Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here comes a new year

Gads, 2010 staring us in the face.  Like it was only yesterday we clocked in for the next century. 

We've been invited to a party this evening.  The host said it was a Crisco party and that we should bring 6 large tins of shortening.  While I don't really know what type of party this is going to be I'm guessing that we're doing some deep frying tonight.  I'd love some fried chicken or fried weenies.  Hopefully one or both are on the Crisco party menu.

I have not made any New Year's resolutions for I've run out of things to do.  They've all been done.  Maybe I'll come up with a couple after tonight's party.

The visit yesterday to the Dodge dealer brought good news:  No sign of any mice or any damage.  That's not to say we're mice free.  I'll have them check again in a couple of weeks.  The dealer only charged for a half hours work which was definitely worth it in terms of peace of mind.

Bob the Marina Guy has his new teeth.  He shows everyone his teeth.  Bob's hoping that he can evoke a line from Goldilocks and the Three Bears when someone of the opposite sex says, "Bob, what nice teeth you have."  He plans coming back with, "All the better to eat you with, my dear."  That would be a typical line from moat any Bob I know.

We'll have the steak dinner I promised once Marina Bob feels comfortable eating out.  This should be in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully Bob will let me take photos of our dinner out which I'll post here.

Be safe tonight.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Early Morning Letter

We subscribe to three newspapers:  The Cowtown News, The Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.   Each are delivered in the morning long before anyone on this street is up and at 'em.

Having been a paper boy I know well the rigors of the business.  Today's carriers drive a car.  At age ten I rode my bike to deliver the papers - all 100 of them.  It's mostly a thankless job.  People bitch more at how and when their paper is delivered than they do at appreciating their carriers.

Come time to pay for each subscription I make it a habit of including a tip for the carrier.  Like how much can this job pay?  Not a lot.  How much money for fuel for their car is paid for out of their pocket?  A lot.  Bearing those things in mind I know that it's the right thing to tip the carrier generously.

Several weeks before Christmas the carrier who delivers the WSJ and the Chronicle included a Christmas card with the morning papers.  The card included her address.  Normally I would have seen this as solicitation for a return card from her customers and some money for Christmas - - - and not liked that.  But this carrier is different.  Each holiday she includes a little candy treat or a card for her customers.  Nothing is asked in return.   I've also received thank you cards from her for the tip I include with the bi-monthly subscription money.  Neat lady.  You don't find carriers like this.

So we made out a Christmas card addressed to our carrier and included a nice little amount as a gift.  After all, it 'tis the season.

This morning tucked in with the morning papers was an envelope addressed to us and from the carrier.  Inside was a letter that had been word processed and printed:

"Gabriel and Nathaniel (last name omitted) would like to thank you for the money, gift cards and goods that we got for Christmas from my paper people.  Because it gave them a good Christmas.  I know the times are hard and in my family we are feeling it a lot, too.  Your help gave the boys their Christmas.  The boys send all their love to all who cared this  year.  The boys like you to know that Gabriel is 6 years old and in first grade.  And Nathaniel is 3 years olf and goes to Head Start.  I'm thankful too for all the gifts and help because we would not have had a Christmas this year.  Thank you." and signed by our carrier.  

Nothing like welling up and shedding a few tears in the wee hours of the morning.  God bless people who are appreciative of a hand up and not a hand out.  Ya just gotta love them.

As we look at the coming New Year I thought that including this letter would help each of you to frame your resolutions.

Be thankful for what you have and help others who have little or nothing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SHIT!  What next?!!

So I'm driving home this morning after running errands.  Nice drive.  Sirius satellite radio tuned to their jazz channel.  Cool stuff being played.  I'm in my chee . . .

Out of the corner of my eye I see something move on the hood of the truck's hood.  A mouse sticks its head out of the hood just next to the wipers.  What a cutie, I thought.

Second thought:  Oh, crap.  I know what that means.  A friend just went through the hassle of having mice set up housekeeping in her Lexus.  Major damage in the thousands.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the Dodge dealer to find the next of mice and determine how much damage has been done to the truck.

I just finished putting the Last Supper thoughtfully in and around the garage. Can't have freaking mice procreate by the dozens under my roof.  Eat up, little critters!  EAT UP!

It wouldn't be life if things like this didn't happen.  Think of how boring every day living would be.
HOLD THE PHONE!

There's nothing wrong.  Nothing has happened.  Sorry for confusion but thankful for your responses.

Yesterday's post was music from American Beauty and end of film Kevin Spacey lines.  That should ring a bell for all those who have seen this film.

I guess I should not take anything for granted.

Ya think?

Monday, December 28, 2009

....I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me.
But it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world.

Sometimes I feel like I am seeing it all at once and my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst, and then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel any thing but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I am talking about I am sure, but don't worry you will someday.''

Friday, December 25, 2009



No Place Like Home for the Holidays

We're home for the holidays as are a lot of people.   There's nothing like being home.  Today, ham and eggs breakfast.  Lunch will be left over clam chowder from Christmas Eve.  Dinner is pot roast with roasted vegetables.

The latter is definitely not traditional but certainly an all American meal.  Why pot roast?  Tired of ham.  Tired of turkey.  Tired of prime rib.  So, why not pot roast with vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy preceded by Caesar salad?  I bought a lean cut of beef - bottom round that has close to no fat.  Apart from the eating beef part there really can be a more "good for you" cut of meat.  There will be eggnog drinks.  Desert (chocolate cake and pumpkin pie).

Apart from the celebration of the birth of Christ, the exchange of gifts, and the gathering of relatives, don't you think a large part of the Christmas celebration is food and drink?  Would the holiday be the same without the traditional array of good things to eat? 

Wifey wants to go sailing around noon of which I am hesitant.  The lake is low.  Very low - like at least 30 to 40 feet less than what it was the end of September.  Parks Service personnel intentionally drain a full lake in time for the influx of winter rain water runoff.  The marina personnel are off for the holiday.  If Sparkle Plenty runs aground and it could - - - as there are lots of places to do that even in the middle of the lake, there's no one to pull the boat off of the sandbar.  Yeah, I could pull an Humphrey Bogart African Queen thing (you do remember that film, don't you?).  Bob standing on the sandbar, rope in hand and over the shoulder which is attached to the bow of the boat.  Heave ho!  Moving 3 tons of boat by rope in hand would not be an easy task to accomplish.

I'd love to be on the lake today.  Temps will be well over 60, a slight wind just enough to fill the sails and NO ONE ELSE on the lake!  Yup.  There's likely to be no one else boating today.

Anyway, sailing Christmas Day is something to consider and may not happen all in the name of good common sense.....something every skipper should have.

The photo is of course Gracie adorned with her fake, smile for the camera look.  That's the best she could pull off.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Are You Doing "It" For Christmas?

I hope you brought your spurs.......

'Twas the night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house - not a creature was stirring WHAT WAS THAT?  A MOUSE?!!

Wifey and I are tucked into bed with visions of 100 dollar bills dancing in our heads.  Then, thud, thud.  It was the sound of something scampering across a wooden threshold just outside the master bedroom.  It's 11:30 p.m. and I'm awake all thanks to whatever it was that kept jumping around outside.

I open the slider to the patio and catch a glimpse of a little brown and black furry creature scurrying around the corner of the house.  Hmmmm.  Rat or mouse?  Too big for a mouse.  Could it be a rat?

We live in an area where wild land are on two sides of the property.  Deer (a mom and her two twins passed by yesterday), Coyote, Possums, Skunks, Bob cats, and bear along with an assortment of birds frequent this area.  To the rear of our property sits a ranch that's home to chickens and horses.  That alone tells me that rats and/or mice might migrate from there to here.

I tell myself to live and let live.  It's the Christmas spirit.  Why not feed the little rascals a holiday meal.  Yeah, why not?

A trip to the local hardware store yields a rodent meal fit for a rat or mouse.  You could also call it the Last Supper for right on the carton of "food" in bold letters is written:  FAST KILL!

I put out the Last Supper for my furry friends and know it's the right thing to do.  Rodents carry disease.  With our dogs, Gracie and her friends who frequent our home it's a matter of applying that ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure. 

First night:  Four sets of bait set out.  Come morning:  None left.

Second night:  Four sets of bait set out:  Come morning:  One left.

Third night:  Four sets of bait set out:  Come morning:  Four left.

Sorry little guys.  It had to be done for It 'twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A CHRISTMAS POEM


Roses are red.


Violets are bluish.


If it wasn't for Christmas,


We'd all be Jewish.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dude - get over it!

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.  It was the telephone.  Someone was calling at 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night.  After checking the Caller ID to see who it was I cradled the phone and went back to bed.  No one I knew.  Maybe is was the wrong number. 

Having been in the educational business I'm accustomed to prank telephone calls and other deeds of mischief.  Caller ID has cut the prank calls down to zilch.  All I have to do is call the prankster back, preferably when mom or dad answers the phone.  My call back usually results in that prankster never calling back again.

A couple of weeks ago the house was hit with close to a dozen paint balls.  Only house in the neighborhood that was paint balled.  Pranksters?  Random act of kindness? Ha.  No big deal.  Washed off the paint.  The house was none less for the wear. I figured being paint balled was all due to who I was and didn't give it another thought. 

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.  It was the telephone.  The clock said 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, the night after the 11:30 p.m. call.  I checked the called ID  same person calling.  Hmmmm.  Let it ring. 

I decided not to call the mysterious middle of the night caller.  Let it be, I thought.  Calling back sometimes aggravates the situation.  If the caller thinks that no one cares about their middle of the night telephone call or that no one heard the phone ring then maybe they'll give up.  Maybe.  At least that was my thinking.

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.  The phone rings Tuesday morning at 10:30.  Call ID says it's the same caller who called Friday night and early Sunday morning.  Enough is enough, I thought . . . and reached to answer the phone.  Too late.  They had already hung up.

I wait a half hour then call the number on our Caller ID - the number of the mysterious caller.

Her:  Hello?

Me:  Your telephone is calling my telephone at all hours of the day and night.  Is this a mistake or do you have something to tell me?

Her:  Just a minute.

The phone is handed over to another female.

Her:  Hello?

I repeat what I said to the first caller.

Her:  Ohhhh, your phone number is one digit off of my girl friend Rosie's phone number.  I get them mixed up.  Sorry, it won't happen again.

Me:  I hope so.  You called at 11:30 one night and 12:30 the next.   You need to get your fingers together and dial the right number. 

Her:  I said that I was sorry.  Dude, get over it.

Me:  You get over it and stop calling.

Click.

Dude get over it?  I just love the current generation.  They are so respectful.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Gotta Be Me


Wifey:  What are you doing?

Me:  What do you think what I'm doing?

Wifey:  Sounding like a chicken.

Me:  Well, yeah.  It's that time of year.  I always do Christmas Carols sounding like a chicken.  Gotta be me, don't ya know?  Wanna hear Silent Night?   Or, how about I'm Getting Nothing For Christmas? 

Wifey:  My mother warned me about you.

Me:  What she didn't warn you about is all of the money I'd bring into the family to put with your money to make a million plus bucks.  Wanna get naked and roll in all of our money?  It's the season to go green.

Wifey:  Light the candles.  Fire up the Jacuzzi.  Bring on the wads of cash.  You're on for a green throw down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

They'll figure it out

In my leisure it's not unusual for me to take command of the kitchen (like any good captain would) and whip up something new for dinner.  Nine times out of ten it's a good thing. 

Have you noticed that cans of food in the super market are getting lighter?  Yup, one way to boost profits is to cut what's in the can so the manufacturer can produce more cans of whatever using the same amount of contents overall but less in each can and earn the same amount of money.  They're happy.  The consumer is once again screwed. 

If you cook a lot or even a little you know that recipes call for stuff in ounces or pounds.  Take for example Christmas Pasta, a favorite of mine for well over four years.  You can find it under Christmas Pasta on the FoodTV website.  Anyway, the recipe calls for 32 ounces of crushed tomatoes.  No such animal.  Crushed tomatoes have been downsized to 28 ounces.

When the manufacturers decided to reduce the amount in each can of tomatoes they knew well what recipes call for.  They're not calling for 28 ounces of tomatoes but for 32 ounces.  I guess in making this decision they thought that the consumer would figure out what to do.  They'll figure it out!

So I add the 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes to my recipe and then add a 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes.  I figured it out.  Actually, the addition of the chopped tomatoes make for a better sauce.

Today I'm cooking Knife and Fork Beef Stroganoff Burgers.  You can find this on the CBS TV web page under the Rachel Ray show.  It calls for 2 cups of beef stock.  Unless you use bullion cubes it's going to be hard to find 2 cups of beef stock on the shelves of your local market.  The cans have been downsized to 14.5 ounces.  Yup.  I come up with 29 ounces of beef stock via canned beef stock instead of the 32 called for in the recipe.

Am I splitting hairs here?  Probably.  But the thought remains that time and time again the consumer is hoodwinked and few know that they've been had.  It's the principle of the thing.  For the manufacturer it's not the principle but it's about business.

Today I'll make up the small difference in stock with a little water.  Should be no big deal.

I wrote here eons ago when Dreyers's ice cream cut the amount in their containers big time and sold them for the same amount of cash.  Like we wouldn't notice?  That means we run out of ice cream sooner all due to a reduced size of Dreyer's ice cream which equates into more sales for Dreyer's.  I should quit while I'm ahead in the name of clear arteries and lay off the ice cream.  Ya think?

Wifey says life is not so much how you take it but what you make of it.   She's right.  If you don't change up in life when it's called for you'll be driven crazy.  Nuts.  Whacko.  Loco. 

I just know that good Lord puts modern day challenges before us.  He does that to keep us thinking.  When this happens I just know what his thinking is:   They'll figure it out.

And we will, won't we.......

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some things I just don't understand

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal it was reported that the annual cost to support one solder in Afghanistan is a million bucks.  The article went on to state that 250-350 thousand of that amount is in fuel costs.  

One soldier = a millions bucks.  I can't quite understand the rationale behind the thinking to increase the troops in Afghanistan when the stakes are so high ....in lives....in money.   And the results of our efforts there are likely to come up short.  For what?

My gawd, we could wipe out starvation the world around if the money used to fight this war was put to such a noble cause.  While we're on this subject and BTW:  Wifey and Bob just made a sizable contribution to the Lalmba Foundation to help fund their African medical and education endeavors. 

Okay, where was I.......America needs to get back to minding their own business and looking after its citizens.   We can't even stem the tide of illegals floating over our borders let alone win a war on the other side of the world.   Who are we trying to kid anyway?

Sitting here at the computer, composing this an old Beatles song runs through my head:  Get Back.  I'm think America needs to get back.  Get back!

"Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, Jojo
Go home

Get back, get back
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, Jo"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sometimes it's a reach

I've always felt that if you're going to maintain a blog that it's important to write in it.  Why keep the damn thing open if you don't do that regularly?  Often times though it's a reach to write anything of substance.   Hmm, what to write, what to write  . . . goes through my mind at all hours of the day and night.  Is this place an obsession of mine?  After posting 1,200 pieces of Lord knows what, you could say just that.  Bob is obsessed.

I could write about Wifey's visit yesterday to the church Gracie and her family attends.   Grace's family were chosen to light an Advent candle and recite several Scriptures.  This is a different church, one that professes that one must accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior as being the only ticket into Paradise.   The Devil is denounced at every opportune moment - he's everywhere they say.  During choral singing hands are waved in the air which adds a different touch to our church going experience.   The church also teaches that women must serve their men . . . no bitching . . . just do what it takes to serve your man.  Need I say more about the foundation of this church?

Wifey and I have attended religious service since we were both in diapers.  To state that we must openly accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we are allowed into Heaven makes us stand there with our mouths open and muttering "Huh?"  Doesn't that sentiment go with the territory of being spiritual/religious?  I mean if you go to church or of a God fearing, Jesus loving nature that pretty says it.  YOU BELIEVE! 

Different stokes for different folks.

That's the sum total of what's in Bob's bank of things to write about.  Hopefully it will be replenished come Tuesday.

It's Monday.   Happy work week, people.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where I Want to Be

Gracie's other grandmother's memorial service is at 2 today. I'm thinking anywhere but there. I so very much hate things like that.

So, during the services in my head I'll be sailing somewhere warm. Drink in hand. Chicken wings frying down in the cabin. Wheel in the other. This song playing on Sparkle Plenty's sound system.

Where I want to be.......

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not the Land of Milk and Honey

What do you think of when you heard that American is the land of milk and honey?  I think horseshit, that's what I think.  Back in the day you could rest assured that America was prosperous enough to earn that moniker but no more.   Unemployment rate in double digits.   Scads of home foreclosures.   Children living in squalor and suffering from malnutrition.   Need I go on?  This is not the America we used to know.

But you could think of the new America in different terms.   Change milk and honey to fat and sodium.  Plenty of that stuff going around.  Check any food container label or the nutritional analysis of the fast good that you choke down two or three times a week.  Loaded with salt.   Loaded with fat.    Or America could be referred to as being the land of Pork and Corruption.   But milk and honey we are not.  What's happened to us?

During the time of Milk and Honey movies used to be worth seeing.  They even had a message for the audience or a moral.  Gone.   I'm thinking that films made today reflect our culture, our society, who we are as Americans.   That's a pretty sad state if films are used as the stick to measure who we are.

Then there's music.   Music today focuses on and play to the idiots of our culture.   Most musicians can carry a tune unless there's a bunch of F bombs in the lyrics.   Lowbrow shit.  Nobody is writing music that's going to endure the test of time - like was written during the Milk and Honey period.  

Then I read today about a criminal on trial in Florida for Lord knows what.   So that the jury doesn't get the wrong idea on who this guy is the court has hired a makeup artist to cover up some of the tattoos on him - like the Swastika on his neck for one.   If I were the judge I'd want the jury to know everything about the scumbag and not protect him.   Geeze.  Points out that who you are is defined not only by the company that you keep but also on the tatt's you put on your body.  The makeup artist is your tax dollars at work and what a waste that is.

Enough of counting my blessings.  Have an LOL on Bob while you're at it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009



Brrrrrrrr

Cold is not the word.  Freezing!  It's been under 20 every morning this week. For some under 20 is a heat wave.  For those living in sunny California under 20 is colder than a tiches wit!  It's close to the winter equinox what the hell do I expect?  Now all we need is rain to fill the lakes and make the farmers happy.  At this time of year our neck of the woods should have well over 10 inches of rain.  We've only gotten 4 inches.  What I hate about that it is likely we'll get 40 days and 40 nights of it - - - non-stop.  It's nice to have a little rain now with sunshine inbetween.   Looks like that is not happening this year.

With the cold weather we've had the wood stove brightly burning every day with a little supplemental heat from the forced air system.  Wifey heads off to the gym each morning by 5:30 and I head to the wood pile to gather enough to kindle a burn in the stove.   Nice routine unless you love lard assing in bed all morning . . . which we do not.  Gotta make hay while the sun shines.

Gerald, our window washer, is coming out to wash all of them inside and out.   That's one chore I absolutely hate.  Bob does not do windows.   Everything else but not the windows.  Gerald does a great job so why mess with something if it's not broken.  A while back Gerald thought he could make a living by playing Internet poker  .  .  .you know, the games that are available on line that are based "off shore".   He lost his ass (predictable)  and is back doing what he knows and what Gerald does best . . . .he does windows.  

Yesterday I wrote about Marina Bob and his soon to be installed set of false teeth.  What I didn't mention is that Bob is a recovering meth addict who lost his chompers due to the use of that terrible drug.  New teeth for Bob is like a success story for him.   Off the shit.  Gainfully and happily employed.  Well liked by those who frequent the marina.   That hole in Bob's smile is gonna be fixed real soon.  There will be photos here of our steak dinner.

The picture posted here is of the holiday cheer that's anchored on the front lawn.   What else would I have on the lawn other than Santa skippering his boat? 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009



Frozen nuts?


WHOO HOO!  WELCOME TO POST NUMBER 1,200!!!

Yes, frozen nuts.  Yesterday I made the 10 minute drive to the lake to check on Sparkle Plenty.  When I arrived it was clear as a bell and 38 degrees just outside of the truck.  A long walk down the dock and to the end of the marina 38 degrees it was not.  Ice covered a large portion of the boat's forward deck.  A stiff wind was blowing from the south west which probably created a wind chill of 32 or less.

It didn't take long and Bob done did froze his nuts off.  Cold fingers (damn gloves with holes in the fingers are worthless in that kind of weather).   Cold nose and everything else.

I did what was needed.  Opened up the cabin to check the dehumidifier.  Looked for cabin leaks.  Took a leak.  :)  Fired up the engine.  Usually starts with a couple of cranks.  She wasn't going to give it up that easy in that weather  After about a half dozen attempts the little engine came to life albeit rocky.   I kept it running for about 10 minutes  . . . . just enough time to warm it up and give the batteries a charge. 

Bob, the marina manager just had to talk.  Here I am freezing my nuts off and Bob walks all the way down the dock to my boat and wants to talk.  Bob tells me that he is having the remainder of his upper front teeth removed on December 22nd in preparation for false teeth.  Bob lamented that it was going to take $500 to be "put under".  That's a must, he said.  Just can't handle being awake when someone is using tools in his mouth.  That's an interesting picture  . . tools in mouth.  Hmm......crow bar anyone?

Bob thought that insurance would cover half of the 500 but wasn't sure about the other half.  Making minimum wage doesn't leave a lot left for things like anesthesia.  I slapped Bob on the back, told him that everything would be covered and that I was proud of him to be taking care of business.

Me:  When it's all said and done and you're feeling up to it, I'll be buying you a steak dinner to celebrate.

Bob:   You'd do that for me?

Me:  You bet.

Bob shakes my hand and gives me a big hug.  It was truly a Bob moment.  

What Bob doesn't know - at least not yet -  that I'll be covering anything his insurance doesn't to make certain that he goes ahead with this procedure.  And why not?  It's the season to give until it hurts.  Don't you know?


Hello?  HELLO?!  Is Anybody Up There?

While sitting early Friday in the dermatologist's parking lot waiting for my 7:10 a.m. appointment, I snapped this.  A marvelous sunrise as this often catches me off guard.  So overwhelming.  So thought provoking.

We're taught or at least I was that up there . . . way up there, is heaven.  It's where all the good people go.  Naturally when I look up to marvel the heavens I think about Mom, Dad, Grandma Nellie, Wifey's mom and dad and wonder if they're up there watching down on who's left to mind the home fires.  I did that Friday.  I thought - - - Hello?  Anyone home up there?  Can you see me?  What are you thinking?

Do you do that?  Do you think anyone is home?

While I sat and enjoyed the sunrise onn Friday I remembered the words of my father-in-law when I suggested to him at age 67 to get a comprehensive health check.  After pondering my suggestion for what seemed to be forever he put on that shit ass eating grin of his and responded with, "And then what?"

Me;  And then what?  Then what would be that if there was an issue you'd be taken care of.  You've often said that you'd live to be more than 80, probably 90.  Getting a physical is one way to do that.

Father-in-law:  And then what?

Six months later he died of a heart attack on the steps of South Lake Tahoe's Little Harvey's Casino and Inn.

And then what . . . came into focus.   He had always done life on his terms.  He died living his terms and being in complete control of all that was around him.  He didn't want what came with the results of a physical exam that called for a heart by-pass or something like that and lose control.   Plain and simple.  Father-in-law was never a good patient for any physician.  Why would he want to start at age 67?  And he didn't.

Spending half a day a week ago in the hospital brought "And then what?" to mind.   The place is like a little shop of horrors.  You know what I mean.  I blew the whistle that something seemed wrong "And then what?" earned me a visit to the hospital.  The old boy knew just that - - - and before answering the question of "And then what" deeply thought about what life saving steps would mean to him.   A little shop of horrors.    Was it worth it?  If something went wrong during surgery, "And then what?"

I guess it comes down to weighing going through an ordeal in the name of living longer or just taking the "fuck it" way out and let the chips fall where they may.  Either way the question will remain the same for both scenarios:  And then what?

You often hear people mention that they want to die doing something they enjoy.  Like the mountain climber who ventures onto a shaky ledge when he should have taken the longer way around it - - - only to have it collapse pitching him into a 2,000 foot head long dive onto the valley floor.   At a ripe old age why not go out doing what you love to do instead of being tortured in the little shop of horrors.

Me?  I'll go out doing what I love.   Struck by lightning while sailing in an electrical storm.  I've been known to do things like that.   If nothing else I will be fully charged . . . ready for the big journey into the unknown.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Random Rambling

Written last week but published Monday, 12/07:

#1  While working on Sparkle Plenty yesterday:  Man approaches and obvious he wants to talk.

Him: Nice boat.

Me: Yeah, it's a real tub, isn't it.  Are you camping or do you have a boat in one of the slips?

Him: I'm living out of my van.  Just here for the night.  Headed for Eureka to find a cheap place to camp.  Been doing this for about three years now.  Heat soup on a little stove in the van.  Try to stay warm at night. Living on Social Security.  They were taking 100 bucks out of my check for health care.  I'd rather have the money.  Major health problem comes up I'll solve it with Mr. Smith and Weston.

As I walked back to the parking lot I noticed one of the boats with a lot of animal crap in it.  Bob, the marina manager tells me an otter has taken up residence and has a habit of shitting where he sleeps.   Here's hoping Mr. Otter doesn't move down the dock to Sparkle Plenty.  


#2  On Tiger Woods:  What's the big deal?  Adultery happens all the time.  That shit is in our genetic makeup.   We act like Tiger's little fling or flings is something new all judging by the press it is getting.   Boys are going to be boys and girls are going to be girls.  Doesn't make it right but nonetheless adultery will always be a fact of life.  Get over it and let's get on with something that matters like global warming, the senseless killing of our troops, and watching out for China to start the next major world conflict.


#3  This year we're forwarding a major donation to an African village in support of their school.  It feels right. 


#4  I'm loving the new contract lens prescription.  It's nice to put all that's in front of me in focus.


#5  College football:   It would have been nice for Oregon State to knock down Oregon last week.  It was just not meant to be.   Saturday Nebraska (my home boys) goes against Texas for the Big 12 Championship.  Go Huskers!


#6  Visiting with the dermatologist this morning and hoping the facial treatment is coming to an end.  Visited the hospital yesterday for more tests and everyone remembered who I was for what I think is my horribly red and crusty forehead  Hard to forget a face like that!  Hopefully the end for this process is near.  It will be nice to be able to appear in public without a hat covering that mess up.


#7  If this is the season to be jolly why am I feeling less than that?  Try listening to a song on You Tube called the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Andy Williams) and then let me know if it moves you towards holiday spirit.

#8  Turn signals on cars.  If no one uses them why put them in new cars?

#9  The kicker within this post happened Friday:

Me: I've been experiencing tingling sensations on the left side of my face.  This landed me in the E.R. as Wifey et. al.  thought is was a stroke.  Everyone thought Bob was about ready to buy the farm. 

Dermatologist:  Oh, that's a side effect of the topical ointment you're applying to your face.

Me:  I called your office last week and asked if that was the case.  I was told that the ointment wasn't a factor.

Dermatologist:  Well, it is.  What you're feeling is the drainage down your neck and a tingling sensation all due to the wounds on your forehead.

I guess I should have smacked the dude.   He did have it coming or at least his office assistant did.

So I went through hell in the ER, tests, stuck with needles for nothing.....If this isn't a good example of "life" I don't know what is.  I am relieved but I'm also pissed that what I went through could have been prevented.

Someone once said that it's better to be pissed off than pissed on.  Well hell, I am pissed and I'm all wet with piss, too.  I got the two-for one special.   Hahaha on Bob!

The ultra sound test on the carotid arteries?    Blockage in each artery from the base of the neck to the head are rated on a scale of 1-7 - seven being major duty blocks.  Both arteries were completely clear and not even a ONE on this scale.   This was the best news of the week.

I'm out of stuff to ramble about.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009



Is it Wednesday?

 It has to be.  Supermarket ads in this morning's paper fairly well spell out that indeed it is Wednesday and for those working stiff it marks mid-week.  Time is flying and to where I have no clue.

Yesterday's visit to the hospital for ultra sound on each of the two carotid arteries was all good.

Me: Looking good?

Nurse:  I'm not a physician trained to read these outcomes but in my humble opinion it's all good.

One more test - - - full brain MRI.  I'll ask for a discount on this one since Bob presently operates with half a brain or better yet, a bird brain.  Surely there's consideration for one of both of those. 

If all looks well on the MRI results there's still the question of why the tingling sensation continues on the left side of my face.  What it is?  I wonder.......

Enough of this Thanksgiving dinner table talk.....doesn't that happen to you?  Aunt Mable or Uncle Popsy - -  don't relatives of age always discuss what ails them during the once a year family gathering?  Don't want to be labeled as one of those.  You've heard enough of what ails Bob to last for quite some time. 

That aside life is good.  In fact life could not be better.  I planned it this way.  I did.  What I wanted in life I started planning for at an early age - - - at about 9 or 10.  In varying stages what was planned was definitely attained.  Not rocket science.  Not magic.  Just plain old looking ahead, plain old common sense, plain old hard work, reaching for the brass ring and holding on to it.

As I look where I am in mid-week and what's planned for today there's a big smile on my face knowing how sweet life is. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009






Nothing is as easy as it looks

That would be Murphy's Law #14.  It isn't.  Nothing is as easy as it looks.   Take that neighbor of yours.  You think they've got it made.  Everything on the outside is picture perfect.  Money.  Good looks. Expensive home and cars. Well paying jobs.  Model marriage.  Storybook kids.  Their shit doesn't stink.    It all looks good and easy.

Once you get to know people like that it's an easy statement to make when it's said, "It ain't no bed of roses."  Everyone is human and with that comes the human condition.  Nothing is easy.  If anything can go wrong it will.  Shit happens to all of us.  No exception to that rule.  But you knew all this, didn't you.

What you didn't know is what's in the pictures posted here.  Take the first one:  It's the lake and the ramp from the parking lot down into the marina where Sparkle Plenty is moored.  The ramp during the summer months was straight across onto the docks.  Straight.  No incline.  That's how much water has been dumped from the lake since the first of October.  There are a ton of small islands popping up around the lake that makes navigation a serious deal for Bob.  You see Sparkle Plenty has a wing, leaded keel.  Couple thousand pounds of lead.  The draft on her is about 5 feet from waterline to the bottom of the keel.  Hit a partially submerged island and you've got a problem removing the boat from whence she was wedged.  Nothing is as easy as it looks.  So I sail carefully.

There remains about 40 feet of water under the boat in its berth.  I like that.

Slightly out of focus here (posted the wrong photo leaving the in focus one on the desktop by error) is Grace decorating our tree this past Saturday.   Next time I'll post the better of the two.   You thought posting pictures on Blogger was easy but oh, no!  Nothing is as easy as it looks.  I like things just right - perfect.  This post is not exactly right and it bothers me.  Nonetheless here it is.

Yesterday's appointment with the family physician went well.

First words:

Dr:   "Judging by your forehead I see you've been seeing Doc Kraffert."

I had to laugh.  Apparently more than a few people have fallen victim to Kraffert's skin treatment approach.

We talk for a while and go over what's happened over the past week.  Wifey sits attentively listening and contributing when asked.

Dr:  "Well, if we were backpacking in the high Sierra and you began to exhibit these symptoms I'd tell you to take a couple of aspirins and cowboy up.  But since we're not and in the interest of being certain that what you're experiencing is not just a matter of banging your head while sailing (which I did royally last week) let's go through with the tests at the hospital and see what the results are.  I doubt that there will be anything other than a picture of fine health.

There is an outside chance that you are having mini-strokes or that you have shingles or possibly Bell's Palsy.  Time and the tests will tell.  You do need to get your blood pressure under control (I always have high blood pressure during any visit to any physician).  Buy a monitoring device and keep track of your b.p. daily."


So, it seems all good.  But one can never be sure.  One of Murphy's Laws states, "If anything can go wrong it can and it will." 

Ultra sound test on the carotid arteries today.   MRI sometime this week.  Hopefully shit doesn't happen.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Need to Tinker

There are few, if any, cars on the road that were manufactured in the year I was born.  I'll bet that you can say the same.  The cars that were built in that year that are being driven need constant tinkering to keep them running.  Bob is convinced that like an older automobile that his body needs periodic tinkering to keep it "on the road".

Take for example the recent run-in with skin cancer which resulted in a face peel which at this very moment sees Bob with a forehead and a nose beet red, crusty and bleeding in spots.  Now that's what I call tinkering at it's finest.  It's going to be a good thing or so I'm told - - - worth the hassle.  I'll be glad to be able to be seen in public again.  Looks like that's going to happen in January.

Then Friday Bob has symptoms of a stroke.  That's right.  The left side of Bob's face tingled off and on.  That's a sign of a major stroke.    I think, "Shit, more tinkering".

A trip to the E.R. at the local hospital.  Have you sat in an E.R. waiting room lately?  It's terrible.  Mostly plum packed full of losers that made loser choices that earned them a trip to the E.R.  One guy had his hand wrapped in a towel having just stuck it in the radiator fan blades of car.  A woman with a barf bag moaning loudly.  There were a few others who sat quietly and thought about the what came next in tinkering to keep them up and running.

There were tests.  There was an M.R.I.  There were talks between three physicians as to how to best tinker with Bob.  There were talks of keeping Bob for a few days.  One physician asked Bob, "Do you like hospital food?"  Now that's a tinkering question if I ever heard one.  Hospital food is not conducive to tinkering.  This I know.

At the end of four hours in the E.R. there were no answers but only questions.  The MRI didn't reflect any bleeding in and around the brain.  Blood tests were good.   So in the spirit of tinkering and practing the art of practicing medicine there will be more tests this week.  Ultra sound on the arteries in the neck.  Contrast oriented MRI.  Investigate the possibility of Bell's Palsy.  Tinker.  Tinker and more tinker.   

Over the past few days Wifey is nearly beyond herself thinking that Bob will drop dead at any moment.  I tell her that Bob is not going to go that easily . . . that it's going to have to take a lot more than this to put me down.  Wifey halfway believes me and frankly I halfway believe me, too.  I'd feel a lot better if there were more cars on the road that were made in the year I was born. 

This will be a week for tinkering.  Keep Bob on the road.  And keep Bob on the water sailing. Tinker.  Tinker.  Tinker.

As George Burns once said, "If I knew that I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Too Smooth 4 Sailing

Yesterday on the lake:  76 degrees.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Absolutely no wind at all.  Flat water lake surface.  It was way too smooth to sail.

Since there's no wind we motor out to the middle of the lake.  Wifey curls up on the deck and takes a nap.  I screw around with the sails actually thinking that I can get the boat to move without absolutely any wind.  Three other sailboats sit just like we're sitting.  We wave at each other.

After her power nap Wifey hands me a plastic tumbler filled with liquid.

Me:  What's that?

Wifey:  It's Coke.  I thought you'd like it in a glass.

I take the Coke and pour it out over the side of the boat.

Wifey:  What's that all about?  I take the time to get you something to drink and you pour it out?

Me:  That was one of the tumblers that I took a leak into the other day.  I just couldn't pee over the side and I didn't want to use the head.  It was handy so I peed in it.

Wifey:  I am thinking you would have let me drink out of that damn thing and not said one freaking word.  You'd do that, wouldn't you.  And peeing in drink cups.  That's so very wrong, Bob.

Bob with a big smile on his face.

Me:  As Capt of this boat I can very well pee anywhere and in anything I want.  And yeah, I probably would not have said anything . . . think I'd want to be killed over something like that?

Moral of this story:  While sailing with Bob open your own drink cans  and never EVER drink out of any cups or tumblers.   Nothing is sacred on the good ship Sparkle Plenty.

On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful to be able to live to tell this story.  Yes, Wifey would have killed Bob dead over a plastic tumbler used to pee in.

Happy day to each one of you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Done Deal

It hit 77 degrees in Cowtown yesterday.   That broke a record for the warmest temperature in Cowtown for November 24th.   Today will be close to that but no record.

This morning:

Me:  Time for some sailing today.  Weather's right.  There will be some wind.  Let's go do it.

Wifey:  That would be good for my spirit.  I need that.

Me: Done deal.  Let's hit the lake around noon.

If Thanksgiving day is anywhere near today's weather we'll sail before putting that very delicious looking prime rib in the oven.   'Tis the season to still be sailing. 

Anchors aweigh, Matey's!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Should Have Known Better

Grace spent the night last night.  She asked if we could go out to dinner at Red Lobster.   Grace just loves shrimp and sees the ads on TV with the RL plates loaded with the stuff.  She just has to go.

Last meal I had at the RL was shit.  That was a couple of years ago.  I should have known that shit doesn't turn to roses overnight and brought shrimp from the market to eat at home.


We both order off of RL's wood fired menu:  Sirloin steak with skewered shrimp.  Popcorn shrimp was the only shrimp on the kid's menu (and Grace doesn't like popcorn shrimp) so we planned on sharing our meal with Grace.

Server:  Would you like baked or mashed potatoes with your meal?

We both choose baked with condiments on the side.

Salads arrive.  Mine has obviously sat in it's bowl in the refrigerator complete with dressing for quite some time as the dressing was had sunk to the bottom of the bowl and the lettuce was sticking to the bottom.  This should have been an omen.  Even Olive Garden provides a fresh bowl of greens and tosses it at the table.

Main course arrives.  Steak.  Check.  Shrimp on skewers.  Check.  Baked potato with condiments on the side.  Check.  Mashed potatoes, too?!  And no vegetable?!  This makes no sense.

The steak is over seasoned.  Big time.  A lot of spice and too much pepper.  The skin of the baked potato has been coated in salt and oil and is inedible.    I summon the wait person.

Me:  There's no vegetable with either of our meals.

Server:  Doesn't come with vegetables.

Me:  You're kidding.  In an age where obesity is rampant and this is RL's contribution to stop it by serving no vegetables and two starches?

Server:  That's how it comes.

Me:  And we asked for baked potato which is here but both plates have mashed on them.  Why?

Server:  The wood fired meals come with mashed potatoes.

Me:  So why did you ask if we wanted mashed or baked?

Blank stare from the server.  She's obviously tired of Bob's questioning.

The bill comes.  We complain again in regards to the meal and the over seasoning of the steaks.

Server:  It's new seasoning and that's how it comes.

You'd think at least one meal would have been comped.  Nope.  $54 bucks to eat shit.  I should have known better than to come back to a place where it was nearly guaranteed we'd have a terrible experience.  Eating at RL is just awful.

We leave and drive home.  I get on the Internet and write to RL regarding our experience via their website.  It probably won't do any good to complain 'cause it didn't do any good last night.   I expect nothing nor do I want it.   With the good that they serve how RL stays in business is beyond me. I've definitely had my last meal there. 


Consider yourself warned.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Post Script

Grammy # 2 died late Saturday.

She was 60 years old not 62.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life is not always fair

Gracie's other grandmother (The mother to Gracie's mom) checked into the hospital last week.  Grammy #2 wasn't feeling well.  The first hospital she checked into couldn't find anything wrong and passed her over to an assisted care facility for some rehab.  That didn't work out as Grammy #2 still didn't feel right.  Time for a second opinion at another hospital.

Second hospital did tests.  And more tests.  At the conclusion of the tests it has been determined that Grammy #2 at age 62 is dying and nothing can be done to reverse it.  That has come as quite a shock to everyone except Bob.  Life long habit of smoking.  Life to extreme excesses.  Grammy #2 has done a number on herself.  I hate being right.

There's a vigil at the hospital.  Family members take turns sitting with poor Grammy #2 who most likely won't live the week out.  Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately, Grammy #2 is so doped up she has no clue who is sitting with her and what time of day it is.  The medical staff feel it's better to keep her pain free as they opine that it's much more difficult to achieve that level if left un-medicated and alert.

I've cried over this.  But the tears were not so much for the dying but for those soon to be left behind.  The tears were also in memory of how each of our parents died and the effect their loss had on both of us.  Years later those wounds still sting.

Why is it that we know death comes sooner of later and that the process of birth/life/death/infinity woven into our existence . . . that's we're so unprepared for it?  When death knocks on the door it often comes as a shock.  A surprise.  We're ripped to pieces.   The general sentiment is that life can be so very unfair. 

I wonder if in her last hours if Grammy #2 is going over her life and answering fundamental questions.

Have I lived fully?

Have I loved well?

Have I just been taking up space?

One would hope or pray that the answers could come up, Yes, Yes and Nope.

What would your answers be?

Friday, November 20, 2009





The Revelation

 It's coming.  I just know it.  The revelation will come if not this year then certainly in the next.

Grace:  I know there's no Santa Claus.

Me:  How do you know that?

Grace:  Someone told me at school and then I asked my mom if she was Santa.  So now I know there is no Santa Claus.  Santa is mom and dad.

I've thought a lot about the deal about whether there is or is not a Santa.   Probably spent more time thinking about that when I should have been planning the next move in the stock market.  Knowing Grace is going to come up with the revelation that there is no Santa I want to be prepared.  You see, I believe in Santa.  I do.  And no seven year old kid is going to convince me otherwise. 

Me:  Grace, there is a Santa.  There is.  And I believe there is a Santa.

Grace:  Papa!  Not really.  Have you ever seen the real Santa come down the chimney and put presents under the tree.

Me:  Yes, Papa....I believe in Santa and you should too.  No, I've never seen Santa come down the chimney and put presents under the tree. Do you know of anyone who has?   But before you answer that I want you to think about something.  You believe in God and and you believe in Jesus.  Right?

Grace:  Yes, I believe in God and Jesus.

Me:  Have you ever seen God or Jesus or do you know anyone who has seen them?

Grace:  No one ever told me that before.  Maybe they have.

 Me:  But even though no one has ever seen God or Jesus they still believe in them.

Grace:  That's because they are real.  Santa is not.

Me:  Ahhh, that's where you're wrong.  Just because you've never seen Santa doesn't mean that we should not believe in him.  Believing in Santa is believing a part of the spirit of Christmas that brings families together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Jesus is the reason for the season but Santa also makes it a special time for families to join together.  That's why I'll always believe in God, Jesus and Santa. 

Grace will probably not know what to think or say right then.  But then neither does any member of the family know what to say when I expect this personal belief of mine with them. 

Grace just turned seven.  I'm hoping for at least one more year of innocence on the topic of Santa.  There are too many harsh revelations in this life that are tough pills to swallow for our youngest.   I am hoping this one stays in the bottle for a little while longer.   I hate the thought of once more being the only one in the family who believes in Santa Claus. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



Don't know what to think
 Dermatologist appointment this morning:

Me:  Lab results should be back.  Were the edges of the biopsy clear?

Dr:  Nope.  

Me:  Oh, great.  Now what?

Dr:  I think that I got all of it.  Let's continue to treat the area with Alvara (topical treatment designed to remove pre-cancerous growths and eliminate basil cell carcinoma).  Time will tell.

Me:  So, how will I know if time will tell?  Will the lesion surface if it continues to grow?

Dr.  It's likely that it won't surface and that it will burrow further into your nose and into your respiratory system.  That's if it comes back and we don't detect it.

Me:  What about surgery?

Dr:  You wouldn't like that.  It would leave you with a huge dent in your nose and scarred.  Surgeons operating on this area tend to take more than they should.  Stupid practice but nonetheless it's done more frequently than not.  It would not be pretty.  If it were me I'd do what's just been recommended.  Ointment.  Watch the area carefully.

There's no choice but to play the hand that's just been dealt unless I go under the knife.   Honestly, I don't know what to think or what to do.  It's hard to fathom how such a small thing can become life threatening.

Pins?

Needles?

I'm on them.

The photo:  Taken professionally of Wifey and Gracie.  They're sitting on the boat having another one of their girl to girl conversations. 

Priceless.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crabby Tuesday

I'm crabby:  I can't see a damn thing.  The visit to the optometrist yielded a new prescription for contact lenses which I'm wearing right now.  Left eye bumped to a 4.0 with the right 50 leaving me with blurry distant vision.  The screen of the computer is blurry.   Back to see the optometrist this afternoon.

If there are mistakes or if some of this post doesn't make sense it's because I can't see what the hell I'm doing  Bare with me.

I'm also crabby over this:  Spaghetti for a Thanksgiving Feast?  Each year at this time Gracie's school invites parents and relatives to join the students in a Thanksgiving feast complete with turkey and all the trimmings.  This year the cafeteria manager decided for lord knows what reason to serve spaghetti instead of turkey.  How un American is that?!  I knew that broad was a commie bitch in disguise!

Bob's really crabby about this:  Then I learn that we're billions in debt to the Chinese all thanks to bailing this and that out.  If that's not bad enough there's the trade deficit between the U.S. and China.  The experts say trade between the two countries should be a buck in and a buck out.  Doesn't work that way.  China's sending shit loads of their goods here but only allowing a trickle from the U.S. to enter their country.  So we're being double screwed by China.

Bob is crazy crabby here:  If we fought World War II like we're fighting the war in the Middle East we'd all be speaking Japanese or German and driving cars manufactured in their countries.  Well, this is half right.  Won the war but lost the battle of vehicles.  My thoughts are that if you're going to fight a war then fight the damn thing and be done with it.  Civilians in the way?  That didn't stop Give 'em Hell Harry when he ordered two big ones to be dropped on two Japanese cities.  That didn't stop the Allies from firebombing a half dozen cities in Germany and Japan.  So now we don't do that and the big wigs wonder why we can't win a war in the Middle East.    Gotta do what ya gotta do if you're going to fight a war.  If you can't or won't do "that" then don't get in the middle of a war that you don't plan on winning.

Bob is hiding out and crabby because:  My forehead looks like I've got jungle rot.  Red.  Blotches.  Crusty skin.  Open sores.  All thanks to my dermatologist.  I've been invited to a few functions this week which I have begged off.  Can't stand being seen like that.   And we're not even half through the process of peeling a couple of layers of skin off.  Shit.

It felt good to get that load off my mind.  But I'm still crabby.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



Hut, one, two, three, four, HUT!

 It's Veteran's Day.  I'm a veteran and don't feel like celebrating.  The local Elks Lodge will toast the veterans with a shot of cognac promptly at high noon.  I ask, why in a time of "war" toast those of us who served and lived to tell about it?  Toast those fighting on the front lines and pray that they come home to tell about it at a future Veteran's Day celebration.

I also don't feel like celebrating or making a big deal of this day as back then serving was something everyone who was able (and not chickenshit) did.  A stint in the military was the law of the land.  Those who served and were lucky to come out of Viet Nam alive finished their tour of duty and got on with their lives.   For me, no thank you's are necessary.  It was the price of living in a Democracy.

One good thing about Veteran's Day:  A cable channel or two will run war movies all the live long day.  Whoo Hoo!  Break out the beer and the buffalo chicken wings.  Put new batteries in the remote control.  We are going to war on TV today.  It's going to rain so that's the perfect excuse to plop my fat white ass in front of the TV.  Gotta wear my combat helmet . . . break out the .45 sidearm.  Cradle the M-16 in my lap.  I'll be good to go.  Lock and load, people.  Lock and load.

Here's Gracie wearing Bob's military uniform.  Last week she begged me to dig it out and I did.  Damn uniform reflects a back in the day Bob.  It's a size 37.  Check your closet.   Anyone you know with any meat on their bod small enough to wear a 37?   Good lord, no!  I was all of 140 pounds.  5'10"  A lean, mean, fighting machine.  Perfect fit for a size 37 uniform jacket.  

Meanwhile, pray for our troops and forget those who been there, did that and served their country in the process - - - as well we should have.

Whooooahhhh!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace turns seven

Last weekend Grace turned seven.   Most of the kids in second grade turned seven long ago and are about to or have already turned eight.  Most definitely Gracie is the youngest kid in second grade at her school.  That said, even though the youngest she can run with the best of them.

She opened the gifts from us on Friday at our home.  On Saturday she had her party at her mother's home complete with most of her BFF's and other relatives. 

As you see below, Grace just had to sit with her very best boy friend.  She has it all figured out that they're getting married after college and having a slug of kids.  Tell me, just where do kids come up with this stuff at age seven?  Our rant to Grace remains the same:  Do the high school thing.  Then college.  Grad school.  Well paying job with a future.  Grow up, become a mature woman.  Play the field.  Date only those with their shit together with a great job and money in their wallet.  Go from there.

Life plays out differently.  First off, who listens to their elders anymore?  Life's errors could be avoided if they would only listen to those who have been there and done that. 

Hmmmm.  Like you and I really listened to our elders back in the day?   Learning the hard way is how life usually plays out for most of us.  Growing up it was pretty much my deal to screw things up.  Dad used to say, "Bob, you just can stand prosperity.  You always mess up a good thing."   Many of life's lessons for Bob was learned from the school of hard knocks.    Even then I often still didn't get it and I'd go back for more messing things up.   Why would I expect Grace or anyone else to live the first part of their lives any differently? 

Grace's after high school education has strings attached.  We've set aside a sum of money adequate for her to go all the way through grad school and then some but with conditions not mentioned here.  Use your imagination.  If you know Bob you know well what the conditions will be for Grace to receive her college money. 

College isn't for everyone.   If Grace decides not to take that path and be happy doing something else so be it.  We'll be happy with whatever she does and where ever she ends up.  The good Lord willing, I'll be there to enjoy that.

Great Poi Dog Pondering song from long ago. Needs some help though . . . muddy sound needs help from the EQ on your computer to lighten it up.

Bob's Thanksgiving turkey is featured dancing here (about 2:15). :) Check it out. It's a natural thing.......or is it?

Monday, November 09, 2009



'Tis Nearly the Season
 Reading the daily edition  of the San Francisco Chronicle has been a habit since age 10.   Something for everyone.  Read the Chronicle and you can bet that you know what's going on here, there and everywhere.

In reading Sunday's paper I paused on an article written about a San Francisco company, Good Vibrations.  Good Vibrations sells mostly vibrators.   Surprisingly this firm has a CEO.  I don't know why that this was surprising but it was.  I usually equate CEO with companies like Ford, General Electric and what have you . . . not with something like Good Vibrations which sells sex toys. 

The article had a bent that even in a recession bound economy vibrator sales is humming.   And I quote G.V. COEO Jackie Strano:

"We're not necessarily recession-proof because we reply on manufacturers and distributors.   Things have taken a little hit but we're definitely better off than the auto industry.  If you're going to be in industry, this is the one to be in."

Now there's a thought.  Maybe I can buy a used ice cream truck and sell vibrators door-to-door.....Bob would truly be the Good Humor man.  I'd paint, "Let Me Go Ahead and Make Your Day Vibrator Company" on the side of the truck.  Bob would have a new shelf life.

CEO Jackie continued, "But yeah, money's tight.  If people are going to spend their dollars, they want to know it's a good product.  People are staying home more, so we've directed more marketing efforts towards cheap date nights - - - for the price of a movie and dinner, buy a vibrator, stay home and have fun."  Spoken like a true CEO of a vibrator sales company.

 I don't even have to ask.  I know well Wifey's answer when asked this question.  Her choice between a vibrator and dinner and a movie out is obvious.  Go for the dinner out, see the movie and to hell with something that goes buzz in the night.  I would think that most wives would go for a night out, too.  And that's the name of that tune.

The photo here?  Bob, Wifey and Gracie on the good ship Sparkle Plenty.  It's the one being used on our photo Christmas cards this year.  After all, 'tis nearly the season, isn't it?  46 shopping days until Christmas, people.  Get out out there and buy, buy, buy!

Ho, ho, ho!  Happy Monday!

Friday, November 06, 2009

There's a damn hole in my nose!

A month ago I wrote here that my dermatologist had ordered up a $500 prescription of ointment.  When applied twice daily the ointment causes the skin to peel.  The idea is to eliminate the need to burn off pre- cancerous skin growths by removing them this way.  If done right they'll not come back again.

This morning I checked in my the dermatologist.

Doc:  Looking good.  Stop applying the ointment until Monday then start up again with once a day application and not twice.  Don't want to over do it.

Me:  Like I don't look bad enough?  My entire forehead is red with welts on top of the pre-cancerous growths.  Bob is definitely looking like a Leper.  Before I go would you look at an area on my nose.

Doc after looking at it:  "How did I miss that?  Did this just happen or have you had it for a while.

Me:  For a while.  It comes and goes.  I thought that it was a broken blood vessel.

Doc:  It's cancer, Bob.  You have options:  Radiation.  Freeze it and hope that it doesn't come back.  Apply the ointment you're using which might do the job eventually.  Or, cut it out.

Me:  What would you do?

Doc:  If it were one of my family I'd surgically remove it.

Me:  Slice and dice time, Doc.  Slice and dice that baby.

The procedure seemed to last forever.  First the injection of Novacaine smack dab into the nose.  He scraped and scraped.  And he burned and burned to stop the bleeding.  I just love the smell of burning skin in the morning.

Doc:  It was definitely cancer.  I got all of it and then some.  The lab report will let us know if I'm correct.

Now we wait to see if the growth comes back or if the lab finds that there's more of the growth to dig out.  I hate to think what the next step is if one of the other happens.  The Dermo says that he got all of it and then some.  Judging by the hole in my nose there's was plenty of "then some".  It's a pretty big dent in Bob's nose that's half the size of a dime and very deep.

Today Grace's school is honoring men and women who served in the arm forces.  There's an assembly with lots of singing with veterans in the spotlight.  I was going.  Was.   Bob's looking a bit too grotesque to be among 600 kids.  Think I'll sit this one out.

All said, I'm not really sweating this one out.  I'm thinking that it's all good.  But in the back of my mind there's this little voice that makes me worry just a bit about what could come next.  Worrying never helped anything.  And it won't help here, either.  I've got to quiet that voice in my head.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


10 Items or Less

I caught a recent film the other evening on HBO: 10 Items or Less.  Morgan Freeman was the principle actor.  Cute film.  Not a lot of plot.  Bob's kind of movie. 

At one point in the film Freeman asked a female character to name 10 things she liked about herself and 10 she didn't like.  Then he rattled off 10 and then the other 10 on the opposing side.  I had to laugh that one of the 10 things Freeman liked was a good bowel movement.  Gee, did you ever look at life in a way that it was important to have a good bowel movement?  Eat your fiber and then it's no big deal. 

What would be your 10/10 like/dislikes?  I wouldn't name the bowel movement as being one of the 10 but something that would make my list would be having my shit together.   That's a work in progress so that's something not yet ready for this list  . . . at least not yet.   Always able to wrangle an income tax refund.  Uncanny ability to hit all green stop lights makes me smile.  The unconditional love of Wifey.  All things likable. 

Dislikes:  Let's not go there.  Focus on the positive this morning and not the negative. 

I have no clue on where this topic is going or where it should go.  It's been that kind of week:  Loose ends with nothing coming to fruition.  That's why there have been no posts here.  Bob can start but can't finish.  I'll leave it to you to finish what I can't.

I spent a large part of yesterday on the boat.  Cleaning.  Fixing.  Charging the batteries.  Bleeding all over the inside of the boat after being sliced by a sharp edge.   Enjoying the peace and the activity of the birds that you see here that are perched on the boom just outside the marina.  Cormorants.  They love fish.   The fishermen hate them.

The Parks Service was in the middle of a control burn on the south/east end of the lake.  Smoke billowed in the air and for a time went in the opposite direction of the marina.  Later in the day the wind changed directions and thick white smoke covered the lake and the marina.    That's when it was time to call it a day and head for home. 

This morning we visit the studio of the photographer who did the photographs of us on the sailboat.  She'll review them with us and help us to decide which would be best for framing.  Grace arrives on the school bus a little after two.   Soon afterward it's off to her singing lessons.   It's a busy day and as always time will fly.  Time and this life goes so very quickly.  I just wish that it didn't.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Letting Go


Last week was a tough week on friends.

First Lorna.  We met in junior high school and remained close throughout the years.  In high school Lorna wrote each one of my absence notes.  I could come and go at will knowing that there would be no unexcused absences or "cuts" because mother Lorna would make certain there was a note justifying why I was not in school.  Doctor, dentist, illness, whatever a legit excuse allowed me to do just about anything other than go to class. If my mother submitted a note for one of my absences it would have been called a forgery by the school office.  Lorna even signed my report cards that were returned to school.  Mom and dad only saw the bogus report cards that Lorna helped me to prepare . . . all with very good grades.

Over the years we called, e-mailed and occasionally got together.  We were usually always in touch.  Last week Lorna succumbed to lymphatic cancer.  Her family said that her illness was overwhelming and the fight futile.  Lorna thanked her physician for all he had done relaxed and died.

Donna, and I became friends when we served together on the local draft board.  Bet you didn't think there were any such animals anymore, did you....Well, there are functioning draft boards in every town all set to call up eligible men (and maybe women) should the need ever arise.

Like Lorna, Donna and I remained in touch usually e-mailing and every once in a while calling each other.  Donna was always fun, a tough cookie, a civic leader whose motto was, "I don't lean.  I push".  And that she did.  Friday Donna died from the liver cancer than had spread throughout her body.  Knowing Donna she was pushing and not leaning until the very end.  She was not one to let go.

Both of these ladies will be missed by friends and family alike.  And if I said that I wasn't more than a bit heartsick today I'd be lying. 

The untimely passing of two friends is a reminder of our own mortality.  Like it or not one day my number and yours will come up.  That's life.  That's what we signed on for.  Letting go and accepting that principle is a tough one.  We'll always be here, right?  Always.

With this in mind . . . that nothing is forever . . . there are basics rules of the game of life.  You know them well or at least you should.   Live life to the fullest, love and laugh abundantly.  Live joyfully. 

And don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. . . .

BTW:  Taken yesterday this photo are of the docks at the marina . . . just past where Sparkle Plenty is berthed..  It  was 76 degrees, very little wind and sunny.    We'll be sailing later today as the weatherman has promised the same weather.  Time to get out there and just do it.


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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Senior Citizen Perfect

Every drive behind one of our grey headed citizens and their turn signal indicates that they're turning right and then they swing a left?  This is not withstanding of those who unconsciously drive with their turn signal flashing when they have no intention of turning . . . that's a story for another time.

Yesterday I get a letter from Chrysler regarding my Dodge Ram 3500 truck.  It reads:  "We are extending the warranty period on your truck's turn signal multifunction because of a potential manufacturing process variation that may cause the turn sign, both interior and exterior, to flash in the opposite direction from that selected by the operator."

This is so awesome!  Bob's never going to get this malfunction repaired should it occur on his truck.  Think of it as an exercise for the brain.  The older you get the more it's beneficial to exercise the brain.  I'll need to think with every turn.  Now there's a new concept:  Think before you turn.  Really think reverse of what should be.  Turning right flip the signal level down.   Turning left flip the signal level up.  Everything in reverse. 

If I'm pulled over for not using turn signals I have the perfect excuse.  Pull out the recall letter.  Read the fine print, officer.  I'll get it fixed next week.  The perfect get out of a ticket card.

It's hard to believe that Chrysler had a manufacturing screw up like this.  Was it in engineering this signal system or in the manfacturing of it?  No one wants to fess up on who or why.

Anyway, it was worth a laugh . . . and a sign of misbelief that once again an American automobile manufacturer has screwed up once more.

Blech.  Today's Halloween.  One of my least favorite holidays of the year.  Bah Hum-boo!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Head Ranger?

A fellow in uniform approached me on the dock yesterday.  I was busy scrubbing Sparkle Plenty's rich in algae bottom but I took time to stop for a moment to introduce myself.  This guy in uniform said he was the Head Ranger for the Whiskeytown National Park. Hmmm.   Head Ranger,  What the hell kind of a title is that.  What's his job description say about being Head Ranger?  What exactly does this guy do?  My mind started whirling.

Never short of an imagination a million Bob definitions of this guy's job title came to mind as I watched the Head Ranger stroll back down the dock to his green and white Parks Service SUV.

Head Ranger #1:  "Hi, I'm the Head Ranger and I'm checking for heads.  I see that you're entering the park with no head.  Sorry.  No headless people are allowed in the park.  Come back with a head and I'll let you in."

Head Ranger #2:  "Hello, I'm the Head Ranger here to make certain that all of the heads in the park are on the range and working.  Can't have any heads that are covered in poop and pee.  Got to be clean, smelling and looking good with lots of t-p in them."

Head Ranger #3:  "Hi there.  I see you're sitting alone in your car.  I thought for a moment that there was a woman with her head in your lap.  I know what that means.  That's a definite no-no.   Can't be having no head in the park.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  No head."

Head Ranger #4:  "Hey there.  I'm the Head Ranger.  This means I'm top dog, leader of the pack, honcho numero one, the lead guy, the go to person, where the buck stops, also known as Ass Hole to many.  What can I do you for?"

Head Ranger #5:  "Yo, Dude.  Let me check your beer.  I'm the Head Ranger and I'm here to make certain that every beer has a good head on it.  Let me shake up that can of beer you're going to open next.  That will put a big head on this next puppy.     You'll be getting real big head on your next brewski.  Here . . .this Bud's for you, Dude!"

I'll have to run each of these scenarios by the Head Ranger when next we meet.  It would be great to know what kind of a Head Ranger this guy is.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What are you supposed to be?

I don't particullary like Halloween.  It's defintely not the favorite holiday.  Halloween, in my opinion, is for kids.  Adults dressing up in costume, some going door-to-door for candy, doesn't cut it.  It's like grow up, people.  Grow up.

Okay, okay, give me a ration of shit about my thinking.  Do I care?  Nope.  Do I want to hear your grief that I'm wrong?  Nope again.   So don't even think about posting your rationale on why it's okay for adults to act like kids on Halloween because I'm not buying any of it.   If you want to dress up  and be a kid every October 31st that's you're deal.  You have to live with yourself and I don't.  

For some adults Halloween is like year round:  They're always in costume.  I often want to approach a person wearing strange garb and say, "What are yuo supposed to be?"  Of course they'll say, "Huh?  What do you mean what am I supposed to be?"

LIke these people begging on the streets, holding signs, looking forlorn and forgotten, dressed in all sorts of clothing . . . that's really when I want to ask, "What are you supposed to be?"  I really want to say, get a fucking job, you idiots!  There's work out there.  It may take some effort to find work but get a fucking job, you idiots!  No sympathy.  And you're not getting a nickle from Bob.  Why hand out hard earned money to those who are too lazy to find work let alone punch in from 8 to 5.

There's one guy who doesn't have a job that I often see that I'd like to comment on.  I drive 10 miles to the marina and then 10 miles back home every other day.  Alongside the road, sitting on the ground and against a mile marker is this one guy.  The dude is always there.  He's holding a small sign that's nearly impossible to read as you pass at 60 miles an hour.  He's usually asleep.

I want to stop and talk to him.  "What are you supposed to be?",  I'd ask.   But I'd really stop to read what the hell it is on his sign that I can't read at 60 miles an hour.  I'd say, "Man, sitting here is all about marketing.  You got to get a better sign.  One we can al read as we approach you at 60 miles an hour.  How the hell do you expect anyone to stop?  Market yourself dude, market yourself."  But I' really say, "Get a fucking job, you idiot!  Wasting your life away alongside a highway is like nowhere, dude!"

Dude?  That brings up another thought.  When you're greeted at a checkout counter in a store what does the clerk call you?  Most of the time it's "sir".  Once in a while it's "dude". That makes me smile.  I say back, "Duuuude!" to the clerk.    If I'm with Wifey we're often greeted as being "you guys".  "How are you guys today?"  Wifey takes offense to that.  She defintely feels that she is not in the guy category.  She usually comes back with, "You guys?  I'm not a guy." 

Enough of Bob's thoughts on life.  Happy Tuesday.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States