Saturday, February 5, 2011

32 Year Reunion, Foci and Catching up at Kami

It occurred to me that I forgot to mention in my last update a reunion I had a week ago last Monday night with a friend from my Navy days aboard the USS Fresno; Mike Milner. I'd just gotten home from work and was online checking out the day's postings on Facebook when I got an instant message from Mike. (I need to pause here for just a moment to say that I can't think of any other resource that comes anywhere near to doing what Facebook does with respect to helping people reestablish connections from their past) Mike was in town on a layover and was at Barnes and Noble at Mall of America, stuck in town because Homeland Security had yanked him from his flight back to the Philippines just as he was boarding...a whole other story that I won't go into here. It was just after 7:00pm and I told him to hang tight and that I'd be there in less than a half hour.

It had been more than 32 years since I'd last seen Mike. He got his discharge papers while we were in the Philippines on our WestPac deployment. He remained in the P.I. several more weeks before heading for the States and home but today the Philippines is his home as he's semi-retired there.

The one odd thing about seeing someone again after so much time is finding out that not much has really changed. You both look about the same (at least to one another) and you sort of pick up where you left off. Mike has much more hair than when I remembered him but that was about it. The smile was still there as was the voice and mannerisms. Sort of like when I recounted reunions with both Paul and Mike. It was a nice few hours we spent together.

Between my truck and my body, life is becoming more expensive the older we both get. I've had a few issues with my truck lately (ball joints, fuel regulator, tires and rear axles totaling well over $2000) that have had me wondering if I maybe should've sold it last year and found something much newer. It'll be 10 years old in a few months but still I suppose it's cheaper than a new vehicle payment, plus I've vowed to keep driving it while Rachel is in college...at least her first 4 years. As for my health I'm in for some dental work in the next few weeks in the form of my first crown. I've been steadily chipping parts off one of my molars and it's time to cap it. We took out dental insurance last year knowing we'd both need it for work we'll soon be having and our year waiting period is now over. Is there any worse shot than that of Novocain?

Tammy and I finally made it back to Foci yesterday afternoon and were greeted by Roxanne as we came up the back steps. We learned that Danielle (she recently moved to the Pacific Northwest) tamed and named her. We'll be bringing her a bunch of treats (sunflower seeds and suet) when we return next week. It's been months since we've been back and that fact had been weighing on me. We sat and watched Steve and Liz do a couple pieces to help remind ourselves of the processes involved. We enjoy watching Steve because he's all about explaining exactly what he's doing and why. So much of the technique behind the art is very subtle and easily missed by novices like us.

We made arrangements with Steve to get together with him later next week for a few hours so he can help get us back up to where we're both comfortable practicing our few skills on our own and continuing our progression.

Rachel came back into town this afternoon and spent time on the couch studying with the pups by her side before catching what looked like a much needed nap. We took her out to dinner to Kami in Apple Valley where we each ordered the all-you-can-eat sushi. It was nice to be able to sit down with her and have her fill us in on school and friends. Her favorite class is Ethics. She's signed up for a spring trip to Memphis as part of a leadership group she's involved with. She was hoping to be the only one from UMR attending but she just learned that a friend of hers will also be going. She wanted to use the trip to meet new people and doesn't want to feel obligated to spend time with her friend rather than mingling. I have no doubt she'll have a ton of new friends when the trip is done.

Speaking of college; we've got one year paid for. How many more remain we're not really sure but we feel blessed to be able to take this burden off her for now.

Today is a stained-glass day to be spent down in the shop making progress on panel 6 of 6 with 107.9 to keep me company and the occasional visits by the pups.

This winter has been one ripe with major snowstorms that have been crippling much of the country including even the southern-most states. it was quite dead at work toward the middle of the week as a snowstorm effectively shut down Chicago, O'hare and much of the east coast causing thousands of flights to be cancelled. Rather than being at work taking advantage of that easy money I was on the DL having had my 2nd colonoscopy in the last 3 years. It looks like I'll be going back again in another 3 years if not sooner thanks to a couple of polyps that are no more.

The snowbank at the bottom of our driveway continues to grow and we've got our snowiest months yet remaining. If I was a kid I can guarantee you that I'd have that mound hollowed out and turned into a killer snow-fort but I'm afraid my tunneling days are a few years behind me.

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