Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ringing out the old year with a new little one.

Meet Haleighana new kid on the block

Baby Hal and Mom Anna are doing well and made it in to this world in time to celebrate the ringing in of the new year. Haleighana weighed 7.04 pounds, height remains unknown as of this writing. Everyone is really excited.... now it is time to sleep!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Earth Odyssey - Happy New Year 2010

I don't know what it is about the end of a year – always bitter/sweet it seems. Sometimes the scales are tipped heavy with all the things I wished I had accomplished and didn't. I don't feel that way this year. On February 20, 2009 I wrote my first blog entry, since then there have been 161, this will make 162. My goal was to write a little something every day, on this I did fall short, but I learned that even the simplest of blogs, like mine, can take more time to do than one would imagine. I have received positive feedback from friends, family and unacquainted's and that makes me feel good. I hope my grandchildren will view this blog of mine sort of like a journal of my life, a gift to them. I don't know how often they read it but it would make me happy to know that they did stop by the artichoke stand every now and again.

In March of this year I began several volunteer endeavors, some taking more time than others, some more important, other of less importance. The main thing is that I am taking some of those uneventful retirement hours and putting them to good use in lending a helping hand where I can. Days filled with work gives one a sense of self-worth and being occupied helps to distract the mind from having to process those ever increasing aches and pain moments of aging.

For the most part I have completed the research for my book and I will begin the writing process in earnest with the commence of the new year. Discipline is the key factor. I will imagine myself off in the wilderness somewhere in a tiny little cabin, sitting in front of a manual typewriter and listening to the sounds of the words forming on the paper with each stroke of the keys. Someone should design a computer keyboard that would make those wonderful old typewriter sounds; I always loved the 'ding' when you neared the end of a line.

I became an avid Netflix viewer this year, so much so I rarely grace the inside of a movie theater anymore, but I must say 2009 looks like it will be ending on a high note with all the good movies that are now in theaters. I think I may sneak off and see Invictus before the year is out. I have the soundtrack and I really love the music.

Those of you who have made this blog journey with me this year, thank you for being there. To all I wish the very best in 2010, stay safe and don't forget all those who serve and are in harm's way, we owe them so much.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

T'was Getting Close to Christmas...

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Rudolph was charging his nose to bright...

and that Jolly Fat Man was soon to take flight.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Awakening

I promised I would share The Giant's reaction to our first snowfall since he arrived here in Chesterfield. So I braved the cold and blustery air today to get a photo. Now I admit it's not much of a snowfall, just a dusting really, but it is our first of the winter season. I am keeping the good thought for a truly white Christmas in the next few days. We shall see...

The Season of Giving and Sharing

I received a very special early Christmas gift from my grandson, Oliver, you know the artist that lives out in California, a copy of his second book. That's right, his second book! While I struggle here to hopefully get my first book completed before I reach the ripe old age of 75.

It it such a great thing that these kids get to do in school, I wish every child had the same opportunities. I was thinking how neat it would be to share Oliver's book with all of you. So here is Oliver story, The Magical Forest, enjoy...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beethoven's Birthday - December 16, 1770

Ludwig Van Beethoven

One hundred and ninety years after Beethoven was born a couple of kids got married in Southern California. They always got a kick of out saying they were celebrating Beethoven's birth and not their wedding anniversary each year.

Their time together as a couple was short, unless you're a Hollywood couple - they weren't. But their friendship stayed strong until death delt the cards and separated them for once and all. Memories prevail and offspring flourish, life goes on and Beethoven's birth is still remembered.

Happy Beethoven's Birthday, Dick!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Linda!

You must have been a beautiful baby

You must have been a wonderful child

When you were only starting to go to kindergarten

I bet you drove the little boys wild.

You must have been a beautiful baby

'Cause baby look at you now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Scarlet Letter

There is a lot of adultery going on these days; you only have to turn on your television to see it. It can be in the form of characters in a storyline or real life celebrities. I think Mad Men would be a thirty minute show if all the adultery encounters were removed. But adultery doesn't seem to really be the "A" word like it was in the days of Nathaniel Hawthorne's writings.

Today, sexual unfaithfulness of a married person is softened up by use of such terms as "a minor indiscretion" or "wandering eye". And for real hard core adulterers we have the good Doctor Drew to the rescue, ready to treat and counsel the offender for his sexual addiction. We never seem to read about women suffering from this condition, I wonder why that is?

Times have changed, the world has changed, and we now live in a world where an indiscretion of any type is but a tweet away from everyone knowing about what is going on. More than one US President carried on affairs, known about, but not covered by the media. Times had changed by the time President Bill Clinton had his in the White House encounter.

If I don't care for the offender I can use the offense as fuel to fan the flames of my dislike. If I have a neutral position I usually let the incidence pass like water off a duck's back. But when the offender is someone I admire and who has become an icon for all that is admirable and good, I become very disappointed in this person.

Yes, adultery is a personal issue, deeply affecting the family involved, but somewhere fame and celebrity blurs the line between private and public and we end up involving ourselves in this private issue. I had the idea that maybe we should bring The Scarlet Letter back and force the adulterer to have to wear this letter. On second thought, there probably would be so many "A" letters worn it would become a fashion statement.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Musings from the Road

While tootling about town today I got to thinking about words that we should use more often:

  • Swell!
  • Big fat liar…
  • Groovy!
  • Neat!
  • Really neat!!
  • Cool.
  • Gee.
  • Golly.
  • Golly gee.
  • Later alligator.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mark

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Mid '60's

It's is amazing how fast the years go by. It seems like yesterday this little boy was scurrying around on his tricycle on the grounds of UC's married student housing in Albany, California. It was also in the mid-sixties that Mark's love affair with Hawaii would begin with our annual visits to Grandma and Grandpa's home in Kona. Now Mark is taking his own family to Hawaii, though like me, I think he finds the island of Maui to be his favorite. Certainly our early visits to Kona bear no resemblance to Kona today with its plethora of fast food outlets, wide, nicely paved roads and an airport capable of handling the big jumbo jets. In the sixties Kona was a sleepy little fishing village that would come to life each year during the annual billfish tournament.

In the late sixties the family moved to Newport Beach and Mark still lives in that city, he has mentioned that he will never leave. I am sure there are times when he feels abandoned with both sisters and his mother having moved to other states years ago. In fact we have a darn hard time getting him to visit. Maybe I need to bake a cake.

Hope you have a great birthday – enjoy, but please don't light that many candles without a permit from the fire department!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Attention Starbucks Shoppers…

In November 1942 Americans were waking up to a week-long freeze on the sale of coffee in U.S. grocery stores – that was the bad news. The good news was that coffee had now been placed on the rationed goods list and "Stamp No. 27" from the Sugar Book, could be used to purchase a pound of coffee. Each registered ration book recipient would be able to obtain one pound of coffee every five weeks. That measured out to about one cup of coffee per day.

I was a young child during those days but I have vivid memories of the use of ration stamps, especially the shoe stamp. My parents would forgo buying new shoes with their allotment and save the stamps to buy new shoes for my rapidly growing child-feet. I have good feet today and maybe I have my parents sacrifice to thank for not having to grow up with too-small-shoes on my little feet.

World War II was a time when all Americans were part of the war effort, whether engaged directly by going off to war in a uniform or making sacrifices on the home-front with their limited availability of goods such as gas, tires, sugar and coffee. This was a time, decades before we became the ever growing disposable nation that we are today, that Americans bought only what they needed and recycled and reused without a second thought of being green. I am glad I lived then and that at least a portion of my growing up years was tempered from life's excesses. I think this life experience has left me with a foundation that I use to draw upon today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mother of Thanksgiving

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale
1788 -1879

It was Sarah Josepha Buell Hale who we have to thank for our American Thanksgiving holiday. She was like an original Martha Stewart, the domestic goddess of the 1800's. She fought for over forty years to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday, writing to congressmen and five presidents before finally influencing President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863.

Sarah Hale was an interesting woman, born on a farm in Newport, New Hampshire in 1788; she received her education at home but was later tutored by her brother Horatio Buell, who attended Dartmouth College. Sarah learned enough to start a school for boys and girls. In 1813 Sarah fell in love with and married David Hale a young lawyer. She was expecting her fifth child when her husband died suddenly from pneumonia just two weeks before their son was born on October 9, 1822.

Left with five children to raise Sarah looked for a means to provide for the family, first trying her hand at running a millinery shop with her sister-in-law. She did not enjoy the work and would spend her free moments writing and reading. In five years she published her first novel which led to her ultimate job as editress, her term, of a magazine for women, American Ladies Magazine. Later the journal was sold and became Godey's Lady's Book, where she remained until her retirement at age eighty-nine.

She was opinionated, believing women should be accepted into medical school and was a strong advocate for education for women. In her first novel, Northwood: A Tale of New England, she made clear her abolitionist views. Despite her championing causes for the education of women and her progressive beliefs she did not believe in a woman's right to vote, perhaps she was more comfortable with conforming to the Victorian conventions of the time rather than the militant attitudes of the Suffragettes.

But it is Sarah Josepha Hale we need to thank this year when we sit down to enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday tradition.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Art by Oliver Returns

"November Caw Caw"
Look what arrived at my home today, just in time to celebrate the bountiful harvest at my house on Thursday. Nothing pleases me more than the whimsical artwork done by my grandson. I mean really, can you look at this happy face and not feel all is right with the world? The artist is currently enjoying a well earned vacation with his family in Hawaii. I wonder if they will be having a Hawaiian Turkey? Don't forget the Ono Sweet Potatoes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OCC Crew

"It's a great art, is rowing. It's the finest art there is.
It's symphony of motion. And when you're rowing well,
why it's nearing perfection. And when you reach perfection
you're touching the divine. It touches the you of you's,
which is your soul." -- George Pocock

My grandson is a freshman at Orange Coast College this year and he has taken up rowing. Just watching how hard they work I would say it is not for the faint of heart. It must be a wonderful experience when the team members work as one and fly through the water to victory. This past Sunday the Pirates participated in the Head of Harbor 2009 races in Los Angeles Harbor and the Novice 8 finished #1, beating out teams from UCSB, USC, ASU, CSULB and LMU. The Varsity 8 came in second to USC by just one second! Looks like it will be a good year for the OCC Crew.

Back in '50's when I was in high school and we spent the summer months at the beach house in China Cove I can remember seeing the OCC crews rowing past the house as they trained, never imaging that one day my own grandson would be in one of those boats rowing away. In 1953 the crew program at Orange Coast College was officially begun and it is one of the most successful programs in the country, winning more than eighty percent of their races. From 1953 to 1963 they were the only two-year community college to participate in crew. Over the years other community colleges have joined but OCC remains the only community college with a complete rowing program. And they are the only community college crew to have participated in the Henley Royal Regatta in Great Britain. Their history of the past fifty-six years is quite extensive and would take more room than I have here to list all the accomplishments.

When OCC Crew started in 1953 the first shells weight 400 pounds, today they weigh around 190 pounds, a bit easier I would say to carry now, but still hefting those boats must help to keep the arms and back in shape. I'm looking forward to hearing the results of future races. GO TEAM!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Unsolicited Email

I received this email today from an old high school buddy and thought I would share it with you along with my comments, of course.

Subject: Computer Tip of the Day


  1. Open a new file in your computer.
  2. Name it 'Barack Obama'.
  3. Send it to the Recycle Bin.
  4. Empty the Recycle Bin.
  5. Your PC will ask you, "Do you really want to get rid of 'Barack Obama'?
  6. Firmly click 'Yes'.
  7. Feel better?

GOOD! – Tomorrow we will do 'Nancy Pelosi'!

Now those of you reading this that are of the Republican flavor are probably laughing your heads off. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, however, I'm a different political flavor and to me it isn't so funny. The thing I find odd is I get this type of stuff from friends on a regular basis. I'm not sure if they assume I'm the same flavor as they are and would enjoy the joke or if they think their jokes would sway me to change flavors or if they just want to annoy me. I do admit to getting annoyed, so one out of three ain't bad.

I don't remember ever getting jokes emailed to me about Bush, but I guess when you think about it there was never anything really funny about Bush. I have made a joke about Russ Limbaugh though, but I didn't email it to me friends I just put it on my blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring those that served…

John Guess, Jr.* US Army WWI - F.M. Guess, USN, WWI - F.M. Guess, Jr. USN, WWII

It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month that the Armistice was signed that ended World War I. Originally designated Armistice Day on November 11, 1919 to honor those who served in World War I, this day was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veterans Day, to honor all of those that have served in America's Wars. There have been a lot of military conflicts in the short history of the United States: The American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, The Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan War and the Iraq War.

While we can debate the rightness or the wrongness of war, we cannot turn our backs on those who serve and give so much to keep America free. Today we honor those that served and every day we give thanks to not only those that serve but to their families who give so much as well.

And then his mother straightened up, with a smile to hide a tear. She said, "We're both so proud of you, we'll feel lost without you here." Someday, you'll know what this moment means, when your boy shakes your hand, and you watch him as he walks away, the day he becomes a man. ~~Excerpt from a poem "Who becomes a Veteran", by John Mitchum.


*Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John Guess, Jr., Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company H, 364th Infantry Regiment, 91st Division, A.E.F., near Eclisfontaine, France, September 28, 1918. Assisted by another sergeant, and leading a combat group across an open valley under constant hostile fire, Sergeant Guess completed the capture of four machine-gun nests and three prisoners. He was seriously wounded in the encounter and died soon afterwards. General Orders No. 21, War Department, 1919, Born: at El Monte, California, Home Town: El Monte, California

Monday, November 9, 2009

“Friends For A Cure”

Here is a picture of Joy and her teammates as they crossed the finish line Sunday in Dallas. This is what she had to say about her experience, "It was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to do it again. I'm sore today, but not nearly as bad off as I was expecting which is great. The Dallas/Ft. Worth group of 3,000 walkers this weekend raised $7.2 million for breast cancer! SO AWESOME! I'm attaching a picture of our "Friends For A Cure" team of 8 girls when we crossed the finish!"

Well, I would say that was a job well done indeed!. Congratulations to all of the 3,000 walkers who participated to help raise $7.2 million. I am so proud of all of you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Here's our Girl...

I received this picture this evening, Joy after completing FORTY MILES, she looks great! I bet she sleeps well tonight in her little pink tent. Tune in tomorrow for the finale. WTG girl!!!
Super job Joy, everyone is so proud of you.
She is probably on her way to the airport as I write this to catch her flight back to California. It will probably feel good to put her feet up for a few hours and rest. Sixty miles, WOW, at the rate I go it would take me fifteen weeks to cover that many miles.

Full of Joy Update

Dallas/Fort Worth Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk

My test messages report that Joy completed 20 miles yesterday and woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I got an update that three miles were behind her already this Saturday morning. Too bad I don't tweet; I could have let her know that for one of those miles I was walking with her here in Missouri. More updates to follow…

Saturday, Noon Update: 11.5 miles so far today, total since Friday 31.5. Go Joy!!!!!!

Saturday: This just in... "Finished my 40!!!" WTG, Joy, sleep well tonight, looking forward to updates tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where in the World is Joy?

You remember my friend Bonnie Kakes, well her daughter Joy (and my adopted "granddaughter") is under that pink tent in Texas participating in the Dallas/Fort Worth 3 Day Breast Cancer walk. It all started today with the Opening Ceremony at Plano Centre then in their tent for the night. Saturday morning they hit the trail again, even crossing Addison's unique suspension bridge before settling in camp for a second night. Sunday another day through Dallas ending with the Closing Ceremony at Fair Park. Way to go Joy!!!!! I'm proud of you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breaking News...

This is what you got to see of U2's free concert in Berlin if you didn't have a ticket. The event was celebrating 20 years since the Berlin Wall came done, but the irony of it all was that a 12-foot barrier was installed to prevent those without tickets to be able to catch a glimpse of the concert. MTV, organizer of the event, said they worked with local promoters and officials to put up the temporary fence for the safety and security of the attendees and residents. And maybe so "some" people could not get a free peek without their free ticket.

Whew, it’s over!

No, it's not the election – the baseball season. Now don't get me wrong, I love baseball, but it's a long, long time from April to November. For awhile there with all the rain delays I was beginning to think I would be trimming the Christmas tree and watching the World Series at the same time. I guess there will no longer be Mr. October, only Mr. November.

Anyway, congrats to the Yankees for a job well done; they are not my team of choice but they seem to be a team full of professionals always working to get the job done. As opposed to some of these teams with their prima donna players, the names Manny Ramirez and Carlos Marmol come to mind. So a tip of the cap to all the Yankees and the Phillies for making the 2009 World Series fun to watch. Now go home boys and wash your underwear, spring training is just around the corner.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Celebrating the month of thanksgiving

I wanted to share this story with you that came in my current Wings of Hope newsletter. In these times when so much needs to be done, so many need to be helped -- I found this story uplifting and invigorating. It is true, just one person can't do it all or save the world, but we must try because it will mean something to those that we do help. And working together we can get the job done.
(Click on story to enlarge print)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Here it is Folks, the cast of Halloween Characters...

Casper and Mr. Benny Your Own Artichoke Annie as Barnabas Collins
A couple of really cute Star Wars characters
Taking care of business Star Wars style
Relaxing Star Wars style - you hot in there?
West Coast Superheros - Be safe California!