Friday, June 30, 2006

And the raccoon laughed

I seem to have an odd karma thing going on with trees. Some of you may remember my ordeal with removing a couple of trees from the backyard of my old house about two years ago. It is chronicled in my archives beginning with Log Blog in August of 2004 and concluding with Finishing a beginning on June 21, 2005.

Ironically, here it is almost a year later and trees continue to mess with me. Last Sunday I was standing in my kitchen trying to remember why I was just standing there and I heard the plaintive meow of a cat. This is not unusual since we have three of them and two are quite vocal. I assumed that one was in the garage and now wanted to be in the house so it could then wish that it was back in the garage. If you have cats, this makes sense.

I opened the door to the garage and two of the cats sat on the hood of my truck staring at me indignantly. Neither was meowing. The third cat was upstairs in our bedroom. I now realized the meowing was coming from outside. By this time, Tess had joined in the search for the source of the feline cry for help. We traced it to a large pine tree in our backyard. There, in the crook of some branches about 15 feet above the ground was a beige cat.

One of Tess' endearing qualities is her compassion for all creatures. She immediately started talking to the distressed cat and told me to go get a ladder. Having dealt with cats in trees before, I wasn't enthusiastic as I pulled the ladder out of the garage and leaned it next to the tree.

"No good deed goes unpunished," I told Tess as I climbed the ladder toward the cat. The cat immediately stopped crying and started climbing. I know the thing was scared, but I've never understood the cat psyche when it comes to trees. They climb them easily enough, but they never seem to be able to comprehend "reverse" and figure out how to come down. I pulled myself higher on the ladder and made a grab for the cat. It's tail passed through my hand as it darted another 10 feet up the tree onto some very thin branches.

I backed down the ladder and told Tess that the cat would come down when he was hungry. Tess went inside and filled a small dish with catfood and placed it under the tree. I'm pretty sure the cat couldn't see it or smell it from where he was, but Tess' heart was in the right place.

Later that evening, I stepped out on the patio to cover up my grill when I noticed a very large raccoon finishing off the bowl of catfood. It dawned on me that the raccoon had probably been the one who scared the cat enough to go up the tree in the first place. I further reasoned that the raccoon did this knowing the cat would be stuck there and someone would put food at the base of the tree to try to lure it down. Then the raccoon would eat the food. Raccoons are clever like that.

Okay, whether or not the raccoon was responsible for the cat being up the tree, he was no help in getting the cat out of the tree. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and dispel any of your urban myths about cats stuck in trees:
1) The fire department does not rescue them. They will give you their pat answer, "Have you ever seen a dead cat in a tree?" My response is, "No, they fall out when they die."
2) Animal shelters do not rescue cats from trees.
3) Utility companies do not rescue cats from trees.
4) Tree services may rescue cats from trees, but only if you pay them to and they prefer to do it by cutting down the tree. Then you are stuck with huge rounds of wood that are near impossible to get rid of. Trust me on this one.
5) Hunger and thirst do not seem to be primary motivators for cats to come down from trees on their own.
6) No one actually knows how to get a cat out of a tree.
Monday came and the cat was still stuck up in the tree. Monday was also one of the hottest days we've had in Seattle in a long time. The cat stopped meowing and just hung their morously on a branch. I knew that Tess couldn't just stand by for much longer and watch the thing suffer so I dug out the ladder again, donned protective clothing and went once more into the tree. But this time I left the ladder and pulled myself up into the branches as close as I could to where the cat was. It moved further away.

While Tess watched from below, I shook the branch assuming that frightening the cat to death would be better than it dying of dehydration in the tree. The cat didn't budge. I attempted hooking the branch with a push broom to try and pull it toward me so I could grab the cat. This aggitated the cat and it began to hiss at me. I climbed back out of the tree and down the ladder. The cat spent yet another night in the tree.

Tuesday came. The cat had actually moved from the one pine tree to an adjacent pine tree. It had worked its way out on a very small branch that hung over the parking lot of an apartment building next to our house. I gave up on the notion that the cat was coming down, at least on its own. I got the ladder one more time and asked Tess to grab a towel and stand under the branch the cat was one.

I climbed the ladder with a box saw and with my left hand, mind you, I began sawing the branch the cat was lying on. In about five minutes the branch cracked and swung down toward the ground. The listless cat immediately became quite animated and leapt off the falling branch. It hit the ground running with Tess on its tail calling for the cat. It ignored her and darted across the street (thankfully not getting hit by a car) and hopefully home to a full bowl of food and water.

Later that evening, I stood under the tree staring up into the tree, half thinking I'd see the cat back up in the branches. Instead, and I may have just been halucinating, I swear I saw the face of a racoon. And I'll be damned if he wasn't laughing.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The trash cans

Dedicated to Lights in the Wake with apologies to Shandi.

I've always had an obsession with trash cans. I love them. I take photos of trash cans when I travel. I dream about trash cans. I have even painted trash cans.

I love to open trash cans, both literally and symbolically.

By paying attention to the design and structure of a trash can, you can tell much about the person that puts trash in it.

Trash cans represent courage to me. Every one of my adventures started with throwing something in a trashcan.

It takes even more courage to close a trash can...permanently.

he drives a Trash-Can
he drives a Trash-Can
he drives a Trash-Can
he's comin' to my town
he drives a Trash-Can
he's comin' to my town
he drives a Trash-Can
he's comin' to my town
he drives a Trash-Can
he's comin' to my town
he drives a Trash-Can
--The Birthday Party,
Big Jesus Trash Can

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Guy buffoonery

Flatulence - Amount and constituents

The average human releases 0.5 to 3.5 litres (1 to 3 U.S. pints) of flatus in 12 to 25 episodes throughout the day. The primary constituents of flatulence (collectively known as flatus) are the non-odorous gases nitrogen (ingested), oxygen (ingested), methane (produced by anaerobic microbes), carbon dioxide (produced by aerobic microbes or ingested, and hydrogen (produced by some microbes and consumed by others). Odors result from trace amounts of other components (often sulphur) and nitroglycerin.

Nitrogen is the primary gas released. Methane and hydrogen, lesser components, are flammable, and so flatulence is susceptible to catching fire. Gas released mostly has a foul odor which mainly results from low molecular weight fatty acids such as butyric acid (rancid butter smell) and reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and carbonyl sulfide that are the result of protein breakdown. The incidence of odoriferous compounds in flatus increases from herbivores, such as cattle, to omnivores to carnivorous species, such as cats.

--Online definition of flatulence

That cracks me up because I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest difference between men and women is that guys think farts are funny. This would explain some people's visceral reaction to the classic "pull my finger" schtick. That is okay. The world is big enough for all opinions.

BTW, flatulence figures prominently in much of Chaucer's writing so don't think fart humor is a recent development.

I do want to go on record that, although I have said "pull my finger" to my nieces and nephews, no one has ever pulled it. And if they did, I would not be able to fart on demand. It is not one of my talents. I would like to be able to fart at will, but flatulence for me has always been a random act.

My point is that I paraody buffoonery knowingly. It's like tacky things. If you know something is tacky, it becomes kitsche. It's a subtle distinction that not everyone appreciates. The real trick in pseudo-buffoonery is not stepping over the line. I try to be tasteful in my vulgarity. It is an art, trust me.

So, remember, the next time you point your finger at a buffoon, prepare for him to pull it and keep in mind you have three more pointing back at you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cry uncle

When my nephew R. was about nine or ten years old, I was sitting next to him at Thanksgiving dinner getting ready to eat pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. I sniffed my pie and said, "this smells funny, how about yours?" R. leaned forward to sniff his pie and I quickly shoved his face into it. He smiled goodnaturedly through the pumpkin pie goo and accepted the ridicule of his family prompted by my prank. I was just being that funny Uncle Tim.

Inside, I am pretty sure that R. was already looking foward to the day he would visit me in the assisted care home, sniff the tapioca pudding and say,"Hey Uncle Tim, this smells funny, how about yours?" Then as I bend my gray old head over my bowl to naively whiff my tapioca he's going to shove my face into it.

But that is the price of being an uncle. Because it is not always easy being an uncle. And it is really not easy being an uncle to teenagers. When you nieces and nephews are little, all you have to do is shove their faces into food and say crap like, "pull my finger" or make farting sounds with your armpit to communicate. As soon as they become teenagers, it's another story.

By the time they are teenagers, they've heard your jokes a hundred times, they won't let you near them when they are eating and they definitely won't pull your finger. And although their parents can interpret their grunts and shrugs I walk away from most conversations feeling as though Washoe, that chimpanzie that learned sign language, would have been easier to chat with.
I say this because I am preparing myself mentally for my 13, soon to be 14-year old niece to visit from Boise next week. And I am grateful that Tess is on her summer break and will help me bond with my brother's daughter.

Meredith is the first girl in a long line of H**** boys. And she has always been kind of a mystery to me. On my annual trips to Boise around the holidays, the memory that stands out most has been this red haired blur running around barefoot in the dead of winter in her backyard chasing the dog. To the best of my knowledge, she never once "pulled my finger." She has, however, stared at me for years with this bored regal air of a princess confronted with the village idiot. My brother has never attempted to dispel this impression.

Regardless, I am looking forward to my niece's visit. At the very least, I am looking forward to having her discover that there is really much more in the world than Boise. And hopefully, she will also discover that there is much more to her Uncle Tim than the gibbering buffoon she sees once a year at Thanksgiving.

Or she will confirm it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

No. 405

Noun 1. blather - foolish gibberish
Verb 1. blather - to talk foolishly
My first reaction to the Web definition of blather I found was to wonder what would be considered "practical" gibberish as opposed to "foolish" gibberish. Though from a more positive point of view, I did discover that a person who blathers is known as a blatherskite. I'm going to file that tidbit for the right moment and spring it on someone riding the train during my commute (i.e. Begone blatherskite. Annoy me no longer).
What I didn't find as a synonym for blather or blatherskite was blogger. That suprised me. Because other than the few blogs I read on a regular basis, I still can't seem to find much more than random blather when I click on the "next blog" button. I wouldn't mind it if it was practical gibberish or at the very least, entertaining gibberish. For the most part, it is simply gibberish.

This continues to disappoint me about the blog world. You would think out of 14 million blogs floating around in the ether that there would be a few more good ones than I seem to have uncovered.

But I suppose good is a relative term. I seem to have lost my perspective when it comes to what's entertaining. Which brings me to last night's episode of Deadwood on HBO. The show has always seemed to be a stickler for realism. The sets are remarkably detailed and true to the timeframe Deadwood is set in. It is the dialogue that is starting to get to me. Because other than the words, "fuck," "fucker," and "cocksucker," the characters speak in such archaic terms that I'm beginning to wonder if they shouldn't start adding subtitles to the show.

For example, in one scene, Mrs. Elsworth (a rich mine owner in Deadwood) proposes to Mr. Hearst (of the Hearst's of San Francisco) that he purchase a minority share of her mining claim in exchange for 5 percent of his holdings and access rights through her property. He responds angrily that he is not a capon. Okay, I know that a capon is a castrated rooster (don't ask me how I know that), but how many other people watching that program knew that? I'm worried that Deadwood's rich use of profanity and obscure and archaic English will soon lose 99 percent of the American population. I don't think Deadwood can survive if I am the only one watching.

Things like this cause me great angst.

But I think I am blathering. Oh just call me a blatherskite and get over it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ass in Texas

I was digging around in my closet and found this postcard I bought several years ago at an antique mall. It cracks me up. What is even funnier is that the inscription on the back. The card was addressed to "Charlene" and signed, "Love, Grandma." Who says they didn't have a sense of humor in 1948?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

'Monk'ing around

Years ago, when I was getting ready to leave Boise State University transfer to Seattle University, a fine Jesuit institution of higher education, my mother expressed her concern that I was aspiring to be a priest. I tried to explain to her that one of the prerequisites for becoming a Catholic priest was that you must first be Catholic. I had been raised a Christian Scientist. And, as far as I know, Seattle University didn't have any coursework in priesthood for non-Catholics.

None of this mattered to my mother who, although a reasonably intelligent woman, nurtured irrational fears like a newborn baby. Suffice it to say, my mother breathed a sigh of relief when I graduated from Seattle University with a degree in Journalism and not Catholisim.

Not that I would have wanted to become a priest even if I had been raised Catholic. Self-imposed celebacy has never been high on my "to do" list in life. If, for some highly improbable reason, I had become a priest, I would likely have spent an inordinate amount of time praying that the Church would change its policy on celebacy.

I didn't encounter many priests at Seattle University. Most of the classes were taught by lay faculty (no pun intended). And the classes that I had that were taught by Jesuits were taught by men who rarely wore their collars. I did have one theology class taught by a young Jesuit whose father was also a professor at the university. It caused a great deal of confusion if you took one of their classes because you would have to explain whether or not you were taking a class from the father or the father who was also the son (Catholic humor).

Having grown up attending only Christian Science churches, the ceremony of the Catholic Church always impressed me. Except for the Mother Church in Boston, Christian Science churches are pretty stark and fundamental. There are no Stations of the Cross, candles, incense or statues. You may see a photo of Mary Baker Eddy (the churches founder...the only church founded by a woman I might add) and some biblical scriptures on the wall. The only scripture I recall from the church I attended as a child was, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set ye free." I used to stare at it during Sunday School wondering how long it would take to know the truth so I could be set free to play.

Christian Science churches have no priests. They have no ministers, either. People are elected by the congregation to be "readers." Two people stand up at the pulpit and alternatively read "lessons" from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Every now and then they sing hymns accompanied by a pump organ. During the early 70s, they added an occasional guitar to try and reach the younger audiences in the congregation.

On occasional Sundays, my brothers and I were required to attend both Sunday School and the regular church service. It was a double whammy of boredom broken up by giggling when my father fell asleep during the readings and started snoring. My father had a snore like a chainsaw. He would get angry if one of us woke him up while he was "resting his eyes," so most of his snoring went unabated until he woke up when everyone rose to for a hymn.

From the few Catholic ceremonies I've attended, I think it would have been much more entertaining as a child to have attended Catholic Church. It seems to be much more interactive. Plus they throw in communion wafers, wine and candles. If they had cheese, it would be a regular picnic every Sunday.

This is not to say that I want to become a Catholic. One thing I've learned about myself over the years is that I'm simply not a good "joiner." I also can't stand meetings, lectures, seminars, or anything that requires discipline and regular attendance.

So, mom, you can rest assured that I don't have a prayer of ever becoming a priest.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Da Blog Code

You can call me Jesus, or you can call me Christ, but don't call me late for supper.
--Joke told by Jesus at the Last Supper

My grandmother was a prolithic crocheter. She crocheted a 4' x 6' version of Da Vinci's Last Supper that she framed and gave to my mother year's ago. As long as I can remember, it has hung in our family room. It's still in my mom's house. I'm no expert when it comes to crocheting, but I think it is pretty impressive.

I snapped the above photo of it when I was visiting my mom in Boise last month. She told me she didn't like the thing and was thinking about getting rid of it. I think the real reason she wants to get rid of it is that she never got along with my grandmother (her mother in law). My grandmother has been dead more than 30 years, so it strikes me odd that my mother would only realize now that she doesn't like the crocheted Last Supper that has hung in her house almost 50 years.

I suppose I could hawk it on eBay. What with all the flap about the Da Vinci Code, it could get some interest. I would be my luck to get someone to say it's worth thousands of dollars and then find out my mom chucked it in the trash a week after I left Boise. She's been known to do stuff like that. My toys were always disappearing when I was a kid. Mom always feigned innocence, but I'm pretty sure she tossed half of our stuff out when we were distracted by television.

I'm not sure how Da Vinci would feel about any of this (not my mom throwing out my toys when I wasn't looking, but the crocheted Last Supper or the Da Vinci Code). He'd probably be too busy painting the Mona Lisa, writing things backwards and being a Mason to notice. He was a genius after all and an inventor (though you would think if he was so smart he could have invented a wig to disquise his baldness).

But I digress.

I have not read or seen the Da Vinci Code. I understand it has something to do with a conspiracy by the Knights Templar, the Masons and the Catholic Church to cover up information that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene and had a daughter. I think the reason they covered it up was because there would be a lot of disgruntled priests when they discovered that the whole celebate thing was a joke. Also, Jesus having sex just isn't a mental picture most people are prepared for, especially in the light of his own "virgin" birth.

I think the big revelation, however, was that Jesus may have had a daughter and her descendants were the kings and queens of Europe and the lineage has been tracked carefully even today. I think this is as big a crock of crap as the alien conspiracy whack jobs that think our world leaders are descended from creatures from outer space (though they may be on to something with Bush).

I don't put much stock in long term secret organizations. We live in an era of instant information where people like Britney Spears can't even hide the fact that they are pregnant again ten minutes after they have tossed the home pregnancy test in the trash. So I kind of doubt that anyone could have kept a daughter of Jesus secret for 2000 years.

This is not to say I am in any way suggesting that Britney Spears is in any way a descendant of Jesus. Did you see her interview on NBC with Matt Lauer? Pluleez...lose the gum, get someone else to do your make up, put a shirt on and a skirt that fits. And if you and your husband are doing so well, why wasn't he there at your interview?

But I digress.

Regardless of whether you believe in the premise of the Da Vinci Code or that Britney and her husband are still very much in love, I would like you to consider buying my grandmother's beautiful crocheted copy of the Last Supper. I'll let you know when it is listed on eBay. Oh, and I'm also selling a copy of a credit card receipt from the Last Supper signed by Jesus. It is guaranteed authentic. I've examined it closely, and let's just say that Christ really liked chicken wings, but he wasn't a real big tipper.

I know, I know... I'm going to hell.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The man behind the curtain

I could have posted another photo of my face Photoshopped upon Dorothy's body, but that train left the station weeks ago. Now I am toying with the idea of just being the Wizard of Oz. It fits well with being invisible. Everything he did was masked by a curtain.

But in a way, we all live behind a curtain, projecting our voices through enhanced filters and flaying our arms with remote controls. And the "us" that others see is a giant head surrounded by smoke and lots of mirrors.

I don't see how anyone can be as they appear to be. I know I don't feel the way I look or the way people tell me they perceive me. I don't like to hear how people perceive me. If it doesn't match my self image, I feel all discombobulated.

And speaking of discombobulated, I find it fascinating that you can be discombobulated, but combobulated isn't a word.

But I digress.

The other day, I was watching bits of the movie, What the "bleep" do we know, anyway. I'd already seen it on Netflicks, but it is now making the premium channel circuit. It is a movie that deals with alternate realities and Quantum Physics. It is a thought provoking movie if not comprehensible at a conscious level. Anyway, in the movie they pose the quantum theory that the observer of any given event actually plays a role in physically shaping that event.

I thought about that as I sat on my exercise bike pedaling to nowhere observing this film about Quantum Physics. In a sense, the observer of reality could theoretically be god or God. Then it dawned on me that I was the observer they were talking about. We all are. And if we, as observers shape reality, doesn't that make us gods?

Further in the movie they cite examples of thoughts or meditation actually having measurable effects on physical reality. But, and this is a crucial but (or butt to be crass), just thinking "positive" thoughts about something isn't enough if deep down you still feel negative. You have to believe something in order to make it a reality.

Which brings me back to the curtain. Wouldn't it be funny if we all really were the all powerful Oz peeking at the world through our curtains while we cowered there afraid that reality would discover who we really were. But in reality we are creating that reality by observing it?

If you've never seen the movie, Wizard of Oz, this must sound pretty odd to you. But that doesn't really matter to me, because I'm behind a curtain.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers and sons

It was just a year ago that I wrote a tribute to my father for Father's Day. He died in 1992. Here it is Father's Day again, and once again I find myself feeling a bit empty that he is gone and I have no one to buy a tie for. But I can still write my gift of memory for him and his father.

My father, Eugene Arthur H****, was adopted in Portland, Oregon when he was four or five years old. As I've climbed through the branches of my family tree, I discovered that his adoptive father, Eugene Chester H****, had been placed in an orphan's home in Iowa along with his younger brother after his father had faked his death and abandoned his wife and three children. Apparently his mother couldn't take care of the children an put them two of them in the orphanage.

I don't know how long my grandfather and his brother stayed in the institution, but I imagine his experience being an orphan was the incentive for adopting my father. And if that hadn't happened, I probably wouldn't be here. So I honor my adoptive grandfather with the same respect I would if he had been related by blood.

My father did not speak much of his father. Occasionally, my father would tell a story of how his father taught him to swim by tossing him out into the middle of a pond and walking away. Fortunately, my mother chose to take my brothers and I to the YMCA to learn to swim instead.

The only other thing I know about my grandfather was that he was a staunch union man. He worked for the Boise Capitol News setting type on the old printing presses. He was a Mason.

I have a vague memory of him sitting in a chair under a tree in my grandmother's backyard while I fished out of an old wash tub with a stick and string and paperclip hook, trying to hook washers that I pretended were trout. I don't recall ever hearing my grandfather say a word. He died in December 1961. I was almost four years old.

Silence was not a trait my father inherited from his father. He talked and sang and laughed, usually at a very high volume. I think I inherited my appreciation for humor from my father. I almost said I inherited my sense of humor from him, but as I recall, his jokes were pretty corny.

My father loved to clown around and tell us jokes. I always laughed even though I didn't always understand his jokes. For example, he would ask us why the farmer threw his cow out the window. We'd shake our heads. Then he would say, "Because he wanted to see the Jersey Bounce" and roar with laughter. None of us knew that the Jersey Bounce was a dance craze out of the 40s. Most of his jokes were like that.

I remember every morning when he would look into the mirror when he was getting ready to shave he'd say, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" If I was within ear shot I'd cry out, "Not you." My father never got tired of that routine.

My father always took time to play with my brothers and I when we were kids. He'd hit baseballs for us to catch, he'd play Monopoly with us and he taught us how to play Cribbage and Hearts. He'd pop us popcorn and make us rootbeer floats. He didn't always have much patience, but he always had plenty of love. And I always felt loved by my parents. So in retrospect, I was a pretty lucky kid.

So, happy Father's Day, dad. You may not have been the "fairest of them" according to the mirror, but I will always be proud that you were my father.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dope on a rope

I don't think I am afraid of heights. I do, however, break into a cold sweat if I think about jumping from them. But just as I encourage other people to face their fears (like tormenting my co-worker who is afraid of clowns with pictures of clowns), I decided years ago to plunge right through my phobia and go bungee jumping.

When I was about six or seven years old, my brothers talked me into going up on the roof of the shed in our backyard and playing paratrooper. The shed was probably only about 8 or 9 feet high, but it seemed like a skyscraper when I was a kid. And jumping off it was terrifying. But my brother Dan was always tormenting me about being a baby. So I jumped. God knows where my mom was. Anyway, I didn't break anything, but it helped ingrain this fear of jumping and falling into my psyche.

I tend to hate amusement park rides that involve plunging, too.

Anyway, maybe it was temporary attack of macho that made me put aside my fears of falling and take up the challenge of a co-worker named Keith to go bungee jumping in a remote town of Washington called Goldbar. The bungee jumping company advertised the jumps in a local newspaper. For weeks it was a running joke between Keith and I about when we were going to go bungee jumping. Finally one day, he called my bluff and made reservations for a Saturday morning. All I could say was, "Bring it on," before I hightailed it to the restroom to void my bladder as the reality of what I had agreed to sunk in.

Now compounding my fear, and I'm not making this up, was an incident that took place two days before our scheduled jump. I was walking to my bus stop in downtown Seattle and noticed several people on the sidewalk were staring up in the sky. I looked up and saw what appeared to be glass falling from the sky near a skyscraper. Moments later what looked like a rag doll came tumbling after the glass. I realized to my horror that it was a body. It struck the sidewalk across the street. Fortunately, my bus arrived at that moment and I boarded in shocked silence at what I'd just seen.

I learned later from a brief article in the newspaper that the body had belonged to a young transient who had broken a window on one of the top floors of the building and jumped. That's all I ever heard of the incident. For months I'd stare up in the sky every time I walked to the bus stop and see in my mind that body tumbling from the sky.

So with that pleasant image in my mind I drove with a group of people the following Saturday to Goldbar to be hoisted by a crane in a cage, high above a pit filled with straw. Several of my friends had come along with still and video cameras to capture the event. Keith and I signed releases saying we wouldn't sue the bungee company if our legs got pulled off and then I agreed to jump first. Keith, wished me luck with a smirk as a guy wearing a dunce cap who worked for the bungee jumping operation wrapped a towel around my ankles and secured the bungee to my legs. He then helped me hop over to the crane platform.

We didn't talk much as the platform rose a daunting distance into the sky. Within seconds it stopped and the man wearing the dunce cap opened a gate and motioned me forward and mumbled,"Count to three and jump." It barely registered, but I knew if I thought about it I wouldn't do it.

I hopped over to open gate and stood at the precipice with my toes hanging over the edge. I didn't look down. Then, instead of jumping, I stepped forward like a man walking the plank and plummeted feet first through the sky. When I hit the end of the bungee, I felt like the business end of a whip being snapped sharply. Then I bounced back into the sky. I was screaming in fear and eventually joy as I bounced, and bounced and bounced. When the bouncing subsided, they lowered me gently to the ground, hanging upside down like a trophy fish.

I was euphoric as I walked to my circle of friends, tugging on my pants that had almost come off during my jump. I ignored the "why did you jump that way" comments and stood with them as my co-worker took his position on the crane platform. When the gate opened for him, he stepped forward, waved and did a perfect swan dive off the platform. I hated him at that moment.

This was about 14 years ago. Every now and then take out the video of my jump and watch myself flop off the platform like a dead fish and crack like a whip as I hit the end of the bungee. I hear my friends on the tape audio gasping and remarking that "that must have hurt" and "he didn't jump, he fell." Then I watch my co-worker's perfect jump with his arrogant wave. Finally, I put the tape away and reflect on the lesson I hope I learned from the whole experience: Pride really does come before a fall, and facing your fears doesn't mean squat if you don't look good doing it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Victoria's Secret

Okay, I haven't had much luck being crowned a king, so I just thought...well...anyway, do you think the sash makes me look fat?

Oh, never mind. I suppose I would make a better Annie Oakley anyway.

That good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
--Dylan Thomas
There are certain lines of great poetry that swirl around in my head and pop up randomly. Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night is one of them.

If you google the phrase, you will find many people misquote Thomas and say, "Do not go gentle into that dark night." It seems like a minor thing, but I'm sure Thomas, who crafted his poetry one line at a time at a snail's pace, would probably be pretty pissed at the misquote. Because there is a world of difference between "dark night" and "good night."

Thomas' poem was written about his dying father and is about the manner in which we ultimately face death. I was thinking about this the other day as I sat on my Nordic Track Exercise Bike peddling for 45 minutes without actually progressing. There is something terribly ironic about that. No matter how fast or long you ride an exercise bike, you never get anywhere.

I was never an overly athletic person. I spent summers in my room reading library books instead of going out for little league baseball. I hated PE because it was the one class I couldn't ace since my brain was always a bit more developed than my muscles. This didn't stop me from trying. By the time I was in junior high, I struggled to avoid being pinned on the wrestling team, sat on the bench on the basketball team and lobbed balls into the net on the tennis team. Self preservation dictated that I not go out for sports in high school (though I did get some exercise in marching band).

It wasn't until my late 20s or early 30s that gravitated towards sports again. I played softball for awhile on the company team, but retired on an early slide into third base that landed me in a cast. I received the "Rodney 'Danger-in-the-field', I don't deserve no respect award" at the team picnic. After I got out of the cast I switched to a company volleyball league. I ended up managing the league until we ran out of players and a place to play.

Finally I joined a club and did aerobics. At first it was because of a girlfriend who was into aerobics. Later, as time and gravity started catching up to me, it was for my health. I did aerobics for 18 years. Finally, after dealing with the third or fourth turn over in club membership, hectic work schedules and lagging enthusiasm to spend my lunch hour hopping up and down, I cancelled my gym membership and bought the exercise bike. Now I peddle against the inevitable.

I do not really miss the group workout environment. I never could get used to locker rooms filled with mishapen bodies with so much hair that Darwin may have rethought his theory. I do not miss the endless parade of New Years resolution club members who bought the latest workout clothes and gave aerobics a good three days before cashing it in. And I do not miss slick club sales associates who recruited new members at a pace that far outpaced the availability of locker space in a manner that would make P.T. Barnum blush.

I find comfort in my new routine of solitary peddling up and down virtual hills watching my reflection in a flickering television rather than an unforgiving aerobic's room mirror. And I take comfort knowing that with each revolution I am thumbing my nose at my frowning physician with his cholesteral charts, lectures on saturated fats and heart disease. Most of all, I take comfort that, even as that good night decends upon me, my peddling is a way to keep the light burning just a little longer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A meating of the minds...

I bought a laptop computer before I went to Boise so that I could tap into the power of wireless Internet access when I am on the road. I soon discovered that today's laptops are much more powerful than yesterday's desktops. I have grown attached to the laptop. We have become close buddies and share moments.

What does this have to do with a meat grinder? Be patient my friends. You should know by now that I make no point until it is time.

I now keep my laptop next to my easychair so that I can blog and watch television at the same time. I am still enthralled with wireless technology and DSL high speed access. I may start taking my laptop into the bathroom so that I can make even better use of my quiet time if you catch my drift.

Having a laptop with me at any given moment also allows me to run with vague whimsical thoughts and almost immediately translate them into blog sausage. I have become a virtual processed blog post factory. But it is all natural.

Of course, no one really wants to know how sausage is made. And I'm pretty sure all of us are sick of people blogging about why they blog or don't blog. Suffice it to say that, every now and then, a big greasy sausage tastes good despite our doctor's lectures about fat and cholesteral.

Which leads me to the content of many of my posts. I don't always really know what the posts are about half the time (like this one). I do know that they are rarely about what they appear to be about. This may seem confusing, but it makes sense to me. And I am a regular reader of my blog.

When I was in Boise, I threatened my nephew that I would write about him in my blog. His response was a shrug and a "nobody reads it anyway." A friend wrote me an email several weeks ago and asked me what was new. My response was a terse, "if you read my blog you would know." Another friend wrote me an email the other day and asked me how my blog was going. My response was, "you mean you don't read it every day?"

Even my wife doesn't read my blog every day. She does go through the posts every now and then to catch up. She read my post about blue flamingos and informed me that she is not obsessed with beauty bark. De Nile is not just a river in Egypt.

But I digress.

My conclusion? People don't eat sausages every day. But if they want one, I make them fresh more or less every day. I also freeze some. I have onions as well and, of course, some Grey Poupon.

I think they are pretty good plain,too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sad Clown

"The commedia is over!"

Isn't a sad clown an oxymoron? It's like jumbo shrimp.

I've never seen the opera Pagliacci (Clowns). But anyone who has ever seen Seinfeld will probably remember the episode where Crazy Joe Davola dresses as Pagliaccio the clown to seek revenge. Oddly enough, my other association with the opera is a Rice Krispies commercial that played when I was a kid. The main character trys to pour a bowl of Rice Krispies but the box is empty. He begins singing, "No more Rice Krispies, We've run out of Rice Krispies. My tears will not stop until I hear snap, crackle pop." It was sung to music from Pagliacci, the opera.

I don't mean to seem unsophistocated, but I've never been able to develop an appreciation for opera. Oh, I like some of the music from operas, but sitting through one, even with subtitles is a painful experience for me.

I'm sure some people like operas. People go to them all of the time and gush. I fall asleep.

I like Jesus Christ Superstar, A Rock Opera. But I suppose purists would say it's not quite the same thing. I bought the soundtrack when I was about 13 years old. I memorized all of the parts, including Mary Magdelaine's. I think I would have made a pretty good Jesus (no offense Mickey).

Admitting I like an Anthony Lloyd Webber musical is pretty bold of me. I also like Phantom of the Opera.

Does that make me a bad person? If it's any consolation, I've never seen CATS.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Even flamingos get the blues

I've always been of the mind that reality is a matter of perspective. I have no formal training in Quantum Physics, but I'm pretty sure it backs me up on this.

Which brings me to this blue flamingo. Tess and I have worked a daily (or nightly) walk into our exercise regime. We walk around the neighborhood and usually swing by the grocery store before heading home. It is a nice way to get some exercise, see the neighborhood and catch up with each other on our day. Yesterday I brough along my digital camera.

"What's the camera for," Tess asked.

"I'm an artist. I see art in everyday life and you never know what we'll discover."

Tess nodded. She is used to my delusional behaviour.

We walked and occasionally I snapped a photo of random leaves.

But then I saw the plastic lawn flamingo. I am fascinated by the psychological motivation to place such things in your front yard. Usually a plastic flamingo is accompanied by daisy pinwheels, plastic squirrels, a lawn jockey and, if you are really lucky, a family of garden gnomes. I am convinced that these things have some DaVinci Code like significance that I'm not privy to. Perhaps they are markers, similar to crop circles that allow the white trash to mark their homes to be easily identifiable to other white trash (as if the rusted car bodies and overgrown lawns aren't enough).

So I quickly snapped the flamingo's photo and told Tess we needed to move along quickly before someone in the neighborhood became curious and wanted to know why I was taking a photo of a lawn flamingo. This could have led to a confrontation if I was forced to explain my white trash theories to the owner of the flamingo.

Tess just shook her head and suggested we needed to get home and mow the lawn. Tess has become obsessed with our front lawn and beauty bark since we moved in. But that's a whole other blog post.

When we got back to our house I snapped one last photo of some lilies that I am convinced are the same flowers that sapped Mr. Spock with some of these spores in one of the original episodes of Star Trek. The spores made him act human and recite poetry and other crap like that. I told Tess we needed to watch out for them. She ignored me and went to get the lawn mower.

I rushed upstairs and uploaded the images from my digital camera into Photoshop to search for clues. It was when I started messing with hues and such on the flamingo photo that I turned it blue. I had never seen a blue pink flamingo before. This struck me as a major discovery (note to self: copyright blue pink flamingos...subnote to self: googled blue flamingos and the bastards out there have beat me to fact there are virtually references to all color flamingos with the exception of Burnt Sienna Flamingo...note to self: copyright Burnt Sienna Flamingos).

I went outside to tell Tess about the blue flamingo and she handed me the lawnmower. I mowed the backyard. The plus side was that the neighbor's dog hadn't crapped on our grass this week.

I ended up grilling a pork tenderloin, some corn and some yams. Then I settled back to watch the season opener of Deadwood and then Entourage. Al Swearinger stills cusses up a blue streak, but the first episode was kind of confusing and uneventful. Entourage was okay though.

What does any of this have to do with a blue flamingo? Absolutely nothing. But I thought it added an interesting perspective to what was a pretty ordinairy day.

I'm working on Burnt Sienna Flamingo t-shirts if anyone is interested.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I have a co-worker who is afraid of clowns. When my desk was next to hers, I used to paste clown faces on sticks and line the top of my cubicle with the clowns facing her.

I think people should face their fears.

I am going to have to come right out and say this. I pretty much have to put clowns in the same category as mimes...annoying. I have never found them funny, even as a child. I don't like balloon animals. I don't think I am alone.

This is not to say I don't acknowledge other's rights to like clowns (Hayden). I don't understand it, but I accept it as long as it doesn't involve me being in the same room as a clown.

Seattle has it's own uniquely annoying form of the clown--a Seafair Pirate. Every summer, Seattle celebrates Seafair. It is basically an annual hydroplane race ( basically NASCAR on water). For some reason this opens the door for a bunch of middle aged guys to ride around on a flatbed truck dressed as pirates wearing clown makeup. They say argggh alot and acost women with wooden swords (shades of Freud). Every time I see them on the streets of Seattle, I automatically raise my middle finger in salute.

But I digress.

If you haven't figured it out by now, coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. And more people fear them than you might imagine. William Gacy, the freaky mass murderer in Chicago was a clown at kid's parties. That is pretty scary.

The giant clown outside Circus Circus in Reno and Las Vegas is (are) pretty scary. George W. Bush is pretty scary. Tim Curry playing the scary clown in Stephen King's IT was pretty scary (especially because he still looked like his Frankenfurter character from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Come to think of it, clowns are pretty scary ass things.

So are mimes.

I don't much like jugglers either.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Shooting for the moon

I sensed it was close to another full moon before I confirmed it with the calendar. The level of weirdness in the world is just a tad more looney than usual. Maybe it's not the moon, and I'm just suffering from my post-Idaho depression. Or maybe it was yesterday's virtual blackout from blogger and blogging that has set me off kilter.

I almost felt compelled to talk about current events and the bombing of al-Zarqawi, the alleged leader of the al-Qaidi in Iraq. I even went so far as to write something, post it, think about it and come back to delete it. All I will say now is that I think the impact (no pun intended) of dropping two 500-pound bombs on the guy is that we've created a martyr of major proportions and nothing good can come of that.

I came back and deleted what I'd written partially because of the weird mood I am in (probably due to the full moon) and the fact that I don't like reading about politics and it would be hypocritical for me to write about it. I'm not an expert on world affairs and me rehashing the evening news is pointless.

Besides, world affairs are not funny, just absurd. And I come here to laugh and be laughed at (that doesn't sound quite right, but I hope you get my point). Perhaps this is another reason why blogger being down most of yesterday put me in a pissy mood. I sat in front of the television with my laptop listlessly clicking on every five minutes just to see the "We're Sorry..." message. By the time they got everything up and running last night I had lost my sense of humor and just went to bed.

But I had funny dreams.

Blame it on the moon.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lion around waiting

I do not like waiting for things. I do not like waiting in line. I do not like waiting for Web pages to load. Most of all, I do not like waiting for to get their shit together and figure out how to keep their systems up and running.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


"Hell is other people."
Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
I can't walk by an EXIT or NO EXIT sign without thinking about Jean-Paul Sarte. I read Sartre's play, No Exit back in my high school advanced humanities class thirty years ago. It was my introduction to existentialism.

The plot is pretty simple. Three people are sent to hell. Hell, however, was simply a room, probably not unlike the hotel room at the Shilo Inn near the airport in Boise last week. At first each person denies why they have been sent to hell. As the play progresses, each character reveals their true personality and why they are in hell. Suddenly, the door opens, but none of the characters leaves. It was not the door keeping them in hell, but themselves.

That is existentialism. Sartre was one of the pioneers of the philosophy. To oversimplify what existentialism is, it's a philosophy based on individualism and free will. Essentially, an existentialist believes you are free to do what ever you want, but responsible for whatever you do.

I was kind of taken with existentialism at the time I read No Exit, or at least with my 17-year old understanding of it. I guess I am still kind of taken with it. It's trite, I know, to say we create our own hell, but I do believe that. Conversely, I believe we create our own heaven, so there.

The operative phrase here, is "I believe." One thing that fascinates me about philosophy in general is that it tends to be created by people sitting around thinking about abstract things and coming to concrete conclusions. Nothing makes me more skeptical about a philosophy than an absolute declaration that it is fact. I prefer to be presented with suppositions and then come to a conclusion myself.

That's why I like No Exit. Sarte doesn't come out and tell you that you create your own hell. His characters demonstrate it for you.

Why all of this talk about No Exit and existentialism? I took a photo of an EXIT sign at the Shilo Inn in Boise last week. Couple that with all of that stuff about the devil and 666 yesterday and you get a good idea of how my thought processes work.

By the way, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays lost to the Los Angeles Angels on 6/6/06 by a score of 2 to 12. Twelve divided by two is...six.

Coincidence? You are free to draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You six-y thang, you....

Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard lots of crap about it being 6-6-06 today and, since 666 has somehow become associated with the antichrist, it has been foretold in Revelations or on some informercial that the devil's son will be born today to lead the forces of evil against the forces of good. That would explain why the Devil Rays are playing the Angels in major league baseball today. The outcome of that game should be interesting but not prophetic.

I saw the original version of The Omen on June 6, 1976. The devil's son Damien was born in that movie on 6-6/76. Nothing truly evil transpired except a few really bad sequels. I don't plan to see the new version of The Omen that releases today. I think the whole 666 hype is a load of horse pucky. I have come to believe that all revelations fall in the same category. I don't believe much in predictions. I do believe in the saying, "Shit happens."

This is not to say I don't believe in ill omens. For example, is cursed and has been fighting me tooth and nail to thwart me from publishing this post about 666. I tend to think they are cursed from too much activity on their servers rather than it being 6-6-06.

People are always seeing signs in everything. It wasn't long after the last 6-6-76 revelation that I read something about barcodes being the sign of the beast. I suppose if your baby was born with a barcode on his butt, you might think that, but as far as I know, barcodes are applied to people later in life and can be traced to Walmart. Come to think of it, maybe barcodes are the sign of the beast.

I don't think people really should go to so much trouble to look for the devil. I think there is actually a bit of the devil in all of us. It's that part of you that won't let someone merge in heavy traffic. Or it's that desire to turn around all of the "Do Not Disturb" signs you see in a hotel hallway so they read, "Make Up Room Now," instead. Or maybe it is that uncontrollable desire to pop bubblewrap.

But for me, the devil is Photoshop.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Something's out of tune

"I've been dreamin' about those Johnny Cakes."
--Vito Spatafore, Jr., The Sopranos
Okay, I'm going out on a limb here and speak out. What's up with the Sopranos this season? We watched the season finale last night waiting for some big development and for some major character to be whacked and nothing. The stupid thing ends with a Soprano family Christmas. This is the way they end a series in June?

All season the Sopranos messed around with Tony getting shot by his uncle and wandering around in a life changing coma (that doesn't help him lose any weight); Vito is exposed as being gay and runs off to Connecticut to mess around with a volunteer fireman and his Johnny Cakes then later gets beat to death and has a pool cue shoved up his corner pocket; Anthony Jr. is exposed as a wimp, becomes a construction worker and then falls for a Puerto Rican single mom who is 10 years older than him; Christopher gets his new girlfriend pregnant and marries her only to fall for a real estate agent drug user that Tony has the hots for; and Paulie gets prostrate cancer after discovering his mom is really his aunt and his aunt is a nun and his real mother.

I am disappointed in you HBO. I'm almost afraid to watch the season opener of Deadwood. Please don't tell me Al Swearinger is going to stop swearing. I couldn't deal with that.

It used to me you could count on HBO to give you cutting edge disgusting crap without having to make a point. Will I be forced to watch prime time spelling bee's and rip off's of American Idol on ordinairy network television? I beg of you HBO, give me the old fashion gang wars the Sopranos used to engage in. Give me something to look forward to.

Or forgetaboutit.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

My own private Idaho

You're livin in your own Private Idaho. Idaho.
You're out of control, the rivers that roll,
you fell into the water and down to Idaho.
Get out of that state,
get out of that state you're in.
You better beware.

You're living in your own Private Idaho.
You're living in your own Private Idaho.
--Private Idaho, B-52's

If you have never lived here, you probably don't think of Idaho as being hot. It is. At least southern Idaho and Boise are. It has been in the 90s here. But unlike my childhood here, I now have air conditioning. It helps.

I imagine they had air conditioning when I was a kid. We just didn't have air conditioning. We had fans. They managed to keep the hot air circulating until night. Then we had windows. But the heat got to me. It slowed everything down to a painful pace. Too slow for my young mind.

Summer in Boise was a dead time to me. Everything turns brown in the heat. It rains in summer here, but not enough to make the place green. It's like that now...brown. Boise's aura has always been brown.

The photo above is of Table Rock, the landmark plateau that overlooks Boise. The white cross has been there for as long as I can remember. It stands there as if waiting for members of the Klan to light it up at any time. But as far as I know there are no KKK in Boise. There used to be a pretty larger contingent of John Birch Society members, however.

I'm actually at the airport in Boise now. They have free Wifi access, which is very progressive. I drove to my mom's before coming to the airport and said goodbye. I left her standing in front of her house moving the sprinkler around.

I guess I accomplished what I came her to accomplish. I sat with my mom for hours listening to what she could remember about her family and growing up. I brought home a few more old photos that I will scan and add to the family archive I have begun.

I guess the sense I have ended up with is that my mom remembers what she can but has blocked much of her childhood out. It was not a happy time for her. Mom mother has always giggled when she is nervous or uncomfortable. She giggled when she told me of the blackeye her father gave her when he thought she was dating a mormon boy.

She also giggled when she talks of the nicknames all of her brothers and sisters had growing up. Her's was simple "Fat." She never was fat, but she always saw herself that way because of her childhood.

Her brother Edgar's nickname was Bert. Mom said that she and Edgar were inseparable as children but she couldn't say, "brother." It came out "Brrrr" which people interpreted as "Bert." The name stuck.

Bert never went to high school because "the old man" didn't believe in education in the same way he didn't believe in associating with mormons. My mom snuck off to go to high school. She was the first one in her family to graduate.

I learned, or relearned many things about my mother, including how she met and married my father. So it was time well spent.

Still I am glad to leave this place and the heat that slows down your brain, despite the air conditioning. I'm sure I will return, but Boise will never be home to me again.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's no longer Wednesday, but this is still Boise

Perhaps you sensed my frustration last night when I spent more than an hour loading images and writing about my arrival in Boise only to have hiccup and lose it all. So I did the rationale thing. I cursed and watched television instead of attempting a rewrite.

But I won't it slide. It wasn't brilliant prose, but it seemed so at the time and now I will be overcome this feeling of deja vu as I attempt to recreate the post. Thus is my lot in life.

Regardless, I arrived in Boise on Tuesday after a relatively uneventful flight from Seattle, uneventful that is, save for a lead flight attendant who staved off boredom by engaging in a standup comedy routine that wasn't half bad. I particularily enjoyed his nontraditional banter when he chided boarding passengers with, "You aren't shopping for furniture here, just pick a seat and sit down so we can finish loading the plane and take off."

A flight from Seattle to Boise is almost over as soon as it begins. You are handed a drink. It is taken away and you land. I snagged my luggage quickly, enjoying that fact that I've never seen Boise's airport crowded. I proceeded to the rental car counter and listened to the rental clerk try to convince me to upgrade from my economy car to a Chyrsler 300 because it has a Hemi. I don't know what a Hemi is other than rednecks get wood when you talk about them. I declined. The clerk gave me the Chrysler 300 anyway for the economy car price because it was the only one ready. I didn't bother to debate his logic. It is a nice car with leather seats, a sunroof and of course, a Hemi.

It was too early to check into my 2 1/2 star hotel so I drove straight to my mom's house listening to 60s and 70s classic rock. I think it is something about Boise's geography, but you can only get radio stations that play 60s and 70s classic rock. I find it comforting. Plus I did find the Hemi somewhat arousing.

When I arrived at my mom's house, she was in the yard having just finished mowing the lawn, weeding her garden and splitting a cord of wood. She is 81-years old, but she is pretty active. I hugged my mom and then dashed for the door, trying to keep her dog Duchess from buring her nose in my crotch. When the dog isn't killing squirrels, she can get pretty amorous and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a Hemi.

Mom's house, of course, has not changed since my last visit. I immediately whipped out my computer, sat down, and started grilling my mother about her family. This may seem callous, but this is the prime reason for this trip to Boise, spend quality time with my mom and uncover as much as possible about my family history. Plus it is important to engage my mother in a firm topic or we would soon be discussing the time her radiator hose broke in 1997.

After a few hours, I had gathered some great anecdotes about my mother's childhood. Other than the peanuts on the flight from Seattle, I hadn't eaten. I declined my mother's offer of a Banquet frozen dinner and told her I'd pick her up the next day for lunch and a quick trip to the cemetary to pay respects to some of my ancestors (that's another blog post). I then drove off in the Chrysler 300 with the Hemi to check into my 2 1/2 star hotel and then get something to eat.

On the way, the oldies station played Neil Diamond's "Shilo." I took this as a sign, since this is where I am staying...the Shilo Inn at the Airport and right next door to a truck stop. Actually it is quite convenient since the truck stop has a Subway shop and a Taco Bell Express. At least I won't starve. Plus the truck stop does free bench checks of your CB radio. That's pretty cool.

I consider stepping into a hotel room for the first time much like ripping the wrapping paper off from a present at Christmas. This room is underwear. I would have preferred a bicycle. But that is okay. It is clean and functional. And they have a workout room that so far only I seem to use and an outdoor pool that they claim is heated. Each time I've used it, I feel as though I deserve membership in the Polar Bear Club.

So that is the lost Boise arrival post in a nutshell. I've spent the past three days with my mother taking notes and going over old photos. Plus there was one trip to the cemetary. These will be subjects of future blogs (or not).

For now I think it is time to return to the television. I'm fascinated at how small everything looks on a 19-inch screen.