Friday, December 18, 2009

Jack of All Trades

There is a saying that someone may be a Jack of All Trades. Another version says, "Jack of All Trades, Master of None." Maybe the second one fits me best lately. Since I retired in March I have done several types of odd jobs to make a little money.

I didn't really look for a job for several months, but once I started looking I didn't do much finding. It's not that there aren't lots of jobs out there, but many don't pay much or require specialized training and experience.

I have applied to be a a secretary with the school district, a small business advisor, a grant auditor, a software customer service rep and a couple of other positions I don't remember anymore. Needless to say, I did not get any of those jobs. In fact, I haven't even had an interview for anything yet. Age discriminaton may be a factor, but for every job posted there are usually dozens of applicants. What I really want to do for a living is be a writer, but that market is equally hard to enter.

When I retired I knew that my retirement income was not large enough to support us, but I have always intended. As the funds run low, I find myself doing what I believe my Grandpa did most of his life, he took odd jobs whenever they were offered to bring in money. I don't think I could name one thing he did that I would actually call a career, though he was a sheepherder for awhile in his younger days.

I have followed my Grandpa's example lately as I have done a number of things. I have been a stage hand, taking apart an audio/video display for a convention. I have done yard work raking leaves and trimming trees. At one house I put up the Christmas lights and will probably take them down again after the holidays. Home preservation gave me several odd jobs hauling off 1.5 tons of pipe and other debris, boarding up windows and doggie doors and securing unlocked doors. One of my latest endeavors was to assist a piano mechanic in overhauling a baby grand piano to lubricate 3 hinges for every key.

You would think, from the time spent on it, that setting up a ham radio station was my part-time job, but even when I do it for friends it's only a hobby.

I'm currently watching for an opening at the university as an advisor in the language department, but I'm still at the point where I just don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe that's the problem. Once I grow up, maybe I can find something.

You've got to grow old, but you never have to grow up.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Absolutely Divine

On my Improbability Trough blog, I wrote about the Divine Within and giving. While giving to others is great, there are few thrills to compare with the thrill of the hunt.

My wife and I started Black Friday at 3am. Fifteen minutes later we were in a line at Target. We estimate a minimum of a hundred or two people in front of us. The line went behind us about twice that number. An hour later an employee came down the line. We actually remembered him from last year. He asked us what we were there to buy and we told him. Oh, yes. There were plenty of the item we were there to buy. Only three people in front of us were after the same item. That was our large purchase. We also found all of the lesser expensive gifts we sought to buy.

The rush started. I don't mean the rush of shoppers, though that, too, started. I mean the shopper's rush of getting that goodie you wanted to buy. The only other rush I know to use as a comparison is the rush of winning a prize, something we do often. Whether it's endorphins or adrenaline, I can't answer, but I like the way it feels.

From Target we headed to half a dozen other stores, making repeat visits throughout the day. You have to prioritize. If an item is on a two day sale, you have to leave it for later. You must keep to a meticulous schedule to get the sales that will end at 11am. Some items were very inexpensive, most, actually, on my budget, but you still have to plan your route to get those inexpensive gifts at the inexpensive prices.

I think that at the end of the day we saved about $600. Contrary to what you might think, we did not spend much more than that same amount. We nearly doubled our value in buying. Lest you think we go way overboard for Christmas, my in-laws and grandmother-in-law all send checks to us before Christmas. We do all the shopping for our family for them, wrap the presents and put the labels on from them. They think that is well worth the price to avoid all the shopping and wrapping.

After Black Friday comes Cyber Monday. Once again we found a few more deals we didn't find in Friday's ads. Christmas is almost ready. Decoratins are going up. Purchases are arriving as scheduled in the mail and we still have over three weeks to go.

What a rush!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Merry Christmas

I went to a home building supply store the other day to buy some materials. I bought some lumber, hardware and gifts which totalled to about $40. We went through the self checkout, but a worker scanned everything in for us. When she got to the hardware it was a long bolt, washer and nut which she had to look up at another register. After several minutes she told us to go ahead and swipe our debit card then enter our PIN. After doing so, the screen said our purchase was the amount of $0.21. My wife and I both told the lady 4 or 5 times that the other merchandise had not processed and that the sale was wrong. The lady smiled, winked and said, "Merry Christmas."

I spoke to my son-in-law later about this. He works at the same store and said that if there is a mistake at the check out, the workers are to let it pass in amounts under $50.00 rather than inconvenience the customers by re-ringing up the sale.

Rats. At those prices I would have bought more,


Thursday, November 19, 2009

That's Why it's Called Fall

I have two sycamore trees and a mimosa tree in my backyard. Did I mention that they are all BIG trees. In my front yard I have two silver maples, but there are many trees of many types down my street.

After the first freeze hit, and several more since, the leaves have been dropping everywhere. I love to see the trees that seem to lose all the leaves the same week. I have to keep sweeping the leaves away from the back door or else the dogs can't see over the pile to get to the backyard. The front yard is a little worse because the leaves also get trapped around the flower garden.

Every year I wait at long as possible because, after all, I do live in West Texas and sooner or later a good strong wind will blow most of those leaves away. I procrastinated appropriately long enough this year for that to happen. I'll still do a little cleanup in the front, but most of the front has been graciously blown clear by the wind.

The back yard does not get the wind and this afternoon found me back there with the electric wind. I have a blower/vac that does a good job. It mulches 10 bags of leaves into one bag full of mulch which I put on the compost. When I finished the yard was clean and I was not. I looked like I had been carefully sprayed with a fine layer of dust on purpose.

After all those leaves, my backyard trees look like they did before. That means I will have the wonderful opportunity in about another month to vacuum the yard again.

Remember the good old days when you just raked the leaves and burned them?

Ah, for the days of yore,


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Farewell to Pat

Uncle Pat just passed away tonight. About 20 minutes ago. He went to the hospital a week ago to have stomach surgery. There were many problems which pointed to things getting worse instead of better. All his organs were shutting down and he was not expected to last the weekend. I understand his family was able to be with him at the end.

When I think about Uncle Pat a lot of things go through my mind. Their dogs they have had over the years. Baseball games. Family History. Cincinnati. I remember a chicken coop in Panguitch and a belt spanking afterwards for my Kelly. Butter ice cubes. The Dugout. Mustaches and sideburns. Spam.

I once had an email folder labeled “Uncle Pat” so that all his spam emails would be directed there. I usually looked at all of them. Pat sent lots of spam, but he usually sent some good stuff. It was better than getting catalogs in the mail. You know, when you don’t have any other mail you get the catalogs. His emails were spam, but they were spam with thought put in, kind of like Grandpa’s spam and eggs for breakfast.

I only remember about three emails that were regular emails. One was about the family reunion. Two were about his surgery. They were brief. He was anxious about needing/having the surgery, but guardedly optimistic. We all do that. We have a great sense of our own mortality, but cannot accept a reality in which we no longer exist in this physical world. We can think about death, but not about us not being here anymore.

I’m going to put this on my blog for everyone to see, but I’m also going to send it in an email to my family. Send it out again as spam to people you know, just for Pat.

Miss you Uncle Pat,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Star Track

I have always been a fan of science fiction books, movies, whatever... The space travel and gadgets always tweaked the imagination, sometimes directing interests and schooling. I have, in my library of stuff filed away, plans to build a Star Trek communicator. The schematics are real electronic parts even if the specifications and capabilities are considerably exaggerated.

The shows boast medical and geological scanners, lasers, advanced computers and much more. When I was a teenager, we actually had a laser in our electronics class the size of a toaster. I now have a laser I can carry in my pocket the size of a chapstick container. Computers have advanced to near Trekkian quality in size, speed and capabilities.

One of my favorites were the report pads and books carried by the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. I have carried in my pocket for a number of years now an electronic device capable of carrying many books and doing much more and current PDAs are more powerful than that with cellular systems integrated in as well.

I read a report on Yahoo today. NASA is ready to put a device into production that is a replicator. It melts metal and reassembles it layer by layer into useful items. Here is a link to the article:

Once again science is showing that what the mind can conceive can become a reality. We are definitely on the right track.

I get a little excited just thinking what's next,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Changing Times, or Not

I have served for the past 7.5 years as the executive secretary to the Stake President in our area. It's been amazing to work with such spiritual giants and see the operations of the Church, not to mention that I seem to be in on all the workings of the Stake without much responsibility. The Presidency was call 1.5 years before they called me.

After 9 years they were released Sunday in a Stake Conference with two General Authorities attending. The 2nd counselor was called to be the new Stake President and he called a current Bishop and member of the High Council as his new counselors. This is the youngest Stake Presidency in the history of the Stake. They seem well suited to handle the unique issues of the next decade. They are all also spiritual giants.

Until last week, I assumed I was being released at the same time, then we learned that any changes for me will be determined by the new Stake Presidency. Our first meeting will be this Thursday. I have always thought that my responsibilities are to anticipate what the President needs and have it ready for him. There are other duties I have, but those may change slightly also.

I have served simultaneously in this calling and as an ordinance worker in the Temple for the same 7.5 years. I'll be just tickled pink if this goes on for another decade for me as well, but that is up to the Lord.

Just another humble servant,


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meteoric Question

Ok, so at 6am this morning we saw more falling stars from the hot tub than during the peak of the meteor shower. There's nothing like watching the sky from a hot, steamy bath. Some of the meteors put on a good show.

There were a few there were a little different. I don't recall noticing them ever before. Earlier this month and again today, I saw several falling stars that must have been coming more or less directly at me. There was no trail, just a pinpoint of light that suddenly appeared, got bigger and brighter, then dissappeared. As I stated, I can only explain this if it were coming towards us.

I'm curious if anyone else has observed falling stars like this. My conclusion appears solid, but with no trail, you have to bee looking directly at the spot to see it. No, I'm not seeing things that aren't there, but I would like to know if others have "seen the light."


Friday, October 23, 2009

We Do What We Can

I have a good friend that is 17 years my senior. He nearly died from an aortic anurism about 7 years ago, but was miraculously save. He has one paralyzed leg which makes it difficult for him to get around even in his motorized wheelchair. His van has been adapted to drive with his left leg and has a wheelchair lift in the back.

I drove him around a couple of days as he had cataract surgery and follow up visits. His vision increased tremendously after the surgery. We went shopping today and I drove him again. As we got home he thought he felt good enough to go for a drive, which he likes to do often. He walked around the car and got into the drivers seat. I asked him again if he was ok and he said yes. I got into my truck and drove home.

Had I been 60 seconds later driving around the block I'd have seen the results of his paralyzed foot getting caught under the brake pedal and on top of the gas pedal. I would then have seen his van careen across the street, across the neighbor's lawn and into his fence. I would have seen a pole from the fence go through his window, mess up the door and hit his leg.

He called me from the emergency room where the x-rays showed no breaks, but a pretty bad hematoma. He's home now recuperating. He's making plans to repair the door and get going again. Oh, by the way. His inspection sticker is out. His registration is expired. He has no insurance because, with so many collisions, nobody wants to insure him. I wonder how many other people out there are like my friend.

I'll do what I can, but I can't do everything.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Shoot the Moon

I must be living under a rock lately. I got up at 6am this morning and turned on the news. It seems NASA has a project called the LCROSS mission. The plan is to crash a rocket into the moon, evaluate the impact debris with a satellite disconnected from the rocket prior to impact, then that satellite would then also crash into the moon. The purpose of this madness is to check for ice crystals below the surface of the moon. I'm not sure why they didn't add an explosive charge was not involved, but perhaps it was in something I did not read.

As I write this, the impact has already happened. I'm viewing a tape of what happened. Moon parties have been organized across the country to view the impact. Everyone commenting is saying the same thing. "When is this going to happen? What do you mean it's already happened? I don't see anything."

My daughter's in-laws all got up to watch. They saw even less. It's foggy and overcast here.

Yawn, the view of my backyard from the hot tub is more interesting this morning in the nice cool air.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Many Voices

I have been bombarded by voices as of late. Yes, they are all real, not just in my head. These voices are not bad, either. I welcome all the dialogues I have received.

Twice a day, if I want, I can participate in a MARS, Military Affiliate Radio System, radio net. This is a practice/training net, or radio chat, to prepare for emergency communications in times of hurricanes, disasters or terrorism. There are usually about 30 participants in this net that come together from across the state. With our long range radios we can chat with others hundreds of miles away.

During this same net our local group also chats on different radios on a local frequency. This allows us to talk about the main topic for discussion with more latitude and candor.

Multiple opportunites also arise during the week to particpate in regular ham radio nets, usually all local radio operators, though, with the long range radios, I can join an endless list of nets around the country.

On Sunday nights, and throughout the week, I have the opportunity to chat online with my family. Technically, I guess these are not voices, but texts, but as I read each line of chat sent I hear in my head the voice of the person sending it. I picture them sitting at their computer smiling, typing and laughing. The worldwide web shrinks the thousands of miles around the globe that separate us, and yet cannot divide us because of the ease of contact. We laugh we discuss our parents, our families, our interests and our lives in general. You have to read fast to keep up with the up to 7 conversations that occur simultaneously at the speed of our local ISP connections.

I currently live in the same city as my children and grandchildren. We get together often and in volume. A friend of my oldest daughter came to visit one day. This friend is an only child. After a while she asked my daughter, "Is it always this noisy at your house?" I'm afraid so and happy to say it.

This weekend, I viewed the general conference of our Church. This world wide conference was broadcast over cable, tv, internet and radio. Millions of people around the world viewed the broadcast either live, on a delayed basis or on demand from the internet. They can purchase DVDs in about a month that will have the full spectrum of discourses to peruse at their leisure or read the printed word in about a month in a magazine.

All of these voices are welcome. They are informative, comforting, educational and interesting. As much as anything else, these are the voices of my life that give me perspectives on so many things. These voices mirror who I am. My lone voice in the sea of billions of other voices is still distinct, individual and personal. Though I am similar in nature to the masses, I am unique.

The voices are calling me now and I am happy,


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bread Bowls

My daughter Laura came over today and we were discussing what to eat for dinner, our normal late afternoon discussion here. She had seen the pasta bowls at Domino's Pizza and thought they looked yummy. It just so happens that I purchased some refrigerator rolls yesterday for just such a contingency. We decided that one by itself would not make a very large bowl and smashed two at a time together, rolled them into dough balls and put them in the oven. For future reference that will NOT make a roll of bread sufficiently large to make a bowl thus we ate them like rolls.

I suppose a yeast roll, allowed to rise and of a larger size would work better to make a soup bowl. If anyone has had experience in this area, let me know as we would like to try making them again sometime.

The soup and bread were all good, just didn't work out as planned.


Monday, September 28, 2009

New Blog

I've set up a new blog called The Improbability Trough. Check out the link on the right sidebar. The first posting pretty much sums up what it is about. Don't be thrown by the name of the author.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Education

There's nothing like a good education. My wife received a good education, with honors in high school and college. The college education was a 2 year degree. That enabled her to get a number of jobs with decent pay. Unfortunately, many jobs require a 4 year degree to get better pay.

I actually have 2 4 year degrees, one in Spanish and one in Accounting. I am sure this helped me to get the job I had for 25 years from which I am now retired. As I look for new employment to last for another 15 years, I find that my degrees don't mean as much as they used to mean. Most jobs available require a great deal of training or special certifications, none of which I have received.

A job offer came my way this week. Home preservation. You go into a foreclosed home, change the locks, clean up, take pictures, do some minor repairs etc. I told the man I was interested, but don't know if I can do everything. He sent a worker up this weekend with 5 jobs that I could go along and watch. We broke into 2 houses, changed and changed the locks.

The 3rd house had a keybox already on it. We hauled off some junked lawnmowers, but there was still a lot of stuff left at 2 of the houses. You have to submit a bid for certain amounts of stuff. We estimated that one house had 25 cubic yards of assorted junk to haul away. A cubic yard is roughly the size of a washer or dryer.

One of the yards had weeds 7 feet high. Another yard had weeds 4 feet high. Those get bid out to cut. If someone else wanted to bid on it I guess they could, but generally the mortgage company just comes back and says do it.

I received quite an education today. Not one I could generally use in very many other professions, but I think I could do most of what was done. Other jobs coming up might be really different. My trainer started talking about need this equipment or that, a truck, a trailer, better power tools, pressurizing lines etc. My eyes didn't glaze over, but I did get the deer in the headlight look.

This was not, in my mind a wasted day. I spent 6 hours receiving an education. I think I'm going to use it to save spending $5,000 to $10,000 in equipment and see if I can't find another job, one that I might be able to continue doing when I'm 62, 63 or older.

Call me wimpy if you want, I've been called worse.
I'll be in the hot tub,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Harm, No Foul

I have been working a great deal lately to set up a ham radio station, the antenna being the most challenging part. I set up a 32' mast on top of my roof with 6 guy wires, a pulley rope to raise and lower the antenna, 2 chimney mount brackets and 2 legs of the antenna wire itself. I succeeded in communicating with people a few hundred miles away. This is an on going endeavor and needs more fine tuning, literally and figuratively.

In the process of working on the big antenna I came across plans on the internet for a digital antenna to bring in TV signals, assuming you have a converter box or digital TV already. The plans, which I'd be happy to email to anyone interested, were fairly simple and inexpensive. I substituted aluminum tubing, scavenged off an old antenna, for copper tubing. Copper tubing is not really expensive, but I already had the other. I thought that having an outside antenna on the roof might boost the picture quality since we do not have cable.

The finished product looks pretty much like it should on the designs and functions as well as the somewhat expensive antennas we already have. It does not appear to work any better, but we'll see if it has any problems operating. Meanwhile, I've hooked it up to two TV sets in conjunction with the other antennas we already had. So far I haven't seen any of those digital signal jumps, but who knows.

Main point is I had fun making it and it didn't hurt me none,


Thursday, September 17, 2009


I just read in the newspaper that Elizabeth Smart is going on a mission. The details were slightly vague, but it sounds like she leaves before the end of the year to Paris, France. I think that was a very inspired call. With the recognizability factor in the USA, she may very well simply be a face in a crowd in France. Overseas, away from the paparazzi, she will get some peace and time to lose herself in the service of the Lord. I think it will be a better healing experience than college.

I wish her well and bon voyage,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home at the Shack

This is what happens when you get grown men together who don't have enough to do. They put a 32 foot ham radio antenna mast on your roof. We spent about 4 hours taking the pole down elsewhere and putting it up somewhere else. It's mounted on the chimney, which I discovered needs $500 worth of work on the crown. No, not from anything we did. There is possibly 500' of guy line supporting the mast. I stood on the chimney at one point in the heat for so long holding the mast up, that I started feeling faint and dizzy. I had to get down and lay on the roof. I don't know if it was the heat or the strain or both, but we finally got it up. Lonehawk, this is my 80/40m antenna. If you do something similar, get lots of help.

Gottagofornow, the ham net is starting,


Thursday, September 10, 2009


I posted a note on my facebook that my time has really been taken up lately by other things. I've been to the doctors' offices several mornings with my wife and daughter. Both have ongoing issues that nobody seems to be able to diagnose or cure. I had jury duty this morning, though once I arrived at the court I discovered everything was cancelled. Yesterday morning I spent most of 2 hours 20 feet up in trees helping a friend put up a ham radio antenna. I went to a funeral, have had numerous miscellaneous church responsibilities and regularly pickup a son from school at lunchtime. I spent an hour sanding, sawing, varnishing and nailing on a couple of shelves we bought at a garage sale for $20. (They look great. What a bargain.)

I'm not really complaining about the demands on my time. I told my wife today that it would be so totally awesome if neither of us needed to work. It is not hard to fill the day with hot tub, kayaking, hiking, reading, etc.

I love retirement. Sigh, too bad it just doesn't pay enough. Maybe I'll get a call this week for an interview.

Guess I'll check the jobs posted online...again.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Send Money

I've thought many times about starting a blog requesting that any reader send me a $1 bill. You could potentially pay off all your bills. Realistically, I noticed I've only had 4 hits on this blog today. Oh, well. Good idea while it lasted. Maybe another day.

Contests are my favorite, however. Our local television station has a contest going now. They issue a numbered card to you. You watch the news and listen for them to draw a number. If it's your number, you call the next day and win. Sounds like high odds against you, but I've won it twice now. The first time they showed my commercial so many times during the next 3 years that most everyone in town knows my face. Many ask if I've won again. Now I'll tell them yes.

I love contests.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peaceful Waters

I just returned from a visit with my parents and several siblings. I travelled to Albuquerque then from there to Utah with my sister, Nene. We had an enjoyable trip there and back. I don't think conversations stopped for a solid week. The miles flew by as we travelled, in fact, we failed to notice some towns along the way.

While at my parents home we talked from morning till late at night, stories of family, urban legends, politics, religion and everything in between. We shopped at Walmart, grocery stores, second hand stores and tourist shops.

The last visit we made to my parents house found my mother barely able to walk across the room and getting tired from that simple effort. This trip, as we drove up the block to the driveway, we saw my mother, outfit accessorized with a large pink hat, running across the sidewalk across the street to avoid getting sprayed by the sprinkler. Instead of spending all her time on either the couch or the chair, she accompanied us on most of our shopping sprees.

After several weeks of chemotherapy, my mother is still feeling stronger, not nauseaus from the chemo, and still in possession of her hair. So far the only ill effects from her chemo was a sunburned nose and cheek. Spirits were high and smiles were frequent.

Although my father is still unsteady on his feet and falls somewhere every week, as we left their house to return home, we had the most peaceful farewell in a long time. While I understand that this life is temporary, as evidenced by the passing of the mother of a good friend of mine, these are experiences I count as some of the tender mercies of the Lord to our family.

Thanks, Nene, for taking me along.

Happy trails for sure,


Friday, August 14, 2009

Lubbock by Kayak

Since I got my kayak I have not gotten my fill of being in it yet. Neither have I utilized my handy-dandy Texas fishing license sufficiently. I decided that when I got back from vacation I would head out with both items to engage in some serious relaxation.

My son, a teenager, was not interested in arising early enough (before 10am) during his summer vacation to get out and about. I therefore resolved to go alone into the not so wild waters of Lubbock. I packed the kayak and gear into the back of my trusty Ford Ranger pickup and left in search of water, a daunting task in West Texas. Fortunately, There are several bodies of water, I won't flatter them by calling them lakes, in the vicinity. My favorite waters include a scenic waterfall, bridges, park and dam.

I paddled away from the boat launch, though I could easily put my 39lb kayak in the water anywhere I desired, and after arriving at my designated spot, I drifted just off the shore and worked a white spinnerbait next to the cattails.

In fairly short order I had a strike. Now I'm not a small man and can easily lift or maneuver a kayak whereever I want. The 4lb, 18 inch bass I hooked also seemed to have little trouble moving the kayak, with me inside, wherever he wanted, but fortunately bass tire quickly enough. I played around and the bass jumped, splashed and swam for all he was worth, but in the end I led him into a small dip net then to a chain fish stringer. I'm all for catch and release for everyone else, but this was a huge fish and I didn't bring a camera.

I paddled around for about another hour and hooked a small bass that thought he was a big bass then decided to go home and show off. Of course I took pictures, measured weighed and bragged to my oldest son by text, my youngest son in person, my two youngest daughters by phone and in person and to a neighbor who just happened to be outside at the wrong time.

I guess the only fish I've ever caught that were bigger than this were carp, but they taste about as muddy as the river bottoms they swim on. Just for fun I watched a Youtube video on cleaning bass then looked up a recipe. I settled on rolling the fillets in corn meal and frying them. Turns out a 4lb fish has an awful lot of meat on it. I ate less than half the fish and put the rest in the fridge for later.

There's only a few things to top a day like that. I think the hot tub's calling.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Make a Wish

I look forward to August each year, though not for the extreme heat or even the start of school. Ok, I do look forward to the start of school. It gets the kids busy again instead of wandering aimlessly around the house looking for something to battle the boredom. I anticipate August each year because it is the time of year when the Perseids meteor shower arrives. If you look to the northeast after dark, you can see up to 60 meteors per hour. The moon is particularly bright right now, so you just have to check and see what you see throughout the night, but the best time is supposed to be at 2am.

John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High about this meteor shower. "You can see it raining fire in the sky." I love to go camping during this time, but rarely get to because of work. Last night I awoke between 2 and 3am and went to check the sky. Had conditions been more favorable I would have gotten in the hot tub and watched the heavens. As it was, the moon was bright through an overcast sky, conditions which make it impossible to see any stars or meteors.

You can be assured I will be checking the sky the next few nights. I'll set my alarm for 2am on August 12th. That is the peak of the showers. I'd love to be out on my parents porch watching the meteor shower. There are very few lights out there.

On an interesting side note, when a meteor goes through the atmosphere it leaves a trail. Ham radio buffs and others can bounce signals off that trail for extremely long distance communication. There are so many meteors all the time that there is an industry around this phenomena that tracks and uses these trails to transmit condensed packets of information using computers and radios to receiving stations around the world. Just a bit of trivia.

Don't forget to make a wish,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pot of Gold

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a bargain. I hit the garage sales all the time. I go to second hand stores, ebay and woot. When you find that rare treasure it is just like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

What I like even better, though, is winning contests. There is no substitute for that high of winning. With that said, we just won $200 on a television contest. This is a long running contest that has lasted for 4 or 5 years. In fact, I was the very first cash winner of the contest. I won $200 way back when. I love this station.

I wonder if the radio stations are playing any big contests right now...


Radio Active

I good friend of mine just convinced me into applying for membership in the Texas State Army MARS radio organization. Of course I haven't been officially accepted yet, but this is a part of the Texas State Guard and assists the military in operations, especially emergencies such as hurricanes. My friend also loaned me some equipment, which I'm sure would be a while before I could afford to buy it on my own. Now I'm hoping to learn the ropes to be able to be of use to anyone. I'm also hoping more of my family will get ham radio licenses and equipment so we can talk if other means of communication are down. Lonehawk is licensed and I am looking forward to talking to him. I still have considerable adjustments to make to my antenna, but I've been able to talk to my friend on his radio already. Wow. I can talk at least a mile...

It will get better.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too Sexy for this Blog

I don't know exactly why it caught my attention, but there was a column I read the other day on what makes a guy sexy to women. It may be that all of us want to think of ourselves that way regardless of our gender, age, weight or maturity.

Here's a link to the article, but I will summarize below:

Top 7

1. Knows how to wink
2. Radiates a calm, confident presence
3. Takes care of himself physically
4. Has style
5. Wears a nice cologne
6. Is affectionate
7. Has a good sense of humor

I won't ask for comments on how I rate. My wife likes me however I am.

; ^ )

How sexy is a wink like that?


Monday, July 20, 2009

Losing My Cool

I awoke at 2:30am the other day and realized there was an unusual sound going on that was what woke me. I quickly realized it was coming from the a/c vent and thought maybe the fan motor had burned out. I shut the system off and found a dusty filter was slightly bowed, indicating the system was struggling to pull air. The blower assembly is fairly new and I was afraid of how much it would cost to repair it.

I tried to go back to sleep, but quit fighting and went to Walmart. I only saw one other person in the store as I walked to the back and got my new filter. I wanted to show the repairman that I had changed it, even if a little late. 3am appears to be the optimal time to go to Walmart. Lots of parking spaces and no lines at the only checkout that was open.

I was quite relieved when I got home, replaced the filter and restarted the a/c and felt the cool air flowing again. We have had some triple digit temperatures lately. I just wish that was the end of the story.

For some time now the air conditioner has had less effect late in the day. I attributed that to poor insulation in our house, no storm windows and lots of sun. Last night the cool stopped totally. We shut off the system again and opened the doors and windows and soon the temperature matched the outside at about 86 degrees. We put in a work order for someone to come look at it Monday, but after starting it up again a couple of hours later it has worked all night. I'm hoping the repairman will say, "Oh, this was plugged. We fixed it easily." That's what I'm hoping he'll say anyway.

I'd have made a hot, sweaty pioneer.



The a/c repairman came, put freon in the system and was done in less than 5 minutes. $60 later the air is cooler, but it was too late in the day and the house is already hot. I guess we'll know tomorrow if that worked.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Humble Retraction

Ok, I apologize to all the drug dealers in my area. I extend my sorrow for accusing the low life, petty thieves that frequent the alleys at night. I beg forgiveness of the impoverished pot heads that need a little something that's not theirs to sell for their next fix.

It turns out that my mother-in-law's RV was not broken into, ransacked and robbed. It turns out that my mother-in-law is one of those messies whose cup not only runneth over, but covereth her goodies she doth seek. Her digital camera, camcorder, jewelry tin and tin full of colored pencils and crayons merely got avalanched to the bottom of the stack. It was hidden naturally so well not even she could find them for several days.

On the plus side, it appears that we are being sufficiently aware of securing the doors on our vehicles, house and the RV...for now.

I guess I'll have to stop the surveillance on the guy riding his bike past our house and delete the pictures of the kids walking down the street.

Paranoia may be a psychotic condition, but it does pass the time.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Grinch Came

It turns out that my nephew, Jaromy, was not the only person to come and visit on Sunday. Probably sometime during the evening before we all went to bed, someone got into my in-laws' RV and stole some valuables. They missed the laptop, but got a couple of cameras, a tin container full of jewelry and of all things, another container full of crayons and pens. The latter were in another tin and they probably thought it was another can of jewelry.

This is not the first time someone has gone through our vehicles and we try to always keep them locked. My in-laws know this and tried to keep the RV locked, but apparently missed getting it secured that day. I'm sure there's no chance of getting things back, but if we give a description to the police, maybe they will come across the stuff somewhere.

This group or individual has been hitting a number of homes around this area and probably live nearby. Someone had broken into the outdoor learning center at the elementary school and stolen the birdhouse and the bird feeder my son had put in as part of an eagle scout project. That was on mothers' day. I'm sure their mother was proud of them as they gave her the stolen items. How touching.

Oh, well. Life goes on,


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Visitor

We had a nice visit today from Jaromy, our nephew. He recently left Canada and is now working in Amarillo. We had quite the welcoming party for him. Our two dogs were here, along with Jenni's yorkie, Laura's two shorkies, my mother/father in-law's shih tzu and shih tzu/pekenese mix, Chris' two wolves and sheltie. About half of the dogs didn't really know each other yet and the barking was non-stop for about 30 minutes, even though the big dogs were outside.

Jaromy let leak the news that his dad will be getting the internet at home next week and will be joining the rest of the family on chat. Welcome, brother.

Speaking of chat, it's about time to join everyone online.

8 ^ )


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bittersweet Victory

A month or so ago, the hot tub plug shorted out. As I researched parts available on the internet, I found that the manufacturer replacement part was $60, just for the plug. We went to a number of local electrical supply companies, but did not find an appropriate replacement. Amazingly enough, I did not check ebay till this week. Sure enough, there was a new plug for about $25. It came in the mail faster than my inlaws could travel from Kentucky. It should be up to operating temperature by the time they arrive. Unfortunately, the temperature outside has set record highs at 106 yesterday and similar today.

Wait, it hasn't heated all the way yet and is still pretty cool. Maybe the heat of summer won't be so bad for a few hours after all.

I've got to find my swim trunks.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joyce

Happy birthday tomorrow, Sis.

We Are Seven
A simple child...
That lightly draws its breath
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage girl-
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered 'round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air
And she was wildly clad;
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell
And two are gone to sea."

"Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother
And in the churchyard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell
And two are gone to sea,
Yet, ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be."

Then did the little maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree."

"You run about, my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the churchyard laid
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door
And they are side by side."

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit
And sing a song to them."

"And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair
I take my little porringer
And eat my supper there."

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain
And then she went away."

"So in the churchyard she was laid
And, when the grass was dry
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I."

"And when the ground was white with snow
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little maid's reply,
"O master! We are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'T was throwing words away; for still
The little maid would have her will
And said... "Nay, we are seven!"

by William Wordsworth

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sign Me Up, Jeff

Ok, I'm retired. I'm in pretty good shape at the moment, good health and all. I don't have any major commitments. I've completed a looong application, produced a 3 minute video, applied for a passport and submitted my packet to be a contestant on Survivor Samoa.

My wife thinks it's silly and a waste of time and money, but if I were to get chosen it would be the experience of a lifetime, one that would not come my way again. That all said, the producers will thin out the supposedly thousands of applications to a mere 800 potential contestants, then to the final group to compete.

Now who wouldn't want to sleep outside in the dirt and rain with a group of total strangers, all of whom either want you to watch their back or put a knife in yours. If that's not enough, a steady diet of boiled water, rice, coconuts, fish and very little of anything else while going through exhausting contests should seal the deal to entice anyone.

The next season tapes during the summer and fall of 2009 and you must commit to be gone 7 weeks total, whether you are voted out the first tribal council or not. That would be pretty rough too, though, to have to spend 7 weeks in Samoa being taken care of by the producers, though I'd much rather be the 125 pound 53 year old man who walks away with a cool million at the end.

Guess I'd better go practice my swimming,


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dad's & Lads

Our ward had an outing for the fathers and sons this weekend. We went camping at a place I haven't been since I was a teenager. During that trip we slept (and I use the term loosely) under a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning. With those old scout tents we had a river running from one end of the tent down the middle and out the other side. Wind, rain and hail were all pretty fierce.

This trip was picture perfect. The weather was gorgeous. The campsite was manicured and the lake was beautiful. Nathan and I went and took the kayak. We traded off taking it out. As I got in the first time I overbalanced and tipped it over in about 6 inches of water, filling it and my shoes with water and soaking myself. On a side note, I must have jammed my right hand ring finger because now it's swollen.

The rest of the campout was fine, no mishaps. I admit I did let a little fatherly worry wrinkle my brow as my youngest son took the kayak out to the middle of the lake by the dam and out of sight several times. I advised him beforehand that if it tipped over, just to get in it water and all. The kayak has foam inside both ends and will still float even if full of water, but he did fine.

The "fathers and sons" turned out to include many daughters too. Many of the dads brought all their kids or just daughters. It complicated the bathroom issue, but only slightly. It was a fun campout. We took Subway sandwiches for dinner and they cooked pancakes and Harry Potter sausages for breakfast.

That would have topped off the weekend fine except that my truck died about two blocks from the house and we had to push it back. I'm afraid it's the fuel pump. I'll have to have it seen about on Monday.

Life goes on as usual,


Monday, May 11, 2009

Top of My Shopping List

I've been shopping around for a kayak like this for a long time. It's an Oldtown Otter. They sell for $280 and up at a number of stores. I got a large amount of money and gift cards from my coworkers when I retired and have been shopping, but not finding any better price. Every Sunday I check the ads of Academy Sports and Gander Mountain. Sometimes they sell for about $50 less, but I've missed finding a sale.

Sunday I decided to check on Craigslist and there was a kayak listed, not an Otter, but a really good price at over $100 cheaper. I called the phone number early Monday morning and the man said someone had already called and probably wanted to buy it, but wouldn't know till he saw it at 6pm. When I called about 6:30pm the seller said the other guy did buy the kayak. He then asked if I had my heart set on that type of kayak. I said no, that I really wanted an Otter. He then said that his neighbor has 5 kayaks and wants to sell his nearly new Otter. Needless to say, I went over immediately and bought the kayak I originally wanted for almost half price.

I've still got most of the original money and a gift card to Academy Sports. It's starting to burn a hole in my pocket.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vote "For"...why?

There is a big issue going on in our city right now. People buy their alcohol out at "the strip." It's just outside the city limits on the highway south of town. Other options they have are to go to nearby towns which are within 5-10 miles away. Now the issue is on the ballet to allow alcohol sales inside the city limits. It's a no brainer for me to vote against this since I don't drink and don't think anyone else should either, but I had an interesting experience at a garage sale Saturday.

There was a pretty, young woman sitting at the garage sale. She was pretty, but not cute, with a hard, bitter look on her face. She was talking to another person there and said this:

"Of course I voted to allow liquor sales inside the city limits. Do you know how hard it is for a 16 year old to buy beer? They can't get to the strip and can't buy if they go. You have to get someone else to buy it for you. What a hassle. At least now that I'm 18 I can get a fake ID because I look old enough."

After that last sentence it was interesting to watch her expression as she saw my Deputy Sheriff belt buckle and quickly debated whether or not I was real in law enforcement.

Of course, I didn't say a word and just let her go on wondering.

Vote "NO." I did.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Special Night

The Temple president made our Stake president an offer he couldn't refuse. The offer was to open the Temple for a special session with the Stake presidency, High Council, Bishops and their wives. Also attending was the Mission president and his wife, Stake YW president, Stake RS president and her husband.

Due to scheduling problems, not everyone was able to come, but there was only one empty seat. The Temple president, counselor, matron and assistant were the officiators for the session. I expected a huge group for the prayer, but had mainly the Stake presidency and wives. It was an awesome session.

I would have stayed longer in the celestial room afterwards, but felt a cough tickle starting and didn't want to disturb the rest, so Helen and I left.

After we got home, we grilled bacon wrapped filet mignon for dinner with asparagus and potatoes for dinner. Deseret was a fudge bar.

If I was a cat, I'd be purring.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Circle of Life

I retired from my job of 25 years the end of March. I let them know a full month ahead of time so they could get a replacement for me ASAP. They posted the vacancy before I left, which was great. The secretary applied for and now has been given my position, which, in turn, left her position available. The secretary job has now been posted online. My wife, an assistant librarian, just put in an application for that job. I can give her all the help she needs to know how to do that interview. It would be hilarious if she goes to work at my old office with my friends. We of course, would laugh all the way to the bank as it would double Helen's salary. That would put us back at our pre-retirement income. Now when I get another job we will really be in good shape.

Still, I wonder if the fish are biting this week...


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Officially CERTifiable

That's what my instructor basically said today. My team and I are officially certified CERT team members. That stands for Community Emergency Response Team. We are volunteers to work in conjuction with the Citizens Corps, Homeland Security, fire, police and other emergency organizations. When a natural or man-made disaster gets to the magnitude of overwhelming available resources, our group is called in to help. We would go door to door in the case of some disaster and shut off utilities, check for victims, run triage and/or assist in other ways needed.

I have a pretty decent 72 hour emergency kit, but now I also have a CERT backpack with my disaster kit. I may not win any beauty awards wearing my forest green backpack, vest, green hard hat, gloves and safety goggles, but I think that might just be a sight for sore eyes for someone trapped in a house after a tornado.

Now I hope I never need to use any of that training and equipment.


It is to Cry For

I found this at a garage sale yesterday.
I could easily picture this on the wall in the High Council room. There is also a projector screen that pulls down too. I called the Stake President later in the day and described it to him. He said definitely get it. I went back to the garage sale, paid the man $50 and backed up the van. As we were loading it in the back, he dropped his side and the door broke off. A one inch piece of wood all down the side sheared off where the screws attached the door to the hinge. I was sick about it. The man gave me the $50 back and we drove home.

I informed the Stake President what happened and he asked me to go back and buy the pieces and he would see if the man who just made cabinets for him could make a new door for it. Now, this cabinet is nice oak wood and a new door won't be cheap, but even if it costs $100 for a new door, I looked up the price of this on the internet. It normally sells for $2000. Now I just hope it won't be expensive to fix, because it will be wonderful in some classroom.

I will still keep my eyes peeled for more garage sales, though.


Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Listening

My wife took off Wednesday through Friday last week to go to a job fair with me, since we are both seeking new employment. The job fair was Wednesday, but did not have any dramatic results. We decided that since we were off, we would go camping for a few days in the mountains an hour south of Carlsbad Caverns.

As I awoke Thursday morning my wife said," I don't think we should go camping."

Me: "How come?"

Helen: "I've been thinking about it a lot this morning and feel that we shouldn't go."

Me: "OK. I trust your insight."

I'm not embarrassed to say that my wife is more in tune with spiritual promptings than I am. We have followed her promptings before and never been sorry.

Since we were off I decided that we needed to take the van to the shop to have the brakes serviced, which they needed. When the van call to let us know what the brake job would cost, I told Helen, "Don't be surprised if they say something about a fluid leak I've been seeing lately."

I didn't know what the leak was and had forgotten to mention it to them. Sure enough, they saw the leak and said it was the rack and pinion assembly that needed to be replaced. We trust the mechanic shop quite a bit and knew they were right. The repairs of the van, added to new u-joints on my truck last week meant that we spent about $1k on car repairs last week.

Now I can't say for sure that brakes and steering would have gone out on us high in the mountains of Texas or New Mexico, but I am positive that I'm glad I didn't have to put that to the test.

I wonder if Helen's insight extends to contests.... I'm sure it wouldn't work with the lottery, even if I did play, which I don't.

There will be other campouts.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's Not the End of the World

As we left exams in college, someone would inevitably say, "Well, it's not the end of the world, just the end of a career."

I just ended a career. That was a week ago. Last night we went to my retirement dinner, thrown by my ex-coworkers. When we had our Christmas parties, we normally had about 18 people there. Last night a total of 32 people were at the party. The retirees I had previously worked with were all there except one who is in a nursing home. I was highly honored.

I was also totally blown away by all the gifts and the amount that was spent on me. There were multiple gift cards, presents and a money tree. Helen and I were picking the "fruits" of the tree for almost 30 minutes. Don't misunderstand me. I'm thrilled for the monetary gifts, but one I was hoping would be there was there. My manager presented me with a Texas flag that was flown over the state capitol the day I retired.

Standing there at the head of the table, wearing my hawaiian shirt, boar's tooth necklace and a large sash that said "Retired" I almost got emotional. It was really good to see so many people that were my coworkers going back 25 years.

I told them I hope to see them at the Christmas party, but now that I'm gone, I'm not sure they'll get it organized and planned.

Till then, I do have pictures.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Eagles' Nest

At 7pm on April 1, 2009, my youngest son Nathan received his eagle scout award almost 6 1/2 years after his older brother, Chris received his eagle.

As a youth, I never got past second class. There were a host of reasons for that, but I've always tried to follow the scout motto of "Be prepared." I'd like to think that if the eagle award were available to adult scouts, I'd be qualified. Nevertheless, I'm thrilled to see my youngest child receive the award. Of course, like his brother, he won't appreciate it for years, but those of us who understand the prestige are proud of them both.

I will claim only a small amount of credit since most of it goes not to Nathan, but to Helen. She worked with him through merit badges and eagle project. She got a neat mother's pin. I got a cool dad's pin.

I think I need to polish my pins a bit.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So, for my last day at work I worked the choices down to Hawkeye from MASH or James Bond. Now, there is no doubt that Bond has class, but I decided that Hawkeye's got style.

My bathrobe, so long that people thought it was a duster, and my cowboy hat fit the bill. Everyone thought it was perfect, but to tell you the truth, a little bit of me wanted the Bond look. Just tell everyone that my next career is classified.

I confess that it was hard to do any work at all until they let me leave 4 hours early. That's the story of my life. I left all the women with tears in their eyes. I thought I might shed a few myself, but nary a drop.

I came home, watched I am Legend, took a dip in the hot tub, and it's still not yet 5pm. I could get used to least till the money ran out. I'll start the job search soon, but for now, I think I need a nap.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I have 1 full day and 1 day of who knwos how long left at work this week. I will leave work Tuesday at whatever time they let me go to retire after 25 years at work. Mind you, I'm not going to quit working, just going to quit working there. I'm on the brink of trying to start another career, but we'll have to wait and see just what.

Since I have been there so long I have accumulated quite a pile of junk and decorations for my cubicle. Rather than depress my co-workers....and have them laugh at my pile of stuff, I decided to clean out my cubicle on Saturday. Helen and I went in and started cleaning out and boxing up. There was quite a lot of memories amidst the dust, but we finally got everything I could in the van. I had 5 copier paper boxes, two paintings and 3 picture frames to take home. The boxes included many miscellaneous items such as: M & M Hotrod candy dispenser, mugs, junk food, a zen garden, bamboo plant, a wide array of junk food and medicines for the office.

I shredded 2 trashcans full of old papers and will still have a desk full of office supplies, my roll-o-dex, an under-cabinet stereo, and a number of other items to let my co-workers fight over once I'm gone. I'm totally good with that. I went through other retirees' desks the day after they left. I waited a week to go through the desk of a friend that died, so I whole-heartedly hope they don't just trash the left overs.

I'm trying to decide now what to wear for my last day at work. Pajamas and a bathrobe, a tux and ruffled shirt, coveralls and cowboy hat. So many options.

I knew I should have bought a full pair of spurs,


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Living with the Wolves

My son and his wife sold their party train and had to take it to Houston. They decided to make a trip of it and visit the coast and her dad in Austin, extending the trip through the weekend. They took their sheltie with them, but left their two half-wolves and mutt with us. The wolves each have a dog crate the size of a minivan where they sleep. Since the younger wolf is still a puppy, of about 50 lbs, she shares her crate with the mutt.

They get fed once a day. The papa bowl for Avalanche, the older wolf; the mama bowl for Maya, the young wolf, and the baby bowl for the mutt. Avalanche used to literally wolf down his food. He grabbed mouthfuls as fast as possible and swallowed without chewing. He’s calmed down now and eats more calmly, but can still wolf down food if he thinks someone will take it away from him. (That someone will not be me between a wolf and his food.)

At 5am, the wolf pack began a howling, barking riot that I’m sure could wake the dead, after all, it did wake me from a dead sleep. It turns out that there is something that smells worse than a wolf. I left them outside, praying that that won’t wake (or eat) the neighbors, while I cleaned up the mess and sprayed the room with liberal amounts of air freshener.

After living with the wolf pack for 3 days, I have determined the method in their plan of attack. First, they make their prey sleep deprived, so as not to suspect an attack is coming. It is also possible that they make their prey sleep deprived in order to cause the prey to think in irrational ways. Second, whenever the wolves are wandering free in the yard, the oldest will sneak up behind you and nose you, spreading wolf snot and slobber on you. If you have just gotten out of the hot tub, the oozing slime can literally be strategically placed anywhere on you. This is not merely random snot. This snot is for tracking you later when you least suspect it.

I haven’t worried about this for 2 days because the motor home sized crates are comparatively secure. That was when I noticed that the springs are gone from one of the crates. In that wolfish mind, I can see them plotting now. The young wolf will open her cage first with the help of the mutt. The two of them will then free the pack leader. All of this will happen in the dead of night. Their keen sense of smell will then lead them to the snotty smell they placed on you, no matter where you sleep or hide.

I decided that tonight is the night they will strike as the sleep deprivation will be at its peak. I think I can move the book case in front of the door, but I don’t know how much snot marking has been done with the kids. I may just have to stay up all night in the living room with the lights on and the garlic spread around the room. Oh, wait, would that smell like seasoning too much?
What’s that snuffling sound?


Monday, March 9, 2009

A Bit o' the Emerald Isle

I know it's not quite St. Patrick's Day, but it's never too early to celebrate the wearin' o' the green. This is in honor of Nene.

Irish Marriage Blessing
May God be with you and bless you.May you see your children's children.May you be poor in misfortunesand rich in blessings.May you know nothing but happinessfrom this day forward.

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.May the wind always be at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields.And until we meet again,May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

A Wish for a Friend
Wishing you a rainbowFor sunlight after showers—Miles and miles of Irish smilesFor golden happy hours—Shamrocks at your doorwayFor luck and laughter too,And a host of friends that never endsEach day your whole life through!

An Irish Prayer
May God give you...For every storm, a rainbow,For every tear, a smile,For every care, a promise,And a blessing in each trial.For every problem life sends,A faithful friend to share,For every sigh, a sweet song,And an answer for each prayer.

An Old Cradle Song
Sleep, my babe, lie still and slumber,All through the nightGuardian angels God will lend thee,All through the nightSoft and drowsy hours are creeping,Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,Mother dear her watch is keeping,All through the nightGod is here, you'll not be lonely,All through the night'Tis not I who guards thee only,All through the nightNight's dark shades will soon be over,Still my watchful care shall hover,God with me His watch is keeping,All through the night

Remembered Joy
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!I follow the plan God laid for me.I saw His face, I heard His call,I took His hand and left it all...I could not stay another day,To love, to laugh, to work or play;Tasks left undone must stay that way.And if my parting has left a void,Then fill it with remembered joy.A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.My life's been full, I've savoured much:Good times, good friends, a loved-one's touch.Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—Don't shorten yours with undue grief.Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

An Old Celtic Blessing
May the blessing of light be on you—light without and light within.May the blessed sunlight shine on youand warm your hearttill it glows like a great peat fire.

Bless This House
Bless this house, o Lord, we pray.Make it safe by night and day.Bless these walls so firm and stout,Keeping want and trouble out.Bless the roof and chimney tall,Let thy peace lie over all.Bless the doors that they may proveEver open to joy and love.Bless the windows shining bright,Letting in God's heavenly light.Bless the hearth a-blazing there,With smoke ascending like a prayer.Bless the people here within...Keep them pure and free from sin.Bless us all, that one day, weMay be fit, O lord, to dwell with Thee.

In Time of Sorrow...
May you see God's light on the path aheadWhen the road you walk is dark.May you always hear,Even in your hour of sorrow,The gentle singing of the lark.When times are hard may hardnessNever turn your heart to stone,May you always rememberwhen the shadows fall—You do not walk alone.

A Blessing for Fair Day
God be with them now, and bring them home with their fair share of stock or money.

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,and warm your heart and home.May good and faithful friends be yours,wherever you may roam.May peace and plenty bless your worldwith joy that long endures.May all life's passing seasonsbring the best to you and yours!

My Favorite
May those that love us, love us;and those that don't love us,may God turn their hearts;And if He doesn't turn their hearts,may He turn their anklesso we'll know them by their limping.

I think I just found a four leaf clover,


Friday, March 6, 2009

It's My Car

I got a call today from my youngest daughter. She was at work at the bank and said, "Do you know a Carlos Pando?"
"No, I've never heard of him, why?"
"Because there's a tow truck here to take my car away because it's behind on car payments. "
I had her had the cell phone to the tow truck operator and told them, "DO NOT TAKE THAT CAR! I HAVE A CLEAR TITLE!"
She said that the Ford company had a lien against the title. I told her again, "no I have a clear title."
The lady said she was just doing her job, but I told her she was not to take the car. Meanwhile she was on the phone with the Ford people and gave me the guy's number to call and said that she would not take Samm's car.
I had to wait another hour or so to get home and find the title to the car. Now I couldn't remember looking at it or not to see if it was clear. Fortunately it showed no lien.
I called Ford and talked to the guy and said, "You tried to tow my daughter's car today." He knew right who we were and said there had been a huge mistake on their part, that they had corrected the error and it wouldn't happen again. He appologized appropriately, so I magnanimously accepted and that was the end of that.
I'm pretty sure I spiked my blood pressure for the year, though. I got to spend some time at the Temple in a meeting, so I'm mellow again.
Well, maybe I need to go spend a little time out in the hot tub....just to be sure.


Monday, March 2, 2009

End of an Era

After taking disastrous exams in college, you could usually hear someone say, "Well, it's not the end of the world, just the end of a career." While I haven't taken any disastrous exams, I am at the end of a career. I'm off today due to Texas Independence Day, but tomorrow I will officially tender my letter of resignation with my intent to retire on March 31st. I haven't shed any tears typing up the letter, though I'm sure some will come before I leave, but it's a scary, exciting thing to do, especially in this economy.

25 years ago, my wife and I left our jobs, home and her family in Kentucky to move to Texas and hopefully find a job. We had no prospects or opportunities except to move in with my parents in Odessa, Texas. They were kind enough to let us stay with them for 4 months until I got the job I had hoped I would get with the State of Texas. Though I've had disagreements and disappointments with my time, it's been good, or maybe better to say it's been good for me.

Now, at 53 years old, I find myself facing unemployment while I endeavor to start over again, yet, as Joseph Smith said, "I am calm as a summer's morn." Sure, I know that John D. Lee spoke those word before he was executed, but I feel the same peace I did 25 years ago as I faced the then unknown. I am confident as I trust in the Lord, that He knows exactly what I will be doing in the future, just as He always has, and will watch over me.


Monday, February 16, 2009

A Short Blog

What’s on My MP3 Playlist?

All I Need is a Miracle
Black Velvet
I’ve Got My Mind Set on You
Lady in Red
Life is a Highway
Muskrat Love
Southern Cross
Wildwood Weed
You Had a Bad Day

No rhyme or reason, just songs I like, even if I can't play them all on my harmonica.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

6 Quirks

I really hate lists. Maybe that's a quirk (?) Anyway, here's my list:

1. I love to wear toe socks, collect weapons, buckles and harmonicas. Ok, so those are all quirks, but I’m including them all as one.

2. I probably have a bigger stuffed animal collection than any of my kids or grandkids.

3. The ringtone on my phone is the theme song from “Inspector Gadget.” It’s very typical of my favorite toys. I like all gadgets. If it’s electronic, sharp or useful for survival, I like it. You can never have too many ways to make light or start fire. You wouldn’t believe how many light sticks I have in a drawer.

4. You can never have too many pockets. My favorite outfit would be my cargo pants (6 pockets), fishing shirt (4 pockets), my tactical vest (I lost count of how many pockets it has) and a fanny pack. Fill those with all my gadgets and I’m in heaven.

5. I’m not neat, but I am orderly. Right, probably best described as OCD. When I wash dishes (if ever), I put all the spoons, plates, cups etc together by group. I really need a chair and a tv. When I work on my computer, I have about 5 different windows open and if they are not in the right order on the taskbar at the bottom, I close them all and open them in the right order.

6. I am not as germophobic as some people, but I keep hand sanitizer with me most of the time. If I touch something someone else touches I am antsy till I can wash my hands.

I just gathered up my flashlights from the grandkids who were playing with them. Now I need some hand sanitizer.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nene!

I don't usually write my memories about my family like everyone else does. Mainly because my brain doesn't seem to work and remember anything long enough to write it down. I'm going to try and do better this year. So now I'm one for one.

When I was in elementary school, a cute little blonde girl moved in next to us. I've always been attracted to cute little blonde girls, so she and I used to play together. At least until Inklings and Nene teased me half to death about liking her. Cindy, said cute little blonde girl, and Nene were friends and played together at our house, but I was so traumatized by then that I would hide anywhere so they wouldn't find me, which of course encouraged them to look for me. Once I hid in the cupboard with the pots and pans.

Nene and Inklings had a secret club, which of course, Sticks and I knew about. I thought they called it the Secret Sword Club and had tiny swords made of stick pins. The clubhouse was under the stairs where our hamster used to hide when he got out of his cage.

I'm sure there's a million other memories floating in my cerebral limbo, but I felt that Nene and I grew closest when we were the only siblings living in this state. We had to travel 320 miles to her house on our way to the temple, but I looked forward to the visits. Later she moved about the same distance to the east and we visited there for a variety of reasons. Now that she's in Ireland I just need to figure out a good way to get there for a visit, too.

All my sisters seem to have gotten the beauty and talent. I got the short end of that gene pool, but I'm proud to call Nene my beautiful, beloved sister.

Happy Birthday,