Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peace Be Upon You!

I know I haven't posted in a while, but what a way to come back.. Enjoy

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another rerun

This was Happy Trails in the CBC Post, July 1998

A person does not have to spend very much time shopping for a horse before coming to the conclusion that what a buyer thinks a word or phrase means and what the seller thinks a word or phrase means mare sometimes two different things entirely.

For example, if an ad in the paper says a horse is “gentle” the buyer might take it to mean that the horse is willing to stand quietly and cooperatively for pretty near anything from grooming and saddling to farrier and vet care. On the other hand, everybody who has a horse to sell has put “gentle” in their ad, so it might not mean anything at all. Or if a horse is advertised as “bombproof,” the buyer thinks it means the horse won’t spook around traffic or when pheasants fly up from nowhere. But what it really means is he’s probably so old he doesn’t have the ‘git’ to run away from anything and anyway, at his age, he’s probably seen everything from the horse drawn milk wagon to space shuttle and you couldn’t scare him if you wanted to.

I ran across this list in Horses USA magazine:

What the ad says What it really means

“Friendly” comes up to you in the pasture,
but you won’t be able to catch him.

“seasoned” tired

“good with kids” doesn’t like adults much,
might have a sore back

“man’s horse” you’ll have to be a weight
lifter to stop this one

“needs experienced rider” bucks, spooks, runs away, rears

“good prospect” the horse may be able to
perform as required in a few years

“broke” green-broke

“green-broke” halter broke

“halter broke” once looked at a halter

“loves trails” hates arenas

“successfully shown” no one was killed at the one
schooling show he was taken to

There’s probably a lot more a person could add, but you get the idea.

I’m thankful that God’s Word does not require any tricky interpretations. It says what it means, plain and simple. When it says, “You shall not commit adultery” Ex 20:15, it means you shall not commit adultery. It doesn’t mean, “You really shouldn’t commit adultery, but go ahead if you really can’t resist.”

And when it says, “You shall not steal” Ex 20:15, it means you shall not steal. It doesn’t mean, “You really shouldn’t steal, but if your broke, go ahead.” What do you suppose it means when it says, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:9 It means God will supply all your needs so you won’t ever have to steal.

It isn’t all on the negative side. It says in 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

And how can we know that this is all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Because God can’t lie (Numbers 23:19) and it all came from God (2 Timothy 3:16).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This was Country Roads in the Blair Enterprise February 13, 1992

I know, in this day and age, that it is extremely unpopular to create male-female role models for your kids, but in my family it just sort of happened. Before we knew it, the mom was in charge of certain chores and the dad has his own realm of duties to perform.

For example, the mom (that would be me) in our household does most of the cooking and housework. We never really sat down and designated those duties as “mom’s job,” it just happened. The mom is also in charge of the stern ‘just-wait’ll-I-get-you-home” looks the children earn when they are misbehaving in public.

The mom also has the privileges of going to the bank on payday, going to the grocery store when necessary, and going where ever else is necessary to keep a family functioning. (Or dysfunctioning, if you prefer.)

The dad in our family, among many other things, is in charge of silliness. It’s his responsibility to offer silly answers to silly questions, laugh at bad jokes and make up nicknames for things that happen around the house.

For instance, when our daughter was a colicky infant, her dad started calling her “Tiny-ranasaurus Rex.”

And one morning, she got a little carried away with the sugar on her cereal, and Dad promptly dubbed it Mount Sugar-Man-jaroo. It did look a lot like a sugar volcano had erupted in her cereal bowl.

If he can’t recall the correct name for the latest cartoon craze, he has a tendency to make up one of his own, like Jeenage Nontant Muja Turtles – or something like that. Or if he can’t quite remember the words to a song, he throws in something that has neither rhyme nor reason or anything to do with the original song, but he does have perfect pitch, and he has been known to juggle while he sings.

This often evokes the response, “Dad, can’t you ever be serious?”

I think it will be awhile before the kids truly appreciate their dad’s sense of humor and the fine fashion in which he has handles his responsibilities in creating levity in a world that doesn’t always offer a lot to laugh about, but I’ll bet long after they have grown and moved away from home, whenever they hear the French National Anthem, the words they sing to themselves will be, “I took my fish to church on Su-un-day!”

Monday, November 09, 2009


This one is from the CBC Post (Country Bible Church’s monthly newsletter, which I edited from 1997- 2002) I wrote a column entitled Happy Trails. This one was published in November of 1997 and since my birthday is this Friday, I decided to do this one for you.

While I was growing up, my family had three birthdays to observe in November: my sister’s on the 12th, mine on the 13th and my dad’s on the 14th. Since I am the youngest, everyone has always wondered how I managed to be born on the day between the two existing birthdays instead of on one of them, or during another week entirely, but I’ve never been able to explain it, and it really doesn’t matter, since I had no say in it at the time. But I always did felt special having my birthday right next to Dad’s. I guess I thought it meant I had a head start over the other five of his kids on being his favorite.

I don’t’ remember any huge family celebrations taking place over the course of the three birthdays, but mom always had a flair for Angel food cake, so there was usually at least one of them around.

Dad never wanted any fuss at all made over his birthday, something I have come to understand completely the past few years. I remember a few times when I had somehow gotten come money and did some very careful shopping for just the right birthday present for Dad. He always carried a big red or blue bandanna in the back pocket of his overalls. One year, I noticed some of them were getting frayed and worn looking, so I bought him some nice white ones. He opened the pathetically wrapped package I presented to him and dutifully expressed pleasure in the gift by saying simply, “Hmmmm. Ain't those nice?” He was a man of few words, Dad was.

I’ll never forget the summer of 1969. Dad was driving truck for a frozen food company and I got to ride along with him on a run to Denver. I remember it was very hot and the truck had no air conditioning, so we rode with the windows down. That, and the roar of the truck engine pretty much eliminated any small talk, other than, “How much further?” and “When can we stop and eat?”

One stop that stands out in my mind was at a rest stop along I-80. There was a pond behind the restroom building and Dad and I walked to the water’s edge and saw some carp swimming close to the shore. I threw them a few Cheetos, which they gobbled up and then we both laughed when Dad threw in his cigarette butt, and one of them gobbled it up just as greedily as if it were a Cheeto.

In a tragic turn of events, a few short months after that vacation with Dad, he suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 56. I didn’t feel much like having birthdays after that.

In an effort to preserve Dad’s memory, I keep a small collection of his “things.” In addition to a few photos, I have his wallet and a coin purse that he kept in his pocket. And a white handkerchief. But one of my favorite things is a piece of paper that he wrote on. It is a receipt from Oakland Memorial Hospital dated November 18, 1955 and signed by Dr. H. Tibbles that he “received from John E. Gatewood the amount of $98.00 in payment for the delivery and five days of care for his wife and baby daughter. Dad’s signature is on it. Looking at it gives me comfort. I am his daughter, He paid for me. “Paid in full” it says across the bottom of the receipt.

I have another Father who paid for me. Only it cost Him way more than $98.00. He paid my sin debt in full by the blood of His only Son. I am His. And because of that payment, I won’t ever have to die and I’ll someday be reunited with the people I’ve missed so very much since they left this life for a better one.

Now THAT makes me want to throw a birthday party!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Okay, here’s the deal. I wrote a personal column called Country Roads for the Blair Enterprise from 1992-1994 or so. And then I wrote one I called Happy Trails (my attempt to be Spiritually insightful) for our church newsletter from the late 90s through 2001 or so. And then I wrote one called Loose Threads (it was mostly about quilting) for Country Lanes magazine for a couple of years. So since I am having trouble finding time to come up with new stuff for this blog, I am going to start posting reruns from one or the other of the three columns I used to write. This will be my chance to make all the corrections I wish I had made before they hit the news stands, so some of them will be edited for… well… whatever they need to have edited out of them in order to make me look more intelligent.

Here’s one from Country Lanes September 2006:

21st Century technology provides us with endless opportunities to buy gadgets. The one that captured my imagination recently is the communications service that comes with certain makes of new vehicles. According to the radio ads, a calm friendly voice speaks to someone who is on the brink of panic because they have just locked their keys in the car with a couple of toddlers. The tech sends out a signal to the car from some remote location, unlocks the car and the caller bids adieu singing the praises of the company and its representatives.

What we really need to do is get our sewing rooms logged onto this emergency communications network. Then, at the touch of a button, we could get on the line with someone who could send out a satellite signal and locate our add-a-quarter when it goes missing. All the while, this person would be speaking in soothing tones; the conversation might go something like this:
Rep: “You’ve reached the Sewing Room Rescue Network. What can I do for you today?”
Quilter: “You’ve gotta help me! My add-a-quarter is buried on my sewing table and I need to get this project finished by tomorrow!!
Rep: “Okay, ma’am, we’re here to help you. I’m just now sending out a signal and your add-a-quarter should begin to beep any second now so you’ll be able to find it.”
Quilter: “Yes! I hear it now! Oh thank you so much! I’ll name my first grandchild after you!”

The Sewing Room Rescue Network would be absolutely invaluable when it’s time to rethread and set the Serger to a new stitch. That might require its own satellite hookup: they could be kept pretty busy.
Rep: “How can I help you today?”
Quilter: “I’m desperate! U have to get this dress hemmed in time for my daughter’s wedding and I can’t get the Serger set for the blind stitch. I’ve tried rethreading and resetting a dozen times and it’s just not working! Help!”
Rep: Okay, ma’am, try to calm down. I’m locating you in our directory and I see you have the Turbo 4740 Model. What you need to do is hold your tongue out the left side of your lip as you thread the needles. And ONLY use your right foot on the footfeet when you get ready to go. But remember, this routine only works on the first Tuesday of the month, so if you need to hem another dress next week, use ONLY your LEFT foot. Would you like me to stay on the line with you while you try that?”
Quilter: “Yes, would you, please?”
Rep: “I’d be happy to. That’s what we’re here for.”
Quilter: Okay, I’ve got it threaded now…. Stepping on the footfeet…. It works! Oh, thank you! You’re the greatest!”
This Sewing Room Rescue Network could also provide emergency supplies of fabric when you only need one more fat quarter to finish, Or just another half spool of thread when you run out and you only one more row to go.
Wait a minute: you already have a Sewing Room Rescue Network. It’s called your local quilt shop!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not long ago, someone commented to me that I’m “always busy.” It made me wonder what “not busy” would look like in my life.

I wouldn’t be so busy if….

…I didn’t have a Bible to read the first thing every morning.

…I didn’t have a devoted husband to spend weekend days with.

….I didn’t have a daughter to help get settled in a new apartment.

… I didn’t have a son to talk things over with.

…I didn’t have two horses to ride… feed… water… clean up after… how sad would that be?

… I didn’t have Bible verses to memorize.

… I didn’t have a precious friend who sends me her newly published books to read.

… I didn’t have a brother who is glad to see me when ever I drop in.

… I didn’t have sisters, nieces and nephews to blog-visit.

… I had no flowers to water.

… I didn’t have a friend giving me excess tomatoes from his garden to can.

… I didn’t have blog buddies to keep up with.

… I didn’t have a job to keep me occupied Monday through Friday.

… I didn’t have a new recipe to try.

… I didn’t have a quilt to finish.

… I didn’t have a camera and images to make with it.

… I didn’t have awesome music cd’s to listen to.

… I didn’t have a good church to attend and a great preacher to listen to.

… I wasn’t singing with a Gospel Quartet.

And since I am not ready to give any of those things up, I guess I’ll be content to be busy.

And that’s all I can think of right now.

What would “not busy” look like for you?

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is rather introspective, so if you’re looking for a chuckle. This probably ain’t it.

I am now a Starbucks Barista. I don’t know what Barista means, but it’s what I am now. The Starbucks I work for is located inside the Hy Vee store where I have been a cashier since March of ’07. Did you know that “Starbucks” is named for a coffee guzzling character in the Melville novel Moby Dick? Neither did I.

My new job comes with some down time, so I keep a tiny notebook in the pocket of my apron and write down stuff that runs through my feeble mind. This is not something I had time to do working at the grocery department cash register. I rather like it.

And in case you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging much lately, it’s ‘cause I’ve been busy. I took a second job with a team writing the History of Country Bible Church, Blair NE. This is the church I belong to and it’s fairly young – less than 30 years old and we want to get the history of it’s beginnings on paper before those who can tell it leave us.

I am also working on a novel – please don’t laugh. I’ve finished one (entitled One Square Mile) and am about halfway through the next one. So please forgive me for not blogging as much as I used to.

Anyway, here is something I put in my tiny little apron pocket notebook during my down time.

Thing I Wish I’d Learned Sooner About Raising Kids And Other Relationships:

The difference between “firm” and “harsh.”

The precious nature of time in the development of relationships.

The fleeting nature of teachable moments.

The tremendous rewards of selflessness versus the unrelenting regret of selfishness.

Hobbies can wait.

Encouragements are more effective than reprimands.

The tremendous difference between expectations and potential. (This needs elaboration. Maybe next time…)

The way the words are spoken is more important than the meaning of the words.

That time may be all you can afford to give, but it’s really the only thing they need.

How about you? Can you add a phrase that captures something you wish you’d learned sooner in life? Or am I the only slow learner here?

Cliff; I know what you’re going to say; “Never fry bacon in the nude…”

Okay, so maybe there is a chuckle here for you…

Monday, July 20, 2009

I am Back and I missed you..

I have a very specific reason for being absent, I am writing it up now for a Tuesday post.

How have y'all been?

I do need to catch up... so for now.. Happy St. Patty's day, Happy Easter, Memorial Day and Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is this a great summer or what!?!

On Independence Day, I got to see two parades; one at 10 Am and the other at 5:30 PM. What fun!

And then, last weekend, I went to a rodeo on Saturday and was in a parade (with my grocery store float) on Sunday afternoon. When I got home on Sunday, my son Jack carved some time out of his busy schedule to go horseback riding with me.

Could it have been any better?!

Well, yes.

Earlier in the week, I had ordered a couple of items online and was looking for them to arrive on Friday. I wasn’t very surprised to see the UPS man pull into my driveway on Monday.

Well, guess what.

Give up?

He brought me my very own copy of Montana Rose by Mary Connealy along with a note that it was sent to me by request of the author. What a wonderful surprise! Mary is a lifelong friend of mine and this is her 4th book to be published. You can learn more about her by going here or here.

The perfect Midwest summer weekend.

Yes, I took pictures. Maybe I’ll get them posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I'm SO proud.

This photo that I took is gracing the COVER of the most recent issue of The Panorama, a nice little shopper that is published in Tekamah.

And this one:

was the cover photo for the March 12 issue.

I love getting published on paper.
And just in case you're wondering, the flag is the one that flies at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. The title of the picture is "The Star Spangled Banner."

The second photo is "Sunrise Over County Road 15."

And yes, I'm still using 35 mm film. I even bought another second hand Pentax with auto-focus, auto-wind and rewind, zoom and built in flash. I'm accumulating quite a nice collection of cameras.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Making Bricks Without Straw

Remember the story of the Israelites in bondage to the Egyptians? (See Exodus) The long awaited Deliverer (Moses) had at last come to Egypt to confront Old Pharaoh and tell him to “Let the People go.” So what did Pharaoh do? He declared the Israelites had to continue producing their daily quota of bricks, except that he refused to continue supplying them with the necessary straw.

So the elation they must have felt at the appearance of the promised Deliverer was immediately squelched by the punitive and unreasonable work assignment. Instead of leaving Egypt, they were subjected to a more cruel bondage. A testament to the belief that circumstances are never so bad that they can’t be made worse.

Making bricks without straw.

And think how they must have felt about Moses at that point. They probably wished he’d go away so their taskmasters would bring back the straw. Never mind that they would still be slaves. In Egypt, for crying out loud – the place is a desert!

So anyway, I have often had times in my own life experience when I feel like I’m being forced to make bricks without straw. I’m in such a circumstance right now. The details are unimportant; I think you can get the picture.

I’m also in a Romans Chapter 7 sort of mode.

I know the things I SHOULD be doing, but I don’t do them.

And yet I keep doing the things I SHOULDN’T be doing. “Wretched (wo)man that I am!”

And then I remember that following the experience of making bricks without straw, came the parting of the Red Sea and FREEDOM!

And Romans Chapter 8.

So I know circumstances are bound to improve and so will I.

Meanwhile, I have my blog buddies to keep me cheered up.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I've been doing some remodeling over at Nellie's.
Check it out and tell me what you think.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My grandniece, Kendra, who blogs over at Nerd's Corner made the neatest video for a class. She is in 7th grade. Her mom is my niece, cdroses, who pops in here and leaves a comment once in a while. Kendra's grandma is my sister, Sue

Kendra's video is here. It takes about 4 minutes to watch.

Grab a kleenex.

PS, Cliff and Paul; I fixed the link to Nerd's Corner.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where is eveyone going?

Looks like a graduation.

Look at all the graduates!

There's a familiar face in there somewhere!

Here she is; my favorite member of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Class of 2009:

Emily K: Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing

Don't we look proud?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hello everyone!

My friend, co-worker, and fellow Blogospherian Shelby had a very profound post up over at her place. I encourage you all to visit her and offer a few encouraging comments.

If you scroll down a ways, you can see some terrific pictures of her recent visit to NYC.

My son, Jack, would appreciate it if you went over to his place and had a looksee at his latest couple of posts.

Also: LOOK! I figured out the live link thing!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It used to be said that an extroverted person “wore his heart on his sleeve.”

Well, now a lot of people wear their stories on their chests. Or occasionally on their backs. Since I come face to face with about 125 people every day, I can’t help noticing some interesting T-Shirts.

Here are some I remember:
On a middle-aged straggly haired woman, missing two front teeth: “This is NOT the life I ordered.”

On a gray-haired grandma:
50% sweet
50% sassy
100% American

Being who I am, I remember anything that goes with a picture of a horse:

“Are you gonna cowboy up…or just lay there and bleed?”

“Cowboys are like fine wine;
They start out like grapes and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they turn into something we would want to have with dinner.”

Written upside down on the back of the shirt: “If you can read this, put me back on my horse.”

On the front: “You ride like a girl” On the back “….. you WISH.”

“If you think I’m a quiet person, it’s because we are not talking about horses.”

And I used to have one that said:

“I love Jesus,
My Horse,
And then it’s between you and the dog.”

On some hurried, harried mothers:
“I childproofed my house, but the kids keep getting in.”

“All stressed out and no one to choke.”

On a college kid:
“It’s only funny until someone gets hurt…
Then it’s hilarious.”

I’ve never seen this one, but Emily says it’s out there”
“Waterboarding – Yes We Can!”

Scarlet or Joe; please translate?
“Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen”

“Los Tigres Del Norte”

What’s the funniest t-shirt you’ve ever seen?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Moving right along....

...or not

Some of you may be wondering why I haven't been posting.

Well I'll tell you...

...I don't know...

Time just gets away from me.

Anyway, following are photos of my latest project: my container garden.

I started with some livestock mineral containers that my landlord very graciously gave me. Randy helped me drill some holes in it for drainage.

Then, we added rocks.
I don't know why, but all the research said to add a layer of rocks. On top of the rocks, I put a layer of horse manure (I have an infinite supply), and then some top soil I bought at the garden center. I figured, purchased top soil would probably be weed-free. Also, it was on sale 4 bags for 5 bucks.

Our cat, Goldie a/k/a Mr. Gold wanted to help with the chicken wire I used to keep the rabbits out of my containers.

I planted gold tomatoes, red tomatoes, tomatillos, jalopenos and green bell peppers. I saved one container for an eggplant and will get that in as soon as the eggplant bedding plants arrive at my garden center.

We put down some landscape fabric for weed control and sat the containers up on "rails" for adequate drainage.

And there you have it: My Container Garden, thoroughly inspected by Mr. Gold.

So... what have you all been up to?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Palm Sunday Cardinal

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it was snowing like heck that day. I was shooting the picture through the screen door of my front porch.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This is Adventures in Laughter. Paul tagged me for this meme. If your name is at the bottom, consider yourself tagged and, on your blog, post six funny things about other people.

1. Here’s one about a cat. We had a grey cat named Christmas, who would come into our back porch every so often. Our back porch, if you walked straight in, opened into our kitchen. If you turned left, you went down our basement stairs. Since that’s where we all shed our shoes on our way into the house, Christmas usually found plenty of shoestrings to bat at, when he was a kitten. One day, when he was a grown cat, he came in and was reliving his childhood by enthusiastically batting at the shoestrings on one of my husband’s big work boots. He looked up and saw me watching him and he decided to take one of the strings in his mouth and take leave of his audience. Of course, the boot followed the string and startled him, so he started to run, but didn’t let go of the string in his mouth. He headed down the basement steps with the boot bouncing after him, so he sped up, but in his wild eyed panic, he hung on tight to the boot string, so the boot “chased” him down the stairs, kicking him in the butt all the way. When they reached the bottom step, he hissed and spat at it, which finally made him let go of the string. He gave it one more good, open clawed swat, just to make sure it stayed “dead” and strolled away, trying to keep his dignity intact.

2. Most of you know I work a check out line at a grocery store. I’ve posted this before, so feel free to skip it if you’ve already read this one. One day, a couple of Rednecks came through my line. They were classics: they wore camouflage zip front hoodies, overalls, baseball caps, and Tingly buckle front boots. They bought two big T-bones, two baking potatoes, a container of sour cream and a case of beer. They split the bill right down the middle. When the second man handed me his money, I counted it and came up 4 cents short. “I need four more cents. Do you have four pennies?” I asked him.
The first man answered for him, “Hell, yes, he’s got 4 cents. He’s always loaded with pennies.”
The second man said, “Yeah, but YOU don’t ever have no sense.”

3. I overheard a conversation between two young women and one was telling the other a story about something that had scared her. As the story progressed, she became more animated and talked faster and faster as she related the story of her frightful experience. She finished by saying, “I got so scared, it made me kneak in the wees!”

4. This one may or may not be true, but I still get a chuckle out of it. Legend has it that, during a formal dinner, Winston Churchill turned to Lady Astor and said, “Madam, you are quite ugly.”
Lady Astor replied, “You, sir, are drunk!”
“Yes,” he conceded. “But in the morning, I’ll be sober, but you’ll still be ugly.”

5. On his first day at work, the young man who was bagging groceries at my check-out station was very politely (just as he had been trained to do) asking each customer, “Would you like me to bag your milk?” and “Would you like some help out to your car with your groceries?” During the final hour of his shift, the repetition of it got the better of him and his mouth went into autopilot. He asked the next lady, “Would you like me to milk your bag?” He shook his head, trying to recover and said, “Would you like some car with your groceries?”

6. Marj, and old friend of mine told me this: One day, she walked to her local post office with a handful of letters to purchase stamps for. When she got there, she got lost in a conversation with someone in the lobby. When the other person left, Marj went stepped up to the window to buy stamps, but found only the letters in her hand and not her purse. She walked all the way back home – only to find her purse tucked under her arm. Her son-in-law was in the room with us when she related the incident to me and he said, “Geez, I wouldn’t even be telling anyone that story!”

And extra one at no extra charge.

This is about me – this is a meme after all. A while back, my pickup was in the shop and I had to use my husband’s car to get around. I made several stops in town and the last one was at the grocery store. It took an extra long time, because I ran into an old friend and ended up chatting for about half the time I was in there. I finally reached the check out line and reloaded my cart and headed out into the parking lot, trying to remember where I had parked my pickup. I wandered the lot for about ten minutes and was about to go back inside and ask someone to call the police to report a stolen pickup when I spotted my husband’s car. I thought, “There’s Randy’s car! What in the heck is he doing here!?”

Okay; Myrna, Sue, Shirley/Bob, Shelby, Joe, and Marla - you're up!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Peeps Are Back!!

They're showing up everywhere. Resting on the fence:

In the trees:

Nesting in the grass:

It's Open Season!

Yum. It was delicious!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Teleprompter Of The United States...
Guys, this blog is hilarious.
Barack's Teleprompter Blog. Everyone made fun of 43 (That's the most recent Bush for you Obama voters and Obama is 44) and his speaking ability and how "stupid" he was. I'll even admit his communication skills were not the best but it didn't make him stupid. I don't think Obama is stupid either, but his policies are way to the left! At any rate, I am going to go on a rant here.

There are a lot of articles out there on how Obama uses and is highly dependent on his Teleprompter. He even thanked himself for throwing a party on St. Patrick's Day. Well, apparently ToTUS has a blog of his own (her own for you feminists). I found a bunch more links on via google, good reading.

The great orator Freezes...
Teleprompter President...
I'd Like to President Obama, wait a minute... that's me...
Obama's Safety Net....

This one is pretty bad....

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Daytrip
I've been taking my brother, who lives in a nursing home, on short daytrips to some local historic sites and small museums. He really enjoys getting out. Just don't ask him next week about where we went last week - he'll say, "I don't remember..."
Here we are in Bancroft, Nebraska at the John G. Neihardt Center.

Neihardt was Nebraska's Poet Laureate. He wrote a lot of Epic poems, but is probably most well known for Black Elk Speaks and When the Tree Flowered, both biographies of American Indians. I've read all his stuff, but my favorite of all his works are the two volumes of his autobiography; All is But a Beginning and Patterns and Coincidences.

Here is Neihardt's Study in Bancroft, where he wrote his epic poems:

It was a nice day when we were there, but we will be going back to see the Sioux Prayer Garden in late spring, when evrything is in bloom.

Winter's Last Hurrah

Which one do you like better? The one taken through the trees, or without the trees?

These were taken two weeks ago. Yesterday, it was 70 degrees. Winter in the Husker Nation... First day of spring: March 20. WOOHOO!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Here is the Youtube address of one of the cleverest songs I’ve heard in a long while:

It’s a happy sounding tune but it provides the background for the angriest betrayed wife in the Western Hemisphere. The video features Rory + Joey. This husband and wife team were contestants on a show called “Can you Duet?” I don’t watch the show, but lemme tell you, “Yes, Rory & Joey CAN duet!” If you like good, new, classy Country Music in the traditional style, visit their website .

Now, the only thing I can find wrong with Cheater Cheater it is that it’s too short, so I thought we might try adding a few verses of our own here at OSM.
Here are the original words, in italics, followed by my own addition:

Cheater Cheater
By Rory Feeks and Joey Martin Feeks. The copyright is all their’s.
This is all just for fun, not for profit or publication elsewhere.

Cheater, cheater where’d you meet her? Down at Ernie’s Bar?
Did she smile your way, twirl her hair and say how cute your dimples are?
Did she use that line you’re place or mine while you danced with her real slow?
Tell me, cheater, cheater, where’d you meet that no good white trash ‘ho?

Liar, liar did you buy her whiskey all night long?
Did you hide your ring in the pocket of your jeans or did you just keep it on?
When the deed was done and you had your fun, did you think I wouldn’t know?
Cheater, cheater, where’d you meet that no good white trash ‘ho?

Loser, loser, hope you lover her ‘cuz you’re stuck with her now
So take your sorry butt and load up all your stuff and get the hell out of my house
But I just wish you’d tell me this one thing before you go,
Cheater, cheater, where’d you meet that no good white trash ‘ho?

Now I’m not one to judge someone that I ain’t never met
But to lay your hands on a married man’s about as low as a gal can get
And I wish her well as she rots in hell and you can tell her I said so.
Cheater, cheater, where’d you meet that no good white trash ‘ho?

Cheater, cheater where’d you meet that low-down, uptown,
Slept with every guy, around pressed on eyelash, no good white trash ‘ho?

New verses:
Redneck, roughneck, where in the heck was your common sense?
Did you just get drunk, like a dirty skunk, and throw caution to the winds?
Well, I hope she was worth all you lost on Earth. But I’d still like to know;
Tell me, cheater, cheater, where’d you meet that no good white trash ‘ho?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Phrase Creates Stories

This is a rerun from 2006, when I first got interested in blogging (Thank you, LaDawn!) Since I’ve had neither time nor inspiration lately and Shelby is tired of me not posting new stuff, I thought I’d put up a few reruns, especially for those of you who didn’t join me until later in my Life as a Blogospherian.

I and my kids, Jack, Em, are all writers. We used to do an exercise where one of us would challenge the others with a phrase on Saturday and the rest of us had to come up with a story before the following Friday. Here are a couple of winners:

Sometimes the Dragon Wins
By Jack Carson.

There’s a story out there, no one really knows who told it first, but it’s been around for long time. Anyway, it goes a little like this. There’s this village, a quaint little anywhere place, that just so happens to be in the vicinity of a ferocious dragon. As you can imagine, being terrorized by a dragon on a regular basis is not very pleasant.
So along comes this knight. Resplendent in his armor, astride his white stallion, his sword sharp, his lance long, his head empty. Anyway, this knight goes to slay the dragon. Cinch, right? Well, the knight doesn’t return for about a week, and finally the villagers send somebody to see if he’s completed his task. All this guy finds are the bones of his horse and a fused lump of melted metal, with all that’s left of the knight rattling around inside as crumbled bits of charcoal.
The guy goes back to the village and all he has to say is, “Sometimes the Dragon Wins.”

Sometimes the Dragon Wins
by Emily Carson
He sits poring over the police report, the crime scene photographs, the coroner’s reports, and the tentative timeline. His name is Don Glasser and he is a profiler for the FBI. It is his job to analyze crime scenes and provide a profile of a possible suspect. As he has so many times before, he allows himself to imagine the crime as it happened.
Sarah Breckner tucks her four year old son, Stevie, in for the night. It’s a little chilly, so she shuts the window above his bed. Or tries to; it sticks and she can’t quite get it all the way down. She settles for shutting the blinds and giving Stevie an extra blanket. Sarah goes downstairs. She has trouble getting to sleep most nights; as is her habit, she turns on the television and lays down on the couch. It isn’t long before the droning noise has lulled her into a doze.
Outside, an intruder cuts through the screen of a living room window. He uses a hammer and a screwdriver to break the lock. Sarah stirs in her sleep, but it’s been a long day. She doesn’t awaken.
Quietly, the intruder climbs inside the house. He leaves footprints in the mud beneath the window, as well as a track on the floor. No fingerprints; he’s wearing gloves. He approaches Sarah, quietly, so quietly. She mutters in her sleep. Quickly he bends over her and clamps his hand over her mouth. She awakens, struggles, bites her lip, drawing blood.
Don takes a sip of coffee and grimaces. It’s from the bottom of the pot, thick as mud and bitter as death. This is the part that frightens him most; it’s easier to figure out what happened at the crime scene than it is to read the mind of the criminal. Yet that is what he is expected to do, it’s what he’s been trained for, to analyze the behavior of a suspect and provide a personality. What was this assailant thinking?
He jumps on Sarah, straddling her, pinning her down. Sarah is a strong woman; she runs nearly every day and swims three times a week. Fear makes her stronger, fear for her child and herself. She fights him, scratching his face. He hits her, sending the back of her head against a lamp. Her nightgown twists around her body as she struggles, leaving chafe marks on her neck and armpits. She backhands him, leaving bruises on her knuckles. Her struggle enrages him; he hits her again and again, breaking her nose, blacking an eye.
The assailant brings out his knife. It’s a hunting knife, made to dress deer and other game. He stabs Sarah through the right forearm, the knife going between the radius and ulna bones. Sarah screams. The noise finally wakes Stevie. He runs to the top of the stairs but doesn’t go down.
The assailant stabs Sarah four more times, two mortally. One punctures a lung, the other slashes the aorta.
“Mommy!” The intruder looks up. He didn’t expect a child. He runs out.
Sarah gets up. As her life is ebbing away, she knows she has to call for help. She staggers toward the kitchen and the telephone. It’s so far and she is so weak. So much blood . . .
Stevie runs down the stairs. He is crying hard now, and he wants his mother to be OK. He clings to her leg as she tries to get to the kitchen. Her blood drips down on his hair and inside his pajama top.
She’s almost there. “Please,” she gasps, not sure who she is entreating. She can feel the strength leaving her legs. Her knees buckle as she grasps the phone. She collapses on the floor, spent. Stevie huddles beside her, still crying as his mother breathes her last . . .
Don rubs his temples. One of his migraines is coming on, making his left eye water and left hand feel weak. He shuffles the papers in front of him, trying to piece the suspect together. From the footprints, he was about 6’4’’, weighing between 260 and 300 lbs. Sarah had his DNA under her fingernails, but this is either a first offense, or the perp has been careful till now, because they haven’t got a match from criminal records. Don thinks it’s more likely that the UNSUB, or unidentified subject, has been careful. Most criminals don’t start out breaking in and attacking. If the UNSUB had any record, it would be for window peeping or breaking and entering.
Since the man ran after he saw Stevie, Don doesn’t think he was stalking Sarah. A stalker would’ve expected the child. Sarah was well-off and attractive. It’s possible the man only had robbery on his mind, but got other ideas when he saw Sarah asleep on the couch. Entering, the UNSUB was organized. He had the knife and the tools. When he couldn’t control Sarah, he became disorganized. He left the tools under the window and the knife on the living room floor. This tells Don that he hasn’t attacked anyone before; any further crimes will begin blitz-style, with the UNSUB using maximum force to subdue his victims. He’ll have learned from this failure.
No fingerprints, no composite sketch. One witness, a traumatized four-year-old. Don writes his profile, but isn’t hopeful. Unless this man attacks again, or is arrested on an unrelated charge, it’s not likely he’ll be found. Stranger crimes, ones with no connection between the victim and the perp, are among the hardest to solve. By all accounts, no one who knew Sarah Breckner wished her ill. It appears she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Don lets out a frustrated growl, shoving some of the paperwork off his desk. He makes a promise then, one to Stevie and his mother, that he will not give up. He will keep fighting and looking for clues. Despite this, something one of his mentors at Quantico once said runs through his head: “Sometimes the dragon wins.”

And Janell’s “Sometimes the Dragon Wins” story? I’m ashamed to say, it was started, but never finished.

Maybe next time…

Do you have one to share? Remember, “Sometimes, the Dragon Wins…”

Friday, March 06, 2009

Little Joe Loves You Tube and...
Hey, little Joe has an enfatuation with Planes. Probably because I am always on them. At any rate, I bought him two model 747's. And recently, in an effort to entertain him without watching CARs or NEMO or Madagascar, I turned to the net. I was astounded by what I found. I think you will get a kick out of these... they are endless. - I did a landing similar to this last April.

I love flying, and my frequency of flying boosts my confidence in aviation and aviation safety. You'd be amazed if you saw what passenger jets could really do. Check out the links above and they will lead you to many others! Enjoy, and its addicting.

By the way, this is also interesting...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here is an imagined conversation:

Me: Dear God, I’m trading in my Armor of God for the "Suit of Secularism." The Armor of God is too much for me. I can’t do it. So, instead of girding my loins with the Belt of Truth, I’m swapping for the "Thong of Lies." You recognize the Thong of Lies, don’t you? That’s the one that says, “Go ahead and satisfy your lusts. It doesn’t matter. No one will ever know. You can get away with it.”

God: You will know.
And I will know.

Me: And, instead of the Breastplate of Righteousness, I’m going to start wearing the “T-Shirt of Instant Gratification.” This T-shirt will help me to remain guilt-free while I am pursuing the fulfillment of all my earthly desires.

God: This is not really a very good idea. But you are always free to choose. I guaranteed that from the very Beginning.

Me: While I am at it, I am going to exchange my Shoes of the Gospel of Peace for the “Slippers of Contention.” Now, I can complain, gossip and criticize to my heart’s content.

God: That won’t make your heart content.

Me: I’ve had enough of trying to carry around this Shield of Faith. It’s heavy and cumbersome and a lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when they see me carrying it. So I’m going to put it down and take up this "Suitcase of Doubt." Everyone recognizes it and I don’t have to try and explain difficult questions.

God: Wow, if you thought the Shield of Faith was heavy, I can’t wait to see what happens when you pick up that "Suitcase of Doubt!"

Me: Uff Dah! That is a heavy son of a so-and-so! I think I’ll just put it down and leave it here while I finish getting dressed. I need to find my hat. Here it is – I’m taking off the Helmet of Salvation and from now on, I’ll wear the “Beanie of Good Works.” Wait a minute, it doesn’t fit very well, does it?

God: You will never be able to find one big enough to cover all of your transgressions. That’s why I sent my Son to the Cross. Trust me on this one.

Me: You know what else? I’m getting rid of this Sword of the Spirit. It hurts people’s feelings and it would be much easier and I could be a lot more popular if I went around with the “Weapon of Mass Reconstruction.” The one that rewrites history, so that the thoughts and ideas of the people from the past get in line with our modern, progressive views on personal choice and the ‘fine line’ between good and evil.

God: Well… good luck with that. But it seems to me that it shows a tremendous amount of disrespect towards the people who designed and financed the monuments that represent those historical, “old fashioned” notions.

Me: Okay, well, it looks like I’m all dressed and ready to go. You know, this "Thong of Lies" is pretty uncomfortable… it’s riding up on me and, well, that’s all you need to know about that. And this "T-Shirt of Instant Gratification" is covered with stains and has gotten holes in it already. It’s way too small. And look how threadbare it is. I don’t think it’s going last much longer. These "Slippers of Contention" fit me pretty well, but they are kind of ugly, aren’t they? This "Suitcase of Doubt" is really heavy. So is the "Weapon of Mass Reconstruction." I don’t think I can carry both of them. I’ll have to leave one of them here and come back for it when I get where I’m going.

God: So… where are you going, all dressed up like that?

Me: That’s a good question…. This particular outfit came without a map.

Based on Ephesians 6:11-17

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random Thoughts...
I am working on a post about my trip to China.. there is more to that place than the great wall, but I haven't gotten all my pictures downloaded yet (been busy working). But there is a very ugly side to the country, makes me un-comfortable..
In the mean time, a couple of cool links... Very interesting stuff to watch.. Is this the beginning of the silent majority come back?

Revolution in Chicago

This is going to piss the PETA off!

For the National Security Crowd...

Amazing Video's from Iraq. These are real videos, some warning on graphic.

The China post I am putting together is related to its infrastructure, restaurant menu's and productivity.

Happy Friday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Yes We Can!!...Pass a $787 Billion Dollar "Stimulus" (Pork) Package...

Sorry for the long post..

John Boehner, House Minority Leader Today on the floor of the house...

Democrats Delay Bill Release to Conceal Details (via Drudge)

  • How about this for Transparency....I support Stimulus, but this is not Stimulus.. For those of you who want to stay informed and hear the hype and platitudes of BHO.
  • Not even the President himself knows what's in this Bill... They are claiming transparency, how can they be transparent when they finalize a Bill literally under cover of darkness and release it with little debate.
Get the facts...

  • Link to the House appropriations's comittee website, unlike BHO's website which is still in campaign/propaganda mode this website is purely 100% factual and updated by congressional comittee

Highlights...But of course to Blind BHO Supporters, I am just being a racist right wing hate monger...

  • There’s $2 billion for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s FutureGen near-zero emissions power plant project
  • $300 million for “green” golf carts for government workers
  • $30 million for “smart appliances”
  • $65 million for digital TV coupons
  • $9 billion for school construction was added back in (originally cut )
  • $5 billion was added to the state fiscal stabilization fund (originally cut)
  • $1 billion was added back for Prevention & Wellness Programs, including STD education
  • $2 billion for neighborhood stabilization program
  • Neighborhood stabilization” according to Michelle Malkin is "slush fund money [that] will end up in the pockets of left-wing shakedown artists such as ACORN and the Massachusetts-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), led by self-proclaimed “bank terrorist” Bruce Marks"
  • There’s an additional $3.25 billion in HUD grants and Community Development Block Grants
  • $2 billion for the National Parks Service

The good news is, not a single Republican in the house voted for the Bill. In FACT, 7 Dems voted No. So again, opposition to the bill was actually bi-partisan, Support was not...But annointed President will get credit, somehow, for being bi-partisan. Almost all the Senate Republican's voted NO except for a couple of turn coats (Collins, Snow and Specter). When this Bill fails to stimulate the economy, and it will fail, this can be 100% hung around the dems necks.

  • - This is a copy of the Executive Summary. Much easier read, funniest part. Last bullet in Section I of page 2 under "Unprescedented Accountability" says... "There are no earmarks in this Bill". If you read the whole section, you will see there is no accountability. But the title sounds good! When you add up the last section of page 2 under "Modernize, Roads Bridges and Water Ways" we are only spending $93 Billion in infrastructure, that's about 11% for you Obama Supporters. Wasn't infrastructure the purpose of the bill? It would have been $94B, but they cut $1B yesterday.
  • - This is an oder version of the Bill, its only 647 pages. I reckon if you read about 5 pages you are probably more informed than the average member of congress.
  • Anything good in the Bill, I'll give it some credit. There's about 8 Billion for DOD facilities, but some of that is pork. Funding for Child Support Enforcement (not sure if $1B is needed, but its there). $4B to support hiring of state and local law enforcement, about 13,000 cops for 3 years. Bad News, locale has to pay for fourth year before paying 100% of cost or they can lay them off...

For anyone thinking I am just sour grapes, I opposed Bush's Stim Bill back in May 2008 (approximately $145 Billion) and opposed TARP (1 and 2 were both disasters). There is no urgency here, this is not the Great Depression. We are not even close to the recession of 1981. That was double digit unemployment, inflation and 25% Interest rates. Reagan just took office from Carter. The irony here is...the economy will probably recover on its own within the next 12 months, we are predicting upswings at my company by early 2010. In all of our forecasts, we don't take into account the Govt.! Let me steal one of the Liberal Anti-war terms used last year and especially 2007. I Support the President, but not his policies (remember: I support the Troops, but not the mission)



f-Stop Friday Special for Valentine's Day
New Families:

Just in case you didn’t know…

St. Valentine was a priest who lived and served the church during the two-year reign of Claudius II (268-270 AD). Emperor Claudius was of the opinion that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage. Is it any wonder that he was only emperor for 2 years?

Father Valentine, who had more respect for God’s Laws than for Claudius’, got caught performing marriages in secret and was imprisoned for his “crime.” And sentenced to death. While in jail, it is said he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. He wrote to her faithfully and signed his letters, “From Your Valentine.”

Above picture is the family of our friends, Jim and Kelli. We were privileged to attend their wedding (the second marriage for both) back in December. It was a beautiful wedding and I had the great fun of being able to videotape it for them.

My daughter, Emily was a bridesmaid in a wedding last December. It was one of the nicest weddings I have ever seen.

The bridesmaids all wore the same color (Regency Purple), but the bride was gracious enough to let each one choose her own style. They all looked absolutely lovely! (Especially Emily… well, duh!)

Sarah chose five of her friends to be bridesmaids and Randy had three groomsmen: his dad served as Best Man, his brother and Sarah’s brother were the other Groomsmen. Here is the wedding party:

A note of explanation: Yes, Randy is shorter than his bride because his leg growth is stunted by brittle bone disease and he spends most of his time in a wheel chair. He was, however, able to achieve his goal of walking to the altar. The facts of this condition are irrelevant to Sarah. When the Pastor said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Sarah actually jumped up and down for joy! It was an awesome thing to see.

The night before the wedding, Emily stopped my heart when she came to me and said, “Will you be able to help me with my hair tomorrow?” Now, folks; I own one comb and a blow dryer, so you know hair styling is NOT one of my God-given talents. I made an emergency call to my friend Joani, who graciously carved out an hour or so to fix Em’s hair. Don’t you think she looks beautiful?

Here she is with Randy and his First Wife:

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you and your Valentines!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Great Wall Photo's...
Its 6 am Wednesday and I've been up for two hours. Got back from China about 4:30 pm central. I was tired enough to fall asleep at 11:30 pm. But I was stupid not to take an adjusting sleeping pill despite my fatigue. Result, wide awake at 4 am.
These pics are better than my camera phone pics. Janell, it was great talking to you.

I forgot what this section of the wall was called, something like Mui Tang Yu (Phonetic Spelling). Its about an hour ride NW of Beijing, I took a car there Sunday Morning (Sat night US) Feb 8th. Once there you take a ski lift about 500 feet up to the wall, once there you are free to walk about 4 miles in either direction. I chose to walk West, since I did East on my first visit. The wall is very steep at some points, the pics barely capture that. One point was more like a ladder than a wall. Once you are ready to leave, you have three choices. You can walk down, take the lift down or toboggan. I chose the toboggan run. What a blast, its very quiet up there sur-real and beautiful. Makes you think about home. Once you are off the wall, that all goes away quickly. The local vendors are very very pushy. I bought very little there because they are so pushy, I'd rather pay and can afford higher prices some where else. This is all relative, higher prices mean $4 rather than $2 for certain souvenirs. All in all, a productive business trip. The wall was a bonus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OSM readers get two-fers today. The first is from Joe:

Is this the Change we can believe in?

Yes we can? While in China, I am unable to make posts to OSM. Its probably due to the Chinese censoring. At any rate, couple of interesting stories. So I emailed this to Janell and she is posting it for me. (Note from Janell: I can't seem to get Joe's live links to post, although I was able to download the texts of the stimulous package and the TARP bill from his eamil. Your really ought to track them down and have a look.)

1. Obama Bumps head on Marine One. Remember when Bush did this? Remember the media Frenzy and the so called analysts and die hard liberals saying that this was just another sign of how stupid Bush is? How out of touch he is and how he is in his own little world, so much so that he doesn't think he can bump his head? Now, Obama bumps his little old head and you barely hear a peep from the news. Enjoy!

2. Speaking of Obama and headache's, I assume all of you have heard something about the so called "Stimulus Bill". I've been able to follow it closely, especially with extra time on my hands. Have any of you ever read a version of a senate or House Bill? Well, if you never have allow me to help. I found the bill and actually downloaded it. Thought I would post here on OSM for all of you to read. Send it to all of your friends. The file is not that large, despite being 785 pages! Open it up and browse it, here is what I found. I literally could not stop reading this thing, its amazing how dumb it reads! Below is the table of contents (for any Obama voters reading this, those are Roman Numerals before each title). You have to read how some of the money is being sent. Its crazy!. This is not a stimulus package! As you read the table of contents below or the actual document itself, you'll notice billions upon billions of dollars appear to be going to existing programs. Most I never heard of. If we are simply maintaining a program, how is this stimulus? This is spending $800 Billion dollars of your tax money! Oh yeah, and while I was at it, just for fun, I looked up the TARP bill. Its also attached (that's even crazier than the 09 Stimulus Bill)






















2008 TARP Bill.pdf (590KB)

2009 Stimulus Bill.pdf (1301KB)

On Thursday or Friday will post more wonderful pics from Great wall and describe my visit to Beijing!

And here's your Ruby Tuesday offering from Janell:

I don't have grandchildren, but I do have several greatnieces and greatnephews.

This is my greatnephew, Brooks, having a football lesson from my niece,Kim. Aren't they cute?

Catch it, Brooks!

They were here for Thanksgiving.

(No, he didn't catch it that time, but he came awfully darn close!)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joe!!!

My Blog partner Joe B, is celebrating his 36th birthday on the Great Wall. Guess what he had for supper? Yup - Mandarin food.

Joe, when you come to see us in Nebraska, we'll make you a proper Redneck birthday party with smoked brisket, scalloped potatoes, chocolate cake and home made ice cream.

And margaritas... or the spirits of your choice.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Here's one for Shelby:

She came to see what I had for Ruby Tuesday yesterday, and I let her down. So I'm posting one of my favorites from my personal collection. This is Bubba (on the left) and his mother, Jasmine in '99 or so. Today (Feb 4) is the anniversary of the day I had to have Jasmine euthanized, so I was thinking about her today. Here is a poem by Stanley Garrison that I like:

Somewhere, somewhere, in time's own space,
There must be some sweet pastured place.
Where creeks sing on and soft winds blow,
Some Paradise, where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen,
I know great horses live again.

PS Make sure you scroll down and see Joe's post for today, too!
Catchin Up!
Personal & Economic...
How have you all been? Let's catch up shall we? Janell & gang I miss you. I really do! Thanks Giving, Christmas and New Year were great. There is nothing more beutiful than seeing a 2 year old open his christmas gifts. We've been having so much fun with little Joe, its great.

I have been working like crazy since Nov. Basically, I've been deeply involved in restructuing activities. Specifically in Europe and China. This means we have to get our cost in control, the biggest cost is people (and they are expensive over there). I am not proud of it, but if we are top heavy we are top heavy. Lots of people had to go, so that the company can stay afloat. Most were Europeans, so atleast they won't have to worry about Healthcare.

I love it when people say, we need to do the right thing and not lay anyone off. I'll never know how close I came to losing my own job, but I was prepared for it. We also laid off a few folks in North America, I can't profile people who got let go. But there does seem to be less Obama bumper stickers in the parking lot... he he. Don't worry, he'll save them! I can't tell any of you directly what company I work for, but any of you that know Janell can ask via email. Has the economy impacted many of you, I can say it impacted me. I am not happy about it. In December my company announced no raises in 2008 (I know I would have gotten one based on my performance) and no 401K match. This amounts to a 4% Pay cut, really sucks! Bonuses, Gonzo! Tough to get a bonus when you lose a couple hundred million dollars as a division. Some people in our company got / will get their bonuses. Deservingly so I might add, even within companies that lose money there are people that earned bonuses based on their contributions. Hey, atleast we are not using bailout money.

Leaving for Beijing Wednesday, feb 4th. Going for a week, going to really miss little Joe and Heather. Completely un-related note, I got a great bumper sticker for my Hummer. It reads "Carbon Neutral" on the back. Speaking of which, is it cold or what. Somebody call Al Gore, we need some of that warming!

Politics - Ahhh... the juicy stuff.
In case you were wondering, my disappearance was not a direct result of the election. I've been dying to post on all the stuff going on. So much has happened I forgot stuff I wanted to share... How do you all think the annointed one is doin as prez? Am I being racist by making fun of him? Its easy to critisize the man at the top, but its not so easy once you are there! "But give him some time, we should respeect him for atleast 100 days"... Its tradition! I didn't start following politics until after the 2000 election (I voted Gore) and was shocked how people tried to destroy Bush from Day 1. I am not 43's #1 fan, but he was a decent Prez. I am unhappy with him because he went real soft at the end there and paved the way for 44 to nationalize and socialize.
Couple of observations, I am sure you've heard them before...

The Transition:
Bill Richardson had to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary because of a "Pay for Play Scandal" very similar to Govener (former) Blagojevich. Obama's education nominee cannot speak proper grammar. The Treasury nominee doesn't pay taxes. The nominee for attorney general worked in the pardon office under President Clinton and admits/claims he didn't know anything about pardons of terrorists. Obama's top terrorism advisor was involved in a security breach (Sandy Berger). Our new Secretary of State's husband, wild Bill, received dubious monies from the chinese and Saudi's.
The administration in Power:...
By authorizing the closure of Gitmo, we grant terrorists more rights than we gave the Governor of Illinois (I am not defending him here, but the point is valid). That very same day, Obama moved to take away the rights of the unborn by funding abortions overseas. So I guess we value terrorists more than unborn children. Nice! We nominate and confirm a Treasury Secretary who doesn't pay taxes, only to be followed by a Health and Human Services Secretary who evaded his taxes(Daschle) He withdraws under pressure. Then Obama's Chief Performance Officer, whatever that is, withdraws her nomination because she forgot to pay taxes. He pushes a "bi-partisan stimulous package" which is really a pork bill. The $850 infrasturcure bill is only about 10% infrastructure and the rest is pork. It passes the house, but the word "bi-Partisan is mis-leading." Every republican, along with 12 democrats voted against the bill and only Democrats passed the bill. So the bi-partisanship was against the bill not for it!

The president actually said in an interview, that "now is not a time for profits!" He specifically chastizes Rush Limbaugh and comments on a company that spent $1.2 million on a bathroom. What people don't know is that bathroom was actually paid for in Jan of 2008, before the company failed and received any TARP money. Oh by the way, the Obama's hired the same decorator as Merill Lynch to re-decorate the White House. Companies that took government bailouts, Automakers and Banks alike, are all shocked that the Federal government is telling them they can't hand out bonuses and buy jets. I know that sounds crazy to a lot of people, but this is the exact reason we should have let them run into the ground, GM included! So you people that want "free" healthcare, look at the example here. Government "gives" you something, don't think it won't have strings attached!
Nancy Pelosi says that "Family Planning Services" ... Uggh.. Abortions.. actually help control costs. They manage to pass, and Obama signs into law, the new SChip Bill. Makes people feel good, because we are giving free healthcare to "Children". Well, dirty little secret is.. We expanded the definition of Children to 23 Years of age and don't require ID's and illegals can take advanage of the program. We funded this of course by raising the cigarette tax, we all know who this has the biggest impact on. The poor! Did I forget to mention that Barney Frank, House Finance Comittee Chair, said that "free markets don't work". Nice.

I feel better, got a load off with that rant. Will post pictures from China this week. How are you all doing? Sorry I didn't spell check, its late.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Pretty Dala Horses. These live on a power pole in Oakland, Nebraska. Oakland markets itself as "The Swedish Capital of Nebraska." They have a Swedish Festival every other June that's lots of fun to attend - good old Smalltown, USA type fun. The Dala Horses that decorate their main street have their origin in Sweden in the district of (duh!) Dala. I've also heard them called Viking Horses. They aren't all red, but the ones I chose for Ruby Tuesday had to be.

If it doesn't stop snowing pretty soon, I'm going to have to start doing "White Wednesdays!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Isn't this the coolest cup you ever laid eyes on?

Monday, January 19, 2009

What was I like in High School?

(This is for Scarlet. I was afraid it would get too long to put in her comments.)

Around these here parts, High School is grades 9-12, so I’m trying to keep it within those years (1971-1974).

I was pretty lazy when it came to school work. Most of my grades were at least a “C”. One of my science teachers mercifully gave me a “D” one year, even though I didn’t earn it. He was a good enough teacher, I just had some kind of mental block and wouldn’t allow myself to learn his subject. When I went to college in 1985, I earned an “A+” in his subject, which causes me to think that youth is not wasted on the young, but maybe education is. So I wasn’t a brain by any stretch of the imagination.

I was as much of an athlete as they allowed girls to be back then. I did very well in track at the long distances – at least until I started smoking. The longest distance a girl could compete in at that time was the 880. That was when it was still measured in yards, not meters. 880 was twice around the track and I qualified for State one year, where I came in 8th or 9th. I was also on an 880 relay team that still holds the school record. We didn’t have a girl’s basketball team at my school, but we played volleyball. We also qualified for state tournament my Sophomore year and I got to play for a few minutes. I really wasn’t tall enough to be a good spiker and I was too skinny to muster up a power serve. In the summers, I played on a fast-pitch softball team. We weren’t very good. One of the girls’ moms was the coach and I think my mom was her assistant. We mostly just showed up and played.

Another thing I enjoyed competing in was Declam. The Declam team had several categories: poetry, prose, drama, extemporaneous speaking and so on. I did readings in poetry and prose and participated in the drama. Our Declam coach was very liberal minded. We met at his basement apartment for practices and he’d let us smoke. I’m sure he would have gotten into deep trouble if we’d gotten caught.

The thing I most enjoyed was the music activities; I was in Mixed Chorus, Girls Glee, Swing Choir, marching band, pep band and concert band. For as small of a school as we were, we always managed to really kick butt when it came to music competitions. That was always a lot of fun.

I think if you asked any of the 32 people I graduated with about me, they would remember me as kind of a flake. Not really very smart, but fairly good at some things. I remember feeling lonely a lot of times. My dad died when I was 13 and I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with that. I didn’t get into a lot of trouble in High School, but that was because I was good at being sneaky and didn’t get caught.

I’d continue with this and post some of the things I’m ashamed of, but my kids read this once in a while and I’d be embarrassed to have them know certain things about my past.

SO, now it’s someone else’s turn; what were YOU like in High School?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Pomegranate Seeds. I'd never eaten pomegranate before Halloween '08, when Jack brought some home and fixed them for us to eat while we watched our scary movie. ("From Hell" - Johnny Depp starred as a Scotland Yard Inspector who was investigating the Jack the Ripper slayings. Good show.)

Anyway, these seeds are DELICIOUS!

And speaking of "delicious"... have you noticed how many different kind of apples there are to choose from nowadays? I seem to recall, when I was a kid, we could get Red Delicious or Granny Smith at the grocery store. And there were certain seasons of the year (like right now) when the Reds weren't very delicious. They were mostly over-ripe, brown and bitter inside.

Now, at my store we have no fewer than eight varieties to choose from at any given time: Gala, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Pinata, Washingtons, Jonathans and the old standbys Red D. & Granny S. are good year-round. And I'm pretty sure I've left out a couple of other varieties that actually have seasons.

My, how the times they are a'changin'....

Friday, January 02, 2009

f-Stop Friday

It's frightfully cold here!

This ol' boy has surely seen better days!