Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Simply Amazing

Long time friend Helen gave me a heads-up on what was on the marquee of a local Cowtown church.  Yesterday I drove by and snapped this.  Yes, our Gracie is amazing in so many ways.  In contrast to the social and emotional behavior of her parents, our girl is even keeled, on the money, chuck full of old school values (the good ones) and a delight be with.   I have to say that Grace is very much like Wifey times 10.  That's a good thing.   You'd expect that as she has spent much of her waking hours under our care since she was 6 months old.

There's no other words for Grace other than amazing. 

Each July Grace's mother, stepdad, two half brothers, and stepsister pack up and head to Monterey for what I call Jesus Camp.  It's close to a week long gathering of evangelical minded families that includes a lot of things to do (rides, games, food) along with religious oriented gatherings.  It must be fun 'cause the family goes back year after year.

Instead of tent camping this year the family borrowed a truck and rented a 30' pull trailer.  The photo taken yesterday is of Grace and step sister Hannah on the trailer steps right before their departure for Jesus Camp.  They were so excited.

I'd go to Jesus Camp if they had target shooting.   That's a favorite pasttime of mine.  Bang!  During the military years it was a  yearly requirement to demonstrate rifle proficiency.  That was worth four sharpshooter medals, the highest rifle award in the military.  You can call me bulls eye if you want to.

If Jesus Camp had target shooting it would be easy to find yours truly on the firing line.  There would be no looking for Bob.  To find my location all you would need to do is listen for someone yelling,


And that would be me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Odds and Ends

Summer has arrived.  Daytime temps of well over 100 ....yesterday's high 106.  Overnight low a little less than 80 making for a closed home with air conditioning.  Cowtown now faces a traditional 60-90 days of 100 degree heat.  Hot is good unless you're on the water in a sailboat.  We'll have to restrict our on the water sailing fun to early morning or late evening.

Last week it was our job to pick up Gracie and her step sister Hannah at noon from vacation bible school.  Grace usually spent each afternoon with us while Hannah was taken elsewhere to be with friends or relatives.  Wifey, Hannah, Grace and Kiri are shown in the photo above.

Last week was also a tough one: 

Zoe was put down.   A horrible experience.

Then, during the course of a READ program (children reading to trained pups) visit, a boy sat down with Wifey and Zeenie to read.  Instead of beginning to read the boy immediately grabbed the dog firmly by the fur on either side of her face and stuck his face right into hers. 

Being startled and feeling very threatened Zeenie barked, tried to move away and was quickly snatched up Wifey.  But somewhere in the brief exchange the boy was either scratched or inadvertantly in contact with the dog's teeth.  Two small red marks (less than 8th of an inch) were on the boy's nose.  A little blood was drawn and wiped off.

The mother of the boy didn't seem concerned as it wasn't much of a commotion.  No around even  knew that anything had happened. The boy, between 9 and 10 years of age, appeared to have behavioral issues that even the mother had difficulty in controlling. 

Regardless of who did what, a dog having a negative reaction to a "client" or scratching/biting a "client" is not a good thing in the pet therapy world.  That said dogs are going to be dogs.  I don't care how much training they've had given the right circumstances they'll react to protect themselves if threatened or hurt.   And that's exactly what our dog did. 

Now if this boy pulled on the ears of another boy and stuck his face in the other boys face.....who would be justified in clocking that kid?  Yeah, you're right.  The boy asked for it.  But heaven forbid a dog reacting in the same manner.

All things being equal, it is likely that Zeen will be blackballed and her certification revoked all due to the actions of an impulsive boy.  There are no excuses, no justifying.  No whining allowed.   That sound you're hearing?  It's Zeenie's hours upon hours of training going down the drain.

Yeah, it was a tough week.  And this week looks even tougher.  I'm not complaining.  I'm just saying.

BTW:  Blogger has decided to not allow me to place the photos here in the order I had hoped.  So, top photo, 6 month old Kiri last night burrowing under the pillows on our bed.  Second photo is of Zeenie.  Always smiling.  Ready to play ball.  Always somewhat timid.  Always mellow.  But soon to be labeled something she really is not.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?
Peace, quiet, not being disturbed are at the top of the list of remaining sane in a world gone nuts.  The the top of that list is:  #1  Toss the cell phone, Blackberry, I-Phone, etc.

A year ago I did just that.  Verizon screwed me big time in breaking their contract.  And I mean it cost big time dollars to get out of it.  Bastards - after all those years of being a faithful customer I got that?   But hell, it was well worth the expense.  There's no missing the:

 "Can you hear me now?" b.s.

Checks for "bars" before making a call.

Dropped calls or receiving dropped calls (don't you hate it when idiots place a call when there's no cell reception so consequently the call is dropped but they keep trying to connect anyway. . . only to have each call dropped, so....the phone rings and stops....rings and stops - Drives me nuts!!).

Being interrupted or breaking the silence in whatever you're doing.

Now the rocket scientists are talking about the radiation emitted by a cell phone and that it is harmful.  After all these years they're just finding this out?

I figure if someone wants to talk they can call the house and leave a message.  And if I answer the phone there's the usual question from whoever is on the other end: 

Them:  "What cha doing?"

Me:  "Having sex.  Can you hear me now?"


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Been There Saw That

I was a kid about 9 years old.  Swimming at the city pool.  It was a hot day and naturally the pool was filled with lots of kids. 

About half way through the afternoon a half dozen whistles started tweeting.  Lifeguards running all over the place blowing their whistles.  I was thinking somebody really broke the rules and their ass was in big duty. 

The pool got kind of quiet and about that time the lifeguards switches from tweeting to, "Everybody out of the pool!!  Out of the pool!  Out of the pool!!". 

Mid pool in my swim to the edge I noticed something brown on the bottom of the pool.  It was long, shaped like a turd.  By golly, it has to be a turd.  I hurried up my swim to the edge and quickly got out of the pool. 

Yuck, I thought.  Who would poop in the pool?  Don't you have to sit down to poop?  Man, whoever can poop standing up or better yet while swimming has got talent.

As they say, shit happens even when you're swimming.

Me:  I'd like to pull a trick on Gracie next time she's swimming at the Elks Lodge.

Wifey:  What kind of trick?

Me:  I'd unwrap a Baby Ruth candy bar and toss it into the pool.  Then I'd yell to Grace to swim over to where I tossed it in and say, "Hey Gracie...there's a prize for you at the bottom of the pool.  Come on over, dive in and get it."   The expression on Grace's face would be too funny when she saw what the prize was.

Wifey:  They'll throw your ass out of the Lodge and ban you.

Me:  The Elks would not be getting any virgin.  Besides, it would be worth it.  If they threw me out I'd just join the Moose Lodge.  No big deal.  Anyway, I think their swimming pool is larger.

I've always loved Baby Ruth bars.  There are so many uses for them.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flaunt It!

Paris Hilton's pink Bentley screams, HEY!  LOOK AT ME!!!!  But on the other hand, there are those of us who think, If you got it, flaunt it.  If I didn't know better I would have thought Paris had been awarded the pink four wheel Mary Kay award for selling the most products.  Frankly, a pink Bentley is pretty cool looking.

Some celebs want privacy.  Hilton doesn't seem like the type who doesn't want to be in the lime light.  That's probably why she drives a pink Bentley.   People started noticed Paris Hilton come the release of a sex tape made by a long disposed of boy friend.  At the time I didn't sense that Paris had the HEY, LOOK AT ME!!! feeling when she discovered her video was being sold or distributed all over the Internet. 

I've been looking at buying another car, a convertible.  We've owned several over the years and just seems right to own one now.  My skin needs more "stuff" generated from lots of sunlight so I can keep my Dermo living in the manner in which he is accustomed.  He says business is slow and needs me to buy that car.

VW has an interesting convertible that has caught my eye.  It's not the new VW EOS model but the "bug".  I've owned a bunch of VW's over the years and it just seems right that I buy another.  Used would be okay.  There's a bunch out there with few miles and hefty warranties.  Someone else has absorbed the depreciation and the dealers want to deal in an economy that has few buyers.   I like that. 

Any color but blue or red, I say.  It must have satellite radio, a better than average sound system.  The top and tires have to be like new.  And there has to be a place for Wifey to put her top.  Yeah, that's one of my favorite things . . . drive down the highway, top is down and Wifey goes topless.  The car may not be as fancy as a pink Bentley but Wifey without a top makes a huge statement: 


She's got it.  Why not flaunt it?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Time to Clean The Bathroom

Music to rub-a-dub-dub the bathroom.  Now where did I put the cleanser?

Medium Rare Bob

Yesterday on the lake:  On the boat at 7:15 a.m. polishing, fixing, arranging, getting Sparkle Plenty for a day of sailing.

11:00 a.m. Wifey and friend Caroline arrive at the dock.

11:10 a.m.  We're on the lake.

Wifey and Caroline waiting for their lunch.  Like any good skipper I'm below plating fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad and opening bottles of Corona topped with lime.

There was a cool breeze blowing across the lake that made the early part of sailing rather frosty.  It was definitely sweatshirt weather.  If you look closely you see that my sweatshirt is inside out.  It's how I like it.  Always.  Never right side out.  Always inside out. 

Caroline took the helm and did quite well following my directions:  A little starboard (or right), okay now to port (or left), time to come about (go in another direction).

We sailed back to the marina, the ladies went their merry way leaving me to button up Sparkle Plenty.  At about 3:30 I was in the truck headed home.

Eight hours on the lake for a white boy who never thinks to apply sunscreen often brings a red complexion.  This morning the face is red, the knees are red, everything else is either lightly tanned or white, white, white.  I'd give anything to have just a little ethnic blood running through the veins which would bound to yield a less than medium rare Bob complexion after a day's worth of sun.

There will no rays for Bob today, tomorrow and maybe the next day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Table for Four

Dennis snapped this photo of the four of us on Monday.  Wifey is holding Zeenie.  I've got the wild child, Kiri, age 6 months, the latest addition to the family.   She is hell on wheels.  The look on her face here?  It's always present to indicate that Kiri is ready for wrestling, ball throwing, a romp around the yard, a game of chase or for mischief.  She's a love. 

Today is for sailing.  Fried chicken.  Cole slaw.  Potato salad.  Fruit.  Cold drinks.  Everything we need but only one thing that might be missing:  Wind. But if that's missing today we'll drop the sails, drop the anchor in a shady cove, eat, drink, crank up the boat's sound system and enjoy the day.

It's summertime and the living, well, it's easy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just When You Thought You'd Seen Everything

Bacon Candy Bars

In “Pulp Fiction” when Samuel Jackson’s Jules Winnfield says, “I just don’t dig on swine,” John Travolta’s Vincent Vega replies, “Bacon is gooooood.”

That widely-held sentiment also applies to chocolate, which is why Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haute Chocolatier combines the two. Her Applewood smoked bacon and Alderwood smoked salt Bacon Candy Bars come in milk or dark chocolate. Bars, $7.50

The manufacturer of this wonderful concoction says:  "I began experimenting with bacon + chocolate at the tender age of 6, while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in Aunt Jemima® syrup, as children often do. Beside my chocolate–laden cakes laid three strips of sizzlin' bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. And then, the magic — just a bite of the bacon was too salty and I yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate and syrup, so I combined the two. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point; for on that plate something magical happened, the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it — chocolate.

From there, it was just a matter of time... and what began as a love of salt and sweet quickly unraveled into an obsession. No sooner could I wait to unveil the royal coupling in solid bar form, a deep milk chocolate with bits of pieces of applewood smoked bacon and just a sprinkling of Alder salt. Really, what doesn't taste better with bacon?"
– Katrina

I'd like my eggs over easy please with that bacon candy bar......

Or, hold the mayo on my BCBLT (bacon/candy bar, lettuce, tomato) sandwich.
It Could Drive You Nuts

This afternoon I shot the video of Zoe that's seen here.  Check my comments that are attached to the video's page.   Click on them to expand.

Wifey has a difficult time tolerating Zoe's non stop fussing.  Me?  After working with kids for so many years I can pretty much shut out most any noise and concentrate on whatever it is that I'm doing. 

When you view this remember that Zoe's condition is about her mind.  Physicially she's in tip top condition for a dog her age.  No injuries.  No disease.  It's all in her head.

It's tough going for Zoe.  It's also tough going for Wifey and I.

Grade School Chum

An old friend from elementary, junior high, high school, and college stopped by yesterday on the way to visit his cousins in Crystal Town.  Dennis and I have known each other literally forever.  We pop into each others lives now and then.

Having just retired as head librararian for a community college, the trip from southern California to northern California was his way of kicking off the next phase of his life.

Dennis loves sailing and of course just had to drive out to the marina to meet Sparkle Plenty.  I'm not certain what Dennis is doing or thinking here.  I'll leave it to you to make something up. 

We sat on the boat for a while talking about people we knew, things we did in school, old girl friends...stuff like that.  Marina Mike stopped by the boat and snapped this photo.

After an hour of this we left the marina for lunch with Wifey at the Hippie Dippie restaurant just down the line from the lake.  Salads, sandwiches, ice tea and lots of conversation.  Wifey went to the rival high school across town from where Dennis and I attended school.  We knew lots of the same people so the stories flew like crazy.

After lunch it was back to the house for more conversation and a photo with Dennis with me with the eyes closed.  After all these years you'd think I'd be able to pose for a decent picture.

You can tell by the photo that Dennis looks about 4 months preggers.  When I was about to ask him when the baby was due Wifey knew exactly what was about to be said and pinched my butt royally.  Knowing the price I'd have to pay it was shut up time leaving me with no clue when Dennis is going to have his baby.  Your guess is as good as mine.

After four hours of time at the marina, food and conversation Dennis departed Cowtown for his destination promising to come back, stay for a while and sail with us.   

Another out of town friend is dropping by Wednesday morning for sailing, dinner later that evening (my Chicken Cacciatore) and an overnight stay. 

It's all good, don't you think?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Close Call

Ever have an experience that you were so very  close to being killed or in an horrible accident?  Makes ya think that if you had zigged instead of zagged you would have likely been singing with the angels. 

Several years ago Wifey and I were were waiting to cross a busy street in Sacramento.  It was the lunch hour.  Lots of traffic.  The pedestrian light turned green and it was our turn to cross.  I started to step from the sidewalk and in the middle of that first step I Wifey's grip pulled me back onto the sidewalk.  I went, "Whoa!"  Hell of a sensation to be pulled back when you're not expecting it.

Wifey had seen something coming that I didn't:  A woman had just gunned her car to run the red light and in doing that she drove close to the sidewalk the rush to cross the intersection.  I mean just several feet from where we were standing.   Had Wifey not pulled me back....even that one step into the street would have spelled disaster.  Surely I would have been killed....Wifey, too, had she not been on her toes.  That was one of the few times that looking both ways before crossing never entered my mind.  It was a good reminder to stop, listen and look both ways before crossing the street ...even with the green light in your favor.

So, last night.....returning home from the Diamonds concert with friends.  The red light in the intersection just up the street from the theater was our first stop on the way home.  The light turns green.  Our turn to drive across.  Half way through the intersection I see a small car speeding quickly towards us and to our right.  Friends in the backseat yell, "WATCH OUT!"   I brake quickly and stop in the midst of the intersection.  The small car, a real piece of shit vehicle, stops just feet from the side of our truck. 

From the look on the driver's face it was easy to conclude that he was  (a) Under the influence and that (b) He never ever saw the light turn red and never saw us coming.

Me:  If that little shit had hit us you'd see me haul that little bastard out of his car and kicking his ass all the way down the road to the police station.

And I would have.

Friend in backseat (who's very big and very strong):  I'd be right behind you.

In retrospect, I do wish I had done just that.  Hauled that little shit out out his piece of crap car and take his ass to the woodshed.  Yup, that would have earned a trip for old Bob to the slammer for assault.  But that little mother would have thought twice before ever running a light again.  And the lesson taught coupled with jail time would have been way worth it.

It's the teacher in me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Missing Blow Up Doll

Hey your blow up sex doll missing?  It's in this video. 

Friends invited the two of us to catch a Diamonds concert at the Cowtown Music Hall tonight. Th video posted here features one of their hits.   Tonight Wifey's wearing her poodle skirt, oxfords and hair in a pony tail.  I'm going sort of informal.  You see, I'll be wearing only my Speedo's.  Only.  Hope they'll allow no shoes, no shirt, only Speedo's.  I'll also be the only guy there not only dressed for swimming...and wearing swim goggles but the only one who doesn't look like he's pregnant. 

It will be tempting to ask Tom, Dick and Harry (every old Tom, Dick and Harry will be there 'cause they like the oldies but goodies) if they know when the baby is due.  Yup.  They won't dare mess with me.  You can bet on that.  Who wants to rumble with a half naked guy who's barefoot, barechested, has a salami in his swim suit and is singing I Gotta Be Me! 

And if I get hungry during the concert, that damn salami will come in real handy.  If you're going could you please bring a brick of sharp cheddar?  Oh, and I knife, too.  You'll need to cut the cheese.   Come to think of it, after consuming a lot of that and plenty of salami it's like that I will, too!

Three Dollars In Four Bucks Out

I read this week that our government is spending at the rate of four dollars for every three dollars collected in tax revenue.  That's just plain irresponsible.   The Feds know that but still spend more than what is taken in with no sign of resolve to stop the bleeding.  What are they, nuts?

How long would your household survive by spending like there's no tomorrow?  Most of us don't live that way.  Buck in.  Buck out.  For some of us it's five bucks in, three bucks out, two bucks in the bank. 

Then there's California.  Our elected officials in Sacramento think and act about everything other than how to balance a budget that's big time into deficit spending.  The Golden State, unless things change markedly, is going to hell in a hand basket. 

It's hard to find any sunshine in the news when other topics make the front pages.  Oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico floor.  The Gulf may never be the same. Public and private pension plans as well as Social Security are finding they're under funded.  Major American corporations struggling to stay alive.  Trade with China seems less about what American manufactures (and send to that country) and more about what comes here.  There's a huge disparity in trade.  Iran won't stop their nuclear machine.  The war we've taken on in the Middle East continues to take the lives of our men and women every day of the week.  I could go on and on and on...... I'll bet you could, too.   

Doesn't it seem that the whole world is going nuts?  Or is it me?  I used to laugh over the prediction that the world is going to come to an end in 2012.  Somehow it doesn't seem that far fetched anymore.

I'm just saying...... 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

One Tough Puppy

Zoe was 12 May 20th.  For some dogs being 12 is old but for others that number means little in regards to health and vigor.  The dog-perts tell us Zoe's lucky to live as long as she has.  If you look at human years into dog time 12 makes 84 dog years.  I should be so lucky.

Zoe will no longer tolerate the monthly visit to see the groomer.  Wifey takes up the slack.  Zoe wiggles, squirms, sometimes snapping at the Wife and protesting loudly that in no way does she want to be bathed, combed and cut. 

The dog-perts still maintain the position we should put our girl Zoe down.  After several days of non stop growling, yipping, yapping we come close to agreeing with that opinion and begin to step in the direction ofputting her down....then Zoe has one or more fantastic days.  She's like a 8 year old again....perky, cognizant, playful, running around with her tail up instead of down.   Oh, we think.  Maybe it's not time.  Or, maybe Zoe senses what might be coming and thinks, I'd better shape up here or else.

The vet says we'll know when it's time.  Whatever time it is, it's not yet Zoe's time. 

Friday, June 04, 2010


An Aching Back?

The new tenants arrived around noon yesterday. An hour before their arrival a semi-trailer with their belongings pulled up in front of the house, fresh from Iowa.  You see it here.

 I signed for the goods and off went the driver who promised to return in five hours to pick up his trailer.  In other words, the trailer had to be emptied by then or else.  Okay, fine.  Easy for him to say.

The "kids" arrived an hour later.  Kids, defined as being fresh out of college, wet behind the ears, dumb as a fencepost when it comes to how the world really works.  But that's okay.  We were all there at one time or another in this life.

I get ready to leave the chore of unloading the trailer to the "kids" when I realize there's no ramp to walk everything down to street level.  All of it has to be handed from trailer to someone below.  Normally that's no big deal except for the half dozen or more heavy pieces of furniture in the trailer.  Two strong men (or women) were needed for that.  Then I eyed a motorcyle in the corner of the trailer.

Me:  How did you plan on getting that down without a ramp?

Him:  I made this little wooden ramp.  I thought I could ride the bike down it.

Well, that was pure fantasy on his part.  It was apparent that once on the little ramp one or two things would occur:  The ramp would snap from the weight of the bike OR, the top of the ramp would come loose off the get go sending the bike and its rider on a quick trip to the street.  Both would definitely cause injury to the rider and major damage to the bike.

I knew it would not be right to leave without first lending a hand.  There was no way the two of them could unload the trailer by 5 let alone handle the heavy pieces without my help.  So I stayed.

Me:  I'm going to back my truck up to the trailer.  The tailgate will be close to the level of the floor.  Together we'll slowly guide the bike into the bed of the truck.  Then I'll back into the driveway with the rear wheels set at the lowest part the incline (or in the gutter).  That will put the tailgate of the truck a couple of feet from the sidewalk.  Then we can use your little ramp to get the bike off of the back of the truck.

Him:  Okay, fine.  Let's do it.

So we did.  Worked like a charm.  That's what old dog experience brings to difficult situations.

I stayed for a time to unload each of the heaviest items from the truck that in no way would have been possible for the two "kids" to do alone.  No way.  You should know even at that it took everything this old boy and the "kid" had to unload those half dozen or more items and put them in the house.   At one point the "kid" started panting.  I started laughing for I wasn't anywhere near the "panting" point of moving this one piece.  "I'm the one who should be panting!  Come on, man up, let's go!", I said.  I loved it.

After all of the lifting yesterday I honestly thought my back would be out of whack this morning.  Worse yet, that I would not be able to get out of bed.  That's what I thought.

This morning came and I'm definitely good to go.  No aches.  No pains.  Not bent over.  Bob's feels like he can unload another semi.  Would someone please put on the theme from Rocky cause I'm ready to roll!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

15 - Ink Spots - Revolutionary Road Score

Hold on!

This song popped into mind with the last post, The Tenants Are Coming.  I should see a shrink about off the wall thoughts like that.  Ya think?

Hold on, the tenants are coming (to town)!!!!

They're Coming!

The tenants are coming!  The tenants are coming! 

They'll be here today around noon fresh from their trip from Iowa to Cowtown.  Yahhoooo!

For the past 32 days it's been fixing, cleaning, tidying, replacing, tweaking, and sweating in preparing the home for the new tenants.  It looks just like new again.  Paint inside.  Paint next week on the outside.  Fixtures.  New flooring in many places.   Landscaping looking like something out of House Beautiful. 

The only regret is that after all this work that we're not selling this property.  Given the sorry state of the local real estate market, selling now is definitely not the wise thing to do.  But it looks like the tenants will be in the home for three years or more.  That's money in the bank.   After three years I'm thinking the market will be looking good (how's that for optimism?) and we'll sell this home.

The new tenants promise to be winners.  The man in the family just graduated from medical school and is serving a three year residency at one of Cowtown's hospitals.  His wife is a stay at home mom (a teacher by trade) with their two preschool age children.   Everything points to this family maintaining the home in as best condition possible, given normal wear and tear.

They're going to love living there.  For example, it's right next door to a pond and across the street from a small lake.   Just yesterday we found turtle egg shells in the backyard.  Yes, shells.  Turtles living in the pond have a habit of laying their eggs in and around the backyard of the home.  Their little girls are going to delight in the beauty of nature that's right in their own backyard.

And I'm going to delight in a monthly rental check for the next three years to cover all the cash expended bringing this home back into acceptable (there's that word, Laroo :) ) condition.  The fixing/repairing and the bleeding of outgoing cash has finally stopped!

Now I can get my life back.  Back to sailing.  Back to blogging.  Back to whatever it is I do with my time (always busy, never sitting). 

Click Click (the sound of two heels twice together and Bob being happy, happy, happy).

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States