Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

I received this joke from my good friend Jack and I thought I would pass it along;

I recently chose a new primary care physician. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age. A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"

He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages?" "Oh no," I replied. "I don't do drugs, either." Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?" I said, "No, my other doctor said that all red meat is unhealthy!"

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?" "No, I don't," I said. He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?" "No," I said. "I don't do any of those things."

He looked at me and said, "Then why do you give a shit?"

And so it is as the end of 2007 is quickly upon us. I hope each and everyone of you has spent some quality time with people you love doing things you enjoy doing. Otherwise what's the sense. No matter how important you think you are at your job, you can quickly be replaced. So get out and enjoy life. Do the things you want to do and spend time with people you enjoy being with. That's my goal for 2008. I hope it's yours as well. Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Karen's New Fireplace

Karen has for the longest time wanted to change our wood burning fireplace to a gas burning fireplace with glass in the bottom. We were finally able to do that and I think it turned out great. We found this guy at the Los Angeles County fair a couple of years ago. I have his contact info if anyone is interested.

David came in and cleaned our fireplace and removed the doors and screens. He put in the gas burner, painted the back silver, and placed the black and blue glass in the bottom. He did it all in just a little over an hour. As you can see it looks great and it puts out a great deal of heat. I can't believe what a difference he made in our fireplace in just one hour. The price was very reasonable. We are very please with the results.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas, Come & Gone

Here it is the day after Christmas. It seems to have come and gone in a flash. My family had a great Christmas. We started with a Christmas Eve dinner for four at my house and an evening of watching the movie The Christmas Carol. I got a phone call from my oldest son, Scott, who announced that he and his family were flying to Paris, France for a week on Christmas Day. They failed to invite me for some reason :-( Christmas morning we were up early to open presents as Corey had to work at 9:00 AM. Santa was "berry berry good to me" receiving, among other things, a GPS unit for my truck. We had Karen's brother, Dennis, and his two daughters over for dinner which included a Honey Baked ham. Yum Yum!!! I may have eaten just a tad too much, but it was Christmas!! My other older son, Brian, checked in by phone that evening. All is well with him and my grandson Ethan. He promised new photos, which I will proudly display upon receiving them. So, all in all, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas. I hope Santa was good to all of you and didn't leave coal in your stockings.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


This is my son Corey and his new car. It is a '07 Chevy Colbalt. He finally drove his Kia into the ground and we have helped him buy this one. Corey is 19 now and works practically full time at the AMC theater at the Victoria Gardens Mall. Corey will be going to Mt. Sac Jr. College in February and seems to be interested in a career in law enforcement. Corey is a confirmed night owl and often works out at the 24 hr. Fitness in our area after midnight.

Karen and I are blessed that both Corey and Josh still call our house home. Although our house resembles a bus station at times, with all of us coming and going, we manage to get together for at least a meal a couple of times a month. It helps that we have a white board calendar on the frig to keep track of each other. We also don't always know who we will find at our house as both boys feel comfortable in bringing their friends over. Life is good if you ask me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Flying High

I had the opportunity to fly with my son today and it was an assume experience. Josh has his private pilot's license and flies out of the Mt. Sac Aeronautics School at Bracket Field in La Verne. The day was perfect for flying. The air was cool and crisp and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We could see for miles. We flew in a Cessna 152, which is a single engine four seater plane. We flew from La Verne to Santa Barbara and landed. We taxied back down the taxi way and took off again. We flew for about 2 1/2 hours in all and covered about 200 miles. Josh told me we flew at an altitude of 65oo feet and a speed of 125 MPH. The flight was as smooth as a babies butt. I have to tell you that I was quite the proud dad watching Josh at the controls of that plane. He was pulling on knobs, watching a dozen gauges, and talking to a string of traffic control towers all across the Los Angeles basin. I felt perfectly safe and wasn't sick once. I'd go up with him again in a hot second.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What have we become?

This is a letter I am sending to the opinion section of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Like many of you, I grew up watching war movies with John Wayne and Audie Murphy, and America was always the “good guys.” December 7, 1941 brought the “good guys” storming into World War II and we joined the fight against the oppressor. The oppressor was this short funny looking guy who formed a strong military and attacked defenseless sovereign nations with his blitz for world domination. Along the way he managed to kill millions of defenseless civilian men, women, and children and cost his nation the lives of thousands of its youth who formed his war machine. Was his aim to spread a new world order or to help himself to their natural resources?

And who did we chose to idolize during those dark times but the French Resistance. Those who were forced to live in the occupied country of France and ran around behind enemy lines disrupting the Nazi war machine in any way they could, from attacking troop convoys to blowing up strategic positions with homemade bombs.

Today we have a short funny looking guy (Bush) who has the greatest military known to man attacking defenseless sovereign nations with “shock and awe”. Along the way he has managed to kill millions of defenseless civilian men, women, and children and has cost the lives of thousands of American troops and maimed thousands more. Is his goal to spread democracy or to help himself to their natural resources?

And what of the resistance to the oppressor, those forced to live in the occupied nations? When the shoe is on the other foot we call them terrorists. We are shocked to see them blow themselves up in an attempt to disrupt the oppressor’s war machine. If America was attacked and occupied, wouldn’t you be one of those “terrorists” out blowing up troop convoys and military positions? I know I would!!!

What have we become? Are we still the “good guys” of bygone days? NO!! We’ve become the oppressor! Doesn’t that leave a sour taste in your mouth? It does mine. I think it’s time we stop and re-assess our motives because the short funny looking guy has his sights on Iran next. Is this a fair and reasonable response to the attack of 9-11? Every neighborhood has a bully, but every bully has its day of reckoning. It’s not too late to put a stop to this madness. Let’s bring our troops home and prosecute the short funny looking guy for dragging the good name of America through the mud.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas is Coming!!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Fa, la la, la, la!!! As you can see our house is lit up to reflect the festive season. I even went up the ladder this year to put the lights along the eves and I don't do ladders or heights real well. It is raining this evening which makes the lights twinkle just that much more.

I was out again today trudging around the Ontario Mills Mall looking for stocking stuffers for Karen. I can remember when I was a small lad, (yes I was once a small lad!!) it took forever for Christmas to get here. Now as an adult the time just seems to just fly by. Christmas cards are arriving at the door and presents are appearing under the tree.

My family has been truly blessed this year and we have so much to be thankful for. I hope that all who read this have a Merry Christmas and that you find more than coal in your stocking.

Merry Christmas to one and all!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spiritual Quest

Since I retired on July 1, 2004, I have spent quite a bit of time in the local Barnes & Nobles and Borders book stores reading and sipping on mocha frapacinnos. A great deal of my reading has involved a comparative study of religions or "isms" as I like to call them. I am not done with this spiritual quest by a long shot, but I have formed some basic opinions from my readings.

I have come to the conclusion that there is only one entity or power that we all serve and love. I think most people accept that us humans and the universe we live in was created by this entity or power. This entity goes by many names with God being one of the most popular. It's interesting to note that many Native American Indian religions refer to this entity as the "Great Mystery." I like that. It says a lot to me.

So what do we know about the "Great Mystery?" The Bible in Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in the image of God. The King James version states, "So God created man in his own image: in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." The words man and him in this instance means humanity in general, not just the male species. Male and female He created them. Common sense would tell us that God is both male and female, a concept we as humans may have a problem wrapping our brains around, but It is God. Perhaps God and Goddess is an easier concept to understand as the early pagan religions thought. The Bible also says we are all God's children, which I interpret as his sons and daughters. I don't see where God makes any distinction between the two, but created male and female as equals.

So how did women become subservient to men? As I like to say, we are all cut from the same sheet of cloth. Thousands of years ago the female was revered for her ability to bring forth life. It's also important to note that it doesn't say that God created one race over the other. I'm reminded of the children's song, "red and yellow black and white, we are precious in his sight..." So I am trying to live God's only commandment, love God and love one another. It's easier to love one another when you remember that we are all cut from the same sheet of cloth or all created in the likeness of the "Great Mystery".

So have a good day and try practicing love for one another.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recent Trip

In October of '07, I traveled to the state of Washington with my traveling buddy and great friend Jim. We drove up Hwy. 395 and spent the first night at the Circus Circus hotel in Reno Nevada. I won $100 in a video poker machine and Jim lost $30. He was devastated!! He accused me of winning his money so I bought him an ice cream cone to calm him down. It works every time!!!

I had never been to Crater Lake, so we stopped on the way and I took this photo. It was a beautiful day, the air temperature was about 38 degrees, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The water was a deep blue and sure looked cold. I managed to keep Jim from falling in, of course he wasn't fishing. (more on Jim's fishing adventures later)

We drove on up to Seattle Washington where I rented a car. Jim went to visit his brother and mother in the Seattle area and I drove up to Ferndale Washington to visit my dad and sister Kathy. While out to dinner with my dad and sister, Jim called to inform me that someone had stolen his ATM number and made several purchases in Washington. He even went so far as to accuse me of the theft as several of the purchases were made north of Seattle!!! So I was forced to pay for our expenses on the way home, which I suspect was his original intent!! :-)

Not to be outdone, I ended up in the emergency room in Cottage Grove, Oregon because I couldn't go to the bathroom. They inserted a catheter, which gave me great relief, and away I went. The rest of the trip was pretty much uneventful. You'll be glad to know that subsequent medications have seemed to deflate my swollen prostate.

So, all in all it was another great trip for me and Jim.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting Ready for the Holidays

It is just two weeks now until Christmas and as you can see we are making preparations for the Holidays. Karen has the tree up and has decorated the inside of the house as well. I have added two multi-colored Christmas trees to our lighting outside. I am working on getting the Christmas cards out so don't feel slighted if you haven't received a card yet. :-) Of course I am not anywhere near done with my shopping, but there is always Christmas Eve.!! Can you say gift cards boys and girls???
I just downloaded 176 photographs from my digital camera. Some go back to the first of the year. So I will try to send out a few from my travels over the year.
In the mean time I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.