Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Birthday

OK, let me get the complaining over with.  OWWWWWWWW!  My legs and several of my muscles hurt tons yesterday.  If I never take the furniture out of a second floor classroom and replace it with heavier stuff again it will be too soon!  There.  That wasn't so bad, was it?

Cora and I went out to dinner for my birthday.  All day she was texting me, asking where I wanted to go to dinner at.  All day I sent here varying messages, apparently full of indecision.  She was really getting annoyed by the end of the day.  I already knew where I wanted to go, but teasing her is SOOOO much fun...and, I got away with it because it was my birthday!

We went to Round Table and got a Maui Zaui Pizza...wowie!  The sweet asian sauce they use is the best!  We washed that down with a few Mack and Jacks African Amber...honestly one of the best beers devised by man in my limited experience!

I did not really ask for anything for my birthday.  Afterall, we've been saving our pennies for a kid, but we splurged a little.  We got...I know, it's childish, but remarkably fun...Legos.  Yes, Legos!  One place had a buy one get one half off special.  So, yeah, we came home with Legos and put them together.
Of course, I chose the airplane!
Look at that radial engine!
It even has retractable landing gear and you can see the oil cooler embedded in the wing!  We got the type that has two or three different vehicles you can make from the parts...pretty darned fun, if you ask me!

I am on Facebook.  I have a few friends.  I was amazed at how many wished me a happy birthday really put a smile on my face as I check my email from my phone a few times while resting between trips to or from the truck...sometimes i was laying on the desk I had just moved.  Pathetic, I know, but you have no clue just how pathetic I can be.  At least today I have a helper!  Yesterday it was all me.

I am on the trailing end of my thirties now and I don't think it is horrible...I think it helps that I usually work with kids...I retain my youth that way.  I sure as hell don't retain it by exercising!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday Thanks, #36

Let me just say, ahead of time, thank you to all of you who have or will issue me a Happy Birthday today!  It is greatly appreciated.  Cora woke me up sometime after mid-night to wish me a happy birthday.  I love that.  My family will probably text me and call.  I enjoy that.  It is all appreciated.  Thank you.  I used to call people at midnight to wish them a happy birthday...I am glad, however, no one returned the favor.

I should probably thank my Mother and the Academy...hold on, I'm NOT an actor?  O.K., never mind the academy thing.  Thanks Mom for the effort, it was not wasted.  I am alive and well.

Cora asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  I told her.  She said, "how about something I can afford?"  Ah, well.  I figure if you can't dream big...well, you can't get what you want unless you ask, anyway.  Actually, any more, there isn't much I have a desire to own that I cannot get myself...I suppose that is a sign of getting old.

I have been working maintenance this week.  Which is to say yesterday.  Oh, and it has proven just how out of shape I am.  I thought, jee, I'm probably a LITTLE out of shape, but it won't be THAT bad.  Well, I was wrong.  I am WAYYYYYYY out of shape.  My task was to trade some furniture from one school to another.  Trading tables for desks.  Not, in the overall scheme, difficult.  Still, it is amazing how many of my muscle groups have not seen service in a very long time.  I broke a sweat and had sore muscles and joints before the end of the day!  How pathetic!

I don't believe there are any big plans for my birthday, which is just as well.  I hope to spend the part that I am not at work with my wonderful wife.  Truly, that is a great birthday present in itself.  I have great friends and great family, but I married the person I love to be around.  I hope I did not gag you all with my sappiness.

I hope you all have a good day!

Monday, March 29, 2010


OK, I know I am not very active, but, Come.  On!  This is ridiculous!  I moved furniture today.  Gotta love the EV maintenance department.  I am bushed!

I have two knee-caps, two feet , and one back bone that are wailing for attention!  I am pooped!

Oh, joy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phlog Sunday

So, I decided to try using more pictures today.  I took a ton this week and none seemed to fit with the blogging events.  Below is some SOB who thinks it's a good idea to get up in the wee hours of the morning and ride his bicycle up semi-vertical roads and down again.  I have seen him a few times on my way to work and wondered just why anyone would do that.  I want to say, "You go guy!" but, I can't bring myself to it. I suppose I am too soft and need my morning coffee too much.  Honestly, though, unless there is a war going on and I am in direct danger, I see very little reason to do such a wildly insane thing.  Let's wait till mid-day and go for a stroll instead, shall we?
I have been making copies of our coloring books near the local bus terminal and I have seen some truly questionable grooming habits, a significant lack of manners, and more than a little mayhem there.  I suppose I should not be too surprised at who uses public transportation.  The days of getting dressed up to go to town are long gone and using your manners in public appears to have died with one of the Roosevelts, and it shows.  I have encountered language being shouted across long distances and mixed company that would probably make a sailor wince.  Various acts of violence have been played out.  However, the other day I pulled up and there was a surprising silence from the terminal.  I looked over, expecting to see dead bodies or some other reason for the silence and lack of cursing.  There was a policeman over there and everyone was acting with their...well, not best behaviour...but they were behaving.  Note the sleeping person next to the sidewalk...gotta love the inner-city when it comes to your town!  
I took a self-portrait.  I like this shirt.  Makes me look like a grown-up.
I used to buy Cora miniature daffodils about this time of year.  She planted them in the front and they came up.  I thought this was a pleasing "Alice in Wonderland" view.  I had run the sprinkler for a little while and the water was still on them...nice touch.  I did not see any hookah-smoking caterpillars, though.
I did see a dog...he was a reluctant model.
Here's another view of the Daffodil, which now resides on the kitchen counter.
I love macro, and I think it shows.  Have a look at dinner from last night from close up!
These veggies went on the barbecue and received a nice grilling.
I figured since the coals were already hot, I might as well grill some chicken for today's lunch.  I added smoke...I love hickory smoked everything.  After working over the grill, sometimes I am hickory smoked...and I'm o.k. with that.
Our guest arrived.  She is a very large dog that seems embarrassed to be a very large dog.  Pepper is one of the best dogs I have seen.  I enjoy having her around.  Last night she was sleeping with one leg straight in the air.
Cora and I took out the crayons last night and decided to try out the latest coloring book we are offering.  Cora did the pig...and I am the Walrus.  (if you get the Beatles reference, you get ten cool points)
We have a relaxing day ahead.  I hope you do too!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


We have a visitor.  She is dark and loving.  She loves to see me and especially loves it when I rub her belly right in front of Cora.  Of course, I am speaking of Pepper, Cora's parent's dog.  They are on their yearly fishing expedition to wilder parts of some body of water.  I know they have a doggy life preserver, but apparently Pepper is not a sea dog.  She likes staying with us, though, and we like having her.

I got a call on my phone the other day.  I get to work maintenance for Spring Break.  I am glad for that, though it is a damn sight less exciting than going to some Mexican resort town to party it up...alas, I'll be here.

I think we might do some yard work if it's as nice as it has been.  We also need to clean house.  I also want to work on those paintings I mentioned a couple weeks ago.  It just seems there has been so much going on I can't keep track of where I am headed and where I have been.  Hopefully everything will see fit to fall into place and we will have a more peaceful week this coming week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tire. Tired. Really?

I went to work.  I expected a full day.  It was a half, but the computer said I was being paid for a full day.  I was ecstatic, but knew there must be a catch.  In that particular district they expect subs to stay until the last minute.  In EV, if you have a sixth period plan period, once you are finished with your sub notes (I write it as one word and have been getting a little creative lately) and whatever papers you decide to correct (hello-oooo, when I had my long-term thing, I did not trust a sub to do my papers, why would anyone trust me???) you are pretty much free to go.  Not in school district W.  If you have a sixth period plan period you need to go to the staff lounge or the library to wait so they know where you are if they need you.  Yeah, that sucks.

Recently they began an early release on Wednesday thing.  One of the schools instituted a mandatory sub training group on those early release Wednesdays.  I participated in one of them.  I was not pleased.  Turns out all of the subs I have spoken to think that is bullshit.

We all (all the subs, anyway) got a letter.  This letter said that W school district expects all subs to remain present for the entire day whether there is an early release or not.  I was at first worried that it was a letter to me.  I have since discovered that every sub got one.  I asked a senior gentlemen what he thought of is.  He mimed crumpling it and tossing it in the garbage.  Good.  I was afraid I was the only one.

Turns out that the district sent that letter out, and decided not to inform the schools or the sub-handlers (I don't know the correct term, and although it sounds vaguely pornographic, I prefer it because it also holds some sort of mystery, like a covert-operative-handler).  The sub-handler at the HS today looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if I needed to stay until 2:30 to get paid for a full day.  She looked rueful when I explained.  She said they had told her no such thing and the teachers would be gone sooner than we would be if we kept talking.  I decided to trust her and exited the building without further question, destined for bigger errands.

I dropped by Cora's work and picked up her car.  She has had studs on her tires since November.  Which is fine when it's winter time.  It's not, now.  Though, we have had our share of April and March snow in years past, this year is looking up.  The last day to legally have them on your car is April 1st.  I thought, "Wow! I'm off early!  I'm even a few days early!  This should go well!"  Yeah!  I thought that up until I pulled into their parking lot and realized that every other school must have let out early!  The thing was full.  I walked in and they said it would be two hours.  I figured, well, it needs to be done.  I'll just suffer and read my book for two hours.

Yeah.  I know, huh?  Just tow hours.  That's a deal!  Nope.  Didn't turn out that way.  Lets try 3!!  Yep!  Three hours!

Of course, as I sat there, there were 900 people in the waiting room ahead of me.  Still, I chose to be positive and believe this could only get worse the closer we get to the cut off date.  Oh, how wrong I was.

Of course, I sat there reading my book.  Then I realized a lady nearby was having difficulties entertaining her child.  I looked around and realized I had within my grasp, a way to help this poor lady.  I grabbed a napkin (after asking its owner permission) and drew a quick maze on it (trust me, our two mazes may be different-my maze was actually pretty cool).  I handed it to her.  She looked at me with a gratified was then that I realized that was probably pretty weird.  I'm a stranger.  Duhhh!

We ended up talking quite a bit while I entertained her boy.  Turns out he goes to East Valley and I have taught in a class next to his!  I told her this, then mentioned that my wife and I make coloring books and sell them.. She said, so does my daycare lady.  I said, who is that!?  (I thought I had the only coloring book business in town!)  She told me my Mother-in-law's name!  She is the newest of my mother-in-law's parents. Who knew I was talking to a person whose child is in the care of my mother-in-law!?!?!??  Too funny!

I finally got away after three hours.  I then got a little bit of a Safeway six-pack (Have I mentioned the Safeway Six-pack is a six pack of wine!).  When I got home I pulled out into traffic right behind my beloved wife and we pulled into the house at the same time!!

Steak tonight and a glass or seven of wine.  Life is good...for now.

A Glibness I Don't Feel

Ah, Friday!  Glad to see it come around again.  I hold a small celebration every week on this day.  It means another week is over and some free time is about to begin.  Of course, the weekend zips by and is gone again in about 8 seconds.

That picture was taken at Christmas.  we are both smiling in it.

I feel like reading 19th Century literature.  That should be easy as we have a couple volumes of that from our college days.  I suppose it is because those writers often had a better grasp of the language and a feel for the words that many of us lack today.  I am not sure if I'd rather read Poe or Dickinson.  Either way seems just as macabre and solemn as I feel today.

There are a million things to do and a million things I want to do and only three or four will ever actually see themselves completed.  I have good news.  We got pictures of our boy in Africa but can't publish them.  We also got a letter from the agency that raised troubling questions.  I hate that.  We sent the questions yesterday. We are awaiting their response.

The weather has been beautiful lately and I have sold many coloring books.  Yesterday, someone made a most generous donation for one coloring book!  Last weekend, someone made a similar donation.  It is the generosity and good will of the people around us that has kept us going these many difficult months.  Perhaps that and the sunlight will show us a way through this irritating and damnable fog that has set in.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coloring Books Galore!

This morning I snagged a job at WMS.  It wasn't a bad day, and the kids know me, so I didn't have any problems behavior-wise.  Plans were less than perfect, though.  I ended up putting on a show for a couple classes that finished their work early.  I used the document camera.  I started by showing them the pictures in our coloring books, and then finished by drawing requests.  I amazed the kids with what I could draw.  Privately, I was a little amazed myself.  Still, they were more than forgiving or minor mistakes for the simple fact that I drew their pictures right in front of them.  I am a little better with a pen and paper than I am with a dry erase marker, so document cameras make the work more fun.  So, yeah, it was fun for them to call out a request and I would draw it right in front of them.

I then went to the local office store a made 1400 copies.  I printed some Transportation Coloring Books and, of course, the Animal coloring book.  I think we will have a long weekend binding them.  We'll bind some this week, too, but honestly, I was on my feet for an hour and a half copying these.  I need a rest.

Here is a photo to whet your appetite.

I meant to mention:  The other day, on Saturday, I ran into a gentleman who was a phone talker aboard the USS Fanshaw Bay during the Battle off Samar.  He described how eight inch shells from a Japanese cruiser did nothing but plow straight through her bow and out the other side.  It was a fascinating conversation.  Thank you Mr. Gapen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Not The Best Neighborhood...

Just read the sign...the one that says this box is under video surveillance. 
Obviously, it only stops criminals who can read.  I'm just saying.  Way to go Railroad Security!  I bet you're real proud of yourselves!

Just out of curiosity, I looked around for the camera. All I saw that seemed out of place was this.
  No video cameras...but what the hell?  How bored do you have to be to climb a pole to put a skull on a telephone pole?  Really!?!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dances With Daffodils

I mowed the lawn yesterday and did some work outside while Cora worked inside.  It was a good day.  I finished the last book of the Percy Jackson series.  I enjoyed it by the way, and if you want a fast read with a decent plot and fun time, I recommend it.

When I was in high school, we had to write a Beowolf-esque story.  One that bragged about the hero's prowess in battle and his great abilities.  Dances With Wolves, the Kevin Kostner movie, had not been out very long, so I chose to title mine, "Dances With Beowolves."  I don't recall the grade I got, but I think it was higher than normal for me.  I somehow managed decent grades in English, well, not counting Freshmen year, anyway.  Anyway, that's what today's title reminded me of...sorry.

I took the camera out to record our daffodils.  I did a little with paint shop and came up with these.  The bottom one reminds me of the photos in a 1940s Kodak How To Take Photos book I have somewhere.
I have drawn a few more animals and we are VERY close to the last image!  I am very happy about it.  I need to go ahead and finish the last ones though.  I suppose I should stop blogging and go do that...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reading and Writing

I taught a low reading/writing class yesterday.  Their assignment was to write a five paragraph essay on what they could to get the best education possible.  Easy.  I had them give me ideas to put on the board in a bubble web thingy(the question at the center, and ways to answer it branching off).  Most of the ideas were pretty stock:  No drugs, no alcohol, no gangs, improve study habits, etc.

There was one combo at a table where a boy and a girl were getting on each other's nerves.  I said that their education would probably be served better if they had less of each other.  later, I walked by the table and looked at that girls ideas.  There it was in blatant language.  "No Jesus."  Of course, the boy's name was Jesus (pronounced HEY SOOSS for those of you inexperienced with Latin-American names) and she meant him, but I chose to enjoy the moment the most by misunderstanding and asked her how NOT GOING TO CHURCH would help her education.  She stuttered and then realized why I had said that.  The kids all got a chuckle out of it, as did she.  I looked at his paper a second later and they must have written each other's names down as soon as I'd said it.

I came home and did a few things adoption related, made a call to the agency basically to verify they know nothing more than they did last week and to register our disappointment at that turn of events.  Then I began doing dishes and watching TV.

When Cora got home she made dinner!  She made Maple Bourbon Chicken.  Now, we've had it on salmon and chicken before.  Cora is excellent at mixing it up.  The first time the chicken did not hold the glaze, but this time Cora excelled!  Oh!  It was mouth watering and I am glad I pulled four chicken breasts out of the freezer, because that's what we will be having for lunch, too!
We spent the rest of the evening relaxing.  I made a few drawings for the coming coloring book, but I'm not sure if all will make the cut.  Stupid Blogger doesn't want to turn them the right direction today and I am too lazy to take another photo.  So you'll just have to turn your head sideways and look like an idiot, which is what I had to do when I put the picture up just now.  I am really liking those gazelles.

Hopefully by this weekend I will have enough to make a book.  Then we will copy and bind.  No promises yet, so don't go ordering a bunch until we have them in hand to ship out!  Still, the work continues.  Cora opened it up to suggestions for the coming books and many people sent us some wonderful ideas.  I have enough ideas to keep me busy drawing until Aiden comes home...which, I suppose is the idea!  I hope he comes soon!

Oh, also, we got some good news...but I am not sure I am supposed to share just yet, so I will refrain.  Just know that when I get permission to share it will be front page.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

AH, Yes, I Think I'll Work Today!

WMS for me today!  Hurray!

I used yesterday to do some running around.  Did a little adoption stuff.  Finally found the last book of the Percy Jackson series...what can I say, I find adolescent fiction appealing.  Oh, and we had some ants show up on the kitchen floor, so...

I got some ant killer, for, as we all know, I am a slayer of ants.  I don't go for little piddly limited skirmishes, no way, I do it up Saddam Hussein Style, genocide!  KILL ALL THE ANTS!!  If I had a nuclear arsenal that was made up of tiny little bombs that would kill ants in their homes and not torch my home...well, it would be defcon 1 baby!  I hate those little six-legged bastards.  I'd do them one at a time, but, well, I have a life and I don't have the time, so I have to result to chemical warfare!  I SHALL have an ant free house!  No more ants in my sugar! No more ants on my floor!

You know, I just looked at that paragraph and realized there are some keywords in there that might draw homeland security attention...I hope they have a sense of humor.  Hmmm, I wonder if they will find the humor in the Daily Show that I do.

I enjoy watching Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.  I found a clip about how Texas law makers took Oscar Romero out of their text books because he was not famous enough...what?  Yeah.  So, that's why I like the Daily Show...he points out the amazing complexity and intelligence in government.  Did I say intelligence?  Have a look for yourself.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Don't Mess With Textbooks
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

It figures that someone with no business making a textbook is in charge of making a text book.  On the bright side, it proves my theory that you don't get a thorough education until you get to college.  Alas, college is expensive and people have to eat.  You can click on there somewhere and see the entire show.  He usually manages to make me laugh, I hope you share the experience!

I drew two more animals for the animal book yesterday.  A gazelle and a couple giraffes...finally figured out how to fit them in our format.  I think I was clever at solving that problem.

Well, it's time to go get ready for work... 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day!

Well, thus far, my luck in searching for the daily job search is unsuccessful.  Often, more often then not, actually, I have my job lined up well ahead of time.  Of course there are some days that seem to strain my patience.  On those days I stay up late and then get up extra early (today, 5am) just to sit in front of the computer and wait to find a job.  So, that is one of the down sides to being a substitute.  The other, of course, is a lack of employer provided benefits.    

Perhaps, I need a little of the luck of the Irish.  Many of my students have suggested my red beard is a sign of Irish heritage.  I have, in turn, suggested that they get back to work, and stop staring at my facial hair.  It seems my suggestions are often followed by chuckles and laughs, thereby creating more of an interruption than the original comment...damn my smart mouth.

I got my teeth cleaned yesterday.  It was relatively painless.  I did manage to sell several coloring books yesterday; two at the dentist.  I was amused to see one go to the Principal at one of the elementarys.  He assured me he was getting it for himself and no one else...I hope to see his efforts in our gallery!  It's so fun to see who buys them and why.  I had a student (I don't sell to students as a rule) demand one, and I relented only after she had admitted to going home and discussing it with her mother (Her mother told her it was her money).  II don't think she would have taken no for an answer, anyway.  Cora's grandmother bought one, expecting to give it to a child she knows, but ended up buying some crayons and working on it herself!  Now THAT's a compliment to the book.  I don't think my drawings are as accurate or as smoothly drawn as a computer can do, or creative as graphic artists, but maybe that's why people like them...they are real.  Whatever the reason, it makes me happy that my drawings are making so many other people happy!

So, this is St. Patrick's Day (as the title suggests) and I have an inkling of what we might be eating tonight...Corned beef!  And Cabbage...and Guinness.  Especially if I have the day off, though I would prefer not to, it would make boiling it for a couple hours much easier on dinner time.  The last few evenings we have looked at the clock in disbelief!  How can it be that late already?  Stupid daylight savings.

Well, I suppose I had better make a cup of coffee for those about to return to the land of the conscious...also, it's time to refill my own cup.  Don't forget to wear green.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesdays Are Better

I have never been a great friend of Monday, but yesterday, I really hated Monday.  There was a time, during my morning coffee, when I had no real opinion on the day.  It was shortly before I left for work that the day began its turn for the worse. 

I needed to print out a shipping label, but for some reason neither computer could communicate with the printer.  Try as I might I could not figure out how to make the darned things work.  I had to cancel the on-line shipping and then go ship via the post office.  This and my inattention to details like lunch and other things made me a little late to work.

It got worse.  I could not locate my plans for the day.  I CAN shoot from the hip, but life is easier if I have a plan...I finally located a plan a few minutes before the bell rang.  To top it off, i was told my class could be a hand full. The last sub had had a very bad day indeed.  I endeavor NOT to be that kind sub.  So, there was another stress.

As it turned out, the class WAS a bit of a hand full.  By the end of the day I had sent one kid to the principal, and had two more in time-out, they missed PE.  There were other things that proved to me that Monday sucked, but I need not bore you with the sordid details.  Suffice it to say, Monday sucked.

Today is better, though.  I feel it.  It helps that i have a fairly self guided class that does not see three students at my arm every minute to ask how to do something.  They are comparatively well behaved, too.  I had great sub plans and an easy day is lined up ahead of me...this is going to be a good day.

I still have a dentist appointment at the end of the day, but since I think it is a cleaning, it can't be too bad.  This day is SOOOOO much better than yesterday!

Oh, and lunch is nearing!  I love this day!

Of course, it COULD change suddenly, like a hungry lion could burst into the classroom and devour two or three students before I make it to the door.  However, since there doesn't seem to be a huge chance of that, I will continue to hold out hope that this will indeed prove to be a good day.     

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ah, This Is The Life

A Friend that Cora went to school with asked me if I would make some paintings for their new addition.  We went over and looked at their new addition, which was awesome, and I made some suggestions.  So, I began working on the paintings today.  She wanted what we have above our door, but in colors more complimentary to their decor.  I began with large shapes and worked down in an over-lapping pattern.  Have a look.  The top picture is the earliest picture.  The second picture is how i left them when I stopped for dinner.
It's been a good day.  We went shopping for a bit.  Then we came home.  Cora began playing her late Christmas present.  I bought her "Endless Ocean II" for the Wii as a late Christmas present.  I had planned on buying it for her in January, but they pushed the release date back by two months!   So, finally, I got her that late gift and she began playing it.  Here Toby has taken ownership of her lap, deciding that complete deflation was appropriate, while she plays her new game.
Cora made dinner while I was painting.  She made Beef Stroganoff...she makes the home-made kind and I know I am totally spoiled, because YUMMMM!!!  It was awesome!

I decided that a picture of the happy couple was necessary!  

It's been a good weekend.  I started by seeing my newest niece.  Continued by taking the dogs up for a walk and then saw a movie.  Today we went shopping and then just enjoyed each other's company...This is why I wish weekends were longer.  Tomorrow I will be teaching first graders.  I'm looking forward to it, but I would not turn down another day with my beautiful wife.

Life is good.

Hill Walk

Yesterday, I took the dogs for a walk.  They really enjoy going for walks.  I enjoy taking them.  We went to the top of one of the nearby hills to some public land.  It's bunch grass and sage brush.  There are sage rats for the dogs to chase and all sorts of wild critters and smells.  The dogs think it is Club Med.  I drove up higher than normal, for my regular and secondary parking spots were in use.  The first by some guys with off-road vehicles, the second buy some gentlemen with guns.  I was not worried, because all showed signs of resisting the urge to shoot me.  Well, actually, what they did was point their barrels at the ground and take out the magazines.  I smiled and wished them a good day and drove on past.   
I drove about 3/4 of a mile further and the dogs and I got out and headed away from that direction.  We could still hear the gunshots, but we worried not.  The views were magnificent (see above).  The dogs and I found an outcrop of basalt and heard the familiar whistles of sage rats warning that danger (dogs) was in the area.  The dogs did their best to find the whistler and have him out for some fun and games (games, I imagine, that included some chomping and biting[dogs aren't THAT imaginative]).  Below you can see Gypsy inspecting different holes for sage rats.  You can also make out my truck in the distance, in the upper right hand part of the photo.

I love this next photo...Gypsy looks good!
Those darned squirrels/rats were in the rock that Toby is leaning against.  The dogs simply could not get to them.
That didn't bother them, though.  The dogs enjoy this kind of thing.
Below they look as though they are paying close attention to the whistles...and, well, they were.
Toby made sure there were no entrances on top of the rock...that's my 4X4 dog.
The views were spectacular! Did I mention that?  Spring is the only time the brown hills turn green for a short time and even then the brown remains.

I thought I would throw in a self portrait.  I love the way the clouds threw shadows across the hills.
I had hoped to find some flowers, but it is still too early to find the Phlox in bloom.  I DID find these little guys.
I think the dogs and I needed to get out in the fresh air!  I hope to do this more as the spring continues.

Movie Madness

What is it about me?  Do I have a tattoo on my head that says "ATTENTION: Freaks Gather Near!" ?  Really!  It isn't fair.

Cora and I went and saw a movie tonight.  We decided to go watch "Alice In Wonderland."  It began well enough.  We got a large popcorn and some drinks and sat down awaiting the movie.  We were about 40 minutes early, but we had the theater to ourselves.  It was a nice way to spend some time with my wife...that is, in the dark.  I decided to get up and return to the lobby.

When I came back I followed four 6-8 year old boys into our theater.  Ah, well.  The Silence could not last forever.  A couple minutes later their mother/chaperon came in and declared that she would not let a group of eight year olds sit by themselves.  Cora and I chuckled.

The theater began to fill up quickly.  There were many kids, since this is a PG movie.  It was fixing to be a good evening!  Then I noticed that the row next to me was bare of people.  I thought it would be nice if no one sat there.  I fully expected some kids to walk in, but that is ok.  As you may recall, I had bad luck with the person who sat next to me at the theater the last time.

It was only a couple minutes before the movie was to start and this tall gangly guy came rushing along our row from the wrong end.  He didn't even say excuse me.  He carried the slight smell of old tobacco and, in the dim light, I could make out, or perhaps I imagined, a sparse mustache (the kind I grew in eleventh grade), short cropped hair and the unmistakable gate of someone who lives in "the 'hood" and has gang members for friends.  He continued on, though, and sat at the last seat, looking just a bit too awake for that time of day.  I thought, "Wow! I have been spared!"  Then his girlfriend came in.  She sat beside him and though neither of them showed great grooming habits, I decided it would be ok for them to be there.

It was then that his ...buddy came in.  His buddy was similarly tall, but also had great girth.  He had a shaved head and wore his sunglasses on his forehead, as though he may use them in a moment.  He had a mustache, the kind you see on convicts these days.  I heard his friend say there were four seats.  I thought, cool, he will sit next to his buddy and I will still have a three seat buffer.

Not a chance in hell.  He walked straight over and parked his bulk in the chair next to mine.  Apart from his strangely high pitched voice, I was surprised by the smell of urinal cake.  He began this all by being strangely loud, too.

So, he sat down and he was somewhat larger than the seat and his arms were crossed to keep from bumping me.  There are at least three seats between him and his buddy.  He's right smack up against me.  Cora, bless her heart, offered to move down one space.  I accepted her offer.  We moved down, I explained, so as not to piss him off, that at least we would not have to bump elbows.  And just in time too.  His girlfriend came in.

I am no police officer or medical examiner, but these people may have been on drugs.  I know that crack gives people a certain look.  These people had that look.  Also, when I got up to move, I saw a large variety of tatoos on this man.  One large TEAR on his eye made me suspect he may have had his share of prison time.

The movie started just as his girlfriend came in...with nachos.  He then began eating as though this was his first meal in months.  Loudly and with a great amount of moaning and num-num-numming.  I over heard some coarse language and it did not get better.  The opening scene of the movie showed Alice in her bed.  He, dumbly, asked, "Is that Alice?"

For the entire movie it was either coarse, rude language (Offensive to me and no doubt the rest of the crowd), and loud speaking.  Several people SHUSHED him and his girlfriend.  She, at one point, was on her cell phone speaking loudly!  We shushed her again.  Did I mention he looked like he might be carrying a weapon?  I chanced a side-long glance at him and his girlfriend, and noticed he was holding his cell phone up to his face, apparently having difficulty reading a text message.  A few seconds later, he tensed and started to get up and then sat down and seemed very angry.  His voice said as much, but with far more F-words than I hoped would be used around so many kids.  I thought, perhaps I had shushed him and his girl one too many times.  He calmed down, though.

But, finally, he got up and his girlfriend followed.

He said to his friend, in his high-growling voice, "I'll be waiting outside for you."

I thought I was being paranoid when Cora and I walked out after the movie, and I kept watching for this guy. I just knew he was going to jump out and stab me for looking at him too many times and shushing him.  We made a direct route to the car.  I was glad i'd parked close to the front.

When we got in the car, Cora mentioned that she thought maybe he'd be waiting for us, since she had shushed him, too.  At least we are BOTH paranoid together.

At least I THOUGHT it was paranoia...until we got home and heard about some L.A. man that had been stabbed WITH A MEAT THERMOMETER for shushing a lady in a theater who was talking on her cell phone during the movie.  Maybe we should consider renting DVDs.

I cannot believe the way some people act in the theater.  What happened to manners and mores?  I was NOT comfortable sitting near that man, wondering just exactly when he was going to come unhinged and start stabbing, or perhaps shooting people with his weapon of indeterminable nature.  How unpleasant.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Walking The Dogs

I took the dogs up on the hill.  Here is Gypsy waiting for a sage rat to come out of its hole.  It never did.  I will post more later.

Niece is Nice

We had dinner with my in-laws last night and got to visit with the newest member of the family!  Yeah, that is little Leah!  Born a month ago today!  I had a long conversation with her involving airplanes and museums and the fact that I will be her favorite uncle, ALWAYS.  I think she agrees.  She listen quite well and did not interrupt.  I already like this kid!

So, another Saturday is here.  What will I do with it?  I have a slip of paper to mail to Yakima County asking them to look up a few things for me.  The question is how much do they have on a bomb range from 60 years ago?  We shall see as soon as I remember to mail it.

I'd like to take the dogs up on the side of the mountain, both to tire them out and also to maybe remind my muscles that they can perform duties other than sitting still.  It does help that the sun is coming out and it may be a nice day.  I had high hopes for yesterday's weather, though, and it disappointed me.

Well, maybe I will draw some more color pages tonight.  Animals...  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

We Are On Face Book Now!!

We are on Face Book!  Cora, my devoted and somewhat single minded wife, spent a couple hours tonight and developed a Face Book page for Color Me Home!  and, can you believe it?  Color Me Home has MORE followers on Face Book and Blogger followers than THIS site.  Ah, well, it's all for a good cause.  Bringing our son home!

And, lets face it, Diana, over at Diana Rambles, is doing a give away and with thanks to her and many of our internet friends, we will make enough to offset some of the costs of this adoption.  It's great to have so many people support us in our quest to become parents!  With so many people behind us, it is difficult to doubt it will happen!  Thanks all!

Contest! Get Your Coloring Book!

Diana has a Coloring Book of mine which she is giving away!  Enter the contest!!

She gives you several chances to enter!  Drop on by her site or just click on over to Color Me Home and buy one for yourself!


Mornings, so often, come too early.  Yet, sometimes, I awake with a strange and distinct feeling of being refreshed.  Today is such a morning.  I was awake at 3am, 433am, 454am, and finally at 532.  I decided to just get up the final time.  I had already let Toby come to bed with us a little early, since it is his birthday.  So, I sit, drinking my coffee surfing the internet in the quiet of the morning.  The heater coming on once in a while, or the refrigerator coming on the only sound in the house.  Soon, the crows across the street will begin cawing, or perhaps a dog will bark and the morning noise will begin, but for now it is quiet.  Ahh, peace.

About the boy.  Our little dog who thinks he's big, is eight years old today.  We got him in April or May of 2002 (Cora will have a better memory of the exact date, I do better with airplanes and ships).  He was so small and so cute back then.

This Photo was probably taken when he was about a year old.  He had boundless energy and would go into "Turbo" at any time at the drop of a hat.  ("Turbo" would seem to be a common phrase when describing Jack Russells)  He is a very smart dog, but he chooses when to use that intelligence, as he at times has great hearing and others seems to be just a tad deaf.  The latter is usually when he is outside running at Mach 3.

His "Turbo" moments, where he suddenly has to use his stored energy because if he doesn't he might explode and destroy a small city, are fewer and farther between these days, but they still happen at least two to three times a day.  I suspect they would happen more often, but he is not allowed that chance in the house.  When he DOES go "Turbo" it is difficult on both the house and us.  He zooms from one end of the house to the other.  Often, instead of turning like a normal dog, he caroms(bounces) off the door, wall, or back of the couch.  In order to make these exacting changes in course, the surface he bounces off of needs to be roughly 90 degrees from the vertical.  If there is an untethered rug in the way, assume it will be moved up against the wall.  If he hits it at the wrong angle or something is not as stable as he calculates you can bet he will smash down on his side, but this does not phase him, nor slow him down.

He enjoys hunting small animals and is ferocious and courageous and nearly unstoppable in that quest.  He has been the bane and joy of our lives...amazing what you will turn to when you don't have kids.  He is king of the house, and would tell you that if he could talk.  We have tried to explain that WE are actually in charge, since he would not eat if we did not feed him.  He rarely shows any inclination to listen to our lectures, though.  His favorite toy is his Monkey and he gets nervous and upset when it disappears into the washer.

He was the discount dog.  He has a brown nose and is not show-worthy.  I don't know about that, I think he is pretty cool as dogs go.  We have spent almost eight years with him.  I suppose I would have to be heartless to not be fond of this energetic and loving dog.  It is difficult to deny he has charm.  Sometimes, after I get home, he will crawl onto my lap and demonstrate his ability to be content.  It is the SIGH of CONTENTMENT that gives it away.  Yesterday, he bulldozered onto my lap and would not take no for an answer, of course, my efforts against it were half-hearted at best.  Happy Birthday little dog.

Note the grass stain on that little butt.  If you got this in an e-mail passed around on the internet, you have been looking at OUR Toby's butt...Still cute!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunny Morning Realestate

This was the view on my drive to work this morning.  And apart from telling me I should wash my windows, it shows part of the new development and part of the ex-hop field that will become houses directly.  YUCK.  I much prefer hop know they make beer from hops, right?

On my way home from work, where I discovered that some kids think Shrimp come from a garden, I saw this guy.  Now most people might think he was just a drunk going the wrong  That's our State Patrol.  He's on an overpass radaring speeders.  Yeah, they are nasty guys.  That's why I don't drive 15 over the speed limit like everybody does in California. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wild Things...What?

We watched "Where the Wild Things Are" and I have to say, "WHAT???"  I was expecting a very cool, positive, happy, simple, easy to follow movie that would be fun for kids.


I was surfing the net, keeping an eye on the movie like I usually do.  And was quickly lost in the jumps and boredom of a movie that was apparently meant as an art/metaphoric piece on the trials of adolescent lives.  The art was fantastic.  The photography and the monsters were well devised.  The story?  I don't know, I wasn't paying attention.  I know I would have been PISSED off if I'd have taken my kid to watch the movie...because, even though I am not a kid (Or a parent yet) I am pretty sure they advertised it as a different movie than it really is!  Overall, I give this movie a big thirteen thumbs down.

So, tomorrow, I need to, A.) find a job, B.)collect funds for some of the coloring books I have sold, and C.) mail a few coloring books.  Can you believe the way these things have sold?

I have had kids at the schools tell me they thought I had printed my drawings off the internet.  To which I reply by drawing them a picture in front of their eyes, or another student comes up and tells them to have their head examined because Mr. H is an Artist!  I have had people tell me I am gifted, which is hard for me to swallow, since I think ANYONE could draw like I do, and many do, and better than I.  Still, I suppose the ability to visualize and place things spatially on a paper is not the kind of thing they teach in Kindergarten.  I have worked to get to the point I am at.  I was always jealous of those artists who could make a painting in five minutes, or draw faces at the fair, or make a cartoon character in seconds without sketching.  Now, I can do some of that.  It is something I have worked toward, but I still feel that with patience and determination anyone can do it.

On the down side, I have to keep up my pace, since there is such a demand, and I want to keep up the sales, so a new book is going to have to come...but, where do I get the ideas?  (Many people ask me that)  OUT of my WHOLLY mismatched and poorly working head.  I use all sorts of things for ideas.  I do that without thinking most times, though.  One instance where you can see me consciously looking for ideas would be that picture of the truck from about a week and a half ago.  I used it for the coloring book (next to the last page).  So, it is not completely in a vacuum (well, maybe, if you were to talk to my sister or my wife, they might tell you that the inside of my head IS a vacuum).

Anyway, time for bed!  

The Empty Bed

The beds that we have purchase for our beloved animals, while at times apparently VERY comfortable, are at other times no good.  Why animals choose to do what they do is of great curiosity to me.  Why does one dog take a mouth full of dog food and then quickly go outside as though she has stolen something?  Why does one dog need to be shown the dog door before he will go outside at night?  Why does the cat go out the dog door, and then wait for the the front door to be opened to come in?  Why must I show the cat that he has food before he will sit down to eat?

Why does the dog suddenly decide that he NEEDs to sleep on a pillow on the couch instead of his perfectly good bed?  (see below)    
We have on occasion spoiled the animals, but you would think we were torturing them yesterday by the simple act of making them stay outside during the beautiful sunny day.  I was out with them for part of the was comfortable.

We WERE going to watch for the International Space Station, but its cloudy and the best I could do is below...that sideways blur thing is actually a helicopter...ah, well.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

ISS Watch

Cora saw on the news last night that the International Space Station could be seen clearly last night at 7:22pm, unfortunately she forgot about it until about 8:15pm.  So, being the bright person I am I looked it up on-line.  The NASA site said we might be able to see it at about 9:00pm, so out we went in coats and pajamas to see the ISS.  Well, I should have taken a little time to try to understand the way to locate the orbiting object, because we didn't see it.  I did however snap the picture above.  You can just make out Cora's smile.  The next time the ISS will be over at a nice time and good angle above us will be tomorrow night, about 6:40pm.  So, guess where we will be tomorrow night?  Yep, out trying to see the ISS sail overhead.  Yeah, we're weird.

The weather was crazy-nice today.  I worked in the yard.  Not that I did much.  Cora deep-cleaned our bedroom and our master bathroom (why do we call it that?  It's obviously NOT a master bathroom, because I would expect a MASTER bathroom to have a dive-in bathtub and a toilet with a seat warmer and drink holder...and maybe a mini-fridge with a flat screen TV...and...well, you get the idea).  I, on the hand, raked up some of the dead plants and leaves and dog crap.  I also cleaned out the garden.  I surveyed where we will put the rest of the garden this year (Expansion Program funded by our stomachs) and took measurements for the flower garden expansion that is planned for this year for the front yard.  

The weather was BEAUTIFUL!!!!  GORGEOUS!!!!  I had to go into town, so I drove with the windows down!  It was awesome.  I saw an old friend who I almost didn't recognize because she was in a new ride!  I waved and smiled and went on my way!  

The sky was beautiful!  Have a look below!

What does tomorrow hold?  Who cares?  Today was awesome!  I think we will work some more on the house.  Maybe some more one the lawn, but I don't know.  I have been threatening to take her to a movie...maybe we will do that.  Dunno for sure.

I wrote a post on my airplane blog.  Give it a look if you like!  


Friday, March 5, 2010

A California Picture Day

Today, I taught HS Spanish.  I didn't actually teach it.  I gave a test.  It wasn't bad.  I also bought the fourth book in the Percy Jackson collection.  Several students planned on attending the movie this evening.  I admit to being a little jealous.

I made another printing of our Transportation Coloring Book.  Sold a few books today.  It's been a good week.  Still, I don't have a lot to write on, so I thought I would share some pictures from when we lived in California.  It is hard to believe we have been back from California for five years now.  We arrived back here on on the 16th or 17th of March, 2005.  FIVE YEARS!  It seems like yesterday.  These photos are of our time there. 

Below is a covered bridge that was in a valley below Paradise, Ca.  There was a Geocache there.  We found it, but in the meantime enjoyed a very nice day near a covered bridge.  

Below is my lovely little niece, probably sometime after we were back, but I still wanted to put it in because she looks like an angel here.  She was about a year old and already charming the shirt off her uncle.  

One Christmas when we had come back to visit, but Father-in-Law decided he wanted to go fishing.  I believe this was Christmas Eve Day of 2004.  Just the two of us went fishing that day.  We were on the Columbia.  It was a good day.  Even though we didn't catch anything.  I have always liked this picture of him.  

One day, Cora and I decided to take a day trip to Yosemite Valley.  On the map it looked like about a 3 hour drive.  I guess we didn't look close enough at the squiggly path of the road, nor did we know that the speed limit was a paltry 35mph at times.  It took us five hours to get there!  Being the two stubborn people we are, we kept going despite the way the hours were flying by and we were not nearing our destination.  We just waited it out.  It is a lovely valley.  Fully worth the drive.  Worth the wait.  (How many times have we heard that during this adoption?  Yeah, I know, but that doesn't make the drive any shorter.)  Don't I have a lovely wife?

This last photo is at another Geocache.  Cora gave me the GPS for our fourth anniversary.  We did a lot of Geocaching during that time.  This particular one was on the East side of Beale AFB.  It had been used by the US Army to train in the attack of Pill Boxes (Armored places where machine guns or artillery was housed).  We took Toby and enjoyed our hike.  I think it was August or was a hot day, either way.  Note the Live Oak in the background.  That particular tree species is a a hallmark of California. 

We had good times there.  I miss it, though, I think it is safe to say Cora does not.  We were far from family, though.  I am glad to be back, and although we don't see my nieces and nephews often, we see them more often than we did down there.  We have more friends up here and I think it safe to say we are more a part of the community here.  Maybe I will return for a short visit one of these days, if only to see the aircraft that I miss so much.  

So, there are some pictures and I still can't believe its almost been five years since we were there.