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.