Monday, April 30, 2007
Friday nights she always stops off at the movie place and picks up a couple of new releases.
She had been wanting to see "Night at the Museum", but when she got there, they were all out.
She was griping about them not having the movie in stock, but she couldn't think of the title. She was trying to tell me which movie it was by describing the trailers that have been on TV. There is a trailer where Ben Stiller is slapping a monkey, so she descibed it as "You know, the one where it shows the guy spanking the monkey."
I busted up laughing, and she realized what she said. She turned a little red.
Not to miss an opportunity I asked "Is that the same one that shows him choking the chicken? I think for that kind of movie, you have to go to the little place over on Sunset."
She didn't find it nearly as amusing as I did.
Friday, April 27, 2007
He could come in in the morning and screw up a whole days worth of work for the whole business in about five minutes.
Most of our customers were based in San Francisco, so it meant that Management had to go down there a couple of times a year to meet with our customers.
I had developed a relationship with some of the people down there. Everybody knew my boss was an asshole, so we conspired to set him up.
He was an iflexible, narrow minded person, so I asked my friend in SF to help me.
We set it up to take him to a transvestite bar without him knowing what it was.
After a few drinks, he found one of the "Ladies" attractive, and set up a meeting later.
He never knew what was happening until he discoverd the "Package"
Just make the long pull up that last hill, and we can coast down the rest of the week.
Mrs A and I are feeling a lot better, so we will probably have to play catch-up around the house this weekend. I haven't managed to get to the back yard lawn yet, and it's a jungle out there. I managed to do a little work last weekend, but wasn't up to doing much.
If you have been coming around here for any length of time, you know the last couple of years have been one crisis after another. Well, lately, that has not been the case. We have been coasting for the last couple of months, and it's been real nice. I no longer want to run and hide every time the phone rings. I don't automatically assume that when I see the kids names on caller I.D. that it is a bad thing.
Occasionally I do get the "Waiting for the other shoe to drop" feeling.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I had a class, and as I told V., a day in school is almost the same as a day off. It was a class in Lean. Mostly Lean is an initiative for Manufacturing. This was a class on Lean for the Office environment.
I never fell asleep even once.
They provided food even. Bagels and cream cheese and fruit, not to mention Donuts and Danishes.
In the afternoon it was sodas and cookies and bags of nuts.
I was good both times, and stuck to the stuff that wasn't too bad for me.
V. has a track meet tonight, so he won't be home for a while yet.
Sounds like a good night to chase Mrs A around the house.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
V. has joined the Track Team. This from a kid with whom it takes a whip and chair to get him away from the computer. I am greatly pleased. He had gotten to the point where I was worried he might have to be surgically separated from his computer.
Last night was the spring potluck for the debate team, so naturally I had to cook up egg rolls. That's the trouble with making something really good. Everybody wants to help you eat it, no one wants to help you make it. So I made V. cook the egg rolls. I supervised (and tasted to make sure they were cooked properly). I told him from now on he has to cook his own egg rolls for potlucks.
I also told him that next time we MAKE egg rolls, he will have to help or he won't get any. So yesterday I had to pick him up froom track practice and run him home, help him cook egg rolls and then take him to the Debate potluck.
I made him get a ride home from the Potluck.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
So here is the picture of my Grandparents that I talked about. You can see why I referred to Grant Woods' "American Gothic".
In almost every picture we have of him, he has that same glum expression. In real life there was such a twinkle in his eyes that it ballanced out the glum expression. Somewhere I have a copy of a picture of him smiling.
Many thanks to my cousin, Ginger for sending it to me.
Grandfather was from Kentucky. I have been told that in the area around Elizabethtown if you throw a rock you are bound to hit a Warren, Clarke or a Mudd, all of whom are related.
As a young man he wanted to be a Priest. He was devoutly Roman Catholic. He joined the Semanary, and was on his way to becoming a Priest, when they found he had Tuberculosis. They wouldn't let him join because of his health.
One of the commmon treatments for TB was to send people to a better climate, and so he was sent to New Mexico, where he recovered his health. That is also where he met my Grandmother, who was also from Kentucky. I believe she was there for the same reasons.
They spent the majority of their lives in New Mexico, but at the end of the Seccond World War, he moved to North Idaho and bought a small dairy farm. Later Uncle Fred bought a piece of timber on a hill adjoining the farm to the East. A quite a bit of the land was "Stump Farm". It had been cleared of timber around the turn of the century, and the stumps remained.
They bought a small John Deere Cat, and cleared the 20 acres of stumps. There was another 20 acres that was in Cottonwood swamp, and they cleared that, making about 80 acres of pasture and 80 acres of timber.
My grandmother was quite frail, so Grandfather ran the house as well as the farm. I have this very cllear memory of him, standing behind her, brushing out her long silver hair, her seaten in her rocking chair.
I have that rocking chair in the basement, in desparate need of some repairs. One side of it is scorched from when it was set too close to the wood stove and almost caught fire. The rocker on one side is broken, where it wore through. I need to go down and get a piece of Cherry to fashion a new rocker.
For posterity as well as posteriors.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Whenever the family came together, we would enevitable pick partners and settle down to a good double deck Canasta tounament.
I had not seen my cousin Ginger for about 30 years, but when we hooked up after all that time, the evening ended with a game of Canasta. Ginger and I were partners against her sister, Mary, and Uncle Fred.
It was like a trip back in time. Thirty years evaporated as soon as the cards hit the table. We were back on the farm, and things had not ever changed. If you were real patient, Fred would make a bad discard, but Mary would pick up the pile at the smallest excuse. Ginger and I played for the long term.
The only point of discussion was Uncle Watson Rules.
Uncle Watson was a relative from Kentucky who came out one summer and spent some time with the family. Of course he was involved in the family Canasta tournaments.
He quoted special "Rules" that he invented as the occasion arose.
For instance, if you cut the deck at the exact amount of cards that were dealt out, you got an extra 100 points. Or if you had three red threes it was worth an extra 100, but you get the idea.
I don't think that his rules ever made any difference in the outcome of the game. Strategy and partnership always won out over special "Rules".
It came to mean that if you could think up a rule which sounded logical, and benefitted you, you could invoke it.
Not quite cheating, but an interresting side game to play.
So do you play by "Uncle Watson Rules" ?
Oh yeah, like you don't do the same thing.
A 20 0z. Diet Coke with Lime and a couple Tylenol Severe Congestion tabs, and I'll make it through. After all, it is Friday.
Mrs A, and I are supposed to go to Jazz Alley Saturday for dinner and the show. Mose Allison is playing, and I was looking forward to it, but at the moment it looks unlikely.
I told the guys at work that if my head explodes, I hope I don't get any on them.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I turned to him and said “Grandfather, at your age!”
He turned to me and said “Son, if I quit looking, you better start digging the hole.”
While he was out here, he went to spend a couple of weeks with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank in Olympia. They went out to take care of some errands, and when they got back Grandfather was not to be found.
Eventually they heard noises coming from the basement. He was down in the basement, which was dirt, and he was digging a hole. They probably thought that he had gone over the edge, so they asked him what the heck he was doing.
He explained that he had noticed that there weren’t many rock outcrops or anything. It seemed like the topsoil just went on and on, so he went down into the basement to look at the soil in profile. That got his curiosity up, so he wanted to see how much deeper the soil went. He had gone down about an additional three feet, and no end . When they asked him what he thought, he just pointed at Mount Rainier and said something about “It came from over there.”
He came out of his funk and lived for seven or eight more years. I loved to sit with him and get him talking about what the world was like when he was young. He told me about the first time he saw an automobile, which was a Locomobile. He always remembered it because it had eight wheels. I thought he was pulling my leg, so The first chance I has, I looked it up at the library. Sure enough Locomobile produced a car with eight wheels.
Grandfathers great passion was his garden. He had several. There was the spring garden, the main garden, the berry garden, the orchard. We were pretty much self sufficient. We canned, and had a couple of freezers. Grandfather made the best pickled crabapples, and apple jelly, and beans, and peaches. We picked wild blackberries and huckleberries. We made homemade ice cream from wild strawberries. We fished and hunted, made our own butter.
Back to butter. We used to take a quart mayonnaise jar and fill it with cream, and sit there and shake it. By the time the evening was over, voila’ butter. Whenever I visited the farm, I always came away with eight or nine pounds of home made butter.
Grandfather had Macular degeneration, and his vision kept fading. There was less and less he could do. Finally in the Spring of 1971 it had faded to the point that he could not distinguish the new vegetable sprouts from the weeds. He decided he didn’t care to stick around any longer, so within a couple of months he was gone.
He had a long and productive life, was loved by his family, and pointed a couple of generations of kids in the right direction.
So on Saturday mornings when I put the butter on my toast or waffles, I always stop for a moment and think of my grandfather.
Here’s to you wherever you are.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Lately my grandfather has been on my mind.
On weekend mornings I almost always have either toast and jam or waffles, liberally covered in butter.
Butter is one of the things in my life that I will not compromise on. It has to be real butter. No “I can’t believe I’m eating this stuff”. No crown magically appearing on my head. Even when the Medical community was spouting their drivel about how bad butter was for you, I persisted in demanding the real thing. Of course they eventually decided that the crap they had been pushing was worse for you than butter.
At any rate, when I was 14 or 15, I was making toast and jam for breakfast. I was liberally spreading butter on the toast. Grandfather was walking by, stopped for a second to observe, and said “I see you like a little toast and jam with your butter.”
So every weekend when I am spreading the butter on my toast or waffles or flapjacks, I remember that remark. It was typical of his dry sense of humor. If you would glance up, you could see the twinkle in his eye despite the deadpan look. He looked like he had posed for Grant Woods’ famous painting American Gothic: My Grandmother could have done the other half of the pose. But if you looked a little closer you could see the twinkle in his eyes and the spark of a remarkable intelligence.
Although he was not an educated man, he had educated himself in all sorts of things: Botany, animal husbandry, bee keeping. Gardening and farming. His was a quick mind, and I never saw any deterioration right up until his death. He was the heart and center of our family while I was growing up.
Every evening after dinner we would go for a walk. The farm was on a short quarter section of land. Approximately 80 acres of pasture, 100 acres of hill covered with timber. He pointed out all of the different plans, told me what they were good for. We foraged whatever was in season. I learned a lot from him. When I was in college, my Botany Professor was amazed at how much I knew with no formal training.
After our evening walk we would either listen to the radio or get out the phonograph. Grandfather was legally blind, and he belonged to the Lighthouse for the Blind. They sent a phonograph that was geared down to like 7 & 1/2 rpm. They provided a catalogue every month and you could order books and magazines on records. He would order all kinds of stuff. I remember one winter we were working out way the through the works of George Bernard Shaw. We had just listened to “Joan of Arc” and had a lengthy discussion about whether Joan was listening to God, or listening to a different kind of voices.
We lived out on the Coast, and they lived in Northern Idaho. Every summer we would take vacation when the haying was on. We would help with the hay, go fishing and Huckleberry picking, help with the milking, whatever needed to be done.
As soon as I was old enough, I started spending my summers on the farm. I loved it over there. The best summer of my young life was when I showed up in June, and Grandfather handed me a fishing rod and stringer, and told me “Your major chore this summer is to fill up the freezer with enough fish to last the family all winter”. I was just the kid for that chore.
We lived within walking distance of some of the best trout water in North America, and that summer I fished every inch of it. After morning chores, I would go dig some worms, and off to the streams I would go. I was usually back home for dinner with a bunch of trout. I don’t remember ever coming home emptyhanded. There were four good streams within walking distance, and we varied where we went. There were a couple of kids close to my age a mile or so up the road, and a lot of times we would get together and go fishing.
Sundays the whole bunch of men would take off and go on a fishing expedition. There was always a contest between myself and my Uncle Fred to see who could catch the most fish. Sometimes he won, sometimes I did.
The summer I was 15, in addition to the fishing pole, Grandfather handed me the .22 and a couple of boxes of shells.
It seemed a family of ground squirrels had invaded the pasture, and one of the cows had stepped in a burrow and broken it’s leg. The cow had to be put down. Part of my summer job was to get rid of them. They were threatening the family income. So part of my morning and evening chores was to go set up in the field and take out a ground squirrel whenever the opportunity presented itself. It was also a very good opportunity to sit there and daydream.
Although I do not take a great deal of pleasure in killing things, it was a chore to do, and it was my responsibility. There is a different attitude on a farm. You raise a steer from birth, and when it is time, you slaughter it and butcher it and eat it. Same with chickens and hogs and once, turkeys.
Grandfather and Grandmother had been married over 50 years when she died. Everyone was afraid that we would lose him shortly thereafter. He started kinda wasting away.
We went over to the farm and kidnapped him. Kept him busy doing things he had never done before. He had never seen the ocean before, so we took him to the coast. Although his vision was limited, he was impressed with the sound and feel of the place.
Monday, April 16, 2007
There are so many questions that will never be answered, because the perp killed himself.
Or so the story is at the moment.
More than anything I wish he had survived so we could understand what drove someone to do such a despicable thing.
At this point we don't know much.
How can a person descend to such a state of Hell that he can justify such an act?
I mourn for the families of the victims.
Wrong place at the wrong time.
God have mercy on us all.
Chased Mrs A, around the house a couple of times (caught her once, too).
Watched the Mariners whoop it up on Texas.
A nice quiet weekend.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Now if it was Monday the 13th, that I could understand. No redeeming qualities at all.
All you have to do is hang on, and the week is over. You can stay up late and not worry about the alarm. You can have one more drink, and so what if you sleep in late and feel a little unfocused.
I noticed that there were a quite a few cars missing in the parking lot. A lot of people will use any excuse to stay home. I know one guy that refuses to get out of bed on Friday the 13th. Really.
I'm not sure where the superstition came from. One theory (based on fact) is that it is because it was on Friday the 13th that the Pope and the King of France ordered the roundup and murder of The Knights Templar.
So do any of you out there have a superstition? Personally I am free of them
Knock on wood.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
At least I didn't put it iff until the last minute (That would be Tuesday).
So we queued up at H & R Block yesterday. No room at the Inn. They told us to go somewhere else. They called, and the H & R Block in Southcenter (About 5 miles away) had an opening. We walked in and were immediately served. Not a whole lot of people know there is a Tax place in Sears. It is on the second floor, back in a corner, past the bathrooms, down the hall from the portrait place.
It's kinda like they are ashamed of it but had to have it so they locked it in the broom closet and won't tell anyone where it is.
We are getting back a wad this year. I am toiling with the idea of adjusting my deductions. The first year Mrs, A and I were together, we had to PAY MONEY to the IRS. So we zeroed out everything, and since then we have been getting money back.
So, which would you rather do? Let the Government play with your money all year and get back a chunk, or keep it all now and risk paying it back at tax time?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I went to Physical Therapy, where they put me on the modern equivalent of the rack. They sit you in a chair and put this thingie under your chin, They turn on the machine and it hangs you for 15 seconds, then relaxes fot five. This way they can hang you over and over without actually killing you. This goes on for 20 minutes at a time.
I am sore as heck this morning, but I have all the feeling back in my thumb and forefinger.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
So we are back from our weekend at Kalaloch. When we pulled in on Friday it was absolutely beautiful. We took a long walk on the beach after we checked in to our cabin. A couple of hours on the beach were the healing we needed.
I could feel the tension and worries bleeding off of me as we walked.
By the time we came back we were really relaxed. This was the first time Molly had been to the beach. So many new smells and things to look at. She was so hyper when we started out, and so exhausted by the time we returned.
We made a fire in the wood stove, settled in, and had a couple of drinks. I won't go into the details, but when the lights are out, it is absolutely dark, and "Hide and Seek", naked, can be a whole lot of fun.
I'm not sure who won.
Probably both of us.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
We are taking off tomorrow for a couple of days at the ocean at Kalaloch Beach. We have rented one of the cabins. I hope there is enough of a break in the weather for us to take a nice long walk on the beach.
A couple of days of peace and quiet will go over real good. We are going to celebrate our anniversary. Four years on one hand doesn't seem so long, but on the other hand it seems like much longer. We have been through so much in four years, it's a wonder we have manged to stay together this long.
Right now things seem to have settled down. Nary a crisis in the last couple of weeks.
Knock on wood.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
But the fact that I don't is in and of itself significant. Ever since Mrs A and I got hitched (Coming up four years on the 9th) we have been going into, coming out of, or in the middle of crisis. It got to the point where we hated to answer the phone.
The last couple of weeks have been blissfully quiet. It's not a state I am used to, but I sure would like to try.
Frosty again this morning, but the afternoon is supposed to be beautiful. I have Physical therapy for the pinched nerve in my neck after work. I have most of the feeling back in my thumb and all of it in my forefinger, so even though I thought the exercises were a bunch of BS, I guess they work. Either that or they are just a distraction to occupy you while the natural process of healing takes place.
Afterwards I need to go and get a card for Mrs A. It's her birthday tomorrow, and I'm not going to say which one.
I value my life.
Monday, April 02, 2007
It didn't snow at my house, but still that means that it was cold enough to make you put on an extra layer of clothes. I SO want it to warm up.
No big whoop-te-do this weekend. Stayed home. Made egg rolls, chased Mrs A. around the house. V. was off with a youth group that went down to Mt. St. Helens for the weekend.
A very laid back, no pressure weekend. Did a few chores, took a couple of naps.
Gotta run. Need to go start the fire and prepare the sacrificial goat for the offering to the weather gods.