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,