Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mom and Dad's excellent adventure


Mom and Dad went to Fort Sam Houston yesterday to collect a military id for Mom. It was her special Birthday present for turning 65. Now, every 9 years, she'll have to go back and renew her ID. Dad's is permanent.


The last time Dad went to Fort Sam, Gary took him. Mainly because Gary is more familiar with the base. While they waited for Dad's ID, a clerk kept shouting, "Sergaent Holt? Sergeant Holt?" Gary finally tapped Dad's arm and said, "I think they're calling you." Dad jumped and said, "No one's called me that in 25 years."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Addition to the Store

Look!  It's me!

Shameless attention whore that I am, I have added this shirt to the JeffreyHolt.com store. Everyone needs at least two!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas is over - Finally!

Joanne, Sean and Rodney - Christmas 2005

Santa brought me a head cold, or something for Christmas. I went to Kerrville to buy presents for mom and dad on Friday, and after I had exhausted all possibilities at Hastings, I was walking back to my car when the Salvation Army guy by the door asked, "Are you okay?"


I returned home, stopped at Wal-mart for Gift cards for the folks and as much Nyquil as I could get into the van. I had promised Sean supper on Friday, so at 2 pm, I got out of bed and did what I had to do. I got it in the oven, and laid down while it baked. Took it out, and cooled it, while I slept. During that time, Sean and Joanne came in. Sean saw me asleep so they talked quietly in the living room. About 5 pm, I got up, and visited a while. Mom came home and we ate. Sean and Joanne left at 7 pm. I went back to bed.


It was a rough night, and I was up and down all night, just miserable! Finally, at 5 pm, I got up and had something to eat. Rodney and Jeanne and the kids had arrived. My fever had broken, and I felt better. But I was back in bed at 8pm.


Christmas was better, and I was up all day, but still had a slight fever. Sean and Joanne left about 4 pm, so they could get ready to head back to South Carolina this morning.


Anyway, here's a picture of Sean and the Missus.


Oh, yeah. And Rodney.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Finally found my Hawaii Film

When I came home from Japan, my brother met me in Hawaii. We spent a couple of days there seeing the sights. When it came time to scan my photos into an album, I noticed that I couldn't find my Hawaii pics.


Well, lo and behold, an undeveloped roll of film was discovered in my old desk when we emptied out the storage unit. Unfortunately, there was only one photo of Hawaii on it.


I dedicate this post to Uncle Donn:



I must have taken the long way home:


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sean and the Missus

Sean got into town on Thursday of last week. They have to leave on the 26th. He brought Joann along, of course. Like he was gonna leave her at home: "Gonna see the family now. Bye, honey!"


On Sunday they came over for lunch, and Rodney and Jeanne came down as well. This might be a record. Seeing them twice in a month!


Grandmother's meds have calmed her down, and she seems to be adjusting to her new surroundings. Then again, her surroundings are new every day.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Thursday, December 15, 2005

You can probably hear the cursing

Grandmother was taken to the nursing home on Monday. It was not, I hear, a pleasant time. She threatened to hit the folks with her stick. She demanded to talk to Mom, but the doctor had recommended she just stay away for a couple of days.


You know, it seems mean to do that to her, but she had to go. We couldn't watch all the time. Now, at least, there's someone around her all the time.


Mom was going to visit her today. I wonder how that turned out.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Plan is in Motion

If you're interested, Grandmother is in the hospital. After an argument about bathing, Mom took Grandmother to the doctor. She had been coughing a lot, and the doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia. She also has congestive heart failure. So the doctor put her in the hospital. I asked mother if she would still have a job after leaving her mother there, and she said, "The nurses may want to fire me."


Right now, the plan is to keep her there for three days, then move her to a nursing home. Dad said he wouldn't fight going to a nursing home. "You say that now," I answered. I did ask him to write it down and have it notarized, though.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Whatever Sean wants. . . . . .

I title this picture, "Whatever Sean Wants, Sean Gets."


Our new Christmas lights.  All to impress Sean's wife.  (Still strange writing that.)


Sean told his Grandmother that it just isn't Christmas without lights. So his Grandmother bought all new lights.


The other day, his Grandmother made pea salad. This pea salad is wonderful! It has peas, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, diced boiled eggs and mayonnaise. The only thing that makes it better is a splash of Tabasco™! When I saw it on the table, I said, "I didn't know Sean was coming over for dinner!"


"He's not," she said.


"But we're having pea salad. . ." I said.


At any rate, I can't wait to see the dinner table at Christmas: Pea salad, banana pudding, and the sweet potatoes with those marshmallows on top.


Sean also told his Grandmother that Grandpa can't wear his grey shorts on Christmas Day. Apparently, it will freak out the missus. Dad has promised to wear a suit.


Me? I'm washing all my grey shorts!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Griping

Living with Grandmother is an experience, let me tell you. She always wants something to do, or to go to the bathroom, or to have something to eat, or to pick up every pen in the house. Yesterday, when Mom got home, Grandmother was in a panic. She didn't know where she was, whose house she was in, and was afraid she was going to be arrested to being in someone's house. Mom told her that it was our house, and Grandmother referred to her as her friend. When mom said she was Grandmother's daughter, she was surprised. However, this morning, she called me by name. Wandered into the living room, then came back into my room and said, "I thought I was all alone here.


Alzheimer's is so much fun.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Well, the leg is getting better. I'm able to walk without the crutches, wearing the boot, of course. The problem is that I walk like a bad John Wayne impersonator: leaning forward, elbows bent, fists clenched, and like I'm walking downhill.


It still swells up while I'm at work. I should keep it elevated, but if I did that the boss might think I'm lazy. Well, actually, she does, but sitting around with my leg on the desk might just cement the impression that I'm lazy. Since I don't want to leave her with that impression, I don't put the foot up at work. When I get home, it looks like an eggplant with Vienna sausages on one end.


Good night! I'm here all week!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The entellus Dillemma

Today I updated the "Collected Writings" page. I finally found the Star Trek fanzine that published "The Entellus Dilemma." I scanned the pages, and spent two days editing it to make it readable. I would say, "Enjoy," but it's really bad. That story basically violated every Star Trek writing rule, and didn't use the supporting characters very well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Lesson in Medical Terminology

I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am, as instructed, without anything to eat or drink since before midnight. I registered at the front desk, then hobbled back, down a 75 yard long hallway, to Outpatient Surgery. After six weeks on crutches, I still can't catch my breath when I walk long distances. I wondered aloud why they force you to use a wheelchair when you leave, but don't bother when you arrive.


When I got to outpatient surgery, the nurse told me to change into the hospital robe, and said she'd be right back. Twenty minutes later, she came in and took my medical history. Then she compared it to the rather lengthy form I filled out the night before to make sure I hadn't changed any of my answers. She gathered up the forms and said she'd be right back.


Thirty minutes later, I opened an old copy of Reader's Digest and had only read about six pages when the nurse came in and tried to start an IV. After much cursing and slapping of my veins, she called in reinforcements. They finally managed to get the IV in at 8:45 am. (Apparently, my veins are, like me, deep.)


At 9 am, they told me that they were ready for me upstairs, and asked if I needed to go to the bathroom. I said no. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30, after all and was supposed to take only about 30 minutes. So down the hallway we went to pre-op. The orderly who pushed my gurney and me into pre-op was named Jeffrey, too. But when people greeted us in the halls with, "Hi, Jeff!" I wondered how so many of these people knew my name. And this was before the drugs.


In pre-op, a nurse who looked like my mom's youngest sister, Delores, greeted me in a voice that was a dead ringer for my aunt's. "Hi, Jeff! How are you today?"


For a couple of minutes, I wondered how Delores got here from Hobbs, New Mexico, and why she would come just to see me when the screws were taken out. Then I realized she wouldn't come just for that, and I remembered that Jeffrey was the orderly.


As soon as I was in the pre-op area, a nurse came along to get my medical history, and compared it with the two previous forms just in case I'd developed something in the elevator. Then, she left me alone, while she chatted with the two other nurses on duty.


The nurse who looked like my aunt was from Amarillo, and had that West Texas twang my aunt had, so I spent the next hour remembering that she wasn't Delores.


That's right. An hour and a half. Laying there on a gurney with nothing to read. I finally flagged down Delores and said I needed to pee and that I couldn't walk. She brought me the necessary equipment and draining my bladder killed a couple of minutes. Then the first nurse said, "I don't know why they brought you up here so early," as she handed me a magazine. I got to page six, when the OR nurses came to wheel me into surgery.


The anesthesiologist came in, and made sure I hadn't had a surgery since I arrived that morning, while on of the nurses wrote on a dry erase board on the wall "10:27." Then I got my happy juice and was out like a light.


They woke me up at 11:30, and rolled me back into Outpatient Surgery. They let me dress and by 12:30 pm, Jeffrey wheeled me out to the car in a wheel chair. I did ask him where he was when I got there this morning.


So here's the lesson in medical terminology: "right back" and "ready for you" mean "in an hour or so." Plan your next hospital trip accordingly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wish Me Luck

This morning I put my unlucky sandals up on eBay. Other people have sold sillier items for more $$, so I figure, "What the heck!" And, since I'm tired of begging you people to donate to me, now you can actually buy something from me! Or, alternatively, you can help me out by spreading the word! Tell everyone you know about the auction, especially those folks that are super generous.

Friday, September 16, 2005

You asked for it. . .

Donn and Ann H., accompanied by Ann T. (henceforth known as Donn and Ann2, pronounced, "Donn and Ann Squared"), came for a brief visit on Thursday. For the second time in as many weeks, relatives have stopped by and wanted to take us out to dinner. I was invited but my answer, both times, was "Hell, no!" Normally, I would have jumped at an offer of free food, but after a day at work, hobbling around on the crutches, I'm exhausted and really only want to sit and have a beer or two with the boot off and my foot elevated.


As Donn and Ann2 were leaving, Ann H. said she would visit my site to read the humorous account of how I broke my leg. So, I guess I'd better write it.


The Story


After a Mickey D's drive thru breakfast, I met Larry and Jym at the golf course at 8:30 Sunday morning. We walked through the dewy grass to the tee box and waited for a foursome to get on the green before we teed off.


The first hole it a 382 yard Par 4. It's pretty much a straight shot from tee box to green. The fairway is flanked by two 6-7 foot tall swells that run about 50 yards to a depression in front of the green about 10 feet below the green, and an oak tree to the right of the green. My tee shot sliced across the golf cart and into the trees lining the 9th fairway, about 125-150 yards. Larry wound up in a stand of trees on the left of the fairway on top of the tall hill. Jym landed in the middle of the fairway, with a perfect approach to the green.


I found my ball and decided to try a punch shot through the trees and back into the first fairway. Naturally, I flubbed the shot, and dribbled it about twenty yards foreward. Jym's shot landed on the green, and Larry. . .well, let's just say Larry need a machete to get to his ball. My third shot landed at the base of the green, behind, of course, the tree. Larry's third shot blasted from the trees and sailed clear across the green. Fortunately, Larry was in the Navy and had a good supply of descriptive phrases.


My fourth shot almost sailed over the green to land in the rough. Larry and I chipped up onto the green, me lying 6 and Larry lying 5. We both two putted. Jym, though had parred the hole.


The second hole is a 340 par 4. You have to shoot over a creek, across a creek and down to a broad, almost treeless, little plain that seems incredibly far away. Jym dropped his ball
into the fairway 100 yards or so from the green. Larry hooked his shot into the only thick stand of trees on the hole, near a seasonal creek bed. Normally, on this hole, I put my ball to the right of the fairway between two small (about 6' tall) trees. This time, though, I landed in the fairway, 175 yards from the pin! Larry's second shot dropped into another cluster of cedar trees to the left of the hole, perilously close to the seasonal creek full of rocks. As the creek approached the cart path, the banks have been covered with cement, and there is always a small pool of water right beside the bridge that goes to the green. Jym's second shot dropped just short of the green, close enough to put. I lined up my shot, and hit the ball. It arched into the air and started to descend into thepool of water near the bridge! Dammit! Fortunatly, though, the ball landed on the other side of the creek, bounced off the concrete bank and landed on the green 10 yards from the hole! Praise Jebus!


Jym and I waited for Larry to pitch his way to the green from amongst the shrubbery. Jym chipped his third shot onto the green only inches from the cup. Jym parred, and I two-putted for par. Larry wound up with a 5.


Glowing with pride at how well my game was going, we went to the third tee box, where the foursome before us let us play through.


The third hole is a 475 yard par 5 that I have never parred. From the tee both, you shot across a creek and on top of a bluff at least 40 feet high. Oak trees line the bluff, except for a 30-40 yard gap indicating the fairway. My success rate getting onto the fairway is 60-40%, and 9 time out 10, if I clear the bluff, I slice into the oak trees and windup losing my ball anyway. This was one of those 9 times. From the tee box it appeared as if the ball landed behind the oak trees, perhaps on the fairway of the 5th hole. Jym landed in the fairway again, and Larry sliced into a thin stand of trees beside the cart path.


Naturally, I couldn't find my ball once we got on top of the bluff. I walked up a slicht incline onto the 5th fairway and looked, but couldn't see it. I turned and started back down. My left foot slipped in the dew, and my right toe caught in the grass. I fell foreward and heard the sound of a branch breaking, and screamed as I landed on my face and rolled down the little incline.


I thought, "I broke my fucking ankle!"


Short story made far too long, an ambulance came and picked me up and I spent the next two days in the hospital. I never did get a refund for the 16 unplayed holes. Larry and Jym finished the round and each broke 100. The bastards.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Update!

Since everyone is curious about my ankle, here's the update:


The pain is mostly gone, though I do get some twinges every now and again. However, the selling hasn't gone down much. My toes look like Vienna Sausages, and my foot looks like a baloon.


Next Thursday I'm scheduled to have the screws removed. I don't know if I'll be able to walk or not, but with Oktoberfest around the corner, I hope so.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The idiots at The History Channel

I have been off work for about 15 days now, counting Sundays. One of the surest signs that it's time to go back to work, at least for me, is to dream about it. And last night, I did.


I dreamt I had a dozen voicemails. So, Dr. Freud, what do you think?


It's about time to go back to work. the History Channel has stopped their coverage of World War II and have spent the last couple of days exploring the Bible and prophets like Nostradamus. No doubt a reaction to Hurricane Katrina.

Friday, September 02, 2005

OW!!

I am firmly convinced that orthopedic surgeons love inflicting pain.


I had the staples from my surgery removed yesterday, and it fel like the nurse was pulling 20 hairs on either side of my leg. That took a while to disappear. Then they brought out "The Boot." A steel and nylon contraption, the boot is much lighter than the splint. however, in an effort to get my foot to nuetral, or 90 degrees to the leg, they have to keep pushing up on the ball of my foot. If feels like my toe is touching my nose.


On the 22nd, they will remove the two horizontal screws, and I might be able to walk again! on the upside, I'll get one of those "I have an implant" cards for the airport screeners.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

i hate this i hate this i hate this i hate this i hate this i hate this i hate this i hate this

So last night, at midnight or so, I woke up and realized that I needed to pee. I turned on the lamp beside my bed, scrambled erect with the aid of the crutches, and headed for the bathroom. I appoached the step up into the dining room/Grnadmother's room. I thought I was close enough to try to make it.


The ball of my left foot catches the edges of the step, just under my big toe. My lower body stopped moving. However, my upper body continued to move forward. I fell with a clatter onto the floor hitting my right knee.


"FUCK!" I shouted demurely. "I need some help!" I shouted into the darkness. While Mom and Dad woke up enough to help, I scooted back where I could grab the grab bar next to the door that we installed for Dad last summer. I grabbed hold, and as Mom helped, got back to my feet, or foot, as the case may be. I made my way into the bathroom, my confidence completely shaken. My foot throbbed as I finished my business. As I hopped back to bed, I noticed spots on the floor. my foot was bleeding. I got Mom to bandage it up, all the while I muttered "I hate this. I hate this. I hate this."


This morning, I have a bruise on my knee, a sensitive left toe, and no desire to sit in a recliner any longer.


I hate this.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A premonition?

Have you ever woken up and said to yourself, "something is gonna happen today?"


Me neither.


A week ago at this time I was in the emergency room with a broken ankle. I had been playing golf with a couple of friends. I double bogeyed the first hole, and parred the second hole. On the third hole, while walking down a grassy slope, my shoes slipped, and my right toe caught in the grass. I fell forward and heard a loud SNAP.


So, for the last seven days, I have been sitting on my ass, and going out of my mind. I have been using my vacation time to let my ankle heal. I have enough money in savings to take another week off. After that, I have to start working again.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Shiner 96 unveiling at Oktoberfest

For the last few years, I have volunteered at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, Texas as a beer supervisor. (Seems kind of like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop if you ask me, but the beer's free.) part of the fun of being "on the inside" is learning what beers are going to be on tap.


This year, for the first time anywhere in the nation, the Spoetzel Brewery will unveil Shiner 96, a Märzen beer, traditional at Oktoberfest.


I'm looking forward to this Oktoberfest! Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Holt Journeys

(15) Rodney and Jeanne have logged some serious
miles in the last few weeks. They went to New Orleans at the end
of last month, and last week, they went to Chicago to see Shawn
graduate from Navy basic training.


Mom, meanwhile, continues to spend every weekend
in Brownwood taking care of Grandmother. She is planning to make
a change in October. She wants to move Grandmother into our house.
Grandmother will sleep in what is now the dining room. The dining
room will move into the kitchen. Most of the kitchen will move onto
the back porch or the new storage building.


I went to Kerrville once. Dad went out in the back
yard a few times.

Monday, August 01, 2005

On the Ground in N'Awlins

Last week, Rodney and Jeanne went to New Orleans for a little vacation. Since I've let Steve write on this site, it's Rodney's turn. I did some editing. It was one long paragraph. I hope he doesn't mind.


We spent most our time in the french quarter.


Jeanne in front of Jackson Square


Walking.


A lot.


In the humidity. My feet still don't like me.


We ate ate Crescent City Brewhouse (probably the best overall meal, the best shrimp po boy, but a little too expensive to hit more than once), Cafe Du Monde (almost every morning - biegnets YUMMO!!), Cafe Biegnet (great inexpensive full breakfast), Cafe Maspero (Great food, inexpensive no atmosphere), Olde Nawlins Cookery (OK food, relatively inexpensive and on a side street so not busy made this good), Margritaville (The most atmosphere, great food but kinda expensive, can't go here too often. I guess if you don't buy the drinks in the souvenier plastic parrot glass and the souvenier menu, it wouldn't be quite as expensive).


We rode the street car a lot. Most are air conditioned (good for getting out of the humidity) going up Canal Street. The Riverfront and St Charles Srtreetcars are not airconditioned. If you can catch them when they are not super crowded then it's a great way to get around.


We stayed out until 2:00 almost every night walking along Bourbon St. Didn't see any flashers but did see lots of college drunks.


I think we saw and went into every junkstore..I mean tourist trap...I mean souvenier store on Bourbon St. The bad thing is they all sell the same things, at the same price.


We took one of the paddle wheel boats to Chalmet Battlefields Natl Park, made famous by the song, In 1814 we took a little trip... We went to the acquarium, mainly to escape the humidity.


Did I mention the humidity?


It rained about an hour every day just to make sure the humidity level stayed at 100% as the temperature reached 98. We did take an umbrella, only forgot it one day...of course that was the day it rained while we were out.


We took the free ferry to Algiers across the Mississippi from Nawlins, to go to Mardi Gras World. It is where they make floats for Mardi Gras. Harry Connick Jr. is captain of one of the super clubs and his club's float was made and is stored there. It is over 200 feet long and carries over 200 riders. We went to Harrahs one night just to gamble some money away. They replaced coins wih paper tickets, so you don't get to hear the clinking of the coins hitting the tray. We each thought it ruined the fun of the machines. I guess we are not the high roller type we only took $20 to lose and came back with $9.


Rodney and Mecca!  Margaritiaville.


I'm just glad to be home.


Before we left we bought a vivitar digital camera and a 512 MB card. We were able to take 250 pictures with it, and even a couple of short movies.


I mentioned to Rodney that Sean would have been happy to recommend a cheaper place. When I told Sean that, he replied: "I do know this one place it is a 1/2 star hotel and it is free. It is called My Car, although it is not for everybody. It works for me and barely fits in my price range." I responded: "Let me guess, you save more money by eating at the same place. Eating the doritos in the seat cushions." And his reply: "Hell yeah, I see you have stayed at a similar establishment before."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Our New Wal-Mart

The crowd at the church across the street (also known as the most photographed church in town--especially when we're trying to use up a roll of film) was a bit sparse tonight. You see, we got us a brand spankin' new Wal-Mart Super-Center!


We's in high cotton now!  Our new Super Wal-Mart!


This photo was taken before opening day, naturally. I went tonight because I needed some padded envelopes, and they have the best price in town. OMFG! The parking lot was full! There were cars from out of state there! The entire population of Fredericksburg was filling their cart up with Wal-Mart crap. AND THE MAIN STREET WAS STILL FULL!


I wonder where all those folks came from. There's a Super Wal-Mart in Kerrville, and one in Marble Falls. Hell, the ones on the Fredericksburg side of town of both Austin and San Antonio are closer than the one in Marble Falls.


And why was church across the street so empty tonight, you ask?


'Cause every Mexican in town was at the new Wal-Mart!


LORD, I APPOLOGIZE FOR BEIN' A RACIST LIKE THAT, AND BE WITH THE STARVIN' PYGMIES, DOWN THERE IN NEW GUINEA. AMEN!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A quick recap

Lessee, where do I begin?


Dad's on crutches. The doctor thinks the kneecap will heal on its own, so no surgery needed, thank goodness. He's getting around more, mainly because he's tired of sitting on his butt all day. He overdid it the other day. He went out to the patio to order me to turn on the water in the garden. When he got back inside, his knee hurt.


Sean will be getting home at 2 pm on Thursday. He's flying into Austin. We're going to play golf with Rodney and Gary on Saturday, then spend some time at NIOF.


Mom continues trying to get Grandmother to move to a retirement home. Now the pitch is to get into one here so she can visit everyday. Grandmother seems to have taken a shine to the idea and is helping Mom pack up all her "valuables." But she doesn't seem to be taking a shine to actually moving.


Other than that, it's just plain hot!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Darned ol' Year From Hell

On Sunday, Dad was walking out of church when he tripped and fell. By the time he got home, he couldn't walk. We talked him into going to the emergency room where they told him he had fractured his knee cap. So now he's on crutches. The bad thing is, they are a bit too long for him.


Sue and Marla came for a visit on Sunday night. They were on their way back home, and spent the night with us. I had to go to work before they got up so I didn't get to visit too much.


Sean will be coming home for 13 days in about a week. He's looking forward to Night in Old Fredericksburg.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Remembering Dabas

Today I went to Austin with a friend to buy brewing stuff. We had to stop at a PetSmart. He had to buy something. I had to pee. In the bathroom was a chart of dogs from around the world. I managed to find a listing for CatahoulaIn a perfect world, Dabas would have herded my horses. Leopard dogs.


I sure do wish we could've kept Dabas.


It's all I can think about. I keep thinking about laying down in the floor, and seeing Dabas turn and look at me. I swear I could see him smile! And then he would charge me to bite me everywhere.


Here's a picture of what he would have wound up looking like.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

(15) I held off as long as I could. I fought the urge for weeks. Then I succumbed. I redid the site. I must confess, I didn't come up with the design. I got it from the fine folks at Entheos. Their link is at the bottom of every page.


Something about their three column layout appealed to me. It would allow me to put ads on one side, and content on the other.


Let me know what you think. Email me at jeffholt at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

It has been really humid the last few weeks. By the time I walk from the house to the car or the car to the house, my skin is slick with sweat. Since this is Texas, I just have to endure it. But when I was in Japan, there was a great way to cool off.


A Singapore Air Flight Attendant passes out hot towels.Whenever I went into a restaurant, after being seated the waitron would bring a small, rolled handclothed that had been moistened and chilled. I would take this cloth and wipe my face and feel instantly refreshed. In the winter, the towels were steamed. After a long walk to a restaurant, the feel of moist heat against chilled skin was almost orgasmic.

On my return to the States, I stopped in Hawaii, where I encountered the towels for the last time.

I think it's high time we demand this service from the restaurants we visit. I know I would return more often to a restaurant that provided them than one that didn't. That would be good customer service.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

25th class Reunion

Happy birthday, Rodney!


The Fredericksburg High School Class of 1980 is having its 25 year reunion next weekend. I haven't been to any of the previous reunions. I am usually out of town, mainly in Midland, playing golf with Gary. I may go this year, but I forgot to RSVP by May 20th. Oops.

Friday, June 03, 2005

More about Wal-Mart

(3) I ran across the Wal-Mart Watch site today. As thousands descend on Fayetteville, Arkansas for the annual Wal-Mart shareholders' meeting, they have produced their own report. Here are some quotes from their annual report:


"Year after year, Wal-Mart’s low pay and insufficient employee benefits programs leave hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart workers to rely on Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing assistance to make ends meet. Call it the 'Wal-Mart Tax.' It costs American taxpayers at least $1.5 billion in federal tax dollars every year, and hundreds of millions more in state and local subsidy costs."


And this one:


Wal-Mart President and CEO H. Lee Scott has earned a reputation as a hardcore cost-cutter who demands that his fellow Wal-Mart executives strive to save fractions of a penny on everything from supplier costs to the cost of toilet paper in store restrooms. But when it comes to his own pay, the Wal-Mart CEO is quite generous. Scott’s $17.5 million in compensation in 2004 was nearly twice the average of $9.6 million for leading CEOs, according to Business Week. Scott raked in about $8,434 per hour, which is $8,424 more per hour than the official Wal- Mart figure for its average worker of $9.68.


I've been watching Wal-Mart for a while and none of this is any news to me. Check out their site. It's an eye-opening read.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sean's girlfriend

We heard from Sean this weekend. He's actually started checking his email a bit more "I Don't Have One."  Sean's girlfriend.regularly. He sent us a photo of his girlfriend, Erika. She's a cute looking gal, as you can see from the photo to the right. Dad said, "Hey, she's got dimples! And why is she named Felix?" Then he laughed. Old man humor, I guess. Mom is looking for a frame to put above his marine picture. Me? Military uniforms make everyone look mannish, so I can't tell how hot she is, but Sean has promised to send bikini pictures. She has a cute smile, though. While I'm not doubting her skills, she just doesn't have the look of a trained killer. You know. Like Sean does (see the photo on the left.)


Our army at war.  Sean's "War Face."I sent this picture to Sean, with the comment about him looking like a trained killer. He wrote back and said he didn't remember giving me that picture. I reminded him that I copied the pictue CD he brought home. I reminded him of one of life's major rules: Always destroy embarassing pictures. And never let yourself be photographed doing something potentially embarassing. Then I asked when the bikini photos would be coming. "I took a bunch of pics at the beach but it was with her camera so I have to get them from her," he wrote.


"How can you sneak pictures of her butt with her camera? She sees 'em, she'll delete them!" I said. I told about another of life's major rules: Always use your camera for booty shots. And turn off red eye reduction. It doesn't do any good to take a picture from your hip if the little light flashes.


Sean said he told her not to delete anything, but I'm betting she knows the second rule I taught him, and will be applying the first rule shortly.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Norman 2

Our neighbor has another little, cuddly animal in his back yard. I callNorman 2, the neighbor's bull. him Norman 2. Tonight, I snuck out into the back yard to see if I could spot him. He was standing in the shade looking at me. I snapped a couple of long distance shots before he decided to investigate.


He kept staring at me and licking his lips. Now, I'm no animal psychologist, but i suspect Norman wasn't just being friendly. I think he was hoping I had a bottle of milk. Either that, or he thought I might be a good meal.


I had told one of the gals at work that he wasn't as cute as Norman 1, mainly because he is almost black. But he comes darn close.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

(17) My uncle Donn has Parkinson's disease. My dad has a touch of it, too, but Donn's case is pretty acute.


A few weeks ago he underwent a new treatment. To make a complicated procedure overly simple: the doctor placed a wire on his brain that short circuits the tremors. Then they had him stop taking his medication. He did real well for awhile, then suddenly his tremors came back with a vengeance. So, I emailed Cousin Steve to see how he was doing. Here's his reply:


I checked in with Dad after his Dr.'s appointment on Wed. He was too tired to come to the phone. I completely understand.


As a result he and mom came by yesterday and he looked as good as he had been since the surgery, but they increased the dosage on the medication where before they decreased it, and he was having a real rough time controlling the other tremors in his body. Again this is a result from a withdraw sympton from the Parkinson medication.


For the first time my Dad put it in perspective yesterday and let us know the real deal in front of my mom who made the comment that Parkinson's isn't just shaking, dad said: "Yeah, it also makes you feel crappy...."


Dad had told me that Parkinson's not only affects tremors etc., it affects the way he thinks. He had a procedure to correct the tremors and was also taking the medication that controls this part of the disease. As with all medications you adapt and as a result have to increase the dosage which runs risks of addiction etc. (Now you know why they banned ephedra from the health/fitness market, it wasn't the ephedra it was the fact you had to keep taking it after adapting and run the risk of heart failure.)


Which brings me to the point of this email: My Father, You Uncle and friend and family member has Parkinson's disease. To this date there is not a cure, but with the help of Deep Scan Brain Stimulation, drugs, my mother and everyone in the family there is no reason why he can't enjoy his life. But Parkinson's will always be in the forefront that is something my mother reminded me this week that we all have to accept. All of us wanted him to be cured with the DBS procedure, all of us want something to make the pain go away and all of us also hope we don't get it.


This is not the case with life and we deal with it the best we can. Dad has been struggling but he looked great yesterday, I'll take him like that anyday. I will also take him when he is shaking and when things are bad (it truly does not bother me to see him that way except that I know for some reason he is embarrassed by it). I love to see him wearing his watch on his left hand, I love seeing him having a conversation, I love seeing him being able to play tennis or work on his computer, things he loves to do. Regardless of Parkinson's I love seeing him, if he is shaking or not. I don't mean to get too mushy but when he was at my house yesterday these were the feelings I had that I wanted to share with you. In my opinion, he has good and bad days, but he is doing just fine. I'll take him either way.


I light of all of this, I have added a link to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Please stop by and give them a ten spot.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Who Loves Ya, Baby-Back Ribs

I love to cook. Yesterday, I cooked Baby Back ribs.


First I made the rub. Instead of cayenne pepper, I used chipotle pepper. Instead of chili powder, I used DeCoty Chili Fix. It also includes Cumin, paprika, and oregano. I let the ribs sit in the fridge fr two hours in the fridge.


The rest of the recipe went pretty much as described.


How did they taste?


Wonderful!


All you could hear around the table was me moaning in pleasure, "Mmmmmm!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bye, Dabas!

Our neighbor found Dabas the Cowdog a home. She went to one of the feed stores in town and announced that she had a cowdog. One guy said he'd like to take him, but his wife would kill him. A customer said he had a ranch and two kids and wanted a cowdog. So last night he picked him up.


I'm glad that Dabas the Cowdog will have a lot of room to run, and some kids to play with!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dabas the Cowdog

A few weeks ago, Grandmother got a puppy.


Mom took her to the Wal-Mart in Brownwood, and managed to drive past all the RVs taking advantage of Sam Walton's RV park, towads the front of the lot where folks were taking advantage of Sam Walton's Flea Market. If there were the same types of things in front of the Brownwood Super Wal-Mart that I've seen in front of the Kerrville Super Wal-Mart, then you could buy or get for free any type of animal.


As Mom drives past, she says Grandmother asked her to stop, "Please! Please! Please!" Mom said it was just like a kid. (I should mention that Grandmother has Alzheimer's disease.) Grandmother gets out of the car and returns a few minutes later with a puppy. Mom said she couldn't treat her like a child and say, "NO! Take that dog back!" The next day, Grandmother forgot she had the dog. Then she remembered. Then she forgot.


This weekend, Mom brought Grandmother down for a visit. And the dog. By the time Grandmother was ready to go home, she had forgotten the dog was hers. She thought it was ours. So when Grandmother decided she wanted to go home, Mom thought she'd leave the dog here. Grandmother didn't realy notice until she got about halfway home, when she started talking about our dog looking like hers, and that the person who stole her dog must have brought it down here.


Anyway, we can't keep him. So we're taking him to the SPCA. So here's a picture of our temporary dog. We call him Dabas. Dabas is a Texas-German term for idiot, klutz, moron or dope. I'm gonna miss him.


Dabas the Cowdog

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Beer and Barbecue

(3) Saturday morning, I woke with the desire to BBQ. So I went to HEB and bought a brisket. I brought it home, put the rub on it, and put it in the fridge.


Sunday morning, at 9 am, I lit a fire in my smoker. Then I spent the next twelve hours watching smoke waft across the backyard.


There is something primordial, and oddly Zen-like, about smoking food. I wanted to hop around like Tim Allen, grunting and scratching as the meat cooked. And then, as I watched the smoke curl around the carious items in the backyard, I lost myself in a trance-like meditation of cause and effect.


At 1 pm, I opened my first beer. Well, technically the second. I used one in the mop sauce. I spent the afternoon in a haze of smoke and beer.


Which explains Monday. I did absolutely nothing yesterday. Well, I read. But that's about it.


The brisket was good, though.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fun and Games from the RIAA

Time to rebeat my dead horse.

In 2002, the five largest U.S. record labels and three major retail chains agreed to give consumers $67 million in refunds and donate an additional $76 million worth of CDs to settle price-fixing allegations in a class-action lawsuit filed by dozens of states. California schools and libraries are expected to receive $9 million worth of CDs as part of the deal.

But some Bay area librarians think they're getting stuck with discs the record labels can't sell.

The San Francisco Public Library, for instance, will get 91 copies of a '60s rock compilation ("Feelin' Groovy"), 81 copies of an album by reality TV star Jessica Simpson ("Irresistible") and 73 copies of a "Christmas with Yolanda Adams." By contrast, it will receive only single copies of hundreds of other selections, like jazz great Louis Armstrong's "I Love Jazz." San Jose was scheduled to receive 106 copies of eight different albums, such as Lenny Kravitz's "Lenny" and Ricky Martin's "Sound Loaded." Last year, a school district in the Seattle area received 1,300 copies of Whitney Houston's rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." And a library in Worthington, Ohio, received 19 copies of an album of Gregorian chants.


So let's see if I understand this: The Recording Industry claims that file sharing caused a loss of sales. At the same time, they settled a lawsuit for $67 million in cash and got the opportunity to clean out their warehouses. Just how many people downloaded the Yolanda Adams Christmas CD?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I discovered a new little trick in PhotoShop that lets me dabble in fine art.

I've always thought that I should try painting, but never really gave it a spin. I mean you gotta buy an easel, canvases, brushes, paints, cleaners, and palettes. My place is small enough without adding more crap I'll only use occasionally.

But this little trick allows me to create fine art without all that paraphenalia. Here is one of my first creations. I call it "Pumpkin House Door."



Now I'll be tweaking every photo I got!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Now a respected member of the IT community.

To bolster my standing in the international IT community, I have co-authored a paper. You can read it here. Let me know what you think.


Actually, it's a joke. Think of the fun you can have with this. Need a promotion at work? Generate a dozen papers and include them on your resume. Couldn't hurt.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I love the move Office Space. While surfing the web, I ran across this quiz to determine which character I am. Here are the results:



Pre-Hyptnotized Peter




What Office Space character are you?


brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I decided to change the logo. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Nothing stop the Year From Hell

The Year from Hell™ keeps on going. And going. And going.


Mom came back from her biweekly trip to Brownwood, with a stop in Abilene. Sue is still in the hospital, but will be going home soon. I hope she gets better soon.


We had been planning a vacation this year, but with everything that's going on, I doubt it's going to happen. Since Sue has her own health to worry about, Mom is doing all the Grandmother stuff. Even though Nelda, mom's older sister, is helping out, Grandmother and Nelda are like oil and water.


This can't be good for her, but Mom seems to be doing okay. But she's always kept her emotions pretty close to the vest. I hope she can keep going like this.


Dad came back from his visit with Sue with some sort of sinus infection, or allergy. He's been coughing a lot, and when he's trying to clear his lungs, it almost sounds like he's dying. The other day he had a pretty high fever. Today, he didn't go to church, and spent most of the day asleep. And he doesn't have much of a fever. I hope he's on the upswing.


Me? Well, my sinuses are a bit active today. They've hit my jaw, where the tooth I had pulled a couple of years ago is throbbing to beat the band. And I haven't felt too good today. I wonder if I'm coming down with something. I haven't been sick, except for an occasional hangover, for over a year.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy

The upcoming Texas governor's race is going to be interesting. Right now, incumbent Rick "Riding Dubya's Coattails" Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison are the leading Republican contenders. The election isn't for two years, but the first shots have been fired. And, somewhat predictably, it's about Hillary Clinton.


I first read about this on Fark, the best website in the world. They titled this story, "Texas GOP: "You praised a liberal" "Oh yeah, well you were praised by a Liberal." Slap fight ensues."


Rick's campaign released a video from a ceremony at a Washington D. C. womens museum. Hil and Kay hugged and air kissed. Hil said she is "delighted that Kay is my partner on so many fronts."


Kay's campaign countered by mentioning 1993 letter "in which Perry called Clinton's health care reform efforts 'commendable.' "


Officially, Kay has not announced her candidacy.


What I found interesting in the article is this quote: "We're being very aggressive in everything we do," Perry campaign director Luis Saenz said last week. "And you ain't seen nothing yet."


If I hadn't already sworn to support Kinky Friedman for governor, I'd vote in the Republican primary only to vote against Rick. But I if I want to sign the petition to get Kinky on the ballot, I can't vote in the primaries. In other words, I'm saving myself for Kinky. Now there's a campaign slogan!


It's going to be an ugly couple of years.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Year From Hell™ continues to roll right along. Lately the only phone calls the family has been making is to see how someone is doing.


First, Donn had surgery this week to see if they can control his Parkinson's disease. Basically, they put pieces of metal across his brain to stop his shaking. According to Ann, they gave him a reverse Mohawk, shaved his head from forehead to back of the neck, shaved some spots on his head for other probes. He was awake the entire time. Ann and Steve said it was kind of funny because when he got out from surgery, he thought he was still in the Air Force. Last we heard, he's doing okay.


Second, Sue went into the hospital with abdominal pains. She has been having problems going to the bathroom. They did some surgery to clear up an infection of her bladder. We heard tonight that they had some of the tissue analyzed and it was malignant. She has colon cancer. We don't know much more, since we heard this tonight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

(22) I've been working on a new short story for the site to be called "Black Star." I have it all plotted, and I am just now fleshing out the bones of it while working on the first draft. About halfway through, I realized it was a bit too much like Star Trek. It's about a ship investigating a spatial anamoly.


Anyway, last week, while trying to fall asleep, I had an idea: What if, instead of a naval vessal it was a private research vessal? It doesn't change the plot all that much, but I think it makes this story a little different from a Star Trek setting.


I'll finish the first draft, though, in the same setting. Then when I rewrite, I'll make the necessary changes. The 6 of you who have been to my short stories in the last couple of years are probably holding your breath with anticipation.


Then, maybe, just maybe, I can work on another story!

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Evil that is Wal-Mart

Early last year, I reported on on a story that Wal-Mart was using sub-contractors to clean their stores that were using illegal aliens to clean their stores. Today, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle a probe by US authorities that they knowingly hired floor-cleaning contractors who employed illegal aliens.


The agreement with the government includes a statement that "Wal-Mart did not have knowledge, at the time the independent contractors initially were hired, that the independent contractors knowingly hired, recruited or employed" undocumented workers.


Now, floor cleaning will be done by Wal-Mart employees.


What I want to know is: how will the $11 million in fines, and the increased floor cleaning costs will be passed on to customers of "The Home of Falling Prices"?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Cabrito & Menudo

Our next door neighbor, Jon, has a ranch. He raises goats and cattle. A few years ago, he had a calf that the mother wouldn't feed. So he brought it home and kept it in his back yard until it was old enough to go back to the ranch. We called him Norman. We don't know that Jon ever named him.


On night, we heard thrashing around in the backyard. Norman had gotten into our yard, and Jon and dad had to herd the little guy back to where he belonged.


Cabrito, the neighbor's goat.This year, he has a couple of goat kids that he brought into town. I guess mom didn't want to take care of them. We haven't named them yet. Mom has vetoed "Cabrito." Last night, I was checking some stuff I'd planted in the garden, and the kids decided to visit. I brought along my camera, and as they climbed up onto Jon's bbq pit next to our fence I took this picture.


Cute little bugger, ain't he?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Idiotic English Firster

(9) Here's a story that I honestly don't understand. A ninth grader is protesting his school's decision to broadcast the Pledge of Allegiance in foreign languages as part of national Foreign Language Week. When the pledge was broadcast in Russian, he objected and was told that if he had a problem he should step out of the room. He did, and said he won't be back for a while.


While I support the kid's right to speak his mind, I don't understand why he's objecting.

This whole thing is supposed to support foreign language studies, which I wholeheartedly support. He said, "When you’re saying the Pledge in a different language which nobody understands, that’s not OK.”


So his argument is that only those who can recite the Pledge in English can pledge allegience to this country? What if they had played an Aramaic version of the Pledge? Is using the language Jesus spoke "not OK"? If not, the Religous Right should be having apoplexy.


It seems to me that Americans should welcome everyone who wants to be free, regardless of the language they speak. If a Russian or a German comes to this country, and wants to pledge allegience, he should be able to do it in whatever language he or she pleases. The language someone speaks shouldn't be a requirement to love this country.


If you agree, check out the school's site, and drop them an email.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another attempt to seperate you from your money

Sean came home for a visit, and we played golf in Llano on Saturday. We all sucked, so there's no need to brag about the scores.


Sean's swing.  Date, katie and Rodney in the background.


He brought some pictures of his stay in Japan. I was tickled to find a picture of the Sasebo Arcade. I told him I had been there 21 years ago in December. He also brought home some brochures for some of the places he visited, and I spent Sunday afternoon wishing I could have gone with him,


(4) Last night, I gathered all of the Chasing the Sun files, and collected them into a book. The first of three volumes, this collection tells the first third of the story of Ray, Natalie and Lydia as they explore Japan in the 1980s. If you want to encourage me to continue the story, pick up a couple of copies. Just click on the picture to go to the store.


The cover of the First Volume of Chasing the Sun.  What are you waiting for?  Buy a copy today!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Nefert**i's B**t - Sanitized for your protection

Shapes of things to come


Ever since Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction last year, the FCC has been on a decency rampage. In fact, a bill was recently put before the House of Representatives raising the maximum FCC fine to $500,000, for each offense! Last year, Clear Channel Communications, hardly my favorite near-monopoly, and Howard Stern were fined $75,000 for some infractions. Under this bill, their fine would have been $9 million!!!!


To quote Rolling Stone Magazine's article
on the subject:


"A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying 'fucking brilliant' on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction' during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you might be able to afford four 'nuke malfunctions': The biggest fine levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)"


In related news, "Saving Private Ryan," broadcast on ABC on Memorial Day, did not violate deceny standards. (Sixty-six ABC affiliates did not broadcast the movie fearing fines from the FCC for the profanity.) Please note that Bono used the "F" word, and that was bad. It's use in "Ryan" was hunky dory, apparently.


What did we learn from this? Cursing on TV is acceptable as long as there is violence.


So in that spirit, here is my version of a recent story about the bust of Nefertiti in Berlin. Fark observed, "Current US political climate will not likely allow display of object with 'titi' and 'bust' in the name." Here is the safe for the American public story:


"Nefert**i's B*st on Display in Berlin


"A 3,300-year-old b*st of the Egyptian queen Nefert**i went on view Tuesday at a new, temporary home in Berlin as the centerpiece of a special five-month exhibition. Germany is restoring the city's five neoclassical museums, which were damaged during the WWII and only partially restored by former communist East Germany.


"The 19-inch high b*st of Nefert**i, with elegantly arched brows and towering dark-blue headdress, was discovered by German archeologists in 1912. It will be featured in an exhibit on art and hieroglyphs through Aug. 2. Its planned permanent home, the New Museum, has stood in ruins since World War II and is scheduled to reopen in 2009."


There! Don't you feel more wholesome not seeing the words "bust" and "tit?" I know I do. Gotta dash! I'm packing for my trip to Lake T**ic*ca, and I need to reread the Const**ution. Maybe I ought to change the t**le of this piece.

Friday, February 25, 2005

C'mon, buy a book!

I spent most of today gathering all of my notes and articles together for the first edition of Historic Texas Breweries. It only costs $19.99, and would be a great gift for anyone interested in Texas history!


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

My name was on TV!

Whoo Hoo! Just finished watching Iron Chef America, and placed 6th in the interactive game. I got 7532 points! My best finish ever!

Monday, February 14, 2005

New scanner, new skills

Yesterday, I was going to continue scanning our family photos into the computer, but the darn scanner wouldn't work. Windows™ could see it. The scanning software, though, couldn't.


So I drove to Office Max in Kerrville and bought a new scanner. It's a HP Scanjet 4070 that can also scan slides and negatives. So I've been playing with it. I dug out the negatives from my stay in Japan (yes, I'm beating that dead horse again) and scanned in a bunch of pictures. I wanted to share this picture:


Jeff and his hat at the scenic overlook above Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan, circa 1985.  Nice shades!


I used the retouching techniques I learned in the workshop to make the image pop a bit more. What do you think?


Chiharu Hatekeda at Omura in 1985

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I spent most of the day watching an Advanced Photoshop workshop. I only got 4 chapters in, but I did create something I want to share.


When I was in Japan, I fell in love. Her name was Chiharu. I took several pictures. Here's one of my favorites that I worked on. We went to the nearby city of Omura and walked through the park during Cherry Blossom season.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Boycott the RIAA!

The RIAA has struck again!


According to an AP story, they have sued an 87 year-old dead woman for file sharing. Moreover, the woman never owned a computer, and was comupter illiterate.


The RIAA said, basically, "Sorry. Only meant to blow up that one thing! Sorry, Everyone!" quoting Crow T. Robot in an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. They added that obviously had the wrong woman, and were dropping charges. Ain't that sweet of them?


Remember! Boycott the RIAA!! Don't buy an album
produced by any company that is a member of the RIAA!

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Year from Hell keeps on a'rollin'

(4) The Year From Hell continues to roll right along, with no end in sight.


Even though the doctors have decided Sean has ulcers and acid reflux has torn up his esophagus, he's still coughing up blood. Sean reports that since he's quit drinking, it has slowed down a little.


Now things look bleak for my cousing Doni. Doni is the daughter of Bill and Nelda Gilbert. Nelda is Mom's older sister. Doni has been ill for several years now. She was taken to the hospital earlier in the week. She's been taken off the respirator, and she managing to hang on, but the prognosis is not good. For her sake, and her husband Ricahrd's sake, I hope she doesn't suffer too long. My Uncle William, who lost his wife back in June, has been visiting Richard and Doni every day. He says he understands what Richard's going through. (Have I mentioned lately that he's my hero?)


Finally, just to give life a little spice, Mom has finally decided that it's time for Grandmother to go into the nursing home. So she'll be in Brownwood and Abilene next week going through all of that.


Did a black cat cross our path? All the mirrors in the house are okay, so I know it's not that. Have we not been diligent enough about avoiding cracks in the sidewalk?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy

It's official!


Today, Kinky Friedman announced he was running for Governor of Texas in 2006. "Don't worry about my lack of experience," Friedman said. "Trust me. I'm a Jew. I'll hire good people."


Friedman has to collect signatures of 40,500 registered voters next spring to get on the November 2006 ballot, and only those who did not participate in the major-party primaries are eligible to sign. So save your vote in the primary next year, and let's all get behind Kinky!


I'm gonna enjoy the next 15 months!


The banner at the top of this page goes to Kinky's website. I made the banner but stole the slogan from it. I apologize, but they didn't have any banners for me to use.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Health Woes, or, The Year From Hell rolls on and on

The Holt Family Health Crisis begun in July of last year continues. Dad's doing great! Now it's Sean!


Sean got back from Japan last week. While in Japan, he got a liver infection and spent several weeks in his room, off work and visited by the doctors. They finally let him go back to work, and he starts coughing up blood! Since
he's due to be shipped
home
in a couple of weeks, he decides not to tell anyone, because he doesn't want to be stuck in Japan.


Back in Beaufort, he goes to the doctor, who strongly suggests that he call his family. Immediately. Because he might not get another chance to talk to us.


The next day, the doctor tells him that it may not be as serious as they thought, but it may be bad enough for him to be discharged from the Corps. So, his October deployment to Iraq, which he has kind have been looking forward to, is now out the window. He has some tests done, and he calls us to tell us he will let us know the results.


I should also mention that in the six months he was in Japan, he emailed us three times. In the week after he got back, he emailed me five times.


Now it's a week later, and the emails have stopped. We know he was supposed to have gotten the test results back. So we called Rodney. Rodney said that the latest diagnosis is an ulcer. He said that all the blood thinners (read: beer) that Sean was taking had aggravated it, hence the blood! And now he's not being discharged, but being deployed to an aircraft carrier.


You now have the setup for the rest of this entry, except that when Dad was sick, he was diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis, despite the fact that he drinks maybe two alcoholic drinks a month. Maybe.


I tell Gary this and he says, "Hell, if he got that from what little he drank, imagine what we’ll have!!!" So I email Gary the latest news about Sean. I suggest that we are screwed, and add, " I guess we'll be outside the detox center waiting on Dad and Sean. 'Course, we'll have a keg." Gary writes back, "Man, we are screwed. I think I may give up the sauce.............someday."


I responded, "Yeah. Me too. Someday. After an Oktoberfest."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Wrecked 'em? Hell, I kilt 'em!

I spent the weekend working on kilt 2.0, as I've come to call it. I was a bad boy Friday night and drank too much, so I sat in my recliner nursing my hangover and sewing.


I had to repleat the darn thing several times, because I either had too many small pleats, or too few large pleats. Then I hand basted the pleats. Next I have to figure out exactly where the under apron is going to wind up, and the I need to get the over apron lined up. Then I can figure out the new way to close the kilt.


As much as I like the snaps I used on my other kilt, it's too difficult to get them placed on the aprons. I'm thinking about a couple of nylon straps with plastic buckles to give it kind of a military look. Of course, I gotta find the straps and buckles!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Hook 'em Horns!

(22) Apparently, the folks in Norway are upset with President Bush. It hasBush greets you in the name of Satan.  Not! nothing to do with the Patriot Act. It has nothing to do with the suspension of habeas corpus in regards to the Quantanamo detainees. It has nothing to do with the quagmire in Iraq. No, they're upset because Bush is a satanist.


Satan's minions greet you while watching the Rose Bowl.See, during the Inauguration parade, the University of Texas marching band came by. The Bushes, former Austin residents, showed their loyalty by flashing the "Hook 'em Horns" sign. In Norway, heavy metal fans use the sign as a salute to Satan, and as a greeting to each other.


This whole horns thing has been going on for a couple of weeks, and the gesture, first used by my fellow UT Alum Jenna Bush (Does she get calls from UT asking for money?) at a black tie dinner in Austin, has even been misinterpreted as American Sign Language for "bullshit," up in New York City ("NEW YORK CITY?!").


Although, I'm sure there are folks at Texas A&M and at Michigan who might agree with those interpretations.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I'm a glutton for punishment

I've started my second kilt. This one is going to be in Desert Storm camoflage. So, on Monday morning, I cut the fabric, and began hemming the material. 'Cause once you pleat, it's too late to hem. I hemmed it by hand. It only took about 4 hours. I spent the next 4 hours pleating.


By 5 pm, I had pleated everything, and tried to see if I did it right. Of course I didn't. Somehow, my pleating measurements were off, and the kilt was about 10 inches too short. That means I have to redo the pleats. But after spending 9 hours working on it on Monday, I didn't want to mess with it any more.


So on Saturday, I will re-pleat, trying to get more length in the waist. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Give me Your Pennies!

(16) Everyone who knows me is aware that I have several hobbies, and would like to have six or seven more, if I had the space.


My current hobby is to collect one million pennies. But I have a problem. I need help collecting these pennies. And I need your help. Here's all you need to do: Give me your pennies! Box 'em up and ship 'em to me. Hell! Send 'em COD if you want! I don't care. I want your pennies!


I'll put a graphic in the column on the left to let you keep track of my success.


Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Our L'il Leatherneck called

(12) As you may or may not know, Sean isn't much into reading, unless there's a box score at the bottom of the page. Naturally, his dislike of reading translates into a dislike of writing.


For example, he sent us three or four pictures from Japan. His entire message was, "Hey. Here are some pictures." He didn't tell us us what was going on in the pictures, or where they were taken.


I write letters, send email, and it's like they drop off the face of the Earth. I go to the Iwakuni MCAS website and read their camp newspaper, the Tori Teller looking to see if he did anything noteworthy. I keep reading it looking for Seans's name. So far, nothing. He's either been good, mediocre or hasn't been caught.


Every month or so, he'll give us a call, and tell us what's going on, and chats for an hour.


He calls Rodney a bit more than he does me, naturally, since he's his dad. But Rodney's almost as bad about writing as Sean. We called Rodney to let him know Donn and Ann will be visiting, and Dad had to ask if he had heard from Sean.


When he was in Pensacola, he was the same way. He spent a couple of weekends a month in New Orleans, and even went to Mardi Gras. When COPS is at Mardi Gras, I scan the crowd and the perps to see if we can see Sean. (He told us once that took a bunch of pictures that he later claimed were lost. Yeah, right. They're probably incriminating.)


Anyway, according to Dad, Sean told Rodney that he will be in Thailand for a couple of weeks helping with tsunami relief. He had orginally thought he'd be back in the States now, but it looks like February. Of course, this is all a bit vague, since I'm getting the report third hand.


If we could only teach that little jarhead to use email!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Off to work he goes!

Well, Dad started dring the school bus again. He left the house at 6:15 am and was back by about 8:30 am. When I asked him how it was, he said it wasn't too bad, but I expect he had a really good nap before he went back for the afternoon run.

Iwo Jima +60

(3) Happy New Year everyone!


Soon it will be time to honor the heroes of "The Greatest Generation" once again. February will see the 60th anniversary of the landing at Iwo Jima. The National Museum of the Pacific War, in Fredericksburg, Texas, will host the official commemoration of the event on February 19-20. On Saturday, there will be a Heroes Parade, where veterans of the campaign will ride along Main Street in WWII era vehicles. Then, out in Doss, Texas, there will be a reenactment of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi.


I've been reading The Battle for Iwo Jima by Robert Leckie to become familiar with the battle, and it's been a real eye opener for me. Another great book is Flags of our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima by James Bradley. You can get those at Amazon.com by clicking the link on the left.


I hope everyone can get to Fredericksburg to honor the men who risked their lives for our freedom. See you in February!