Saturday, December 23, 2006

Things To Ponder for 2007

I ganked this from my friend Bob. But Thought all who read my ramblings might enjoy it!

#10 Life is sexually transmitted.
#9 Good health is merely the slowest rate at which one can die
#8 Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an
erection, make him a sandwich.
#7 Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to
the internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
#6 Some people are like a slinky... not really good for anything, but
still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
#5 Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital
of nothing
#4 All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention
#3 Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars, and a
substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents???
#2 In the 60's, people took LSD to make the world weird. Now the world
weird and people take Prozac to make it normal. AND THE NUMBER ONE
FOR 2007... We know exactly where one cow with mad-cow-disease is
among the millions and millions of cows in America, but we haven't a
clue as
to where thousands of Illegal immigrants and Terrorists are located.
we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigration.

Back Home Again in Area 52

It's great to have Professy home! Of course it would have been greater if Tilly was over bronchitis, and then the real pits is, I got the flu. For 24 hours I honestly thought I would die. And, I didn't care. In the middle of last night, I knew I was going to recover...I woke up craving a tangarine. The first inclination that the worst was over. Today, I have showered and ate that tangarine and now am exhausted. But there is promise in the air.
Prof and I have had some good visits, but the only thing wrong with them is that they all lead back to our jobs...teaching! Can we never get away from it? LOL!
While she is home, I still want to take that long walk, go for a dad and daughter coffee break, and play some "out for blood" games. We still have another week! Boy a lot to cram in to 7 days. But we will doit. Pray that we all stay well!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Great Day

Today has been a great day. It started off great with a wonderful Advent Church service, lots of music, lots of praise, and reception of several new members. One of the quartets I sing in closed the service with a rousing contemporary Christian Christmas number, and we rocked the rafters. People actually clapped along, and applauded when we finished. A real WOW! moment.
We came home and hung out for a while, and then we went Christmas shopping. This was not a very successful venture, but I came home one sweater richer! Even though we didn't buy much, and it is getting closed to Christmas, we still had a good time. Then we went to Dairy Queen and had a Moolate . Tilly had French Vanilla, and I had Peppermint Mocha! Then we went for a drive and just enjoyed the day. We watched people out decorating with lights and decided that we would have to go back at night and see what they look like. All in all it was a just a fun day.
There is one catch, though. I have to go back to work tomorrow! Ugh! I think I need to take a "mental health" day and call in sick. Ah! There's an idea. Maybe on Wednesday, 'cause I don't have to drive the transit bus that night. Wow! A whole day to do absolutely nothing. That's almost unheard of for me. Talk about burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Mine should be a stub by now! I have friends that are retired and are enjoying it. I could see how that would be great. I will look into it next when the big 62 rolls around. Don't know if it would be feasible financially, but it might be worth looking into. Who knows? Let's see, what is on the agenda next???
Everyone have a good week!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

28 Unalderated Truths About Me

I'm a thief! Ganked it from Professor

1. Explain what ended your last relationship. It’s been so long, but I think she threw me over for another older guy. The BITCH!
2. When was the last time you shaved?Last night!
3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Trying to teach a dumb 7th grade girl about the 8 parts of speech in a 1 on 1 session.
4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?Crying over something wonderful that just happened.
5. Are you any good at math? No! Terrible, horrible, and basically suck at it!
6. Your prom night? Boy! That’s been aeons ago. I think I stayed sober, and the girl I took was a dog! My college formal dance was better. I married that gal!
7. Do you have any famous ancestors? nope.
8. Have you had to take a loan out for school?yes, one!
9. Do you know the words to the song on your Myspace profile?What the hell is a “myspace profile?

10. Last thing received in the mail?bills, catalog (King Size) and Christmas Cards.
11. How many different beverages have you had today?Coffee, Coffee, Frozen Coke, and a Frostie from Wendy’s
12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine?I HATE answering machines. Leave messages only when necessary.
13. Whom did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Billy Joel! That sounds weird, doesn’t it?
14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? No…peeing in public is against the law!
15. What was the most painful dental procedure you have had? Oral surgery and having a stainless steel post imbedded in the jaw bone for a special crown.
16. What is out your back door? Back yard, dog shit, garage, trashcans.
17. Any plans for Friday night? It’s payday, so we’ll probably go to Dairy Queen.

18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? I love the ocean. I don’t have hair, so who cares!!!
19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? Yes, but the cheese stuff is pure SHIT!
20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? yes
21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?Not if we have any clean ones in either bathroom!
22. Some things you are excited about? Have the kids all here for Christmas!
23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? I detest Jello! I only eat it when I am sick!
24. Describe your keychain(s).A long, black lanyard, lots of keys and school I D.
25. Where do you keep your change? I carry a little coin holder thingy.

26. What kind of winter coat do you own? I own a leather bomber jacket, a long black wool trench coat, a black wool parka, a red and black nylon down filled coat. (I love coats, can you tell?)
27. What was the weather like on your graduation day?Hot and sultry at high school, and colder than hell and snowing at college. I graduated mid year on the 14th of Dec.

28. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Open, ‘cause I am nearly deaf without my HA and need to know if the house falls in or something.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

All I Want For Christmas

This year, I dont need gifts. I just want the following things:

Snow: not a lot, just enough to get in the spirit of the season.

Wonderful music at church

Spending time with my family

Safe travel as the Professor comes home to Area 52 for Christmas

Plenty of sugar cookies

Singing around the piano

Talking to my Texas relatives

Lots of Christmas cards

Hanging out with friends

Getting recharged for a second semester of school

Singing "Silent Night" at church on Christmas Eve

Touching base with our good buddies in Ohio

Having a chance to sleep in

Taking that walk with Prof

Just being warm and well and content

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

As Christmas time approaches, I get rather nostalgic when I think about Christmases in the past. I love Christmas. Always have, always will. I think sometimes we lose sight of the real meaning of the holiday, but I still recall what it is all about and enjoy all aspects of the season to the fullest.
When I was a kid, we NEVER had an artificial tree. Dad always went shopping for our huge tree. He would bring it home, trim it to fit the stand, and then lug the monster into the living room. Sometimes, it was so crooked that he had to wire it to the curtain rod, but by the time he got it anchored, it was as straight as an arrow. Then he began to put on the lights. This was when my bro and I usually slinked away and hid until Mom gave us the "all clear" signal. Dad and lights were not patient with each other. Then we all decorated the tree. Mom would let Bro and I toss the icicles on from afar, then when we left the room, Mom would patiently straighten them out so they hung just right.
I remember when I was about 9 or 10, I got the neatest set of cap guns. I had admired them in our local "general" store for at least two months. There on Christmas morning, under the tree, were the gold plated, holsters and two "six" shooters. I was the toughest cowboy in the neighborhood. (By the way, I still have them.)
I remember going to Grandpa's on Christmas. Seems like I always got a flashlight every year. And pajamas! Thank God for grandparents who remember it is polite and proper to wear pajamas!
I remember how Tilly broke out in some sort of rash the first Christmas we were married. I didn't know she was alergic to pine sap, so from that time on, we have always had to have an artificial tree.
I remember the Christmas when Professor was about 2, she went to the midnight service with us. I was in the choir and looked out and there she stood, holding her candle, singing "Silent Night." I still choke trying to sing that carol.
I remember when Little Bro's teacher called us just to tell about him telling a little girl in the 2nd grade the whole story of the meaning of Christmas: "it's was Jesus' birthday." The little girl had never heard the Christmas Story before!
I remember when Prof was old enough to read the Christmas Story, from the King James version of the Bible, Luke: 2. I was both amazed and touched! I still am!
I remember the Christmas Day that the temperature plummeted to -25F and we had to drive the old Pinto to Grandma's because the "good" car wouldn't start. We piled in, 4 people, a turkey and all the trimmings, and gifts for everyone, and headed out. The driver's side door latch was broke, so we held the door closed with a "bungie" tarp strap.
I remember the first Christmas after my mom passed away. We laughed, we cried and we had a ball raising a toast to all Christmases past.
Everyone! Have a great Christmas. Yes, Christmas. Not "holiday." After all, "Jesus is the reason for the season."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Mysterious 6 Things

I ganked this from Professor, but I thought it was an interesting direction to take a blog, and might surprise a few readers:

1. I want to play baseball. I know, you all think, "what?" but it my desire to play slow pitch softball on a community league. At my age, I don't think I could see a fast-pitched ball coming soon enough to swing at it. And I can't run too well anymore, so an old timer's league would be perfect.

2. I want to sing at Carnegie Hall once before I die. I think it would be a thrill to sing a solo in front of thousands of people. I am getting ready for a major solo in front of two or three hundred, and I am already excited and I have another 3 weeks to go.

3. I want to spend at least one winter in a warm climate. I am hoping that Tilly and I can go either to Florida or Arizona (would prefer the latter) sometime and be one of those older couples that just hang out where it is warm.

4. I have this desire to own a red, two seater sports car. Maybe a Miata. Why not? Other than $$.

5. I am basically a person that hates to go to bed at night. I don't mind getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to greet the day, but going to bed is a drag. I guess I have always been this way, cause my Mom always said she thought it was because I was afraid I might miss something. I don't know what I would miss at this stage of my life, but I still have to cave in and force myself to go beddy bye.

6. I love the English language. I love being in 4 English classes this year. I am learning so much right along with my students. I love the way verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs and all the other parts of speech fit together to make a cohesive sentence. Am I wierd or what? It's fun!

This was silly but also true. It made me stop and think.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Test From Hell

Today I gave my 7th graders the "test from hell." Oh, I didn't have a choice, it was the next step in a long month of a literature unit. We assigned the novella, "A Summer to Die" a month ago. Now, the lead teacher in this class is a classic Language Arts teacher. She not only assigns the novella, she actually "assigns" the novella. She passes out a copy to each student, only after affixing a label with their name on it inside the front cover. Students are expected to read this novel over a period of two weeks, they are given several days of silent, sustained reading time in class, (this is where I take my students who are learning disabled, to my room and read out loud to them. During this time, we also discuss parts of the novella, do exegisis exercises, plot lines, small group discussions, discuss the five elements of fiction, motifs, themes, character analysis, and a whole bunch of other crap which bores the kids out of their gourds. Then the test comes. It is a friggin' 8 pages long. My kids get the adapted or differentiated version, which is still 8 pages long, and harder than heck. It starts out with multiple choice, which gives them at least a 25% chance of getting the right answer. Next there are matching questions like what is a "protagonist?" "What is "irony" and the students are supposed to match up with the answers. Well, even the fact that discussed all of this yesterday and the day before that and the day before that, I was met with a lot of "DUH" looks and scratching of heads. Then came the direct quotes from the book and who said them, without a word list to go by. Wow! If I hadn't read this book every year for the last 6, I couldn't pass that part. The essay was skipped. I guess that was the differentiation the teacher made. But the hardest part was giving the kids 12 strips of paper with events from the book, and having them put them in order from the first event to the last. That about blew the kids away. I have to admit, I helped them some on that one. Not enough to call it cheating, but at least enough to get them started.
I had a few students who had actually read the book from cover to cover, had paid attention in class, had taken good notes and had actually studied for the test. Other students just plain didn't care enough to even try. What do I do with them. One group of 5 students have 5 different learning levels. This makes my job so difficult some days.
Anyway, the novel was boring, it was depressing about two teenage sisters, where the older sister is beautiful and popular, but contracts leukemia and ends up dying. It was written in 1979, and no doubt is good lit, but it's time for a change.
The next novel we will read is the same novel my son, now 31, read when he was in 7th grade. Not for the same teacher, however! Like I said, it's time for a change.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Big Bee Hunter Goes Wild

We have had a mouse. I have tried the conventional "slammer" mouse traps, baited with such delicacies as peanut butter, cheeses, and even a pre chewed juji-bead. with absolutely no results. The little "el raton" steals my bait and runs. Tilly bought a new type of trap that looks like a giant binder clip. You open it and it locks, you place bait on a little tab, and when the little bugger grabs for the bait, WHAM! Well, the other night about 1:30 the dog went wild, and Tilly woke me up and said that she was sure that I had finally caught the nasty little bait stealer. I got up and went to check. Sure enough, there the little f--ker was. Yeah Me! It was raining cats and dogs out, and I was in my tighty-whities, so I didn't relish dumping the mouse out in the trash bin. I didn't want it in the house all night worrying the pooch, so I decided to give it "burial at sea." So with a great flourish and much fan fare, I flipped the flush handle on the commode, and dropped the mouse into the bowl. WTF!!! the little gray blankety-blank started swimming. Those things can really "mouse paddle!" I let him swim and tried flushing again, same results. He wouldn't go down the drain. So, being the great white hunter that I am, I grabbed the toilet plunger from its nearby container, and plunged down on my little friend. I held it under until it drowned. Then, I decided that "what if he really isn't dead and I flush him and he crawls back up the sewer pipe and bites me on the ass!!! So I grabbed him by the tail, jammed him down in a garbage bag, emptied all the waste baskets in on top of him and set the bag out on the back porch. Next day, the city refuse company carried my little friend away and stashed him in our local land fill.
After relating this tragedy to my father-in-law, he said that usually where there is one mouse, there is supposedly 11 more. Oh holy shit!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Saga of the "Bus Bitch"

As you all know by now, I drive a transit bus for our county here in area 52. Our system is a "call and make an appointment" system, rather than having regular routes and bus stops.
I have one client who has a standing pickup time of 5:45 pm, Monday thru Thursday. We have a 5 minute wait time after the time the client schedules. The "Bus Bitch" (whom I will refer to as BB) is always late. Most nights I wait anywhere from 9 to 20 minutes on her. Which is against the rules of the transit company. Besides it always makes me late for my next scheduled pickup. But being a nice guy, and knowing that BB doesn't have any other way to get the 7 miles home, I have been breaking the rules and waiting. Well, last week, after a 20 minute wait, I decided to put a stop to her perpetual lateness. (Other drivers have complained that every morning it is the same thing: wait, wait, wait.) I told her when she came out of her place of business and was boarding my vehicle that I would not wait that long on her any more. I tried to explain that we had our rules to follow and that she was making me late for my other clients. Wow! This woman flew into a rage! She grabbed her stuff and "trounced" off the bus, all the while screaming at me about unfair I was, how screwed up our system was, how I didn't understand how hard it was to manage alone, and on and on. She threw things, and in a word, threw a real "tizzy fit." Any moment I expected her to lay down on the ground and kick her feet! This woman is 50 years old!
I, then, in my infinite wisdom, ask her if she was done cussing and raving. She looked at me with such hatred that I was wondering if she had an uzi stashed in that king-size sachel she always carries. I said that I might as well take her home, she had wasted so much time that I was already very late for my next and final client. She got into the bus, clear in the back seat, where she would have a clear shot at the back of my head if she had the uzi, and the proceeded to bawl all the way home. One the way home, I picked up my last rider of the day who wondered if I had forgotten him. I apologized to him about being late. He rode along while I took BB the rest of the way home. Upon arriving at her house, she wouldn't let me help her with her stuff, and when I asked her for her bus fare she told me it was "back on the friggin' seat," and stormed off the bus. The gentleman rider with me said after she was out of earshot, "I don't think she was too happy with you for some reason!"
Now, childlike behavior is expected from a child, but from a woman of 50? Who needs this shit! I filed a formal complaint with the company, called my manager, and then went home. As of today, our 5 minute wait time policy was reinforced at a general drivers meeting. As of today, I will wait 5 minutes, and if BB isn't on my bus at 5:50pm, I am to pull away, and not worry about how she gets home. I could gloat, and say "I won," but did I win anything. Secretly, I am pleased that now she has to follow all the rules if she wants to ride, but I also wonder just how she will get home if I don't take her. After all, I do have a heart!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The "Four" List

Another one of those lists of things you might or might not know about Jimmie Earl:

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Salesperson in a Wholesale Sporting Goods Store
2. Office Manager in a lumber yard
3. Diswasher and short order grill cook
4. Assoc Chemist in a research and development Lab

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Twister
2. Dances With Wolves
3. Murphy's Romance
4. American President

C) Four places I have lived:
1. Where I currently reside, next door to the "nightmare on Elm St."
2. Huge Victorian near a city park in Area 52
3. Small starter ranch on a tree lined Lane
4. Huge, super huge, house on a mid sized lake in Area 52

D) Four television shows I watch:
1. Criminal Minds
2. Lost
3. Jeopardy
4. Numb3rs

E) Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Intercourse, Penn (just had to list that one)
2. San Francisco (my favorite big city )
3. Ludington, Michigan (absolutely the best vacation site ever)
4. Disney Land

F) Websites I visit daily:
1. my email
2. Yahoo Weather
3. Babble from Babbler
4. Yahoo Crosswords

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Mi Pueblo Nachos Grande Beef
2. Steak
3. My wife's cooking, specifically her fried chicken, chocolate sheet cake
4. Breyer's vanilla bean Ice Cream

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Somewhere warm, maybe Tahiti
2. In bed
3. On the couch
4. In the country

There was one more that I refuse to answer due the fact that I might incriminate myself:
1. Jennifer O'Neill
2. Jacilyn Smith
3. Jennifer Aniston
4. Sophia Loren (even if she's scads older than I)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fall Blogger's Block

It's fall. Here in Area 52, the leaves are rapidly turning their beautiful fall colors, the days are getting shorter, and the weather is changing. Today, we had our first sighting of snow, and it's only October 12. I wonder what Columbus felt when he landed in America if the weather was like this!!
I have also noticed that my fellow bloggers that I try to read daily or at least semi-regularly, are way behind on their blogs, as am I. Maybe no one has anything worth writing right now, or are too busy. I just think it's strange that several of us are having a hard time or less energy to write. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and maybe I will have just the inspiration to write. But for now, a good book, a quilt and a soft pillow sounds like a plan.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What a "Crap" Week

This week has been total "crap." I haven't blogged recently due to the fact that I haven't had much of interest going on.
Two weeks ago I had dental surgery. Big woo! I had two teeth extracted by surgery. It hurt like hell for a couple of days, but the la la drugs the surgeon gave me helped with that. As a matter of fact, they helped me so well, I missed an extra day of school. Now I am waiting for the holes to heal, then I have to have a partial plate made with some false teeth. This will go well with the hearing aid and glasses I already wear. Growing old isn't for the weak, let me tell you.
At school, we are taking the tests required by the state here in Area 52. I helped administer these tests to my merry band of sixth graders who already struggle with learning. That's why I am there. Anyway, some of them really tried, but some didn't give a shit, refused to listen to our instructions, or even try to work through to get the correct answers. Thus making the lead teacher's job as well as mine doubly hard. It is now when I would like to call the head honcho of our state's board of education into the classroom and let her figure out how the hell we are to get our test scores up when we have students who simply aren't capable of doing the work required. No wonder Area 52's test scores are in the commode! I am still wondering how these 6th graders got to 6th grade and can't read other than simple words, and do not know their multiplication tables. Come on!
While I am bitching, my arthritis in my right hip is really hurting. The weather here is cold and damp and that aggravates it even worse. I am developing it in my feet now. Toes and ankles hurt all the time. I drive a county transit bus in the afternoons daily after school, and I had to ask my manager for a bus with automatic doors so I don't have to climb in and out all the time. That's another bummer.
My church has been under renovations for several months. The building has been such a mess that we have been meeting in the auditorium of the school where I spend 5 days a week already. I haven't been going! That's so not like me. But my heart just isn't in it. Our new building is about ready, and the building committee keeps dangling the carrot, but delaying opening up our new facility. They want everyone to be WOWed on the first Sunday in our new building, so they think everything has to be perfect. My church choir, which is where most of my "church energy and love" is, has yet to begin their fall practicing due to lack of space to practice. So I don't have that to look forward to. The quartets I sing in have been practicing sporadically, and I miss that, too.
On top of that, my garage is a mess, and I can't get my car in. I need to spend a day finding a place for the stuff Professor didn't take with her to MT, put away my junk that I have just set any old place all summer long, and get it cleaned out and tidied. But after working until about 7 every evening, I am not in the mood to clean the damn garage.
Speaking of Professor, next Tuesday the 26th is her BD. It will be the first one we have not celebrated with her in person. I UPSed her gifts to her today. Lots of stuff I would like to share with her but can't, and dammit, I am just homesick. She has been such a dynamic part of our lives for so long, and I miss her terribly.
So, now that I have griped, bitched and complained for several paragraphs, I will bid you all adieu. Tomorrow is another day and is bound to be better.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I was tagged! It's about me- of course!
Professor tagged me with this meme. So, here it is!

1. Do you still have tonsils? – No: taken out on my 5th birthday.

2. Would you bungee jump? – Are you nuts? My luck would be that the cord would be too long for my slightly pudgy body and I would be just a grease spot on the ground!!

3. If You Could Do Anything In The World For A Living What Would It Be? – Be a matress tester LOL, or be a real teacher instead of a overworked, underpaid teaching assistant.

4. How many tattoos do you have? – 0. Good grief! Being numbed for a two-tooth extraction was bad enough. Why would I let some guy that looks like a geek stab me with electric needles about 10, 000 times and imbed my skin with some man made ink that contains who-knows what toxins!! Get real!

Your favorite fictional animal? – Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka and Lassie.

6. One person that never fails to make you laugh? –My friend Lauri! She's a singing buddy, mother of 2 and has the quickest wit and keenest sense of humor of anyone else I know.

7. Do you consider yourself well organized? – Look at my wood shop and then ask that question. Shit no!

8. Any Addictions? – yes- singing, chocolate, and books.

9. From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news? – CNN and local TV, but, hell, I work two jobs daily and have to sleep sometime, so when do I have time to catch the news. Jeopardy is more important!

10. Would you rather go to a carnival or circus? – Neither! Carnivals are too loud and circuses stink.

11. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? – At 12 probably a cowboy. Do you all realize how many years ago that was?

12. Best Movie You've Seen This Year? – Ransom

13. Favorite alcoholic drink – Margarita on the rocks, with salted rim. Or Coors Silver Bullet.

14. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? – hit snooze. Once, then go pee.

15. Siblings? – One bro . A fine human being. Older and wiser than me.

17. Have you ever gone to therapy? – No. I teach 12,13 and 14 year-olds. Why would I need therapy. They are very good at pointing out all my bad points.

18. If you could have one super power what would it be? – Visiting with the dead.

19. Do you own any furniture from Ikea? – No, I don't think so! What the hell is Ikea, anyhow?

20. Have you ever gone camping? – Yes. Used to camp a lot when single. Went on a three week camping trip with 5 in a fold out camper. Enough!

21. Gas prices! First thought? – Fu--ing Commies in D.C!

22. Your favorite cartoon character? – Wiley Coyote

23. What was your first car? – 1954 Plymouth Savoy. Green: wouldn't start if the temp was below 32 degrees F.

24. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? – no. It has worked for me for over 37 years. It just takes a lot of work daily on the part of both people. Lots are not willing to work at it. Divorce is too easy to get. That's the outdated ritual!

25. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons? – Yuck! Neither one! Cosby is a favorite as a stand-up, but his show sucked!

26. Do you go to church? Every Sunday (almost)

27. What famous person would you like to have dinner with? – Anwar Sadat(if he was still with us), Jennifer O'Neill, Billy Joel

28. What errand/chore do you despise? – grocery shopping, cutting grass.

29. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? – Is it Saturday yet?

30. Last time you puked from drinking? – I was 21, passed out in someone's yard, my Bro found me took me home and put me to bed. I awoke next afternoon.

31. What is your heritage? – Irish, and German

32. Favorite flower? – Zennias

33. Disney or Warner Bros? – Disney

34. What is your best childhood memory? – I have many, but the willingness of my parents to let my bro and I have our firends to the house for swimming parties in summer, ice skating and sledding parties in winter is one of the best. My mom actually would make gallons of hot chocolate and we would roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the fire place. Also Christmases at Grandpa's house with all the cousins.

35. Your favorite potato chip? – Lay's Matsterpiece BBQ

36. What is your favorite candy? – chcoclate

37. Do you burn or tan? – BURN

38. Astrological sign? – Taurus

39. Do you own a gun? – Did, but gave it to my son.

40. What do you think of hot dogs? Roasted over an open fire! GREAT!

I don't wish to tag anyone right now. Let me think on it a while. Most of the bloggers I read have already been tagged.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Heroes

In today’s world, heroes aren’t what they used to be. Today, famous people who make millions and live in the height of luxury are the people our young citizens are looking up to as heroes. I have no doubt that actors, rock stars and pro athletes are fine people. But heroes: not a chance.
These are not the people that I want my grandson to consider as heroes. I want him to realize who the real American heroes are.
The real heroes are the doctors and nurses who study for years to become experts in their fields, and then give of themselves so unselfishly to save the lives of many.
The real heroes are the countless men and women who serve their country in the military, sacrificing themselves so we might live free.
The real heroes are the farmers who toil hours on end in all kinds of weather in order to provide food for our nation and for others in the world who are starving.
The real heroes are the firemen, EMT's and police, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us from both natural and man-made dangers.
The real heroes are the teachers who spend countless hours in the classrooms of America’s schools educating our young people. They often do this for below-standard pay in below-standard conditions, yet they persevere, knowing the reward of seeing our nation’s young people fulfill their thirst for knowledge.
The real heroes are the religious leaders of this country who faithfully bring the word of God to people, giving even the downtrodden a glimmer of hope.
The real heroes are the staff members in nursing homes and retirement centers that strive daily to make the final years of our older Americans as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Yes, these are the real heroes of the American people. They do not live in mansions or in extreme luxury; they are regular people who just make a difference.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Rite of Passing

We hear a lot and read a lot about "rites of passage" such as puberty, teen dating etc. but I am talking about "the rite of passing." Or our bizarre way of dealing with the death of a loved one.
From what I have read recently, the Eskimos used to set their loved ones on an ice floe at their death and release them to the elements. This goes along with the "back to nature, ashes to ashes, dust to dust" concept. Vikings set their dead afloat in their boats after igniting the boat into flames. Some tribes of Native Americans built platforms high off the ground, placed their dead, and some of the items them might need in the next life, upon the platform and offered their loved ones up to the Great Spirit. Aside from the stench that must occur for a while, this doesn't seem like a bad plan either. But environmentalists would bust a gut!
Our society, at least here in Area 52, has a rather bizarre and what I consider somewhat barbaric rite of passing. State and federal laws mandate just what can be done with a dead body now days. I have a good buddy in the funeral home business, and I sincerely mean him no disrespect, but I just don't buy into all the fladerah that goes with buring our dead. Do you know that the average cost of a funeral here in Area 52 is upwards of $6000 now?
Upon death, we remove the blood from our loved ones while filling them with some sort of preserving fluid. Then we make them look as natural as possible with cosmetics, dress them in their Sunday best, place them in a $2000 coffin (low end cost, probably) flank them with flowers, and then parade all the family and friends past their coffin forcing them to look at someone who can't look back. How strange is this!!! I don't sleep in a suit, nor do I ever even lay down in a suit. Nor do I know anyone who does. This is just plain weird!
Funeral services are becoming status symbols all over America. What's wrong with a small graveside service with a few scriptures, a song or two and then it's over. I have attended this kind of service, and I have attended the kind of service where it seemed like a staged, musical production. Both got the dead buried, but the first one seemed more personal and caring. Both provided closure for the families left behind, but the first one left more time for conversation with the family and friends. Again it's a personal choice.
Burying a body in a sealed coffin, inside a sealed vault six feet underground seems offensive to me, but sticking the coffin in a hole in a wall is worse. There is something about mausoleums that freaks me out. Maybe I am afraid that the ghost of the dead will be able to get free easier and come back to haunt. And in Area 52 it is illegal to spread the ashes of a loved one at their favorite locale, so we either have to bury them or place them on the mantel. UGH! My buddy says that if one is "hell bent" on spreading ashes, just do it and keep your mouth shut!
There is another way to dispose of ashes that is coming to the forefront. Since the ashes of a human are mostly carbon, there is a new process whereby the deceased ashes can be compressed under extreme pressure and made into a diamond. I kid you not!!! During a recent conversation, a friend suggested to her husband that he gain a little weight, because she wanted earrings and a pendant. Tilly is opting for a ring.
I hope I haven't offended anyone with this rambling treatise, but I felt like venting about a subject that just offends me. I have no concrete answers, and I also know that once I am gone, only my body is left. My spirit will be elsewhere. What my family choses to do with me is their choice, not mine, though I have expressed a few ideas along the way. I hope Tilly chooses a platinum setting. I never cared much for gold or silver. And I'm worth it!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's Okay to Feel Sad

Today I feel sad. I feel sad for my son and his wife. They found out that their baby is gone. They went in hoping to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time, only to have those hopes dashed.
What do I say to them? I can say that Tilly and I have been there, and can sympathize, but do they really want to hear that? No, I don't think so. I can say that it isn't anything they did, but they know that already. I can encourage them to try again when the time is right. They will, I know! But right now all I really want to do is hold them both close and cry with them for a while. I want them to both know that they are loved. That even though it may not seem like it now, God is holding them in the palm of His hand. That tomorrow will seem brighter just because it holds the promise of the future. God bless them both!
Back to School

This week it was "back to school" for me. After a summer of transit driving, dispatching, and the wearing of many hats, I was looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I was a bit apprehensive because not only were we getting a new principal and assistant principal, we were getting a new "special education" staff. I was uneasy about how our routines would be changed. But I needed not have worried. The new administration is caring and proactive, which is a big change for all of us. They are believers in "gentle, but firm" dicipline, and are very much available and visible to us all. The new "special ed" leaders are great! They are full of new, innovative ideas and eager to hear our input and willing to listen.
But the real icing on the cake is the students. They are amazing! I am working primarily with 7th graders, but have two classes of 6th graders, too. The sixth grade students are so eager. They seem enthralled with each new thing the lead teacher and I try in the classroom. Hands are shooting up with eagerness and the smiles I am seeing on their faces just makes the whole classroom experience worth all the effort we as teachers put into our jobs.
Much the same thing is happening with my 7th graders. They come to our classes prepared to learn and seem to be challenging us to teach them. Of course, we always have a few who like to create havoc within the classroom, but both the lead teacher and I have already warned them that we do not intend to put up with their "crap" and expect them to act their age and grade level. So far it is working. This afternoon I walked the 8th grade hallway, curiously observing the students I worked with last year. I saw amazing things happening in the classroom as I slowly (on purpose) strolled by each door. It seems like a magic cloud has decended on our school. At first I could not put a finger on just what is happening, but today it finally hit me. Our staff is more caring and relaxed than they have been in several years. The last two years were pure hell for all of us. Our principal had a monster ego, which in turn, made him into a monster! He was the final and only "word" and we all felt like we were under a microscope. He was more of a dictator than an administrator, and created an animosity that prevailed within the school, reflecting not only on the faculty and staff, but had to be affecting the students as well.
Isn't it strange how one person can either make or break a system, whether it is education, or business. We are all so lucky to have new people at the helm who care and want the best for our kids. It makes it fun to go to work. I no longer dread hearing the alarm go off in the mornings, for I know I will encounter smiles from my students and encouraging words from my peers. GO US!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tiaras, Tatonka and More Damn Driving!

Prof just called and she is in Dickinson, ND. She had an eventful day of tooling down interstate 94. She wore her tiara and jammed to Mellencamp as she drove. Slowing for every herd of cattle because someone told her that there might be buffalo ('Tatonka) on the range there. But, alas, no Tatonka. At a pee stop she asked the clerk where she might see buffalo, and found out that they are all on reserves, because they are coming back from being endangered. Interesting! As she traveled down I 94, she was on a section called the "Laura Ingalls Wilder" expressway. This was in Minnesota, and after crossing into ND, it became the "Enchanted Highway" which she found profoundly ironic since by then she was wearing her tiara. (An aside here, her mother and I actually bought the tiara for her for Christmas last year, and I made a jewel studded, velvet lined box for it.)
Reaching Bismarck, she stopped for a much needed rest stop, and got turned around when getting back on I 94, and headed back east; twice. Finally she found out that to get back on going west, you had to cross a Burger King parking lot, through a storage complex driveway, up a big "fu--ing hill, and turn right to the on ramp. She wondered why everyone in the parking lot at the gas station looked at her funny as she walked across the lot, and discovered looking in the glass windows of the store that she still had on her tiara. She immediately hurried back to the car and took it off.
Between Fargo and Bismarck, there was a iron sculpture of geese, just sitting in a big field in the middle of nowhere. She stopped to take a picture of it. Seven cars passed by while she was stopped, all eyes on her with her camera, and, you guessed it, the tiara.
Tilly and I suggested that she not wear the tiara into the town where she will be teaching. They might think one of two things. One, she is weird, or two, she is the new rodeo queen! She opted for "rodeo queen." Being a member of royalty has always been a desire of hers.!!!
Vistiting a Wal-Mart in Bismarck was about the highlight of her day. Buying a liter of shampoo and then finding a place to put it in the car, was a challenge. But, tomorrow night, she will be at her destination. Be sure to read "redneck nerdboy's" entry on her blog about the "pimped out" guy on the interstate. And the Starbucks attack in Fargo. Both a hoot!
Oh, she had to stop due to rain and hail in West Fargo, and twenty minutes later heard on the radio that a tornado touched down where she had just been stopped. She decided she was definitely "not in Kansas anymore, Toto!"
Check in with lilith. I think she's the next guest blogger.
Keep reading, this is THE adventure of Prof's life!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day One of Prof's Travels

Well people, she is finally out of here! We got everything packed last night, but she was still adding to the already filled automobile still this morning. After many hugs, kisses, and tears, she began her journey. About 3 hours later than I anticipated she would, but any of you that know Prof, know that she walks to the tune of her own drummer.
This morning at 1:00 AM, she discovered that we hadn't packed her "Beatles" picture. Her words were, "I am not going without John, George, Ringo, and Paul." Now bear in mind that this is a framed, glassed, picture that measures approximately 30"x36". I could not see how this was going to fit, but I told her to bring it on. We slid, repacked part of her 40 pairs of shoes, and 20 purses, and wedged it in the backseat covered with a sheet. So she was again at peace with the world.
She will call when ever she changes states, and probably in between, and I know some of you are going to post her progress. I will continue to share, but from a parent's point of view, and keep you updated. So tune in. She has now been gone about 1 hour!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First of Several Updates

As you all know by now, Professor is moving to MONTANA. Today was the last day on her present job. Her laptop was compliments of that job while she was employed there as was her cell phone. Tonight she is both computerless and phoneless. I bet she feels like someone cut off all of her fingers and both ears. LOL.
Tomorrow she has that bit of minor surgery she blogged about earlier in the week. I think that anytime the word "surgery" is used, it is not MINOR, but she seems brave and didn't even think Mom or Dad needed to be there. A friend is going to be there to cheer her on and stay with her. Said friend and "he who is without shirt" will pack up her car at the "frat" house for her on Friday night or Saturday morning. She will arrive at our house Saturday sometime. She intends to sort thru some stuff here and get ready to pack up her car while she is recuperating. Since after this "minor" surgery thingy, she is not allowed to lift over 10 pounds, I'm sure I will get to move boxes from point A to point B for her to sort thru. That is fine with me. I want to help any way I can. Mom is worried that Prof won't have enough to eat or money to buy food when she arrives in MONTANA so she is cleaning out our pantry and we will try squeezing non-perishable food and cleaning items into every conceivible crook and cranny in Prof's POS Malibu.
Now, if you want to hear something weird, Prof's ex husband (divorced 10 years now) offered to come to our house on Tuesday evening and bring Kiddo, and pack Prof's car for her. I can't imagine him being that nice, but "whatever." Isn't that strange? Then, on Wednesday, she will be off on her new adventure. She said she wasn't leaving at the butt-crack of dawn, but wants to get thru the zoo of Chicago while the rush-hours were not in progress.
She promises that she is buying some sort of cell phone to take along on this trip. She has joined AAA auto club in case she has a problem. I wish I had the money to buy her one of those computerized locators, what ever they are called. I think I should make sure she at least has a compass, don't you?
She also has promised to call every evening, and give me an update on her day and a location, then I am supposed to blog it, so all of you out there in blog cyberspace will be able to keep up. When she arrives at her new home, in WhereinthehellamI, Montana, the school is providing her a new laptop with internet service. Then she will resume posting blogs. I am sure all of you are anxious to read about her teaching experiences, as well as her "adventures in cowboy land." I will rest a lot easier when I know she is no longer traveling, and is safely ensconced in her new home.
So, stay tuned. I will try to keep you up to date as much as possible. Maybe this weekend she will have time to blog between sleeping, eating and packing. Who knows!
I ask all of you to keep her in your thoughts and prayers while she is traveling. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We Asked Ourselves "Why?"

36 years ago today, our first son was born. He never drew a breath. For some reason, his heart just stopped beating during the birth process. He was perfectly formed, weighed 10 pounds and was 22 inches long. Till had a real hard labor due to his size, but all was proceeding normally yet slowly. Suddenly...nothing.
Today marks his 36th birthday. We asked ourselves then why this happened to us. What had we done wrong. The doctors had no answers. No cord problems, everything seemed fine. His heart just stopped. To this day, we still wonder why. These days, there are all kinds of technology to either stop this from happening, or to find out why it happens. Times have really changed.
Today was a hard one. Some years go by and we don't think much about it, but with all the talk about the new grandchild, it brought back those unhappy memories.
I can say that the experience we shared made us stronger and drew us closer. Our pastor at that time told us that these types of experiences can either make or break a marriage. Fortunately, I believe the loss strengthened our marriage. Not only that, it made us cherish our two living children even more. So good did prevail.
So maybe it's time to stop asking "why" and remember all that is good in our lives. We were taught patience and understanding, as well as love. I thank God for that!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Beginning of Change

Change is coming to the home of Jimmie Earl. As sure as the wind blows out of the west in this part of the nation, change is coming. You all know that Prof is moving to Montana. Well, yesterday she came home and began repacking stuff. She and I labored over many of her 34 boxes of books, sorting and resorting. She has a limited amount of space in her vehicle, so she wants to maximize quality over quanitity...except for her books. She narrowed down the amount of boxes of books to go to Montana to 5. The rest she put in storage, along with personal stuff she had stacked in our garage. I agreed to or maybe insisted that she keep her Christmas decorations here instead of storage. Today, she is sorting stuff upstairs in her room, determining what goes into storage, what stays here and what she can possibly cram into every available corner of her car.
One week and two days, and counting, and she will be leaving. I tell myself as a fellow educator that this is a wonderful opportunity for her. As a father, I tell myself that I can bear to watch her go. Now whether I can convince my inner self of all of this is a different story. I know that she will do a great job teaching high school. I know that she is a mature adult able to take care of herself, and I know she will be okay. I also know that I will miss seeing her. Hopefully she will be here for Thanksgiving and also at Christmas. That's not too long.
So readers, just keep us in your thoughts. It's hard to see children spread their wings, but I sorta consider myself the wind beneath her wings. I want her to soar!
Good luck, and God speed, Prof.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Remembering Dad

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He died in 1968 at the age of 52. He was a cancer victim. Sometimes it is hard for me to picture him in my mind anymore. But the things I remember about him are more than just what he looked like.
Dad was an executive. He wore starched white shirts every day. When he was home, he wore long baggy shorts in the summer, and in cold weather he had the ugliest mustard yellow pair of heavy twill pants and a moth eaten brown sweater that he wore when working outside. He loved to garden and I think we had every imaginable tree and plant in our HUGE yard. (I never could mow that yard to suit him.)
Dad loved his family. He was an excellent provider. He exalted Mom and because she was the only woman in the house, he insisted that she be treated with the utmost of respect. The most trouble I ever got into with him was because I "sassed" Mom.
Dad took his faith very seriously. He was a big worker in his church. He gave his tithe and an unending amount of service.
Dad loved his toys. He had a speedboat, then progressed to a pontoon boat on which we partied alot.
Dad loved to fish. Living on a lake gave him ample opportunity to do what he loved. When you couldn't find him, just look on the end of the pier, and there he would sit in his old lawn chair, feet propped on the rail, fishing pole in the water.
Dad loved to entertain. He was an excellent griller, had a grill installed in the family room fireplace, and cooked the best steaks around. He loved having people around.
Dad hated his cancer. He fought like a trouper the whole time he was sick. The last 30 minutes of his life he told his doctor, "what are you going to do now, 'cause this sure as hell isn't working." Then he was gone.
38 years later, I may not recall everything about my dad, but these are the most important things. These are the things I hold near and dear in my heart. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oh Gosh!!!

I have never been one to get too excited about much. But "OH MY GOSH!" my kids are making me gray before my time. Well, if I had hair it would be gray totally or even white by now. All in a short span, both of our children have thrown me curve balls.
First, Lil Bro, our son and his wife announced that Till and I are going to be grandparents again. It has been 13 years since the last grandchild. I wonder if they still are made the same way. This is their first child and they are almost as thrilled as we are!!!! I perused the garage and located the hand made cradle that we used for our children and Kiddo, and the rocking chair, and the rocking horse and car seat. It's all there awaiting the big arrival. This is so exciting. We decided 13 years ago that the best part about being grandparents is that we can spoil them and send them home. What fun. It's already fun to listen to the two of them talk about names and "how are we going to afford this or that." I sit back and grin and just say that "it will all work out."
Then a day or two later, Professor tells us she is moving to Montana. Now there's a real curve ball. Who in their right mind moves to Montana on purpose? Prof does. She wants to teach, has the opportunity to do so in MONTANA!!! Her biggest class will be 19 students. Oh to have a class of 19 students.
All weekend long we have teased her about being the only one in town that everyone will know before she gets there. Being a single "school marm" in a town of 352 people will be interesting. Every cowboy in a 50 mile radius will be knocking on her door. And she's never been on a horse!!!
So Tilly and I are just sitting back and waiting for all of this to happen. It will be an interesting year for us all. Keep reading, cause the ol' blog will be full of updates from my point of view of what's going on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Vacations: Heaven or Heck!

Summertime brings thoughts of going on vacation. Tilly and I have had some really good times on vacation, but we've had a few "rough spots" too.
The first trip we ever took was our honeymoon. It was great. All that one could hope for, once we got used to being with each other 24/7. The only glitch was that we decided to go to a "drive-in" movie in a strange state, in a strange city. Don't ask why we decided this, it wouldn't make sense to any of you, but we did. As I remember, "The Wild Bunch" was the movie playing. It was so bad that we decided to leave mid-movie. But... we couldn't find our way out of the theater, so we parked again, and slept until the movie was over, then followed the crowd out of the place!
Traveling with children was and is still an experience in itself. The first trip we took with Professor, at age 3 months, was to eastern Kentucky for Christmas with Tilly's family. She was a good rider then, and the only drawback on this excursion was getting tangled up in traffic in Cincinnati. For 2 hours, we moved ahead one car-length at a time. Prof got hungry, so Mom whips out the baby food jars and feeds her as we are trying to merge. Needless to say, she got her tummy full, and slept the entire last 2 hour leg of the trip, then kept us up most of the night, after we had traveled 9 hours, after working a full day.
The next trip we took was with two children. We went to "Holiday World." No glitches, but we found this quaint Italian restaurant, where the people who ran the place loved the kids. We went back there for every meal while we were there, and were treated like royalty.
The summer we went to Bear Lake near Traverse City, Michigan was a blast. We loaded up the old 9 passenger station wagon with a week's worth of clothes, toys, food, 4 people and a dog. In Grand Rapids we suddenly were besieged with a horrible racket. I pulled over along the freeway and got out and looked under the car. The muffler and entire tailpipe from manifold to rear end was dragging from one bracket. We exited at the next possible place. Lo and behold, there was a muffler shop. I pulled in, went in and poured out my tale of woe to the guy who ran the place. He was ready to close, but agreed to stay open and fix us up. About an hour later, we were on our way, good as new, but $80.00 poorer. I warned him in advance that I would have to write him a check. He took it in good faith, knowing that he would never see us again. We had a blast that week. We rented a friend's small cabin for the week, swam, boated, and ate. Oh yes, when we left the cabin, Tilly accidently left a Wick's sugar cream pie in the freezer. The kids have NEVER let her forget it.
Then there was the trip home from Kentucky where we took a different route than usual, and would be shorter by 15 miles according to Uncle Jay, and I kept missing my exit. Three times we went across the bridge from Ohio back into Kentucky and had to turn around and come back. The forth time was a charm. Both kids were young adults this time, and not only did they laugh their asses off at Dad, they still remind me about it. We got into a snow storm on that trip back in our home state, pulled of at an IHOP, where we belly-laughed thru dinner at the waitress's expense. She spent the entire time we were in the restaurant, with a glob of cole slaw on her face. Had this woman never heard of a mirror?
Since the kids have left home, Tilly and I have vacationed in Michigan at Ludington three or four times. It's a grand little town. It is located on the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan. It has a wonderful beach and quaint shops and the most beautiful sunsets in the world. The last time we went, I videotaped 45 minutes of sunset, then made Prof and Lil Bro sit and watch it. We wanted to share our vacation with them. Still photos just wouldn't work. The last time I got out that video to watch it, it had been taped over with episodes of "Friends." Who would have done that? I wonder!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Savers, collectors, or pack-rats?

Bear in mind as you read this, that Tilly and I live in a very modest house, about 1650 sq.ft. with a garage and my woodworking shop which sits out away from everything else. All of this on a 75'x125' city lot. Just keep this in the back part of your brain, okay?
Sunday afternoon, after my nap, I was out perusing my flowers and yard, and decided to take a look into my shop and garage. In the shop, which is a mess right now, mainly because it's too damn hot to work out there, and I need to clean it up, sweep up the sawdust, and generally clean, up in the loft, I found the following stuff. There is an old suitcase full of Barbie dolls, clothes shoes and accessories. There is a box of Barbie furniture, another doll trunk full of some other doll and her wardrobe. There is a huge storage bin of children's books. There is another two bins containing photographs dating back to the early days of our marriage. There is also two pictures we used to have hanging on the wall and a bin of outdated craft items, that we will probably never use again. Along with that, is a bin with silver trays, pitchers and etc which we received as wedding gifts. We are not the "silver" type of entertainers, tho we have been known to "put on the dog" once in a while. All of this is neatly arranged and labelled.
Strolling on to my garage, I was amazed at the "stuff" that was stashed in every conceivable corner and nook. Professor has some of her things temporarily stacked in there(part of her 34 boxes of books) so I overlook that. Lil Bro has some stuff there too, like a skateboard, a scooter and basketball and bikes. I overlook that too. What I see is a shelving unit that is 8 feet long, 4 feet deep and 10 feet high stacked with Christmas decorations. No shith, there is nothing on those shelves but Christmas stuff. We normally erect and decorate approximately 9 Christmas trees during the holiday season. We also put up one of those minature villages with at least 50 buildings, trees, people and so on. You have to store all of that paraphanalia somewhere. Did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas? There is also a coffee table in a state of being refinished, a file cabinet full of music and other whatnot, Professor's old toy box, Kiddo's old toy box, along with a freezer, coolers, garden tools and lawn mower and snow blower. This is all on the floor. Overhead is my old toy barn and farm impliments(toys) Kiddo's rocking horse, Professor and Lil Bro's cradle, more Christmas decorations which belonged to my mother, old checks and receipts and a plethora of junk I can only imagine. I found my mom's collection of ceramic ducks and another box labelled "paper weights." These too came from my mom"s house when she died. There is a complete set of every day dishes up there that belong to some one of the kids. Who knows which one.
Now, let me tell you about our collections inside the house. We have a shelf around two sides of our master bath that has ceramic, wood and various other types of birds. We also have birdhouses scattered about. In the bedroom, you see Tilly's collection of teddy bears. But the real "treasures" are in the kitchen. We collect tins. Currently we have 120 tins of various sizes and shapes. We also posess two complete sets of fine china, along with 3, count 'em, sets of everyday dishes. One of which we never use, but it's the one we started up housekeeping with and neither of us want to part with.
In the basement, or what we call "the dungeon" is more Christmas stuff (this goes out of doors) and other junk we "just don't want to part with."
Now, let me make it perfectly clear, I am as much to blame for this saving and hoarding of stuff as Tilly is. Did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas? At last count, I have 19 different Nativity Scenes. Complete! Some are very tiny, but one is nearly life size, and lights up. I love to display that one out front where our neighbors across the street, who don't believe in Christmas, can fully enjoy it. It is garish and probably in very poor taste, but...did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas?
After my tour, I came back into the house and asked Tilly what we were going to do with all this stuff? She said we would just keep it and let the kids worry about it when we are gone. So, Prof and Lil Bro, beware. You have your work cut out for you once of these days. He, he, he!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I Love.......

  • Wiggling my toes in the wet sand near the water at the beach
  • M & M's
  • plastic hangers
  • Dairy Queen Chicken strips w/gravy
  • The smell of new mown hay
  • Clear, crisp fall days
  • The first snow fall
  • Decorating for Christmas
  • Going for a drive in the country, even at $3.09 a gallon
  • The smell of sheets dried outdoors
  • Paper clips, staplers, and post it notes
  • Reading
  • Chilly, rainy days...good for reading
  • Fireplaces
  • Horses
  • Walking in the woods in the fall
  • Teaching kids
  • Family gatherings
  • Going to Lowe's and Hobby Lobby
  • Chocolate...but you already knew that!
  • Making lazy love
  • Sing with by buddies

What do you love?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Regrets? I've Had a Few!

But then again, haven't we all. If we all delve back into the past, and take a look at some of the skeltons that still lurk in the great closet of life, we have to adimt we all have some regrets. Or at least wonder if some of the "shoulda, woulda, couldas" of life would have made a BIG difference in our lives if we'd have done things differently.
Love: Ah yes! I think we all, If we have the cojones to admit it, have the one BIG love of our lives that we either acted on or didn't act on. I personally did act on the BIG love of my life, and have been happily married to her for almost 37 years. I know a person struggling right now with this delema. I think this person, I will call Jan, is blaming himself for a love not working out. As a very close friend of Jan's, I can say that he is not to blame. The other party was not considerate of Jan's feelings and circumstances then and isn't now. There has to be willingness for compromise on the part of both parties, and there wasn't. I believe in the adage, "tis far better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." I had another romance once, too, but it didn't work out and I feel that there was a better plan for me. Now I KNOW it!
My biggest regret is that I didn't have the nerve to move. I was offered a better job in a town far away from family and friends many many years ago. My wife and I were newly married and expecting our first child. I could not see that moving would be to our benefit. I still wonder how things would have played out had we moved. Maybe we wouldn't have liked being that far away from family, and maybe we would have moved back. But I will always wonder. The job market hasn't always been kind to me, and just maybe it would have been better if I had just had the nerve to try something different.
I regret not finishing my college education. Yes, I have an associates degree, but I really wanted a bachelor's. I never finished it. Now, at age 61, I really don't have the desire or the ambition to pursue it anymore.
I regret not becoming a teacher. That goes with the degree thing above, but at least I am pursuing that career path by being able to work with "my" kids as an instructional aide, and had an experience of a lifetime teaching prep English at a junior college a few years ago. I was very good at it, too. Maybe it is something that I can do again later down the road.
Like I said, I have a few regrets. But very few. I guess I am lucky. My advice to those of you harboring regrets is to just bite the bullet, hold your chin up high, and get on with your life. It is to short to worry about "shoulda, woulda, couldas."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Saint Jimmie Earl...NOT!

Teens of today don't have anything on us elder blokes in the "being ornery" department. There are some things that you don't want your children to know about their parents as they grow up for fear they wil do some equally stupid and then say, "well, you did it," But now that Prof and Lil Bro are all grown up, I must confess that I am not the saint that I always wanted them to believe. I actually excelled in ornery. So much so, that twice in my highschool career, I was threatened with "reform school" or " military school." Of course, I didn't know how much either would cost, and it was impossible for my parents to afford either, so they had me by the short hair. I just became a little sneakier.
Early on, I took the boat out (I grew up rurally on a nice lake) and the neighbor girl and I exchanged boats and each rowed the other back to shore. I could swim, she couldn't. She got a spanking, I got sent to my room. This was about age 8. Probably the same summer, my brother, the neighbor boy and I discovered that if we climbed on a bench in the mens dressing room at the public beach, we could see over the wall into the ladies dressing room. We never saw anything interesting, but it was "cool" to know that we could.
As I got older, the mischief got more mischevious. After the summer kids went home, and fall arrived, a bunch of us would cut dried cat tail stems and smoke them. Yes, we got high, but we didn't know it. We just thought the other one was acting dumb. Jr. High was mostly finding out all we could about the opposite sex. Copping a feel on the "tilt-a-whirl" or the "scrambler" at the county fair was permissible and possible cause we were being thrust together anyhow. Never got my face slapped, but got several dirty looks, then a coy grin. Many hour were spent trying to guess a girl's bra size and admiring female anatomy.
In high school, I was slightly more ornery. Yes, I wore pegged levis. A friend of my brothers pegged them for us We would go to her house, put the appointed pair of jeans on wrong side out and she would pin them from the cuff to about 3 inches above the knee. This was exciting in itself. In a few days she would deliver our jeans. I had to wear a sock and point my toes to get them on. I also rolled my pack of Marlboro's into my sleeve as soon as I got away from the house. Boy, was I cool. These were also the years that I got asked to leave a school dance because I was doing the "twist" and the "stroll" with too many pelvic thrusts. One summer evening several of us were driving by Krogers, which at that time was right across the street from the police station right down town. Krogers was closed, but there was a huge display of watermelons stacked right out front. You guessed it, my buddy and I got out of the back seat of the car, strolled by Krogers, casually picked up a watermelon, and when our driver appeared after driving around the block, again casually slipped back into the car's backseat watermelon and all. Warm watermelon never tasted so good!
Halloween was a fav time for us country folk. We threw shelled corn at people's windows, stuffed smashed pumpkins into their mailboxes, and filled kerosene soaked gunny sacks with fresh cow manure and set them on fire on a guy's porch. Of course, we all ran and hid just out of the light enough to see what each of these antics would cause. Only once did we get shot at, over our heads of course. I am sure that the people knew who was doing most of the mischief since there were only about six of us teens within a 2 mile radius of home. I once fell into a sunken grave in an old grave yard while running away after a dastardly prank. I also crashed my bike into a friend, fell off and she ran over my head with her bike in a frantic effort to get away from some of the pranks we played.
How about the time a group of guys stole an old ladies outhouse and took it up town. The very next day, that group of guys got called into the principal's office, were made to take the outhouse back, and reinstall it, and apologize enmasse. ( Note, I just remembered, that was my brother, not me!)
Mom taught in the same school that we attended, so we either had to behave or be careful. I usually chose the latter, and it always backfired. She usually found out what I had done before I even had the chance to tell her.
My dad was a neat guy, don't get me wrong, but he was strict. He thought everyone who rode a motorcycle was a "hood." Two of my friends had them, so I would walk a mile down the road, then get on back and ride for a while around the country roads, and then they would let me off, and I would walk the mile back home.
You already know what he thought when I pierced my ear. Imagine if either my brother or I would have showed up with a tattoo! HOLY SHITH!
So now, you see I was an A-typical teenager. After I began college, I began calming down. I began to take life more seriously. So really, have things changed that much. I think not. There are just more things out there to do to cause mischief. I don't think youth of today are too bad.

Friday, June 23, 2006

What a Day!

Fridays in the public transit business are a bitch. Everyone suddenly remembers that we are not open on Saturday and Sunday, so they have to go somewhere right now, today, at this moment. When I arrived at work at quarter to seven this morning, the phone was already ringing. Now, our rule is that we don't answer it until 7 AM, but I don't know how you are, but to me a ringing phone demands to be answered! I resisted until about 3 till, and could not stand it any more.
EM was on there whining about having to get to the bank. She would only be in there a minute, and then wanted to go back home. I told her that I had an opening at 11, but she wanted to go earlier. Now here is a woman, alone, who is 67 years old, lives in a retirement community, has all the time in the world, but she had to go "right now". The bank doesn't even open until 0830, so I told her she would have to wait. I even suggested she call her daughter who lives 3 minutes away to take her if she couldn't wait. She waited, called back 3 times, to verify that we would not forget her, that she wanted to be picked up at her patio entrance instead of the main door, and finally that would we drop her at Krogers instead of taking her home, then make another trip back to take her home. HOLY SHITH lady! This was only one occurance. CC and JT who live 14 miles out in the county, and had made plans to come into to town to Wal Mart, called and tried to convince me that a driver could wait 45 minutes on them and take them "right back home." Didn't happen! Not because I was being a hard nose, but simply because we didn't have time.
Let me tell you, this was just a sampling of how my day at the dispatch desk went. Besides, my relief person had surgery earlier in the week, and is off until next week sometime, so getting out of the office to even go pee was a challenge.
Through all of this, I managed to get July and August scheduling sheets ready, and the first week of September is ready, too. At the end of the day, I was tired, both mentally and physically, but I was also proud. I had managed to get everyone where they wanted to go and back home. I had kept all drivers reasonably on schedule, and even managed to eat half a box of "Chips Ahoy" cookies, along with Curly's snickerdoodles.
I went home, took Tilly to Wal Mart and Burger King, and was again satisfied with life being good. But, boy, I can hardly wait until school starts. What!!!!! Am I nuts???

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Well folks, I finally did it. Today I visited my friendly hair stylist. You know, the one who never can remember which rake she used on my head, remember? Well, I decided to go Q-Ball at least for the summer. I watched as she scooted those clippers over my head rendering me totally skinned, except for the "peach fuzz" which the clippers would not cut. That will come off in the shower with lather and a safety razor. It's been 5 hours now, and I can say that aside from my neck itching from the closeness of the clippers, it's cool.
Feeling air on my head in spots where I have always had hair is weird, but I kinda like it. My wife, Tilly, said she thought it made me look younger, EEEEEE HA!
Facing the people at work in the morning, will be a new experience, but it should be interesting. I am not usually a radical person, and this is probably the most radical thing I have done since getting my ear pierced about 20 years ago. (I pierced it myself in college with a needle and two ice cubes, but my dad about crapped, accused me of being a "hood" and I let it grow closed.) Oh, I did buy a lavender tee shirt the other day. My first venture into the "purple" part of the color wheel. I don't know how well I will like being without hair, but I do know I won't have to worry about buying shampoo or combs. I will just have to lay in a stock of hats and sunscreen. Maybe it's just a "post midlife crisis." Or maybe I am becoming more adventuresome in my older age!
This Bird is a Slut!

This summer my wife and I have experienced the phenomenon of ultimate motherhood.
Right outside the entrance to our house, hangs a flower basket full of dead plants that I didn't get dumped last fall after frost did away with our flowers. When I decided to dump it, I discovered that a female mourning dove had made a nest in this basket. Mind you, it is right beside the door where I could touch her anytime, but for some reason Momma B felt very safe there. We soon discovered that she had laid two eggs there and was nesting and preparing for her young to be born. Every time we went in and out we would talk to her and ask her how her day was going, how's the incubating coming, etc. Of course, she just looked at us with those huge dove eyes, and remained still. She blended into the dead flowers, and visitors would come and go, and never notice her. Finally the day arrived that she gave birth, so to speak, of two of the ugliest little critters you ever saw. It was interesting to watch how Momma B kept them completely underneath her, and once a day Poppa B would come, light on the edge of the basket, and perch there while Momma B flew away to eat and probably just chat with the other new moms who were out on the town for a few minutes. Poppa B would sit and keep vigil until Momma B came back, then he would fly off. Momma B would open her beak and the little buggers would stick their heads into her mouth and feed. Boy did those little ones grow fast. Within two weeks they were so big that Momma B couldn't cover them anymore, but she was so careful to tend them, and kept them close to her. When they finally left the nest, they were kept under close watch by Momma B and if they strayed too far away, she would shoo them back under the hastas growing beside the porch. Too soon, the little ones left the toddler stage and began flying and took up roost in our flowering cherry tree. Her job finally accomplished, Momma B, who surprised us by being a slutty little tart, again nested in our flower basket and produced two more eggs, thus beginning the whole hatching cycle again. Last Friday, her second brood left the nest and stayed under the hastas. I watched them flit about on Saturday, and by Sunday they had both become expert pilots. I hear a lot of cooing coming from the flowering cherry, and suppose they are having a family reunion out there. I suppose Momma B is out plying her wares on some unsuspecting bachelor B and will come home to roost and expect us to welcome her back into the fold again. Well, we left the basket hang, dead flora, old nest and all. After all even "Birds of the street" need a place to call home.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Visiting "da Hube"

A few postings back, I asked all readers to please pray for my buddy "da Hube." Thanks to everyone all over the world who has been praying, Hube is awake and is now progressing towards full recovery. He has been moved to another facility in another city for intense rehab, and I went to visit him, along with Suse and Diva. (An aside here, we all sing together in a quartet)
Well, when we walked in, Hube was delighted. He gave each of us a hug and a high 5. He asked us what was going on out in the real world, and about each of our families and the general chitchat. The he began to talk about his near death experience. This guy actually survived a malady that up to now only has a 2 to 3% recovery rate. Making a very long story shorter, Hube is a changed person spiritually, and he shared that with us. He is so grateful to be alive. He said while he was comatose, he had awful dreams, but was also aware of his wife and daughter talking to him, but he was unable to answer. The cool thing about all of this is that he and his wife are going to write a book. He even asked us for some input when he starts this project.
We all cried together, laughed together, and guess what...we even sang together. Members of the hospital staff gathered in the hall and listened. We raised our voices in praise to the Lord. Hube hasn't lost his voice. He was able to hit those low, rumbly bass notes just like always. Of course we all would have sounded better with our accompanist, but we did alright a capella, too.
Suse, Diva and I all came away feeling better after seeing "da Hube" and knowing that before too long, we will all be together again on stages around our community sharing our music. Hube will be able to share his testimony with a new vigor, and we all will have another reason to be "raising the praise." Once again we have living proof that God is good, all the time.

Friday, June 09, 2006

My Vanity Runs Amok!

Today while showering I decided to once again grow my moutache and goatee. I do this once in a while, just to relieve the motonony of being over 60. Now, let me digress for a bit, and clue you in to the fact that I have lots of facial hair. But very little on the top of my head. I still have the "fringe benefit" but the topknot is really thin and I can see scalp. I am seriously thinking about trying the "Q-Ball" look. So back to the vanity thing.
I am thinking, if I would let my facial hair grow, use "Just for Men" haircolor to darken it, and then shave off the major gray on the top and sides, I would look younger. Not that my age bothers me, but looking even 2 years younger wouldn't hurt. I figure that if I try it over the summer, and I don't like it, I can always grow back head hair, shave off facial hair and then resume the same old look as before and my students will never be the wiser. If it looks good, and everyone likes it, the kids at school will think I am cool.
There is only one drawback! While the rest of the family will accept me any way I am, the lady of the house is being a bit resistant to the idea. I have to take this into consideration since she is the love of my life with whom I eat, sleep, make love, love and cherish, so I really want to keep her happy. I know that even if she doesn't like it or doesn't want me to do it, she will support my decision, crazy though it may be. I think she thinks I will look like I am ill. I figure that if I get out in the sun more, tan the scalp through what little hair I have before I shave it all off, it should work.
Oh what price vanity! Maybe I will just lose 30 pounds while I am at it! Yeah, right! This would mean me giving up chocolate. Me give up chocolate? Never!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Letter G

Professor started this list making business. I got the letter G by responding to Maddogg. So here's my list of 10 words beginning with the letter "G" and what they mean and/or their relevance to me or my life.

1. Grandson: I have one. He is the nicest, smartest kid in the world. He has a fantastic sense of humor and is good looking. Obviously, he is the center of the universe for many.

2. "G-spot": A spot on your partner's body where they particularly like to be touched that makes them horny. I'll never tell where mine is, but I have one.

3. Group: A gathering of many really neat people. I sing in a group. I like group hugs.

4. Grace: The tenderness of God's mercy. I have felt it several times in my life, but especially as I grow older.

5. Gravy: A delectable, thick sauce that is poured over my favorites. Especially good is sausage gravy over biscuits, and of course, white chicken gravy over mashed potatoes. This latter has to served with corn. Just a little starch in a meal!!!

6. Green: The color of the outdoors. It should be kept outdoors. I hate green furniture, walls, and decor. Green plants inside the house are okay if somebody else takes care of them. Green is also the color of money. Who doesn't like or need more of it?

7. Grumpy: A feeling like I could pound the crap out of someone. Usually occurs when I haven't had enough sleep. I also get grumpy when someone takes advantage of me or someone I care about.

8. Grease: Could mean the oozy stuff you use to lubricate the important joints on your car. It is the stuff you drain off bacon and sausage. It is also the name of a really bad movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. Greasy also describes almost all of the guys hair when I was a kid. "Butch Wax" and "Jeris" were two products we used to keep our D.A. haircuts in place.

9. Grand: As in piano. I always wanted one. I had one. It had a cracked string board, that would have cost a pretty penny to have fixed. So I got rid of it. Want another one. Someday I will have it.

10. Guilt: Being made to feel this really ticks me off. My kids always thought their mom was an expert at dispensing guilt. Like a Jewish Mother, only she is a Methodist. Guilt is something I feel when I sit on the porch when I should be mowing the lawn. But not for long.

Well, there is my list. For all 3 of my readers, I hope you enjoy. If you want a letter, respond to Professor, or Maddogg. I am sure they will be GLAD to GIVE you one. GOOD luck.