Saturday, December 29, 2007


Everyone, it seems, has their own holiday traditions. For some it starts the day after Thanksgiving with decorating or, in my case, shopping on Black Friday. But shopping aside, one of my favorite Christmas/New Years' traditions entails travelling 1200 miles from home to visit my in-laws.

Now that may not seem like a strange or different tradition, but once we get there, we like to drive 70 miles, then hike one more over rough terrain to get to the cave. The hike alone is a little rigorous, but add an eighty pound pack and it gets very interesting.

At the cave we setup camp just inside the mouth and cook dinner, shoot BB guns and explore the depts of the cave as time permits. We always have a wide array of lamps, candles, LED headlights and the like to see in the cave. This experience alone inspired one full chapter of my book. Shooting BB and pellet guns won't match what my family does in Utah, (wish I could be there with you to blast a few dozen Christmas ornaments.) but we get a great deal of satisfaction just the same.

Whatever your traditions for Christmas and New Years, I hope you all have good ones.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Wedding Bells

We got a phone call tonight, Christmas Eve. Chris and Tandy are officially engaged. I just thought this would be a fun forum to spread the news.

Guess I better get out the tux.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

We were travelling 1230 miles to visit my in-laws for Christmas, from Texas to Kentucky. What should have been 5 hours away from our destination changed considerably. Traffic came to a standstill and we found ourselves about 3 miles back in a traffic jam caused by an accident. An hour later the line started to move and we drove less than an hour towards Nashville and found ourselves in another jam. We learned from the first one that it could be a while and took advantage of this one to rest and relax. Good thing too, because over 2 hours later we finally got going again. I had hoped to get through Nashville before rush hour, but didn't expect to bring all the rush hour traffic with us through town. It was quite a relief after every turn to lose a few more cars until we were in the 2nd to the last leg of our journey and found ourselves in yet a 3rd jam. We decided that we had spent at least 4 hours just sitting on the interstate. Our normal 22 hour trip finally took about 31 hours.

As we open our presents this year and see our loved ones open theirs, we'll remind them that the journey is part of the gift.

Merry Christmas,


Monday, December 10, 2007

Pain in the Neck

I normally don't have a very good excuse for failure to blog. Laziness and distraction are usually enough to keep me from writing, but for the past month I've had an additional excuse. Whether from posture at home or work, typing on the computer or reading, I've had a pain in the back of my neck that just doesn't go away. I've been supplementing my diet with Excedrin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen, trying to kick they cycle of inflammation long enough to get rid of the pain, but nothing helps much. A day of typing at work causes more pain than my thyroid surgery did. The only thing I can think of that tops it is hitting my thumb with a hammer. (Accidentily, of course.)

The various pain relievers and anti-inflammatories work for about 3 hours then wear off. Ice packs help temporarily, as do heat packs. As much as anything, I'm trying to determine just exactly what behavior is causing the pain, but so far I haven't pinned it down. On a bad night, I'll wake up in pain and go looking for a remedy. I'm open to suggestions, comments, good jokes, anything that will help.

I'll figure it out.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Midnight Rendevous

As I was preparing for bed a couple of nights ago, the dogs outside began barking. Not just my son's mutt, that stays outside, but also the neighbors' dogs. Every little thing sets them off, but they usually quiet down quickly. That night, however, they kept going.

I told my wife that there was probably an animal in the alley, but I didn't want them to disturb the neighbors or me. I grabbed a flashlight and went outside in my underwear, as it was a pleasant night. My son's mutt hid from me behind the shed, but at least she was quiet. The flashlight beam didn't show anything in the alley, but as I swung it back over the fence, it revealed the little guy above.

I suspect that after all the dogs barking at it, I was a pretty friendly face and it didn't run off. I talked to it a bit, played with its tail, but didn't feel brave enough to touch its back, then said, "Wait right here. I'll be back in a minute." I went inside and got the camera to take a couple of pictures, for which he posed well. It probably only saw spots in front of it for the rest of the night.

Once again I said, "Wait another minute." I went inside and got some bread to feed it. He wasn't sure about it at first, then gladly accepted the bread. I left him on the fence and went back to bed.

My biggest problem now is, what should I feed the possum tonight?

I'll figure it out.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Post Potter Depression

Not having suffered, to my knowledge, any other form of depression, I can only judge based on my own experience that Post Potter Depression must be the most virulent form known to man. I have read all the Harry Potter books, seen all the movies, listened to the books on tape and am finally left with nearly nothing. Mere snippets of Harry insights trickle from the crumbs J K Rowling chooses to drop since the last book was published, snippets which were better left unsnipped. I find myself going to the website only to find that the sealed door is still open, containing only the last message posted upon publication of the final tome.

My friends tell me, you can always read another book. I try, but my heart remains unmoved, my mind in limbo waiting, hoping that at least the latest movie will soon come to dvd and perhaps there will be an announcement about the next movie.

I have spent the better part of so many years reading, re-reading the Harry books available, immersed in Hogwarts. Alas, the magic is gone.

Maybe I'll start all over, not for awhile. For now, I'll drown my misery by immersing myself in the dark know, Hershey's, Godiva and Whitmans.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm a Believer

I'm a believer, and that doesn't refer to religion or the Monkees' song, although both apply. My middle daughter L_ drives 25 miles each way to college 3 times a week. As she drove to class this week, her car made a funny knocking noise which she asked me about over the phone. She thought it might be a tire problem and a classmate told her he knew everything about tires since he works for Discount Tire. All he could tell her was that the tire would need to be replaced within the next several months.

At a friend's house, L_ and he discovered that not only were two lug nuts missing from her wheel, but that the bolts were sheared off. She took the car to have it fixed and amazingly it only cost $45.00. Quite a bargain considering it could have cost L_ her life travelling to and from college.

I advised her to tell her "I know everything about tires" classmate that he skipped the part in class about counting lug nuts.


Friday, September 28, 2007


Napoleon Dynamite says girls love guys with skills. Bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills, ninja skills. With I guess my adventures this week might put me into that category. I travelled to a large town nearby to work with another branch of my office. I headed up a visit to close a business. The owner had emptied it out around midnight the night before and didn't open it that day. Our locksmith got out his handy lockpick gun and went to work. I took notes, although I already know how to use one. In about 5 minutes we were inside and he began changing the locks. The two police officers with us checked out the store to make sure it was vacant and safe, then the alarm went off. I worked with the locksmith to disable the alarm and returned the scene to peace and quiet. We tried calling the owner, but for some reason she didn't answer our calls. All in all, an interesting day.

Glad I don't do that often, but I wonder if I'll ever use my new skills.....


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gotta Love Contests

As my wife and I were watching the news an ad came on for a chance to win tickets to an Omnimax theater showing. The nature of the ad told me the odds of winning were great, plus we usually win free stuff on the tv station contests like this. We both were entered and both won 4 tickets to the movie.

We went to see Wild Chimps of Jane Goodall. It was pretty exciting, but as interesting as the picture was watching our grandson react to the huge moving pictures of monkeys on the screen. Add a little vertigo and our grandson was almost as fun to watch as the movie. My wife can go again to the same movie free on Tuesday night as part of a teacher appreciation night. She's tempted to go again so she can actually watch the movie.

Me, I'd just like to get alone in the domed theater to see how my harmonica sounds with those accoustics.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Delusions and Illusions

My youngest daughter had a boyfriend over late last night. As they were the only ones up that late, I decided to stay in the living room watching television. I dozed off quite a bit during several of the late night shows. I watched Conan Obrien at one point interviewing a young boy. I dozed and awoke several times and the show went from video to cartoon while I watched. I'm positive I wasn't asleep, but I don't have any other explanation of how the video was cartoon while I watched. I'm pretty sure it wasn't actually happening, but it was as real to me while I watched as the video. Maybe I need to lay off the late night pizza.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

To Be Right - New and Improved.

I know many people who argue about minutia with their loved ones and determined that the basis is that we/they don't want to be the ones who are wrong about anything. I wrote this poem about it. It's not quite there, but who knows when I'll get it totally the way I want it.

PS I've updated the poem a bit more to reflect more what I wanted. See if you like it any better.

PPS. I worked on the poem a bit more. I think it's pretty much where I want it.

To Be Right
By Twist

Why do you argue when you know I'm right?
Don’t you know of my great insight?
Through many days I’ve toiled in strife
and gained much wisdom from daily life.
It’s not important what you do
because I’ve lived much longer than you.

You should listen to my counsel and not contest,
You can learn from me, my opinion’s best.
I’m not encumbered with all your fears,
My youthful strength will last for years.
I know you’re wrong and I am right,
You will be blessed by my young sight.

My womanly instincts give me great perception
To ensure in all that I have no deception.
Mother Nature and God are on my side,
I solve any problem in a single stride.
My feminine nature achieves great height.
You’ll always know that I am right.

As a man I’ve endeavored with all my might
to gain my knowledge and all my sight.
Nature has endowed me with strength and power,
To guide me in each troublesome hour.
It does not matter if you’re right all along
It matters most that I’m not wrong.

We sit each at last, alone in the dark,
Not even a dog is present to bark.
We’ve driven away every incorrect soul
With their lack of vision to see the whole.
Though no one's around to share our insight,
We have great pride in knowing that we were right.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lasting Impressions

My son's girlfriend has not had a very good relationship with her mother for most of her life. Her parents are divorced, mainly due to her mother's lifestyle. They have never been close. On the contrary, she has suffered constant criticisms, unfair treatment and been on the unreceiving end of favoritism among her siblings. My wife has been more of a mother in the past couple of years.

About a week ago, T___'s mother invited her to go out for lunch with her. It was a very cordial, even enjoyable time. During they lunch, her mother broke the news that she has spots on her lungs, very definitely cancer, and her remaining kidney has ceased functioning. The prognosis is pretty certain as to the outcome, just not any specific time. She's not looking for a kidney donor, for those who might suspect the worst, like me.

I said, "T____, do you think she is facing eternity and has decided to atone for past misdeeds, attempt to have the relationship you should have had?

T___, "Yes, I think she's sincere in trying to make amends."

Perhaps the past twenty years can never be erased, but perhaps if the next indeterminate number of months are what they should be, that will be the memory she has of her mother after she is gone.

Maybe we ought to treat everyone as if we are leaving soon....just in case.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Family Reunion

I just returned from our annual family reunion. We did the traditional things..for our family. We camped in tents around the house, got rained on, shopped at the Indian store and visited a lot.

All of my siblings were there and many of the nieces and nephews. I really missed seing those that weren't. Many were unable to come for a variety of reasons including illness, pregnancy, money and distance. Some don't come because they don't like the "advice" they are given. Come to think of it, some that did come don't like the "advice" they get, but we all enjoy just being together.

We went fishing some, but the rain, though much needed, put quite a damper on that activity, so we did the most what we do the best..we sat around and visited. I really enjoy that more than almost anything else we do. I have promised myself that next year I am bringing a digital recorder to make sure I don't miss anything. My mother told me several stories about ancestors that I'm not sure are written down somewhere. Then again, even if they are written down, I'm not sure I could find where.

We even got Dad to talk a tiny bit about his family. I badger him each year to write as much as he can about his parents, grandparents, etc. He says he will, but I have as yet to see it done.

With all the visiting, hugging, laughing and such that we did, we are all a little closer together. The family stories bring those to the circle who aren't around anymore except in spirit. To me that is the whole reason to have these reunions.

I can't wait till next year.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Honeymoon in June

Actually, this could more accurately be titled Second Honeymoon in June. My wife and I celebrated our twenty seventh anniversary this week. I had a training class scheduled in Austin all week for work. By driving to class, we decided that both my wife and I could go together.

The extra company made for a much more enjoyable week for me than normal at class. My wife stayed at the hotel during the day and we ate lunches together, then after class we were free to set out on a new adventure every evening. We ate at our favorite restaurants, walked all over the capitol and saw the sights. We watched the bats fly out from under the bridge two different nights, once from the grassy bank and once as we took a tour boat on the lake for nearly two hours.

I walked two miles every day going to class and back. Monday night we walked around downtown, to the lake, to dinner and back to the motel again for a total of at least five miles. Finally we returned home Friday to find everything and everyone in satisfactory condition, none the worse for the wear.

The last time we went to Austin together our youngest son was less than a year old. Maybe we'll take another excursion before another fourteen years go by.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Vision of the Future

In keeping with my last entry, I thought I would reveal the insights I've received about the future. Before anyone assume there was a dream, trance or visitation involved, this vision was merely a glimpse of the present as it will be in a few short years.

My oldest daughter has been married now for 5 years and has two children. They live 15 minutes across town, a distance sufficient to enable both parent and child to feel independance.

Although my oldest son still currently resides in a small corner of our house, he seldom occupies that space. Work, girlfriend, work and fishing keep his room vacant and quiet, if not clean. He comes in late and sleeps amidst the clutter then wakes and begins the routine again.

Our next daughter is very involved in college, work, church and boyfriends. Once again her inner sanctum is vacant most of the time except for the 3 dogs that prefer to sleep on her bed while she is away.

This week our youngest daughter went on a choir trip to Florida. No competition was involved. No singing practice was needed. I assume that the choir teachers like to get trips to exotic places. She left Sunday at noon and returns Saturday at midnight.

Our youngest son left Wednesday to go to a church youth conference to return Saturday evening.

Thursday and Friday nights found my wife and I alone at the house. There was no shouting, no loud music. No clothes, books, shoes or other accouterments of youth were laying around the house. No friends phoned for our children. None came to visit. In short, the house was peaceful, quiet and just a bit boring. We, of course, filled our time with cleaning, walking, shopping and other activities including conversation, some of which centered on "This is what it will be like in about 5 years."

As long as my children live in the same area enabling visits as often as desired, I think I could learn to like this vision of the future.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Heavenly Visitors

There have been times when those who have crossed the veil have not been far away. Here are some examples I thought I'd record here.


This happened a while after Grandma and Grandpa had passed away. When Aunt May’s grandson Eric and his wife Suzie were going through the temple being sealed, I was just sitting back by myself next to an empty seat. I said to myself, "Well, Mother, there’s an empty seat. Come and sit by me."
Then Dad said, "I’m sitting by you. Mother’s up front so she can see better." Just as if he were sitting there saying that. I sort of laughed and felt like crying and said to myself, "That’s right Dad. That’s where Mother would be."

Mom again

Another time we were doing sealings, I was sitting waiting and wasn’t really thinking of anything and all of a sudden it felt like someone kissed me on the forehead. I had the strong feeling that my mother kissed me. Till this day I still think she did. I told Reva this and she said, "If you’d told me she kissed you anywhere else except you forehead, I wouldn’t have believed you."
The forehead’s the only place she ever kissed us.


One night I had a dream that all of us as brothers and sisters were together at some gathering. Joyce was there and as we greeted her we all hugged each other and were so happy to see her. It wasn’t as if we were meeting some stranger for the first time. We knew her well and the feeling of knowing her well was very strong, in fact that feeling persists to this day as I remember the dream and I usually don’t remember my dreams. She had almost shoulder length salt and pepper hair and was a little shorter than the rest of us. Joyce had a little of Mary Beth’s look to her, maybe being better described as a cross between Marlene and Mary Beth. When I related this to Marlene later, she said she had always had the impression that Joyce had black hair like hers.

Death is not the finale, just an intermission.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

One Man's Junk....

I love to go to garage sales. The allure is a cross between snooping in strangers houses, finding out what they consider surplus, un-needed items and rummaging around in those items to find the bargain I didn't know I was looking to find. We started our day today arranging the surplus wares of our abode to attract the gaze of shoppers we hoped to entice to our garage by stategically placing signs on cardboard boxes at each end or our street. Now, lest you think that insufficient advertising, it helped a bit that the entire block around the corner was having a block garage sale.

The first order of business, after getting set up, was to get my wife to watch our sale, whilst I perused the merchandise begging my attention a mere half a block around the corner. I walked about a half a mile down one side of the street and back again and spent a grand total of 75 cents on a roll of speaker wire. My treasure found a year ago was a rain chime box. Turn it upside down, the right side up and bb's drop on the chimes for up to 30 minutes

The bargain hunters from around the block did manage to find their way to our humble driveway, but possibly with purses much lighter than they started, because they didn't leave an abundance of currency in my coffers. We brought in a grand total of about $95, which needed to be split four ways, my take amounting to approximately $35 for 7 hours of selling. As I make that much in a couple of hours at my day job, I think I'll stick to it.

Doggonit, I didn't even get rid of very much junk, I mean surplus domestic products. Best part of all is that my wife wants to do this all again in 4 weeks, leaving our display counters intact in the garage once again showing that Americans will store $100 worth of stuff in their garage and leave $30,000 worth of automobiles unprotected out in the weather.

I can't wait to hit the sales again next weekend.


Friday, May 4, 2007


I went to a class in Austin last September for training in my job for the state of Texas. The instructor was very good. He is also a Superbowl Official during football season. Although I have had a great deal of instruction in how to be a teacher, this class gave me additional insights and I enjoyed the class. I did not, however use that training for what it was intended, primarily to teach week long classes to other state employees. To be brief, I resigned that position.

Quarterly we do seminars for the public, which I have taught for years. Recently, headquarters decided that the seminar presenters needed to be trained to be able to do this and sent me to a class to learn how to be a teacher. Oh, wait a minute. It was the same class I just took. I let the powers that be know I had just taken this class, but since this class was now call a class to train the seminar presenters, they said I needed to go back.

My instructor in Austin was surprised to see me back, but ours is not to question why.... In my final presentation of the class, I totally lost my train of thought....and couldn't get it back. I ended my presentation a couple of minutes early.

I wonder how I'll do next time they send me to this class...


Saturday, April 21, 2007

$$$Deja Vu... All Over Again$$$

After my son won the $600.00 on the radio contest, he came to me and said, "Did you know ______ station has a contest going on now? Well, you already saw that I won that contest and won $250.00. My daughter called Thursday to remind me that the same contest where he won the $600.00 was starting up again. While I didn't win on that contest...yet...she did. My oldest daughter won $300.00 yesterday on the radio.

Now I'm not saying we are overly lucky, even though we are greatly blessed, but persistance is a constant key. I reckon that pretty much extends to everything in life.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Next Best Thing

After I won the money on the radio, I emailed a friend about it. I said, "Here is a mathematical statement for you to consider: Half the fun is winning money on the radio, half the fun is spending it and the other half is telling people about it."
I've decided that the next best thing to winning money is getting a good bargain. I love to shop the sales, coupons and garage sales. I think my best was $20 in coupons once, but I've also found some fantastic deals as we've bought clothes at garage sales, amazing bargains at going out of business sales, canoes being phased out at outdoor centers.
One time I found a microfiche reader at a college warehouse sale. We were in the process of putting together a genealogy center at the Church so I asked how much for the reader. They said, how about buying all of them for $25.00. America, what a country. I bought 17 of them, fixed up, cleaned up and donated or sold all of them but a couple I kept for parts.
My brother-in-law asked me, in jest, if I could find him an air compressor and tank. I asked him what color.
I collect belt buckles and get loads of them at garage sales. I have more buckles than most stores where you shop, but I've always wanted one like the picture above with silver, turquise, coral and a bear claw. I usually ask for a napkin to wipe the drool as I look at them in display cases because they are priced around $300. Today at a big, city garage sale I found this one. It was quite tarnished and was missing a bear claw. I asked the lady for a napkin and the price. They nearly had to pick me up off the floor when she said, "Well, we've been asking $20, but since a bear claw is missing, I'll sell it to you for $15."
A few hours later and considerable time polishing and fitting in two matching fake bear claws, I've got the belt buckle I've had my heart set on for years. My only problem is, once you get the fantasy, what do you dream about next?


Friday, April 13, 2007

$$$$Deja Vu...All Over Again$$$$

After my son won the $600.00 on the radio contest, he came to me and said, "Did you know ______ station has a contest going on now? It's a secret sound you have to guess."

Great I love new contests. People ask me what radio station I listen to. I tell them, "Whoever pays me the most at the time." I'm not terribly particular when there's money involved, although I just couldn't keep the rap station going long enough to win tickets to a concert for my daughter.

This new secret sound contest started our great. I had the answer several times, but as with most contests, I just couldn't get through. I think you can get through easier on cell phones, though. I told this to my secretary today when she wanted to try and win. She doesn't have a radio by her desk, mind you. She asked me to tell her when they were playing and give her the answer to the secret sound. I'm a pushover and a darn generous guy, so I did. We still didn't get through the first time of the day, but the person who did get through guessed wrong.

The next time she went to her car to smoke and listen to the radio and try to win on her cell phone. I called and the phone started ringing after only a few tries and I was the correct caller to try and win. The sound, by the way, is the one your straw makes in a soft drink or milk shake when you pull it up and down through the hole. You all know the sound...that annoying sound all our kids have made a million times.

They say when someone says they are going to make a long story short, it's already too late. Needless to say, I did win. Only $250.00. That's getting to be small potatos around our household of prize winnings, but I'll tell you what, it sure makes the meager funds in the checkbook go a lot farther for this family.

I think Friday the 13th is a pretty lucky day after all.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Viral, Bacterial, Allergy or Something Else

Viral, Bacterial, Allergy or Something Else. These are the main causes of conjuntivitis or inflamation of the conjuctiva, the clear membrane surround the white of the eye otherwise known as pink eye. Another interesting fact is that you can get and are contagious even if you don't show all the symptoms yet and for up to 14 days while you are treating your eyes.

This is where I am today, approximately 4 days with the evil eye. I'll tell you what, my eye is scary enough when I look at myself in the mirror. If both my eyes had pink eye, I believe I'd frighten little kids. I know, at this point you are reaching for the hand sanitizer. Just so you'll know, I use hand sanitizer throughout the day at work and I still got a raging case of pink eye. Pink is an understatement though. Cherry red is more the color, but sounds too sweet. Something along the lines of the Sith apprentice Darth Maul is a closer approximation of how I feel I look.

I knew what I had and called the doctor to beg him for a pink eye medicine. They decided I needed to come to the office and pay $30.00 for the office visit only to have the nurse practitioner look at my eye for 1 second and then say, "You've got pink eye!" Ya think? With 5 kids we've seen our share of pink eye. I didn't need validation of my self diagnosis, I only needed medicine, which I now have. Drops twice a day, medicated axle grease to put in my eye while I sleep.

Gottagofornow. I need to slather my eye.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Like Father Like Son

I love to play contests. Let me clarify that. I love to win contests. Radio contests are the most prevalent, but I'll play TV, store and newspaper contests. People ask me what radio station I listen to in order to win and I tell them whatever station pays me the most for listening. I prefer those with good odds. Good odds for me. My friends who haven't known me for long laugh when I tell them about my current contest until I tell them what I've won in the past. My lastest and greatest was $5,000 cash at Thanskgiving. Other members of my family have won contests too. Furniture, trips, food. There's a real rush when you win that know one else can understand.

I've helped others win contests too. Once I've one something I usually can't win again for 30 days so I spread the wealth around by telling others what to do to win. My oldest son called me a couple of days ago.
Son: Aren't they about to play the contest?
Me: Yes. When you get through play it this way and you'll win $600.00.

He did and won. When he was talking to my wife about it he said, "I owe you guys this much. I'll just give you the check."

He's such a good son.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Twist and Twisters

We were in our church meeting last Sunday and the first meeting was nearly over. The Bishop suddenly announced that the meeting would end early so everyone could go to the basement because a tornado had just been spotted...out the back door. The person who was asked to give the bendiction to the meeting must not have been paying any attention because he proceeded to pray for a while and not for saftey. After he finally said, "Amen," everyone went down to the basement. At least most people. I did what you are supposed to do in situations like that. I went to my truck, turned on the ham radio to listen to the storm spotters and drove home to get my digital camera and video camera.

Now the tornado was one of a couple spotted over the city, but they were only low velocity funnel clouds, not a tremendous amount bigger than a large dust devil. They could have caused some damage, but didn't. That was the beginning of the week. There were numerous tornados that day and throughout the week. A friend of mine who is a storm spotter got an excellent video of a tornado north of here. He made the national news with his video, in fact. On the other hand, all the storms were somewhere I wasn't. I didn't even take the cameras out of the case....this week.

I'll keep my eye on the clouds and the radio on the spotter frequency and maybe I'll post a picture here in the next month or so.


Friday, March 23, 2007

You Learn Something New....

Turns out you can learn something new every day. Sometimes I have trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time, but I didn't think it affected other areas. I went to a blood drive to donate and I knew you're not supposed to drink anything shortly before taking your temperature as it will make it lower, hiding possible infections. This is one of the reasons doctors make you wait so long in the waiting room before they see you. They want an accurate temperature reading. Knowing this, I decided to chew some gum so I wouldn't be thirsty while waiting for my turn. With the mint gum I like it gives the added bonus of halfway decent breath for the technicians who take your blood. What I didn't realize is that chewing gum, especially mint or cinnamon gum will raise your temperature in your mouth. My temperature tested at 100.4. The technician had me spit out my gum, but didn't wait long enough and my temperature only dropped 1 degree, which was still too high to donate. The CDC has mandated that they can only test you twice then you can't donate. So I learned this one thing now. Don't chew gum before you go to the doctor, however if you want a good excuse for not going to school........


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Book

Ok, I'm going to do something very strange. I am working on writing a new book and am in the preliminary stages. This will be more of a kid's book and I have the main character. You can see the photograph of him here. He is a rare squirrel, but what I really want is some input. Would the story be more interesting from a normal animal scenario or if the animals do more kinds of people things like clothes, tools or magic. I'm torn between the two and can see a story develop both ways. This is your chance to have some input in a book. I would also like to develop a drawing of the character not as realistic looking as the photograph.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Flu Blues

Monday about 3pm my stomach started hurting. That's nothing new in our family. I think we may have cornered the market on ulcers. Maybe we should invest in pharmaceutical company stock. This time it wasn't ulcer, it was stomach virus. It hit pretty hard. I haven't been that sick since the last time I got the flu. I slept maybe 3 hours that first night. Colonoscopy prep wasn't as bad as this was. No food sounded good, so I didn't eat for nearly two days. I worried about dehydration so I forced myself to drink juice and water. By Tuesday night the diarrhea quit, but every time I got out of bed, I got chills and started shaking so bad it made me physically tired. That's all gone now, but I'm so wiped out I don't have the energy to stand up for very long without getting winded and exhausted. The good news is I know it's gone now.

While all this has been going on with me, my wife has been to several doctors for a battery of tests to determine if she has appendicitis or something else. She goes back to the specialist tomorrow to get the results of her xrays. Neither of us have time, money or inclination to go anywhere for Valentine's Day, so we're going to go out Saturday. Ok, so it's the retirement party for my boss, but we'll pretend no one else is there.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Some Romantic Evening

Have you ever tried to plan the perfect romantic evening? Here was one I planned a few years ago. Let me know what you think about it.

About two weeks before Valentine's Day, I left me wife a cryptic message inviting her to a romantic evening. I put this in the appropriate old style font on parchment paper then sealed it with a rose embossed wax seal.

The next step was to write "I love you" on the bathroom mirror with RainX, it magically shows up after steamy shower. (This will actually stay on the mirror forever unless you clean the whole mirror with RainX cleaner and treat it with RainX, but you don't get a fogged up mirror anymore.)

For the second note, again on parchment about a week later, the details become clearer about a dinner on Valentine's Day, but again very cryptic. Buy a locked diary ahead of time and put the key into a wax seal on this message that says something like "You already have the key to my heart, but keep this key, it will open a rare treasure."

On Valentine's Day, write on the car and/or sidewalk "I love you" or "L loves H" etc.

Flowers need to appear sometime during the day at her work or on the table, dresser etc.

I planned for a bicycle built for two ride, but didn't plan well enough in advance, the friends with the bike had sent it to Arizona with their kids.

A treasure hunt with clues leads to the diary in which are about 2 dozen romantic, even erotic, scriptures. Yes I did say scriptures. Then there are several original poems about the two of us. Finally in the diary, this is why there is a lock on it, there is an original, personalized romance novel chapter with the two of us as the characters. Ours was a fantasy setting and just a little steamy. This provides enteraining reading for my spouse while we drive around giving my cohorts time to prepare the next stage.

My oldest daughter was in on the next part which also needed a little more advanced planning. Unfortunately it didn't work out well. She went to KFC and bought two meals for us and was taking them with tablecloth and flowers to the gazebo at the park. The sad part was that someone was using it for a birthday party so we wound up back at our own house with the same scenario.

As we wind up the evening after dinner at home, the kids are conveniently at overnights, we sit down to watch a movie, preferably Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail or whatever is your favorite romantic movie. Our movie snack was red and green MM's kept back from Christmas. My wife got the green MM's. (You know about the green ones.) I got the red ones. At least we got what was left after our old mutt of a dog ate about a pound of the MM's before my daughter discovered her.

I must say this to give you insights into my wife. After she read my hard thought out romance chapter, her only comment was, "I guess I know what was on your mind..."

After all that hard work was unappreciated, well almost unappreciated, I have not attempted such an endeavor again. If you decide to try it, I'd be happy to forward the scriptures, chapter and poems which you can alter however YOU like.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Our family website has a fairly nice chat feature...when it works. I feel it has brought our family members close together. We get a chance to chat once a week about just about anything and everything. The biggest problem is that chat has been down for about 2 months now. I've emailed the webmaster and called them on the phone, but they still haven't fixed the problem. I'm starting to have withdrawal now. Talking on the phone is an option, but limited two calling just a couple of people at a time. Maybe we should all get shortwave radios. Maybe we can organize a conference call. Or maybe they'll get the website fixed again and everything will get back to normal talking about our parents and our brother who doesn't join in on chat. (Just kidding J.)

Friday, January 26, 2007


Esophagastroduodenoscopy. I think I spelled that right. I just had one done this morning. A persistent pain in the pit of my stomach prompted me to get a checkup and one thing led to another until that procedure this morning.

I proudly told the nurse I could pronounce it, but she said, "Oh, we never try. We just call it an EGD."

Whether they gave me regular anaesthetics or milk of amnesia, 10 seconds after they put it in my IV the world went peaceful. I slept longer coming out than they would have liked, but when I got home I slept some more. I think that was the best part of the whole procedure. That was even nicer than the color pictures they gave me of my insides, which showed that most of my stomach is inflamed. No ulcers, but just sore all over.

The doctor prescribed prevacid. I had started taking some about 2 weeks ago and the pains have gone down quite a bit already. I asked for some sleeping pills to take the pain away. The doctor said that wouldn't help a bit, until I explained that all I would need to do is put one in my 16 year old daughter's drink every night then we could both get a good night's sleep and I'd quit worrying about how late she stays up.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Our dog has been expecting puppies. She's a shih-tzu and about 7 years old. This is the last time for puppies for that old. Labor started and I expected 3-4 tiny puppies by the morning. The father is a yorkshire terrier. By 10am she was still in labor and my wife took her to the vet for a c-section. Quite a bit of $$$$ later 8 ^ ( the only puppy was delivered stillborn and there was a little question about the survival of the mother.

That was a day ago and the mother is doing much better. She would be the dog to adopt a litter of kittens, rabbits or any other baby, but in mid-January there aren't any around our house. I figured that she's just a dog, doesn't know what was happening and would quickly forget the whole matter. What she did though, is start carrying a small stuffed squirrel with her everywhere around the house. She's careful carrying it and sleeps with it next to her. Is it instinct or do animals think more than we think they think? I asked her about it, but couldn't understand the answer through the mouthful of stuffed squirrel.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No Work Today

I'll tell you what... It's sure nice (occasionally) to work for the government. We closed our offices on Monday for MLK. I contemplated all day the "I have a dream...." Ok, actually I did a little more dreaming during the day than usual. I spent part of it installing a new cd player in my truck. Add the ham radio in it and I may have doubled the value of the truck. Anyway, it was a good day off. All days off are good.

I got a call around 6AM today to let me know there was no work today and it had nothing to do with the fact that the water heater two floors above my office broke over the weekend and flooded the whole building, possibly ruining thousands of dollars worth of equipment. That may be a reason to close again tomorrow, however. No, what prompted this closing today was the fact that a Blue Northern blew into Austin, a city 320 miles away, with freezing rain icing up the hill country of Texas. You may think people in West Texas don't know how to drive on snow and ice, and you'd be right, but let me just say that folks deep in the heart of Texas are positively panicked about having ice they only see once in about 5-10 years at a time.

It is still cold here, but somehow I'm enjoying it more thinking about all those frozen politicians further south. And yup, I've already have my gourmet hot chocolate this morning with Tabasco sauce added to warm up my day.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

No Church Today

We had an ice storm hit last night, no not as bad as what the midwest got. Ok, not as bad as anyone got, but we still got almost a quarter of an inch of ice. NOW you may all start playing your violin. Unfortunately, we didn't get any snow with that so the panhandle of Texas has just been turned into a skating rink. The locals seem to prefer doing their skating in their cars. A main road just two blocks away has a car in the ditch right now.

The main roads did get a little relief yesterday as traffic wore down the ice, but not the Church parking lot. The Stake President went to the Church to determine conditions and couldn't park straight in a parking space. He got out of the car, but couldn't let go of the car to go in the building. That's when he started the calls to cancel Church meetings.

The most wonderful news of all ...not... is that my oldest daughter and her family drove off in the ice storm Friday night to a town 150 miles away that is in the far side of the storm path. That means they will have to cross the whole ice field to get home carrying the most precious cargo, our two adorable grandsons.

I think I'll go make some hot chocolate with Tabasco sauce in it.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Gettin' Started

After I finally remembered my user name and password, I was able to sign on again. Funny thing is that since I set this up, I have not been able to concentrate hard enough to write. This is just to let folks know I will.