29 October 2010


Yo homies!  I be sitting here with a cup o' joe and chillin' with the dawgs.

Fantabulous morning.  Weather's clear & dry and temps in the low 50's.  Actually had to put on long pants this morning to walk the kids. 

One more week in the books.  Made it through the week without too many scars/injuries.  As my old platoon sergeant used to tell me:  "One more day closer to retirement, sir".  I still got a boatload of vacation piled up that I have to take before the end of the year (use it or lose it) and I am playing hooky today.  No real plans for the extended weekend but taking care of lots of little projects.  I may go up to College Station to the football game tomorrow.  I may work on the Mustang.  Need to clean out garage.  Helping momma get her new toy this morning.  She's has been seriously into quilting for many years using an old Singer sewing machine she's had since high school (before we ever crossed paths).  The old 35+ year old machine finally gave up the ghost two weeks ago (I offered to take a whack at it to fix it, but was gently rebuffed).  So, momma has gotten the urge to get a new machine that will support her habit.  Just like looking at new cars, you just can't settle for the same old plain ride.  She picked a state of the art machine that will pretty much quilt by itself.  All sorts of bells and whistle and doo-dads.  Definitely not your momma's old Singer.  This new toy ain't the most expensive but it does cost more than my last computer.  It's a wee bit pricey/extravagant and she is feeling guilty about getting this but I feel she's earned it.  I've already given her the green light and she is still trying to justify it to me.  Ordered it two weeks ago and it just arrived at the shop yesterday so we are going to pick it up today.  This weekend should be like an early Christmas.

I keep expecting to get an espresso from it or maybe even access the Internet.   

22 October 2010

Friday at last

Here I sit.  Momma has is off at bunco.  One dog at my feet.  The other is sleeping out on one of mom's "Oh No you didn't" quilts.  Been a long week.  I figured, that, since my boss was off the grid for a week, this week would be some serious coasting time.  No worries.  Let's get this party started.  Au contraire.  I had plans to get a lot of things done but life has a way of throwing you curves.  I guess I should be glad I made it to the weekend in one piece, but just not sure in what condition.   

I sit here with a glass of scotch and one needy dog (Claire) and surf the net to see who or what is out there.  I'm listening to one of my favorite musicians, Jesse Cook, playing a mean flamenco guitar.  I got hooked on him about 10 years ago out in Fredricksburg while wandering through an antique/art shops.  Was so infatuated by his music (Tempest), I bought the store CD.  Literally I bought the dang CD they were playing in the store.  Been a huge fan of his ever since.  Ok, there was one or two CDs that I wasn't as impressed with, but, overall, I like his style of music.  I even managed to hook my redneck, opinionated, "A" personality brother onto his music, so there has to be some social benefit there. 

Ya'll have a nice weekend.  I am working on mine.

20 October 2010

Have a little Faith

Occasionally, I will mention the dog group we belong to/enlisted in.  Ok, maybe a bit more than occasionally.  I try to vary my topics so this doesn't wind up becoming a boring all-dog blog (Oops, too late), but when your kid is out of the house, and your spouse is spending her days over at her parents, and work seems to all about who's fault is it, the dogs tend to be my outlet.  It's cheaper that drinking and way more socially acceptable.   

Anyhoo, we are tied into the group in many ways. Last weekend's picnic, monthly meet & greets, the occasional parade, displays at local festivals, dog show, dock dog diving, Barktoberfest, Mutt Strut. All are great opportunities to showcase the club and show off some of the available dogs and recruit more minions for the cause. Given the amount of intensity that some of the group has, I'd almost classify us as "cult-like", just without the robes and secret handshake. There are lots of roles in the club. Adoption panel, recovery people (pick up new dogs), communications, foster families (we failed there). Many members have been with the team for a long while. Cil has been one of the die-hard devotes of the cause and has worked miracles with a number of dogs. She has two dogs of her own and is always ready to take on another dog who needs a home. She has fostered a number of dogs through adoption and we really don't know how she does it. We did two fosters and failed miserably. Her latest dog is nothing short of amazing.

Faith was picked up from BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation & Control) in early August in bad shape. Serious mange, skin conditions, joint problems, emaciated.  We honestly believe that she was going to be put down within a day or two.  The group swooped in and picked her up and gave her to Cil for some TLC. 

This past weekend, Faith found her new forever home with a loving family. 

THIS is one of the reasons I joined this crew. 

18 October 2010


With all of last week's hoopla over the rescue of the miners, I found it interesting to note that Thursday (10/14) was the anniversary of when they rescued Jessica McClure in Midland, Texas. It was 23 years ago that she fell down an open well shaft and it took 58 and a small army of of rescue workers to pull her out of the well. According to some of the pundits, her saga garnered worldwide attention that was only second to the death of Princess Diana.

Of course, this was before there was the Internet, 24 hour news feeds, instant messaging, cell phone cameras, digital photography, facebook, and twitter.  With all the tragedies and bad news around the world, it is nice to see & hear a few good stories.


It's that time again.  GBGRR Annual Picnic11th annual shindig. Seems to get bigger each year, but since this is only our 2nd year with the group, I will just have to take every one's word for it. Took both Chaos & Pandemonium out to the gig this year. Grayson participated last year and this was Claire's first experience. Lots of dogs to see, tails to sniff, balls to chase.

Clair gets a trim

Not enjoying myself

Grayon has a drinking problem

 Ok.  Seriously. 
Are we done yet?

More fun than a pack of wild dogs

There goes that grooming job

My ball!  My ball!

Can we haz some more BBQ?

One of our supporters who owns a local restaurant has 5 White Goldens.
Incredibly well behaved dogs.
They range from 18 months to 12 years old.

Everyone had a blast.  Over 250 dogs (plus a few humans).  Lots of food to eat, people to meet, fields to run in.  Even had some alligator tacos.  Both dogs slept all the way home.  Another successful outing. 

16 October 2010

Saturday chores

Made it to the end of another week.  The weeks just seem to keep getting longer & longer.  Would love a break, but boss is off the grid on vacation and I have to keep the home fires burning.  Had an offer to go up to College Station to see the football game, but too much to do to try and arrange the trip.  Besides, the way they played, I'm glad I did not try to make the trip. 

Finished up trimming the bushes today.  Four trash cans full of branches and leaves.  Glad it was not too hot to work in the beds.  The dogs hate it when I work in the yard and they don't get to help.  They always want to be apart of any activity.  My last mutt, Shadow, would sit in the side yard and never leave the yard (unless another dog was walking by).  Grayson & Claire I don't trust as much, yet.  Claire is a good dog off leash.  She will hang by me and comes when I call.  Gray, however, is always an excitable dog and will take off if he spots another person/cat/dog.  Working on that problem.  My ideal dog (if there ever is one) is one that will sit by you as your work in the yard or on the car or on the house.  But until he walks up my driveway, I guess these two nuts will have to do.



13 October 2010

How soon is too soon?

I like walking the dogs early in the morning.  Oh, sure, it is sometimes a pain to try & herd these two mutts around the block on their "sniff & pee" patrol, but I enjoy the early, pre-dawn quiet.  There is something serene about the early morning hours that inspires me with new resolve.  Typically, I take the time alone to go over the day's tasks, gather my thoughts and plan my attack on the day.  I've won lots of debates (internal) with myself as I walk the dogs. 

We also tend to see strange sites in the wee hours before dawn.  Yesterday, as I rounded the backside of the neighborhood, I spotted some lit figurines in a neighbor's yard.  A few people in my hood will decorate for the holidays.  Some, who will remain nameless, Lynn, seem to decorate for every holiday.  Now, this guy has not been one to put out a lot of decorations in the past.  I don't recall too many decorations for other holidays, so I figured this was some Halloween ornaments.  I know the family that lives there.  Nice guy.  Sweet wife.  A couple of cute/young kids (2 girls, 1 boy) and they are always out walking at night.  As I got closer to the two foot tall figurines (three), I was able to make out the statue of Joseph and Mary and one wise guy.  I know people like to get a jump on the holidays, but ain't it a wee bit early?

10 October 2010

Plant abuse

Weather is still unusually perfect. Dry, cool, sunny. We don’t get many days down here that aren’t either in the 90’s and/or 85%++ humidity.  Best enjoy it while it lasts.

I don’t have a wide range of plants around the house, but I have a few that tend to go wild unless they are beat back twice a year. I typically will trim back my bushes in the spring and then once more in the fall before the leaves begin to fall. Most are pretty nondescript plants.  A couple of wax leaf ligustrums (Ligustrum japonicum 'Texanum'), a pair of old Japanese yew, two holly bushes, one overgrow schefflera, four new Indian hawthorns, several crepe myrtles, a couple of red tip photinias, a gaggle of some ugly boxwoods, one lone loquat plant/tree, one large windmill palm, and a number of mystery plants that grow straight stalks and have a highly aromatic smell when trimmed (still trying to figure out what species those are). That doesn’t count the asian jasmine ground cover that surrounds the house or periwinkles I put in last spring.

When we moved into this place 20+years ago, there used to be a couple of balls of pampas grass – a particularly nasty plant I came to loathe. This is an interesting plant (weed) that you will see used a lot along the interstate and in the medians of Texas Highways. There is good reason for that – they grow with practically no attention or care. No water, lots of sun, they love it. We had three outside our bedroom window and three more back in the corner of the yard. None of these were particularly attractive, but they grow fast and need no maintenance. The ones outside of our window seemed to be a favorite habitat for some noisy critter that I could never find or get rid of. One spring I took the challenge to cut them down and replace them with something a bit more aesthetic. That’s when I found out how nasty these plants are. They sport very nice grass like stalks with fronds on the end, but the leaves are razor sharp with tiny barbs that will shred any gloves or hide. I went through two shirts, several gloves, and many scars before I finally achieved the upper hand. Once you got down to the root/ball, there was not much to just knocking them over. It is a good plant if you want privacy or a barrier plant. I cannot imagine any bad guys trying to work their way through a few of them without drawing blood.

Yesterday the battle was with a large windmill palm that has taken up residence out by the mailbox. It is about 4-10 feet in height and has 7 main stalks/trunks and is pretty much self contained and requiring little maintenance. The palm fronds will spread out like large windmill fans (ergo the name) and spread from each trunk in about a 3 foot radius. The palms will grow out from the middle and spread outwards and each older one will eventually die out as the newer vegetation emerges. These types of palms can grow to large trees if managed correctly, but mine has stayed about the same height for years. If I let this one go, it will explode with palm leaves and cover up the mailbox, so, twice a year, I cut it back dramatically to allow new growth to come in and be able to see the mailbox from the house. Like the pampas grass, this one is a particularly nasty job because of the palm stalks. The leaves are fine but sharp on the edges, but the stalks of have these barbs that will tear through leather gloves (got the scars to prove it). I prefer to trim this one back when it is cooler to avoid the heat and bugs so I will cut it in the spring (around Palm Sunday) and again in the fall before Halloween. My trimming may seem a bit severe, but the plant seems to love it and will explode in the spring with all new growth. At one point a few years back, I was going to tear out this plant to find something else, but I thought better of it.

Today will be an assault on the ligustrums.

Never give up!  Never surrender!

08 October 2010

The wheels on the bus go round & round

Ever have one of those days?

Morning starts out great. Weather is picture perfect. Cool temps, low humidity, no clouds. Been a fantastic week weather-wise.

I am turning the corner on my projects, making headway with my action list, catching up on reports. Today was to be a fairy light day. Two meetings booked, lots of time to finish two reports, start on my weekly, make a couple of calls to suppliers.

Was going to try to run a few miles during lunch while the weather is good, but left my running clothes at home, so wound up working through lunch. Afternoon was dragging on, but things started backing up on my. One part problem, two missed shipments, drawing changes getting rejected, last minute purchase orders, four sales calls, big boss is looking for answers. Somewhere along the road the wheels started coming off the bus. Sometimes I feel like we bounce from one ditch to another while we drive down the road.

I am not the HMFIC down here. I have a manager's hat, but sometimes I feel more like a peon around here with certain projects.  And no matter what, it always seems like it is my fault.  Reminds me of the old poem:

I'm not allowed to run the train 
The whistle I can't blow
I'm not the one who designates
How far the train will go
I'm not allowed to blow the steam
Or even ring the bell
But let the damn thing jump the track
And see who catches hell.

Good thing I have a sense of humor about this kind of stuff (and an ample stash of scotch).

07 October 2010

Need more time

It seems like the weeks/months are just flying by.

Keep getting new projects/chores at the office, dogs need grooming, truck is due for service this morning, trailer registration due this month, gotta repair the light fixture in the kitchen (no, it is not a simple bulb replacement), carpets need cleaning, need to fix window in momma's car, unjam the shredder, fix a plumbing leak at FiLs house, clean the cat hair out of SiLs printer, blah, blah, blah.  I thought that, once the kid was off in college and we were by ourselves, things would slow down. HA!

I guess we should be grateful for the blessings we have (job, health, family, home), but sometimes, just sometimes, I miss being a kid.  The nice thing about having a dog (or two), is that their expectations are pretty low.  Walk me, feed me, pet me, repeat.  And Golden Retrievers are pretty needy on the attention part.  It was bad enough with one "attention hound" but adding a second to the mix has somehow turned into an exponetial deal.  I cannot show pet or show attention to one without the other one showing up (Me Too! Me Too!).  One major benefit about these two kooks is that, no matter how lousy the day, how much crap has been tossed your way, or how late you are, they are always estatic to see you....   

03 October 2010

Ahhh....the weekend

Spendiferic weather.  Temps in the mid 60's to low 70's.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Humidity hovering around 40%.  Woke up this morning and almost thought I was back in SoCal.  We ain't used to this kind of weather.  It's been hot & humid down here since April and this weather is almost obscene.  Trying to spend as much time outdoors before it changes.  The old expression we have around here is:  "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.  It will change.

Work's been kicking my butt.  Projects, reports, deadlines and fire drills.  I am almost caught up from my road trip to California three weeks ago.  I would complain, but I really hate whiners and, besides, I'm grateful to have a job given today's economy.  My nephew has not landed a job yet, but he is looking hard and hopes to land something soon.  Our next door neighbors at work, NASA, is starting to shut down programs now since they are on the last of the shuttle flights.  One NASA contractor in the area has just laid off about 1/3 of its work force on Friday with more to come by the end of the year.  Time's are tough all over.       

Tried to get out side over the weekend.  Yard has stopped growing.  Not sure if it is cooler temps or the lack of rain, but it doesn't really need to be mowed this weekend.  Got to spend 1/2 day out in Katy yesterday participating in their annual Rice Harvest Festival.  Our dog group (GBGRR) participates in the parade every year as one of the volunteer entries and we walk the streets with a pack of wild goldens looking for someone to lick or pet.  The dogs are typically a hit with all of the spectators and this year was no exception.  Always thinking ahead, we hand out bags with our card/website information, plus a treat for humans & dogs.  I took both Chaos & Pandemonium (Claire & Grayson) and the dogs had a blast and were well behaved.  No gutter incidents this year.  They did so well that I even took them to the local dog park in Katy as a treat.  I've taken on a mission to hit all of the dog parks in the area just to see which one is better and the one in Katy top notch.  Lots of grass/trees/shade/benches.  One of the better ones we've been to. 

A pack of killers

Tag teaming the crowd