Thursday, November 30, 2006

Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie Orchestra is coming to Jazz Alley this weekend.

I have made reservations for Mrs A, and I for dinner and the show.

With all of the crap we have been through recently we need and deserve to have a night out.

I'll let you know how it was.

But maybe not ALL the details.

The Count has gone on to blow some cool jazz with the celestial quior, but the band lives on.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pick A card

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Once Again I have stolen from Denny. If he didn't have such good stuff, I wouldn't steal it.

At the moment, it fits.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thrill a minute

The ride to work today was a thrill a minute. If anyone was watching Monday Night Football they came to realize the word North is in Northwest.

The roads this morning are a sheet of ice. I have lived around snow most of my life, and I think today was the worst I have ever seen.

I snowed some yesterday, and then most of it melted off, Then it started up again, but the water under the smow froze up. Then some of the snow on top melted, but a cold air mass from Canada invaded from the North, and it did what they call a flash freeze. Created this nice ice sandwich with snow filling.

Maybe it is all a plot by the Canadians to take over Microsoft.

I only live four miles from work, but I live on top of the hill and work is at the bottom. Going down the hill isn't too bad unless the light changes and you have to pretend you tried to stop. I say pretend, because it is not something you have any choice in. You can try, but it ain't happening, so it makes more sense to run the light than try to stop.

Your brake pedal is not your friend. I like having a stick shift so you can use the engine as the brake without stopping the tires from rotating.

I was only out of control briefly, a couple of times, when I was testing conditions to see how things were.

They were bad.

I told Mrs. A that I didn't want her driving today. If she was dead set on going to work, call a cab. And I gave her an extra $20 to pay the cab with. Only thing ism there are no available cabs, since about a million other people had the same idea.

Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe.

Monday, November 27, 2006


That's a combination of snow, sleet and slush, which is what we have on out streets right now.

It started snowing yesterday morning, snowed on and off all day, and for us quit last night about 9:00. Right here, the streets are bare and wet, but if you go a few miles North or South it is not so good.

I woke up and turned on the news to see pictures of upside down vehilcles, fender benders, and cars in ditches. Lots of school closures to the North.

V. was bitterly disappointed that Renton School District was having school today.

Mrs A. has to take her car in today, because it failed emissions testing. I knew it was going to fail, but that's OK.

So here's a little paranoia theory for all of you conspiracy theory types.

Car manufacturers have added all kids of sensors all over the car. One of them that fails all the time is the Oxygen sonsor. It reads how much oxygen there is in the exhaust, If the levels are too high, it suggests that you are not getting complete combustion.

This sensor goes bad all the time. So it tells you that it is getting bad readings. Why? Because the sensor is bad. So when you go get emissions tested the machine says you are getting an error message. Not that there is anything wrong with the way the car runs, but you are getting an error message.

So you have to get the car to the repair shop so they can replace the sensor. That will cost you a couple of hundred bucks.

Does it really change anything?

No. Well, it does change your bank ballance, but nothing else.

If you spend the money to replace the sensor, and the car still fails, you get a waiver because
you already spent X amount of dollars.

The don't charge you for the second test, so you take the first test, knowing you will fail, go get the car worked on, get it tested the second time. If it passes, cool. If it doesn't, show them your receipt, and you get a get out of jail free card, and get passed anyway.

What a crock.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Blame this on Denny. After reading his blog today, I was inspired to put this together.

We raised all kinds of things on the farm.

It was primarily a dairy farm, but we raised chickens for the eggs and also for meat, pigs for the meat, cats to keep the rodent population down, dogs and horses for amusement.

One year we decided to try raising turkeys, just for the heck of it.

At that time I believed domesticated laying hens were the stupidest creatures on the face of the Earth. I was wrong. Turkeys have to be the holder of that dubious honor. A creature could not be stupider and still live.

We ordered a dozen turkeys from the supplier when we made our spring order for chickens, and they arrived at about the same time. When they ship the chicks, they throw in an extra, because they figure that one will die from shipping and handling. In this case all 13 arrived sound and healthy.

The instructions told us we had to teach the turkeys how to drink from whatever water dispenser we were using, because otherwise they would drown. You were to hold their head in the water until they swallowed and then take it out. Repeat once, and they got the idea.

One of the persistent folk tales is that turkeys will look up at the sky with their mouths open during a thunderstorm and die. I cannot attest to the truth of this, as we never lost any turkeys that way, but it strikes me as likely, seeing how dumb they are.

My little sisters decided that they would make a pet out of the extra turkey. Of course they named him "Lucky" and he had the run of the yard. Come slaughter time in the fall, Lucky got passed over. He grew to be huge. And mean.

The side yard was his territory, and he defended it fiercely. One of his major sources of amusement was to terrorize the dog. The dog at the time (Tschindi) was a half border collie, half coyote, and was the best mouser we ever had on the place. The turkey ambushed him almost daily.

Seeing as the turkey outweighed the dog by about 20 pounds, it was a pretty one sided battle. The turkey also ambushed anyone who wasn't paying attention. After getting ambushed a couple of times myself, every once in a while I would amble casually out into the side yard, and when Lucky was about ready to pounce, I would turn around and give him a good swift kick, and then run away before he could recover.

Down at the end of the driveway we had a power drop which ran the welder and a 120 volt outlet for an old beat up refrigerator. We kept fresh eggs in the refrigerator, which were for sale for 50 cents a dozen. My mother raised the laying hens, fed us all the eggs we needed and kept the "egg money" for little extras for her and the girls.

There was a box next to the refrigerator to deposit the money, so anyone could come by at any time to get eggs even if we weren't there. We trusted people to leave the money, and to the best of my knowledge no one ever stiffed us. If we were home, they would usually come by the house and have a glass of milk or a beer and visit a spell.

We were off at church on Sunday when someone came by to get a dozen eggs, and when we got home we noticed that the turkey was moving mighty slow. We went off on a berry picking expedition up Pack River, and picked several gallons of huckleberries.

When we got home we were greeted with a gruesome site. There were feathers guts and blood all over the side yard, and in the middle of them, chewing on a bone was the dog. He had figured out that Lucky was hurt and couldn't defend himself. He not only killed the turkey, he mutilated him. There was no piece left bigger than a pack of cigarettes.

He had paid that turkey back for every peck and every wing slap he had ever gotten, and looked mighty please with himself.

I get a certain satisfaction every year at Thanksgiving when we stuff the bird in the oven.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I thought I'd take a minute to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am determined to keep focused on the good stuff.

I just went down and checked on the bird. It is getting close to done. Wrapped in Bacon, stuffed, and smelling SSOOOOO good. I give it at least another half an hour before it's done. My tummy is rumbling already.

It is another rainy Northwest day, but I am inside and dry and warm.

It is a good sort of laid back day. Just Mrs A. and V. and I. I watched Pinks until I got tired of it, and then Mrs A. turned to the dog show, while I am reading a classic John D. McDonald Travis McGee novel. No great aspirations or plans, except for eating turkey and dressing and deviled eggs and matbe some cranberry sauce.

I have tomorrow off, like a lot of people. But I absolutely refuse to participate in the madness of the day after sales. There is nothing I need so bad that I would go battle the crowds for it. I would rather go to the dentist than go out tomorrow shopping.

I plan to just hunker down and take it easy and let the world go on without me.

Hope everyone out there in the blogosphere is having a great day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Banish darkness!

I stopped and looked over my blog this morning, and I came to the realization that even I am sick of my whining. Shit happens, so get over it and move on.

So I now decree Alville municipal code 1452397 which bans all whining for the rest of the year. I will think only positive thoughts, see the humor in all situations, and write only positive posts.

I will trust in the Lord and be thankful for the many good things in my life instead of the few negative things.

I have a loveing wife, who I need to pay more attention to. I have an intelligent and challenging grandson living with me who is a good kid, and I need to spend more time with him.

I am in reasonably good health, and have a superior mind. I am financially secure enough that I do not lay awake at night wondering how I am going to get the money to pay the bills.

I have a challenging and rewarding job. I am proud of what I do.

I have a whole bunch of family that would come running to my aid if I really needed help.

I have friends and faith, and a rock solid belief system that gets me through the toughest times.

I own my home, and while it is not payed off, another ten years and it will be.

So I hereby banish darkness and glum thoughts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


So I got no idea what the fu*k is going on. R. was supposed to get a truck and come over with the last of her stuff.

Supposedly her mom was suposed to rent a truck and get the last of her stuff to my house. No surprise, it didn't happen.

I am so sick and tired of trying so hard to make things happen when no one else even makes an effort.

The list goes on and on and on, but there is no payback.

I give up.

Tough Day

I whined about the Special Assignment I got yesterday. It is a little better, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I talked back and forth with R. and she was supposed to meet me at her appartment when I got off work so I could help her move the last of her stuff that she is putting in our basement. You think that someone who is unemployed and doing nothing could at least get her butt over there in time. After all I am doing HER a favor by helping her.

But you would be wrong.

When I got home the little light on the phone was blinking. It was the school. V. has been using inappropriate language in the classroom again. He got detention. When the teacher called home to tell me, he beat me home, and erased the first two messages. I got the third. I read him the riot act. His reasoning was that since he wasn't screwing up as bad as everyone else, he should get off free. No such luck. I kicked him off the computer until I feel like letting him back on. The little shit.

R. didn't get to her appartment until 6:30. Mrs A, was furious, but I told her to back off. What the hell difference does it make to her what time I go to help R. I told her she was being unreasonable, which of course was like throwing gasoline on a fire.

I went and got a load of her stuff, and brought it home. While I was there I told her she was not welcome at Thanksgiving. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I drove home with tears in my eyes. I spent the remainder of the evening leaking around the eyes. Tough love is hard stuff on everyone involved.

At least I am pretty sure that today will be better than yesterday.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Can I just go home and go back to bed?

I had a frustrating weekend, and am having a frustrating day. My boss has given me an assignment that is almost guaranteed for failure.

R. was supposed to move furniture this weekend, so I set aside Saturday for the task, with the instruction to call me Friday night. She didn't. She also didn't call Saturday morning. I finally called her at 11:00, and she returned my call at 1:00. I wantes to be DONE by then, not thinking about getting started. Sjhe said she was going to call a friend who had a truck, and get back to me, but she didn't call back until 5:00. By then it was too damn late.

The boss wants me to do an in-depth analysis of the Electrical Engineering releases for the first 737-700 ER. The damn thing loads in 10 days, and there are about 1600 drawings to check. He also gave me the names of five people wh are supposed to help me.

I sent them a meeting notice, and not a single one of them has replied.

The meeting starts in 15 minutes, and as far as I know I am flying solo, the plane is on fire, and I have no parachute.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


There is no such thing as security. Once you accept this idea, you can settle down and get on with living. Life is a state of uneasiness, just some times are more anxious than others. Even if you are laying at the beach cooking yourself in coconut oil, there is a little sentry parading around in your head checking the perimeter.

Yesterday when I got home, I needed to get out and check out why the clutch was not working properly in the Z (Despite the fact that it was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock at the time). When I opened the double doors to the basement from the inside, I heard a scraping noise. I looked down and it was little pieces of trim going to one of the two little windows.

Someone had attempted to break into the house!

When the house was burglarized four years ago, that is how they gained entry. The doors have a vertical latch, a sliding catch and a 2 X 12 cross bar that I installed, so you can't just bust the window, reach in, and unlatch the door. The fact that the bar was in place says they couldn't get through.

But upon thinking about it, I decided I didn't like having glass in the window.

I had some 1/4" plexiglass laying around that was left over from some other project, so I cut it to size. Tight enough that it had to be helped into place with a hammer and a board. Then replaced the inside trim to hold it in place. And added a couple of extra nails.

Sure, you can still get in that way if you are determined enough, but you can ALWAYS get into a house if you don't care how much noise you make.

So I feel a little more secure.

But the little sentry in my head is on alert.

And I have given him live ammo.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I may have mentioned I am a Motorhead. Not a complete garage junky mind you, but I do love working on a nice clean well kept car.

This usually translates inot having a couple of projects. The downside is that I am working on and driving the cars at the same time. This reared its ugly head this morning.

Suddenly the Z didn't want to go in gear. I had to force the stick a little before it would go into gear. The clutch pedal also did not want to disengage. This means one of two things. Either I am leaking hydraulic fluid from the clutch, or the adjustment rod is out of adjustment.

I had an offsite meeting this morning, and when it was over, I could NOT get the car to shift into Low. I finally turned off the engine, and it slipped in to gear. I took it back home and switched cars to the Blazer.

The Blazer has no heat, so it is not my favorite, and it gets like 14 miles to the gallon. To fix the problem with the heat will be expensive if I don't do the work myself.

I should do something about the Blazer. Either fix it or trade it in on a new car. The practical side of me says to get a new Chevy HHR, which I like the looks of and is a good ballance of style and use. 3o+ miles to the gallon and a lot of interior space and it looks nice.

The not so practical side of me saw the new Saturn Sky on the road the other day and wants one real bad. Good gas mileage and a kick in the ass to drive.

Oh, whatever to do.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Mrs A. has not been sleeping well. This is both good and bad.

The bad thing is that she rolls over and asks "Honey are you awake? HONEY ARE YOU AWAKE??"

"I am now"

"Why do you think they did that?"

I am, of course supposed to immediately know what she is talking about. The scary part is that I usually do.

That is the bad part. Because she is having a hard time sleeping, I get awakened in the middle of the night, or early morning.

The good part is that she is now awake, and has to find something to do. So she does me. This is behavior I want to encourage.

So if I could cure her insomnia, would I want to?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Nothing weekend

I didn't accomplish a damn thing this weekend.

I am SOOOOO proud of myself. I haven't had a weekend where I could do nothing in so long that I had forgotten what it was like. I played computer games, read a book, watched football on TV (GO SEAHAWKS!!!).

The truth of the matter is that Mrs A. has a cold, so she didn't want to do anything all weekend, and it didn't take a whole lot to convince me to do the same. It was contintuing to be overcast and rain and cold, so we just retreated into our shells and closed the doors.

We were supposed to go places and do things, but never left the house. I think we were just gathering our strength before the race to the end of the year. After all THANKSGIVING IS NEXT WEEK!!!

No need to panic.

Just center yourself, slow your breathing, and try to concentrate on the good things. Go to your happy place.

Everything is going to be OK.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I saw the sun!

At least I think that's what it was. You know, big atomic explosion thing in the sky. Fries your eyeballs and fries your skin. Known to cause cancer from too long of exposure.

Not something we have to worry about up here in Latteland lately. Hell, we even made the National News.

It has been raining for days and days. I was in the drivethrough at the local Starbucks when I looked out the window at the lake, er, I mean parking lot, and there was an honest-to-god salmon migrating towards the Fred Meyer.

It does this every year, especially in the Snoqualmie Valley. This brings the migration of Gor-tex clad reporters out of their concrete hovels to stand alongside the dependable flood spots to show the fish going across the road, the cows standing in the field, people wading down what used to be streets, and rowing around their neighborhood in fishing craft. They always act surprised.

I took Mrs A. around for her annual poking and prodding today. She hates driving on the freeway. So do I, but because I am the Male, I am expected to do it anyway. One of the obligations that comes with the equipment.

Who kills the ferocious spiders? The one with the penis. Who tunes up the car? The one with the testicles. Whe unplugs the stopped up toilet? The one with the package.

Oh well, the rewards are worth the hassle.

Got to crawl back under the blankets.

Stay dry!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The good, the bad, and the not-so-atractive

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs.

I was bummed because it was R.s birthday. I don't know where she is living or what she is doing. It was the first time I haven't had something planned, but given that the last time she was around, she threatened Mrs A.s life, I have told her not to come around until she has her head on straight.

She called last night and said she was thinking of coming by, and I had to tell her that it probably wasn't a good idea right now. I told her I would meet her for dinner and drinks, abd she said she would call me back. Of course she didn't.

I did my biggest Christmas shopping yesterday. Mrs. A. said she wanted to go visit her son in Utah Dec. 20th - 24th. So I got on the computer and reserved her flight for her last night. God, I love the Internet.

Back last summer we ponied up some money so her son and family could make the down payment on their first home. With all the money we have given to the girls the last couple of years, her son has gotten the short end of the stick because he takes care of himself and his family.

I can't get the time off, so Mrs A. will be going alone. On one hand I will miss her terribly. But it is only for a couple of days. Just long enough to be really happy when she gets back.

On the other hand it will be nice to batch it for a couple of days, sit around in my underwear, drink milk right out of the carton and leave the toilet seat up ALL the time. Don't tell me I don't know how to have fun.

So I felt like a bad father, a pisspoor husband and an ungratetful beast.

But I did make the reservation round trip, and made sure she was leaving her dog behind.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


This was rattling around the Blogosphere lately. I think I stole it from Rick, but maybe Renratt. It's betting pretty bad when you can't remember where you stole something. I'd feel bad if I could remember what it was that I was supposed to feel bad about......

1) One book that changed your life. Walden Pond By Thoreau, The Plague by Albert Camus, The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov. I could go on.

2) One book that you’d read more than once. I have read Walden about a half dozen times, the same for Tolkien’s Lord Of the Rings.

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island. The Bible. You could read it a thousand times and still find something new in it every time. The Collected Works of Shakespear as backup.

4) One book that made you laugh. English Creek by Ivan Doig A coming-of-age story in Montana. Parts of it are hilarious. I really like Ivan Doig's books.

5) One book that made you cry. Trinity by Leon Uris. Story of The Troubles in Ireland.

6) One book you wish you’d written. STAR by myself. I’m a severalthousand words into it but sort of high centered at the moment

7) One book you wish had never been written. Mein Kampf

8) One book you’re currently reading. The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Love all of their books. I think I have read everything they have published.

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read. Nothing on the horizon at the moment.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wet Weekend

Poured Rain this weekend. Will pour again tonight. The Raiders are in town for Monday Night Football tonight. It is supposed to rain between 4 and 6 inches today. People all over the States will ge a chance to see the REAL Seattle.

This weekend was my mom's 80th birthday. All of the kids were together for the first time in many many years. We tried to figure out when was the last time we all had been together. We never could come to a consensus, but it was probably some time in the late 70's or early 80's.

There are seven of us kids, three boys and four girls. We are all intelligent, opinionated, outspoken people. Hell, I am one of the quieter ones. I know some people out there find that difficult to believe.

I was counting up, and figured that there were 21 people there at Mom's Birthday party. And that is just immediate family. It was a loud and boisterous group.

Mrs A. had an anxiety attack. She suddenly could not get enough air, and had to get outside. It took her several minutes to get it together. She had been dreading seeing my son and her former friend and their new baby. There is some bad blood there, and having them show up pushed her over the edge. I have had a panic attach before, and it is no fun at all. She is OK and after she calmed down we went back inside and she was able to keep it together.

She felt pretty embarrased afterwords. Oh well, keep it in perspective. I don't love her any less.

So we kept a pretty low profile on Sunday. Went grocery shopping, and I cooked pork tenderloin baked in Cranberry Chutney. It was delicious. Watched some tube, took a nap, went to bed early. I am fighting a cold or something, so I feel pretty drained. Wish I could just curl up under my desk and take a nice long nap.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bad Trip

No cemical substances cause this. Darkness, rain, and back roads did.

As I said yesterday, we had a appointment with the headshrinker yesterday. It went very well. We got a lot of positive validation and some good advice.

Afterwards we like to go to Redmond Town Center to wander around and get something to eat. We went to the Golden Chopsticks to eat. Good food, very relaxing, good service and a couple of Asahi Super Dry beers had me in a good mood. A little shopping. Got what I needed. Mrs A. wanted to do some recreational shopping but I whined my way out of it. To me shopping is about as recreational as the dentists chair. Mrs A. loves to shop, and just doesn't get how it could be so stressful for me. Someday I am going to drop dead while being dragged around shopping. My headstome will read "I told you I didn't like shopping."

But I manged to get out of any extended shopping. Maybe I would have been better off to have stayed a little longer.

I like to drive back roads. A passenger once remarked that , given a choice I would take four back roads rather than one major road. I don't deny this. For the most part I enjoy driving.

Not last night. There are three main ways to get back to our house from Redmond. I, of course, took the long way around Lake Samamish and down Sunset Hiway. Traffic came to a screeching halt as soon as it was too late to turn around. There had been an accident. So once traffic got screwed up, it never got better.

It was pouring rain like a cow peeing on a flat rock, it was pitch black and all I could do was follow the tail lights in front of me. If the guy in front had driven off the road, I probably would have gone right after him.

I took over two hours to do what normally takes about forty-five minutes. By the time I got home, I was exhausted.

Aside from that It is my Mom's 80th birthday on Saturday. It will be the first time all of us kids will be together in about ten years. I have a couple of sisters that live in Minnesota and we don't see each other very ofter, so it will be nice to have everyone together.

I have been tasked to bring egg rolls for the party. I guess that now that it is getting into the Holiday season, we need to sit down and make another batch, because we are going to be requested to bring them to every potluck and celebration from now to New Years.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Mrs A, and I are going to the headshrinker todady. I don't mind, and it helps her. She has a hard time sticking to the idea of tough love. She goes into it with the right idea, but then starts second guessing herself.

I can tell her ten thousand times that she is doing the absolute right thing, and I might as well be talking to the dog.

However if a complete stranger came up to her in the street, and told her the exact same thing, she would be quoting them for weeks.

Oh well, if it helps her keep her head together, it's all good.

I worked in the Psychiatric Service in the Army, so there isn't anything new or intimidating for me. I have already been headshrunk by the best.

My boss in the Army was M. Scott Peck, the author of "The Road Less Travelled". In his book, he writes about The Techs. I was one of the Techs. Working with Scott was a very interresting time in my life, and an experience that has stayed with me my entire life. It gave me a perspective on life and behavior that prepared me well for later life.

I like to tell people that being the liaison officer for the locked psychiatric facility was good preparation for management at Boeing.