Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday December 21, 2009...Nearing the end

I don't write nearly as often as I did. I'm not as mad as I was when the Iraq war was in full swing. I know that the Afghan war is coming to the forefront and growing day by day, but I don't feel quite as angry about it as I did about the Iraq war. Maybe you become desensitized after a bit? Maybe I'm just hopeful that we have a reasonable man in charge right now. It does seem that he is trying to help the common person and isn't quite the elitist that we had to endure. President Obama didn't come into this world with a silver spoon in his mouth and he knows what most of the people are feeling about the events that affect us all. I hope that he will let that knowledge guide him in his decision making and not let the few and special interests control our politics.

I was starting to get angry about this health care initiative being boycotted completely by the Republicans in spite of the majority of the population wanting it, but now that the Democrats are trying their best to work around the blockade of the special interests and big money, maybe we can all be less agitated and feel better about things.

It's the end of a rough year for the economy and the job market, but the Iraq war seems to be less of a commitment for our boys and there seems to be some movement towards a better future for the world. Let's hope that peace will come and that prosperity will return and that health will be assured for each and every one of us.

Merry Christmas and a Hopeful Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday December 13, 2009...It's a wonderful life!

It's that time of the year when they show that classic movie “It's A Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart. You remember that the angel came down when Jimmy contemplated suicide and showed him how the world would have turned out if Jimmy had never been born. It was a real eye opener for Jimmy and he came to accept the trials and tribulations set before him because they were offset by many of the good things in life. The angel earned his wings and it was a Merry Christmas, except for the mean old banker.

It really is a wonderful life for all of us if we accept the problems that arise as something to overcome and not as something to overwhelm us. It's the only life we will ever have and you really need to look at the glass as half full, not as half empty. I've always considered that you basically have the choice at each interval of your life on which way to go and if the way you chose doesn't turn out as expected, it was still your choice and it is still your choice whether to continue on or to change course. You can't mope and fret over decisions that turned out bad – you just have to accept and head out in a new direction perhaps with a new plan. Many of us set out in life to become one thing and then through consequences of decisions and outside influences we become something else. It takes some strength of character to continue on in the new direction and make the most of what you have.

Whatever brought me through life to this point has made me the way I am and I can't change the past. But, I have total control of what I do in the future. I truly believe that life is a gift and I don't intend to squander the days or years that I have left. I want to make the rest of my life a wonderful life.

Watch the movie.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009...It's about time

It's nice when a plan comes together or a program runs correctly.

I bought a portable computer last year with Windows Vista on it. I didn't like Vista at all, so I reformatted the hard drive and installed Windows XP as the operating system. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line my portable lost the ability to communicate with the on board dvd drive and the wireless internet connection. This last week I installed Windows 7 on the portable to see how it would work. It works well, but it feels different and looks different, so it is a bit confusing. The one really neat thing about 7 is that it automatically recognizes and initiates all the peripherals on board. I now have the dvd drive back and the wireless internet. The program seems to run most of the programs I had on XP, so there doesn't seem to be much problem yet. I'll need to find my way around with the new system and I'm sure that there will be some programs that won't work with 7 like they did with XP. Overall, it's been a GOOD thing to install Windows 7 on this portable.

I'll wait a bit before installing 7 on my main computer, but it's looking more probable as time goes along.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday October 27, 2009....A Poem

Earth Song
of the Native American Flute

You whisper to the wood
and my heart hears the song.
It is the wind coming down the mountain.
It is the clouds flying across the sky.

The song is the breath of sunset
and the ripple of the mountain stream.
It is the Aspen leaves fluttering in the breeze
and the prairie grass bending in the wind.

I listen to the whisper of the wood
and it sings to my heart
of another place and another time
when the spirits of the land were at peace.

It is a song I yearn to hear
and a song not heard enough.
It is a song of nature before man
when the earth had its own song.

You whisper to the wood
and we hear the earth song.
It sings to our hearts
and brings us peace.

Robert H Pflanz

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday October 17, 2009...Healthcare

I got together with some long time friends the other night. I was disappointed and frankly a bit dismayed when I heard their opinions about some of the negotiations going on in Washington right now. Apparently not everyone is as enthused as I am with the hope for universal health coverage coming to the forefront. In my opinion, we are severely lacking in providing healthcare for our citizens and one of the few industrialized countries that doesn't supply it. To my way of thinking a healthy, educated public will help to maintain our world status and will payback any initial cost with better jobs and less illness. Our current system denies basic healthcare and higher education to people who can't afford it and we, as a nation, lose out on that potential. If we maintained the health of our people and gave them education through college or vocational training we would have a happier, healthier and productive society. My friends hate to see the government step in, but the system isn't working without their involvement. We can see our competitors gaining and bypassing us as our present system takes more and more of our dollars to maintain our health. If we leave it up to the insurance lobby and the healthcare industry and the pharmacy companies we will end up with higher and higher costs and less and less coverage (which is what is happening across the country right now). The government needs to step in. Some of my friends seem to be perfectly happy with the status quo and don't want to change what we have. They are worried that the government will somehow mess it all up and end up costing us more than it already does. What we have now doesn't work for many millions of us and is costing us way too much of our production and it is steadily increasing way beyond our ability to keep it under control. Change is inevitable and should be welcomed and monitored.

I see basic health care as something that we, as a people, should provide to ourselves and should use our government as our tool to administer it for us. In this country, we are the government. We choose who we want to represent us and can tell them what we want and don't want. The government is not some nebulous entity that exists without our direction. We actually do have some say in what happens in our country.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday October 15, 2009...It's already Fall

Here it is the middle of October already. I don't know that I'm ready for the cooler weather. We actually had a very mild summer and when I was out in Colorado last month it got downright cool. There was snow in the high country and the Aspen has turned already. I'm including some nice pictures of the Aspen and mountains. The altitude takes away your breath (or is it the beauty of the mountains?). In any event, I can't romp around in the high country like I could years ago. I'm really glad that I have those memories to look back on. Now I enjoy just sitting back by the fire and viewing the clouds and the mountains. It's peaceful and quiet when you get up there and there are few, if any, people around. During the summer, there are lots of people and during the winter, there are lots of skiers and snowmobilers. But in the fall, the few people you see are there just to observe and enjoy. It was nice to get away from the constant political arguments and the sorry business climate and just be one with nature. Now it's time to get out the Christmas jack-o=lantern and the Thanksgiving yule log and prepare for all the sales. Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wednesday September 9, 2009...Summer ends

School has started and the weather is getting cooler. Congress is back from vacation and hopefully ready to deal with the needs of the nation. Tonight the President addresses a joint session of congress and hopefully will start the ball rolling on getting a national health care system instead of the hodge-podge we now have.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to getting out to the Rocky Mountains for a couple of weeks of camping. The aspen should be ready to turn and it should be before any major snow, so traveling on the backroads should be well worth while. I haven't been to the mountains for a few years and I've missed the peace and quiet of the mountains. Their ancient timelessness permeates your soul and you come away completely refreshed. It is as if time has stopped out there in the mountains and the ravages of civilization haven't touched some of the high country. You are seeing what the ancient indians saw hundreds of years ago and the wonder of nature still exists.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday August 30, 2009 ...Pass it on

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 44 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled
over to 90 in August, so here goes:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Save for retirement, starting with your first paycheck.
9. Love your parents because they will be gone before you know it.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
11. It's OK to let your children see you cry
12. Don't compare your life to others'.. You have no idea what their journey is
all about.
13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
14. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
15. Take a deep breath......It calms the mind.
16. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
17. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
18. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
19. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
20. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion..Today is special.
21. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
22. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
23. The most important sex organ is the brain.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
34. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
35. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday August 18, 2009...Depressed

I'm a bit depressed today.

Okay, I'll admit that I now lean to the liberal side of the aisle. I was originally a young Republican with belief in Eisenhower and Nixon and Goldwater. But, once Reagan and Bush (the elder)had their 12 years of trickle down tripling of the national debt and reshuffling of the financial strength away from the middle class to the wealthy and crushing of the unions, I saw the light. Trickle down doesn't work. When the wealthy get more money, they tend toward either conspicuous consumption or hoarding. There is not the sharing of the wealth and reinvesting of the capital as was expected. Instead of replenishing our industrial might, it was outsourced to cheaper labor markets and the middle class was ignored.

Now I'm getting angry. The Democrats won the majority in the house and the senate as well as the presidency and still they cower before the strength of the special interests. Right now is the time for us to join the other nations with a national health plan which should include a public option if not a complete one payer system, but our elected representatives are shying away from what the public needs in favor or what the special interests want. The insurance lobby and the drug lobby have poured millions and millions of dollars into the coffers of the elected officials and into television and ads trying to brainwash us all into actually believing that our broken health system is better than all the other countries in the world have come up with. We DO pay much more per capita for health care than any other country, but we do not have anywhere close to the best health than most of the industrialized countries in the world. We have people going bankrupt and dying because they cannot afford basic health care or insurance. This would not happen in most of the other industrialized countries. I guess I remember when we were among the leaders of the world. We are slipping away and will probably eventually end up second-rate with sharp divisions of the people into the wealthy and the workers. Maybe it's too late to change – our leaders are reacting to the pressure from the wealthy power and not to the wishes of the people. Shades of the Roman Empire when it was beginning to lose it's grandeur. I suppose that the United States has had it's run of power, much like Spain did and France did and Germany did and England did. It appears that China will be the next great power and we will have to give up being the king of the hill. The rich are taking their money and running to other countries now. Off shore accounts and offices in other countries are becoming the norm and we will just be the tenants to the new landlords.

I really had hopes after the last election, but it looks like everything had slipped too far down for us to stop the slide. The future will be interesting, but perhaps not as bright as the past. Depressing, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday August 11, 2009...Thoughts about healthcare and education

I've seen major changes in the medical field during my lifetime.
When I was a child doctors still made house calls and hospitals were only used for major illness or surgery. Doctors weren't terribly rich, many lived in the same neighborhood where I grew up. Hospitals were mostly run by churches or charitable organizations. Doctor bills and hospital bills weren't something to be feared, they just had to be paid as they were needed. Health insurance didn't exist for most people at that time. In fact I never had health insurance till after my daughters were born. When my first daughter was born in 1964 the doctor's charge was $150.00 and the hospital bill for 7 days stay was $150.00. At the time, I made $475.00 per month, so it wasn't too much of a burden.
Back then, the doctor's I knew were more interested in the Hippocratic Oath and patient care than the money. It was an honorable profession and the doctor was greatly admired.

We had an adequate educational system back then too. Anyone with a high school education was capable of obtaining work and providing for their family. Our education system was among the best in the world and the education that we received prepared us for the world that existed then. We have slipped way down the ladder compared to our foreign competition. Our students lack the education that will prepare them to compete with those in other countries.

Something has gone way out of whack since then. We have people unable to afford basic medical care in our United States and the whole fabric of the medical field has become obsessed with money. Everyone is worried about everyone else filing suits against each other. We have turned away from helping others to protecting what we have. In the parable of The Good Samaritan, we have become a people matching those who passed by not wanting to become involved. We have become rude and uncaring for those who have less. It is a sad thing to see, because I remember when people were actually polite and cared about others.

At this time, with the way people and things are, I believe the only solution is to have the government involved in the providing of care and education of our people. We can see what has happened when we left it up to the conscience of the good people of this country. We now have a country of the haves and the have-nots and those with the most don't seem to want to help those with the least. Our medical system has fallen way below adequate and our educational system is slipping farther and farther below the norm. The only way we can pick ourselves up by the bootstraps is to unite behind our government and assure equal opportunity, equal education and equal medical care for all of us. Those who have more can still get more than the rest of us, because they can afford the best, but for the good of our country and our own future we need to insure that our people are healthy and educated.

I'm not one to shout and protest. I usually quietly accept the mandate of the electorate and assume that all of us are in the same boat working together. I have lately decided that this assumption is no longer accurate. We are divided and the division is widening with each year that passes and our government seems to be one of special interests and influenced too much by those interests. More and more of the quiet, silent majority of us are becoming disappointed with what has been happening and we are looking for someone who cares about us and works for us. Right now the contentious loud-mouthed wing nuts are shouting down the voices of reason and the rest of us are quietly seething.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday August 4, 2009...Generations

My grandson informed me the other night that I was no longer an adult – I was now a senior. His parents are adults and he is a junior. I got the impression that he didn't believe seniors were quite aware of how the world works – that is in the realm of adults. I think he believes that seniors and juniors are about equal and should listen to the adults.

Unfortunately, much of society thinks along these same lines as they dismiss the wealth of information available from seniors who have been through the wringer and have very clear views of how to handle many of the situations that people now find themselves in. We seniors have been there and done that and have some valuable insight in how to handle a situation that may be new to the adults out there.

What do you know?
Your world was different from my world.
Your opinion doesn't carry as much weight as my attitude.

It seems that each generation must stumble it's way through the same problems that we have already passed through and won't listen to advice given from those older and more experienced. It really is a shame.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday July 27, 2009...Summer

Summer's almost gone!

It's near the end of July and school starts before the middle of August this year, so it is almost gone.

We've had a very cool year compared to previous summers. Our highs lately have only been in the 80s instead of 100s. My Wyoming daughter and her husband don't know what they are missing. Summers in Wyoming may get up near 100, but they remain very dry. Here in Kansas City we usually get the 100s with a whole lot of humidity. But this year has been special. We're still having to mow the grass once a week. The grass hasn't gone dormant and continues to be a lush green. Our garden is growing like crazy without the mid summer droop. I'm not knocking it, I'm just amazed that it continues.

It will probably get really hot just after school starts. Until then, I'm just going to continue to enjoy this wonderful summer, while it lasts.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Saturday July 4, 2009...Summer holidays

Independence day and memories of other summers go hand in hand. I remember so many warm summer days in my childhood. On the fourth we would wake up early so we could start setting off the ladyfinger firecrackers. We always bought the big package of firecrackers and separated the string into individual firecrackers so we could set them off one by one. After lighting the punk we would place the firecrackers in voids in the mortar between the stones in the stone columns supporting the corners of the front porch. Each void would act as a little cave for the cracker to blow out of. They weren't extremely loud, but a lot of fun. Sometimes the fuse wouldn't work, so we would break the firecracker in half and set the powder off so it would fizzle and scoot around on the concrete. The world was filled with the sounds of firecrackers on the fourth of July. Sparklers and snakes were popular too, but not as much fun. We never got into the larger fireworks (too expensive and too quickly gone). We would have loved bottle rockets but they came along much later - the closest thing to them were the roman candles, but they only shot off 6 or 7 times before burning out.

Summers were pretty hot and nobody had air conditioning. You tried to spend your days outside under the trees. We would turn on the lawn sprinkler and run back and fourth through the cool water. When we were really small, mom would set out one of the wash tubs (a large galvanized metal tub about 2 feet in diameter and maybe 18 inches deep) filled with cool water that we could sit in. One summer, it got so hot that dad brought home one of the industrial fans from the bakery and we set a wash tube with a block of ice in it in front of the fan and just sat back and felt the cool moist air rush past us. On the really hot summer evenings, we would make up a sleeping roll and sleep out on the porch. Later, when I was a teenager, dad put in an attic fan and we would open the windows by the beds and the attic fan would exhaust the warm house air and suck in the cooler outside air over the beds. By morning, the cool air would force us under the blankets. About the only places in town with air conditioning were the movie theaters (maybe a few drugstores). We could go to the movies and sit through a double feature for about a dime and spend another 15 cents on popcorn and candy and enjoy hours of cool entertainment. Every Sunday the folks would drop off my sister and I at the designated movie and then pick us up after the shows in 3 to 4 hours. It gave everyone a break.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday June 27, 2009...Thoughts about Facebook

We all think our thoughts are not exciting enough to write about and our past adventures are not interesting enough for other people to read. We don't have the thrilling adventures that are made into movies or written about in mystery novels. But, after reading some of the thoughts and adventures of my fellow classmates in our reunion memory book, I decided that we are all wrong. What may seem normal and humdrum and dull to one person will seem extremely interesting to another. The places people have been and the sites they have seen and the people they have met open up new windows for the rest of us to view. You find yourself living in the high desert or near the coast and the ordinary daily living experiences are unique to your location and interesting to the flatlanders in the middlewest. I can't get too excited about Twitter or Facebook and the little notes about our everyday living, but when someone describes a walk through the mountains or a stroll along the beach or mentions the fog rolling in from the sea, it activates my mind and draw pictures for me.

So, even though I've signed onto Facebook and Twitter and other sites, I will devote most of my thoughts and energies to this blog. It's a place where I can vent my feelings and communicate my innermost thoughts to anyone who is willing to visit. It's a place where I can paint a few pictures with words and perhaps take others with me to view a long lost thought or memory. It may not deal with the everyday actions that we all must do, but it will delve a bit deeper and tell a bit more about the real me that resides within this shell of a man.

Besides, my everyday adventures aren't always things to talk about. Who wants to hear about someone lounging around eating bon-bons?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday June 21, 2009...HOORAY!


Hip, hip, hooray! I finally finished all 100+ copies of the DVD for the reunion. It took a bit longer than I anticipated. Assembling the finally submitted pictures took 4-5 days to label, sort and insert, then it took 5 days to make the copies and insert into labeled disk jackets. But it is all done now. Tomorrow I will take them to the post office and send them on their way.

It's good to finish a big project like this. It reminds me of the time it took to bid the larger construction projects I used to bid. Sometimes you would spend a month preparing the takeoff, pricing and bidding a project. Then if you won, you would spend the better part of a year managing the scheduling, purchasing and completion of the work. I've been working on this project since last October and now I feel that all the work has led to a successful conclusion. It will be quite a while before I tackle anything quite so time consuming again, but it was a project I felt good in doing. It brought back a lot of memories.

So today is Father's day and I will take the day off and enjoy having no timetable or schedule to follow. It will be a peaceful day and I can now think back about the reunion and even have time to view the memory book that we received at the reunion.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Saturday June 20, 2009...Different worlds

It was so nice getting together with all my friends and acquaintances from high school at the reunion. The one thing I especially noted was that we were all from the same background and carried many of the same childhood values throughout our lives.

Life is so different now and the patience and understanding and values that we developed during our childhood after World War 2 are so very different from the values of later generations. We grew up with a different attitude because many of our parents had experienced the great depression and the World War. We were made to appreciate the value of simple things and to make them last. We did not grow up in a “throw away” world. There were no fast food restaurants. In fact without microwaves and dishwashers cooking and cleaning in our world took time and care. Many of us grew up without air conditioning and without television, so ours was an outdoor world and a world where your imagination created the playing field. Our smaller houses without many labor saving devices were where the family came together each evening for supper. After supper, in our house, the kids did the dishes. Mom had enough to do just cooking and cleaning and washing clothes and ironing clothes and grocery shopping, so the kids had to help clean on Saturdays before they could listen to the radio and did the dishes every evening. The only time we ever ate out at restaurants was when we went on vacation. Other than that, we had potluck dinners with church and scouts and relatives. It was a “make do” world with decent home values. It felt good to be with other people from the same background and similar values. We seemed to understand each other.

My kids and grandson don't understand the importance of making things last and repairing and attempting to keep operating those things that they would just throw away. They have a hard time staying away from the fast food chains and preparing simple meals at home from scratch. Theirs has been a world of prepared foods and throw away and grab a bite. Sitting down to supper with the family is a novel idea to them and a world without television makes them shudder.

I guess life goes on at a different pace, but I feel more comfortable with the simpler life that I grew up with.

Friday June 19, 2009...How hot is it?

How hot is it, you ask. Outside the heat index has been up in the mid 100s (like 104). That's hot, especially for springtime. Summer starts next week and it promises to be a warm summer.

I've been slaving over a hot computer day and night copying DVDs. Actually the computer has been running hot, since it hasn't been off for days and it occasionally hiccups from the heat and won't let me shut it down. I have to unplug it and let it cool down with a nice refreshing drink and then start up again and reload the program and start all over again. The word to use at that juncture is fratersmashing-vritzilsmittzen!! It doesn't mean anything, but you feel better after saying it.

At least it's nice and cool in the house while I'm copying, ..copying, ...copying....

Excuse me, I had a hiccup myself there for a minute. Life can be exciting sometimes and at other times it can be repetitious. The good thing is that most of the DVD blanks are good. You always end up with a few that, due to manufacturing defects, won't allow themselves to be written to. Some of the off-brands will have 25% bad. The really good ones may have 2-3% bad. It just comes with the mass production.

Once I get through with the 100 copies, I'll shut down the computer and take off the case and give it a good airing out with blasts of air (to eliminate dust - helps the machine run cooler and prevents arcing).

I'm babbling a bit, am I not? I guess I'm just thrilled with sitting here waiting for the next copy to finish, to finish, to finish.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday June 14, 2009...Company Picnic

I meant to publish this on Sunday, but Sunday got away from me and now it's Monday. Time has a way of doing that when you're retired and lazy, like me.

Saturday was a reunion day for me when I dropped by Builders Steel annual company picnic. It was so good to see the folks there. It's been 5 years since I retired, but many of the people that I worked with are still at Builders. It's like a family firm where people will spend their entire working life at that one organization. I started work at Builders when I was still in college in 1960 and worked there, off and on, till retiring at the end of 2003. Many of the folks have been there for 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years. It's a good company of people working together. You don't see that too often anymore. Greed has invaded so many organizations and the welfare of the people working together has been forgotten. Builders Steel still maintains the old ethic that we are all in this together and all are important. It really is like family when you get together again. There are only a few people there now that were there when I first started, so the company of people has changed over the years, but the atmosphere is still the same.

I can only complement the remaining people at Builders and say "Keep up the good work". You'll always feel good about yourself when you share your efforts with your fellow workers and look out for each other. Thanks.

Monday June 14, 2009...Whew!!

Whew is a great word. It's an exclamation and a sigh combined. It's like letting the air out of your tires after a long hard day and you flatten out on the cool damp concrete and just lie there.
I'm getting to that point and close to that exclamation. I didn't realize that so many people would take their cameras to the reunion and take so many pictures. I've been trying to label each person in each photo and add it to the reunion video before I can finalize the video and then make one hundred copies to mail out. I thought I could easily add the photos from the photographer in an hour or so and then add a few individual pictures to that. Right now there have been about 300 pictures that have come through and there are more to come. So far I've spent about 3-4 days labeling pictures and adding to the video. Once I finalize the video, it will take me about 4 full days to make the copies and mail them (you make one copy at a time - about 20 minutes each). That isn't difficult, you just have to be there every 20 minutes to start a new one and package the old one.

I've enjoyed the experience, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of doing this. I had assembled a video story for Dad's funeral and my daughter's wedding and a few other events, but they weren't quite as elaborate and time consuming as this. I want to make this right and enjoyable for everyone, so I'm trying my best to make sure that no mistakes are evident and that the music is enjoyable. Right now the video is within 5 minutes(video time) of being full, which means there is room for about 30 more pictures and then it will be cut-off time or else there will have to be a lot of shuffling of photos to squeeze in any additional.

Anyway, it will be good to complete the project and move on to less laborious retirement activities like blogging. All those on the reunion list, enjoy the video!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday June 9, 2009...Grandchildren can be a joy

What a pleasure grandchildren can be, especially when they show a bit of their true nature. Kids at the age of 10 are not known to be unselfish and are generally concerned only with things that immediately affect them. It's no surprise to most of us older people when they try to wangle and twist words around in their favor. They aren't lying or cheating (they are being creative and crossing their fingers).

My grandson calls me Grandpa Bob. Yesterday, without coaxing or even suggesting, he came up to me and said “Grandpa Bob, the kitchen floor is sure getting dirty. Can I mop it for you?”. I have a wonderful looking white linoleum floor in the kitchen (never again) which shows every little speck of dust, footprints, spilled ketchup, etc and has to be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week with intermittent moppings. It's a constant problem with young children and pets around. When Zachary volunteered and then followed through doing a great job, it really impressed me. Later he helped me count out some pills, asking me what each one was for and was generally a fine young gentlemen. I know that this won't happen everyday, but it was so nice to see him care enough to help without anyone forcing him to do it. A real insight into the type of person he may become. I'm looking forward to his development in the years to come.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday June 7, 2009...Reunion thoughts

Well. the last function of the 50th reunion of our graduating high school class just finished. It was a grand weekend and good to see all the older youths from my past. It was especially sweet to share hugs and kisses with all the beautiful women of our class. It's amazing to me that the years have treated them all so kindly and they have matured into really beautiful women externally as well as internally. The guys are the same fellows that I grew up with in older bodies, but still great friends to spend time with. The years melted away and the time apart disappeared. We shared memories and I was amazed to find out that they had developed such depth of character and thought. I could have spent days talking with each one and enjoyed every moment.

Life is so precious, especially when you can share time with friends.

I just want to tell all those friends from long ago that you are still my friend and I enjoy your company. I hope that we can at least communicate and that it won't be so long until I see you again. I hope that each and every one of you will drop me an email when you have a chance. I will respond.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saturday June 6, 2009...Reunion

Last night we held our first reunion get together at the Union Station. It was a success, but way too short. Not nearly enough time to see and chat with all the long lost friends from long ago. Tonight we get together for a dinner/dance and hopefully have enough time to actually visit with my friends. It's hard to catch up on fifty years of living in just a few moments of conversation. I must say that everyone there last night was comfortably friendly and we all felt a closeness from the years that we spent together in our youth. Some of us were more successful than others of us and some of us weathered the years better than some of us, but we are all survivors and come from a common background of a gentler and more peaceful time. We can all see that the world has changed and not all the changes were good, but we feel lucky that we had the years and experiences that we did.

Tonight should be a great time for all our Paseo friends from long ago.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday May 3, 2009...Comments?

Okay, out there - all you many people who sometimes read my blog! I need some comments. I mean really real comments that completely agree or completely disagree with what I've said. The question is whether a tree that falls in the woods without anyone around will make a sound. Is the sound only in the ear of the beholder? Am I writing to a vacuum and there is nobody listening?

If I'm the only one reading what I write, then I will most often completely agree with myself. And I generally am right! But, if someone will point out the error of my ways, I won't hate them. Especially if they can show me where I have really gone wrong – maybe they can set me on the right path again and life will be beautiful once more.

Come on, make my day!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday May 1, 2009...Stories

We all have our stories.

I just now published Dad's Story on Blurb. It was a collection of memories he wrote down about his childhood in Wichita, Kansas. I wanted to preserve his memories for my grandson and other folks in our family. My story is still incomplete but ongoing. Each of us has his or her share of memories, sweet or sad, that have affected his or her life. Often we just carry on and let the stories pass away. It would be better for some of these stories to be written down and passed along to those who care so that they could better understand who we are and why we are the way we are.

We influence so many other people in our lives and if those people care to really understand us, it would help to know the underlying factors that brought us to be who we have become. Some stories may be dull. Others may be highly fraught with doom and disaster. Each story bears telling.

If you're like me, you have put off writing down your memories of childhood and young adulthood. It seems like it was just the other day, but it was another world back then before so many changes in society. Our descendants should know what life was really like back then, before the advent of all the discoveries that changed our world.

I'm going to get to my story one of these days.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday April 23, 2009...Wishing life away

How often have we wished?

I wish Christmas would get here.
I wish that we didn't have to go back to school.
I wish that I didn't have to go to school today.
I wish that summer would never end.
I wish that I was old enough to drive.
I wish that I was old enough to date.
I wish that I was old enough to stay out late.
I wish that I was old enough to go to the bars.
I wish I was 16.
I wish I was 18.
I wish I was 21.
I wish I could do that.
I wish this workday was over.
I wish it was the weekend.
I wish I could retire early.
I wish I had done that.
I wish I hadn't done that.
I wish I had my health back.
I wish I was a little kid again.
I wish I had it to do all over again.

We wish our lives were different, but we don't take the steps to change it.

We ignore the days of our youth and health and wish for a brighter future while we let the years pass without notice. We let the days pass, because we consider them dull and repetitive and set our sights on the future days that may be brighter and different.

Each day can be exciting. Each day can be a new adventure. Each day we can learn something new. We just need to focus on the moment we are right now living and find the joy and excitement and adventure that can be found right there in front of us. Until we grasp the concept that this moment in time, right now, is all we have control of, we will continue to slide through our lives without living the moment - and we will end up looking back wishing that we had it to do all over again.

Enjoy now.
Find the beauty.
Find the joy.
Build the memory.
Live your life.

Don't wish it away.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thursday April 9, 2009...What's in a name?

I was thinking about April.

The month of April is upon us and a fine month it hopes to be. I got to thinking about where the name April came from. This thought got me to thinking of where many words come from. Did someone pluck the work out of the air and say April is a nice sounding name for this time of year? Or did it have some hidden meaning that corresponds to the time of the year and who gave it the name. Many names are chosen by people just for the sound associated with the action. I think other names are chosen to confuse us or to distinguish us. Where did some of the biblical names come from like Zachariah and Ezekial? Why would you hang such a name on a poor baby? Now my name Bob is a simple name and has no hidden meaning - it's just easy to say and easy to write and easy to remember - so I can see why it was invented. I looked to the dictionary for some help finding out where April came from.

It turns out that many of the names of the months referred to gods and goddesses from Greek and Roman religions. April was named for the goddess Venus or Aphrodite, the fertility goddess. So any of you people named April better watch out. At least you have a loving name unlike March - named for the god of war Mars.

If you ever have some spare time with nothing better to do, look up some favorite words in the dictionary and find out where they came from and what they originally meant - it's interesting.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wednesday April 1, 2009...Age and Beauty

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.

I sat in a meeting the other day with some beautiful older women. I say older – I mean women the same age as me. None of us are the teenage heart throbs we once were, but we have all aged nicely and have survived. These lovely ladies were casting disparaging remarks about their age and beauty. They seem to have no idea of how beautiful they have become. It's true their bodies have matured and show some of the wear and tear that accompany age, but they have also gained the classic beauty that only comes from wisdom and self-assurance. If you observe the fashion magazines who are only interested in youth and temporary beauty, you would only associate the standards of beauty with those characteristics they promulgate. There is an inner beauty that only comes with time and experience that none of those icons of the magazines can emulate. These ladies in the meeting were self assured and knew who they were and what they wanted out of life. They knew what clothing they were most comfortable in and dressed appropriately. They knew how they preferred to wear their hair and makeup to please their own self image. I suppose that people who are comfortable with themselves are more natural and their personalities sparkle. The years have passed since these women were teenagers and yet they carry the spark of youth still. The total image that they produced was one of classic beauty.

I was the beholder at the meeting and I saw beauty all around me. It was great!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday March 31, 2009...Watch out for the worm

What's the matter with me?

I sit up and notice that days and days have gone by since last I posted my thoughts. It isn't that I've been devoid of thoughts - maybe it's just that I'm thoughtless?
Anyway, I know that all of you out there are just hanging on by a thread, waiting for my next thrilling installment of the adventures of Bob. Maybe "hanging on" isn't the proper thought - maybe barely surviving or patiently waiting, or hadn't even noticed?

In any event the days slip by faster now than they used to and I have been busy revising the video show I'm preparing for my high school reunion. I've had to overhaul it several times so that it would accept additional photos and let me install a menu, etc. Now that I have it ready to finalize they tell me that there is a WORM out there ready to destroy all the computers in the world, so I have to back up all data to sources that can't be corrupted.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it's really been great having younger members of the family around to help handle the heavy loads and such. By sharing the chores, it makes life easier for all of us. It's been a real pleasure sharing our home. The only thing I have to watch out for is to avoid being the parent. I'm the grand parent and don't have the responsibility for my grandson. It's my job to help spoil him whenever I get the chance and to leave all the upbringing to his parents. Sometimes it's hard to swallow your tongue and keep silent as they choose different methods than you might choose - but that is their right and responsibility. All those years of wisdom that you've accumulated aren't always appreciated, so you have to keep quiet and let people find their own way. I imagine my folks did much the same as I was stumbling my way through parenthood. Such is life. Other than that, I highly recommend the melding of generations withing one household. We can all learn and share with each other and make life much smoother.

Remember tomorrow is my day! I suppose I've always been an April Fool and probably always will be. Believe me when I say it's okay to be foolish every once in a while.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday March 22, 2009...Runza weekend

It's been a Runza weekend.

I'm not sure if you know what a Runza is.

It is a sweet yeast dough bread pocket with a filling. I usually make a Kraut Runza which has steamed cabbage, onion and hamburger as a filling, along with worcestershire sauce and mustard. The Runzas are usually fried in vegetable oil and are very tasty. This weekend, I made a whole bunch of dough and made some Kraut Runzas and then decided that I would try some new things. The next thing I knew, I was making hot dog Runzas and then ham and cheese Runzas and runza dough donuts and runza dough cinnamon rolls. I went through the first batch of Runza dough and had to make another batch. Now I have to make more Kraut Runzas. My daughter suggested italian meatball runzas and hamburger/onion/pickle runzas. I guess there is no end to the list of Runzas that you can think of. Maybe a pepperoni and cheese Runza?

Anybody want a Runza?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday March 18, 2009...Nine year olds?

It's been a long time, a really long, long time, since I had small children around me much. My children were small about 35-40 years ago and have since grown up to be understanding, caring, loving, reasoning, logical adults.

Now I have my nine year old grandson living with me and I find that I need to adjust my thinking.

For one thing, you can't always rely on logic when attempting to communicate with a young man. You can't always count on being able to reason and understand their way of thinking. It seems to be more of a faith kind of thing. What makes perfect sense to a nine year old may not make any sense to a full fledged adult, but then they live in a completely different world. A nine year old isn't bound by complete knowledge and understanding of how the world is made up. His world may have a bit more magic and a bit more wonder in it.

Another thing is that nine year olds care deeply about immediate points of interest that fluctuate wildly by the moment. What may hold true now won't always hold true later. What is of primary interest or concern now won't necessarily be of any interest tomorrow. You have to be very flexible.

Nine year olds have uneven temperament. Their emotions vary like the flames of a fire. One moment they hold you in the highest regard and love you immensely, but the very next day you may be the object of disdain and ridicule. They need a emotional dial or a sensor that tells you where their thoughts and emotions are at the moment.

It's been a learning experience. Once I get older and wiser, I'm sure that I will come to completely understand the mind of a nine year old boy. Or maybe not. It may be a Mom thing, because his mother has no problem whatsoever completely understanding and dealing with him. I seem to be more like a third foot, not knowing when or where to step.

I love my grandson and can't wait till he grows up to be an understanding, caring, loving, reasoning, logical adult. For now, he's a wonderment.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday March 1, 2009...Snow again

I guess Winter isn't over quite yet. Here in western Missouri, it's been a warm winter. Just this last week it got to 70 degrees. I saw people out in their tee shirts and shorts. It was just too nice. Yesterday it snowed about 4 inches and today it got down to 10 degrees. Later this week it's supposed to get back up in the 50s or 60s. It's hard to know just how to dress. I got out the snow blower yesterday, but couldn't get it started. It will probably start just fine once the weather turns nice. I really hadn't thought about shoveling snow again - thought maybe spring would come early. Oh well. At least Spring is just around the corner and daylight savings starts next week - whoopee!

Looking back over previous years notes, I see that I was so angry about the stupid war in Iraq. Now we find it must wind down over the next 18 months, but at least the end is in sight. I hope we don't have to maintain any kind of large force over there after we officially turn it over to the Iraqis. Now it sounds like Afghanistan is going to get the attention it should have been done with years ago. I know we need to get rid of the Al-Qaida, but I sure hate to waste any more lives than necessary in doing so. Think about Afghanistan - Russia tried to conquer that area and failed. What are our chances of taming the beast? I guess time will tell.

It's enough to just forget about the economy and the wars and just think about spring for right now. Except for the stupid snow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday February 23, 2009...Admiration

All of us appreciate admiration, although many of us have a hard time accepting it from others. I have always admired people who are mechanically inclined and can work on electronics and automobiles and such. They don't think anything about taking out an engine and repairing it. They think it is the most natural thing in the world to be able to analyze and repair automobiles. Or think about people who really know their sports statistics and all the trivia relating to sports, I can't hold a candle to those people. I have always admired people who can sit down and write novels – they invent a world and create a story that all of us can appreciate and enjoy. Artists conceive remarkable visions in their minds and somehow convey that in other media.

I have enjoyed admiration lately from people who appreciate the video and photographic endeavors that I have taken on for our reunion. It isn't work, it's fun for me and it doesn't feel as though it's anything special to me. I look for the challenge of presenting photos and music in an interesting way and it's fun when it works. It's hard for me to consider that it's not anything that anyone else could have done with just a little effort. I suppose I'm just like the mechanics and artists that I admire just for having the ability to do something that not all people can do. I've been dabbling with computers since the 1970's trying to find out what I can make this machine do. It's such a useful tool and with the increasing capabilities of the modern personal computer, it's hard to keep up with all the things it can now do. But it is fun to try. And it is fun to be appreciated. Thanks.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saturday February 7, 2009...Check out the player

I just added the music player at the top of this site. It's pretty cool. Of course, I loaded about 150 songs from the 1950s, so it won't suit everyone, but I like the music. I found the gadget at which allows you to make your list of music and add the player to your blog. There seems to be millions of songs available on this site, so check it out and listen to the tunes.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday February 1, 2009...A whole nother month

It's February already! I wasn't finished with January yet. This last month disappeared quickly. Maybe it was the Changing of the guard, or the changing of the weather or my changing of household, but it really did pass through my fingers quickly.

My daughter, son-in-law and grandson are firmly ensconced in their new home here with me, along with numerous pets and many boxes. Zachary is enrolled in school and Chuck has found a job and they now have everything unloaded from storage. We have been becoming used to each other's schedule and all seems to be well. Maybe time flies by faster when you are sharing life with more people?

The economy really stinks right now and I'm afraid that it will get worse before it starts to turn around - but there isn't a lot that we can do individually except keep a positive outlook for the eventual future. The country has been through panics and recessions and depressions before and, in time, this one will also pass. At least the politicians are not ignoring the data and some are even considering the plight of the common man (for a change). It gives one some hope.

Every once in while the whole world becomes so complacent with the status quo and a bit of a rough time may wake up people to the fact that we all have to pull together as one people in order to pull our society up from the hole we have sunk into. Greed has to be overcome and sensibility and responsibility has to come to the forefront.

So many people have gambled their future by over-extending their debt assuming that the future will always be rosy and just like the present. Many haven't been through hard times before and don't realize that life isn't always fair and stable. You need to save a bit from the good years to carry you through the lean times. Droughts do occur occasionally and you must be prepared. Unfortunately, many people have not saved and have no cushion to help now. I'm afraid that many will lose their jobs and their homes in a very short time and that means they will have to start all over again just like when they first started. It's a hard way to learn, but we've seen it before. My parents came through the depression of the 1930's and that may be comparable to what is developing right now. Attitudes will have to change and people will have to adapt and hopefully we won't need another war to pull us out of the mess we are going to find ourselves in.

But that's enough bleakness for now. It's February and just 2 months away from spring. I've got family to share with and life holds much promise. The future may be memorable and will certainly be interesting.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday January 9, 2009...Family again

I am a family once again.

For several years now I have been solo in this big house. Ever since my father died, I have been enjoying the single life here, but have missed the personal interaction of having someone else around to converse with and share the duties and joy of living together.

Now my daughter, her husband and my grandson have moved in to share this house and make it a family home. It won't be so deathly quiet any longer, but it will be filled with joy and conversation. They were living out in the country in central Wyoming – a windy, sandy, cold and fairly lonely area of the country. Limited resources up there to share and few people to interact with. A dearth of available jobs, medical facilities, schooling opportunities, etc were a challenge to overcome there in Wyoming. I believe that the opposite is here in Missouri. We have our share of weather, but not the extremes of Wyoming. We definitely have more opportunity for jobs, medical and education. And here we have other members of our family to share time with.

We have a period of adjustment to go through, but as a family we will work it all out. Right now, they are going through a time of discovery. This is an area where I grew up, so I know and accept where everything is. They have to discover all that is available and how to get from here to there. It will take time, but it will be a fun learning experience.

This house now feels more and more like the home it was always destined to be.