25 December 2006

December 25th

Happy Birthday to You;
Happy Birthday to You;
Happy Birthday Dear Jesus;
Happy Birthday to You!

24 December 2006

Santa Meets Jacob

Here is a great photo of Jacob Hoffman's first visit with Santa. It isn't known what their conversation covered.

21 December 2006

In The Meantime

Rev. Sheldon Peterson was the Minister at the North Ontario United Methodist Church for many years. He passed away a few years ago. Grandma and I were faithful members, and attended almost every Sunday when we lived in Ontario, and we would try to go there when we visited family and friends in the summers.

One of the last times I saw Shel, I reminded him of my favorite sermon. He was pleased to know.

The sermon was titled "In The Meantime", and dealt with the question of how we were to spend out time on Earth until we met our maker. What will we do in the meantime - between birth and death?

The same question can be asked of any situation. For instance, what will you do in the meantime between signing in at the Doctor's office and when you get to talk with him? What will you do in the meantime while you are standing in line at the check-out counter? What will you do in the meantime while waiting for the traffic light to turn green? What will you do in the meantime while waiting for your child to be toilet trained? What will you do in the meantime while waiting for your daughter/son to come home from their first date? All those little "in the meantimes" add up to a description of our character. I hope the pluses in my ledger outnumber the minuses.

19 December 2006


The Vet said she has arthritis in her hips. He prescribed Rimadyl, which she started today. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

18 December 2006

What, It's December 18th Already?

Where has the time gone? It seems as though I've blinked and it's almost time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Fortunately, Grandma and I have mailed out our cards and sent the gifts (gift cards) to family. And somewhere along the line, I've painted the guest bathroom a nice shade of brown. The new granite countertop has been ordered, but won't be here in time for the holidays. And I've cut a mat for a painting done by a fellow student, who, fortunately, didn't give me a deadline.
Today, Pepper goes to the Vet to have her rear legs checked out. After 10 years, she has a little trouble getting up. She has been favoring her right rear leg. Both legs have been operated on in the past for torn ACLs. Could be from that or possible arthritis. We'll know later.
Ginger continues on Prednisone, and acts like a new dog, walking and running. No more rides in the wagon!
And we have new additions to the family! We're great grandparents again! For photos, go to www.mimimiller.blogspot.com.
December 18th already? Hard to believe.
Merry Christmas to one and all.

27 November 2006

Computer Crash

It all started when Grandma's mouse decided to take on a life of it's own. It suddenly reversed the buttons so that the left button became the right and the right button the left. To make sure it was just the mouse and not other things, I hooked up my mouse and it worked as it should. Then I hooked Grandma's mouse to my computer and had the same problem. So a new mouse went on the shopping list.

I forget (mental block) what exactly happened next, but I wound trying to perform a system restore, which would save the files but restore the system programs to an earlier version. Unfortunately, I used the wrong function, which not only set the programs back to day one, but erased all of Grandma's files.

So we've been working to add her records and files back into her computer. The one saving grace is that I had copied her files to an external hard drive not too long ago. That allowed us to bring everything back, except the many changes she had made to her genealogy records. And all her e-mail addresses and favorite web sites were gone. But she has been making progress to get everything back to a usable level.

We walked over to Office Max to buy a new mouse and happened to see a Maxtor OneTouch III 60 gb external hard drive on sale, so we bought it. It is now hooked up to Grandma's computer, and programmed to copy her "documents" file every evening at 10 pm. I highly recommend an external hard drive to one and all, in case of one of those unexplained "human error" tragedies that occur without forewarning.

26 November 2006

Trapping Rats

When I worked at James Cunningham Sons & Co. in Rochester, NY, I worked for an inventor named Andy Vincent. One day, he told me about his experiences developing an electric rat trap. The story goes something like this:

Sibleys department store had a grocery section and stored their goods in the basement, where they were plagued by rats. Somehow, they got in touch with Andy, who spent some time at night in the basement observing the rat behavior. He found their main "road" and placed a trap on it. But the rats wouldn't enter the trap; it had one end closed, with the other end activated by a switch in the floor. So he changed the trap by adding another open end, activated by the same switch.

The theory was that the rats would be trapped and in their panic would go into an adjoining chamber where they would be electrocuted; the bottom of the chamber would open to drop the dead rat out. Well, the rats would go into the trap, the doors would close, and the rats would just sit there analyzing the situation, until the doors opened again, then walk out.

So back to the drawing board!

The next step was to install a pad that would give a tickle jolt of electricity to the rat in the first chamber, causing it to go into the adjoining chamber and meet it's fate. Success at last! And that's how an inventor claimed victory over a common pest.

The reason this all came to mind is that I have seen rats in our back yard twice recently. They are known locally as "roof rats", but are a black rat. They eat citrus fruit. So instead of trying to build one of Andy's ingenious devices, I bought some D-Con. It's up on a wall held down by a brick so it won't fall into reach by our two Corgis. So far, the first box has been cleaned out, and the second box is untouched. Hopefully, my rat problem has been solved.

13 November 2006

Free at last - well, kinda

My time and energy have been taken up with preparations for last weekend's art sale. This has been in the works for months. It's taken me a long time to get the correct color mats, find suitable frames, then mat and frame my watercolors, and finally to build the display panels. The last detail was to rent a truck to get the panels from home to the show, then back again; they won't fit in our Ford Escape. I had reserved a U-Haul pick-up, but at the last minute, a fellow student said he would be happy to help out.

All went well at the sale as far as I was concerned. I sold three of my paintings. My instructor bought one! (I must be doing something right.) My first show ever, and three were sold. I still can't believe it.

So now I'm trying to get back into the normal routine. A Board of Directors meeting this afternoon, a movie tomorrow, yard work the rest of the week, etc. It's good to be back.

27 October 2006

Friday, 27 October 2006

It's that time of year when we start out in the morning with the heat on to take the chill out of the house, open the doors mid-morning, then turn on the air conditioning in the evening to make it comfortable for sleeping. Grandma and I ate lunch (our main meal) on the patio, which was a cool 70. I was in the sun and felt hot and Grandma was in the shade wearing a sweater. And we learned that Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend. At least we don't need to change a bunch of clocks here, we just go from California time to New Mexico time.

Everyone at watercolor class this morning was talking about the up-coming "Fine Art Fair", trying to figure out how to display their wares and to get some idea of the prices they should charge. Our instructor said we should start with the cost of the frame and add whatever we felt we had put into the painting. I said my prices would range from $15 to $700, raising a few eyebrows. Well, the largest frame cost big bucks, so why not? I just hope to sell enough to recover the cost of the display panels.

Grandma is busy putting together some necklaces. She has branched out to chain, and is now using gold as well as silver. She does nice work. She complains that it cuts into her time researching genealogy, but she seems to find time for both.

The World Series goes on and on. When I was in college in Oklahoma back in the early 50s, one of the first things we did after checking in for the fall semester was to stop in at the local pub for a beer and to watch the Series. Now it's almost into November. How much longer will it be before the owners decide to make it a year-round season; they sure need the money!

24 October 2006

24 October 2006

The Fine Art Fair is fast approaching - November 11th and 12th - and I've been uptight since I signed up for a booth last Spring. The Senior Center will allocate a 10' x 10' space and provide a table and chair. So Elliot, a fellow student at the Center, and I have been busy trying to figure out how to obtain display panels for our watercolors. We checked into renting, but turned up nothing. We worked over a bunch of possible designs to make our own and finally settled on a group of 4' wide by 6 1/2' tall panels with a 4' x 4' pegboard panel. Once we made that decision, we bought the supplies at the local Home Depot, brought everything here, and began construction. The completed panels are now leaning against the back of the house, covered with plastic. So far, so good.

The next task is to arrange transportation from here to the Center. We'll probably rent a pickup truck.

In the meantime, I've been trying to evaluate all my work to decide which are saleable, and how to mat and frame them. I had some very good advice about mat colors and combinations from my daughter, Gail, and her husband,David, when they were here, which worked out well. So far, I've decided on 33 to be offered for sale.

The next decision is to figure out what number to put on the price tag. I have two large paintings that were professionally framed; each cost over $250.00, so their prices will be up there. Some will only be matted, so will be lower priced. If Elliot and I sell enough to recoup the cost of the panels, we'll be happy.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. It's the first time I've ever attempted anything like this. So far, only family and friends have any of my work. Of course, I can always brag that my work is in private collections in Arizona, Texas and on the East Coast.

Dumb and Dumbest?

A recent survey by persons unknown to me, but apparently of the professional community, have concluded that Arizona is the dumbest state in the Union. Vermont and some of the other New England states rank at or near the top. So tell me, if we're so dumb and they're so smart, why do they spend so much time wearing snow boots?

23 October 2006

A Man's Best Chili Recipe

This from Clay Thompson, who writes a column in the Arizona Republic:

Chili Recipe
Open a can of chili. Dump it in a pan, heat, eat and enjoy. Yummers.

Sure does simplify the process.

16 October 2006

CHARlotte or CharLOTTE?

Every day, I check the weather page for those places where various members of the family live. One of those places is Charlotte, NC, which is pronounced CHAR-lotte. And, there is a beach next to the intersection of the Genesee River and Lake Ontario which is called Charlotte, but pronounced Char-LOTTE. I wonder which came first, and why the difference in pronunciation. Anyone have any ideas?

14 October 2006

Coasting in Neutral

An article in the morning paper mentioned "coasting in neutral" and it immediately brought back a memory.

It was about 1941 when Uncle Henry, my brother Fred and I headed down to Elmira for the airplane and glider show on Harris Hill. Uncle Henry had told our parents that we would camp out in a tent overnight. My mother had given Fred and me a dollar each to spend, so we were in seventh heaven.

At the show, glider rides cost two dollars; I don't remember the negotiations, but Fred wound up with my dollar and the glider ride.

That evening, we drove down the road a little ways, and Uncle Henry set up the tent. Imagine our surprise to find that he wasn't going to stay with us, but would be in a motel in Elmira! Oh well, at least he left us his Benjamin pellet air pistol for protection against whatever evil things our minds could conjure up, which were substantial. So we spent most of the evening pumping up the pistol and shooting at anything that rustled in the leaves. (We`decided later that we had been shooting at worms.)

The next morning, Uncle Henry showed up, packed up the tent and took us to breakfast.

The way home took us on route 15 along Hemlock Lake, where the road had a great long hill to descend. That's where Uncle Henry decided to see how far the car could go just coasting down the hill. Of course, in those days there wasn't much traffic, so off we went, with the engine turned of and the gear shift in neutral. As we coasted down the hill, Fred and I took turns shooting the Benjamin pellet air pistol out the window at various targets along the way, including at least one large, black crow (we missed). At the bottom of the hill, as the car slowed to a crawl, Uncle Henry announced the mileage, started up the engine and off to home we went.

Quite an adventure for two pre-teenagers.

06 October 2006

Rain Cloud

Here's a photo taken a few weeks ago. Grandma and I were sitting on the patio watching the sunset and a coming rain storm, when we saw this sheet of rain.

21 September 2006

Stan Kenton

We lived on Linden Street at the time I was exposed to the music of Stan Kenton. My brother, Fred, and I shared a room on the first floor, just off the dining room, in which we had our work tables. Our father had built the tables especially for us. Fred’s was used for his radio/electronics hobby, and mine was for my model airplanes.

Of course, having the radio/electronics hobby, Fred had a record player. And also of course, he and his friend, Doug, started collecting records. At that time, only 78 rpm records were available, which contained only one tune on each side. (To contain the same number of tunes as currently on my iPod would have required over 1600 records.) The local record store, in downtown Rochester, had booths in which we could listen to the records before we purchased them.

One of the records that Fred bought was “Eager Beaver” by Stan Kenton and his orchestra. The flip side was “Artistry In Rhythm”. I had never heard of Stan Kenton, but was about to be baptized in his “progressive jazz”.

Being teenagers, Fred and I sometimes stayed up all night working on our various projects. And while we worked, we listened to music. Sometimes, the radio, sometimes records. And one time it was “Eager Beaver” played not once, not twice, but over and over and over. The record was finally worn out, which caused no end of consternation to Fred, but a certain degree of joy to me.

Well, sad to say, Fred went right out and bought a new copy of “Eager Beaver” to replace the worn out one. Without hesitation, I broke the old one over his head. And ever since, I’ve been a fan of Stan Kenton‘s music. Go figure!

20 September 2006

Two Black Crows

I was reading the Prologue in Studs Terkel’s book “And They All Sang” when an image flashed across my mind.

Grandma Goebel lived in a large two story house, well, two stories with a full attic and basement, with a large Dutch Elm tree in the front yard. From the sidewalk, you went up steps to the front porch, which held two rattan rocking chairs. Another step up through the large front door into the vestibule, then another door into the foyer, and you were finally inside. To the right was a coat closet. Also on the right was a stairway leading to the second floor. Straight ahead was another door into a dark hallway, with clothes hooks on the left, then straight ahead into the kitchen, then straight ahead again would take you into the pantry. Not just a small set of shelves but a full size pantry, with a refrigerator, that replaced the original ice box.

From the foyer, turning left were a set of glass doors that led to the living room. On one wall was a fireplace with a gas burner, the gas having long since been disconnected, but the false logs still in place. To the right, led to the dining room, every bit as large as the living room, but having a beamed ceiling. Off the dining room was a small room used as my Grandmother’s bedroom.

Upstairs had originally been four bedrooms, but by the time we moved in - in 1941 - one had been converted into a kitchen. Off the kitchen was a porch, open to the outdoors.

The attic is where my brother and I had our bed. Some of the original gas pipes were still to be seen on the chimney, which intruded into the middle of the attic.

But back to the dining room we go. There was a large upright Victrola phonograph machine in the room. There was a crank on the side of the machine to wind up the motor to turn the turntable. In the lower part of the unit there was a cabinet that held Grandma’s record collection. These were the old bakelite 78 rpm records, and very brittle. The machine used a rigid metal needle attached to a diaphragm to deliver the sound, so of course the extended use would gradually wear down the grooves in the records and produce an irritating scratchy sound.

I don’t remember all the music that Grandma had, but there were some classical pieces in there. The image that flashed across my mind, however, was a record of two men - the Two Black Crows - talking through a minstrel show-like routine which would make us laugh over and over. Corny jokes, to be sure, but laughable indeed.

Such a wonderful piece of furniture was that old Victrola phonograph machine.

05 September 2006


There was a program on PBS a week or so ago about Alan Lomax, who took over responsibility from his father to record folk music from around the world. (I had taped the program and had just recently watched it.) In an interview in the late 1950s or early 60s, Alan talked about the decline in communication between people. He said that a few people with access to a million dollars could buy and control radio and television transmitters, and that people with very little money would buy the receivers. He called that a major human problem - the ability to silence large groups of the population - by limiting access to information. In essence, everybody is "off the air" except the people controlling the transmitters.

What struck me is that we are now in the middle of reversing that process because of the proliferation of computers and the use of the Internet. We are achieving what Alan called "cultural equity" by allowing everyone to communicate directly with anyone who chooses to be a receptor - by allowing anyone to read what someone has entered in a blog. Amazing technology.

28 August 2006

Canadian Rockies

Grandma and I visited the Canadian Rockies, starting at Calgary, visiting Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff, then travelled by Rocky Mountaineer train to Vancouver. We had a great time, and met some very nice people. It was a Trafalgar Tour which we arranged through AAA. So here are a few photos from the trip.

Usually it takes us a few days to recover from a trip, but this time it was harder, mainly because we both started to come down with colds when we arrived home. We think it was from a fellow passenger on the train who was coughing and sneezing; he kept telling his significant other that it was only an allergy.

So we're almost back to normal, and I should be able to figure out where the photos were taken in a day or two.

23 July 2006

The 75th Anniversary of My Birth

Lots of family and friends were there for the big bash. There were about 40 people there. Here are some of them.

The Golden Boys

Here are brother Fred on the left, me in the middle and Uncle Henry on the right. Fred had celebrated his 76th birthday in April, my 75th this month and Uncle Henry his 95th in June. That's a lot of years!

17 July 2006

Thanks to Adobe Photoshop

Here's a better copy of Grandma and Granpappy, brought to you by himself through the wizardry of Adobe Photoshop.

24 June 2006

Grandma & Granpappy

Here's the latest photo, taken Thursday evening as we were about to go out to dinner.

12 June 2006


My favorite writer of all time is E. B. White, who wrote for the New Yorker magazine in days long gone by. He took Strunk's "Elements of Style" and modified it a little, and then followed his own advice. The one thing I remember from that is: Eliminate unnecessary words! If you read any of his essays, letters, etc., you'll notice he always picks the right one word, where I would use two or more. I've read and re-read his books and enjoy them every time I pick one up.

Lately, I've been checking on two writers who have caught my eye: Rick Watson and Dale Short. Rick has the blog at Life 101 and Dale is at Full Clear Light. Both have the ability to tell a story with the same clarity as White. I've ordered one of Dale's books at Barnes and Noble and can't wait to get into it. Rick is in process of publishing his first book, and I'll try to be first in line when it hits the street.

I encourage you all to check them out - White, Watson and Short. You'll like them, I'm sure.

09 June 2006


These are the Blogs I look at every day:
Shirley's Blog (my wife) at http://corgimom818.blogspot.com;
Mimi's Blog (my daughter-in-law) at http://mimimiller.blogspot.com
Life 101 (very well written and interesting) at http://dorahighschoolalumni.blogspot.com;
The Genealogue (a good sense of humor) at http://genelaogue.blogspot.com;
Full Clear Light (also very well written) at http://fullclearlight.blogspot.com.

What are your favorites?

07 June 2006

Dust Storm

For those of you who have never seen a dust storm, here's a photo from the morning Arizona Republic of the cloud that rolled through parts of Phoenix yesterday. I've been fortunate enough to have never been caught on the road in one like this. These result in bad accidents, as people lose control of their vehicles.
One time many years ago, a bunch of us were driving back to Stillwater (my college days) when a wall of dust loomed in front of us. We drove into it to find it was only about five feet thick, so were out of it before we knew it.

04 June 2006

Tempus fugit

Well cheese and crackers, how in tarnation is a person supposed to keep up with this technology business? It was a major change when we went from the Philco radio console to a tiny black-and-white television. Then someone came along with color. Then VCR's that took graduate engineers to program. Now DVDs, Tivo and digital video recorders.
And it wasn't too long ago that airplane pilots used beacons to find their way across the country. There was one just off the road on the way from Rochester to Batavia, by Black Creek, that always signalled that we were almost home from visiting my grandmother. In later years, when I had an opportunity to take airline trips for the company, the prop-driven Convairs would cruise low enough that we could follow traffic on the roads. In the winter, I liked to look down in the evening and see the lights reflecting from the snow. A beautiful sight that doesn't happen with the jets that fly at 30,000 feet.
Remington typewriters, then IBM Selectrics, then word processors, onto PCs and iMacs and Blackberry devices, IMs.
I had a 45 rpm record player when in college, a vast improvement from the old 78s. Then along came LPs, then 8-track players, tape cassettes, now iPods and MP3 players. I have almost 3400 tunes on my iPod, as if I can remember what they all are!
Now blogs and podcasts
It boggles the mind!

28 May 2006


When my mother's maternal grandmother emigrated from Germany in the late 1800s, she settled in Rochester, New York. She was a widow with three small daughters, but soon remarried, and had several more children. Her family attended the local Evangelical and Reformed Church, which my mother, brother and I also joined. I believe it was in the 1950s that the church burned down; by then, I had married and moved on.
Some years ago, I was busy tracing my ancestry, and wrote to the church for any applicable records. Fortunately, the birth and death records were available, so I was able to find some information, but I was informed that the marriage records had been lost in the fire. As it turns out, one of my cousins saved the Bible and the birth/death records book. He and his father, who was a fireman, heard the alarm and raced to the church. Buddy ran into the church and rescued the books just before the place went up in an inferno.

I had asked my father to write down what information he knew about his parents and grandparents, and were there any photographs of the family. His oldest brother, Gene, had been given the family Bible and the photo albums, but they were lost when Gene's house burned down. He was able to save photos of his father and mother, which he willed to me. The photo of his mother is the only know photo of her that exists; I have had the photos restored, copied and the copies given to my aunts and uncles. I've also digitized them and given copies of them, family albums and records to my brother and my children.

My message to one and all is to place a high value on family photos, letters, diaries, documents, records, Bibles, etc. and do everything in your power to keep them from disappearing. It's the history of your family. Don't lose any part of it.

25 May 2006


Here is a photo that nobody took while Grandma and I were in Germany in 2002. We visited cousins who live in the house my grandfather lived in before he emigrated to America. While we were there, we celebrated Grandma's birthday; one of her gifts was a visit to Wartburg, which is where this photo wasn't taken.

The photo wasn't taken because it's a composite of two photos, one with Grandma and our cousins, and one with me and our cousins. Using digital magic, I added Grandma to the second photo. So now we have a nice photo of the four of us that nobody took. Or is it a photo that two people took? Anyway, I've framed it and it rests in my "studio" where I look at it every day and remember the wonderful time we had with our German cousins.


Sometime after he left the navy and before he married my mother, my father owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle - a HOG. While digitizing their photo album, I ran across a photo of him with it, so copied it and have it in a frame on my dresser.
My daughter, Chris, and her husband, Randy, now own a HOG, which they ride every opportunity they are given. It rested over winter in their garage, covered by a blanket. There was a short discussion about whether or not it was acceptable to cover a HOG with a PINK blanket; think of it! A HOG covered in pink! I cringe at the thought of it.
However that may be, a few Sundays ago, I suddenly had the urge to send Chris and Randy a copy of the photo of my father posed proudly next to his Harley. So off it went via e-mail. Shortly after, I talked with Chris and she said she was pleasantly surprised to receive the photo. She and Randy had been talking about the Harley on Sunday - the same Sunday - and she remarked that she'd love to have a copy of her grandfather with his Harley, and the next day, there it was.
Who do you suppose whispered in my ear telling me to send the photo?

24 May 2006


Here's one of my rose paintings, all framed and ready for the big sale in November.

The Blues Sisters

This was taken when the girls were much younger. It took us about 25 or 30 shots before we had the right one.

18 May 2006

Apple Pancakes

Yesterday, Grandma decided to make a double batch of apple pancake - double the ingredients in one pan. The problem was that her hives were acting up and she didn't want to face the agony of peeling all those apples (about 8). I had offered to peel and core them, but that would have taken all of the afternoon and most of the evening, being as how I'm left handed and all the knives are right handed. Fortunately, Grandma had a great idea. Searching the Internet, she found that the local Linens and Things store had an apple peeler and corer. So off I went to buy the wonderful invention.
We couldn't believe how easy it was to peel and core apples with the contraption. It even slices them!
I went through those apples in jig time, Grandma had the frying pan ready to go, and soon the smell of hot apple pancake permeated the walls. It's amazing how hungry one can become by merely inhaling the odor of apple pancake.
We each had a larger-than-usual portion for supper and now we're cutting back today as the penalty for over indulging. Oh, but it was good while it lasted. And the best part is that there is more in the freezer for another day - or two. I can't wait!

15 May 2006

Camping Today

While we were waiting for our wives to finish shopping for beads, Dick P. and I wandered around the REI store next door. They have just about everything anyone would need from bicycling to rock climbing to kayaking. Canoes, bicycle locks, hiking boots, walking shorts, $5,000 backpacks, GPS devices, freeze dried chili, und so wieder. But the thing that struck me was a device one would use with a small burner to make one cup of cappaccino. My gosh, where have we got to?
When my brother, Fred, and I started camping, we had a surplus Army tent that could sleep four compatible adults or lots of sleepy children. We went trout fishing in the Adirondacks with his, then, father-in-law, Les, who seemed to know where every trout stream was in the Northeast. We had a Coleman stove, a cast iron frying pan, a coffee pot, and some Boy Scout eating utinsels that folded up into a compact carrying satchel, plus a cooler to store our meager supply of perishable food. Cans of beans and roast beef hash, eggs, butter, bacon, coffee, beer and bread is my recollection of the contents of our larder. We relied on a good catch to supplement the menu. Plus soap and toilet paper.
We usually drove up to the "campsite" in a station wagon - this was in the 50s - on dirt logging roads. The campsite was merely an almost flat spot under some trees just a few yards from the stream. The State maintained the area, so there was a primitive outhouse across the road (bring your own paper), with a catch on the outside of the door to keep the animals out when it was not in use.
One of the first times we fished there, we had a good catch, so had fresh trout cooked in lots of butter for supper. Being late, we left the frying pan on the picnic table overnight. Well, the raccoons cleaned the pan sometime during the night, so it was just a matter of rinsing it out before breakfast. After that, we were more careful about leaving edibles out in the open.
But cappaccino and camping? It just doesn't seem right.

14 May 2006

My Studio

Here's a photo of my "studio" and my latest watercolor. Pepper, my constant companion, is right there. The painting of the Angelfish passed inspection by my instructor and classmates.

09 May 2006

Corgi Report

This was written in 2004 when Grandma and I were in England:

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Red and white,
Can’t stand to be together,
Yet can’t bear to be apart.

Pepper bounces along ahead,
Stopping to berate her sister
For lagging behind,
But warning her not to try to lead.
She has the authority to be first
To each spot,
To check for the odor of other breeds.
Ginger doesn’t mind.
She plods along at her own pace,
Knowing full well the scent will wait for her.

They both limp now.
Not enough to keep them from their walk,
But just enough to elicit our sympathy.

True companions.
We are happy that they welcomed us to their pack.

Well, that was then and this is now; they're both 10 years old - 70 in human years (?). Pepper is showing her age, graying around her muzzle, and her limp is much more noticable. But she stills wants her daily walk, which doesn't always happen and which is shorter now. Despite both hind legs having been operated on for torn ACLs (Anterior Cruciate Ligaments) when she was still growing, she can dance for her supper (no, we don't make her do that, she just does it to show her impatience). She's my shadow; I have to keep looking around to make sure she's not under my feet.

Ginger suffers from arthritis. She can't always walk, so scoots along on one hip. We've put down rugs and runners to help her get traction to be able to get up, but she doesn't always try. Her left front paw is swollen, which makes it harder for her to get up. Grandma carries her out in the morning, then goes in to start fixing their breakfast; sometimes that's enough of an incentive to get her to walk into the house. Not always. She was Grandma's shadow and still keeps her eye on Grandma; she wants to be close, but can't always arrange it.

How can we be so lucky to have such loyal companions?

05 May 2006

Another View Of The Fifth Of May

From today's Arizona Republic editorial page, by Linda Chavez:

"I suppose Cinco de Mayo fiestas are no worse than St. Patrick's or Columbus Day parades. . . .(But helping newcomers) learn about the Battle of Lexington and Concord is certainly more important to their understanding of what it means to be an American than teaching them about Gen. Zaragoza's victory at Puebla."

04 May 2006

TheFifth of May

The Fifth of May, or as our Mexican legal and illegal immigrants like to call it, Cinco de Mayo, will not be celebrated in my house. I don't plan on celebrating a battle in which Mexican troops won (but lost the war), any more than they will be celebrating events from the countries of my ancestors; events such as the Council of Trent, or Bastille Day, or the Reunification of Germany. Until these are celebrated with the same gusto as the Fifth of May, I shall refrain from firing pisols in the air and waving Mexican flags at all passers-by.

Are you with me, Americans?

28 April 2006

Just Some Stuff

The largest human organ is the skin. Take care of it, it has to last. In my teens and early twenties, I stayed too long in the sun and suffered sunburn. It hurt, but I recovered in due time. . . or so I thought. Now, here it is all those years later and my skin is paying me back. I can't be in the sun for more than about 10 minutes and I get sun poisoning. Plus, my skin is covered with dry spots and brown spots that sometimes get snagged and bleed. Not to mention the skin cancers our good Doctor has removed, some requiring a bunch of stitches. Warning: treat your skin with care; you don't know when it's going to pay you back.

I was 18 when I started smoking, and was 36 when I quit - cold turkey. I had smoked half of my life by then. That was enough! Fortunately, I had quit early enough that my throat and lungs have completely recovered from that abuse. I understand that recovery is quicker the sooner one quits. The older one is, the chance of recovery goes down, and the chance of throat and lung cancer goes up.

Mark called last night to say that he has had the surgery on his right shoulder and should start therapy today. Everything went well. What a relief! It's never easy when a child - no matter how old - has to have surgery.

17 April 2006


Ah, Spring, when Grandma's thoughts turn to gardening. Today, we bought a Rosemary bush and some Zinnia and Snapdragon seeds. Guess who gets to do the gardening. Well, I really don't mind it, it's fun, gets me out of the house and puts dirt under my fingernails.

We have a Rosemary bush in the front yard, but the landscapers, who don't understand basic English like "Don't trim that bush", keep trimming all the good new sprigs. So we finally decided to take the bull by the horns (figuratively!) and plant one out of their reach.

We, the Board of Directors of our homeowners' association, have tried to get the landscapers to not trim the blossoms from the flowering shrubs. We speak in English. I don't know how it translates, but the blossoms keep disappearing. I guess I'll try it in German next.

I had put a sign on one of our bushes that said "Please do not trim this bush" and, sure enough, not only was the bush trimmed, but so was the sign. Someone suggested standing guard with a shotgun, but I don't own one.

16 April 2006

The Weather Page

The last page in the paper I read is the weather page. First, the sports, then business, Scottsdale section, comics, world and nation, followed by local, and finally, the weather page. That's when I get to see what it's predicted to be like outside for family and friends:
Birmingham - Linda and Roy;
Buffalo - Jeana;
Charlotte - Corrine, Marchelle, Bennie and their families;
Denver - Dave (not yet part of the family);
Hartford - Mitch;
Orlando - closest to Mark, Laura, Stacey, Tommy and Danny;
Rochester - Sally, Bill, Ellie, Chris, Randy, Jake, Kaylee, Jamie R., Sharon, Gail, David, Fred, Uncle Henry, the Barnharts, lots of friends;
San Antonio - Jamie C. and his crew;
Tampa - Jodi and Richard;
Frankfurt am Main, Germany - closest to the Goebels and Wosniks;
Ottawa, Canada - the Barnharts when they're at their cottage;
And last is Phoenix to see what we might be in store for.

(I hope I haven't missed anyone - too many "senior moments" lately.)

15 April 2006

The Changing of the Thermostats

Well, here we are at that time of year when we don't know whether or not to turn on the heat or the air conditioner. It seems as though only yesterday we were heating the house. Then, suddenly, the heat would be turned off and the doors opened to let in the nice Spring air, only to turn on the heat for the morning chill. With warmer temperatures, we have been eating on the patio at noon, and turning on the air conditioner in the afternoon when the house temperature rose into the 80s. Now, the air conditioner is on all the time, and the doors are opened for a short time.

Ah, Spring, when a young ( or elderly) man's fancy turns to thoughts of managing temperatures.


The latest news is that Mexicans are urging a boycott of American products in their country, such as McDonalds, Burger King, etc. Nevermind that the boycott will harm those people working at those places of business.

Anyway, I support a total boycott of Mexican products here in America. Can you do without your Coronas? I've sworn off them for the rest of my life (as if I ever drank one).

12 April 2006

Our Family In Germany

Back in 2000, Grandma and I visited Germany with the idea of tracing my roots and possibly adding more ancestors to my genealogical records, and maybe even meeting some cousins. We visited Kassel, where my grandmother was born, and were able to find on a map at the City Records Department where the house had been; the area was destroyed during World War II. We also drove around Breitau where my grandfather was born, and left copies of my Goebel records with the local priest. We also went to Untersuhl, a small village in the former Russian zone, where my great grandfather, Wilhelm Steinmetz, was born; then to Bad Sooden-Allendorf, where great grandmother Wilhelmina Kell was born. We found that area of Germany to be very similar to the area around Rochester, NY, to which my grandparents immigrated.

About six months later, I received an e-mail from a cousin who had been given the genealogical records by the priest. And so began our correspondence.

In 2002, Grandma and I set off again for Germany, this time anxious to meet our new-found family members. We had exchanged photos, so we knew how to recognize each other. I had jokingly said that I would have orange hair and even doctored a photo to show it. When we arrived in Frankfurt and had passed through Customs, I put on a hat that had Orange felt attached, cut to look like hair (almost). Needless to say, we walked right by Bert, Harald and Heinrich. However, Grandma recognized Heinrich, and so we all met to have a good laugh about the orange "hair".

We had a delightful visit. We celebrated Grandma's birthday there, and she was feted with seven cakes and a gift of a trip to Wartburg. We were very saddened to leave. It was very emotional for me to try to say goodbye, and I remember driving away looking through a mist in my eyes that returns whenever I think about the visit and our family in Germany.

Someday, we hope to go back.

After The March

This is from the Arizona Republic, 12 April 2006:

"A Waste Management of Arizona garbage truck with a two-man crew collected nearly 7 tons of trash along the route used by immigration marchers Monday in Phoenix. The trash consisted primarily of discarded water bottles, many of them filled with water."

These are the people who want to become "responsible citizens", the illegal immigrants who claim that they are not criminals (according to their banners and placards). Well, maybe they need to read some of our laws, particularly about legal immigration and littering.

Just a thought.

11 April 2006


I've always enjoyed the game of golf . . . except when I played it.

In my teens, I caddied a few times for Uncle Henry at Brook Lea Country Club and learned something about the etiquette of the game. A few times at a driving range and playing miniature golf kept me going sporatically. Then in the late 60s, I took lessons at an adult education course, which helped my swing. My neighbor, Ed, and I used to meet Friday afternoons to play a round; I'd leave work at noon to meet him. Usually, if I relaxed and took an easy swing, I could move the ball, but then I'd try to really whack it and would end up a few yards from the tee. It got so that it was more frustrating to try to golf than to stay at work, so I stayed at work. Gave up the game. But not before I bent the shaft of my driver at a driving range, tying to get some distance - that was after a beer or two with some friends from England.

So now, I enjoy the game of golf by watching it on TV. Michelson is some golfer, eh?

09 April 2006


To A Mockingbird
by Robert H. Miller

Oho, there you are
Perched closest to heaven
Encouraging the sun to wake
With your newly-composed melodies -
“Variations On A Theme By God.”
Such brilliant tempo changes!
Such mind-boggling trills!

Ah, success!
There, comes the sun!

01 June 2005

07 April 2006

Immigration Protests

I just sent this letter to the local paper:

Illegal Immigration Protest, is that like when someone breaks into my house and tries to force me to adopt them? I thought Law Enforcement was on my side. What happened?

05 April 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Yesterday, Grandma and I decided that we wanted an orange tree in the yard. The only place with room enough was in a corner where we already had a Yellow Bells and a Butterfly Bush. The Yellow Bells had been hit very hard by frost, so was pretty scraggly, and the Butterfly Bush never seemed to attract Butterflies. So out they came, and off I went to buy an orange tree. Fortunately, Home Depot, which is right around the corner, had a Washington Naval Orange tree. By the time I had the other bushes dug out and the start of a new hole, I decided it was time to rest, which I did. So went our Tuesday farming.

Today, I had a property walkthrough with the other Board members of our community (yes, I'm on the Board), which started out with dark, gloomy, ominous clouds forming. About halfway through, it started to drizzle. About three quarters through it was raining, so we declared DONE and headed for cover. By noon, the skies had cleared, so after lunch, I finished digging and planting.

The new tree is 24" in height, cost almost a dollar per inch, and has at least one blossom per inch of height. Such a bargain! Well, by next February, we should have a bumper crop for zesting and juicing. I can hardly wait!

04 April 2006


More art - all watercolor. The toucans are from a drawing by Terry Madden and therefore are not saleable.

01 April 2006

Dog Art

Here are three portraits that I've done. Bandit was our Siberian Husky and her portrait was done in 1992 in colored pencil. The Corgis are Ginger and Pepper and were done in watercolor on Arches paper in 2002. Sierra, our friend's mutt (I can't remember what she's part of), was done on Bristol plate in watercolor in 2005.

29 March 2006


This was done in 1992 by looking in a mirror.

Early Art

Here are some samples of my early work with magic markers and colored pencils. They are of Saguaro Lake in Arizona, Fire Rock Park in Nevada, a shore scene in Hawaii (magic marker) and a copy of a painting by Andrew Wyeth.

25 March 2006

Happy Birthday, Jamie

We used to call you Little Jamie, but now it's Young Jamie.

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Jamie.
Happy birthday to you.

And many, many more.
Grandma & Grandpa

24 March 2006

Little Known - to me - History

I have a calendar that has a different book review on each page. Yesterday, the book was "One Thousand White Women: The Journals Of May Dodd: A Novel" by Jim Fergus. Here's the review:
"One Thousand White Women is not your standard Western. Jim Fergus has based his book on a forgotten event in American history: In 1875, Ulysses S. Grant approved the 'Brides for Indians' program, plucking 1,000 white (and black) women from the penitentiaries, poorhouses, and insane asylums from across America and sending them West to marry Cheyenne warriors."

Wow! I guess I'll have to read the book to find out what happened. I can't imagine the logic behind it. Can you?

22 March 2006


When I was in 8th grade English in Monroe High School, taught by Miss Dildine (later, Mrs. Johnson), I remember reading a poem some of which has stuck with me all these years. All I can remember of it is:
"When I am dead and careless hands have thrust
My body downward into ageless dust
I think the grave cannot suffice to hold
My spirit prisoned in the sunless mold."

I've done a Google search on the first few words, but haven't run across the complete poem. It sounds morbid, but is actually about love, much like Christina Rossetti's "Song" or Shakespeare's sonnet LXXI.

Someday, I hope to be able to read the complete poem.

20 March 2006

Happy Birthday, Jeana

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Jeana.
Happy birthday to you.

(You'll have to imagine that Grandma and I are singing it.)

Love ya.

17 March 2006

Jas. Cunningham, Son & Co. Tidbit of Information

In the mid 50s, I was working at Jas. Cunningham, Son & Co. in Rochester, NY. My boss was Andy Vincent, inventor of a crossbar switch. There is a good article about it at http://www.obs-us.com/people/karen/cunningham/chapter6.htm if you want to dig a little deeper.
We started out in a small building on Canal St. and had to go through the main plant, then across Litchfield St. to another building to get to the model makers. One of the men who did a lot of the intricate work was Percy Brown, a former gunsmith from Ithaca, NY. One day, I was over to see Percy about a piece he was working on, and happened to lean on his workbench, and I learned a very important, but little used, fact. It seems that Percy and some of the other men wondered how much weight a person put on a workbench when he leaned on it with his elbow like I had just done. So they got a scales (from where, I know not) and began testing by having various people casually lean on it. Turns out that an average of 30% of a person's weight was transmitted to the bench. So now you know! So now you can go out and prove it for yourselves. Or make bets. Or whatever.

16 March 2006

Dubai and Our Ports

There was a letter to the Editor recently in which the writer, who had been involved in the management of one of our ports, stated that no one company managed all the loading facilities at any of our ports, and that security of the ports was the responsibility of the Coast Guard and Homeland Security. Also, that non-American companies had been managing loading facilities for years, without insurmountable problems. In light of this, it seems to me that the news media has done a very poor job of explaining the situation to the public. Somewhere along the line, someone should have dug a little deeper to root out the facts, instead of fomenting the mass hysteria. Oh yeah, that's right - they're in business to sell papers, not necessarily to investigate thoroughly.

15 March 2006

Illegal Immigration

I was talking with a fellow a while ago about illegal immigration and sugested that our governments get tough with those who hire illegals. He disagreed. His truck had just been hit on the expressway by an illegal who was driving without a license and without insurance. His suggestion was that we let the Border Patrol shoot to kill all the people they see sneaking across the border; it wouldn't take but about 8 or 10 bodies before the word got around, and nobody would try anymore. Well, that would certainly work into the hands of the lawyers. He also said that most of the illegals have fake identification; employers are only to ask for it to be shown, they don't have to check to make sure the names and photos don't match.

As I see it, one of the reasons people risk their lives is so they can have children here, who automatically become American citizens. Change that law, and the numbers should go down.

Another reason is the lack of ability to earn a decent living in Mexico. Of course, all the "haves" in Mexico don't want the "have-nots" to improve their economic position. (Similar to what's happening here?) Unfortunatley, we can't change the Mexican economy.

It'll be interesting to see what our Congressmen and women do to give relief to the problem. I favor the approach taken by Senator McCain.

11 March 2006

A Prayer

Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the
opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people.
When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas
Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to
seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who
call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our
spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it
freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and
set us free. Amen!"
The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the
prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev.
Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those
calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international
requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.
Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of
the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he
has ever aired.

10 March 2006

Friday 10 March 2006

We went to see "The Three Burials Of Melquiados Estrada" this week. I thought it was a good movie - I like Tommy Lee Jones - but Grandma didn't like the animal scenes. Parts were confusing, because of the flash-backs, and of course I don't care for the swearing. Take out the f and s words and I'd rate it much higher.

When we got home, it actually rained on the patio, but not at the airport, where the official rain gauge is, so we're still in our 140+ days without rain. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

I've been downloading CDs to Grandma's iTunes file on her computer and finally finished. Tomorrow, I'll try loading them on her iPod. She has a replacement iPod because the first one went haywire when I tried to add music. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

02 March 2006

It's a really, really, really, really dry heat.

We set a new record every day - today is the 135th day without rain here in the ARID southwest. A few places to the west did get a few drops a couple of days ago, but most of it evaporated before it hit the rain gauges and the ground. The day of the almost storm, the humidity shot up to 45%, but it's back down in the low teens by now.

Grandma and I ate lunch on the patio for the first time this year. Hamburg on homemade roll and sweet potato steak fries, with a demonstration of precision flying by a new group of hummingbirds. We have 4 feeders, and lately, they need to be filled every other day.

This morning, we went with one of our neighbors to Westminster Village, one of the retirement communities we are interested in. They had some nibbles, coffee and orange juice for us while they told us about some of the programs they have each month for the residents. I like this place best of all the ones we've visited to date, but we won't be ready for at least another 5 years.

All of our lemons have been picked, zested and juiced. We had 8 or 9 dozen this year. The tree has new buds forming already! What a beautiful sweet smell.

28 February 2006

Frank Arthur Miller

The following information is from the Service Record held by the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Frank Arthur Miller enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve Force on June 3, 1918 at Buffalo, New York. At the time, he lived with his father, William Francis Miller, at 153 Ross Street in Batavia, New York. He was 21 years and 8 months old, 5 feet 6 inches in height, weighed 135 pounds, had blue eyes, brown hair andd a ruddy complexion.

He was called to active duty almost immediately - June 15, 1918 - and was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois where he attained the rank of Seaman 2C; by September 30, 1918, he was at the U. S. Naval Rep. Base in Eastleigh,England. (My recollection is that he said he helped build barracks for the troups at Southampton. When Grandma were in England, we visited the local history section of the library where we were shown an old map of the area that indicated the location of the barracks in that area. I took one or two photos of the map.)

By December 31, 1918, he was at Pelham Bay Park (NY?), where he remained until released from active duty on March 15, 1919. He was given a travel allowance of $20.30 to return to Batavia. His base pay was $35.90 per month. He was required to sign a statement that he had "no hammock, mattress, mattress cover or blankets, which are the property of the United States Government".

He received his discharge from the Reserve on September 30, 1921. For his service he was awarded the Victory Medal with Overseas duty clasp and the Victory Button.

27 February 2006

Grandma's Blog

Go to http://corgimom818.blogspot.com to see what recipes, photos and comments Grandma has published.

Good news/bad news

The bad news is that the lemon ice cream has too much acid for Grandma's hives; the good news is that I get to finish up the lemon ice cream. The good news is that Grandma made coffee ice cream today; the bad news is that I have to wait until the lemon is gone.

25 February 2006

Cleaning and stuff

Monday, we're having our garage floor epoxied, so we started cleaning the garage this morning. I thought it would take the better part of two days, what with the 4 drawer file and my 11 or 12 drawer tool cabinet, a couple of ladders, the recycleables bin, and some miscellaneous stuff. Plus trying to decide what we needed from the cabinets for the next few days. Anyway, it was all done by 10:00 this morning. So we'll probably go to the mall tomorrow. I have a 10% coupon from JCPenney which I just can't turn down!

Grandma was working on lunch before she even had her breakfast this morning - beef ribs in the slow cooker. The house smells like a ribs joint right now, and it's making me hungry.

We've harvested over 4 dozen lemons from our dwarf tree, and there're still a lot left on the tree. We set up a production line. Grandma washes them and gets the zest; I halve them and squeeze the juice. We have a Braun Juicer, which is simple to use and clean, so it doesn't take too much time to go through a couple of dozen. Grandma puts the juice in containers and freezes it. This week, she made lemon ice cream, which I can't hardly wait to try; but first we have to finish the homemade chocolate macadamia nut ice cream. So far, my favorite homemade ice cream is anything Grandma makes - they're all delicious

23 February 2006

Genealogy Revision

According to the January 2006 issue of "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register", the parentage of Stephan Gates is incorrect as recorded in my file. Research by Edward J. Harrison of the parish records of Hingham, Norfolk and Coney Weston, Suffolk in England, and various English probate records have shed new light on Stephan's parentage.

The new information lists his parents as:
"Eustace Gates, laborer, who was buried at Coney Weston on 26 April 1626. His will, dated 15 March 1625/6, was proved 5 June 1626 in the Archdeaconry Court of Sudbury."
Rose Wright "was baptized at Coney Weston, Suffolk, on 25 February 1566/7, and was buried at Hingham, Norfolk, on 25 July 1635. She married at Coney Weston on 4 March 1592/3."

Anyone holding a copy of my records should make this corection. I'll enter information about Rose's family in a later blog, if anyone is interested.

Happy Birthday, Leonhard

Today is Leonhard Wosnik's 6th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEONHARD! We hope you have many cakes, but not enough to make you sick.

Love from Tante Shirley und Onkle Bob.

19 February 2006

A Hearty Breakfast

Actually, this can be eaten anytime you're hungry:

Mix together in a bowl 1/3 cup Quakers Quik Oats, 1-1/4 cups water (or milk for a creamer consistency), 1 packet of flavored oatmeal and some raisins. Heat in a microwave at high power for about 1 minute 40 seconds. Stir and eat. Enjoy!

My favorite packet flavors are: Maple and Brown Sugar; Cinnamon Pecan; Banana Walnut; and Cinnamon Roll.

Oatmeal is said to reduce chloresterol, so I make sure I have some at least 3 times per week.

18 February 2006

A Couple of Armloads

These photos were taken by the woman who takes care of "our girls" whenever we go out of town. As anyone can see, they are quite an armload. Ginger, in Grandma's arms, doesn't get around too well these days, so Grandma pulls her around in a little red wagon. Pepper, in Granpappy's arms, just goes bounding along on her merry way, despite having had surgery on both rear legs for torn ACLs.

13 February 2006

Untruth in Advertising

"One size fits all."

Well, it certainly doesn't! Especially when it comes to men's socks. Can you imagine someone with a size 13 foot trying to get into a size 9 sock; the heel must be right under the ball of their foot. And a size 7 foot must have the sock heel up around their ankle.

Whoever thought that up should be hung up by their toes.

10 February 2006

Retirement is Tiring

Anyone who thinks retirement is a matter of sitting back and watching grass grow better re-think their plans. For example, today:
Up at 6:30, turn on the coffee. Get dressed, then bring in the paper in time for a first cuppa. By then, Grandma has made her toast and fed the girls (our 2 Corgis) and started in on her sections of the paper. After my first cup, make my breakfast (a bowl of either oatmeal or Grape Nuts), then another cuppa, by which time the paper is read. Then we take care of the girls - Grandma brushes their teeth and I brush their coats. Then to make the bed. Then a shave and shower, pack up my supplies and off to watercolor class until noon. Today we ate light, because we're going out for a BIG dinner to celebrate our 28th Anniversary. Ruth's Chris Steak House! Conpliments of Chris, Randy and family. Thank you very much.
Walk the girls, although Ginger rides in her red wagon more than walks (her Arthritis). Back to get the snail mail, check the bank statement vs. our checkbook (it balances, hooray!), on the computer to check e-mail. By now, it's almost 3:30 and maybe a few minutes to rest before we get ready for the BIG celebration. Oops, better write something for my blog.
And our schedule for the next 8 days is full!
Ah, retirement. No wonder I feel tired.

08 February 2006

Such a Day

Did you ever have a day when not much went right? Yesterday was it for me. It started with a nosebleed before breakfast. Then, I went to Home Depot with a list of 3 things and they didn't have any of the items. When I picked Grandma up at Fry's (Grocery Store), she hadn't been able to find Leeks for a recipe she wanted to try. Next crisis was trying to update Grandma's iPod; it wouldn't accept any music, and displayed the dreaded file folder. While I was trying to restore her files, our Internet connection failed. So I couldn't even read mail! Drat!

At least, we had good meals, and I even tapped a bottle of wine to end the day. By the way, if you're looking for a brand of wine that is free of sulfites, try Frey's, from California. They ship.

06 February 2006

First Thoughts

Well, here's my Blog. Now what? How about music.
Checking my iTunes list, I find these are my 5 star tunes:
The City of New Orleans - Arlo Guthrie - Folk
Blues For Dixie - Asleep at the Wheel with Lyle Lovett - Country
Sing, Sing, Sing - Benny Goodman - Swing
Cotton Fields - Bill Monroe - Bluegrass
Intermezzo Sinfonico (Cavalleria Rusticana) - Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra - Classical
Bring Him Home - Colm Wilkinson - Soundtrack (Les Miserables)
Strange Meadow Lark - Dave Brubeck Quartet - Jazz
Tell Me (The Story of Jesus) - Gaither Vocal Band with Janet Paschal - Gospel & Religious
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans - Jack Teagarden & Louis Armstrong - Dixie
Maria Elena - Los Indios Tabajaras - Latin
Still, Stil, Still - Mannheim Steamroller - Christmas
Born To Lose - Ray Charles - R&B
Black Coffee - Sarah Vaughan - Blues
Intermezzo - Scotto; Domingo; Elvira - Opera
Pieces Of Gold - Sting - Rock

That's it.