Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas

Happy birthday, Jesus!

I worked the morning shift yesterday and got to work at 4:30am. It was nice to get off early as I had some last minute running around to do before getting some steaks on the grill and getting to church for the 3:00pm service. I couldn't believe the traffic in Apple Valley...it was nuts! Total gridlock like I've never seen in that city before. For the most part, people were being very courteous and where traffic was merging together, drivers were taking turns and meshing lanes nicely. I was in a long line of traffic trying to get out of the Target, Best Buy parking lot onto a main road. The traffic on the main road was relentless and people in front of me weren't being given much chance to pull out. When they did go they had to be aggressive. So this guy a couple cars in front of me pulls out and in the process the oncoming traffic has to brake so this guy can get out and merge into a lane which is stopped. It doesn't matter that all the traffic is stopped 30 feet ahead...a guy comes up and blares his horn on this poor guy trying to pull out and doesn't seem to realize that he's not going anywhere anyway in 20 feet. Cool your jets guy...good grief, it's Christmas Eve!

Tammy had everything all set at home when I finally got there. I got the steaks on the grill and we had a very nice dinner...Rachel, Tammy and I. We decided to open a few gifts before church but we saved most of them for when we got back. Church was nice but I was so tired after dinner and having been up since 3:15am that I was struggling to stay awake for part of the sermon. I caught my head nod a couple times and looked over at Tammy and Rachel and got the 'busted' look from them. They understood and smiled.

Rachel was very happy with her Christmas haul...it was a Justin Timberlake Christmas at our home this year. It was also supposed to be a very Paul Frank Christmas too but we were a bit thin on his stuff. She did get a couple Paul Frank things but for the most part we took a pass on the stuff as it was too expensive.

Jackie and Jerry came by with Kelsey, Cole and Cassidy around noon to see the pups before we all headed over to Mom's for the afternoon. Toby and Allie were so excited to see them. It was a very nice time. Tim was already there when we arrived and Erin and Clayton showed up a little later. Great food and great company.

I gave Mom a photo album I put together of various photos from over the years. The album had different size cutouts on each page where the photos went making it a bit putzy at times to size the photos to fit. It turned out very nice. The opening photo is one of her mother when she was about 19 years old and the final photo is of Mom's great grandchild, Cassidy. All the photos in between sort of flow from earlier to later years. I know she liked it because she was crying as she paged through it.

Jackie drove with me as I had to head up north to pick up Rachel at her Dad's home about 40 miles away and only a few miles from her home. It was nice to spend some time with her and not be on the phone doing it. We've grown so much closer the past few months and I'm so thankful for that. Our whole family is much closer than we were a year ago. There are still some issues which may never be resolved but I think we're all intent on moving forward and puting our differences aside.

Tammy and Rachel leave for her parent's home tomorrow. I'm still struggling with the headaches (which I thought were done a week ago) so I'm going to lay low. I still haven't been on my bike yet either and that's weighing on me. Every day I lose more of my fitness and I don't like that. I intend to get on it tomorrow though...in fact, I will be back to my blog then to write about my workout.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2003

I'm Back

Thanks be to God that my headaches are over...for the most part. I went to bed last night believing I'd make it through the night without being awoken by a stabbing pain in my left eye...and I did. I had a couple of much smaller cluster h/a during the day but nothing like I'd been experiencing.

It's time to get back on my bike and get some miles into my legs so I'm ready to hit the roads as soon as they're ready. I was even thinking today about putting my running on hold for a year so I can really focus on my bike. I'd like to ride 6000 road miles this year and if I'm trying to run also it's going to make it difficult. I won't run and ride in the same day...I used to but not anymore. Anyway, I'm excited to be on the mend again and looking forward to getting on my new wheels too...the Mavic Ksyriums. I even had my bike into the shop a couple weeks ago to have the headset and bottom bracket overhauled as well as the usual stuff they do in a tune up...so I'm ready to go with the exception of some new skins. Who would'a thunk that when I last rode my bike the second week in October that I'd be off it for over two months.

Tammy is up giving Toby and Allie a bath...she gave them haircuts last week and we had to laugh a bit at the results. She did a good job but we both agreed that she would only get better at it. :)

Mark called me tonight to help him pick up a new piano from Schmidt Music and move it home. I'm glad I don't do that for a living cause I'd starve. I think I strained my knees a bit but I still plan to ride tomorrow...this is my priority tomorrow! To ride!

I'm listeing to City on a Hill, It's Christmas Time. It's a compilation from several Christian groups...Jars of Clay, Third Day, Sara Groves, Caedmon's Call and some others. Really nice. Here's a song titled, It's Christmas Time.

My friend at work got his hand stuck in his snowblower blade last night and lost his index finger as well as mangling three other fingers on his left hand...and he's left handed. He's expected to be out of work for three weeks. I called him today to see how he's doing. He was trying to remove some heavy, wet snow from the auger but had failed to shut the power off to the auger. I told him things could have been much worse and he agreed. He feels blessed to have gotten away with what little damage he did. In a situation like that it's not uncommon for a person's whole arm to be ripped off.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Homeless



Tammy and Rachel just got back from violin class and dance class. Tammy said they had 30 minutes to kill downtown before the lesson so they stopped into a courtyard restaurant to get a bite. They noticed a homeless man in his 50s trying to get some warmth inside from out of the windy cold. Tammy approached him and asked if he would like a sandwich. He said he'd like that. She brought him to the register and had him pick out whatever he wanted. He ordered a turkey sandwich with apple pie and a drink. She asked him if he wanted some fruit to put in his pocket for later on but he declined. She said goodbye in the name of Christ and they went to class. I love that she will do this sort of thing.

When we were in San Francisco a couple years ago we encountered so many homeless people begging for money...most likely for their next drink. We bought a bunch of cheese and cracker snacks and packages of peanuts to pass out instead of money. They were always glad and never disappointed or at least if they were they didn't show it.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Family Time

Tammy, Rachel and I are down here in the shop, each on our own computers. They're playing Minesweeper through msn messenger. I'm obviously typing in my blog. Had an overtime shift today and that was good because I had nothing pressing to be done today...except for Christmas shopping which I have yet to start. Tammy's given me a couple ideas for her and Rachel put together a well thought out list of stuff...she always makes it so easy for us. I only have one request...an mp3 player for my workouts. I should get online and narrow it down to one or two.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I Am Sooo Tired

But that's okay because I've gotten so much done on my website. I've been at work all night and rather than try and catch some sleep on my break time I stayed awake and went through the pages inserting the new menu. I'm not using a css template so I'm doing each one individually. I'm into the site too deep now to back out but the next one I make will be done quite a bit differently. Anyway, I've got this site about how I want it for uploading more photos to it. It was cluttered with nav buttons until the new menu. It's not totally how I'd like it but it's much better than it was. I've still got a couple dozen pages to modify.

I got an email back from Carol Conti at ASGLA They liked the photos of the Laburnum lamp and wanted more information about its base. I think the shade photographed very well but I wasn't happy with the base and cap. They seemed pleased with the results.

I noticed last week that the Google search bots have finally indexed my Navy pages from the site. That's very cool because when I put the site together I placed several friends names within the html code. So...if they or a friend happens to run a search on their name they'll quite likely get directed to my site and the photos of themselves from 25 years ago. The message board is also there if they want to leave a message. This could be fun.

It's my weekend...just getting ready to pack up and head home. I need to sleep for a day and maybe more but I can't because I've got stuff I have to do. Such is my life but I'm not complaining...just kinda tired.

Friday, December 5, 2003

Tammy's Birthday

It's just turning past midnight as I write this and it's Now Tammy's birthday. We celebrated it with Rachel tonight because her dad is picking her up after school tomorrow and there won't be time then. I had hoped to secretly bake her a cake but there just wasn't a chance for me to do it without her knowing. Mom was going to do it for me but I figured it wasn't such a big deal if she knew what I was up to so I let her know that I was about do something I don't typically do much of...cook. Actually, it turned out very well...German chocolate...one of her favorites...and I made it a two layered cake. No simple single layer for my gal. All my surprises were found out about before their time as I'd set flowers out on the table for her tonight after she went to bed but she had to get up again and found them. That's okay because she went to sleep with a smile.

I'm very happy with the slides I took of my Laburnum lamp the other day. These are the best I've done and I'll be sending a couple off to the calendar people tomorrow. I'm hoping they can give me some feedback so I can re-shoot them if they think I need to.

Well, it's official...we had Toby and Allie to the vet today and it was determined that Toby is overweight! Allie weighs 6.2 lbs while Toby is 8.3. I wasn't surprised and now we'll have to work to keep him out of her food bowl. I'm sure hoping they'll both enjoy walking as Snickers did. I used to love our walks together. Everyday we'd go out for at least 45 minutes and sometimes over an hour. She looked forward to that time together so much and I enjoyed giving her that happiness. She would give me that look which said it was time for our walk. Sometimes she'd lead me over to the door in an excited way to let me know. When she was younger I used to hang her leash on a hook and she'd nudge it with her nose to let me know what she wanted. I'd really rather not write about her just yet because it's getting late and when I do talk about her I want to do it right. I think of you every day little one and forever will.

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Pressing On

I took yesterday off to spend time with Bryan He came over in the morning and we spent a couple hours trying to photograph my Laburnum lamp with his digital camera. They didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I told him I'd drag them into Photoshop to see if I could improve on them but I'm not very hopeful. After messing with the photographing we went over to Claudia and Ron's and visited with them and Tim. We spent a couple hours and had a nice visit. Bryan was going to get a photo of Ron but when I said I'd like to include it on the website Ron said 'no'. Whatever.

I had a Cluster h/a come on while we were there but I went into the bathroom and took and Imitrex and was able to knock it out after 20 minutes or so. I'm hoping I'm nearly done with them for this cycle...maybe another 7 to 10 days.



This is another photo of Bryan's which I like very much.

I said goodbye to Bryan and he headed over to Mom's for dinner and the night. I went back down in the shop and shot what was left in my camera and a roll of Kodak Professional slide film on the Laburnam lamp. I'd gotten the ASGLA (Association of Stained Glass Lamp Artists) newsletter in the mail the other day and it said that entries for the 2005 calendar need to be in by Feb 1st. I've shot several rolls of film on my lamps trying to get the color right but it's very difficult to have everything come together. I'll pick up the slides and prints today and see if I'm anywhere close to having something to submit.

I've been playing around with the Where's George website for a few months. You make a marking on a bill which prompts people to enter the bill's serial number into the website. For each time it's entered, it's tracked and the initiator receives a message telling them where the bill was entered back into the system. Anyway, I marked 11 one dollar bills with the Where's George tracking info and put them in an envelope and then left them on the front seat of Bryan's truck on my way to work this morning. I put a note on the envelope telling him it was to be used as coffee money on his way home and not to spend them all in one place and not to spend them anywhere near here.

I did poke my head in when I stopped by Mom's this morning to say hello and goodbye to Bryan. He got on the road by 5:45am and last I'd heard, he was just outside of Sioux Falls, SD around 10:00am. He's taking I-90 west toward Rapid City and then northwestward from there towards Portland. I think he had a nice visit.

Monday, December 1, 2003

Bryan (aka Dave)

My brother Bryan is in town for a few days on his way back to Portland. He's taking a month to travel the country in his truck and photograph his journey. Recently he quit his job and got out of the corporate rat race with the idea of taking a year off to put some effort into beginning his own business in photography. If anyone can make a go of it I think he can. He met his wife Sue at her mother's home in Hickory, NC for Thanksgiving. Apart from that one rendezvous, he's been on no particular schedule. On the way south out of Portland to Texas he stayed off the interstate and took the back roads which I thought was pretty cool. He's taken some beautiful photographs along the way...he's really got an eye for photography. This was in a bunch of photos he emailed me today...



Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, not all of them are as...what's the word I'm looking for...sad? Dark? Dreary? I'm not sure but his photos run the gamut.

So I'm sleeping soundly this morning and the phones wakes me up at 7:00. It was Bryan saying he'd be right over after he had breakfast. He got there around 7:45 and was attacked by Toby and Allie after I practically had to show him to them...these guys aren't the best watchdogs I've seen. We went down in the shop and got his laptop online after some minor glitches. We putzed around for a couple hours then I went up to take a shower and get ready for work. I took him to lunch at Perkins then he was heading for an oil change and Jackie and Jerry's.

We had a real nice visit. I suppose we talked mostly about family stuff...about Dad, Claudia and a little about Tim...we also touched on how he (Bryan) was doing and his kids. It was just real nice to sit across from him and talk. Before, when we'd get together I always felt like he was talking down to me but I didn't sense that this time. I'm not sure what the difference was...maybe I felt like he was listening more to what I had to say.

I burned him a copy of the new Jars of Clay cd and included a few songs from the Furthermore discs. I'm really liking and listening to this cd a lot.

I'm taking tomorrow off work to get together with Bryan again. He's going to drive to my house and I'll drive us over to Claudia's house to see her and Ron and Tim. I've been meaning to get over there and see Tim so this will do that for me.

Speaking of Toby and Allie...Tammy has been working with them daily using the 'clicker' training method. She's got them both sitting and laying on command. I've worked with them some but no nearly as much. Those little guys are sooo cute. They still have a ways to go before we can give them their potty training diplomas but they're making progress. Toby waits by the back door when he has to go out but you have to see him before long or he does what he has to do then resumes his playing. Allie's not far behind.