26 November 2014

Holiday plans

I'm off for the week.  It's that time of the year where I have to burn up some vacation or lose it.  Several low key projects planned.  Clean the house, fix a faucet, put up the tree, hang lights, reading, etc.  Maybe I'll get caught up on my netflix movies or binge watch the House of Cards.  Not really planning to do any Black Friday shopping but I may get sucked in for a deal or two.   

SIL is doing better.  She actually got enough of her appetite back to go out to dinner Saturday.  We weren't sure about going out for turkey dinner so I volunteered to throw a small dinner together for just the three of us tomorrow (nothing too extravagant).  My folks and my brother are planning to head to College Station for the game.  Game is tomorrow night at 1830 so they plan to do Turkey dinner on the parking lot in the afternoon.  A bunch of friends and family will be up there.  I passed on the trip to help momma take care of SIL.  Junior and his bride are heading south to Big Bend State Park for a camping trip with a group from the Sierra Club.  They'll be spending Thanksgiving out hiking and camping under the stars away from civilization.  Much as we would like to have them down for some turkey, we are sort of jealous - we used to do those sorts of adventures back in our younger days.     

Getting ready for tomorrow.  Bought a small turkey, going to pick up some sides today, will start prepping some dishes tonight.  Normally, momma does most of the heavy lifting during Thanksgiving prep, but she's kinda got her hands full right now so I need to take up the slack.  I may not be Julia Childs and it may not be as good as momma can make, but I can burn some meat and buy pies like a champion. 

I am restarting an old tradition of mine.  Back before junior was born, I used to run a lot more.  My job on t-day was to get the bird in the oven early so that it would be ready after lunch.  I used to do the annual Turkey Trot in Dallas as some sort of counterbalance to eating all that turkey and dressing.  Normally I would stuff the bird and put it in the oven before I left for the run and it was going well by the time I got back home.  Since this year will be fairly low key, I decided to sign up for the local Turkey Trot again.  Not expecting to break any course records, I plan to use this as a tune up run for the half in January.  That's just my excuse for an extra slice of pecan pie...   

Remember, with all of the holiday hoopla and activities, don't let the stress of the holidays drag you down.  

22 November 2014


Yea, I know I am taking the easy road with a few videos, but this one has been made the rounds of our rescue group.  For those who haven't shared roof (or bed) with a Golden, this pretty much sums up their attitude.  Some Goldens can be very driven, focused dogs, just not in the way you may expect.

And, for the record, this is EXACTLY how Grayson would run the course...  

18 November 2014

Baste this

For those starting to prep for next week's gluttony feast...

This is from the same family that did the Baby Got Class video.  

15 November 2014

Odds & ends

It's been an interesting/intense few weeks of late.  Last week's road trip to College Station was a welcome break.  An excellent chance to step away from the daily problems, headaches, worries and break bread with a few old friends.  Some of the stories seem to have grown in stature with time.  In retrospect, they sound like a bunch of "old army" stories that take on legendary status (at least in our circle) but in the sober light of day, we tend to shake our heads and wonder how we survived.  I'll work to dredge up a few of the more classic ones in a few future postings.  Yes I will try to dig up the border crossing saga but I always felt the night we almost blew up our door in the dorm was way more epic.  And here's a slight hint:  Mark was a key player in both sagas.      

I would lament about work, but I find that I have been doing that way too much of late and I don't like to whine about my problems especially when they are miniscule in comparison to others.  Everytime I think that things are overwhelming or unjust, I step back and look at other people and the problems they face and, somehow, my issues don't seem quite as big or insurmountable.  A long, long time ago, I took a summer course on motivation and how to focus on and achieve goals.  It was taught by a woman who had actually worked for my dad at one point but she wasn't happy with her job and he encouraged her to pursue her dreams of teaching and speaking.  Interesting class, it taught me several things that I still espouse.  One of her exercises was for a person to get up in the morning and face themselves in a mirror and repeat the saying:  "Every day, in Every way, I am getting better and better".  Repeat 10 times.  Yea, I know.  Sounds corny, but it did work for me (somewhat).  The one thing she said that did stick with me was that you have a choice in the morning when we wake up:  You can be happy or you can be mad.  Depending upon which one you choose, that is normally how the day will go.  Oddly enough, I found this to be true.  If you wake up pissed off at the world, that is pretty much how your day will go.  I prefer the former.  No matter what kind of crap I get dished out, I try to take it with a smile (or at least smirk).  Besides, no matter how big the problem, there is always someone lower down on the ladder than is dealing with bigger challenges.   

Status on SIL is about the same.  It has been a year since SIL had her surgery and she is not any closer to getting her life back.  It seems like she will make progress one week and then has small set backs that put her right back at the start (two steps forward, one step back).  Every other week she does chemo and it seems to wear her down.  We continue to do what we can to help but it has been a very long road with lots of twists and turns.  My wife is still taking care of her full time and it is wearing her out as well.  Being a nephrologist (Kidney Doctor), SIL fully understands her situation and the challenges she faces.  Needless to say, she is very down/depressed and uncertain of her outcome.  

Claire is getting old and slowing down.  I took her to the vet and they didn't find any issues or problems aside of her just getting old.  She still acts like a puppy at times, just a goofy old puppy.  And, yes, she still rolls in the grass every time we go to the park. 

On the bright side, we are getting new bathroom.  Not exactly a planned event.  I noticed a slight leak in the bathroom walls where the sheetrock was starting to get moist.  We've had a shower pan leak many years ago and I know what a massive project that can be to replace it so I was avoiding it for while dealing with the other issues.  When I spotted a wet carpet outside of the bathroom, I decided to close down the shower for a while to see if that would dry it out.  2 weeks later, the carpet was still soaked so I felt we might have a pipe leak in the walls.  Called in a plumber who assessed that the pipe was not leaking ($75 for that diagnosis) but he really did not determine the root cause.  I finally called in my insurance company to seek their help/advice and they jumped on it right away.  The sent out a master plumber who figured out that it was NOT the shower pan but a leak from the toilet that has seeped under the tile floor and wicked up into the bathroom walls.  The sent out a water remediation company who set up three massive blowers and a dehumidifier to run nonstop for a week drying out the room.  The net result was a very loud, noisy bathroom for a week that got very warm (~90°).  Finally the room dried out enough to lose the fans but the damage was done.  Estimator came out last week to survey the repairs and it looks like they will have to tear out the shower and replace a good portion of the sheetrock.  Since the shower tile is a classic 70's gold spec that is not made any more, looks like we are getting a new shower.  We are looking at tile and wallpaper now.  We will probably will get a new pocket door, shower door and new rug and as well.  Of course, as with any project, there is some amount of scope creep (momma wants a new vanity with new fixtures).  I would like to have the toilet replaced (Toto) while they are in there.  Additionally, I am trying to convince momma to replace the bathroom window at the same time (ours is the old original single pane, frosted window).  Still waiting for the contractor to get assigned to come review the job.  It is going to be a holy mess and I figure it will take a few weeks to demo out the bathroom, but we are hoping to have it done by late December.  Merry Christmas.     

11 November 2014

35 Years later

First order of business, to all the men and women who have served, I salute your dedication and service.  Veteran's Day is not just another opportunity to buy a tv or get a deal on some furniture.   Thanks to all my brothers and sisters who have served.   

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
I took a break last weekend to run off to my alma mater for a small gathering of old friends and rehash old days.  The team was playing out of town, so College Station seemed a bit empty for a football weekend, but it was busy nonetheless.  

This past weekend was our 35 reunion of our class.  35 freakin years.  Wow.  I really feel old.  Typical reunions are every five years.  We missed the first reunion (stationed over in Germany) but have made most of the rest.  A good chance to catch up with old buddies, classmates, friends.  It is interesting to see the changes time has made.  A chance to answer those questions of who:  

  • looks the same (or looks older)  
  • still has hair
  • has the biggest belly
  • has the most kids (or grandkids)
  • is still married 
  • got remarried (he's on wife #3)
  • has retired
  • passed away
  • went to jail

Back in the 80s, we had several hundreds show up for the early reunions.  Over the years, the numbers have dwindled.  This last weekend, we still had a decent turnout (~200) but we attributed it to it being an away game.  It is interesting to see how everyone has changed (or not changed) over the past 35 turns.  I will note that most of the people showing up were members of the Corps of Cadets.  We had a distinct bond/camaraderie back then that we still share today.  I gotta admit that, of all of the outfits, my outfit had one of the highest percentage  of participants (aside of the band guys).  Out of 11 guys that graduated, we had 7 show up for this shindig.  Not too shabby. We spend lots of time trying to recall some of those glory days.  The quad water war, Fish Drill team, summer camp, dorm life, Bonfire, the border crossing that almost turned into an international incident, corps road trips, who bunked with whom, who set off the fireworks in Meyer's room, how many people wound up sleeping in the one room when we stole our CO's stuff, "the Trial".  Statute of limitations prevents me from elaborating on some stories, but suffice it to say, we found it amazing that we survived.  One of our guys has taken on the role of historian to see if he can record all of the events/stories from those days of yore.  We'll see if we can put something together for the next gig in 5 years. 

My roommate was always a flamboyant character.  Mark was never one to back down from a fight or to charge blindly into some situation, he left an impression whatever he tackled.  I'll concede this to him - he did everything with style.  We had dinner Friday night at a local clubhouse and the SOB showed up in a tux!  All of us old farts are decked out in casual attire and he ups the ante by showing up in style.  Just guess who got his picture with all of the ladies of our class.       

He is the most interesting man in the world