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Thursday, August 30, 2012

No Comment

The phrase, "No comment" is used in so many situations and circumstances in our age of instant media transmissions.  It is easier and at times much wiser to have no response rather than misstate what you are attempting to convey.

I left an invitation for folks to leave a list of things that put a smile on their face or in their heart.  At this point no one has taken the opportunity to share things that make them feel happy or fell pleasure.  Of course, this little blog is just out there in the air for anyone to read.  There are not many takers as most of what I write is just what goes on in my mind at the time I sit to write.

The life lived in and around 3871 is pretty simple and not exciting.  My mind if traversed by a being would probably look like the crawl space of our house, full of cobwebs.  At least that is what the termite guy said it looked like, underneath the house, not my mind.

Well, so much for August 30, 2012.  Talked on the phone, hemmed a curtain, picked up prescriptions, shopped for groceries and came home.  Gene is tired tonight with an achy shoulder and left hand.  Discomfort in the chest.  Refuses to go to have it checked out.  He is not even watching the Cardinals.  I have no comment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Would Make You Happy?

That is a question that many a husband or wife asks of the other.  That is a question we ask our children at times.  When I ask my mother this question her answer is something like to be 50 years younger or have you daddy sitting in the room with her.  Or the worst answer a person wants to hear from a parent, to die tonight in my sleep.  We get that from both mothers more often than we like hearing.

For me getting to squat and get up is pretty pleasing!  Watching a beautiful sunset.  Going for a ride with Gene in his beloved Jeep.  Watching our grandsons do about anything except fighting and sometimes even the fights can be amusing.  Having a project turn out good.  Reading a good book or short story.  Taking a walk and not hurting for two days.  Helping someone in need.  An answered prayer.  Quite during a busy day.  Well, these are just a few of my favorite things.

So think on the question for a while and leave a comment on what makes you happy.  And joy and happiness to all!  

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mamas and The Papas

In 1965 I graduated from Allen High School.  That makes me old.  Not ancient quite yet but certainly old.  But that is not what I am thinking about tonight.  I am singing in my mind, which is where I have an absolutely astounding voice, the lyrics to "Monday, Monday".  That song was released the year I graduated.

In July of 1965 I started working at Texas Instruments in the integrated circuits department.  I worked on third shift in the semiconductor building.  My mother worked in the semiconductor building.  Shortly after starting to work, the IC department moved into the new north building at the Dallas site of TI.  TI provided free coffee and fresh donuts for workers for the coffee breaks.

With no money for college I planned to work for a year then start college.  I did not like living at my parents home, so without anyone knowing I found a roommate, rented an apartment and moved in before telling my parents.  I bought the car they allowed me to drive.  They were furious.  I did not care.  I was tired of that life.  I was ready to not report to anyone, do what I wanted and just have some fun.

Within the first couple of months, my first roommate moved back home.  A person from work was looking for a new place to live so Carol Walter moved in.  That was the beginning of one heck of a year.  I laughingly call it my year of sin.  Carol was enough older she could buy liquor legally.  I took my first drink during that year.  We went nightclubbing even though I was only 18 to 19 years old.

We decorated the apartment in avocado green, gold and orange.  We made a trip to Galveston.  We dated friends,  We cut down a cedar tree and drug it back to the apartment for our Christmas tree.  We bought decorations at Sun Drug in Richardson.  We made friends with guys in the apartment complex.  We even hit one of the guys with a pie plate full of whipping cream.  Goofy, silly fun.

Not being "a looker", I did not date much in high school.  That year between July 1965 to August of 1966, I had my share of dates and beaus.  Of course that all changed the one August night I opened the door of the apartment and met Mr. Wonderful.  Within weeks I was down to one guy named Gene.

So on this Monday some 47 years later I have been singing that old Mamas and Papas song.  It is on the album I bought at JC Penny's at North Park Mall in Dallas during my year of sin.  The music sounded great on the stereo system I bought for myself.  That stereo was left for the youth in Allen United Methodist church when we moved to Aurora.  The album in in the bedroom with the new carpet.

With the death of Neal Armstrong, I think back to the late 1960's.  The Mamas and The Papas have only one member still alive.  Geeze, I am old.  But when I am singing, then in my mind I am still that young, silly girl looking for some fun in the late summer of 1965 and dreaming of a wonderful future.  Bada badadada, Bada badadada, Bada badadada, Monday, Monday.........

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Political Overload

I am so done with all the hype about the election.  I am tired of emails, I am tired of Facebook posts, phone calls asking my opinion.  The group doing the polling really does not give a damn about my opinion.  If they did they would not be calling!  I do not care which side of the isle the tripe is coming from I am just done.  And now we are looking into a double barrel shotgun of, ugh, conventions.  I was forced to watch these things as a child in the 50's.  We did not have running water but we had a television!  And my mom loved politics then and still does.

The last several years and elections have left me tainted.  I voted for one president who later became known as Tricky Dicky.  Another president that did not keep his pants zipped.   I have sat on the sidelines working in the military industrial corporations as we have repeatedly gone in to both large and small scale wars.

I think I will not watch the two "Mr. President" pageants.  I do not watch Miss America or Miss World either.  I have about as much influence in any of these competitions as as the bird splatter on my garden umbrella.  Think I'll just bury myself in the next home improvement or picture scanning project.  And, please, do not try to engage me in a meaningful conversation about politics.  A meaningful conversation about politics is about as real as say a unicorn.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Old Ball Game

It is summer, Friday night and we are watching a Cardinal baseball game.  Imagine that.  Gene so enjoys all parts of baseball, especially Cardinal baseball.  Yesterday we were told our middle grandson caught a t-shirt at a triple A team game.  Pretty cool for a young boy!

We have not made but about two of the local team's games so far this year.  Maybe I should look into taking Gene to one more around his birthday.  We'll see how energetic I am after this next week as I am still working on the 2001 spring cleaning project.  Had to take time today to "mow" the lawn.  It is a stretch to call it mowing as 90 % of the grass is brown.  Just enough tough Bermuda in the yard to come out after a small amount of rain last week.

The knot garden shrubs were ready for a trim, too  First time since early May.  The drought has kept growth of everything in check.  Anything that is growing is soon uprooted by the moles.  Grrrr.  Where is Bill Murray when one needs to get rid of moles.  I found an interesting link.  If I had some money with no better purpose (like food, shelter, clothing for someone) it could be fun to blow a few moles/voles into a long, long sleep.

Aug 24 @Reds123456789

Cardinals are 3 up on the Reds for now.  It is time for the seventh inning stretch.  Guess, I'll go get a Dr. Pepper and another mini Payday bar.  After all , it is one, two, three strikes you're out at The Old Ball Game.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just a Little More

Not much left in the energy department tonight.  Worked in the yard for a couple of hours early in the morning.  Well, for me early, 7 AM - 9 AM.  After a bowl of cereal and strawberries I worked to get the plug strip set up in our nest area.  Too many electrical gadgets in one area to have room in the wall plug.  And cords dangling across to a wall plug, that makes this anal retentive person a little crazy!

Moved tables around to see if a slightly different arrangement might work better between our chairs.  Nope, so it all had to be moved back.  This was all while Gene was at his last visit to rehab and lunch with a friend.

Then it was tackle the blinds and windows in the kitchen and dining area.  Still working on getting spring cleaning for 2001 done so then I will be only 11 years behind.  I may make it before the new year.  I do know that climbing onto the kitchen cabinet to get to the blinds over the sink was easier with the new knee!  But all the bending over to scrub the blinds and screens after 2 hours working flower beds and pond stuff has left my calves crying pretty loud tonight.

Sure feels good to be able to put in a day of work around the house and garden.  Not sure if it will be shrub trimming and lawn mowing or kitchen cabinet tops tomorrow.  Gene tells me he thinks I am doing a home cleaning marathon.  "Time to sit for a while," he will tell me.  My usual answer is just a little more!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Almost Together!

I am too possessed by my possessions.  The past three months my (and Gene's) possessions from our living room, dining room and one bedroom have been in migration.  I have not functioned at my highest level of productivity, or about anything for that matter, with all this disorganization!  I did not even vote in the primaries!  

The count as of today is the dining table still in a bedroom and a small wall shelf in the dining area making both still out of "place".  The small curio cabinet and its contents are yet to find a permanent home.  But I think I have it narrowed down to one of two locations.  Oh, yes, the child sized rocker that was used first by our son and every child visiting since he out grew it is still in a temporary place.

Gene is even in his chair watching
 nighttime TV.

What difference does it make in the big picture of world events?  None.  But I want order in my life and always have yearned for this.  As a child I kept my socks and other personal items in shoe boxes inside the dresser.  All neatly separated into colors and uses.  The years when days of the week panties were the rage for young ladies, they were in perfect order in the pantie box.  I no longer use boxes in the lingerie drawer. 

Place for a cup of coffee!
And computing in comfort.
So here are a few pictures of the almost together living room.  I shall endeavor to not be as possessed by my possessions over the next weeks.  Making apple pies for the mission fund raising project will certainly keep me distracted somewhat.  But then there is the pond still needing more attention and a mole that needs to be encouraged to live elsewhere.  Guess I was a little premature thinking my life was getting almost together.

Bouquets of lavender from my garden add texture and aroma to the living area.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cardinal Baseball and Lamps

Oh, my.  How many stranded runners have these two teams had today.  It is now the bottom of the 18th inning, 2 on, 2 outs and 1-2 count .  Pretty long game and another couple of runners stranded by a pitcher swinging.  The teams are now playing the starting pitchers for tomorrow's games.  Poor guy's arms but then that is why they get the big bucks.

Work in progress
I can only watch so much baseball in a single day.  I have busied myself otherwise by emptying the last of the boxes for the book shelves.  Still working on the books, pictures and other stuff arrangements in the shelves.  I had weeded out several books when I packed for the sheet rock mess.  Was considering self timer votive candles for the sconce above the bookshelves.  Read the reviews and decided to wait a bit longer to look at some locally.
Too high to crawl up to turn on or light candles.

One of the first lamps we purchased in 1968 needs a new shade.  I have been looking for several years for a new shade.  During the Card game I have found an online place to order a new one.  Of course the shade costs as much as some new lamps!  We still like the lines of the lamp but it just really needs to be replaced as a portion of the base support broke last year.  Gene did the best that could be done but the baby/old lady is a little lopsided.

Not bad for 44 years old.
We decided to check into replacing the lamp, again while the Cards played 2 games in one as they are now in the 19th inning.  I am just too picky within my price range.  I find a lamp that is something I find pleasing and sure enough $300 plus.  Not gonna do it!  And now with a 6 to 3 score, Pirates, it looks like the Cards not gonna do it either.

While the Cards could not pull out the game today hope springs eternal in both sports and shopping.  Looking forward to the next opportunity for Cardinal Baseball and my search for a lamp.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


After quite the summer of missteps with a simple new carpet replacement, the living room carpet was installed yesterday.  We pulled a few of the pieces back into the room last night.  Most everything had glides left under them so that was pretty easy.  We did put most of the electronic stuff back together.  I think I will now have a Lazyboy leather recliner for sale.  Just does not suit my style.  Probably will replace Gene's next year.

One other big thing is the beginning of the UMW Apple Pies for Missions.  This is a project I commit my time to as one of the team of leaders.  This will be my second year on the planning team.  I am taking orders, getting volunteers as workers for pie crust dry ingredient assembly line and pie making nights.  This is a huge project so my energy will be focused in that direction till second week in October.

Not much else for right now.  Want to get the rest of the stuff put back.  And the sheers need a little pressing after the hand wash a few weeks back.  Did not see any reason to do the pressing till they could be rehung.  Probably will not post much for a couple of days.  Playing in my living room.  And smiling while at it.

Fall in the headlights means life will be getting really busy.  But it will be much easier with new knees for us as well as the "simple" new carpet project in the rear view mirror ... thank God, finally.

Beginning of fire place money pit disaster, May 15, 2012

Carpet FINALLY installed, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Emotions.  Pretty simple word to describe such a driving force in so much we do as humans.  Think of all the times you say any of the following:  I am so happy;  sad;  angry;  mad;  irritated.  I am feeling overwhelmed;  lonely;  lost;  out of sync;  guilty;  embarrassed;  ashamed.  Just to name a few of my favorites.

A friend's husband passed away within a few weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  I had seen her just last week at the grocery store.  We cried a bit together.  But she sure seemed prepared to face the coming weeks of caring for her husband of 50 + years.  Within 48 hours he was gone to a better place with no pain.  Of course my friend is left with a huge empty place in her life.  I feel so sad for her in this loss.

After Gene's near death experience in 2007, it was hard to understand why he was spared and others were not.  Within months one of my sorority sisters lost her husband.  I felt joy that I still had Gene but guilt at the same time.  Almost embarrassed to be around the friend that lost her husband.

Emotions at times drive poets, song writers, speakers, listeners, voters, politicians and even business persons at times.  If you do not believe emotions do not influence business, tune into the floor of the stock market.  The potential of a shortage of some materials or raw products can sent stocks into a spiral.  Just look at farm product futures during droughts, floods or storms.  If you cannot ride a roller coaster better steer clear of watching stock prices of the futures market.

Emotions tonight for me include sadness for my friend's loss and sadly overwhelmed by the depressed state of our mothers' attitudes.  There are only so many times you can hear your mom say she just does not want to wake up again without it having a negative effect on your own attitude and your emotions.

But the overriding emotion I feel tonight is joy.  The joy of still looking across the room at Gene.  The joy of having friends.  The joy of a phone call from our son.  Our son who is 39 years old at 7:15 PM tomorrow night.  Something that started with feelings of love and passion has brought such joy for so many, many years.  And three wonderful grandson to boot!  So I will take the negative feelings to be able to experience the joy of the motherhood emotions.

Two of my greatest joys, Gene and John Roger, circa 1975

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Food and Friends

What a great day!  Another day of unbelievably good weather.  I started the morning outside.  But  before I could get started I had to stop Made a trip to the bank to meet with UMW officers to sign everything one more time this year.

Returned home in time for Gene to need to get out for a bit.  After a couple of errands we decided it was too nice just to go back home.  We drove to a nearby park and before we even stopped we knew it was a fried chicken picnic kind of time.  Off to KFC and back to the park for a shady bench.  We came across our former neighbors, Dottie, OD and their poodle.  They were out walking in the beautiful weather.  Lots of folks at the park enjoying the day.

I think fried chicken tastes best when eaten outside.  Probably a childhood throwback to Youngblood's Chicken box at the great State Fair of Texas.  Fried chicken needs to be accompanied by potato chips and a slice of Mrs. Baird's light bread.  It is really good to eat it with Gene.  He is doing to good with the new knee.  Each day shows more strength and flexibility.

Eventually I became overwhelmed with guilt of work needing to be done back at the house.  So back to 3871 where I worked on removing more overgrown vegetation.  Did more cleaning in the pond.  Mowed and edged the yard.  By then it was past time to cleanup, dress and meet friends to celebrate another 65th birthday.

Being able to meet with 4 other couples to celebrate a birthday was very special this year.  One couple has spent most of this year battling cancer and a complication that almost took the husband's life.  The birthday girl had a close call with complications from kidney stones in the last month.  Two other couples have been dealing with mothers with memory loss and the life changes that brings to the family.  Gene and I have been well but with the elective surgeries we have had our challenges.  But for a couple of hours tonight we had the perfect end to a perfect day, time with friends.  The time together was food for the souls.  Thank God for Food and Friends.

Friday, August 10, 2012

String Algae and Me

Ten years ago I spent my late summer and early fall digging my garden pond and stream.  Little did I know at that time that by making the water feature I had created a center for my continuing education. Gene has been an invaluable support in this learning process.

The first couple of years of the pond and stream we struggled with algae blooms and string algae.  Gene consulted a local water garden nursery.  They suggested an external filtration system.  That is how Gene came up with the cattle tank filled with lava rock filtration system.  That has done a great job over the last eight years.

Today has been an absolutely beautiful day here in southwest Missouri.  Temperatures have been moderate, a cloudless sky with just enough breeze to be perfect to work outdoors.  So I was in the  backyard by 9:15 working toward rebuilding the stream part of the water feature.  This project will have to be done in several stages.  Plant trimming and removal, reshaping the bottom of the river, adding more height to the west side of the stream edge will get a good start on the project.  The last part of the stream change may include moving the location of the filtration tank before adding the decorative stones along the stream edge.

With the overall project in mind my focus today was twofold:  removing some liriope spicata from the bed next to the stream;  introducing some algae control products into the water system.  The liriope spicata had become invasive around the stream and deck edges.  The rain earlier this week along with the selected watering of the yard made digging up these plants much easier.  I was able to remove all the plants along the south edge of the stream.  There will be a few more clumps to be removed near a walkway and by the pond.   But I was pleased with the  progress so far.

The best way to beat algae in a pond to to avoid too much decaying matter in the pond.  Also, keeping filters clean.  We failed miserably on both counts last fall.  Did not get the netting over the pond in time to keep the falling leaves out of it.  Did not give the filter a fall washout.  The water quality is paying big time for our lack of energy.  In June we did an all day wash of the tank filter but it is really full again.

The more shallow areas of the pond were filled with algae before I had pulled and scrubbed the areas yesterday.  String algae had the stream almost completely engulfed.  About every other day I have been pulling almost a gallon of string algae from the stream and pond.  Yuck.

Research on line to determine the best approach for algae removal put some more wrinkles on my brain.  According to the sites on ponds, barley straw releases a chemical that controls new algae growth.  Those same websites noted that the lava rock eventually becomes too full of stuff to adequately filter pond water.  Bio balls, light weight devices, are now the recommended filter media.  All sites noted the importance of skimming debris from ponds.  So barley bales, bio balls and an new skimmer net to replace the torn net were ordered earlier this week.

After removal of the liriope menace a complete wash down and scrubbing of the stream liner was completed.  By relocating the edges of the liner to avoid rain water washing dirt into the stream should cut down on debris.  Barley bales are now placed at the end of the return water hoses and just below the waterfall.  300 Laguana biospheres in a mesh bag were added to the filter tank so they can be populated by "good" bacteria.  Just try me one more time string algae.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Our day started with an 8 AM phone call giving the good news about my car problem.  Just a fuel pump.......  I suppose after 208,000 miles it deserves a new fuel pump.  I have a new knee as well as Gene.  Maybe the car was just jealous and wanted something new, too.  Sure hope nothing else gets jealous.

As we are watching tv tonight, I realize it is the time of year for hearing cannons being fired.  We live just a few miles from the sight of an important Civil War battle.  North against South.  Rebels against Unionists.  Brother against brother.  The Battle of Wilson's Creek was the second major battle of the Civil War.  The battle marked the first Union general, Nathaniel Lyon, to be killed in that war.

In my little part of the world I wonder if any of the soldiers crossed this section of modern Springfield area going to that distant battle.  After the battle Wilson's Creek was so contaminated by the dead and dying that typhoid fever broke out in the area within a few weeks.  This was a second set of causalities to this battle.

When you tour the NPS Wilson's Creek Battlefield you can see the Ray house where wounded from both sides were treated.  Or hike around Bloody Hill where so many lives were claimed.  Blue, grey and red lay strewn all over the area.  Bodies were buried on the battlefield.  Years later the remains were moved to the Springfield National Cemetery.   

Thinking about all this past history and the carnage of August 10, 1861, it makes the challenges of fireplaces, leaks and non functioning cars seem insignificant.  Even the challenges of recovering from knee surgery for myself and now Gene are as nothing in comparison to soldiers recovering from injuries incurred during battle.

We may notice a few rumbles on Saturday and Sunday as infantry and artillery are demonstrated.  I simply pray that in this election year we do not find our nation so divided that we lose sight of the importance of lives over ideals.  May this land never again be soaked with the blood of battles.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Not sure much more needs to be said but I probably will say more.  We received rain on Saturday evening.  This afternoon we experienced a slow rain for a couple of hours.  And the temperature dropped significantly.  Right now it is about 71 degrees.  Quite the change from a week ago for sure.

We sealed the fireplace tiles earlier today.  Hope I did it correctly as they are still a little tacky this evening.  It is looking good at any rate.  Pleased to have the majority of this project in the rear view mirror!  Now to get busy getting all the woodwork polished up and ready for the carpet install on Tuesday.

There are a couple of distractions from focusing on getting things back in place in the living room.  String algae in the river and pond is creating quite the mess.  So part of tomorrow will be spent unhooking the pump and filter to the pond.  Then removing part of the water from the river and pouring in some good old algaecide in just the river.  After about 24 hours, will suck out the water, remove any remaining debris, give another 24 for the chemicals to dissipate, clean filter media and pond bottom then restart the system.  Oh, yes, we will be adding 300 biospheres (little gizmos to help with the filtration of all the fish and tree droppings) to the main filter tank.  Hope all this helps.

Second problem is transportation.  Neither one of our vehicles would start today.  The Jeep had not been driven in several weeks so its battery had lost its charge.  A simple trickle charger got this up and going.  Then Gene was "forced to drive the Jeep around a little."  Not sure who forced him cause he was gone before I even knew the Jeep was running!

My car has around 208,000 miles and is getting pretty tired.  I either bought bad gas or the fuel injectors or not functioning properly.  I really would like to drive the car a couple more years just because.  Maybe I am just cheap but I would like to say it lasted for 20 years.  1995 model is getting close to the mark.

But for tonight, I think I will just be very thankful for Gene's continuing improvement.  I mean he is already driving!  And very thankful for a really good rain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Momma's Letter

My mother for over 90 years of her life had the most beautiful penmanship.  But one of the falls that caused her to break her right wrist has changed all that.  It is painful for her to write and that beautiful penmanship is not longer at its peak.  But last week our son received a multi page letter from her.  He was so pleased and honored to receive this treasure.  He noted the decline and that he could almost feel the pain she was in while writing.

Yesterday we received a card from Mom.  There are still traces of the beautiful, cursive pen work.  And at its worst the writing is better than most folks I know.  I know my hand can no longer write with the same accuracy as even 10 years ago.  Of course, I guess my loss could be just a lack of practice.

The reason for Mom's card was not a postal visit but a request.  She included half of a photo from 1937.  My oldest sister is in the picture as a toddler in Daddy's arms.  Momma, Margaret and Daddy are all dressed to the nines.  Momma had asked if we could maybe fix the picture, increase the size and print for her.  Of course she would pay for all costs.  Really.

Wish she would realize that just seeing the picture of my young parents and toddler sister is priceless.  And the gold is seeing the handwriting one more time in my Momma's Letter.

That is Mom's handwriting for a few years back.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mission to Mars

Pretty cool that a student, Adam Steltzner, who made F+ in geometry is one of the lead scientists for the NASA Mars rover mission.  Wonderful that his ingenuity prevailed over his disinterest in geometry!  My mom thinks all space exploration is a waste of money.  "A rich man's playhouse is all it is", says Mary.  "Nothing has ever come from all that wasted money."

I like Corning ware.  But there are over 1500 applications noted in a 2010 article you can access at the following website:
NASA Spinoffs with Practical Applications
Under the Space Act of 1958, NASA has had a mandate to share all the information it has gained with the public. Here are a few of the practical applications that have resulted from technologies and information learned by space scientists:
CAT scans
Kidney dialysis machines
Heart defibrillator technology
Remote robotic surgery
Artificial heart pump technology
Physical therapy machines
Positron emission tomography
Microwave receivers used in scans for breast cancer
Cardiac angiography
Monitoring neutron activity in the brain
Cleaning techniques for hospital operating rooms
Portable x-ray technology for neonatal offices and 3rd world countries
Freeze-dried food
Water purification filters
ATM technology
Pay at the Pump satellite technology
Athletic shoe manufacturing technique
Insulation barriers for autos
Image-processing software for crash-testing automobiles
Holographic testing of communications antennas
Low-noise receivers
Cordless tools
A computer language used by businesses such as car repair shops, Kodak, hand-held computers, express mail
Aerial reconnaissance and Earth resources mapping
Airport baggage scanners
Distinction between natural space objects and satellites/warheads/rockets for defense
Satellite monitors for nuclear detonations
Hazardous gas sensors
Precision navigation
Clock synchronization
Ballistic missile guidance
Secure communications
Study of ozone depletion
Climate change studies
Monitoring of Earth-based storms such as hurricanes
Solar collectors
Fusion reactors
Space-age fabrics for divers, swimmers, hazardous material workers, and others
Teflon-coated fiberglass for roofing material
Lightweight breathing system used by firefighters
Atomic oxygen facility for removing unwanted material from 19th century paintings
FDA-adopted food safety program that has reduced salmonella cases by a factor of 2
Multispectral imaging methods used to read ancient Roman manuscripts buried by Mt. Vesuvius

    Pretty sure I'll never get much further than to the boundaries of the US and Canada.  I salute the dreamers, schemers and all the folks who worked on such a fascinating project!  An I am a sucker for guys with a pompadour!  Congratulations to NASA on the latest successful Mission to Mars.
Adam Steltzner

The team celebrating success!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gene the Grillin' Machine

Tonight Gene cooked dinner.  No big deal.  Gene has done about half of the cooking for most of our marriage.  I was never sure if it was because I was so lazy or if he sort of enjoyed cooking.  We worked different shifts probably 1/4 of our working years.  So cooking for family meals fell to whoever was home for that meal.

When we worked for Litton we had lots of mutual friends at work.  One mutual friend was a young man I met during the months I worked 3rd shift alone in the old Camera department.  Greg Emerson was a dispatcher.  His job was to move the product (panels of printed circuit boards) from one department to the next. Greg made it his personal job to check on me to make sure I was okay.  That I had not fallen in the darkroom or fallen off a stool.  The latter could happen if I fell asleep while looking through the bifocal scope touching up artwork for printed circuit boards.

While Greg did catch me asleep on the scope once, I never did fall off the stool!  Greg was the president of the employees' association.  Sharon (Smitty) Smith, quality control for Camera, some how finagled it to where I became one of the officers with her and Greg.  It was during that time I was the bunny rabbit for the annual egg hunt on the lawn at Litton.  Working together on the employees association helped Greg, Sharon and I become acquainted with each other's families.  Greg always referred to Gene as Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine.

In later years, Greg and I worked together when he was in the sales department for Litton.  Eventually Greg moved to Alabama where he represented Litton to the Chrysler manufacturing facility.  Our company made the circuit boards for the cruise controls for Chrysler products in the 1990's.  I made at  least one trip to help trouble shoot some technical issues.

I have not heard from Greg in a couple of years now. But I thought of him tonight when Gene started grilling.  Gene is recovering so quickly from the surgery.  He is going to drive himself to PT tomorrow.  Tonight for the first time in a few months, he became Gene, Gene the Grilling Machine.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Grocery Shopping

The task of grocery shopping is next to cleaning bathrooms on my list of things I prefer to not do. Gene on the other hand seems to enjoy grocery shopping.  Actually I would prefer the bathroom duty as I can do that in my own time without getting "dressed".

Gene is still out of commission for driving the car or Jeep.  And he surely cannot walk to the closest grocery store.  So grocery shopping is in my court these days.  Last night I surfed the grocery ads looking up prices and forming "the grocery shopping map".  

The ongoing fireplace resurfacing is requiring brain and leg work.  Yesterdays work ended with an adjustment in the arrangement of tiles to fit the odd dimensions of the opening.  That change created the need for exchange and return of tiles before work could begin this morning.  It was just too hot to get out Thursday afternoon to haul tiles around.

I usually am on my first cup of coffee and barely awake at 10 AM.  We worked second and third shifts too many years.  Those hours gave rise to a bad habit of staying up into the wee hours of the morning and sleeping late.  But since July 10's knee surgery for Gene early bedtime and early rising has become the norm.  Add to that this weeks Copperfield's Fireplace & Chimney repair work, wake up time has been about 6:30 AM.

This Friday morning found me crawling into my car by 8 AM.  Trash had been carried to the curb.  Weeds had been pulled.  The Kindle Out of Milk app had my grocery list itemized.  The return items were piled carefully in the car.  All reusable grocery bags were at the ready.  I was prepared for the tasks at hand.

8 - 8:30  Mussino Tile, exchange and returns

8:30 - 9:15  Food 4 Less specified produce, dairy and misc items

No snow today )
9:15 - 9:30  Aldi  specified fruits and veggies

9-30 - 9:55  Dillions  specified frozen veggies, fish, meat and dairy products

9:55 - 10:05 Return home

10:05 - 11:15 Unload car, put groceries away, eat breakfast, realize error on Mussino Tile run.

11:45 - 12:25 Return to Mussion Tile for more exchange and returns

12:25 - 12:45 Return home and finally pour my first cup of coffee of the day

So ready for Gene to be back in the drivers seat and helping with the grocery shopping!

Friday's progress.  The blue dot spacers look good, not. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making Progress is Fun

No rain and water & soaker hoses only on tree and shrubs.
All the heat and dry weather is leaving folks with some edginess these days.  Every other morning as allowed by the water department, different sections of our flower beds are watered for about an hour.  At least this is keeping the shrubs from suffering any more damage.

Same yard with only God's watering in May.
The tomato plants Gene set out in June are actually beginning to set on fruit.  And the volunteer squash plant that came up at the edge of the compost pile is setting on little butternut squash.  Gene is a happy gardener.  And with the watering the moles are doing a great job of aerating the ground.  The moles do not care if they are digging in grass, pebble paths, flowerbeds or under flagstones.

Yesterday Mr. Copperfield's Chimney Service began the project of resurfacing our fireplace and hearth.  Know that the chimney project started with a very poorly finished fireplace chimney cap and roof/chimney junction over 19 years ago.  The project of stopping water entering our home through all sorts of openings started in earnest in 2009.

Friday will be tiling the lower face of the fireplace.
The most current effort began by simply attempting to close a hole in the sheet-rock before new carpeting was installed.  After the now 3 month plus saga of the fireplace wall repair, we are beginning to have hope that the project is back on track.  With a group effort of Mr. Simpson, Gene and me we came up with a design for the stone tiles.  And you know what, making progress is fun!

Wore Gene completely down to the nub. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Playing Chicken

Remember the days when young drivers would play "chicken" like the scene in Rebel Without a Cause?  Or you called someone chicken just to get them to do something the other person did not really want to do?  One of my favorite websites, Wikipedia, has the following information:

Chicken (game)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Chicken (disambiguation).
The game of chicken, also known as the hawk-dove game or snow-drift game, is an influential model of conflict for two players in game theory. The principle of the game is that while each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.
So folks in Congress are choosing not to yield.  People in churches are choosing not to yield.  The Liberal Left will not yield.  The Conservative Right will not yield.  Folks are constantly telling me they need guns.  I do not care if they have their guns so long as they do not kill people.  Then I have the right to have an opinion.  And the right to express that opinion.  Same as everyone else.
I am pleased I live in a nation that guarantees my right to free speech as well as all the other components of the original Bill of Rights.  I choose to respect all the Amendments as not only my right but the right of others.  One of which is the separation of church and state.  And there in lies the rub.  I do not want state and federal laws on how to manage the size of my family on the basis of some religion to which I do not profess.  I do not want a person that does not want to use birth control to be told they have to use birth control.  Why is this even an issue?  
I do not want my gay friend to be told it is illegal to love and marry by the state.   That is between a person and their Creator.
I am a Liberal, God Fearing person of God's handiwork.  I do not need to line up at some fast food joint to support a freedom that has been fought for and won by so many men and women.  The game of  "chicken" is not a game for persons claiming to be adults/grown up.  So, folks, let's stop playing chicken.