Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas to all..!

Mery Christmas to everyone out there! Stay safe, keep it peaceful and enjoy those you are with during this special season.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A clean plate.

I quite smoking cigarettes after smoking over 2+ packs a day for 35 or more years. I quit in April, 2005. Haven't touched one since and I'm feeling much, much better. There was a downside to this though. I ballooned to 275 pounds in weight, an additional 45 pounds over what I weighed when I was smoking! That was uncalled for.

Now, I'm fighting back. I've lost 26 pounds in the past month and a half and am losing about one to two pounds a week while still maintaining a great menu and eating three meals a day, at least. That was my whole problem... I was eating one huge meal in the evening and "grazing" on snacks throughout the day. My poor body had been so "in tune" to that type of eating so it naturally stored fat throughout the day to burn off later, when I wasn't feeding it.

I'm 6 feet 01 inches tall and am working to get down to my good, old fighting weight of 215 pounds again. I was so much healthier and lively at that weight and am going to get back to it. It's just a matter of when. Once there it's all maintenance... maintenance and discipline.

Anyways, I just thought I'd post this little bit of recent trivia about myself to the blog.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

To everyone out there, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Take the time today to reflect on all that is good, apply that good to tomorrow and thereafter in what you do. Understand the bad and the misleading, realizing that it will tempt or otherwise alter your course.

Relax and be with friends, family and those you love.

Enjoy... for we have a lot to be thankful for.

God Bless all of those men and women throughout the world who make those daily sacrifices to keep our world safe.

Thank you!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Blog Questions... a tag....

Some questions asked on other blogs about blogs, bloggers and blogging...

Why did you start blogging? A long, long time ago. Before Al Gore (don’t tell him though, he’d cop a real serious attitude). It really wasn’t known as “Blogging” then but more like bulletin boards (remember those? I had one up and running for years. DOS and Windows), forums, actual websites, webpages, personal pages, journals, etc. I don’t know exactly when but years ago… when the first public modems were available for use and rudimentary internet connections started being made.

Have you ever wanted to meet a blogger in person? Yes. I have. Absolutely. Over the years I’ve interacted on the ‘net with a gazillion folks from everywhere, have wanted to meet some and, in fact have met several.

Have you ever met a blogger in person? See, I don’t read ahead. Yup. I’ve met several. Innocent, “Hey, how’s things. Wow. You look like I imagined” meet and greet meetings (pre-webcam).

Have you ever spoken to one on the phone? Yes. Ranging from helping folks with their logons to the BBS to general and sometimes detailed discussions.

Do you have more than one blog? Yes. I have two. The other one is under a different screen name so as not to have any link to this one at all.

Where do your ideas for posts come from? I post ideas from life in general. What’s going on around me or us that’s affecting us at the time. I don’t post as often as I’d like to and sometimes the posts are lame but yah, I do write about what’s affecting me, us or the world as we see it at the time, for the most part.

Have you ever fallen for another blogger? No, not really. Just grown very fond of some. I have the love of my life right here under this roof sharing her life with me. Why would I ever want someone else?

How many blogs do you read? Check out the “links” list. All of those--- and some of the links they have on their sites. I don’t read them daily--- I’d never get anything done but I do try to visit each one at least once a week.

What do you like to read in a blog? I like to read captivating, good, taut, seamless prose and poetry on any topic that might catch my attention. I like to be educated... I yearn to learn more. I overlook spelling errors and typo’s--- those happen.

Are there blogs you shy away from? I tend to shy away from the very busy blogs. It’s just my nature. I don’t like crowds. I’ll visit, post and return from time to time to those smaller, more entertaining (to me) blogs until I decide to request permission to link them or until I leave them altogether. I also don't like politically charged (heavy) political blogs.

Why do you keep writing? It’s always been a passion of mine. I’ve always been able to express myself, my ideas, my thoughts with far more energy… more detail by writing them out and sharing them than by any other form of communication. I may not have a “style” that agrees with many of you but the most important fact to me is that I get it out… get it on “paper”, regardless of who reads it. I just don't happen to get here enough to get these thoughts out as much as I'd like to.

There’s my answers. Now, the challenge goes out to those of you who haven’t done this yet. Take on the task, step out, grow some hair and give it a try!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Search Engines...

It's amazing what "stat counter" will bring me re: search engines and this blog. Take a look at the most recent searches...

Num Perc. Search Term

4 11.11% hobo spider
3 8.33% doctor spider bite
2 5.56% spider, northwest us
2 5.56% google search hobo spiders
2 5.56% brown house spider pics
2 5.56% spiders of the pacific northwest
2 5.56% northwest spider
2 5.56% pics of hobo spider bites
2 5.56% northwest house spider pics
1 2.78% what's up with the weather
1 2.78% giant house spider
1 2.78% pics of arizona spider bites
1 2.78% vinegar and honey hot
1 2.78% vinegar and honey
1 2.78% experiments on smoking
1 2.78% northwest spider species
1 2.78% vinegar tea
1 2.78% 50,s lamp shades
1 2.78% hilarious email
1 2.78% vinegar and honey tea
1 2.78% vinegar honey tea
1 2.78% counrties flags
1 2.78% is elvis alive?
1 2.78% honey and vinegar health drink
36 100.00%

It looks like those darned Hobo Spiders got the edge re: searches. But then again, it's that time of the year for those hobo's to go on the prowl.

However, one of my favorites was the 50,s lamp shades which no doubt took the searcher to a piece I wrote months ago when I helped my daughter and son in law move into their brand spanking new home in Vancouver, WA. It was a fun move and certainly a memorable one.

By the way, I've been trying to find myself on this blog re: where to go, what to write about, etc. I think I'm going to go back to my original idea of a bit of stuff about those most newsworthy moments in our tiny world on a weekly basis. I'm thinking about posting once a week on a Saturday morning.

If anyone's out there and happens to read this let me know what you think about that idea.

I'm still a bit tweaked about the "Elvis" piece. Heaven forbid!

Alright, I'd better get off of here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

From Aberdeen and Cosmopolis, WA...

Weyerhaeuser Cutbacks Hit Depressed Towns
By CURT WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer
Sat Oct 22, 3:33 AM ET

ABERDEEN, Wash. - Calvin O'Brien followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather when he took a job at the sawmill here, earning wages few other jobs could provide in this blue-collar town.

The tradition ended Friday when O'Brien, 28, learned that Weyerhaeuser planned to shutter the mill by year's end. The news came hard in an area that has survived difficult years of decline in the timber industry.

"We lived a good life," O'Brien said. "I was hoping to make a good life for my family, but there it is."

Weyerhaeuser announced it would close the 81-year-old sawmill and a 50-year-old pulp mill in neighboring Cosmopolis, eliminating 342 hourly and salaried positions.

The Federal Way-based company cited high operating costs and aging machinery among other problems as reasons for the closings and said they were part of broader plans to fine-tune its operations.

About 245 jobs — which have an average annual wage approaching $50,000 — would be lost in Cosmopolis, sapping about 40 percent of the tiny town's tax base, said mayor Vickie Raines. The remaining 97 jobs will be cut from the large-log sawmill here. A mill that processes smaller logs will remain open.

The large-log mill here is expected to close at the end of 2005. The Cosmopolis mill is expected to operate into the second half of 2006, he said.

Gov. Christine Gregoire said she would dispatch Department of Employment Security representatives to help identify training and benefits available to workers.

"I will do everything in my power to help the workers and their families," she said.

Rumors that Weyerhaeuser might close were nothing new to the area, but the announcement still came as a shock, said Aberdeen Mayor Dorothy Voege.

"When it comes, we go through disbelief and panic, which I think are logical responses," she said.

Some workers were angry that they learned of the job cuts from friends, acquaintances and news reports rather than from the company.

Lucas Bunch said he first heard the mill was closing when a nurse told his pregnant wife the news during a checkup.

"This paycheck was the best thing I had going for me," Bunch said. "I've missed first birthdays, I've missed funerals — I've missed everything for this place."

Weyerhaeuser spokesman Frank Mendizabal said federal securities requirements stipulate that the company file its closure plans early, before financial markets opened on the East Coast.

"Nobody likes it. I wish we didn't have to do it that way," he said.

The job cuts mark yet another hardship for Grays Harbor County, which has suffered since 1980 from timber industry woes, said regional economist Dick Conway.

Metropolitan areas elsewhere in the state have benefited from the growth in the technology industry and other changes, but rural, blue-collar Grays Harbor County is too far away from cities to share in those fortunes, Conway said.

The loss of 342 jobs is sizable in a county that, according to Conway's estimates, has just 24,900 jobs in all.

"For an economy like Grays Harbor it's a severe blow," he said. "That county probably more than any county in the state has suffered from the decline in the timber industry."

At the Maxi Mini Mart in Cosmopolis, owners Kirk and Mark Maynard sat with employee Cris Steuermann reading an early newspaper story about the closing and discussing the looming effect on the town's economy.

On a typical day at the store, Weyerhaeuser workers and others with jobs tied to the forest products company constantly stop in to fuel up, buy a snack and shoot the breeze, Steuermann said.

"It's not just people I see every day. It's people I know," she said. "Everybody around here is tied to that company in some way."

My comments:

The cutback in logging, the reduction in port traffic, the serious decline in commercial fishing have all taken their toll on Grays Harbor County's hard working, blue collar population. It's a sorry, sad end to a great tradition.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

al jazeera

Post deleted by me. There's no need to identify this site let alone provide a link to it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

28 years ago...

Twenty eight years ago. 1977. October. J and I stood in front of a Justice of the Peace... a District Court Judge in a rather remote county in the State of Washington and vowed to live our lives as one... husband and wife. To love and raise our children. To love our grandchildren. We agreed. We vowed. We promised ourselves, individually that we were going to love and live our lives as one. As a team in life. Lovers, husband, wife, confidants. Best friends.

We're looking forward to the remaineder of our life together! If it's even a fraction of the life we've had together thus far!

I love you J. Happy anniversary.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

He's Alive!!!

Here's proof. Elvis is alive and well. He was in hiding evidently... a self exile where they served plenty of food.

The good thing is that his clothes still fit him as well as they did... and he still has them!

Nah, I'm sorry... this just ain't right... it just ain't right.

Looking at this hurts my eyes.

I found this picture of Elvis on another blog. I just had to share it with everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Is it a Hobo Spider or isn't it?

Hobo spider
Tegenaria agrestis
As copied from the "Hobo Spider Story" web site. Real distribution in 2002; real bites do not occur outside pink area! Other colors are Brown Recluse (Green) and other Recluse spider (Blue) populations.

The Hobo Spider, a gift from England to the United States in the 1920's is one bad ass spider. They pack a pretty nasty, wicked little bite that is quite often confused with the bite of a Brown Recluse spider.

As luck will have it the Hobo Spider falls prey to the European House Spider (Lesser and Greater) where they are present.

Hobo's, like the European House Spiders are funnel web spiders. They build large, intricate funnel webs in crawlspaces, attics, under furniture and in corners of homes--- inside and outside. The Hobo Spider is known in England and much of Europe as a spider that migrates from the outside of the home to the inside of the home in the fall of each year. This migration is associated with their mating habits as well as weather patterns. The males search for females during the fall for mating purposes. Hence, the Hobo Spiders are pretty active during the fall of the year.

Vancouver, British Columbia seems to be the start of the Hobo "infestation". In the 1920's the Hobo Spider found a foothold in Vancouver. By the early 1960's they found their way as far south as Seattle, Washington and were spreading rapidly towards the east, infesting Southern Canada and the northwestern United States. The Pacific Northwest, primarily in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and western Montana are Hobo Spider favorites.

The giant European House Spider is one of the primary competitors of the Hobo Spider. As quoted from Eagle Rock Research "the giant house spider, being a larger carnivorous arachnid than the hobo spider, very likely preys upon the hobo when the opportunity presents itself, but it's primary role as an agent of competitive exclusion appears to be as a competitor for food and web sites."

These giant European House Spiders are huge in Pacific Northwest spider species standards. I've found them in our home as large as cell phone's length and width or larger. They're extremely fast and do jump when threatened... usually away from the threat. Until recently, I've confused them with Hobo Spiders and have been trying to eradicate them. I now know that's the wrong thing to do if you don't want Hobo Spiders around. The Hobo's cousin, the European House Spider will eventually drive the Hobo Spider away if they aren't destroyed themselves.

Why the post re: Hobo Spiders? Well, every year at about this time those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest get an influx of spiders moving about inside our homes. Even while taking the utmost care to check our shoes, shake our clothing before putting anything on or drawing back the covers before crawling into bed the Hobo Spider still persists and still bites. I was bit by a Hobo on the lower right leg over two years ago. It ulcerated from a sore about the size of a pencil eraser to the size of a dollar bill before the doctor and I could get a handle on it. As it stands, I still have quite the scar where much of my flesh and muscle was dissolved, leaving a large recess where the bite occurred. The whole diagnosis, treatment and healing process took over eight months to complete. It wasn't a pleasant experience at all and quite frankly, scared the bejesus out of me. Needless to say, I've been on the warpath with Hobo's ever since.

So this post is to make those of you who aren't aware of the Hobo's existence aware of it and to inform those of you who are aware of the Hobo that there are predators out there of the Hobo that look much like the Hobo but are one of your best allies when it comes to Hobo eradication.

Make sure you're crushing the right one.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It doesn't take a whole bunch to make a summer a summer to remember. A trip to the old Olympia Brewery for some "cousins" from Arizona, a good day fishing with the grand son at Long's Pond, a simple hike through the forest to the bend in the Skookumchuck River by the tracks where you used to skinny dip as a kid... there's so much more, so little time.

I love the fall in Washington State. It comes in unexpectedly and before you know it we're consumed by the fog, the mist, the 80 degree days and 30 degree nights. Fall opens the door for Washington's winter. Fall ensures those storms that have been held at bay by the summer are finally, finally given the opportunity to come ashore. And they do... wind, rain, sleet, trees down, rivers flooding, tides going awry... the fall.

I love the fall in Washington State...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just some more pics of my office...

So often we get caught up in our daily lives that we don't stop long enough to look around, take a breath and just take in that which is given to all of us... all around us... every day!

Look at what we take for granted and what we fail to recognize.

As I travel in my work I have opportunities to travel to places where very few persons have visited, let alone seen. It's my goal to share some of these with those of us who may wish to see them.

These are places I visited last week while at "work". These places were in need of a puzzle solver and so I went to solve the puzzles. Merrill Lake (upper left), Skate Creek (upper right) and the Carbon River drainage (bottom two).

This is the part of my job that I love...


Sunday, August 14, 2005

From another email...

Thanks Glena for the great email... enlightening and soooo true...

Subject: Mexican fisherman

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it tookhim to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked theAmerican.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs . . I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

And after that?" asked the Mexican.

With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well my Friend, That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

And the moral is: Know where you're going in life... you may already be there.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

An email received... Hilarious!!!

I received this email from a good friend who seems to forward to me all of his email (and other people's email too I think)... nevertheless, this one is hilarious! It's about questions tourists and potential tourists ask Australians. Here it is...

Subject: Visitors to Australia--Question and Answer Sessions

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).

A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)

A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks?


A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)

A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)

A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)

A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not.. oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)

A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)

A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)

A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is.. oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)

A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?


A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)

A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)

A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)

A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)

A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)

A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)

A: Only at Christmas.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)

A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)

A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

...may the good Lord help us!

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Hell, I didn't realize it until my grandson wanted me to take him fishing but I haven't purchased a fishing license in the State of Washington since 1999. I can only attribute that to 1) working too much, 2) disatisfaction with the State's Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3) lack of good fishing areas anymore, 4) hatchery fish... everywhere, 5) people... everywhere, 6) the price of the licenses necessary in this state to fish for anything in the water from tin cans to steelhead and finally 7) Montana!

Needless to say, when the grandson asked me to take him fishing I went down to the store and bought a license (to the tune of approximately $70.00!!!) and we went fishing... fish we did... fishing. When he went home that weekend we'd fished our little hearts out. But now, with my little fishing buddy back at his home a hundred miles away I'm feeling a bit abandoned.

I have this license, my dusted off rods, reels, lures, hooks, tackle box and other gear... I have all of this stuff ready to go but was slipping back into that same negative mindset I had before my little buddy made his fantastic suggestion to me to go fishing. So, looking at how things are shaking out this year... now that I have the license, the time and the equipment... now that I have all of this stuff resurrected from "the garage" I'd better use it.

I'm in a position now where I can take a bit more time off and do. I actually use my weekends to relax or catch up on things around the house and I take days off in the middle of the week from time to time just to get some simple "down time". So now, now I can go fishing...

Yesterday I met my brother at Lake St. Clair, a multi-fingered lake situated in Thurston County. The fishing at this lake has always been "okay" and the lake has always been one of my favorite lakes to fish. The downside is that you pretty much need a boat and I don't have one. My brother does. He and his boat showed up around 0600 a.m. and we started fishing. We hit every corner, nook and cranny of that lake! We caught some nice fish, returned several to the lake and kept those two that were hooked too bad. Not only did we get some good fishing in but we got some sun and got to spend some good, quality brotherly time together... much like the old days.

Yah, all in all I guess I proved one thing to myself yesterday... fishing is just that... enjoying the peace of the activity, good company and every now and then landing a fish or two. It really hasn't changed since I was a kid... the reason, the activity. It hasn't. I realized I missed it so very much. I prefer fishing the rivers and remote streams over lakes but hey, fishing anywhere is fishing!

I guess my grandson knows more about me than I do... at least when it comes to quality time.

I'd post more but have to get...

...Gone Fishing!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Selling our home...

Well, it's happening. We've simply realized our house is too big for the two of us and requires way too much attention lately. We want to enjoy our time off (weekends, etc.) without having to tend to the yard, gardens, etc. so we're going to downsize. We're selling our house and going to relocate... hoping to sell to a family so they can take advantage of the home and neighborhood.

If you're interested in looking at the home check it out at our home blog in olympia. I'm going to be putting a link to it in the sidebar soon.

I haven't been around the computer that much so haven't really had time to post to the blog. I'll be getting back into that "habit" in a bit.

Alright, gotta get... work is coming up. Take care and I'll post later.

UPDATE... January 26, 2006

We had the house on the market for awhile, had several nibbles but we just couldn't bring ourselves to sell it. Our concerns included "Where would we go?" and "How are we going to afford buying another home with the price of home sales increasing as much as it is?"

So, we took it off the market last month and will be staying for awhile.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Looking for food...

A grumpy old friend just wanting a bit of peace and quiet. Another "highlight" that goes along with my job and the outdoors. This "little" fellow was wandering the shores of Holter Lake in Montana. My brother happened upon him and took some pics from his boat. Posted by Hello

A couple of updates...

Let me see, over the past several months I've shared some things with you and some of you have wondered how everything's shaping up...

RE: Smoking:

Over two months of not smoking. Not bad, eh! No urges to, no nifty little gimmicks or mind distractions to keep me from lighting up, no real desire to smoke anymore... simple as that. It's also saving me over $5,475.00 per year. If that's not an incentive what is???

RE: Our battle with that worthless attorney who wants our money for failing to represent us:

Well, we're going to court in two weeks. We'll most likely lose but it's the principal of the thing! She agreed to represent us in a non-paternal third party custody suit, accepted from us and spent big money (up front... retainer... LOL) for
representation that never occurred and is demanding an additional $10,000.00... citing the "contract" we entered into as her lever. She never went forward with the third party custody action, entered into a parenting plan with the child's natural mother allegedly on our behalf yet knowingly against our wishes and direction... heck, she breached our trust in a number of ways.

Either way she's demanding an additional 10 grand for work she never started, let alone followed through with. We've had to hire two other attorneys to undo the damage she's done.

But, you know what? We'll lose. We'll lose because she's suing us in court in front of a judge (another attorney with a robe), using another attorney to sue us. We could always hire an attorney to represent us in this trial of attorneys but realistically, that doesn't make sense at all. Soooo all we're going to end up doing is go to court, tell our story to the judge (attorney), let her attorney rebut what we tell, answer questions to the judge (attorney) regarding what her attorney rebutted then be told by the judge (attorney) to pay the attorney representing the useless, inept attorney we entered into a contract in the first place. All the while paying two other attorneys, one in Georgia and one in Washington state, to undo the crap the first inept attorney did and get our nephew away from the horrors he's currently facing in the foster home he's living in back in Georgia after his natural mother chose to neglect him... again.

So you see how it works... when you deal with the "brotherhood" of attorneys prepare to empty your bank accounts and sell your home because you're going to need all of the money you can muster to get a half assed job and no results.

RE: Vinegar, honey and water:

24 pounds and stable... what can I say, it works!

RE: The old man:

He's doing much better, thank you!

RE: The neighbor, Rod:

The neighborhood's still safe, he's still infatuated with J's breasts and he's still my favorite neighbor.

RE: The training:

I've almost finished training all of them. Sixteen more to go and I'll have completed the training for this year.

RE: Those other, "darker side", out there in blog land blogs:

I'm still blogging them, still finding more stuff and still am fascinated by the wealth of information and talent out there! Good or bad... agree or not.

That's it for now, Take care.


A promise...

I'm trying my damndest to keep it... a promise.

I made it a long, long time ago. I promised myself, my wife, my children, my friends... brothers, father, employer... I promised a lot of people a long time ago. I made that promise and I've kept it this long but am not sure how much longer I can hold out.

That's a downside to promises made... some can last forever.

I'm only human.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Relaxing in the brush. Posted by Hello

A confused late spring day in the Olympia area. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Justa bloggin'...

Wow. I spent most of the morning (one of those 03:30 a.m. wake ups) just wandering around in blog land. You know, just getting to know some of what's happening out there in our neighbor's minds... in your minds.

I must have visited over a hundred sites and read everything from raising rabbits to smidgens of real life sexual triumphs (which, by the way makes me wonder if those folks who document their bedroom triumphs really realize the internet is just that... THE INTERNET... where secrets aren't kept and Shhhh's aren't heard). It was a mind boggling four and one half hours but I made it through... learning so much more about blog land.

Blind, out and out "go forth and conquer" blogging will take you wherever you might want to go, where you might not want to go and beyond. Several sites I stumbled upon were links on innocent, innocuous, rarely visited blogs that had really nothing to do with the linked blog. After my brief visits I found myself wondering why in the hell the blogger listed the link on their particular blog in the first place... concluding it must have been a compelled link, listed under duress, the innocent blogger coerced into codifying the html language, forever coupling the two blogs together.

In the end... now... I'm mentally exhausted. I used to think I was worldly in several ways but now realize that I'm simply as naive and ignorant as I was when I was 13 years old. There's so much out there... so much out there that happens, that could happen, that is going to happen and it's being documented by bloggers throughout the world every second of the day on thousands... perhaps millions of blogs.

People posting to their personal "online" journals, documenting their lives, their fantasies... memorializing those things they deem important to them at that very moment in time they're posting to their blog. For the most part they seem to be totally oblivious to what others might think or, if not oblivious really not caring.

Either way I was fascinated, shocked, curious, aroused, embarrassed, disgusted and... well, you get the drift. I felt every emotion, every feeling, had every responsive thought mustered this morning as a result of my impromptu blogland wanderings.

I felt like I was on a Lewis and Clark journey through a land of the unknown... uncharted territories (at least for me), stumbling about without the benefit of a compass. I traveled via links, the "back" key, more links and that little finger thingy you get when you move your cursor over certain a href's embedded in casual text and photo's posted by bloggers to their various sites.

I will say this, there's one helluva talented group out there. Accepting or not, they are talented. I was impressed... not always positively impressed but impressed none the less.

I had my eyes opened.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

An early spring day at La Push. The Pacific Ocean meeting the northern coast of Washington State. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

My friend, the dentist...

Lord, I never thought I'd be so happy to see a dentist as I was last week.

I must admit I put it off for over two years... this dentist thing. I've never really been one to rush to a dentist. I usually wait until the pain is unbearable then wait a bit longer before I go. It's not like I don't like them nor does it have anything to do with trust (or lack thereof). I really have nothing against them other than they represent pain... for the most part. So in my own sordid, irrational, sick sort of way I find myself waiting for the pain in my mouth to get to such a point that when I do go to the dentist the pain the dentist inflicts will be less than the pain I've been experiencing over time prior to going.

You see, several years ago I was involved in a very serious automobile accident. It was an early fall Sunday morning and I was summoned to work in a fairly remote area of the state. While enroute on one of those back country highways another car with three people in it "blew" a stop sign at one of those country road cross streets and nailed my work vehicle at over 65 mph. Thank God I was alone or I wouldn't be here writing this right now. The air bags employed, my seatbelt held and although I was flipped onto my vehicle's top and struck by another car in the oncoming lane I survived. Two of the three people in the other car didn't. They were dead at the scene. The driver of that car lost both of his legs and the driver of the oncoming vehicle that struck mine head on received a severe concussion. After it stopped spinning on it's top I escaped my vehicle through a very small opening that used to be the passenger window... my large body through such a small opening. I did this after smelling smoke and seeing sparks... the last thing I wanted was to be burned alive. I do remember doing a body survey on myself prior to moving in the vehicle though... somewhat disoriented and quite anxious to rid myself of the twisted metal that was moments before identified as a Ford Ranger pickup. After conducting the body survey I found little wrong with me... somehow... very few injuries to me! The bottom line, I got out of the vehicle and made my way to the other vehicle... the first one that struck mine... the cause of the accident. I remember checking the occupants for injuries, realizing two had no pulse and the third, the driver was in very serious condition. I cut his seatbelt but couldn't muster the strength to get the door open. His vehicle was smoking and sparking as well. I reached in and turned the keys to the "off" position then stayed with him until help arrived approximately fifteen minutes later.

Another motorist stopped... again, back country highway... very little traffic. He had a cell phone and, although the reception was rather poor managed to find a couple of "bars" on the phone and placed a call to 911.

I'm only telling you this to lead you into my bout with the dentist, bad teeth and pain. After the accident I was transported to one of the local hospitals and "checked out". J arrived shortly afterwards and we had a good cry together... realizing I cheated death once again. Death's gotta be pissed off with me by now but that's another story... several actually.

Well, in the end all they could find were minor internal injuries and a broken ankle that I had no idea was broken... adrenaline is a wonderful thing at times.

I was "fixed" and released to go home about 8 hours later. Physically, I healed. Or so I thought...

About a year later I noticed pieces of my teeth were falling out. In the past my teeth were in very good shape so this bothered me. I went to the dentist and after he looked me over he identified four teeth that had been "shattered" from some "blunt force trauma" in his words "some time ago. These are old injuries... within the past year or so". Of course he inquired what had happened over the past couple of years that could have done this to my teeth and we both identified "the accident" as the culprit. He had a grand plan... he wanted to fix the teeth... bridges, braces, porcelain, implants... over $6,000.00 worth of "fixing". I don't have that kind of money and besides, it's only four teeth. I have the rest of my teeth in my head and they're still in good repair so I opted not to let him go forward with his reconstruction.

Time does take it's toll. Over the next year those shattered teeth let me know they were there, alive and not so well. The pressures from the infections, the exposure to cold air, the inability to munch on "crunchy" foods, the cuts on my tongue and cheek caused by the teeth's jagged edges... all of these things made my life a living hell at first but I learned to cope with them. I had my own plan... stick it out as long as I could. I didn't say it was a good plan... but it was a plan and I was going to make it happen. I just didn't have a plan as to how long I was going to "stick it out" or what I was going to do after I couldn't bear to "stick it out" any longer.

For the next several months I ate aspirin like candy, avoided breathing through my mouth on cold, crisp days, drank warm water rather than cold tea or beer... literally avoided anything that would cause that sharp, unbearable, eye crossing pain one gets from the mother of all toothaches. I could put up with the constant throbbing, the building of pressure, the dull pain associated with the worst of the four teeth... I was accustomed to it by now... it had become a part of my day to day living. But that other pain... that spine tingling, toe curling pain brought about by the tooth's nerve being exposed to cold or heat or whatever changed my personality immediately. I was like a lion with a thorn in his paw when that pain would hit.

I decided it had to come out... that incorrigible tooth. The worst one of the lot! It had to come out and I wasn't going to pay thousands of dollars to get my mouth fixed in the process so I set about working on it myself. Over the next several months I worked it from side to side... a little bit each day, trying to get it to a point where I could pull it myself... literally wanting to remove it from my jaw to relieve the pain. J noticed I was "playing" with it several times. She's so damned practical... I'm not. Finally, after I'd suffered through a rather rugged couple of days J made an appointment for me to see another dentist... not our personal one but another one. I hesitated at first claiming "I almost have it" but she wouldn't give in.

Her words... "Either you go in and let her take it out or I'll knock it out of your head right now". She was serious... and she had the means to do it. I can't stay awake forever... had to sleep sometime and knew she'd make her move if I dropped my guard so I decided to follow through with her "dentist" idea. I have to say I've never been fond of dentists. Nothing personal, just that they seem to have a way to make things hurt like no other thing can hurt. Perhaps this is a throwback to my childhood days but it's a fact... I don't like the pain associated with dentists so I don't go to dentists.

Two days ago I did. The lady looked in my mouth and gasped.

"How long has this tooth been like that?" she asked as she poked around in my mouth.

"A couple of years" I answered.

"My God. Doesn't it hurt?"

I thought about my answer before I answered. After all, she was going to be working on my teeth...

"Yeah, but I got used to it for the most part."

"I don't think we can save it." She had already "numbed me up" so I could only feel her tapping it... no pain... yet.

"Take it out of my head then." I remember telling her.

"It's going to have to be a surgical removal but I can do it. When do you want me to do it?" She had to be kidding, right?

"Can you do it now?" I knew if I left I wouldn't come back.

Over the next half hour I was fed a drug cocktail of sorts... percoset, valium and whatever else she had in the mix, prepped and left to gather my thoughts. It didn't take long for me to gather my thoughts after the cocktail because I really didn't have any... that stuff was something else.

When she returned she announced she was "going in". I don't remember everything but remember her saying she was going to "try something first" before she actually broke out the scalpels, saws or whatever else she was going to use to cut into my jaw and remove that throbbing, jagged chunk of enamel.

Well, that something else she tried worked! She didn't have to split my jawbone and remove the tooth... evidently my working it from side to side over those several months prior had made it loose enough for her to latch onto the little jagged peaks of the exposed tooth and pull it from the jaw after some considerable effort. As soon as it came out I felt instant relief! The whole right side of my face... hell, my head felt like years of building pressure was let go. She held it up for me to see and announced "it's out. No operation today."

Wow, she was good! The best! My new best friend! If it weren't for J I'd have asked this elderly, plump, not so easy on the eyes dentist to come home with me so I could pamper her for the rest of her life.

It wasn't much longer afterwards that J arrived to take me home. I was just starting to get the full affects of that cocktail and they... J, the dentist, the receptionist, the aid... they were having fun making fun of me. Why not? I would have too if I were in their shoes.

Yep, I have a new friend... MY dentist. As for the other three teeth... she has a plan.

Life can be good.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A tough night patrol... another night at work a couple of years back when things were still fun. Posted by Hello

Two quick things...

I got up early again this morning... one of those anxiety type wake ups at 0300 hrs. Either way, rather than wake J up with my tossing and turning I went out to the "office" and wrote the previous post.

Prior to that though, I blogged around. I came across The Big Six O, a blog created by an average, ordinary guy who seems to say a whole lot about the world, as we see it. Check out the link and read a bit... it's refreshing and enlightening. I'm looking forward to more posts from him.

I also popped over to Harley's Blog to check out Harley's quest for a new Harley. I must say, he's getting pretty ingenious. I'll be donating a nickle to the cause if, for nothing else his tenacity... I'm an admirer of tenacity.

Okay, I do have to head out now. Take care all...


You know, I'm not perfect...

I'm not. Never said I was... don't want to be... not even close to being so don't think of me as being. Don't ever accuse me of being perfect because it ain't true...

Nope, I'm certainly not perfect. I make mistakes. Lot's of them. Stupid mistakes sometimes... sometimes more than sometimes. Stupid, dumb ass, idiotic mistakes.

Did I ever mention "attorneys" and how much I despise them. Perhaps not as persons... I can't attest to despising them as persons because I've never really allowed myself to become personally acquainted to any attorney as a "person". Are they??? Are they capable of being "persons"? You know... "people" with a life, with values, with some semblance of morals, with compassion, without greed... not all of the time. No one has been or is with or without these things all of the time... if they were, they'd be perfect. You'd be perfect... but you're not and neither am I. So, the attorney thing... why are they here? What brought them to this place we all call life? What purpose do they serve? How do they grow? How do they multiply?

They aren't smart in a "smart" sort of way. Attorney's rely on other worker bees, peons to do their work for them so they aren't really all that smart. But then again, maybe they are... they really don't work, others do that for them. They have "clients" who pay them exorbitant sums of money just so they can seem important. They have clients who seemingly "need" their services to punch holes in the legal, attorney created fallacies of that which is just! They have no pride, love money and are as materialistic as hell. They feast on the trusting, devour the innocent and manipulate the weak, unknowing, ignorant masses of normal folks into thinking they (attorneys) are honorable and seek truth!

In actuality attorneys distort truths. They distort truths and lies and lives and trust and beliefs and all that is good, all that is fine, all that makes this world a good place to live... They distort all of these things... AND MORE... everything! They distort everything for money. To get money from people. They're simply a bunch of self centered walking, talking, all about themselves creatures that will sell their souls, sell your souls, sell whatever they need to sell to get the almighty buck and to get a smidgen of recognition. Just a smidgen... just a fraction of a smidgen of recognition.

They will lie and call the lie a truth. Who would challenge that? Another attorney??? A judge (who is another attorney)??? Who COULD challenge their lies, their deceits, their manipulations, their self service??? Who could challenge this in them and survive financially, let alone personally and emotionally? I mean, they've formed a social "army" of sorts... attorneys bound together sworn to deceive, sworn to secrecy, sworn to protect one another. It's a socially, morally despicable army of thieves, liars, deceivers, gluttons sworn to protect one another above anything else. Regardless the impact their actions might have on the innocents, the trusting, the ignorant, the needy.

We are the prey and attorneys are the predators. I'm not perfect but I know what I know about attorneys. I'm a victim of several... had my trust, my faith in law, my believing guts ripped from me and am patiently waiting for the coups de grace, the felling stroke to be delivered next week. You see, the attorney we originally hired manipulated our case, her position, us into a swirl of controversial dialogues with her "opposing" counsels... controversial to us anyway... controversial because they were contrary to what we had hired her for and she knew it... still knows it and is suing us in front of other attorneys... a judge... a friend of hers... another attorney... and is suing us for a five digit figure to the left of the decimal for her own inept... well, actually well planned personal gain... at our expense, without our approval. But how do we prove it? How do we convince other attorneys that she "risked all", "risked her career" to further her career... and was, to date successful! Do we pay other attorney's to help us? Why? We've already paid money and have been sucked dry by their lot... cast aside for another victim. Do we go before a judge and plead our case... a judge... an attorney in a robe... one of the "army"... one of them? Do we explain that this attorney did the opposite of what she was hired to do, signed documents on our behalf after we told her not to? Misrepresented our cause for her own personal appointment to a pro-tem bench? Sacrificed a 4 year old's innocence for her personal and "professional" gain?

Nah, I'm not perfect... never tried to be, never said I was, never will be but I do know I'm so damned glad I don't like attorneys. Attorneys are societies perfect examples of those beings you so desperately try to keep your children from becoming... try to protect your children from being influenced by. So, in essence... attorneys are perfect in one sense.

Have I mentioned I despise attorneys?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Separate and together... the simple beauty of diversity. Posted by Hello

Got this from another blog but here's proof!!! There is water on Mars! Posted by Hello

Places to go...

Not much to write about with such little time to write. I've been away from the blog for awhile getting things ready at work. Hopefully, when the dust settles I can get back to posting on a somewhat regular basis again. I rather enjoy just letting thoughts spill onto the blog whether anyone reads them or not.

As shown in the picture below, my office is the forested lands of the State of Washington. Another blogger friend of mine, Harley seems to be a bit envious of the job I have judging from his comment made on the picture. Heck, I'd be too if I wasn't. I love my job... well most of it anyway. I don't necessarily like the "management" or "supervisory" part of it but I do love the "on ground", "in the field" stuff. I've been solving puzzles for over 30 years but this is by far the best puzzle solving job I've had in my career. I'm not rubbing it in Harley, just agreeing with you.

The only downside to it is that I have to travel a lot. The travel takes me away from J, the "kids" and the "grandkids" but it's primarily seasonal and rarely lasts longer than two to three weeks at a time. Those more complicated puzzles may take more time.


I'll be gone next week, I have places to go... sent there by my work. I'll be gone until the evening of May 06 wandering around the state getting things done.

Loomis, tucked away in the folds of the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Short of the Canadian border, west of the Columbia River. It's a quiet, peaceful place that'll be my first stop. I'll be leaving tomorrow morning at 0400 hrs. so I can arrive by 1000 hrs. Three days, two nights... working, mentoring, preparing...

Preparing for a summer of fire... preparing others to solve the puzzles of this summer's inevitable fire causes. Either way, Loomis is looming in the horizon... less than 20 hours away.

After Loomis the next stop will be Deer Park, south of Colville and north of Spokane. I'll leave Loomis Wednesday afternoon or early evening and will be doing a repeat of the recertification training for those folks attending. I'm going to be hanging around Deer Park until Friday, May 06... working, mentoring, preparing... then I'm heading back home for a break.

The whole vicious circle starts again on May 10 in a different part of the state... and so on through May and into June until I've successfully recertified 93 folks.

I'll catch up with all from time to time as I wander around.

Until I do be safe, have fun and live life!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A day in the office... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Guinea Pigs, Experiments and Smoking Cessation...

Or is it "Sensation?"

I had that nasty habit... "had" mind you. Monday, April 18, 2005 I started that "Nicoderm" patch thingy and it appears to be working... actually, it IS working and working well. Every morning since Monday the old patch comes off and a new patch goes on. I find myself working through the remainder of the day almost completely without any urges... well, smoking related urges. The only smoking related urge I seem to have is the "reaching" urge... you know that subconscious, so very well rehearsed right hand reach for that pack of (now phantom) cigarettes in my left shirt pocket. I usually catch myself halfway into the reach and pull my hand back to my side. It only happens once or twice a day... usually when I'm not busy... usually when I'm sitting on my lazy butt on the couch or something. Either way I'm well on my way to becoming a "smoke free" citizen... again.

Here's what's happened over the past several weeks that seems to have piqued my interest. We all know by now a new Pope's been selected so I won't go there. And yes, the Michael Jackson trial is shaping up to be as bizarre an affair as it was trumped up to be so I'll leave that one alone too... but does anyone know of the University of Michigan's med school experiments on live human guinea pigs???

I do! I know about it! I'm one of those little pigs! I was offered up to them by my HMO. Holy crap (sorry pope guy) I never thought I'd ever be used as a petri dish experiment by any back alley lab let alone a publicly funded UNIVERSITY. Okay, well... Army time doesn't count here... I mean, when I was in the Army pretty much all of us were subjected to and everything was an "experiment".

But I'm talking now! Real world stuff! Here's what happened. I got my mail one day... not email, but the real mail... that "snail mail" stuff. There was an envelope in it that really caught my attention right out of the box. You know, one of those "OPEN IMMEDIATELY", "TIMED RESPONSE ENCLOSED". It was in an official looking envelope with my name (spelled correctly) as the addressee. I never get "snail mail" addressed to me anymore and certainly don't get it with my name spelled correctly! (Well, unless it's a bill but that doesn't count).

Anyway, here I am standing at the gaggle of mailboxes holding this mysterious envelope and several other familiar looking windowed envelopes. I couldn't take my mind off of the "newby"... the "name spelled correctly" piece of mail. My eyes scanned it for a return address but all I could find were initials that didn't make any sense whatsoever to me and one of those generic "P.O. Box, Suite" things. I walked back to the house and plopped the mail onto the kitchen table. J must have seen the puzzled look on my face because she asked me "what's up?" I watched as her eyes fell on the pile of mail. I didn't answer. She sorted through it and came to THAT envelope.

"What's this?" she asked, staring at the envelope.

"Dunno". I really didn't.

"Who's it from?" she was looking at the return address.

"Dunno". I was hoping she might.

"Well it must be important, they spelled your name right"

"Yah. I saw that too" I did, but then I already told all of you that.

"So open it" I've learned long ago this phrase is simply a formality to her. She slipped her fingernail under the flap and pulled. Voila! the envelope was opened. Simple move, mystery soon to be solved... or so we thought.

J dumped the contents onto the table top... a one page, one sided, three paragraph letter with a signature that I couldn't make out. No return address, no title under the signature, no "sincerely" or "thank you"... nuthin' but three paragraphs, five mysterious numbers and a (true) illegible, signature.

"Who's that?" J pointed at the signature.


"Hey, it says here you've been 'nominated' to participate in a controlled test" J announced as she read the first paragraph. "you have to go to a website and answer some questions first."

Now, I was really skeptical. Here I am watching my wife read a letter addressed to me with my name spelled correctly sent to my home address from a group of initials who's address is a generic P.O. Box, Suite thingy somewhere in Michigan. I mean, it's not that I can't read or anything. It's just that I leave the mail stuff to J. She has that uncanny ability to figure "mailed" things out and culls out the "junk mail" without even opening the envelope. Because of my bad history with junk mail I'm not allowed to even look at it anymore... another story. Let's just say that's her job... it's been her job for a long, long time.

"So throw it. It's probably nothing" I offered, knowing it was a futile offering at best.

"Nope. This is something. We're going to the website." She was positive. Way too positive for me to even think of repeating the "throw it" idea to her.

We went to the computer, I logged on and went to the site. I had to enter a "code" provided to me in the last paragraph of that mysterious letter. After the code was entered "I" came up on the screen... well, not "me" actually but everything about me. I scanned the information, noting a familiar logo at the top of the webpage. My HMO's logo. It was there in bold right next to another one that was later identified as the University of Michigan's logo.

We both read on. Mystery solved. My HMO submitted my name to this quit smoking program offered to 100 persons nationally (or something like that) by the University of Michigan's medical school (I'm pretty sure there's humans involved somewhere on their end but all references were to the "Medical School"). The "program" was actually identified as a year long "study". I'm not totally stupid... in med schools studies are normally called "experiments". Business schools do "studies" not med schools.

Either way, I decided "yah-tah-hey" and gave it a go. I filled out their pages of personal and psychological profiling information and was subsequently invited to participate in their "study" (read "experiment"). I was going to be provided "patches" free of charge and was encouraged to use the patches to assist me in my quest to quit smoking. Until I got this opportunity to participate in their study I really didn't know I had a desire to quit smoking... well, let me qualify that. I knew I wanted to, just didn't believe I could do it on my own and survive without being criminally charged for something in the process... let alone have my loved one's survive along with me.

So you see, that's what this "Guinea Pig" thing is all about. I'm one. I'm wallowing in a petri dish daily. Being monitored and periodically quizzed. My answers recorded, my observations noted, my moods documented. I must admit, my part of this "experiment" thing is rather simple... wear the patch and answer some questions from time to time. In the end I'll be "smoke free"... or so I hope. It'd be my luck that I've been provided the placebo patch. Even so, they appear to be working...

Mind over matter. My Dad's favorite phrase and over the years I've pretty much proved he's right.

Later all, take care.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The insanity of it all... Posted by Hello

Honey, Vinegar, Water and green tea...

The ancient Roman's elixir of the Gods! Fed to Rome's marching legions as they pursued global conquest. We all know what happened there...

I read about it a long time ago. 1-3 tbs. of Apple Cider Vinegar, 8 oz. of water and mix in the honey to taste. Mix it up, drink it a half hour before each meal and voila! you have a dieter's drink that also energizes you... or so they say. The green tea?? well, it takes the place of my coffee I used to drink (like a fiend) all of the time. My doctor made it very clear that coffee was OUT! But, the green tea takes some getting used to. I love the bite of strong coffee and living up here in the Pacific Northwest we have "biting" coffee... strong, biting coffee. The triple shot coffee I like. As for the green tea, it just doesn't have the same kick but I'm sticking with it...

Besides, I don't like my doctor. Well, it's not that I don't like him... he's an okay person but he's getting increasingly demanding and annoying. Of all people you'd think doctors would know that as a person ages certain things happen to their bodies. I'm not talking about the forests of nasal and ear hairs that take root and seem to appear "overnight" shortly after that 40th. birthday... that braidable, combable type of hair. Nor am I talking about the fuzzy vision and marked hearing loss that seems to creep in after you get to the 50 year mark. No, I'm talking about the aching, creaking, popping, crackling, swelling of joints brought about by earlier injuries to the body acquired during those youthful, adventurous years when the bones were made of rubber and anything that could be achieved, was. Those days when mind WAS over matter.

I'm also talking about the ten to twenty pounds of extra padding that collects over the winter months, when things taste good and weather (or any other good excuse) makes exercise less appealing... hence it (exercise) doesn't happen. Either way the doctor should know this stuff and should cut me some slack. I'm not young but I'm also not old. I'm "in between" and it takes me longer to realize I just can't do ALL of the things that I used to do... at least, not as well and certainly not with the same overnight successes.

When he says I have to lose twenty pounds I take it as a personal challenge to lose thirty, what can I say... that's always been my nature... "one-up-manship". My body can stand to lose thirty I think, but he argues with me about that. He claims to know my body better than I do. Hell, I've lived in it for over 51 years... I should know. Besides it reminds me many, many times each day that it, like the doctor, is getting annoyed with me and it seems to be paying me back for what I (and others... I can't take all of the blame) did to it when I was younger. Kind of like a walking, talking, living, breathing vessel of trojan horse viruses... all set to activate at certain stages of life. Some promoting hair growth, some promoting hair loss... some promoting aches and pains, others promoting organ "deterioration" (I hate that word!... "deterioration").

As for the doc... he pokes, prods, weighs, scolds and prescribes remedies and medicines to counteract my body's righteously deserved rebellion. I mean Hell, between the doc and my body I feel like I'm living in a friggin' war zone. My body attacks somewhere, the doc counterattacks with something that makes my body counterattack the doc's counterattack that makes the doc counterattack my body's counterattack and so on... you get the drift... domino theory stuff happening up close and personal, all around me.

So, now the latest battle line is this "weight" thing... and the doc's bedside manner when it comes to weight "challenges" really sucks. It's not like I'm grossly overweight or "obese" but, to put it in his words I'm "in need of some weight loss and stabilization to avoid becoming obese and to avoid the ailments and illnesses" that are associated with being "overweight" (note the distinction he makes between "obese" and "overweight"... not much of one). "After all" he tells me EVERY time I see him... "you're getting older and your body knows it. You're becoming more vulnerable." Yeah, like I have to be reminded...

The thing that really bothers me is that the doc's convinced we're engagegd in a battle with my body and he's probably right. He's assigned himself as the supreme commander over this battle for my health and has mustered all of his knowledge, forces, remedies and medicines to repel this evil body's vengeful assaults. He draws up his battle plans for the year and puts his forces to work counting on me, his loyal lieutenant, to carry them out precisely... (yeah, trust me doc). We discuss these plans periodically, in confidence and with the secrecy that once shrouded the creation of nuclear energy... or at least we think we do. But I got to thinking about the doc's and my top secret, battle plan discussions and realized that while we're making these preparations, discussing the finer points of the battlefield strategies my body is there listening to us, taking notes... in the same room listening and prepping itself for our pending assaults. It's evident to me at least that my body is living any enemy combatant's dream... it's being afforded an unchecked ability to spy on us and our plans 24/7. It's called proximics... not much I can do about that. So in the end, like it or not doc my money's on my body. I actually think it's going to win out some day in this battle of life. Besides, I don't think I've ever owned a car that has gone over 200,000 miles let alone kept one for over 50 years.

Now, back to the vinegar, honey and water concoction mentioned earlier. People say it tastes "peculiar" and you have to get used to it. I'm sure it does but I've been drinking that concoction off and on for so long now that I've pretty much acquired a taste for it. So, I'm back at it... I'm mixing it up and drinking it again. Seems like it's always around this time every year (spring) that I break out the honey, apple cider vinegar and mix it in hot water so I can lose some of that excess baggage I acquired whilst wallowing and eating my way through the winter holiday food troughs before summer comes.

I know it doesn't sound like a very tasty concoction but it is... tasty that is. How tasty? Well, it has it's own unique sweet vinegary flavor so it's tasty... I just can't decide if it's a good "tasty" or a bad "tasty" but it is indeed "tasty" and it seems to work. But then again it's probably all psychological. Either way, I've succeeded in shedding ten of my unwanted pounds over the past week and a half and am targeting the remaining twenty pounds for the next several weeks.

For now the doc's proud, my body's angry and I'm caught in the middle. Go figure, at 51 years old I'm caught in the middle... who'd of thunk it!

Take care all.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

An open letter to a friend...

Your parting shot at me last week was "post it to the blog, I'll read it later". You were adamant about that. Normally I wouldn't bring the world into this discussion but you prompted it. No, you encouraged it and in fact demanded it. "Let the whole world see. We'll all be so much more enlightened. I want you to do that. I want the others to read it. I want them to read the results of our discussions".

Soooo, after several days of "should I" or "shouldn't I" arguments with myself and after our Saturday afternoon telephone conversation prompted by you I've decided to honor your request, your insistence that I "post" the "details" to the blog... of course, not all of the details will be posted. No need to air your dirty laundry to the world. That wouldn't be appropriate. You have enough challenges ahead of you and the "friend" part of me won't let me do it.

How do I start this without sounding calloused, offensive? You know me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. We've been friends for quite some time and early on you were chosen by me to help solve puzzles. Hand selected because of your attitude, abilities, confidence and dedication. What happened? I know we talked about it last week. You offered a myriad of excuses... yes, just that... excuses. I'm not the first to use the line but "the maximum effective range of an excuse is from the tip of your tongue to your lips". You're a good man with good intentions. At least, you were. You've let things slip... check that!... you've let things collapse around you, professionally and (my belief) personally...

(03/30/2005 3:00 p.m. The rest of this post was deleted after having left it online for awhile. I did what you requested... let the others read it but I see no positive need for keeping the remainder of it on here. As we discussed earlier today, you have to work through your "issues" and get back on track. If and when you make your decision let me know and we'll work with it. However, time is of the essence and I need a whole team before April 16).

Enough said...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Me walking back from feeding the horses. Taken 7 years ago. No more horses now. Posted by Hello

Wildland fires tend to consume vegetation like there's no tomorrow when they get a good wind. Be careful out there. Posted by Hello

Too little time, too many thoughts...

I've decided to post to this blog once a week rather than trying to post on a daily or every other day basis. There's just so little time and too many thoughts to keep up. My rationale is to let the happenings of the week fester until the week's end and then post the most memorable of the week to the blog.

I'm tired, can't sleep at night past 03:30 a.m. no matter what time I go to bed and when I do sleep I seem to wake up every twenty or so minutes. Just thought I'd share that with you. Not much I can do about it other than "talk" errr, "post" about it. Damndest thing I've ever seen... well, not exactly. I've seen some pretty "damndest things" in my life.

I don't understand a lot of things going on in this world right now and I'm certainly not trying to understand some of them but I just visited another blog called "Congo Watch"... have you been there? It's horrid. The inhumanity of it all! Humans are by far the most ruthless, destructive creatures on the face of this earth. I bookmarked the blog so I can monitor the happenings there, in the Congo. Not that I fear Congo tribal invasions of the State of Washington, USA but because I want to see what the U.N. is going to do and how they're going to go about it. Obviously they haven't done much to date and the massacres go on in earnest.

Another thing, who in the Hell designed roundabouts and why the Hell do they think they're so much more effective than stop lights? Whoever did ought to have their head examined. These little circles of frustration on the highways of life are places where people go to test their courage, driving skills, patience and proficiency in the art of profanity. Whoever designed these things should be strapped into a Radio Flyer wagon and towed by one of those very large SUV's through these blasted circles of confusion at fifty miles an hour... the average speed if you want to get through them unscathed. Perhaps then, at the hubcap/eyeball perspective that I have they can get the true feel of the meaning of the word "anxiety".

A bit about wildland fires... they tend to consume a lot of vegetation when they burn. I went out to "look" at several last weekend... part of my job. I was summoned to go out and poke around... you know, determine where and how they started. They were all human caused. Go figure. One in particular was a bit perplexing and somewhat humorous I might add. Picture a person fishing on a river bank at 07:30 a.m. on a cold, dry winter day. This person builds a small warming fire, typical for us "steel-headers" here in Washington State. From time to time the person leaves his fishing pole at it's pole holder and walks upslope approximately ten feet to the fire to warm up a bit. As time goes on the day gets warmer, the fire becomes less important and he/she eventually lets it "burn out". Around 11:00 a.m., while still fishing and enjoying the warming sun he/she hears a "crackling" noise behind him/her. That fire that had burned out came back to life with a vengeance! It was fueled by the oxygen ladened strong and dry east winds gusting at approximately 20 miles per hour and had left it's little 1 foot by 1 foot warming fire circle, spreading into the light vegetative fuels immediately adjacent to it. By the time the fisherperson turned around and saw the scene developing behind him/her it was too late... the fire had burned into the layered brushes dried by a long period of drought and, again pushed by those easterlies, was rapidly moving towards his/her fishing spot and along the river's bank.

Judging from the footprints left at the site the fisherperson left in quite a rush! At one point having to jump through the advancing wall of flame to get to his/her vehicle and eventual escape. Left behind was a half consumed can of Budweiser beer and the remains of a plastic "hook caddy". Most likely this person had to shower and change their underwear when they got home.

Speaking of underwear... have you ever forgot to put yours on? I'm not being crude here... just mentioning it because I did. Yesterday morning, garbage day, I forgot. I woke up at my usual "oh-dark-thirty" and went about my business of building a pot of coffee, etc. while wearing my pajama bottoms (lounge pants to most people). I remembered the garbage had to go out and remembered a time when I took it out in my pajama bottoms before. I was spied by one of my neighbor's wives (not Rod's) who just happened to be driving by at the time. She stopped, backed up and commented about how "cute" I looked in my flannel 'jama bottoms. I vowed that would be the last time I would wear them out of the house. Well, true to form and realizing it was garbage day I gathered the garbage in the house, took it all to the garbage can outside of the garage door and put it inside of that can. Then I went back inside and changed from my pajama bottoms into my Levi jeans. I usually sleep nude so I didn't have my underwear on. I could hear the truck the next block over so I was in a hurry to get the can to the curb and threw my Levi's on "a-la-natural" reminding myself to put some underwear on when I completed my task. Simply, I forgot. I even forgot to shave. Either way, everywhere I went yesterday I imagined people staring at my crotch as I approached. Sensuous in a way yet embarrassing in another way. Overall though, the feeling of freedom for the twins and their "friend" was quite nice. Even with boxers (which I wear) I haven't experienced that much "freedom" down there.

Well, enough of this. I'm sure this has conjured up some rather unpleasant images so I'll leave on that note. Take care all.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

J doing deck work. A Spring effort. Posted by Hello

Influenza, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Taiwan and the Pope...

Influenza. A highly contagious disease characterized by nasal catarrh, bronchial inflamation, and prostration... (Webster Handy College Dictionary). It doesn't mention the fever, cramps, trots, vomitting, joint aches and a myriad of other "symptoms" or "characteristics" associated with it. Ask the Pope, he knows.

Crap, I just got over it then I got something else... my mouth filled up with "shingle" like bumps and I was miserable. Either way, it put me down for quite awhile! Sooo much fun! Natures way of keeping me in line I guess. I was getting to cocky in life and had to be brought back down to earth. But Hell, what a ride!

If you haven't had that wonderful opportunity to participate in the influenza weight loss program then count yourself lucky. You lose weight, travel "out of body" repeatedly throughout the fever stages and tone your abs via those commode hugging heaves. Not to mention the natural purging of anything... yes anything you might have in your intestinal system and stomach.

Let's think about this. Folks join gyms to tone up, lose weight and purify their system. They pay beaucoup bucks monthly to participate in programs designed to isolate abdominal muscles, to take that unwanted weight off and to purge the bad food containing carbs, bad proteins and cholesterol laden foods from their systems. Why??? Why pay that money when all you need to do is catch the flu? Influenza is a crash weight loss and purification program. Besides, if you play your cards right and catch a "good", strong strain you can have those fantastic "out of body" experiences brought about by the fevers. I've seen people pay for drugs that affect them in ways comparative to a good fever. But I'd imagine those drugs provide only a fraction of the effects that an influenza induced fever can induce.

Either way, it's over. I'm down ten pound, my abs are a bit more toned, my system is accepting "wholesome" foods again and I have a head start on quitting cigarettes. See, in the end it's all good! Except for those friggin "shingle-like" bumps in my mouth. Those definitely weren't fun and the medicine I had to ingest to rid myself of them wasn't palatable at all... cherry flavored at that!

Have you heard the big secret that's been let out??? Like North Korea, Iran is enriching uranium. Go figure. And they insist it's only going to be used for domestic power. Of course. We have no cause to assume otherwise... they need the electricity. After all, they've certainly established they're honor and are known for their honesty throughout the world. At least North Korea leaves no question as to what they're going to do with their uranium. Hell, they've already announced to the world that they intend on creating warheads with it... claim to have already done so and have produced "delivery systems" for these warheads that are capable of reaching out and touching others far, far away. Give North Korea a "star" for at least being "up front" with the rest of the world regarding their production... though their intentions aren't quite known yet.

Perhaps Iran and North Korea will share their secrets with their Iraqi "associates" and in the end, ensure this world will be less chaotic and safe once again. Let alone less populated. Oh well, out of my hands. There's nothing I can do about it sitting here at my computer in this office in my garage while recovering from my crash weight loss and conditioning program.

I also read where China has passed a "law" allowing it to invade Taiwan if Taiwan pursues their intent to secede from the mainland. Hmmm... I don't know about you but I lived in Taiwan for a bit... Formosa... when I was a kid. I don't recall everything but do recall being there and noting the residents of Taiwan really looked like Chinese people. They talked like them too. China claims they are and, by golly I think they might have a valid argument. Though I'm a layman at this. Imagine if Japan held on to the Aleutians after World War II... you know, in 1949 or there abouts. Wouldn't the good ol' USA take a bit of offense to that? I'd put my money on the belief that we would. And I'd put my money on the United States "taking back" what was "rightfully" ours, regardless of how long it took.

As for the residents of Taiwan, well they've become accustomed to the foreign influence over the years and would most likely resist the "liberation" efforts... at first. I mean, there's a lot of Chinese out there! One helluva lot of them. Bunches and bunches of them. And they're smart too! Not to mention intent on re-unifying their citizens... whether those citizens be in Hong Kong, Peking or Formosa.

Another one I can't handle from this little office in the garage.

Alright, I'm going to get out of my "comfortable" clothes now and into my "yard work" clothes so I can cut the grass, trim the bushes, prune the pear trees and clean up the yard. I was going to do this last month... February... but the flu had different plans for me. With the weather being the way it has been this year our spring growth is at least 6 weeks ahead of schedule and our most recent governor who was "elected" by theft and deception (dead people's votes do count!) has declared a drought, asserting her authority on us in her usual, self serving, ego feeding style. So, there's going to be a lot of restrictions coming down the "pike". But then again, that's another story for another day. The "governor", weather, drought and restrictions.

Relocating to Montana never looked so good!

Take care.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Lamp shades and physics... how to correct a "wobble".

Glass lamp shades were made to be broken! It's just a matter of time.

You know those pedestal lamps, those pole lamps with the exotic glass shades on top? Who the Hell thought of those? Think about it. The lamp is comprised of a base that is 12 to 14 inches, usually brass or some other type of metal and a 3 to 4 inch diameter metal pole that runs from the base up about 4 to 5 feet to where the light fixture and SHADE are attached. The key to realizing there's something wrong with this design is that the whole lamp "wobbles" from side to side when you first stand it up on the floor. They're top heavy! No way around it. A slight nudge from the cat, a bump by the dog, a nudge by your Dad and they wobble. How many times have you had one wobble on you?

And the glass shade. It's not made of everyday normal glass... it's made of that etched, stressed glass that tends to shatter into a few large shards and a gazillion tiny little razor sharp slivers that slide across the floor after impact and imbed into carpet or cloth or come to rest in those areas where there's most likely going to be the most foot traffic in the house... you know that path where innocent, unprotected soles of feet hit the floor. It's amazing how the designers of these lamps figured this out! They're evil geniuses.

I know, I helped my daugther and son in law move their family into their new house over the weekend. They HAD a matching set of pole lamps... fairly expensive ones too. Now, I'm not necessarily known for my coordination when it comes to holding heavy boxes of china and balancing a lamp behind me with my left foot. Obviously, I can't drop the boxes to grab the lamp nor can I judge the lamp's side to side sway without seeing it. That coupled with my broad shoulders trying to move through a tight space and my inability to gauge the strength of corrective nudges with my left foot spelled disaster for the lamp couple.

Here's how it all went down... I'm 51 years old, tired from moving a bunch of heavy items (I usually get the heavy ones because I'm stronger than most of the folks helping), arms are burning from the weight of the boxes, knees are rubbery and I'm trying to get from the U-Haul into the garage where I can put the boxes down and shake the pain off. In particular, the arthritis in my left shoulder was really acting up and my right elbow was on fire from the strain of the boxes.

As I stepped off of the U-Haul ramp I was looking for a place to put the boxes... actually, even before I stepped off the ramp. I spied a spot on an empty chair in the middle of the garage surrounded by two pole lamps and other assorted furniture. Perfect! There was a narrow path that wound through the boxes and household goods to the chair. I can negotiate it! No problem!

Strain, fatigue and stress tend to negatively influence rational thought processes. I know this... knew this going into it. I just didn't recognize or realize how I was being affected by it. All I could think of was getting those boxes of precious china out of my hands and onto something, somewhere where they would be safe... out of my hands

As I worked my way through the boxes and furniture along that narrow path towards the chair I felt my right shoulder nudge one of those pole lamps. The chair was only three feet away from me when it happened and I really don't have those uncanny reflexes I had when I was younger. By the time I realized the lamp was "wobbling" I was past it. By instinct my left foot came up behind me to "nudge" the pole and stop the wobble. Well, taking physics into account... when you "nudge" a wobbling, top heavy object low or high on the pole at the most extreme point of the positive wobble the nudge not only helps the object increase it's wobble back the other way but, if the nudge is done with a bit more force than necessary can actually launch the object across the room. Trust me, I know... I'm now a veteran "lamp launcher".

In short... according to the witnesses in the room at the time it looked like I had performed one of the best Wado Ryu reverse roundhouse kicks I had ever performed... a demonstration of handless defense. I caught the pole of the lamp with the ball of my booted left foot just above it's center point at the most extreme point of it's wobble with the apparent force of a mule kicking a farrier. According to my son in law the lamp "went flying". Not like it was supposed to do... not what it was designed to do.

That friggin glass lamp shade wasn't attached. It was just "sitting" on it's perch atop the lamp. As the pole lamp went one way the lamp shade went the opposite direction and found the only place in the garage that wasn't covered with boxes, bags of clothes or soft, protective couches... you know, a place where it could have had a chance for survival. Instead, it fell soundly on the cold cement floor shattering into a few shards and a gazillion tiny razor sharp slivers of glass that found their way into the laundry basket of dirty clothes, the cloth fabric of the love seat and dining room chairs, the basket of shoes and the opened bag of dog food.

I guess it was quite a sight... slow motion and all according to the witnesses. Shoulder nudge, lamp wobble, reverse round house... even the lamp flying through the air and the shade hitting the floor. All slow motion. Excepting the loss of the lamp my son (who was also helping with the move), grandson and son in law were impressed with the show. My wife, daughter and grand daughter had a different opinion.

From that point forward I was assigned the tasks of "setting" the curtain rods and "hanging" the curtains throughout the house. A task I was capable of. At least you'd think I was. But then again, that's a different story and isn't entirely my fault... all I can say is that if the package says "84 inches x 47 inches" you would think you could hold the manufacturer to that. New houses don't need extra holes in the wall... I'm learning as I'm going. Thank God for "Spackle" and Colgate tooth paste... Nothing a little bit of Spackle, Colgate and touch up paint can't remedy. I don't think my daughter will ever find out.

Unless she reads this blog.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Missouri River German Brown Posted by Hello

Different strokes...

Have you ever wondered what your neighbor does all day? I have. Just the curious side of me I guess but I've been distracted at times by my neighbor's activities... or should I say lack thereof. He sits in his garage at all times of the day and night with the garage door open... sits at the far end of the garage in the dark. I'm not sure what he's doing nor is it really any of my business but it bothers the Hell out of me...

He and his wife live next door to us so it's not like he's sitting in his garage watching everything we do in our house (than God!!! Think of the videos he could have by now!). They're an older couple. He's probably in his 70's and she's got to be in her 60's. He's retired and she's still working for the government somewhere. He (Rod) evidently loves to collect things. He's got a collection of automobiles that he buys and sells throughout the year... nice vehicles... cadillacs, pickups, SUV's, sedans. All different types, colors, makes and models.

Shortly after we moved in he came over to the house to welcome us to the neighborhood. J (my wife) is of Finnish and Irish descent so she's very attractive and well endowed. Rod asked me if "she" was my wife. I told him she was and he said "thank God, I was hoping she was. She's beautiful". I thanked him and wondered at the time just exactly what he meant by that, noting he couldn't seem to take his eyes off of her or her bosom. I never asked him... just took it as an old man whose day was made watching J carry things into the house time and time again... you know, provide him some eye candy while she worked on moving in. I mean, she is a good looker and was even better looking back then.

So back to Rod. While we were chatting that day I took advantage of an opportunity to get to know my neighbor a bit more. I found out he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, that he flew helicopters for the Fish and Wildlife service after he got out of the Army and that he still had some "racial hangups" when it came to Asians... primarily Vietnamese and Cambodians... go figure, a Vietnam vet with a hangup.

The neighborhood is full of mixed couples... Asian women married to caucasian, black or Phillipino men. The people we bought our house from were a mixed couple... he's caucasian, she's Korean... a tall, mean, unfriendly Korean (I don't like her and at the time, felt sorry for him). I also learned from neighbor Rod that the couple who lived here before the folks who sold us the house were a mixed couple too... he was German and she was Korean.

Putting two and two together I figured neighbor Rod's dislike for Asians played into his sitting in the garage with the garage door open at all times of day and night. Also, I think this might have been the meaning behind the remark regarding my wife. Nevertheless, my curiousity was still a bit unsatisfied.

Finally, in August after we got back from burying J's mother in Arizona I saw him in the garage and went over to chat with him... to let him know my mother in law had passed away and wouldn't be around anymore (she lived with us until she died). I announced myself as I approached his opened garage door, unsure how I'd be received. I caught the smell of cigar smoke. The garage was dark but I could see his silhouette in the far back corner, sitting on a chair next to some shelves.

"Rod. Rod. It's me, D" I announced.

"Hey, come on in" I heard him say.

My opportunity! I walked through the opening into the garage's dark chamber. Road was sitting in a chair surrounded by stereo equipment with a Swisher Sweet stuck in his mouth. Kind of an "Apocalypse Now" type setting... a Marlon Brando type scene. He had a set of headphones sitting on the shelf next to him and a coffee cup in his right hand.

"Hi Rod. I thought I'd let you know my mother in law passed away last week and we buried her in Arizona. We just got back". I approached him as I spoke... watching his hands and eyes. Still unsure of how I'd be received.

"Aw, that's too bad. I'm sorry. I thought something was up with all of the activity over the past month. Here D, have a seat" he patted on the tall stool next to him.

I sat down.

"Want a Swisher?" he offered one up out of the box.

"Nah. Just wanted to chat a bit... let you know what was happening. Thanks though"

As I fidgeted to find a comfortable spot on the stool Rod told me "Yeah, I appreciate it. I want to let you know the missus and I really appreciate you guys as neighbors. You honk all of the time and you keep to yourselves. We appreciate that."

He's right, I do honk everytime I drive by. I know he's somewhere in that garage by himself huddled up under a blanket on the cold days or sitting in front of a fan on the hot ones. We also do "keep to ourselves". We don't like pushy neighbors. We don't really get involved with them so they won't feel that "door is open."

"Well we appreciate being here. You two are pretty damned good neighbors yourself" They really were... never really poked around or complained about anything to us. Even when I was digging up the septic's drainfields to repair them (another story) they never complained about the smells or the noise of the activity coming from the house next to them.

We chatted quite awhile, Rod and I in that dark garage. I learned that he listens to classical music... Bach, Beethoven, etc. I learned he was shot down a couple of times in Vietnam, that he had to land his helicopter in a very remote area up in the North Cascades of Washington State after the rotor had "iced up". I learned that it took a week for the search and rescue folks to find him. I learned a lot about Rod and "the missus" that day. I learned a lot about the neighborhood... his hobby of collecting cars, the reason he has gravel rather than grass in his front yard, his plum tree that hangs over our fence... a lot.

Rod's a unique individual. He's done a lot and is a content, though peculiar man.

After that little meeting with Rod I felt a bit more "at ease". My curiousity was a bit more satisfied. I look at Rod differently now. He's his own man with his own haunts. He does what he wants when he wants... mostly, sitting in his dark garage looking out at the world. Drifting back in time to the helicopter, the small arms fire from the ground below, the icing of the rotor.

Rod seems harmless enough and yes I was right he does have an obvious aversion to Asians though he keeps it in "check". I don't agree with it but then again, I don't have to. He's not harming anyone with his secret prejudice. I imagine there's plenty of Asians out there who have aversions to helicopter pilots too.

Rod's a good neighbor. So is "the missus". They're a peculiar couple with their own peculiar quirks... but then again, aren't we all?

When I leave the house each day I look towards his garage. I know he's in there sitting in that chair, coffee cup in hand, listening to his classical music and smoking a Swisher. Even though I can't always see him I know he's there. By habit, as I pass his house my hand hits the car horn and I smile... knowing he's seeing and hearing everything he can.

Rod's safe... and he loves to watch my wife's breasts. I can only thank the good Lord that he doesn't sit out on the back porch... he'd certainly get an eyeful.