doing better, though if she spends too much time on it it still swells. She worked this weekend, and they had their Christmas parties, 3 per day, plus their normal routines to deal with, so she was pretty wiped out last night. She met me after she got off and we did a bit more Christmas shopping; a few odds and ends left and a box to ship to Vermont. I still need to write "the letter" to go in with the cards...had planned on having it ready to go at Thanksgiving.

In February I had put in for 4 days vacation this week, because Thursday is our 30th wedding anniversary (don't know how she's put up with me for so long!) and I had planned to beg her boss to let her have a couple of days off for it (they aren't supposed to take vacation between Thanksgiving and New Year's). She wouldn't let me do that, telling me she doesn't want to owe them any favors.

Tomorrow is her day off to make up for the work weekend (she had last Friday as well), part of her usual schedule. I had planned a movie and dinner as an early anniversary; she wanted to take me to a jazz club and we were in the process of debating which; then, as always, life intervened...

My sister had planned to have my daughter-in-law to her house for a birthday dinner tomorrow night as my son is out of town on business. Turns out my nephew has a concert, so Cindy's dinner got moved to Wednesday, so tomorrow Dottie and I are entertaining Noel and fixing her "porcupine meatballs" for her birthday dinner. Since she has a link to here I can't divulge more...

By Friday last week I was so tired and frustrated (work has been getting to me a bit as well) that I spoke to my "foreman" (actually a woman who just transferred from Production to Material, and who I've been stocking teams for this last year; she's very good and I'm grateful to have her for my boss now) and she said put in for Monday as well so I did. She brought me back the paper with "OK" signed by our General Foreman an hour or so later!

So, this afternoon marks the beginning of the first time I've taken a week off when the plant was running since I tore my back up almost two years ago!

It feels GOOD!!!!


Hopefully later in the week I can catch up with all of you...


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Slings and arrows of outrage...

At the beginning of the year we had to change medical insurance because our plan was discontinued. Only two options, an HMO or "traditional" were available; our benefits rep recommended the traditional one so we had more control over our doctor choices. We knew it would come with a higher co-pay for office visits and have dealt with that through the year.

Thursday, on the ice, Dottie went to pick up a veggie platter for a party at work on Friday. Some kid in daddy's 4-wheel rolled up alongside her in the grocery parking lot and lit the tires. It slid sideways towards her and she jumped to get out of the way. This is right after she stepped out of her car with the handicapped plate and was walking away from the handicapped parking place (she has a replacement hip and and knee).

Friday her left foot was tender. Saturday it started to swell. She stayed off it most of the day after that. Sunday it looked like someone had slipped a third of a baseball under the skin on top of it, but she wouldn't go to the ER, not knowing how much that would cost us. She wanted to wait for Monday to go see our regular physician.

She called in sick, then called the doctors and got in. They sent her to the lab on premises for an x-ray. The lab said they had gotten an e-mail from our carrier and that they would only pay for foot x-rays done by "National Foot Care" and told her go back to the doctor's to find out where they were.

The doctor's office had no idea. She called me, and I went through 5 phone books and couldn't find them, then went online and Googled and came up with that name and that Ford, Chrysler and Delphi are participants, but there is nothing listed for GM employees.

So the doctor's office sent her to the emergency room...

It wasn't broken, they offered her a "boot" and she turned it down because she knew it wouldn't be something "clean" to wear at work. They offered her painkillers, she turned them down because with only one kidney, she avoids any "extra" things to make it work harder when she can. They were a bit worried about her blood pressure, as it was in the 170/ something range...she is on meds for it and usually it's in the "normal" range. She pointed out to them what she had been through that morning and they didn't seem so worried!

So besides working my 9's 6 days last week and this I've been trying to make sure that there's absolutely nothing for her to do when she comes home except put her leg up.

I will be checking in with you all as I get time...sorry I haven't been around more!

And just so you all can grin a bit, the ornaments are slowly climbing the tree as the ones on the bottom get carried away by Frankie and rehung higher and "deeper" in the tree, lol!


Friday, December 01, 2006

The Weekend Cometh!

Not that I get more than one day of it, lol!

We survived the ice storm, and the heaviest snow missed us by a few miles, starting about 5 miles south of us and getting heavier the further you went. Where my wife works, they had 4" so some of them went out and made a snowman and the rest took residents to the windows to watch. About 40 miles southeast of us they got 18"!

Though I work tomorrow, all 3 grandkids are spending the night tonight. The tree has been up since Tuesday and Frankie hasn't tried to climb it yet, so when I get up tomorrow we're going to decorate it. Hopefully our curious kitty still leaves it alone! (Dottie's plants that have moved to the basement for the winter aren't faring so well; we're going to have to wrap the plant stands in hardware cloth I think.)

I'm trying very hard not to be depressed by man's treatment of fellow man...Litvinenko, Lebanon, Iraq...if I was smart I would turn off the TV and the radio but somehow I can't!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Holidays!

I can hear that old Irving Berlin song echoing around inside my empty head...from "Holiday Inn" for those who don't know it.

Dillon's turkey is something he and Grandma made when the three kids were here last weekend; they each cut, glued picked out their own feathers.

Thanksgiving was wonderful, as was gathering the clan again the next afternoon to go see "Happy Feet". Grandpa started something a few years ago when he bought a round of tickets for everyone to go see "Polar Express" the day after Thanksgiving; even though we are a few less this year, it was still great fun!

Also fun was keeping Dillon overnight that night by himself, as he and I had picked up a few models for his first projects several months ago, but those are hard to do when others are around. So that night we put together a "monster truck" and an later (if I'm lucky)!

John and Noel have discussed putting in a dishwasher over the years; this year they decided they wanted that for part of their Christmas and birthdays, so I spent Saturday working on that and hauling sheetrock for them as they are insulating and re-rocking the older grandchildren's rooms.

Sunday I hauled sheetrock for the next room and then tried to do our shopping for the week, finishing just in time to get home and fix dinner for us as Dottie got out of the shower after work. A bit of TV, and my four day weekend was gone!

So now it's back to that 6 days in a row thing for two more mind says ouch but my wallet is smiling, lol!

Missed you all, hope things are great; I'll be trying to catch up for the next few days, though Dottie is off tomorrow and we're talking about trying to go pick up our tree!

I feel guilty every year when we do that, especially with my Grandma's artificial downstairs, but Dottie loves the smell and it reminds her of home, so I try not to think about it. If I had more yard I'd buy ones I could plant after...maybe someday!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's really hard...

to go back to work after 3 days off, especially when you know your spouse is still at home!

We managed to get some things done, made it to a couple of movies, then we spent Monday driving around Hillsdale Reservoir, a place we fished a lot before my last truck died. New ramps, lots of new campgrounds, and a new marina with a floating heated dock (maybe a place to take the grandkids fishing after the holidays) that also sells bait and tackle and has a sandwich shop, etc.. The roads that were almost all gravel are now mostly paved; houses are going up at all around it now. We had looked at a place there 15 years ago that had 25 acres and 5 ponds on it; it's been broken up for a subdivision now and only one pond is on the property now. Had I been smart enough to buy it, breaking it up would have paid it off!

At the time though, I was going into the last long layoff I had from GM, before I had enough seniority to stay when they go to one shift. (Before I had 15 years in I was laid off as much as I worked.) The hour drive each way on a dry day would get awfully long in winter weather as well, not to mention the vehicles I'd have worn out doing it, so all in all it's probably good we stayed here. 7 or 8 minutes to work has a lot to be said for it!

"A Good Year" was awfully good (my kind of movie). "Stranger Than Fiction" was good as well, though a bit disturbing as well.

Monday after we got home we went out and rented "Click" and "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift", and enjoyed them both. Somehow the sacriege of dropping a Nissan motor in a classic Mustang disturbed me, but in the "making of" stuff you could see the Ford script on the valve covers and the big 4 barrel on top of the Ford V-8 in the car they said was "the hero car".

The real treat was the surprise at the end of the movie...


I'm going to try and catch up with you all before the weekend; Dottie's off both days, I work Saturday again, so it's one of those one day weekends for me. Her birthday is next Monday, so I have a vacation day that day. She's taking her last 3 vacation days and between her weekend off, Thanksgiving Day holiday, and her normal Friday off, she gets 7 off in a row. Needless to say if I get here it will be just for a few minutes, lol!

I hope life is treating you all wonderfully!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday evening...

Where my wife works you aren't allowed to take vacation during "the holidays" so she took the days she had left for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, between her normal Friday and Tuesday off. I get Monday for Veteran's Day from GM. so she has 5 off and I am in the middle of 3.

Sorry I haven't been to visit you all, but we have been enjoying some of our time and tryihg to get some things done while we're both off as well. I'll explain more later...

Hope you are all having lovely weekends!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

The exodus from Washington!

No, not really...not until January, anyway! But in the spirit of the coming!

When we came off one of the dirt roads and back onto pavement last Tuesday, I heard something scratching in the leaves. I stopped the truck, and on Dottie's side we saw these wild turkeys. I'm pretty sure when this park was built in 1938 there weren't any wild turkeys left in Kansas; I don't remember ever seeing one as a kid. Their repopulation started in the last 25 years, and seeing them further out "in the country" isn't unusual anymore, but finding them here was a real treat!

Hope you are each having a good week!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Photo Sunday escaped 'til Monday!

Last Tuesday before the frivolity we took a ride around our closest lake; having a truck now we revisted some gravel roads I haven't been on since my boys were little.

The color is a bit past peak, but the worrisome thing is that this was Oct.31st and the trees still have so many leaves; the color has turned even more to rust now, but not many more have dropped...if we get any kind of an ice storm, it's going to be a major problem, and we're getting to that time of year!

I worked yesterday; this morning I rolled out at 9, cooked breakfast and we made it to see "The Prestige" at 10:40. From there, we worked on filling Santa's sleigh, since we don't get too many shopping days together, and now have the sleigh about 3/4 full.

Tonight we cleared 5 hours of "Supernatural" we were behind on, along with me fixing dinner and running laundry, then after Dottie went to bed I caught up with "Battlestar Galactica" from Friday night since she had watched it with Bill and Laura. I also watched "30 Rock" since she doesn't care much for that one...

Now the clock is ticking towards 3 and I should really crawl into bed!

I'm off Tuesday and she took a vacation day, so after we vote I'm thinking about trying to talk her into going to "Keeping Mum". So far I've only told her Maggie Smith is in it...I should mention Swayze as she loves him; if I mention Rowan Atkinson I'll be lucky to get to rent it on video, lol!

I have my fingers crossed for Tuesday, but not enough courage to hold my breathe...


Thursday, November 02, 2006

A "Toy Story" kind of day...

I had planned to post this before work on Wednesday, but went Christmas shopping before another day slips away:

John is wearing a pair of my old bibs from 2 years ago with a pillow to fill them out...I think seeing how big I really was (he was afraid to drive because his stomach was in the way) may have given him more motivation to watch his own weight than anything anyone might ever say!


4AM, off to bed...thinking of you all!


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

A few weeks ago all 3 grandkids spent the night, and Grandma wanted to make a scarecrow with them. A good time was had by all, though I got in a bit of trouble when I came home at 2AM (kids long since in bed, of course) as she was putting the finishing touches on him and pointed out he looked a bit like he might have been at Roswell!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Blogger and it's snits...

I wrote a Saturday post, but Blogger wouldn't let me upload it and I didn't have hours to keep trying as it was a work day again...if you'll forgive me I'm going to drop it in here:


For some reason I keep "hearing" an old "Chicago" tune rattling inside my empty head, but with the sun out, errands to run, my truck to wash, and work to go to, I don't think I'll be taking their suggestion today!

Tomorrow Bill and Laura are coming from Lawrence so we can change the oil in their Neon, put on the Blizzaks that I had bought for Dottie's Neon before we traded it for the Malibu and some winter blades, then I have some steaks to go on the grill and a couple of pounds of mushrooms to fry in time for Dottie to come home. My plan is to have her Malibu washed and waxed before 2 when the kids arrive. We have a 60 degree day today, and a couple of 70's tomorrow and Monday, so trying to make use of them, especially after all the cold and rain this last week!

I'm almost afraid to say anything about the national political scene for fear I'll jinx things for next week...

But I can't help wondering what happens if you waterboard a guy with a pacemaker, since that's obviously not torture?



Now it's Sunday morning; thanks to the time change I got a bit over 9 hours sleep and am waiting for the kettle to boil to make some oatmeal and a latte.

Bonnie Raitt was on Prarie Home Companion last night; at one point she was telling Garrison how nice it was to have someplace on the radio to find some sanity once a week, that she and her band always listen while they're on the road. She said that at least at Halloween there's an excuse for "scary", unlike the rest of the time as of late (me paraphrasing)!

That thought has been stuck in my head ever since...

Have a wonderful Sunday, each of you!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rinse, Repeat...

Started the next "cycle" would be 17 of 19 again, but I have Halloween off, and we get election day as a negotiated holiday. Worked an hour over last night sweeping...I know better, but too greedy for my own good (truck payments, car payments, Christmas is coming, a half dozen birthdays...)!

Mitch's birthday on Saturday was fun.

My sister's younger son Jordan, with my grandaugher Talia and my youngest grandson...

Caleb a few minutes later, lol...

This is Dillon, looking quite grown up for 7...

and of course, my brother-in-law Mitch being served his cake and ice cream by Miss Talia...

Next time I go back to the Nikon and the overhead bracket to get rid of redeye, these were all shot with the little Fuji and unretouched.

Sunday we made the 10:30AM show of "Flags of Our Fathers". Someday this will be ranked above "Saving Private Ryan" in the list of great WW2 movies. Knowing Eastwood shot a 2nd movie from the other "side" of things that won't come out until spring, I'm curious to see it as well.

If I am smart enough to leave when the line stops tonight, I'll be making the rounds this evening...hope I'm forgiven for not getting everywhere everyday at this point!


Friday, October 20, 2006

I ran across this a couple of nights ago...

Maybe it's just me, but I thought it was pretty funny! (click the link above.) I don't know why it won't set up like a regular YouTube video, but this is the best I could do...

Hope someone else gets a weekend grin from it!

I've worked 17 of the last 19 days; finally I get two off in a row. Tomorrow is my brother-in-law's birthday party, delayed from the end of September due to scheduling conflicts. Sunday is hopefully "Flags of Our Fathers" early, shop our way home, then catch up with "Battlestar Galactica", "Supernatural" and some other things we haven't seen each other long enough to sit down and watch!

Lovely weekends to each of you!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday, 4:10AM...

and I've been bloghopping for a bit over an hour...still need to put tapes in the VCR's for tonight, clock is set for much life and not enough hours!

Sunday was a blur of laundry and other chores...looking forward to a two day weekend this week!

"The world is still the same, you'll never change it"...(from a song most of you are too young to remember).

Korea and Iran whipsawing W. and his cohorts while Iraq descends further into chaos and more of our children die each day. More politicians with their hands in our pockets...more appointees under investigation, pleading guilty, going to jail...

and then on the way home tonight I heard that Ken Lay's conviction was thrown out!

I'm not surprised...disgusted, but not surprised!

Sometimes I think a whole lot of villages must have decided to exile their idiots...

to Washington!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday...(does it count if I have to work?)

Dottie was off yesterday; I managed to get up and we made it to an early show of "Man of the Year". I NEEDED THAT!

I don't care how many stars they're giving it, it's a good movie...not only things that need to be said, but some heart to it as well!

We shopped our way home (Sam's, Costco, Wal-Mart) then I went to work; slept later than I should have this morning (it's afternoon, lol) and I'm off to run a few errands before work.

The best thing about working Saturday (besides the paycheck) is cranking up "Prarie Home Companion" on my radio at 5pm! Things always brighten when I hear Garrison Keillor!

Hope you are all having wonderful Saturdays...


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Catching up...

Sunday, besides some time with the grandchildren until they left for church, I had planned on making it to the 2nd movie we had planned for the week before, washing and waxing Dottie's Malibu, cooking dinner, and watching some TV.

She picks on me a lot about how many hours I think are in a day...

We went and saw "The Illusionist" last week; I had also planned on getting to "The Guardian", but we didn't make. We did finally get there Sunday afternoon, though it wasn't the 10:30 AM show I had planned on. Good movie...I can see why it's holding it's numbers on the IMDB!

Washing her Malibu got put off; we stopped and picked up new tailights for the utility trailer my Dad had built, as I couldn't get the old ones to cooperate, and I came home and replaced them and got the front mudflaps on my truck just before dark as she started dinner.

Monday I ran some errands then came home and washed the truck and got a second coat of wax on it, looking towards the winter weather that's on it's way and knowing they like to put a lot more salt down here than sand so they don't have to clean it out of the storm sewers.

That reflections shot from yesterday was in the roof of the truck after I rubbed the wax off...

When I was done with the rest of it, it looked something like this:

Those two were shot with the Nikon, which seems to be fine after it's trip back to them to have the CCD replaced for free. The "Reflections" was shot with a new Fuji A350 I bought Monday while running those "errands"; 5.2 megapixel, for $90, the size of a cigarette pack. I had been looking for something that would fit in a pocket or Dottie's purse for times when I didn't want to carry the Nikon and lenses; something cheap enough if it fell in a lake, or something happened I wouldn't be distraught like I would if I lost the Nikon. It seems to work well...

My original plan for Tuesday was to wash and wax her Malibu, but it was already raining by the time I got up, so I rewired a pull switch in the ceiling fan in our bedroom; much easier when you don't have Frankie carrying off the wire "nuts", the pull chain, trying to play with the light bulbs...

Then I vacuumed out our main furnace (there are 3 in the house and one in the garage) and lit it off, as the predictions for Wednesday night range from 31 to 39. By the time I got those done, it was time for work again...

Now it's a bit past 4, and my eyes crossed about 10 minutes ago. Goodnight all! Happy Humpday to those of you who aren't working this weekend!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Late Friday afternoon...

just in from "the rounds" (bank, GNC, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, Sam's Club and Costco). It's 3:30, I've got a half hour to unload and put everything away, eat, pack my cooler and be out the door...

Caleb is spending the night tonight with Grandma, Dottie's off this weekend, and I work tomorrow night. The other two grandkids will be here tomorrow afternoon so their Mom and Dad can go to a wedding...

So I won't be around much 'til Sunday evening late!


Thinking of you all, wishing you lovely weekends!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday...not quite "hump day"...

for me, anyway; this is the first of two back-to-back 6 day weeks. It wasn't supposed to be, but it seems they want every Saturn we can build between now and New Years, so they switched some days and put these together to get another day's production.

In February we are supposed to put in requests for most of our vacation days so they can allot manpower; figuring out Dottie's weekend schedule against our Saturday schedule, I plotted out a lot of her Tuesdays off on weeks I would be working on her Saturday off that way we see each other on occasion. Yesterday was one of those, my next is Halloween. That will be my first Halloween off since my grandkids got to start "Trick or Treating", and I'm looking forward to it much, though I kind of wish I had next Tuesday in addition...

I had planned on doing two movies yesterday, but we slept an hour later than I had planned on, then had some "us" time (grin). Back in May we had some hail damage repaired on our Malibu, and the "ditch moldings" they had replaced on the roof were coming loose, so I swung by the Chevy dealer to see about having them replaced. They asked if I had a 1/2 hour, and we said "sure" so they did them right then!

While we waited we went down to the "Parts" department to see about some odds and ends for our new truck. I had bought a "bowtie" (Chevy emblem) cover for the receiver hitch that matched the one in the grill the day the hitch was put on; last Sunday while I was in Wal-Mart for about 20 minutes someone stole it. They actually pulled the retainer clip and pin from the hitch, took the emblem, and put the pin and clip back!

$20, it pissed me off some as I'm still paying interest on it, but made me think that perhaps I should worry about my spare tire, as being a "plain Jane" my truck didn't come with the tire lock as standard equipment. Having to replace a $200 wheel and $150 tire would really wind me up, especially when I need it and it's not there!

So I asked about it at the parts counter, and they had the lock in stock, keyed it to match our ignition key, and told me how to put it in. They also gave me 10% off since I'm a GM employee.

While we were there we picked up a set of mudflaps that fit without drilling. Whenever Dad and I fished the powerplant lake an hour south of here, the gravel entrance road would stone the amber running light off the boat trailer, so I figured it was easier to put those on one time than replace the lenses every time we fish there, lol!

After that there wasn't time to do two movies, and "The Guardian" will be around for a while (Sunday morning is looking good right now for us) so my art house movie "won" the afternoon.

"The Illusionist" starts a bit slow, but is a great movie! The snowball that starts so small picks up momentum until it finally ends up in a brilliant conclusion! Holding at 7.7 on the IMDB with almost 5200 votes in means this isn't just me prattling's really a good movie!

For those of you who have a weekend and a chance, it's well worth your time!


Sunday, October 01, 2006


Went to bed at 1...woke up at 3 and couldn't get back to sleep. Finally at 4:15 I gave up and came in here to blog-hop for a bit...

Worked 11 hours last night. A long time in the saddle...especially when you consider that 2/3 of it is driving backwards, lol! Home at 4:30, to bed at 5, tried to get up at noon, but after I talked to Dottie I laid on the bed while watching the Weather Channel and waiting for the local forecast; next thing I knew it was 3 something!

When Dottie was still driving the white Chrysler everyday and I had an old AMC around for the boys to drive, I was driving a $400 Dodge pickup for a couple of years. It was a slant-six, running on five when I bought it, and after 2 years it dropped another cylinder. We bought Dottie's first new car about that time, I got the Chrysler, and the truck sat in the back yard for a year and a half.

I bought a wrecking yard motor (it ran when they got it, of course, but I never heard it; I'll never make that mistake again!) and spent part of my model change 2 years ago hanging it. Never got it to fire, thought it was in the wiring, and didn't worry about it. Last year, with my back still in recovery, there's no way I was hanging over a fender to work on it.

I started trying to fire it up again this spring, and finally got spark to it when I figured out it had lower compression than the one I pulled out...

It never did run.

The Chrysler left for the crusher on Friday morning (me still feeling guilty, like I let it down by not trying to save it). This afternoon I hitched up Dad's log chain between the new truck and the old one, and when Dottie came home from work we pulled the old one out of the yard and onto the driveway, then swung the 2nd motor into the back, along with all the extra wheels that were around from things, and I've been throwing all the AMC and Chrysler and Dodge parts out of my garage into the bed this week. It leaves on Monday morning...

I remember people speaking of STB's penchant for organizing and minimizing, and I'm trying to do a bit of that for the first time in my life...

I've spent so much time making things out of junk for 35 years it's really hard to let it go...that fear of throwing away something you might need some dark and stormy night is hard to overcome!

The one thing that's helping in this round is that I also fear taking the new tires on my new truck anywhere near the metal recycling plant!


A beautiful Sunday to you all...

I'm going to try to go back to sleep now...I had the clock set for 9...

I wonder how far it's going to creep this time...


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Three 10's...

and I feel I'm becoming very dull!

Volunteering for overtime beyond our normal 9 hour days...nothing like "hard labor" but I got home this morning a bit after 3:30, and I had left for work at 4. Feeling a bit braindead at the moment, lol!

My wife wasn't selected for jury duty, so Monday when she came home we went and tagged the truck. Looking through the papers I realized the sales tax was as much as Dad paid for his new Ford in '53!

Tuesday I cleaned it up and got part of it waxed, I ran out of time and had to get ready for work. Yesterday I cleared gutters and mowed ahead of the rain that moved through last night.

Today I need to pull the battery and some other parts from my Chrysler before it goes to the crusher. Dottie's off tomorrow because she works this weekend; beyond that I have no idea what's going on, other than one of these days I'm going to get 8 hours sleep again!

This world we live in seems bent on it's own destruction in some form or another; no matter where you look you can find signs of it. There are times I feel guilty that I'm not screaming from a soapbox somewhere trying to point out the lunacy of it all, yet we all have to survive one day to the next as well. Signing petitions, writing letters, writing Congressmen, voting, contributing...sometimes it just doesn't seem like enough!


Monday, September 25, 2006

I made it!

A one day weekend and I actually accomplished some things! (That doesn't happen often, or it doesn't feel like it most times!)

I worked last night 'til 2AM (6 day work week, though I burnt a vacation day on Tuesday for time with Dottie, since she worked last weekend), got to bed around 3:30, then got up at 9 this morning and we went to the movies to see "Flyboys". I am an aviation buff, and we lucked out and got in for $4 each (great movie, would loved to have seen it again, immediately). [There were some discrepancies and Hollywood liberties here and there, but not enough to ruin the movie for me, and probably un-noticeable to most.] We stopped at Costco on the way home, I fixed lunch, then went out and washed her Malibu and then cleaned all the road oil and bugs off it from the summer and got 2 coats of wax on it (getting ready for winter). By then it was dark. We had cooked a roast as she did things in the house while I was outside, so I ran through the shower and we ate while I started laundry, then we watched a couple of hours of TV and she went to bed at almost 1, I finished the dishes and put the last load of laundry in the dryer, and now it's a tick after 2...

Tomorrow if I get done at the courthouse early enough I will come home and wash my truck and try to get some wax on it, if I don't get home early enough for that I should mow and then do the other on Tuesday.

It's really a treat to drive something that does all the things it's supposed to, the windows go up and down, the doors open and close, it makes heat in the mornings when I leave work before I get 3 blocks instead of when I'm almost home, etc.. I still can't quite believe it's real!

Off to bed for me...hope you all had wonderful weekends and Monday is kind to you!


Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday the first...

meaning of course, that Friday comes twice in my work week this week. Or I have a one day weekend...

As well, Saturday is Caleb's birthday party, so I'll be going to it for a few hours before I go to work. Last spring I took the day off for Dillon's party, but I didn't have a truck payment then, the holidays weren't coming so soon...I just can't say "no" to time and a half!

Frankie charged the back door as I was coming in from the garage yesterday afternoon at 3. He had slipped out twice on Dottie, but once he let her pick him up, the 2nd time he ran right back in. That was several months ago. This time, he ran back and forth several times like a little black rocket, refusing to come when I called, then ran around the front of the house and disappeared. For 24 hours. I called, rang a little bell on a toy he likes, both then and when I came home at 2:30AM last night. No luck.

We thought perhaps he would follow Angel back in when he got hungry or cold enough. Today it rained about an inch and a half. When Dottie came home she went out and called for him, but no luck. She let Angel out and the dog immediately went to our fence and was sniffing towards our neighbors doorless yard shed. Dottie put Angel back in the house and went over there, and could get him to meow at her, his pathetic meow he would use if we shut the bedroom door and he wanted in, but he wouldn't come to her. Finally she twisted her ankle on something and between that and the rain came home for a while.

She went back, and got him to meow again, but he wasn't in the shed anymore, he was between it and our fence. This time she stepped on something that crunched and watched him do his rocket impression under the fence and across our yard.

She gave up (it was 8:30 by this time) and came in and took her shower and ate. I called at 9, my lunch, and told her to just get ready for bed, that if he was wet enough, cold enough or hungry enough he would come back in.

At 11:30 when I called at my 2nd break, she had sat in the back room with the door open for a while, but no cat. She said she would put Angel out one last time and then go to bed. When she put her out, she saw Frankie and Angel "nose to nose talking" on the patio. When the dog came back in, the cat finally followed. She called and left me a voice mail about it, then when I got caught up I called her back and she said the cat was very wet and very cold, but seemed happy to be back inside.

I hope he stays that way!

He's now curled up in her chair sleeping...

Busy weekend, won't be around much; I hope you all have wonderful weekends!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Trying again...

at the end of a long day! Vacation day, Dottie's Tuesday off again. Home at 2:30, to bed at 3 something, up at 8:30, truck to the dealer at 10 to have the bedliner sprayed and the receiver hitch installed. Ran some errands in the morning and afternoon, returned the rental and got the truck back at 4:30, ran some more errands then came home for dinner and some TV. My eyes are burning and about to cross...

Hopefully I'll get to the gym when I get up today for the first time in over 2 weeks!

41 for a low tonight...kind of early for that, but kind of glad to see it coming I think!

So back to where I was...

Got a letter in the mail yesterday from Nikon; my camera is repaired, "no charge, good will" written in the estimate column, and they shipped it out so hopefully I'll have it back by the weekend and be able to put up some better photos soon! The night before I found out it was "dead" I seriously thought about coming home and getting it, the tripod and the "fancy" raincover I bought for it and trying to get some lightning pics of the thunderstorm that was inbound; I'm very glad I didn't, or I'd have thought I got it wet somehow and ruined it!

So unlike the last airshow two years ago, all I had Saturday afternoon was my little Samsung cellphone...

A while back I had said I would put another photo up of Angel...I never got one when her hair was really short (and uneven) after her summer "shearing", but here she is partially grown back out...

Happy Humpday!


Monday, September 18, 2006

I had planned on posting pics of the new truck, something from Saturday's airshow, and one of my youngest grandson who turns 3 today.

Sadly, Blogger only let me upload one before it decided to take a smoke break...

So since I was putting them in reverse order to write between them, the only one that's here is of Caleb on Saturday afternoon after the Blue Angels flew and closed the Kansas City Aviation Expo. His Dad had walked the older two down to the porta-potties, and Caleb was enjoying one of his favorite pastimes:

Happy Birthday little buddy!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

From the frying pan...

of not being sure I'll get to work or home again, to the fire of paying more than I had planned!

But then I am kind of contributing to my own retirement this way, so i'm not going to "feel guilty" about it.

This morning I got up, opened the kitchen curtain and peeked outside every now and then just to make sure it was really sitting in my driveway! A black 2007 Silverado, 1/2 ton, V-6, regular (or single) cab, 8 foot bed, automatic, air, AM-FM. Nothing extra except a cruise control. Next week it goes back for a sprayed in bed liner and a receiver hitch. For the first time in 6 or 7 years I'll be able to get Dad's bass boat out next spring (if I can come up with money for some batteries for it, a license, etc.).

I went over my walk away price, but mostly because I couldn't get a 0% loan through GM, like I could have a Dodge or Ford. I also sprung for the extended warranty, just in case...

It was quite a treat drving to work and not having to worry about it falling apart underneath me; at some points I got a bit misty over it; in some ways I feel like I'm betraying the old Chrysler (Dad used to try to convince me I couldn't keep them like pets).

Anyway, the deal is done, and I'm ecstatic, although I'm still not sure it's real...


Thursday, September 14, 2006

"A Wing and a Prayer"...

It's been an interesting few days...

My old Chrysler had been making some funny noises, but I had just chalked them up to age. Now that I know what's really going on, every extra squeak and squark causes my heart to leap into my throat, my stomach to clench, my heart to skip a few beats and my mind to wait for "her" to drop down on the right rear and spin to the left (what will happen when that axle comes loose). I keep trying to make sure I'm not next to anyone as much as I can, and have only dared to drive it directly to and from work, not even a few blocks extra to the grocery store or post office, saving the miles she has left for what counts most.

I came over a little rise as I crossed an intersection on the way home the night before last, and "she" made an awful "squark" where she had never made a sound before. For a minute I thought "this is it!". Then she settled back down and kept rolling. That's a 35 mile an hour street, I was doing 30 that night; last night I did 20 as I came over that same spot...

I called the salesman we bought our Malibu from (Allan Hammer at Superior Chevrolet if a local happens to read this, a very good, kind and helpful guy) yesterday and am meeting him at 11 AM tomorrow to try and work out numbers on a new Silverado. Just a "plain Jane", a "work truck"; full-size, 8' bed, V-6, automatic because Dottie doesn't want a stick with her joint replacements, no power locks or windows, vinyl floor, no cruise. The only one they list on their computer inventory that's like that is black, and though I really don't want black, I'll live with it if the numbers are right. I've drawn my "walk-away" line, and though I'm trying to be a loyal GM employee (and support my own retirement, etc..) I will walk away if I have to. Dodge is offering better deals right now; 0% instead of 4.9%, etc.. There has been some talk of making the parking lots at work GM only, but I'll walk a block or two if I have to I guess...

I tried hunting down some used ones, but at the amount I'm looking at, I'd be buying something 6 or 7 years old for almost the same investment; I'm trying to get out of working on things, not bring someone else's headache home!

Hopefully Saturday I'll have something good to post!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My last shot...

at fixing my Chrysler "on a shoestring" just evaporated. Dad had built a utility trailer the fall he started getting sick, and he used a Toronado axle and Chrysler New Yorker springs. I had hoped to rob the boxes on it; they're the right length, depth and hole spacing, but they are the Toronado ones and a half inch too narrow and it's a way I can't improvise and make it up.

Just left the cable company website trying to figure a way to cut channels and knock my bill down enough to try to make up part of a payment; we had already shifted some insurance policies around freeing up money to pay other things down before we went on vacation, and had planned to "knock off" 4 or 5 smaller bills in the course of the next 12 to 18 months, then go buy a pick-up after we paid them off.

As always, "Murphy" intervenes again!

Thank you all for the words of encouragement and sympathy!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday blues...

Never plan anything for a weekend, lol!

Mine was to try and rebuild the rear brakes on my Chrysler. (They haven't exactly been working right for a couple of months, but when I do them I need someone to pump the pedal for me to bleed them. I have been waiting for a weekend when we were both off with no other plans, and thought this was the one.)

After I jacked it up and soaked the bleedscrews in penetrating oil, Dottie said we should really shop for Caleb's upcoming birthday. I figured I'd be back in two hours, no problem. The shopping goblins had other thoughts however!

We have 3 grandkids, all moving into the "Gameboy" age. Their dad also has one, so we were trying to find one in a different color to make things easier to keep track of. 3 colors are readily available. After 5 hours of shopping and finally giving up for the day, I came home to check the net and found out that the only others are pre-packaged special editions not available everywhere. By then it was dark, of course.

The "Omnicef" they gave me for an antibiotic works like some kind of "cleaning agent" on me, I've been eating those little pills from Wal-Mart with regularity, and maintaining control of things enough to function, but occasional rounds of frequent trips to the bathroom have been interspersed through the last 4 days; Dottie had been craving "Gorditas" for a while, so that was dinner Saturday night. About 4AM Sunday I was regretting those...and off and on for the rest of the day!

Sunday I tracked down one of those special edition Gameboys, cobalt blue, problem solved. That afternoon I crawled under the back of my 26 year old Newport and realized that the "box" that attaches the leaf spring to the axle on the driver's side was completely rusted through and bending open; the passenger side is thinking about it.

Deciding that adding any further load to it (i.e. braking forces) is only going to add to it's demise, I let the car down and gave up on that for the weekend, figuring I'd call a spring shop today and be able to get a pair of the boxes for $50 or so.

No such luck; a dealer item, no longer stocked or in use anywhere on earth (after many phone calls and a lot of surfing). The best advice says to buy other spring pads, cut off the old ones (torch work) weld on new ones, and rebuild them into something else. Several hundred dollars if I do it myself, more if I pay someone, for something I'm only trying to limp along for 18 months or so before I scrap it! Ain't gonna happen!

These have probably been this way for a while (explaining the funny wiggle I get out of it every now and then), but the idea of driving it now that I know brings a bit of dread. I don't even dare make the extra trips to go the gym in it, figuring if it has "X" number of trips left before the axle lets loose, I should apply them all to going back and forth to work...

I don't know where this is going to end up, but I have to go figure something out!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Evil bugs!

My wife finally brought one home that got me instead of her...a little sinus bug that started last week settled into my crowns and root canals and teeth late Sunday and, being stubborn (and having to co-pay more under my new insurance) I kept trying to fight it off. I went to work on Tuesday, and was actually beating on my leg at certain points to make something hurt more than my teeth did. That night I came home started taking some leftover hydrocodones; it took 4 to take the edge off enough I could sleep a few minutes at a time.

I went yesterday and got antibiotics, took the night off and laid on the couch and tried to ignore things, and am finally better today. Hopefully I still think that at 2AM when my shift is done!

Dottie worked Labor Day and so has to take a day off to make up for it (?) and picked tomorrow, giving her a 3-day weekend starting tomorrow. While I'm looking forward to it and getting some things done around her, I may not be around much while my keeper is keeping on...

May the weekend be kind to you all!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I'm Jet Black! Which Cowboy Bebop character are you?

Which Cowboy Bebop character are you?

Fell in love with this series a few years ago; I ran across this the other night and couldn't resist...



Sunday, September 03, 2006

"The Life of Riley"

Some of us have it...

(Does anyone else remember William Bendix's show of that name?)

Then there are the rest of us who work for a living!

Between the work hours and the gym hours it's been a busy week; thank goodness I got a 3 day weekend, although Dottie gets to work all 3 of them. I have enough things on my plate to keep me occupied, however, with pleny to spare!

Since I didn't mow for 3 weeks through the worst of the drought, then when I was going to two weekends ago, other things intervened, we just had to go and get about 4 inches of rain last weekend, so when I started my lawn work this afternoon, it was as tall as the mower. I got the front done, having to double cut it to make it look even, and trimmed most of it; the back I'll finish today. I also have to put the passenger-side wiper arm in my Chrysler back together, as it disconnected itself last week at the height of one of the storms. Of course, it's not somewhere easy to get to...

If I get those done tomorrow, then Monday I may try and go walking or ride my bike for a while, and maybe slip off to the the "art house" for a movie before Dottie gets off work.

I also have to box my Nikon up to return to them, as after two and half years, I pulled it out of the bag last weekend at my sister's birthday and the display was black. I changed batteries and CF cards, then gave up and finished fixing dinner.

I had lent it to Noel for "first day back to school pictures" so I thought somehow something must have happened to it when it was out of my hands; checking the extended warranty I found it had expired last February.

Finally, early in the week I went to Nikon's website, hoping to find out they made something that would still use the lenses I bought to go with it; instead I found a notice saying they had found out there was an electronic component that would cause this, or color aberrations (had a few of those a while back, but assumed it was a low battery causing them, as it was almost time to change it when they occurred). They also stated that they would happily repair any affected cameras for free!

Hooray for Nikon!

One of the highlights of my week was hearing "Click and Clack", the "Car Talk" brothers on NPR say that Honda was having to recall several million Hondas and Acuras, but not for a mechanical defect! It seems one of the 1-800 numbers they printed in the owner's manuals for help charges $2.99 a minute because it's "Erotic Encounters" phone number, they were off by one digit...

Better them than us! :o)

Which brings us to my first Photo Sunday in a while. Above is "Frankie" sleeping in my wife's chair, originally my Dad's 1950 Bishop platform rocker. It was the first piece of furniture Mom and Dad bought; he recovered it twice, and it's in need of it again, along with some spring work this time...guess I'm going to have to figure out how to do that before long, 'cuz the one bid I had is more than my house payment!

Frankie has grown a bit since we got him, and is full enough of himself to warrant the moniker "Frankestein" at times, but we love him dearly!

Some of you will remember Angel from a previous post; her hair is about half grown back now after her spring clipping, and another thing I need to do this weekend is brush and bathe her again, then put "the medicine" on her neck, as the chiggers are eating she and I both alive, but Dottie won't let me spray outside because Frankie eats all the bugs that get into the house...anyway, I have a few of Angel I'll put up soon...

All of these, by the way are from my camera/phone; the following are the Saturday night repast while I was fixing it.

A pound of mushrooms...

Something new for us, "Pierogies" (Costco frozen, in Newman's "Pesto")...

And a couple of "Sam's Club" sirloins..

Tonight I'm going to try cubing up a cheap patio steak and making a stir fry with recipe, just a shot in the dark...beef and veggies...

Hope you are all having great weekends and for those who get Monday off, that you have a wonderful "Labor Day"!


Monday, August 28, 2006

"I am shocked...

shocked to find gambling going on here!" (Renault, played by Claude Rains, in "Casablanca" from 1942.)

This display of nerve leaves Rick at a loss. The croupier comes out of the gambling room and up to Renault. He hands him a roll of bills.

Croupier: "Your winnings, sir."

Renault: "Oh. Thank you very much"

From the script of "Casablanca", 64 years ago...

The above has been much in my mind, repeating over and over since last Friday when the State Department announced they were shocked that Israel "might" have used American made cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon last month, and they would begin an "immediate investigation to make sure that none of the agreements we had with them about the use of such weapons had been violated"...

Jim Clancy of CNN was on the ground there last week, showing the bomblets scattered everywhere by the thousands, and speaking to doctors and nurses in the hospitals who were trying to save some of the children injured by these miniature airborn mines. One child had not even been playing with one or touching it at the time he was "hit". It fell from the tree where it had been stuck, next to the front stoop of his home...

He was about a year older than my grandson.

CNN also showed people trying to go out and clear the bomblets. There aren't enough of them of course, and they are scattered not only all over the ground, rooftops and in trees, but in the rubble of every building that dropped from other bombs, etc..

What a wonderful world...


Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday morning...

almost 3AM. Playing beat the clock again, as I need to do a few things and hit the shower and be in bed by 3...

Good week in the gym, personal bests all 3 days for weight, reps or both. Feeling it very much tonight, lol!

Grandkids are spending the night tonight, then Saturday is my "little" sister's birthday party, postponed from two weekends ago because we couldn't get everyone together for more than an hour that weekend. Grilled chicken with that marinade I shared so long ago on the menu, along with corn on the cob, baked potatoes and rolls.

I might not be around much until late on Sunday, so forgive me for not checking in sooner...

Hope you each have wonderful weekends!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Playing "beat the clock" tonight...

I was trying to make it to bed by 2, now I'm going for 2:30, lol! My intent was 8 hours sleep before I get up to hit the gym tomorrow, and I may still get it. I'm still trying to do a 3 day split (chest and back, legs, then arms and shoulders) and get some cardio in each time, but keep getting there later than I want to and the cardio is suffering, therefore I'm not bouncing right back down to the weight I was when vacation began last month!

Of course, fighting through the Ruffles and Vanilla Wafers withdrawal after spending two weeks mostly in the car and munching isn't helping that battle, either! The week I went back to work I did even more damage, as I touched peanut butter for the first time in a year (when I came home, worse yet) and went through a half a large jar of Skippy in about 3 days...with a spoon!

Slowly gaining control over my diet again, and the rest will fall into place...or fall off of place...or something like that, anyway!

Happy Wednesday!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday finds me being lazy...

I slept 'til noon, despite my better intentions. 8 hours for the first time in a week!

I should be cleaning, mowing, running errands; instead I've been catching up virus definitions and updating Ad-Aware, etc..

I did upload from the memory card of my phone finally...not a great photo, but something to make you appreciate your own "look in the mirror" all the more!

Off to change a water filter!


Monday, August 14, 2006

It's strange to sit here...

with thunder and lightning all around and be writing a post instead of worrying about a lightning strike! I'm on the laptop, Dottie went to bed a bit ago, and I'm heading for the shower when the lightning slows a bit.

We did an "us" weekend, 2 movies in the theatre yesterday, then one last night off DVD after we got home. Today we slept late, stuck a turkey in the oven and went to another, then came home and ate and watched a second, then watched the 2nd episode of "3 Moons Over Milford".

The worst "discussions" of our 30 years have always been over gay rights and women's rights; the events of the last month have added a 3rd to that list. She of course, has no idea about my friend in Beirut and her family. She also thinks that as long as a single missle lands in Israel they have a right to target the entire population of a country instead of just the ones firing them...

Perhaps I've offended some of you as well over this last few weeks as well as my wife; if so I'm sorry for that.

Somehow the idea of "killing the patient to cure a boil" bothers me!

We saw Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" on Saturday. I had heard interviews last week with some of the people who were there, and they had good things to say about it. It was a good movie, well done. Apparently the events of last week made it poor timing for it's release, as people seem to be avoiding it. Maria Bello is always stunning, and it's really a very good ensemble.

That afternoon we finally got to "An Incovenient Truth". This one needs to be seen in all the schools when it hits DVD, and I hope it is. This might be one more time when the kids can help save the parents!

On the way home last night I stopped and rented "Brick". I had wanted to see it at the "art house" but it only stayed a week, and those are really hard to get to on my hours. I had read about it somewhere (USA Today, maybe) being a Raymond Chandler "Sam Spade" type of yarn, set in high school. It was, it was good, and has me digging for my copy of "The Maltese Falcon". Chandler and Hammett have been on my reading list for a long time, just to see how they compare to those old movies I love; sometime I'm going to have to get to them.

Today, after the turkey found it's way into the oven, we went to see "Prarie Home Companion". I love the radio show, my wife is bored by it, but I really wanted to see the movie, so we went. I liked it a lot, and love having faces to go with the voices I've treasured for so long now. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly slipping in as the cowboys didn't jar me as badly as I had feared, and Meryl Streep can sing! This may not be ranked with Altman's "MASH" but it's a really good movie! Dottie still doesn't care for the radio show, but laughed pretty hard during parts of the movie. I had hoped it might draw her into fandom, but no such luck.

We came home, I did chores while she made gravy, then we ate and watched "Failure To Launch", one we had missed in the theatres and had been looking forward to. We both enjoyed it very much, and the interviews with McConaughey and Bradshaw in the making of stuff are a riot!

Hope you all had nice weekends!


Friday, August 11, 2006

So true...

My feelings in a nutshell!

Tomorrow (a UN resolution) has been coming for weeks now, and it isn't here yet!

Everyone puts their positive spin on things, and so far the only proposal that might actually do anything to help NOW is the Russian one, which Bolton is saying "is a distraction".

I'm ashamed of my country and it's inaction; let alone it's supplying the means of destruction!

Sorry but this has my stomach in knots, and I can't help but write about it...


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Just a recurring thought...

If some guys did at home what they'll do in a public restroom, they'd be "Bobbittized"!


Sunday, August 06, 2006


a few days ago for "Five Weird Things About Me". I've been mulling trying to come up with some I haven't listed before...

1. I've set myself on fire once! Burning paint off a motorcycle frame I couldn't afford to sandblast. It was lying on a patio, I covered it and lit it, then when the flames went out, I used a 1/2 gallon pitcher to pour more on it. Apparently, it was still hot enough to provide instant ignition, and the fire came right back up to the pitcher, and up across my face as I tossed it. I lost part of my goatee and moustache, most of my eyebrows and my hair was singed. After driving to get my wife we went to the base dispensary (I was her dependent in those days) and they ran cold saline solution over my face for a long time, then checked my eyes to make sure they were OK. The cold drew out the heat, the saline drew the moisture to keep it from blistering, and I never blistered or peeled!

A few years later I read in another magazine that the best thing you could do for a sunburn was to make saltwater with as much salt as you could dissolve in it, then chill it with ice cubes, and dip washrags or towels in it to apply it to the burn. Change them when they don't feel cold anymore...

2. I have an ugly scar on the inside of my left elbow. We moved when I was in the 5th grade and the new house was on a septic tank. Dad gave away Mom's automatic washing machine and bought a wringer one so less water went through the septic. The first thing Mom said was to never walk my fingers on the wringer. I didn't understand what she meant, and got her to explain it. Everytime I went to the basement she would utter those cautionary words; after about 6 months I tried it.

I had on a long sleeve nylon shirt and my arm got sucked in up to the elbow, then it couldn't go any further, so it just sat there and spun while I screamed. I wasn't strong enough to pop the safety release, or smart enough to pull the plug. It peeled the hide off the inside of my arm from about the time it was halfway to the elbow, then as it sat and spun it got down into the meat a bit. Mom finally came downstairs, unplugged it, then used a hammer to open the release bar.

Of course, all the way to the doctor's, she said "I told you not to do that!"

3. I listen to a lot of jazz, big band, swing and classical. I grew up listening to swing era stuff, and found earlier and later jazz on my own. I played classical through school, only to get myself into the stage bands, but these last few years have come to love it as well. I never really listened to rock until I was in the service! Working where I do with so many radios on throughout the assembly plant, either on classic rock or country or rap stations, you can only listen to those 50 songs that are in rotation so many times before you burn out...consequently (and for commercial free listening) I gravitate to the left end of the dial...I'm happy with New Age, Celtic, trance, techno, world, reggae, Asian...there are times my wife will get in the car and it's Tejano or Persian music; then she'll ask if I can at least play something in English...

4. I don't have a savings account, and no prospect for one...

5. I have no stock, PSP, 401K or any of that...only my GM retirement, which seems to be more endangered everyday!

Sorry if those last two are "wimping out" but it's Saturday night now, I've been mulling these for days; Dottie stayed home sick today so I didn't get here until midnight, and I'm heading for the shower and to bed! I did laundry, replaced the alternator on my Chrysler and shopped today, fixed dinner, and spent a few hours watching "Ghost Whisperer" with her, along with trying to transfer our phone books to two new cellphones and figuring out how to load MP3's onto mine (Gayanne, the ballet score, Gerry Mulligan and Astrud Gilberto were first, see 3 above...)

I don't have the heart to tag anyone else...hope I'm forgiven!

Hope you're all having wonderful weekends!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sadness ensues...

I awoke at 11 and came here to "check in" and change the shipping on an Amazon order before I left for the gym. First I turned on the Weather Channel (like always) then CNN International...something about the "train wreck" of our world always draws me.

They were showing satellite photos of southern Beirut from before the present madness began, and then from yesterday.

They look like the aerial photos of Berlin or a number of other European cities after the 8th Army Air Corps raids of the 2nd World War!

So much for "precision bombing of selected targets" and all of that fooforaw about "only targeting sites due to intelligence". There are entire blucks missing!

My friend was interviewed by the BBC for their noon broadcast today; I'm hoping they repeat part of it tonight at midnight when I get to tune in from work...

Sorry about going on about all of this. My next post was supposed to be my "5 weird things about me" answer to being tagged, and I have been working on it, trying to come up with ones I haven't used before. So far I have 3...more soon I promise!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I've been biting my tongue...

for days now, and just can't stand it anymore!

14 artillery shells fired into a clearly marked UN observer post.
6 phone calls pointing out the error to those firing the shells.

Guess they were tired of the phone calls because next it was a 500 pound American made laser guided bomb that found it's way to them!

It was bad enough when people were being told to leave after the bridges and roads had already been blown up...

When our government was planning on charging the Americans that were trying to leave for their transportation to Cyprus and then home...

When the BBC announced that the US military aircraft ferrying the smart bombs and other munitions to Israel (more of our tax dollars at work) were stopping over at an airbase in the UK without having asked permission (big no-no)...

Then we have the 2nd massacre at Qana on Sunday, with at least 60 dead, mostly women and children (again). Last time (1996) the residents had gone to a UN base for their safety as they couldn't evacuate.

It was shelled by artillery! 106 dead...

This time two more American made laser guided bombs were dropped on a building "that was close to where we thought some missles were fired from"!

They regret the loss of life...Bush regrets the loss of life...

They say they'll stop bombing for 48 hours to let people leave and let aid convoys in; tonight on the BBC Oxfam said that they are requiring clearance for each individual convoy and 72 hours notice before they can move. Of course, the 48 hours will be over before the 72 hours is!

So much for a pause...

Bush says we're going to send aid...

Guess we should, we already sent the bombs!

My friend in Beirut was OK as of yesterday. Her company is trying to get their employees to relocate to offices in other countries "for the duration". If she doesn't, she goes on half pay for the forseeable future. She doesn't want to leave her parents and grandparents (in their 90's and not in good health). I can't blame her...

I can't imagine her Dad and what he must be thinking. A Palestinian Christian, born in Haifa in what is now Israel, uprooted and exiled as a boy...

My head is spinning as I think of all of heart is heavy...

There are so many ways to die in this world...traffic, disease, accidents...

Why do we have to kill each other as well?


Friday, July 28, 2006

My contest entries...

I spoke earlier in the week of turning in some of my vacation photos for a contest the "Skill Center" at work was having. The "Orange Moon", the "Malibu on the Floating Bridge and the "foxglove?" white flowers I posted yesterday were 3 of them.

There is a (longish) story behind the other 3.

Back in grade school, the one I used to walk to when I lived in this house (before we moved when I was in 5th grade), I read a lot. My "Friendship 7 Summer Reading Program" card from the summer of '62 has all the slots filled out (maybe 25 books, I haven't seen it for a while) with a little Mercury capsule stamped for each book I read, but the front of it is covered with dozens of stamps for the ones there was no room to write in. Someday I'll find it and scan it...

I don't know if it was that summer, or later, but in that library (and I remember it being that library) was one about Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. I don't remember much of it, but that was my first memory of Vermont.

All these years of going to Vermont I've passed things by getting there. Niagra Falls, the Air Force Museum at Dayton along with the Wright Brothers sites that are there, the Erie Canal. Two trips ago we stopped at the Bennington Museum on the way out coming home, and even Dottie was glad we had (Bill was with us that time). Last time (2004)I tried to stop at the Bennington Battlefield Monument, but missed the closing time by a few minutes. (Someday...)

That last week before we left I looked up the Old Rhinbeck Aerodrome. I had seen it when Neil Armstrong did a PBS series called "First Flights". It is a museum to the first two decades of aviation- with flyable aircraft or replicas. Though open all week, they only fly on the weekends. It's a bit south of Troy in New York State.

The weekend was already taken by an anniversary party for Ed and Jane (their 25th), so that got demoted to someday...

I also printed some short haul rail excursions that run in Vermont and their prices. Time didn't allow for them, either...

The night before we left I googled Fort Ticonderoga, thinking of Ethan Allen, and Vermont history, etc.. I found a website and printed some things including a map and the hours, etc..

Deb and Verne, Dottie's two youngest sisters, have always been wonderful about putting up with my camera and I. In 2004 it was Deb who said "when I come home this way I get a really nice view of Camel's Hump, if there's a sunset tonight it might be perfect". It was, I shared it with you all a while back. Verne took me to Lake Iroquois; you have been there as well with me.

When they found out I wanted to go to Fort Ticonderoga they worked it out so that the day before we left, the two of them, along with Verne's husband and two sons could all go as well. We loaded our Malibu and Verne's SUV on a ferry and crossed Lake Champlain, then drove about an hour south.

The fort and the battlefield park surrounding it were amazing! There are still trenches there from 1758 and what we call the French and Indian War. The memorials to the soldiers that fell in those battles have fresh flowers on them, 258 years later!

Then after you pass the memorials and plaques to these earlier battles, you come to the fort itself.

Which brings me to my other contest entries (finally...hope you're still with me).

That may be in the half dozen "best things I've ever shot"...

You enter through a wonderful gift shop/snack bar (really good food as well). There are re-enactors, there are guided history tours...the museums that are housed in the fort structure itself have some amazing things I'll share in the next few days.

That one I actually had to let them pull because I turned in 6 prints and hadn't read the fine print, I was only allowed 5. One instructor wanted to pull the Malibu on the bridge out, but since that's what we build for a living, I told him to pull the fife and drum corps instead, and kept this next one in as well.

Sometimes you get lucky...

Our weekend plans are up in the air; we're trying to keep the 3 grandkids on Saturday night so John and Noel can have a "date night" before school starts again the middle of August. So far they haven't committed, but if we don't we have lots of things we can do. I might get a chance to visit some of you over the weekend, but most likely won't be posting again until Monday (now if you got this far you can breathe a big sigh of relief. Dottie's sisters have always complained about how long it takes me to tell a story).

Lovely weekends to each of you!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

A little something...

to make up for the longer post I had planned for tonight (overtime and my first day back in the gyn are catching up with me, not to mention Photoshop wasn't cooperating as I tried to reduce these, lol).

Our first Monday in Vermont, after I photographed the car on the Brookfield Floating Bridge, we had gone back to my sister-in-laws in East Roxbury. We went up the road past her house, one I've been down many times, and I ran across these flowers...

Back down the hill and in her front yard, I found these...

4:17AM, my clock is set for 10:30...

Goodnight all!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Photo Sunday...

was going to be the St. Johnsbury Library and Atheneum, but I haven't Photoshopped those yet. I have been working on some other things, though, and it's almost 5 AM so I'm going to post them instead...

A while back I posted about a place I love and showed off some of my wife's homestate from 2 years ago. Among those was this one of our Neon and a Floating Bridge at Brookfield, Vermont.

The bridge and Brookfield are still as lovely as ever, though the bridge might be floating a tad lower this time. This one is a bit over 30 years old, as the last one got flipped by someone who decided to haul his dozer across it on a gooseneck trailer (way way overweight of what it's posted for).

The night shot I posted while I was gone was shot the same place as the day one I posted then...

In shooting a one minute time exposure to get the silver shine across the water I "burned out" the moon itself, which was gorgeous that night. I had shot several when I heard the car coming, so timed my next one to get the tailight streak all the way across and up the hill, and the headlights lit the end of the house just enough to make it show up nicely.

After that I put a telephoto on and shot the moon itself...thinking of so many of you like always...

I've been printing some things for a vacation photo contest held by the "Skill Center" at work, I'll share some later in the week.

May you all have a lovely Sunday!


Addendum: Forgot to say (though most of you know) that the white car on the bridge is the Chevrolet Malibu I build for a living...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

A beautiful buiding in it's own right, this museum is a treasure! The turret in the "L" houses a planetarium; the current show, besides the usual nightime sky is explaining volcanoes throughout the solar system and is quite amazing!

The first floor is a natural history museum, and also houses a gift shop inside the front entrance, and at the far end is a gallery that rotates exhibits. The current one is an amazing set of images shot with an 8x10 (negative size) view camera of Vermont side-hill farms.

You'll have to pardon my attempts to convey the scope and beauty of the interior of this wonderful place. These are handheld, existing light exposures at 1/8 to 1/15 of a second, wide open aperture with my digital Nikon set on 400 ASA speed.

The second floor has an overview of cultures from around the world through the ages, along with some Vermont, St. Johnsbury and Fairbanks history. It also houses the rock exhibits that used to be in the basement before the weather station was enlarged.

The basement has a small display showing the history of Fairbanks scales and their manufacture in St. Johnsbury, and houses the weather station for Vermont Public Radio and some other affiliates.

I've been here many times through the years, the first time with my mother-in-law who could remember attending dinners in the Fairbanks family homes when she was young, before the "family fortune" disappeared and they lost everything. It was always a very special place for her, and has become one to me as well.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Moving this from reply to post...

Jon-Marc; the Bennington Museum is in southern Vermont and as I drove by when I left, had signs out for a Rembrandt exhibit. I was running too late to stop, but have visited it before and seen it's wonderful collection. Art, history, a bit of everything.

If cityscape interests you, Burlington is awfully nice, especially the downtown area and waterfront. Sailing cruises, kayak or sailboat rental, a public beach, lots of cool stuff going on especially in the summer months. Shelburne is a beautiful place, and has the Shelburne Museum

To the northeast there is St. Johnsbury, a gorgeous "old city" with the Fairbanks Museum, and the St. Johnsbury Atheneum (a library and art gallery contributed by another Fairbanks decendant). (My wife is descended from the Fairbanks family, so I've been to the museum many times now; it's a beautiful building and a wonderful natural history museum, along with other collections of Vermont history. The Atheneum building is stunning in it's own right, and the paintings in the gallery have just been restored and are glorious!)

There are lots of "touristy" things to do as well, from touring Ben and Jerry's (free samples of what they're making) to riding the Alpine Slide at Stowe. I promise you that no matter where you drive in the Green Mountains, it will be one of the most beautiful places you've ever seen.

If you plan on being outside in the late afternoon, some kind of insect repellant is advisable, they've a pretty good crop of mosquitoes this year from all the rain!



Monday, July 17, 2006

Home again...

finally! I love Vermont, love being there, but my own bed has much to recommend it!

I had hoped to update more often while there, but we packed so much into the days we had that getting 5 or 6 hours sleep was hard to do; some nights it was only 4. I will give more detail in the coming days...with photos...

We ate in the car on the way home, rather than stopping, to try and make up some of the time we lost on Saturday as we "shopped" our way out of Vermont, trying to find a last few items for the grandkids and such. I drove 'til 1AM Sunday and made the "halfway" point, between Cleveland and Columbus when we stopped. Up at 8, out the door by 9, and after the time change we rolled into our driveway a few minutes after 9 last night. An offer of pizza got Bill and Laura to pick Angel up at my sisters and save us trying to pick her up before bed time or having to wait until tonight, so we unpacked and I started doing laundry.

The whole time we were there, people were complaining about the heat; it was in the upper 80's and low 90's. Right now, it's 96 and the heat index is 103; they're predicting 101 this afternoon!

I miss the Green Mountains!