Monday, January 30, 2006

Not so busy today

It rained today. I hate to do housework on rainy days (or any other day, but it is a good excuse!) I decided to organize the keys. Like everybody else, I have keys. We hang our usual car keys or house keys on a cute little hook thing just inside the front door. I encourage everyone to use these hooks, and get in the habit of hanging up their keys, so they won't lose them somewhere in the house. Weird keys have collected there over the years, and some of them are obscure. I decided to catalog them, and throw away the ones that I don't need anymore. This process took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I figured them all out, and labeled them all with key tags. I discovered that I still had some keys from work! OOPS!

Sandhill Cranes

I saw these birds in the man-made lake behind a shopping center. They continue to survive, even as we encroach on their habitat. I usually see them in pairs, sometimes with a chick or two. As soon as the baby loses his yellow down, and looks like a small adult, they fly off and leave him. Try as he may to come around them, they fly away each time (not gonna let him move back home) The young one cannot fly as fast as the adults, and they leave him quickly. He flies along behind, squawking for them to let him come along.
The chick eats from mama's beak.

Sandhill Cranes are large. The adults are about three feet tall.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Could it be?...

Do you think that the roofing company could be in cahoots with the tire shop? I can't believe how many flat tires I have gotten since they re-roofed my house. On the last day they were here, the roofers went around the yard with a magnet thing, picking up (allegedly) all the lost roofing tacks. I have had three flat tires on the ride-on mower, and two flat tires on the cars. I just saw another roofing nail in the back tire of the car. I didn't pull the nail out yet, but tomorrow I will have to change the tire, take it to the shop, then have it put back on the car. Good thing I am retired, so I can go have the car re-tired. hahahahaha, well, on the good side, at least I didn't step on it - so I won't have to go for a tetnus shot!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What does it mean?

Recently in Umatilla, Florida I tried to figure out where they came up with that name. I asked three different people, who had no idea. They all looked at me like I had lost my mind for asking. Anyway, my son came up with this theory - Two rednecks are talking to each other, one says, "What the heck's the name of that thing that you steer your boat with?" The other redneck replies, "UMMM- a tiller???" Hence they named the town.

I guess I could Google the name, but I am scared homeland security will knock on my door.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mapquest was WAY wrong!

I was travelling to the middle of Florida pulling my trailer the other day. I had the mapquest directions with me, that I had printed out for the trip. My son was reading them off to me as we got close to our destination. "Turn left on Lake Gibson Drive". I turned and said, "Are you sure this is right? This is a skinney dirt road." That's what the directions said. OH GOD! I am at the end of this road that is a private dead end drive to someone's house. Worse, I have a 31 ft. trailer behind me! Can I back out of this narrow road, about an eighth of a mile? I noticed that the driveway was circular, needle eye at the end, tall bushes and trees on both sides. I made a BIG turn taking out a lot of bushes and tree branches in the driveway as their dog went crazy barking at me. Thank God no one was home, I did no real damage, but they are going to think a tornado blew thru the driveway! I guess I need to write to mapquest!

Modern technology

As I have said before, I love all the wonderful new inventions. This is a tiny disk that plugs into that bigger one (the "big" one shown bigger than actual size). This tiny disk goes in my cell phone and allows me to take photos with the built in camera. Now isn't that neat? I always have a camera with me now! The camera in the phone takes amazingly good photos too. I am also awestruct with the new heart operation machine, the DAVINCI, that can do minimumly invasive heart surgery instead of the "crack your chest open" type of coronary by-pass surgery. I may have to get that surgery someday, so I hope I live to tell about it first hand!

Monday, January 23, 2006

For My Son

When you were little, sometimes you would fall and scrape your knee, you would cry and come running. I would comfort you with a "Spiderman" band-aid and a hug. Now that you are older, there are different kinds of pain. The heart ache when your feelings are hurt, the insecurity of being a teenager, the pain when you are failing at a difficult task. I want to rush to your side and comfort you. I want to brush the hair out of your eyes, and hold you close to me. I can't. I must hold myself back, watch you suffer from afar, hold back the tears. If you are to grow into the man that you are meant to be, I must stand back and let you feel the pain. I have to tell you to press on, and tell you that "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." I will tell you that you will succeed, because "what one man can do, another can do!" I hope I have the strength to do these things, because I love you more than anything in the world.

Hell in Umatilla

This is January band camp with The Magic.

The facility in Umatilla, Florida is beautiful. It is the Florida Elks Youth Camp, several hundred acres with new buildings and dorms, a beautiful place to stay. The band wasn't there to enjoy the scenery though, they were all, work, work, work. The weather was excellent, a little overcast, but 70-80 degrees. There are many fewer members this time. Many have dropped out. It is very difficult work. By Saturday night, Preston had enough. He called me to come pick him up. He said that his muscles just would not work for him anymore. We talked about it later, and most of the problem was "failure to properly hydrate". You have to drink water when you are exercising that much. Preston vowed to work hard this month and get in shape for his next camp. This will involve exercising every day, lifting weights, going to the gym, running, and lifting the "heavy metal" at least once a day. Time will tell if he can make it.

It is difficult to watch your child when he is in pain.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gone camping

I am heading out this weekend to Umatilla, Florida. I have no idea where they came up with that name, but I will find out and get back to you. It is most likely and indian name, or the name of a lake, that is what most things are named after in Florida. My son will be at his second band camp for the whole weekend, and I will be camping nearby. I might see the sites in the local area of Mount Dora, a place famous for "Renningers" antique market. I don't camp in the traditional sense, no "roughing it" for me. I take my 31 ft. travel trailer, my home away from home. It has everything I need in it. After I stay in it for a few days, I wonder why I need a house and a yard! It is nice to get away from home, even for a weekend, because then it is nice to come home again.

Dressed up horsie!

The road to Marion's ranch.

Last night my friend Marion called me about the cold weather. It was gonna be down in the 40's (cold for Florida) and she wanted to blanket the horse (Barr). Marion was worried that Barr would get hot today and that he would be uncomfortable. Marion had to go to work, so she asked me to go out and undress him this morning.
When I got there Barr was standing in the shadow of the barn cause he was hot as soon as the sun came up. When I went to take that contraption off his head, I thought I had all the catches unclipped, so I started to pull it off. I didn't realize that I had missed the velcro throat latch. So Barr steps back when I am trying to pull the hood off over his head, and it gets stuck and covers his eyes. He freaks and runs a few steps, before I start talking to him to calm him down. It scared me for a minute, cause I could just see him running blind and crashing into something. I remembered the apple in my pocket and I tempted him with it as I talked him down. He finally let me get near him and food won out over fear. I got the hood off him, then the blanket. He was happy and finally cool. "Whew".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


You can't leave anything laying around at my house. We have already lost a wallet, leather cell phone case (luckily the case protected the phone inside - it only has a few teeth marks) and a TV remote control (that belonged to the cable company). Today I was mowing the grass, and saw something just as I ran over it with the lawn tractor, something shiny. "Holy shit!" I exclaimed as I recognized my glasses just as the wide back tire rolled over them. I haven't seen them in a while. Now I know why. Who knows how long they have
been laying in the yard. That's
not dirt on the lenses, those are
doggie teeth marks. The people
at the eyeglass place sell these
"titanium" frames with "poly carbonate" lenses that will hold up under any conditions. Lets see if they can explain this! I hope I got the extended warranty!

When I marched into the house and confronted the culprits by saying "WHO DID THIS?" - they all just looked away in an effort to avoid any pending punishment. I would imagine that they all had a paw in it. Dogs, ya gotta love 'em, they don't know the difference between our "stuff" and toys. (or do they?)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Death of a Microwave

I was warming up some soup the other day in the microwave. All of a sudden I heard "hummm-POP" and it was over. Dead. No lights, no clock, nothing. It was dead. I have had the appliance for about ten years, and I know when they go, there is no recall. The "magnatron" or some such contraption dies (like the heart of the thing) and it costs less to buy a new oven than replace that part. When we remodeled the kitchen a few years ago, we left the cabinet over the range "short", so we could one day buy an "over-the-range microwave". Today was that day. I went to Sears and bought a new one. Now $249. is enough to pay, but now I must pay another $250. to have it installed! I can't lift stuff anymore, so I have to pay someone to install it. Well, that's life I guess, I am lucky to have the money, but that is not what I wanted to spend it on!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Martin Luther King Day Parade

The band director tunes up the all the horns before the parade.
Our boys marched in the King Day parade. It was real windy today, and in the 60's, but the day turned out nice. One of the shakos (hats) rolled under my truck and as I was leaving - it got "squished"! I had to transport the big horns over to the starting point, hence my truck's nickname, "Mom's Tuba Taxi". It was not my intention to march with the band today. I was just going to shoot a few photos and wait in the car. By the time I caught up with them, got ahead of them enough for the shot, we were halfway through the route, so I walked it anyway. Good exercise for me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


This computing thing never ceases to amaze me. I have taken over 2,000 digital photographs of my son's high school band. I have stored them on my hard drive (whereverthehell that is). I discovered, and I can store all these photos on their site, (free!) and give the band kids a password. The kids can look at the photos, or order prints. Now that is cool. Soon I will have to start another collection for THE MAGIC, my son's other band. We were just going to digital photography at work when I retired. Imagine all the money saved in mug shots and crime scene photos. The courts could just upload anything they want (so could the press). In Florida the press has the right to request any crime scene photos, so I expect before long you will see photos of all kinds of dead people and crime scenes in the newspaper.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Next month makes two years of retirement. I am glad that I am still alive, I did not expect to survive this long. Now I am hopeful that I can make it ten more years at least, I am not so scared everyday anymore. Sometimes it feels like a long vacation, like I should be going back to work. When my health is really good, and it has been lately, I almost feel quilty for not working. Now, don't get me wrong, I have plenty to do, but it is mostly housework and chores. When my line of duty disability was approved, I walked away and didn't look back. I have talked to a few of my friends, but for the most part, I have had no contact with anyone from the PD. I don't miss always having to be teathered to my pager. I don't miss the phone calls in the middle of the night. I don't miss the lights & siren trips out to a crime scene. Occasionally, I miss solving a case, comforting a victim, tricking a suspect into confessing. Maybe I should be a "consultant" (or even better - a "sultan".) It is weird to miss a job, but after 25 years, I got comfortable with it, I felt like I was good at it. Now it is just a memory. When I was a young cop, old farts used to come up to me and tell me that they used to be "on the job". I hope I never do that!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The gym

My son and I started going to the gym. He needed to get a couple of muscles since he has never been athletic, and he is as "skinny as a rail". He has to be in shape to carry that big tuba. The fitness center had a two for one membership, and I was going as his coach anyway, so we signed up. I had forgotten that there is pain involved. Self induced pain, you know - "no pain - no gain". It has been years since I have been in a gym, but all the hate of the place quickly returns! I have been grunting through the torture machines, and encouraging my son to do "just one more rep". He is working on his upper body, and starting to show some muscles in his chest and arms for the first time in his life. He has gained about four pounds since we started, so it is doing some good. We just have to keep going every other day.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Beautiful music

To hear an excerpt from the December audition camp go to - click on directors corner, and a short video about The Magic will load. At the end of it, you will hear the beautiful music that they learned in just one short weekend. They will have a wonderful show this year. Preston is training everyday and looking forward to January camp.

Monday, January 02, 2006

"Stormy", the horse, I am sorry to say - has died

"STORMY" (the white one)
Last Friday my friend, Marion, asked me to come out to her place because her horse was sick. I went out there and encouraged a very sick, lethargic horse to eat a little bran, while we waited for the vet to arrive. The vet came and looked at the horse, then took a lead rope and walked her around in a circle. He determined that the horse might have West Nile Fever, or possibly some sort of liver damage. He took blood and a stool sample to confirm this, and said he would call with the lab results the next day. Saturday, Stormy took a turn for the worse, and had difficultly breathing, then could not stand, and subsequently died.
My friend, Marion, is an animal lover. She was already grieving over the recent loss of her dog, "Miles". Marion is the kind of person that treats her pets like children. Not only is she saddened by the death of Stormy, she is worrying about her other horse, the gelding, "Barr". She is wondering what pain he must be experiencing with the loss of his girlfriend / stable mate, Stormy. All animals should be lucky enough to have "Mums" like Marion. What a wonderful life Miles and Stormy had, thanks to Marion.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

the "easy button"

For those of you who are not familiar, Staples, an office store, has several television commercials featuring the "easy button". It shows people in offices trying to figure out how to get office supplies, then shows the button, indicating that if you choose Staples, that the job will be easy. I thought the easy button was cool, and I thought that there should really be an easy button. Turns out there is one, and I got it for a Christmas present. Cool, you push the button and a voice says, "That was easy!" I love it!