Saturday, December 27, 2008

Alll is Right With The World!

Christmas was wonderful. We had a great time. My children and grandchildren were all here. What more could I possibly want. Professor made it home all in one piece. My prayers were answered. Things weren't so glum as last year. We laughed lots, loved much, and of course, ate way too much. A good time was had by all. I got neat stuff, too!
Peace,
JE

My mantra for 2009.

I found this quote the other day and think it will be my mantra for 2009. I learned a long time ago not to make New Year's Resolutions, because I can never keep them. But I have adopted this quote. It sounds good to me!
"Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right.. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."


Peace,
JE

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

She's Comin' Home!

As you all know, Professor is coming home. She leaves MT. in 2 days! I am excited. I have so many things I want to get done before she gets here. I don't have enough time to get it all done. I will have to prioritize. I keep thinking that I want everything special and perfect when she gets here, but is she really going to care? No, I don't think so. So I will keep on doing my thing, and just maybe everything will fall into place eventually.
It sure will be nice to have her back home!
Peace!
JE

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Things I Have (or Haven't) Done!

I thought this was cool. The things I've done are in orange. If you want to play, copy/paste these into your own blog, and leave me a comment so I'll know to head on over there to read about you. Add events if you want! I added #102!

1. Started your own blog
2.
Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld or Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung/played a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Made a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Received a bathroom scale as a birthday present
101. Branded cows
102. Been an opening act for a famous group

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Can't Hardly Wait

It seems like an eternity, but in just 25 days, Professor will be home for good. I am so excited! I have her quarters all cleaned up and the sheets for her bed are in the dryer as we speak. It will be so nice to see her and have her close. I have missed her. It seems like forever since we have seen each other, though it was just in July. Last night we talked for 155 minutes and 3 seconds according to the timer on my phone. We blabbed about everything and anything, and if possible, we just "hung out" on the phone.
We have come to some agreements. Prof is willing to do some of the cooking if I clear and do the dishes. She also agrees to do the laundry if I am willing to clean and dust. Sounds fair to me.
We also agreed that we both need our space, so we will spend time in our own parts of the house and not get pissed off if we just want quiet or alone time. It worked before, most of the time, when Prof lived here before moving to Montana. So we can make it work again.
I am just thrilled that she wants to be here. We will enjoy each other's company, I know.
This has got to be my best Christmas present!
Peace!
JE

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Bit of Advertising

Hey readers! I have my latest post up on The Writers Block. Check it out! I shamelessly admit it is one of my better pieces.
JE

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What Is Left To Say?

I committed a serious mistake the other night. I whined on line that I had no one to talk to and no one really wanted to listen to me when I was feeling down. Well, let me recant that. I have a wonderful family that is always there to listen to me, whether it is on a down day or an up day. I so do appreciate them. Some days I wonder how they stand being around me.
I apologize to my family for what I said. I cherish each of you and what you bring into my life.
I also want to apologize to those friends of mine who have been there for me this last year. I made it sound like you don't care, and I know you do.
I must admit that I was in a bad place when I wrote that blog. I should be more careful when I post and let my feeling go. I need to hold onto these writings for a while before I post them and reread them a few times.
From now on, I intend to take a more positive tack and think good thoughts.
JE

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Another Interesting List About Moi

Do you hold grudges easily? Not really.
Do you suffer pain from a past hurt? yes
Can you handle constructive criticism? Not very well
In this world what makes you the happiest? Singing, Holding Miss Peanut, or seeing my kids.
Do you believe colors express your personality? yup
Whom do you respect the most? Those around me that seem to have it altogether all the time.
What is an interest of yours that others would find silly? Creativity
Do you believe there is a god? Certainly
Do you fall for romance movies? I find them sappy
Do you fall in love too quickly? Not any more
Do you believe in destiny (fate)? Sorta
Do you often get annoyed by cell phones? I hate them!
Do you catch yourself running from situations? More frequently than not.
What would you consider to be your best talent? Losing myself in whatever project I am doing.
Which do you value more, family or friends? Family
Do you like card games? Hate ‘em!
Ever been swimming in a lake or river? Yes
Ever been to a bonfire party? yeah
Have you ever been on a horse? Yes, used to own my own and ride every day.
What’s irritating you right now? My life
Which radio station(s) do you listen to? WJOT: D.J. there is my friend, and is sensational.
Are you afraid of the dark? Not as long as the doors are locked.
Do you get distracted easily? Depends on what I am doing.
What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night? gargled.
Is this year the best year of your life? Not even close
Do you have any strange phobias? mice: they just piss me off.
Is it easier to forgive or to forget? To forgive
Do you give out second chances too easily? Yes
Have you dated people who weren’t good to you? Oh yes. I remember it well.
Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance? No
Where is your cell phone? On the table in my room, charging.
What time did you go to sleep last night? Around midnight.
Are you excited for the future? Not really: it looks sorta bleak from where I view it.
Your first ex shows up randomly at your house, what do you say? You bitch! Do you have any idea how much I loved you, and you threw it all away! Get out of my life!
When was the last time you yelled at someone? Does raising my voice at a student count? If so, almost daily. If not, then I can’t remember the last time I yelled.
When was the last time you talked to one of your best friends? Today
Have you done anything you regret in 2008 so far? Oh yeah! Several things, but most of them are private.
Is there any emotion you’re trying to avoid right now? Several.
Have you ever punched anyone? I punched a guy in the face once upon a time.
What’s your last text message say? I don’t text!
Have you ever been called Prince/Princess? NOT! Princely, maybe. Especially in my Madrigal getup.
Whom do you go to when you need someone to talk to? Right now, I really don’t have anyone to talk to. I’m alone, dammit. I have found that basically, most people don’t want to hear my problems, or my feelings, so I just keep my mouth shut and keep them inside.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The first time

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?A girl named Kay
2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?No
3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?gin and 7 Up. What did I know at age 12.
4. What was your FIRST job?mowing lawns
5. What was your FIRST car?mint green 54 Plymouth Savoy
6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?I don’t text
7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?Professor; wondering if she made it home okay.
8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?Mrs. Dustin
9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?San Francisco 47 years ago in a 4 motor prop
10. Who was your FIRST best friend, and are you still friends with him / her?Ronnie-nope
11. Who was your FIRST kiss?Bertie
12. Where was your FIRST sleep over?Probably Grandma’s.
13. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?Julianne
14. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?Jan’s. I was an acolyte.
15. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?got out of bed
16. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?Ray Boltz, then Billy Joel
17. FIRST tattoo or piercing?left ear lobe, still contemplating a tattoo
18. FIRST foreign country you went to?Canada
19. First movie you remember seeing in the theater? Peter Pan
20. When was your FIRST detention?Didn’t have such a thing when I was in school.
21. What was the FIRST state you lived in?Indiana
22. Who was the FIRST person to really break your heart? Linda
23. Who was your first roommate?Other than my brother and parents, my college roomie, Tom
24. With whom was your FIRST date?Bertie

Friday, September 26, 2008

To My Darlin' Daughter!!!

"Happy Birthday to you,"
"Happy Birthday to you,"
"Happy Birthday dear Proffy,"
"Happy Birthday to you."
Have a good one!
JE aka Prof's Daddy

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Like Sand Through the Hourglass of Life

It's been a year since my world, as I knew it, came crashing down around my shoulders. My beloved wife of 38 years was gone. After struggling for what must have seemed forever to her, with multiple health problems, God called her home. Thus, began my new journey into unfamiliar territory called "alone."

This journey that I have been on has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. It has been filled with highs and lows. The lows far out number the highs, but the speed with which this year has passed is phenomenal.

The day after Tilly's funeral, I rode back to Texas with my brother and sister-in-law. There I began the grieving process. They both were super to me, spending time listening to me, crying with me and, too, giving me time alone to think and write. (Before I left, Professor had given me a journal.) I relaxed in the sun and got refreshed, but all too soon it was time to return to the reality back home.

Tilly had always handled the day-to-day running of the house. I had no idea when the bills were due, where to mail stuff, or even what the password to our on-line banking account was. I wasn't sure what was in the cupboards or freezer either. I learned quickly! And I am proud to say that the utility bills and insurance premiums have all been kept current and paid on time. I have had to deal with the mountains of debt incurred during those last days that Tilly was in the ICU unit at the hospital in Ft. Wayne. My mind is still reeling at the exorbitant fees that doctors charge for just walking into a patient's room. The hospital bill alone edged very closely to $100,000. This didn't count the numerous doctors and technicians who bill seperately. I am truly grateful for the medical insurance that we carried. And I advise everyone out there to make sure you have adequate life insurance. We didn't! I will be paying off the funeral expenses for a long time to come.

Along with all the "stuff" I have already talked about, I have learned about grief. The grief that enveloped me was huge. One minute I was thinking, "Oh, I can handle this," and the next minute I was racked with tears and feelings of darkness and despair; a loneliness that was and still is indescribable. I equate it with being in a dark tunnel with no light at the end, stumbling along not able to see or feel anything.

"First" are not pleasant either, but friends and family seem to make them happen. Cousins had me at their home for Thanksgiving. My children were at my house for Christmas. Somehow, we all made it through that holiday, but the pain was there right below the surface for us all. Mom was missing! New Years Eve was spent with my friends da Hubes, and I had a good time, despite the feeling of being a "lone wolf." Valentine's Day came and went . I looked at the cards with longing and a heavy heart. Suddenly the romance was gone from my life. Would I ever feel that way again? On Tilly's birthday, I made a wreath for her grave. I also had Lil Bro and Sistah over for dinner. I fixed Tilly's favorites, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. We toasted her memory. I remember, too, how weird it was to write the word "widower" on a form for the first time. But that was "me" now. Get used to it!

On the advice of my family doctor, I have joined a grief recovery and healing group. This group has helped me a lot. I realize now that I am not the only one who has ever been through this life-altering experience. I realize that it's okay to cry, and it's okay to laugh. I have learned that it is good to talk about my grief, and to talk about my life with Tilly. It's okay to feel anger, and sadness; basically, it's okay to feel the way I do at any given moment. And believe me, those feelings change all the time.

Through all of this, my family has been so very supportive. At first, both of my children called me daily; just to check in and see that I was okay. My Texas and Ohio family called frequently to touch base and give me words of encouragement. Now that it's been a year, I think my kids have relaxed and know that Dad is doing alright most days, and that I'm not leaving them anywhere in the near future. I spend lots of time with my son and daughter-in-law, and now my new granddaughter. They fill a great void for me and I admit I would be lost without them. I email Professor almost daily and we call back and forth across the miles between here and Montana often. I know they care...that's the most important thing right now.

My friends have been there for me and have seen me through some of the toughest of times. Of course, some of the couples that Tilly and I did things with have distanced themselves and that's only natural. Others have become closer than ever before. With them, I can laugh, cry, and just be myself.

My faith has been tested this last year. Why not! I have wondered why Tilly died. I have asked God, "Why me," in my moments of darkest despair. But, when I talk to others and they mention losing a loved one, I know I didn't "lose" Tilly. I know exactly where she is. I find tremendous comfort in knowing that she is now pain-free and I picture her singing in a heavenly choir. My pastors and my church family have played an important part in my reaching this point in my acceptance. They have been nurturing, kind and loving. I could not have reached this point without them. I still am singing. It's one of the things that brings me joy. Tilly was my biggest fan, and I can feel her nudging me to continue, even when I would rather stay home.

A year later I am still in the grieving stage. I probably will always grieve. But I am more at ease with the grief. I understand it more each day. That tunnel I mentioned earlier is still dark, but there are days that I catch a glimpse of light at the end. Even though it is dim, or at best just a flicker, it gives me hope.

Peace and Hope,
JE

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Yardwork Challenge

If you have ever noticed in my blog, I have stated that yardwork is not really my forte. I do it, but I don't like it very well. With fall now upon us in Area 52, it's time to cut back the perinnials, trim up the bushes and mow the grass, blowing the leaves that have already fallen into the driveway and then sweeping them into a trash bag.

So, after church, I come home, don my "wife beater" tee shirt, old shorts, and my yard shoes. I get out the weed eater, hedge trimmers, pruners, and shears. And the mower. I like to weed eat before I mow so I can pick up the debris in the grassbag of my mower. I did the back yard. I did the side yard and along the front sidewalk. I decided that my spirea bush needed to be trimmed so I got the hedge trimmers, which are electric like my weed eater. I change the cords around, and began. All is going well. I have about two more cuts to make on the bush, and suddenly my trimmers quit. They are borrowed from Aunt Alice, and I certainly didn't want to ruin them, so upon investigation, I discovered that I had cut my best 50' outdoor cord in two. Glad I didn't get shocked, but pissed that I ruined my chord, I finished up trimming by hand. Then I mowed. Then I restacked my stone wall at the entrance to the alley that runs by my house. The neighbors insist on hitting it every once in a while, and knocking it down. This is an ongoing concern, but if I didn't have it there, people would just keep driving up in my yard and would kill the plantings that I have out there. By this time, I am hot, tired and hungry. I put all the tools away and come in. I go into the bathroom to rinse off my feet and legs, and no lights work. The lights in my laundry room don't work. So, down to the basement I go. I find the breaker that runs the outside plug, reset it, and "VOILA" the lights come back on.

I need to go to the grocery. My milk is gone past due date, the bread in my bread box is green. I noshed on crackers and apple butter, and some microwave oatmeal, and a diet coke. I found some grapes in my fridge that were still alright, and ate those. Right now, I think I will grab a cold beer, and sit on my butt and cool down and maybe take a nap. I have had enough of a challenge from Mother Nature for one day. The back yard will have to wait until tomorrow, for "tomorrow is another day."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Face Lift

Greetings!
I felt like I needed a change. As much as the other blog face was "me" I felt like a change. I wish I could design my own. If anyone out ther knows how, let me know. I like this one and it is much easier to read. Besides that, change is good. Hope everyone likes it. By the way, I have been trying to put together a blog posting of several pictures in a row of my favorite singers. I want to call it Musical Monday. But I keep getting "error on page" when I upload more than two pictures. Maybe I can figure it out, or maybe someone out there can help me out.
JE

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I am Grandpa again!

Today, folks, I became Grandpa for the second time. I spent numerous hours sitting in the waiting room waiting, with my son and daughter-in-law just down the hall. It took about 15 hours, but little Kinzie Madelyn was finally born. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 14ozs. and was 20" long. This was quite a feat for Sistah, cause she isn't a very big gal. This is their first child. Mom and baby are doing fine, and Daddy was a real trooper. He was beaming. He called his sister, the Professor, and I heard him say, "My daughter is here." My baby is now a daddy. My how time flies. This brought back some very fond memories of when my children were born. It also was a bittersweet time. With Tilly gone almost a year now, and a new life being born. Isn't it funny how the "circle of life" works?
Peace and Hope...much Hope!
JE

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not a Good Week

Some weeks go well. Some not so well. This was not a good one.

It seemed like every student that came into my room had some super-huge problem and they thought I was the only one in the nation that could solve it. They whined, nagged and generally caused me to border on a migraine. Every teacher that came into the room had some sort of piddly-ass gripe or questions that, just because I am a verteran in the building, or just look old enough to be their grandfathers, they dumped the whole load.

Not only all of this, but it's been months since I have had a decent paycheck, and I am low on almost everything in my cupboards. I have tried to exist on Raisin Bran, Cheerios, and peanut butter until I start drawing a check again from the school system. On this limited diet I thought, well, the pounds should be falling off that I gained while in Montana eating like a fiend. No go, in fact I stepped on the scales and had gained 6. Shit!

On Wednesday I recieved a bill from a dr. that I saw in February. He is on our PPO system thru my school insurance, but for some reason, they are not paying. It was a large bill, and there is no way I have the up front cash to pay it right now. So, I get on the phone to the ins. co. and try to find out what is happening. I get passed from one department to another, and the final straw was that by the time they transfered me the last time, that person had gone home, and I was late to work at my second job. The same day, I got my light bill. Everyone was wanting a piece of me! Later that evening, I had quartet practice. My quartet consists of 3 very close friends. I spilled my guts to them. I think I even said that maybe it would be easier if I just jumped off the Carroll Street Bridge. I was at a very bad place that evening.

Later that night, the phone rang. It was my friend da Hube. He was at practice earlier. He got to thinking about my plight with the Ins. Co. He is an insurance agent himself. He could sympathize. He offered to help me. So, after school on Thursday, I took all the paperwork, phone numbers, and attitude to his office. I showed him, explained who and what I had attempted, and then he took over. He called the billing co. who routed him to the insurance co. who told him that the billing co had the wrong codes on their billing, and that they were sending it to the wrong address, which was plainly stated on the back of my ins. card, which the hospital copied when I was there in Feb. In one hour, Hube had everything straightened out, the bill willl be sent to the proper offices, and payment should follow. What a good friend, and what a relief.

Friday night I was supposed to have a date. I asked this lady out, but when I did it, it just didn't feel right. She's nice, very fun, but, it just didn't seemright. Not a good thing. So, I called her and made an excuse that I couldn't go. She was not happy, but "oh well." I just am not ready. I thought I was, but I'm not. So I stayed home Friday night and watched TV and listened to music.

Saturday was a bummer of a day. It was hot. Very humid and hot. I, who am tight with the buck, have decided to not run my AC. I got up after a restless night, went out to Burger King and got breakfast, and went back home. I vegged in front of the fan/stereo all day. I missed Tilly in the worst way and found myself crying at sentimental songs and thoughts. I still think of her like she will be coming home. It's been 11 months today, and I still think she should be sitting in the living room when I come home at the end of the day. I found myself sifting thru her jewelry box and even went in and sprayed some of her perfume in the air of my bathroom. I moped around all day and honestly was more tired than if I had worked all day. Could I add any more gloom to my life? Before I went to bed, I caved in and closed up the house and started the AC. I got a good night's sleep.

Today, I got up determined to have a better day. I went to church, my quartet sang the special music. And the children told of their camp experiences. These were the young children who have experienced camp for the first time. It was a hoot to listen to them. One of them said that one thing he learned was that God is everywhere. In my week of trouble, and feeling sorry for myself, I seemed to have forgotten that. It took a child of 10 to remind me. I think this week will be better!

Peace and Hope,
JE

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Finally!

For those of you who read "The Writers Block," I have my latest attempt at writing now posted. I don't know what Prof's holdup is; could it be that she is busy making lesson plans since her school starts tomorrow? Anyhow, take a gander at my "travel brochure" about Eastern Montana.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shoppin' the The City

Friday, I picked up my good friend Curley and we struck out for the city for a day of craft shopping. Curley, as many know is my crafting cohort. Her husband hates anything to do with shopping, but doesn't care if she goes shopping with me. Saves him from having to go and gives him more time to fish and play golf.
We took off about 10 am, and hit Hobby Lobby where I think we were up and down every aisle at least twice. I bought cardmaking stuff, Curley, who teaches a "senior citizen" crafting class, bought gobs of supplies for that. I don't think she bought a thing for herself.
Next,we hit JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I bought some stuff for a project that is fodder for a later post, and Curley bought stickers and other stuff too numerous to mention.
Of course, we hit a Taco Bell for lunch. Taco salads! We also swung by the Cookie Cottage. I think I gained 5 pounds just walking in their door. Good oatmeal-raisin cookies, though.
We arrived back home about 4:30, unloaded the car at Curley's, then I came on home. The best part of the whole day was that I laughed! I haven't done too much of that recently, and it did me good. It was fun. I spent too much money, but hey, I can't take it with me, right?
Hope and Peace
JE

The "Dreaded" Class Reunion

Last night I attended my 45th class reunion. Sounded like fun when I received the invite. I thought the cost was a little extravagant, but I sent in my check after much encouragement from an old classmate that I see often. All day yesterday I dreaded going, decided not to go, but in the end, I donned my "party" shirt and went anyway. Now, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy seeing a few people. My old friend Phyl was there. We spend our school years just down the road from each other and have remained friends forever. Other than she and Herk, Toad and CR, I really didn't care if I saw anyone else.
I sat a a table with other guys who came alone for one reason or another. Most of them ignored me during high school and I had nothing in common with any of them to talk about. After inquiring about their careers and grandkids, there was nothing left. The classmates that I was closest to seperated themselves at a table and shut me out. Okay, I know I am a mature adult and should get past this, but this is my space to let off steam, so I will. I also noticed that the cliques that were always there in high school were still there. My class was the first graduating class of a consolidation of two schools. We were only together as a whole for one year. There were two classmates there that I didn't even remember, and one was not even in our yearbook. (I checked when I got home.)
The program was okay. It was given by the same classmate who did the program five years ago. We played "homeroom feud" and my homeroom lost. Questions about the sixties: where was I then? Social studies was one of my good subjects, too. I knew the answers to the music and movie questions, but the history ones got me. Then came time for the memorial to the classmates who have passed on in the last 45 years. Lots of them. The saddest thing was that one of my old "flames" had passed away and I never knew it. I felt bad. Sorry for her son and his family, wherever they are.
As soon as it was cordially possible, I escaped. I DID NOT have a good time. I am glad I got to see Phyl. We talk often on e-mail, but not person to person. It was good to see her. So I guess in the long run, it was worth it to go. But will I attend another one, #50, in 2013. I think not!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Post Vacation Wrap-up!

Okay, Okay! I know I have been home 3 days and haven't done a trip wrap up yet. So here goes. I had a wonderful flight home. It was clear and sunny all the way which was good since I tended to be a "white knuckle" flier, or sometimes when there was turbulence or shaking, but otherwise I was fine. Lil Bro and Sistah met the plane and carted me safely home. I was glad to get into my own bed. AHHH! Still sorta jetlagged and tired, but back to work.
Prof was just busting my chops about doing this blog and wants details. I loved Montana. To say there was a downside to this trip, I would have to say that the only one was just saying "goodbye" at the airport. That was hard. I didn't let the tears show, but they were there right behind the eyeballs! I hate goodbyes, anyhow! The upside of the trip was the whole damn thing. It's an amazing place. Wide open, remote, and beautiful. I couldn't imagine the vastness until I got there and I definately know why it is called "big sky" country. A highlight was the Missouri Breaks. Hauntingly beautiful is the only way to describe them. Of course meeting all her friends there was great and Wilber won my heart. She is now my second daughter. Everyone treated me fine, just like family. I ate too much, drank WAY too much, and had a grand old time. The whole bunch, plus some others threw me a goodbye party at the H Bar on Monday night. It was great. I got to see a fabulous production of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" which was a real treat too. So, as you can see, there was no serious downer to the whole trip. I loved the dryness; absolutely no sinus problems while I was there.
Now, to be perfectly honest, the area of TMoN Montana is just too remote for me to live all the time. I am too used to being 5 minutes from groceries, Walmart, and restaurants. And, I just don't think I could stand the cold of winter there anymore. -43 without windchill is just to damn cold for these old bones. So, the saying "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" is meant for me. I love the people, and the area, and if I could move them all here, I would. If Prof stays another year, I will surely go back again. There's something that beckons to me.
Peace and Hope
JE

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More than you Probably Want to Know!

My Roommate and I once

Caught our outside apartment stairs on fire while grilling out. (College days!)

Never in my life have I

had so much alone time.

High school was

Not a pleasant experience for me. Proof positive that your peers are your worst enemies.

When I am nervous

I talk incessantly.

My hair

is almost gone.

When I was 5…

I celebrated my birthday with a tonsillectomy.

By this time next year

I'll be ready to retire, but I won't be old enough!

My favorite aunt is

I don't have any living ones anymore, but my Aunt Kate was awesome.

I have a hard time understanding:

Where teenagers are ""coming from" these days.

You know I like you if:

I keep eye contact with you after 2 minutes of conversation.

My ideal breakfast is:

A western omelet, crisp bacon, and coffee, followed by a cream cheese danish.

If you visit my hometown:

You will be bored shitless!

If you spend the night at my house:

You will think my guest room is a storeroom, which it is.

My favorite redhead is:

Reba McIntire

My favorite brunette is:

Martina McBride

The animal I would like to see flying is:

an owl, never seen one in flight.

I shouldn’t have been:

allowed to quit college when I did.

Last night:

I Watched the movie, "Indian Summer," with a Snickers and a Coors.

I’ve been told I look like:

my dad.

If I could have any car it would be:

a Vette (red)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

All I Can Say Is WOW!

This afternoon we drove out to a ranch to visit some of Prof's friends. We drove 31 miles out of town, made a right turn into their "lane" and then drove for at least 4 miles back to their ranch. We had to stop and let the sheep they raise get up and out of the lane. There weren't just a few sheep, there were hundreds! We had a nice lunch, toured their garden, and visited the pen where they kept bum lambs. (Lambs that for some reason their mothers wouldn't take care of them.) Then we headed on to Ft. Peck. There is a LARGE reservoir there, and a town. It has a theater and has a summer theater troupe that they recruit from universities in surrounding states, as well as Montana. We saw an absolutely fantastic performance of "Jesus Christ, Superstar." The players were young, vibrant and full of excitement and enthusiasm. Their artistic director came out and talked to us before the performance and said for us to watch out, that these actors would be famous some day. I believe every word of it. It was hard to sit through some of the scenes. For me, the crucifixion scene was the hardest. It represented the most horrible example of mans inhumanity to man to me. I cried! Sorry, I know it was a play, but I was so deeply moved, I cried.
After the play, we left fort Peck for the 88 mile trek back to Prof's town. Just leaving town, two mule deer came bounding out of the driver's side ditch, across the road, and one of them ran into our car. It tumbled, rolled, and got up and ran off. We stopped to survey the damage, and it wasn't bad. A scratch, and a few deer hairs, and some of what we think is mud! Maybe not! Driving home, we encountered at least 50 mule deer along the roadside. It made me nervous, but Prof was driving and said that "you get used to it." You just move slower, and watch closely, and be prepared to stop and let them cross the road. In that 88 mile span of highway, both highways being well traveled state roads, we met 7 cars. Of course it was between 10:30 and 12:30 at night, but in Indiana, you can't go a mile without seeing at least 1 car! I told Prof that if I lived here, I would just stay in town after dark. Well, so much for that idea, we came around the corner onto her street, and there was a mule deer grazing in her neighbor's yard. What a place! What a life! I love it here!
Peace and Hope!
JE

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catching Up

Yesterday, Thursday, we were going to take off and drive West to the mountains. I laid in bed the night before and figured that it would cost about $150.00 in gas alone to make the round trip. Was it worth it? I awoke to thunder rumbling across the sky in the morning. Then the lightening started flashing, more thunder, and then the rain started. This was rolling in from the west, so I suggested that maybe it wouldn't be too prudent to journey that way into the storms. The storms just kept coming. By noon, though, it was clear here, storms had passed and it was a beautiful day. I just couldn't justify spending that many dollars when I had already seen so much around this area. It seemed pretty selfish. So we just stayed in town, visited the library, and I met more of Prof's friends. We ate at the cafe again for supper. Best bacon cheeseburger I have ever eaten. (It's about that diet!) Then off to the Tastee Freeze for a cone, then home. Wilber came over for a visit, we laughed, then as all good things must come to an end, she went home, and we crashed. Again another fun Montana day.
Today, we invited to another friend's home for lunch, then on to the reservoir, and then the theater to see "Jesus Christ, Superstar." Prof got us seats on the 3rd row. Tomorrow, who knows what is going to happen. Think we're visiting another ranch. Not sure.
Peace and Hope!
JE

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Info Central

1) What do you add to your coffee? just black
2) What are you reading now? Just finished "Plain Truth"
3) Do you own a gun? yes
4) Are you registered to vote? sure am!
5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? sometimes
6) What do you think of hot dogs? All beef with mustard, pickle relish and onion are great.
7) Favorite Christmas Song? "Still, Still, Still", "Silent Night," "I'll Be Home For Christmas."
8). What do you prefer to drink in the morning? coffee
9) Can you do push ups? Maybe one, on a good arthritis day
10) What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend? Phyllis
11) What’s your favorite piece of jewelery? Black Hills Gold ring
12) Favorite hobby? carding, reading
13) Do you work with people who idolize you? No
14) Do you have ADD? No
15) What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? scared to take a chance
16) What’s your Middle name? Richard
17) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: Will I sleep well tonight, How are the kids doing moving, will I live long enough to enjoy retirement.
18). Name 3 things you bought yesterday: Lunch, beer, wine
19) Name 3 beverages you regularly drink: iced tea, diet Coke, Coors
20) Current worry right now? Will my car last another year!
21) What side do you dress to? ????????? What does this mean?
22) Favorite place to be? Home, but I love traveling, too.
23) How did you bring in the New Year? Partying with da Hube and Co.
24) Where would you like to go? Dallas, Ft. Worth, Key West
25) Name three people who will complete this: I have no idea......
26) Whose answers do you want to read the most? any one who wants to answer it?
27) What color shirt are you wearing? None, I am ready for bed.
28). Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No. The one time I did, the pillow kept slipping off the bed. Threw them away the next day.
29) Can you whistle? not well
30) Favorite colors(s)? red, blue, forest green
31) Could you be a pirate? nope , I always wanted to be Peter Pan, except for the tights!
32) What songs do you sing in the shower? anything that comes to mind
33) Favorite girls name? Penelope Gwendolyn (not really!)
34) Favorite boy’s name? Parker Welles
35) What’s in your pocket right now? no pockets on what I have on right now.
36) Last thing that made you laugh? Listening to Prof and Kathy talk about students.
37) Best bed sheets as a child? Cowboy and Indian pillow cases.
38). Worst injury you’ve ever had? Laid open my right thumb with box cutter.
39) Do you love where you live? Yes
40) How many TVs do you have in your house? 3
41) Who is your loudest friend? Amy G
42) How many dogs do you have? none
43) Does anyone have a crush on you? Nope
44) What are the most fun things you ever did? Walking with my late wife along Lake Michigan, spending Christmases with the kids.
45) What are your favorite books? way too many to list
46) What is your favorite candy? Junior Mints
47) Favorite Team? White Sox
48). What songs do you want played at your funeral? "I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me," "It Is Well With My Soul."
49) What were you doing at 12 AM? sleeping
50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? OMG! Why did I drink all that beer!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Road Trip to the "City"

Yesterday we decided to take a "road trip" to the local WalMart. We made our lists and took off. Bear in mind it is 83 miles, and 1 hour and 15 minutes drive to the City. Remember also that the speed limit on Montana roads is 70 miles per hour during the day. (65mph at night) We actually met 13 cars in that 83 miles. The road laid out in front of us like a brown and yellow ribbon. The buttes beckoned in the distance and the prairie rolled on and on. City was about like any other town with the usual fast food restaurants and a Wally World. We had pasta and breadsticks at Pizza Hut and hit the "mart." I had my film developed and put on disc, Prof made her necessary purchases, I bought beer and wine. We went to another store where I contemplated buying a "real" Stetson western hat. But, I just couldn't justify the $80. So it still sits on the store's shelf. We stopped so Prof could get her peppermint mocha, and then headed home. Again, I counted the vehicles that we met on the trek home: 8. We rolled back into town both feeling relief to be away from the crowded streets and again in the open spaces. Later we went to the H-Bar for a beer or two and one of Prof's friends showed up with his guitar and his mom and her bass. We jammed for a while, then I came home and hit the sack. Another great Montana day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Kind of Eye Candy!

There is all kinds of eye candy. This is my Eye Candy! Eclectic ? Yes! But, hey, this is my blog!



Lauren Bacall
Julia Roberts


Jennifer O'Neill


Liz


Lois Nettleton

Sunday, July 20, 2008

See What I Mean!!!


Here I am standing atop the "Missouri Breaks" before we descended into them.

Here we were down in the "Breaks" at the marina on Hell Creek, a finger of the Ft. Peck reservoir. The darkness across the lake on the hillside is cloud shadow. Beautiful.

Here's the herd of ranch horses that were blocking the highway on the way home!

More later!

Peace and Hope JE

Tour of the Breaks

Saturday, Professor took me out to the "Missouri Breaks." This area is a geological phenomena created by glaciers and the Missouri River eons ago. It has got to be the most hauntingly beautiful spot I have ever been.
We left TMoN on a state highway. This state highway is gravel. It is two cars wide plus some just like the state highways in Area 52, but it is GRAVEL! The posted speed limit was 50 mph, but if you drove 30mph you would "washboard" all over the place. So, it was a nice scenic ride, where I got to see the changes in terrain come almost as if there was a line drawn across the state in spots. The terrain in and around TMoN is rolling, with some buttes, few trees. As we neared the Breaks, the terrain changed, becoming more rugged and dotted with pine trees. Prof has a favorite spot where she likes to pull off and take pictures. I walked with her to the "edge" of the breaks. Looking out and DOWN I saw gullies and mountains cut into the earth. The road wound on down and through these. I took many pictures, which I will post some of at a later date. We drove on down the road stopping once in a while to take pictures, or to let free-range cattle which were grazing the roadside, cross the road. We drove on and on until the highway ended at Hell Creek State Park. Hell Creek is a finger of the Ft. Peck reservoir. It is a vast span of water with a marina, boat ramps, and lots of fisherpersons. Yesterday was the ladies walleye fishing tournament. We walked all over the marina, took more pictures, and then began the trip home. On the way back, more cattle, AND we actually had to stop for a herd of horses, owned by a nearby ranch, as they ambled down the road, grazing the roadside and just taking their own sweet time moving out of the way. I got some great shots! Gotta get to a one hour photo shop! Yeah, right. Nearest one of those is in a town 92 miles away. Maybe later in the week.
We arrived back in town, took a tour of the school where Prof teaches, then onward to get ice cream at the little Tastee Freeze. Later we went to the Cafe for supper. I had finger steaks and curly fries. I can see that I will have to go back on the diet when I get home to Area 52.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Flew!

Yes, you are reading right! I flew to Montana to visit my daughter, Professor. I had been told for the last 44 years that I couldn't, under any circumstances, fly in an airplane. I have had several MAJOR surgeries on my ears over the years, and docs have always advised me to not fly.
Recently, I changed ENT doctors. My new dr, Dr. Cindi, said that I could fly. She told me no one should fly if they have either an ear infection or a sinus infection, and since I had neither, I could fly whenever I wanted to. She gave me some advice: one hour before flight time, use a 12 hour nasal spray in each nostral, and then chew gum throughout the flight. She gave me a little pamphlet to read about flying with ear problems. Guess what sports fans, it worked. I am now blogging from Prof's computer (really Kiddo's, but he's in Area 52 with the father-figure).
TMOFN is really a different place than what I am used to. First of all, it is small. Very small. And there is no rhyme or reason to the way the town is laid out. No zoning laws against junk cars, and mobile homes like back home. But.... I like it. I could not live here, it's just too remote for me. But the area around town is rolling, and hauntingly beautiful. They haven't had rain since June 7th, so it is very dry. We went past the BLM building outside town and today's fire alert is "moderate." One thing I have noticed, the people here are very friendly. Curious, I think, because they all seem to know I was arriving, and want to catch a glimpse of me. But they are extremely polite and accepting so far.
I have met Professor's neat friend, Wilber. She is a workaholic, bounces from cooking at the cafe to working on a ranch, to farming. She also makes beautiful quilts. I have seen some of her handiwork...lovely. She is generous with her time and her hard earned bucks. And she must have patience galore because she is teaching Professor to quilt. Amazing! Wait until you see the quilt she is making me!
I neglected to tell you that IMoFN has only two paved streets. One is a state highway that passes through from East to West. The rest of the streets are dirt and stone. Some are maintained better than others, but the people here don't seem to mind. Pickup trucks are in the majority here, the streets are wide, especially downtown. It seems that they pile the large quantities of snow down the middle in the winter.
I am having a great time. It will be an interesting stay. I have been alone a lot in the past several months and having to be around people all the time will take some getting used to. Prof and I have made an agreement to let each other know if we need some space. That shouldn't be too hard; there's lots of wide open space here.

Peace and Hope
JE

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Deadly Sins Blog

7 Deadly Sins Blog


I am not so sure I like the term “deadly” in terms of sin!

WRATH

1. Who did you last get angry with?
My mother-in-law when she trashed Professor, and ruined our Christmas celebration.

2. What is your weapon of choice?
.45 Magnum

3. Would you hit a member of the opposite sex?
Probably not, even if I felt like it.

4. How about of the same sex?
maybe- If the situation called for it.

5. Who was the last person who got really angry at you?
One of the gals I teach with. I really pissed her off, but didn’t realize it until many weeks later.

6. What is your pet peeve?
Whiners

7. Do you keep grudges, or can you let them go easily?
Usually, I just mouth off, get it off my chest, and let it go. But in the case of the MIL, never will I be kind to that woman again. This isn't a grudge, it's a vendetta!!!

SLOTH

1. What is one thing you're supposed to do daily that you don't?
Dishes, keep my shit picked up so the house looks like somebody cares.

2. What is the latest you've ever woken up?
4:30 PM the next day, after a real bad drinking binge.

3. What is the last lame excuse you made?
Tired and would not be good company when friends tried to fix me up.

4. Have you ever watched an infomercial all the way through?
Yes, that Cricut cutting devise fascinates the hell out of me.

6. When was the last time you got in a good workout?
I try to ride my bicycle some almost every day. Does that count?

7. How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock today?
I didn't. It's a day off!

GLUTTONY

1. What is your overpriced yuppie beverage of choice?
Starbucks White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha

2. Meat eaters: white meat or dark meat??
Steak, is that dark or light?

3. What is the greatest amount of alcohol you've had in one sitting/outing/event?
A 6 pack of Colt 45 Malt with a half bottle of Cutty Sark to chase it.

4. Have you ever used a professional diet company?
No.

5. Do you have an issue with your weight?
Not really, cause I’ve lost almost 30 lbs.

6. Do you prefer sweets, salty foods, or spicy?
sweets and salty depending on my mood. Spicy, but not so much as it rots my tummy.

7. Have you ever looked at a small house pet or child and thought "lunch"?
Christ no! I live in a civilized world.

LUST

1. How many people have you seen naked (not counting movies/family):
Counting the HS Phys. Ed. shower time, probably lots. Otherwise, not very many. Maybe 4.

2. How many people have seen YOU naked (not counting physicians/family):
Again with the HS showers, so who knows.

3. Have you ever caught yourself staring at the chest/crotch of a member of the opposite gender during a normal conversation?
Chest yes, crotch, I don’t think so. I have some couth!

4. Have you ever kissed two people in one night?
Not that I can remember. I led/lead a very sheltered life.

5. What is your favorite body part on a person of your gender of choice?
Boobs and butts (female, of course)

6. Have you ever been propositioned by a prostitute?
No! A slutty college friend once, but that wasn't for money!

GREED

1. How many credit cards do you own?
none

2. What's your guilty pleasure store?
Kohls, Steve and Barry’s, Starbucks

3. Would you rather be rich, or famous?
Both, aren't most famous people rich?

4. Would you accept a boring job if it meant you would make megabucks?
Heck yes, I have a boring second job now for minibucks!

5. Have you ever stolen anything?
Yes. From the college bookstore. (I was a poor student, give me a break!)

6. How many MP3s are on your hard drive?
Currently I have 131 songs, but adding daily.

PRIDE

1. What's one thing you have done that you're most proud of?
Graduated from college, raised a family.(Oops! That's two.)

2. What one thing have you have done that your parents are most proud of?
Mom always was proud of me for just being a good human being.

3. What things would you like to accomplish in your life?
Comfortable retirement

4. Do you get annoyed by coming in second place?
No.

5. Have you ever entered a contest of skill, knowing you were of much higher skill than all the other competitors?
I was a better "Scrabble" player than my wife, does that count?

6. Have you ever cheated on something to get a higher score?
No.

7. What did you do today that you're proud of?
Went to church, then cleaned up my closet, and bookshelves.

ENVY

1. What item (or person) of your friends would you most want to have for your own?
Any of their cars. They all have newer ones. Maybe Alan’s motorcycle.

2. Who would you want to go on "Trading Spaces" with?
No question, my friend Julianne. She has a degree in interior design and she knows what I like. She wouldn’t do weird stuff like some of those top designers( like gluing brown paper sacks to the wall). If I got to choose one of those decorators, I would choose Frank Balik.

3. If you could be anyone else in the world, who would you be?
Someone who is rich, tall , dark and handsome and has hair.

4. Have you ever been cheated on?
Yes

5. Have you ever wished you had a physical feature different from your own?
More hair, not so chubby?

6. What inborn trait do you see in others that you wish you had for yourself?
I wish I was braver to try new things.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Missing Her


This has been a rough time. Too much time alone, not enough going on, and just being lonesome. Theses lyrics to one of my favorite Carole King hits just sums up my melancholy mood these last few weeks. (You can find this song on Carole's "Livingroom Tour" CD. Ya gotta listen to it!)

Now and Forever
You were a part of me
And the memory cuts like a knife
Didn't we find the ecstasy
Didn't we share the daylight
When you walked into my life
Now and forever
I will remember
All the promises still unbroken
And think about all the words between us
That never needed to be spoken.

We had a moment
Just one moment
That will last beyong a dream, beyond a lifetime
We are the lucky ones
Some people never get to do
All we got to do
Now and forever
I will always think of you

Didn't we come together
Didn't we live together
Didn't we cry together
Didn't we play together
Didn't we love together
And together we lit up the world

I miss the tears
I miss the laughter
I miss the day we met and all that followed after
Sometimes I wish
I could always be with you
The way we used to do
Now and forever
I will always think of you
Now and forever
I will always be with you.
________________

Will this every get any easier?

Peace and Hope

JE

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Zen of Sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force.' It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Sunday Meme

Here's a list I stole from a fellow blogger, Saintly Nick. Some days I'm just out of "blogfodder."

What do you think of the last person you liked? Still like that person.
I’m listening to ? Nothing
Maybe I should? Clean my house
I want a? Glass of wine
I don’t understand: Algebra and geometry
I have lost my respect for: politicians
I last ate? Country Post’s biscuits and gravy
The meaning of my display name is? To complicated to explain
Is your hair wet? No
Is your cell phone right beside you? No, not sure where it is right now.
Do you miss someone? Yes, my daughter
Are you tired? No, only been up 3 hours.
Are you wearing pajamas? No, I don’t own any.
Are you mad? Nope
Are you upset? Nope
Why? Having a good day, no reason to be.
Recently done anything you regret? Yep
Ever lied? Maybe a little white one!
Ever kicked someone? Probably, but I don’t remember doing it.
Ever tripped over your own feet? Yep
Ever cursed? Oh, hell yes!
Gotten mad at someone? Who hasn’t?
Who? I don’t remember, but students rile me once in a while.
Cried in the last week? Yep
Is there anyone special on your mind right now? Nope
Do you have siblings? Yep 1 brother
Do/Did you want children? Yep, wanted 6, have two. More grandchildren, please!
Do you smile often? Try to.
Do you untie your shoes every time you take them off? Nope
Do you like your handwriting? Yep
What color shirt are you wearing? Sorta pastel green
What were you doing at 7 pm yesterday? Driving my van.
What are you doing tomorrow? Laundry, and working 2-4 pm.
When did you cry last? Last night over a sentimental song
Are you a friendly person? I try to be
Do you have pets? Nope
Would you ever date any of your ex’s? I can think of one possibility!
Ever cried on a friend’s shoulder? Yep
Do you really like someone? Yep, my family (except MIL, the witch)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Books Read Recently

Crying Wind: This is an autobiography. Wonderful read about a Native American's struggle growing up.

Wolf Pass by Steve Thayer. Exciting read for mystery and action lovers.

The Cottage by Danielle Steele. Her usual clap-trap about the rich and famous.

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson. Great read and makes we hunting the 6th in the series.

Dry Ice by Stephen White. A real page-turner. Read it until the wee hours, and didn't want to put it down even then.

When Day Breaks by Mary Jane Clark. Uuuhhh! It was okay, but not especially a grabber. Lots of hype when it came out, but I didn't think it was Clark's best work.

Right now I am wading into Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Wow! This is heavy reading, but very good and well written. Let you know what I thought when I finish it. It's my first Picoult book.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pardon Me While I Unload!

Once in a while, I get the urge to just write about my feeling about life in general. I sit and try to figure just what I want to say and how to say it. Sometimes making a list of my thoughts and feelings helps. Here's my list:

  • I am not political, but I don't like any of the presidential candidates.
  • I think our country has become a nation where only the wealthy can survive comfortably.
  • I think educating our young people should take priority over anything else. How else will we remain the strongest nation in the world?
  • The price of gas is ridiculous, but what can we as individuals do about it.
  • Living alone is not so bad. Being lonely sucks ass!
  • Family is the most important thing in the world. Without them, I am nothing.
  • I have got the greatest friends a man could ever ask for.
  • Buying groceries is a drudge.
  • Cleaning house is a drudge.
  • Mowing grass is a drudge.
  • TV this summer is a laugh! Not the humorous kind, either!
  • I love to read. That's why my house is dirty and my lawn needs mowing.
  • There is not a rainbow behind every cloud no matter what Hallmark cards say
  • Doing laundry is a necessary evil. And another drudge.
  • I don't like the feeling of being homesick.
  • I still love to sing.

There are some days when I should just not sit down at the computer. But, I have to get some of this shit off my chest somehow!

Peace and Hope

JE

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reading

Did you ever pick up a book and even though you really didn't like it very much, you just kept reading because you were just curious? Well, I just finished Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb. It was the strangest novel I have read in a long time. And, I sure didn't see the end coming. Usually I am brighter than that, but this one really threw me.
I didn't especially like the writer's style. He wrote in first person, but his literary style was to "highbrow" for me, for lack of a better term. But I told myself to just persevere and finish the book.
I wouldn't recommend that you rush out and buy this book, and I am glad I just checked it out of the local library, but if you run accross it in a used book store, and can pick it up for 50 cents, read it and see how you feel about it.
I have several other possibilities in my book bag, so I am looking forward to reading something more exciting and interesting. This made my 5th novel since school was out. Do I need to get a life or what!
Peace and Hope
JE

Friday, June 13, 2008

Say Cheese!

Well, I did it. I joined the ranks of millions of other people and purchased a digital camera. I'm not sure what I have to take pictures of, but having a new granddaughter to photograph in a few months was an incentive. By the time she arrives, I should be pretty good at snapping those candid shots. At least, I will have learned what all the buttons are for.
I had 2 rolls of film developed the other day. I didn't get prints made, I simply had the pictures put on a disc so I could download them to my computer. At the price they charged to do that, it wouldn't take long to pay for this camera. I didn't get a super expensive one, but when I get really good, I can upgrade! Yeah, right!
Anyway, now I can keep my photo blog more up to date, and have a fun time doing it.
Peace and Hope!
JE

My New Look

Not only am I redecorating my home, How do you like my new "bloglook?" Thanks to the creative skills of Professor, I have a whole new design. And it is so totally "me." Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree, I'm sure. Thanks Prof!

Peace and Hope,

JE

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Tribute to Country Music???????

I just watched a special on PBS hosted by Roy Clark. Egads! There is a reason for retirement. Come on people. Glen Campbell singing some of the songs he made famous, was nauseating. What happened to his voice? Also, he suddenly looks so old. Do I? Maybe so, but I ain't gettin' up in front of millions of people and making an ass of myself. Patty Page sang "Tennessee Waltz." Now there's a song. But, maybe it should now be sung my Martina McBride. Of course, Chrystal Gayle sang, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." Other than the now un-becoming hair do, or lack thereof, she still looks pretty damn good, and sounds good, too. She graduated just a couple of years behind my late wife, Tilly. We knew her when she was still Brenda Webb.

Roy Clark looks pretty rough. Especially with the bad hair piece, and his eyes glued to the cue cards.

By now you are probably asking why I didn't just turn it off. Well, I like country music and I just kept hoping the show would get better. It didn't!

Peace and Hope!

JE

A visit to the "Baby Dr."

New experience #(I wouldn't even venture a guess): a visit to an OB-GYN! Yes you read right. I accompanied my son and daughter-in-law to the "baby dr." today. You are probably asking yourselves "what the hell for?" Well, let me explain. I have never heard a baby's heartbeat. My kids wanted me to hear my grandaughter's heartbeat, so they asked me to go along with them. (*NOTE: When Tilly and I were having babies over 32 years ago, dads weren't included in the process, past conception. No office visits, no delivery room, no nothing.)
We enter the office. We're the first one's there. Lil Bro introduces me to the nurse. She said "welcome Grandpa." All goes well until this lady about my age comes in. She looks at me like I am a alien from Mars. I know she wondered why I was there. Of course, I could about guess why she was there. She was there for the GYN part of the office, certainly not the OB part.
We get called back to the exam room, and the Dr. comes in. He looks like he's about 15 years old, but seems to know what he is doing. After measuring Sistah's tummy with a tape measure, he smears this gel on her tummy, picks up what looks like a small radio with a microphone attached and starts rubbing the mike on her tummy in the gel. Like the miracle that it is, suddenly I could honestly hear my new-to-be granddaughter's heart beat, loud and clear. WOW! I couldn't help but stand there in awe with this stupid (I'm sure) looking smile on my face. "That's my granddaughter," was all I could think. Wow! Then in few seconds of melancholy, I thought how cool it would have been if Grandma could have been there, too. My eyes misted over, not so much from the sadness of that thought, but from the marvel of it all. Science has come so far since my children were born.
It's been over 3 hours since then, but I am still on cloud #100+, and reeling from the experience.
I know I can't be in the birthing room, but believe me, I will be as close as possible when my little granddaughter arrives.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I Remember These

Recently I listened to an old song by the Statler Brothers called,"Do You Remember These." Here are some of the things I do remember from 'way back then."

  • gas was 18 cents a gallon when I got my license in 1961
  • my brother and I walked a mile on Sat. mornings in summer to the nearest neighbors who had a TV to watch cartoons. We had a standing invitation.
  • Penny candy really was a penny, sometimes two for a penny.
  • A pack of Winstons was a quarter.
  • Pepsi, Coke, R C Cola and grape Nehi all came in glass bottles, and if you took them back where you bought them, they gave you 2 cents for the returned bottle.
  • I mowed the neighbor's lawn for a buck
  • We went places as a family
  • My best friend in the whole wide world died at age 14 of a strange disease called "nephritis." Today, she would have had dialysis and a kidney transplant. Never heard of then.
  • Our neighbors to the east of us build a bomb shelter into the side of a hill. I can only imagine the world repopulated by that snooty guy and his bleached blonde trophy wife.
  • Our local theater showed the movie continuously all day starting at 10 AM and you could stay for as many showings as you wanted. Cost 25 cents to get in and a box of popcorn was a dime.
  • We all went to church on Sunday morning, came home and had a nice dinner around the table, then went either to visit friends, or to grandparents for the afternoon.
  • Our parents demanded that they knew where we were, who we were with, and called other parents to make sure it was okay with them.
  • My girlfriend actually had morals and a curfew.
  • James Dean movies were too "racy" and my parents said NO to going to them.
  • We played outside no matter what the weather was. No video games!!
  • I actually learned to type on a manual typewriter and thought "eraseable bond" paper was a great invention.
  • We had actual chores. Carrying in wood, cleaning out the fireplaces, mowing an acre of yard, shoveling snow just so we could get out to the road, taking care of the dog, and sometimes the neighbor's cats.
  • We helped out when other kids in the neighborhood had chores, so they could get done faster so we could go swimming.
  • Everyone got along
  • We had both parents in the home
  • We treated our parents with respect and were loved and we knew it

This list could go on and on. You get the idea, though. I'm not saying that those were the "good old days." Today's life is good. But as I look back, I don't think I would trade.

Peace and Hope

JE

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Another School Year Down!!!!!

Whooppee! School is finally out. I love my job, I really do, but, BOY! was I ready for school to be out. I need a break. As a "special ed" teaching assistant, I work with he kids with the learning problems, obviously, but I also work with the kids with emotional problems, and the ones that are mildly, mentally handicapped. Usually this vast group of kids are where most dicipline problems stem from. So, as the only man in the "sp. ed" department, I get to deal with the guys.
I pull guys out and discuss why they shouldn't wear their pants so low that we can see their "crack problem." I also get to discuss personal hygiene and suggest that they shower more often, and put on clean clothes from the skin out daily. I also pass out deodarant to some of the guys, as well as toothpaste and tic-tacs. So you see that my job is not just helping educate these students, but being a surrogate parent to them for 7 1/2 hours a day 5 days a week.

On top of that, I have to read tests aloud to most of my students. They have several learning-skill levels, so I have to read slow enough that the slower kids can keep up. When giving a math test, I often have to talk an individual student thru a problem, reminding him/her of the process used and then give them time to complete each problem. I repeat questions for those students who missed one or needs to think time.

Daily, I am responsible for maintaining order and control chaos two periods a day in a "guided study hall" situation. Bear in mind that students come and go at the classroom teacher's discretion, from 6th,7th, and 8th grades. They can come for help with any subject. So all of the teaching assistants need to be well versed in all subjects for all 3 grades. I don't have a problem with most things, but pre-algebra gives me fits. I just don't understand all the formulas, theroms (or is that geometry?) and stuff. I took one math class in college, and that was a methods class for elementary teachers! Most teachers are very understanding, but some of the ones who are new, will not give us teacher's manuals or answer keys. They are "afraid" we might give a kid an answer. WHAT??? Do they think I don't know how to do my job.

The last few days of school, it was decided that the "Resource Room" as our study hall area is called, needed to be moved into a different classroom next school year. So, we had to pack up everything in boxes, mark it to be moved, mark our desks and supplies, all furniture that goes with us so the janitors can make the move this summer. Of course, we are considered hourly employees who only get paid for the hours that the students are in the building, so we had do all this while trying to stay on "finals" schedule. While the teachers get an extra day paid to do this, we do not.

So, all this being said, I need a break. But come August, will I be ready to go back and face the "troops?" You bet. After spending over 30 years in the business world, and taking this job late in my life as a second career, I feel like I am making a difference in kid's lives. Friday night I watched students walk across the stage and graduate. These were students that I started out with when they were in the 6th grade. I have watched them grow into fine young people. They still come to my room and chat, and to share their lives with me. After the graduation ceremony, the handshakes and hugs I received made the job I do, and sometimes complain about, all worthwhile. I feel that in some small way I may have made a difference in someone's life. If so, my life is full, and I know that I am where I belong.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Favorite Lyric Day

I declare today as "National Favorite Lyrics Day." As such, I am posting the lyrics to a few of my favs.
Turn Me On
Like a flower waiting to bloom
Like a lightbulb in a dark room
I'm just sitting here waiting for you
To come home and turn me on
Like the desert waiting for the rain
Like a school kid waiting for the spring
I'm just sitting here waiting for you
To come on home and turn me on
My poor heart, it's been so dark
since you been gone
After all, you're the one who turns me off
You're the only one who can turn me back on
My hi-fi's waiting for a new tune
The glass is waiting for some fresh ice cubes
I'm just sitting here waiting for you
To come on home and turn me on
Turn me on
-----------
One Flight Down
One flight down
There's a song on low
And you mind just picked up on the sound
Now you know you're wrong
Because it drifts like smoke
And it's been there playing all along
Now you know
Now you know.
The reeds and brass have been weaving
Leading into a single note
In this place
Where your arms unfold
Here at last you see your ancient face
Now you know
Now you know
The cadence rolls in broken
Plays it over and then goes
One flight down
There's a song on low
And it's been there playing all along
Now you know
Now you know
------
The Long Day Is Over
Feeling tired
By the fire
The long day is over
The wind is gone
Asleep at dawn
The embers burn on
With no reprise
The sun will rise
The long day is over
Peace and Hope!
JE

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another List

1. What curse word do you use the most?Shit! Self explanatory.
2. Do you own an iPod?No, but I have a MP3 player, red, with great tunes on it.
3. Who on your MySpace “Top 8” do you talk to the most?I don't MySpace
4. What time is your alarm clock set for?6:30 am for one more week!
5. What color is your room? White, ugly and I am changing it to gold with a red ceiling this summer.
6. Flip flops or sneakers?Love me some sandals, but "heart" my ol' sneaks.
7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?Take it.
8. What was the last movie you watched?Juno.
9. Do any of your friends have children? Most do. And even grandchildren.
10. Has anyone ever called you lazy?Probably, but they better not.
11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster?Yes, 2 tylenol pm's most nights.
12. What CD is currently in your CD player?"Tapestry" by Carole King.
13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?I'm not a milk fan at all but if forced I drink chocolate
14. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Yes, but it wouldn't be a secret if I told.
15. Have you ever given someone a hickey?YES, a long,long time ago.
16. Who was the last person to call you?Lil Bro.
17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?Oh,I hope so. While they are talking about me, they are leaving someone else alone.
18. Did you watch cartoons as a child?Yes, my brother and I walked a mile to the nearest neighbor who had T.V.
19. How many siblings do you have?1 bro (and a sister in law)
20. Are you shy around the opposite sex?Actually.... yes. Believe it or not, unitl we get acquainted, then of course they aren't strangers.
21. What movie do you know every line to?Dances With Wolves, except the Lakota.
22. Do you own any band t-shirts?NO
23. What is your favorite salad dressing?Bleu Cheese
24. Do you read for fun?Oh hella YES!
25. Do you cry a lot?Too much!
26. Who was the last person to text message you? I don't text.
27. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?I have a borrowed desktop "piece of SHIT" which I plan on replacing SOON!
28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo?Sometimes I think I would like a tat, but am I too old?
29. What is the weather like?Right now, 80 and sunny, expecting rain tonite.
30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? NO
31. Is sex before marriage wrong?Is this a trick question? I now say "maybe not."
32. When was the last time you slept on the floor?The other night I stretched out in front of my space heater to watch TV and fell asleep. It was 40 degrees outside. Woke up hardly able to move.
33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?I can get by with 4 or 5, but I really need 7 or 8 hours... otherwise I am crabby and say "shit" a lot more.
34. Are you in love or lust?Again, is this a trick question? Neither, dammit!
35. Are your days full and fast-paced?Full , and fast-paced enough for a guy of 63.
36. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages?YEP
37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?Just turned 63 last week.
38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?Yes, and people think I am way over the top when I blog or email.
39. Have you ever been to Six Flags?Drove past it a couple of time. Does that count?
40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex?These days, in my dotage...both
41. Do you like cottage cheese?YUK!
42. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back?Usually on my side.
43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay?no
44. Do you enjoy giving hugs?yes
45. What song did you last sing out loud?"I'll Be Seeing You."
46. What is your favorite TV show?Numb3rs
47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with?John F. Kennedy
48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?Coming home from Texas on Amtrak.
49. What one thing do you wish you had?Money
50. Favorite lyrics?"Turn Me On" by Norah Jones. (Well, you asked!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Things I Have Learned Recently

Through trial and error I learned some very helpful and interesting things lately.

  • No matter how it is cooked, a TV dinner still tastes like wallpaper paste.
  • Any kind of cheap wine goes with said TV dinner. Doesn't make it taste better, but less painful going down.
  • I am no longer a good date for a 44 year old. Enough said!
  • I still hate doing laundry.
  • My favorite wine goes well with Fig Newtons.
  • Vanilla Bean ice cream is the best.
  • I really like Asian Cusine.
  • One never has enough money. This month it's trying to decide whether to buy food or gas.
  • 11 hours of work in one day is too much for someone my age.
  • Walmart Super Stores are a thing to be avoided. I see too many things I want.
  • Grocery shopping when I am hungry is a no-no.
  • I really am enjoying working in my yard.
  • I am really tired of rain.
  • One can never have enough clean underwear.
  • I need to watch closer how much toilet paper I have in stock.
  • Sheets stay cleaner if I shower at night.
  • Chocolate is still one of the five basic food groups.
  • There is a big difference in being alone and being lonely.

That's about it. I will probably learn more as I wonder farther into this strange world.

Peace!

JE

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What Was I Thinking???

I probably should not share this, but what was I thinking? Last night about 8 I decided to build a fire in my new outdoor fireplace. I built a nice little fire, grabbed a lawn chair and sat. I decided to smoke a cigar. Not something I do very often, but once in a while one is satisfying. I went into the house to get said cigar and decided to have a beer. Should have stopped there. But, being the not-so-wise semi adult that I am, I had another and then another . What started out as a peaceful evening of firewatching, turned into a total sloshing on "firewater." I started the evening with several beers in the fridge, now I only have one.
Today I paid the price. Cotton mouth, feeling like I could puke, headache, and all the rest of the stuff that goes along with a hangover. Boy was that a stupid move. (I contemplated staying home, but went to school as a punishment for my stupidity.)
I do remember yelling at the neighbor's dogs to "shut the f--k up at the top of my lungs. Didn't help. They just kept yapping. Maybe it was my mindless singing that was upsetting them.
Oh well, I learned a valuable lesson. I cannot handle much beer any more. I looked this evening and cannot find all the empty bottles. Not sure where I tossed them. I think I'm too old for this shit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lest you were wondering

I think I announced earlier that son Lil Bro and his lovely wife Sistah are expecting a baby, thus going to make me a grandfather again. (My only other grandchild is Kiddo, Prof's son who is now 15.) This is very exciting news, especially since according to the latest ultrasound photos, I am going to have a granddaughter! The kids informed me that her name is Kinsey Faye, and we are referring to her as Kinsey already. Up until now we have called her "Bump" or "Little Bit."
Now that everything seems more real, I am ready to get the cradle that Lil Bro had as a child down from the garage attic, dust it off, and get it into the living room. I told the kids that if they want to go out in the evening, I am the man who can babysit, and will make that my first priority.
A new life coming into this world. How wonderful! My only regret is that Tilly didn't live long enough to see this little one. But I know she is watching out for Sistah and the baby from somewhere out there. I have to believe that this is God's way of telling us all that things will be okay for us all in the future. After the year we have had, we can look forward to this exciting time, and know that God is good, all the time!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ridin' the Rails

I have just returned from a trip to Texas on Amtrak. Though it was a very long journey, let me say, that if you have the chance to ride the rails, and are not in a hurry, do it. At least once!

I departed from a small station in northern Indiana, and railed into Union Station in Chicago. I didn't know anything about train travel. (The last time I rode on the train was a long time ago. I was maybe 10.) I stepped off the train in Chicago and immediately had to walk what seemed miles to the terminal for Amtrak. I did not have a bag on wheels, so I toted this heavy duffle over one shoulder while carrying a cooler and a carry-on bag in my hands.(the first purchase I made in Texas was a new piece of luggage with wheels!)
One nice thing about traveling by train, and being over 62, I got to board first. I found a good aisle seat, stashed my bags and got comfy and also acquainted with the people around me. Riding the rails was fun. The crew on the way to Texas was a good crew, very congenial, and fun to be around. The guy running the bar in the lounge car was a riot. I met several friendly people, and yes, I actually talked, and in some cases, even struck up conversations around me. It is easy to get a conversation started when you are traveling, because you have that in common with the people around you. Prof and Lil Bro both told me to not be shy and at least talk to people.

We were very late getting into Dallas, my destination, but we found out a few things about Amtrak that none of us knew. Amtrak leases the railroad space from Union Pacific Railroads. Part of the leasing agreement is that Amtrak has to give right-of-way to all freight trains. This means that we had to pull 0ver on sidings and let freight trains pass, or if there was double tracks, we slowed way down because of the closeness of the railcars and the sway of them. We could actually bump, but we were the ones always slowing or stopping. Which made us late. Then only 12 miles out of Dallas, we sat for almost 2 hours because Union Pacific was doing track work. But, all in all the trip down there was fun. I had motion sickness the second day out, so I didn't eat, which probably made it worse rather than better. I got some drammine for the trip home, and that stuff really works.
The trip home was even longer. I was disappointed in the train I was on. It wasn't very clean and the crew was fussier. Our car attendant, Morgana, was a real witch. She acted like she didn't like her job, didn't want to be there, and that everything she did for us was a real effort. She was not helpful at all, and when someone complained that it was too cold in the car, she did something to the heaters, and it got up over 90 in there. Finally after complaining to her about it without results, one of the passengers went to the conductor, complained about Morgana and her attitude and the heat, and he made it right.
We were over 6 hours late getting into Chicago on the return trip, making scads of people miss their connections. Amtrak offered to put us up in motels, pay us cash for meals and cab fares and get us going the next day. I just wanted to go home. Fortunately, there is a train that leaves Chicago at 10 PM nightly heading for NYC, and it stops at my station where Lil Bro was to pick me up. The nice lady at the Amtrak info center got me on it. Yeah rah! You go girl!
Not being a seasoned traveler like so many, I was nervous. I have not traveled anywhere for a long time, so I was lost when it came to finding out what I needed to know. The nicest thing was that the young man in the seat next to mine sensed how nervous I was, so when we got into the station, he took it upon himself to make sure I found someone to help me, then helped me find my gate and even found my train and departure time. Then he shook my hand, wished me well and disappeared to go his own way. I didn't even get his name, but I will never forget him. A young person helping an older, confused, tired adult. Living proof that there really are angels walking among us.
I arrived at my little Indiana station at the same time Lil Bro did. Perfect timing. I had a good time while I was gone, fodder for another blog, but was glad to get home. My shower and bed felt really good!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Movie

Tonight I watched "American Gangster" starring my very favorite Densel Washington, and Russell Crowe. It was okay. It was nice to see Crowe play a nice guy for a change. I hated his guts in "3:10 to Yuma." I don't like seeing Washington playing a thug. It's just out of character for him. The role of his mom was played by veteran actress Ruby Dee. What a gal. Still has that spark. This movie is worth watching, but allow lots of time. I didn't look at the jacket info to see how long it was, but it seemed VERY long. Might be good entertainment for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
JE