Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Christmas 2009

Two more pictures. Our bass player, and a picture of Nanaville under the tree.
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Christmas 2009

Here are a few pictures for the holidays. There are more at my Picasa Photosite. Piko keeping warm by the fire...

Piko attacking the new toy - she took out the caboose!
Rubyville, atop the fireplace.
This is Ruby of "Rubyville."
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite

I always loved this song...

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings.
With your feet on the ground,
You're a bird in flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite.

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmospere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

When you send it flyin' up there
All at once you're lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over houses and trees
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite.

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let' go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Cats :)

Auntie Brenda gave us this Kitty Condo/Tree thing because her cat didn't really ever use it. Well, it has new life now! All of my cats love it. They nap there, scratch (with their nubby toes) on the branches, and Piko is always playing on the top with her toys! You can see one of her string-toys hanging over the side.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sounds good - Spinach/Artichoke dip in a crock pot

Slow Cooker Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Heart Dip

You can make this dip ahead of time, keep it covered in the refrigerator and then, about an hour before the party, spread it into a slow cooker crock and heat on HIGH until bubbly.


1 tablespoon minced or chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and gently squeezed of excess water
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (water packed), drained and chopped
1 recipe Alfredo Sauce (see below)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Coat the inside of the crock of the slow cooker with canola cooking spray.

Add garlic, green onions, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl and stir to blend.

Spread mixture into the bottom of the prepared slow cooker crock and heat on HIGH until bubbly (about an hour). Serve warm with slices of wheat baguette bread, reduced fat-tortilla chips, or reduced-fat whole grain crackers.

Alfredo Sauce
1 tablespoon whipped butter or stick butter
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (or substitute whole or low-fat milk)
4 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in medium, nonstick saucepan. Stir in 1/3 cup of the fat-free half-and-half, 4 tablespoons Wondra flour, and nutmeg and pepper. Slowly stir in remaining half-and-half. Bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to gently boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens (about 4 minutes). Stir in 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrition Information: Per serving (just the dip): 75 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 150 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 42%.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I used a store-bought pie shell; omitted the cardamom (don't like that smell in my pumpkin pie!); and skipped the lemon zest because I don't have any.  The pie is in the oven right now and it smells wonderful!  Oh, and yes, I did use a sugar pumpkin instead of canned puree.  Pictures later...

  • 2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin* or from canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 good crust
To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seeds, of course). Cut into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft. Scoop out the pulp from the skin. Or you can bake whole or halved in a 350°F oven until fork tender. Optional - put pulp through a food mill or chinois to make extra smooth.

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.  Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.

3.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

4.  Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve with whipped cream. Serves 8.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Abbott and Costello Humor

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on...

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO : No, the name's Lou .

ABBOTT : Your computer?

COSTELLO : I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou .

ABBOTT : What about Windows?

COSTELLO : Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT : Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO : I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT : Wallpaper.

COSTELLO : Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT : Software for Windows?

COSTELLO : No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT : I just did.

COSTELLO : You just did what?

ABBOTT : Recommend something.

COSTELLO : You recommended something ?


COSTELLO : For my office?


COSTELLO : OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO : Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT : I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO : I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT : Word.

COSTELLO : What word?

ABBOTT : Word in Office.

COSTELLO : The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT : The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO : Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT : The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO : I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO : That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT : It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO : What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT : Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO : I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT : One copy.

COSTELLO : Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT : Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO : They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT : Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT : Click on 'START'..............

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three Kitties

It's an old pic, but darn cute! Lilikoi, Punkin and Piko.
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Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

I heard a cover of this Bob Dylan tune on the radio today. Now it's stuck in my brain.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don't matter, anyhow
An' it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'm trav'lin' on
Don't think twice, it's all right

It ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
That light I never knowed
An' it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road
Still I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talkin' anyway
So don't think twice, it's all right

It ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
Like you never did before
It ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
I can't hear you any more
I'm a-thinkin' and a-wond'rin' all the way down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
But goodbye's too good a word, gal
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall colors and first snow

From 10-10-09 Frosty October Morning

More pictures in the gallery linked to the picture.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Missing Dad...

Sat next to an older gentleman on the plane this morning. He dozed for the first half of the flight, but perked up after a cookie and glass of root beer. He started telling me stories... about his kids, his job when he was younger, the business he built and ran with his brother, how his son was in the Army years ago, how he's enjoying retirement, etc. He was going to visit his daughter in Kansas City. Her name is Sharon and she was born just 2 weeks after me! He has 7 kids, 5 boys and 2 girls. Plus some grandkids he was looking forward to visiting with.

It was nice to sit and listen to him tell his stories... but at the same time it made me a little bit sad. Love ya, Dad, and ALL your stories. Even the ones I heard a hundred times. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn Colors

Trees are starting to change colors. Soon the whole area will be a blaze of red, yellow and orange! :)

From Fall Colors

From Fall Colors

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It Was So Easy

It Was So Easy - Carly Simon/Jacob Brackman

I remember a time, rompin' through the woods
Sun against our skin instead of clothes
When we felt hungry we would eat, whn we felt glad we would dance
And whenever we felt drowsy we would doze

It was so easy then never takin' any stands
It was so easy then, holdin' hands

I remember a time when our fears could be named
And courage meant not refusing dares
I remember when we took such cares to step never on the cracks,
No only on the squares
Or else we'd be abducted by the bears

It was so easy then never makin' any plans
It was so easy then, holdin' hands
It was so easy then never makin' any plans
It was so easy then, holdin' hands

And now we are grown, with debts and regrets
And broken hearts and sentimental schemes
Now every tender failure seems to overthrow old dreams
Love can lead a normal woman to extremes

It was so easy once, holdin' hands without a plan
It was so easy once holdin' hands
Just holdin' hands

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Today's stuck song

Whipping Post - Allman Brothers

I been run down, I been lied to,
I don't know why I let that mean woman make me a fool.
She took all my money, wrecked my new car.
Now she's with one of my goodtime buddies,
They're drinkin' in some crosstown bar.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Good Lord, I feel like I'm dyin'.

My friends tell me, that I've been such a fool,
And I have to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin' you.
Drown myself in sorrow, and I look at what you've done.
But nothin' seems to change, the bad times stay the same,
And I can't run.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whipping post
Tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Good Lord, I feel like I'm dyin'.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whipping post
Tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Good Lord, I feel like I'm dyin'.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Juvenile Diabetes Research fundraiser

Fundraiser at work - dunk the boss!

From Dunk Tank Fun

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Supertramp - Goodbye Stranger

It was an early morning yesterday
I was up before the dawn
And I really have enjoyed my stay
But I must be moving on

Like a king without a castle
Like a queen without a throne
I'm an early morning lover
And I must be moving on

Now I believe in what you say
Is the undisputed truth
But I have to have things my own way
To keep me in my youth

Like a ship without an achor
Like a slave without a chain
Just the thought of those sweet ladies
Sends a shiver through my veins

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I'll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Goodbye strange its been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye mary, goodbye jane
Will we ever meet again
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Now some they do and some they don't
And some you just can't tell
And some they will and some they won't
With some its just as well

You can laugh at my behavior
That'll never bother me
Say the devil is my savior
But I dont pay no heed

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I'll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Goodbye strange its been nice

Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true

Uriah Heep - Traveller in Time

Every day I have to look to the sun
To see where it was that
I have come from
I have a feeling that
There must be a time

When Ill get a chance to go home
cause Im so tired
Of being here alone
But Im just a traveller in time
Trying so hard to pay for my crime

If I could go back
The same way I got here
And see the people that
I once held so near
Id do my best to
Find an answer for you

But first I must wait till Im set free
And I dont know
How long thats gonna be
cause Im a man with
A whole lot on his mind
Just out there somewhere
Travelling in time
Travelling in time

Ive tried for so long to find
Some way of helping mankind

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back Softball

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roses and a Bebbeh Bun

From 7-30-09

From 7-30-09

Kansas City

From 7-30-09

Not bad... sure wish all those power lines weren't in the way though.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's picture

From 6-18-09

USA 6, Japan 1 yeah!

Cat Osterman (1-0), pumped her left fist after striking out Rei Nishiyama to end the game. It was the 13th strikeout in a four-hitter for Osterman.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beach Boys

Today's stuck song - Shut Down

(Brian Wilson/Roger Christian)

Tach it up, tach it up
Buddy gonna shut you down

It happened on the strip where the road is wide
Two cool shorts standin' side by side
Yeah, my fuel injected Stingray and a four-thirteen
Revvin' up our engines and it sounds real mean
Tach it up, tach it up,
Buddy gonna shut you down

Declinin' numbers at an even rate
At the count of one we both accelerate
My Stingray is light the slicks are startin' to spin
But the four-thirteen's really diggin' in
Gotta be cool now power shift here we go

Superstock Dart is windin' out in low
But my fuel injected Stingray's really startin' to go
To get the traction I'm ridin' the clutch
My pressure plate's burnin' that machine's too much

Pedal's to the floor hear the dual quads drink
And now the four-thirteen's lead is startin' to shrink
He's hot with ram induction but it's understood
I got a fuel injected engine sittin' under my hood

Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down
Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down
Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down
Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down
Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down 

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cussing at work

Dear Employees:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Therefore, a list of 18 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

Number 1

TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.

INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.

Number 2

TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.

INSTEAD OF: She's a f___ing bit__.

Number 3

TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.

INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?

Number 4

TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.

INSTEAD OF: No f___ing way.

Number 5


INSTEAD OF: You've got to be sh___ing me!

Number 6

TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with...

INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a sh__.

Number 7

TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.

INSTEAD OF: It's not my f___ing problem.

Number 8

TRY SAYING: That's interesting.

INSTEAD OF: What the f___?

Number 9

TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.

INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.

Number 10

TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that.

INSTEAD OF: Why the f___ didn't you tell me sooner?

Number 11

TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues...

INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.

Number 12

TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?

INSTEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.

Number 13

TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?

INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.

Number 14

TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.

INSTEAD OF: F__ it, I'm on salary.

Number 15

TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.

INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.

Number 16

TRY SAYING: I love a challenge.

INSTEAD OF: This f___ing job sucks.

Number 17

TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?

INSTEAD OF: Who the f___ died and made you boss?

Number 18

TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.

INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

Thank You,

Human Resources

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Homegrown tomatoes

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son:

Dear Pop, Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried. Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son:

Dear Pop, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances. Love, Vinnie

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A shoe day

I was at a mall one day when I happened to look in the window of a shoe store and spied what I thought would be the perfect pair of shoes.  Ok, what the heck, I can at least try one on.  I glanced up at the store front, noticing a name up there that seemed feminine and European at the very least.  RED FLAG NUMBER ONE!!!  Oh well, those shoes are so perfect, I will at least have a closer look. 

I walk into the store and am greeted by a young sales representative who introduces herself as an expert on a perfect fit.  Wow, that's impressive.  I say I already know I wear a size 8.5 narrow.  She glances at my feet with a skeptical look on her face.  I point to the shoes in the window, and say I want to try those, in my size.  She goes into the back room and emerges a few minutes later with 4 boxes.

So I sit down, remove my beat up old (but sooo comfy) flip-flop, and she hands me the left shoe from the top box.  I hold it in my hand, feeling the fine workmanship.  I sniff it briefly...  heavenly leather!  The shape is perfect, nice smooth rounded toe, not too much of a heel.  I slip on the prerequisite disposable stocking. 

Before trying on the shoe, I inquire about the price.  Oops, I knew I forgot to ask something.  Her answer stuns me!  Wow, I think I'd rather buy a new car for that kind of money!  Ahh well, I will at least try it on.

She reaches in her pocket, produces a shiny silver shoe horn, and reaches for my ankle.  I say, "No thanks, I'll put it on myself."  I place it on the floor, and begin to slide my foot in.  Utoh, trouble ahead.  RED FLAG NUMBER TWO!  Nope, it's not going in there.  She removes the lid from the second box in the stack, saying that this shoe normally runs a bit small, and this is the next size up.  (Whew, at least it's only a 9!)

So I hand back the first one, and repeat the process with the second one.  This one seems a bit more promising.  Ok well maybe not.  As I move around like a Michael Jackson dance, wiggling and contorting myself, I wonder what this must look like. 

At last, victory!  Although I sort of feel like Cinderella's evil step sister with the glass slipper.

I stand up with one shoe on.  Oh the pain of being a woman!  It looks perfect; but I will have to meditate as I walk just to block out the sensation of pinched nerves in my toes.  So I finally give in and agree to a fitting.

This is a tad bit uncomfortable, having a stranger grope my foot.  "Stand up" she says, and I swear my foot became instantly longer and wider just by standing in that sizer thingie!  "Well, here's the problem," she says, "you're actually a 10.5 medium!"  Oh bah, you're just trying to make me feel bad.  She gathers up the shoes and boxes in front of me, and says she'll be back in a minute.  While she is gone, I start reconsidering my definition of a perfect shoe. 

Looking around at all the choices of shoes, it becomes clear to me that I will have to find out what is available in my size and price range.  The creator saw fit to bless me with feet bigger than they deserve to be!  Well lucky for me, my 'perfect fit specialist' had already thought of that.  She emerges from the back room with 5 or 6 boxes.

"I'm sorry, but the shoe you like does not come in a size bigger than 9.5.  I have several similar styles here, plus a couple other styles that might interest you; all in your size."  Oh lucky day.  I ask her to sort them by price, having come to the realization that I am really in the wrong shoe store.  So now the boxes are all arranged in front of me, lowest to highest price.  Well that helps narrow down my choices.  I point to the first box (lowest price) and she lifts the lid.  Ehh, not too bad but damn, that pointy toe! 

I am able to slip into the left shoe quite easily.  So she hands me a disposable stocking and the right shoe.  I manage to slip into the right one also, and stand up to look in the mirror.  Uhmm, these pointy shoes squeeze my toes so bad, it makes me look like I have a double chin!  They sort of remind me of Madonna's ... ok never mind.  Next, please.

A little bit of jiggling, squirming and forcing and my feet are in another new pair.  They seem roomy enough, but they definitely force my feet into some sort of unnatural shape.  Next, please.

Slip, slide, in they go, and my feet are all pretty now.  But why do I need shiny black patent leather spike heel pumps?  RED FLAG NUMBER THREE!  It is time to admit defeat, and make a hasty retreat.

I think I will go buy my pointy, squishey, squeezy, nerve pinching, unnaturally shaped shoes at Wal-Mart.

This leads me to two conclusions.  Feet, like noses and ears, begin to grow again at around age 40 and do not stop.  And, men are the exclusive designers of women's shoes.  They don't have to wear 'em so it matters not how it feels on a foot.

Makes me wonder what I will look like at age 70, romping around in Shaq's sneakers.  ;)

(this story isn't really about buying shoes.  Feel free to substitute a different body part and a ladies' undergarment in the appropriate places!)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Weird dream

Really weird dream last nite - sort of a "Thriller" blended with Dad.  Dad was sitting on a chair, his face was sort of ashen/grey, his eyes were circled in dark, almost black, sort of like Michael Jackson's face in the Thriller video.  Dad's head would start nodding forward, and somebody would yell from behind me, "John!"  His head would pop up again.  This happened 3 or 4 times, then he decided he would go nap.  I was standing by his bedroom door, and he would snooze for a few minutes, then pop up out of bed, jumping up like a young man!  He would rush out of the room asking what time it was, he was late for something-or-other.  I told him he'd only been napping for 5 minutes, he looked puzzled, then went back to bed.  This also happened 3 or 4 times.  Then I remember a funeral, but I don't really know who it was for.  Tons of "beautiful" people milling around.  Probably like MJ or Farrah's funeral.  Weird...

Then I woke up. 

Now that I have this typed up, the dream can leave my head as dreams usually do.  I bet if I go back to this post in a few days or a week or so, I won't really even remember it. 

Friday, July 03, 2009


Where do you 'let it all out' when there's nobody or no place...  Is that what a blog is for?

Well today was one of those days... leaves me wondering where the hell I am going.  But maybe it would be better for me (and probably the rest of the world) to just shut up and forget it.

Maybe tomorrow I will go find something nice to take pictures of.  Working on bouncing back, but it will take time.  Feel like I've been steamrolled, bulldozed, and put through a wringer all in one day.  So tomorrow will be better, right?  Promise me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Rockford Thunder and Brian

From 6-18-09

We went to a Thunder game last night.  It was very good.  Cat threw a 1-hitter, 14 strikeouts, and Rockford won 2-0.  After two days of sadness and tears, it felt sort of good to celebrate a win.

We got this picture of Brian and the entire team.  He liked getting this picture taken!  ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One more picture

Of the entire Kellen Family!

Neil, Susan, Michelle, Mom, Dad, Laura, Sharon, Vince

John Joseph Kellen 7/14/1930-6/11/2009

My dad passed away this morning after a lengthy battle with cancer and Parkinson's.  I know he is finally free of his health problems now.  I am SURE he is in heaven.  I am going down to Mom's tomorrow, to help get the arrangements started.  Here are a few pictures:

Bad jokes, stories about the Korean War, the smell of a cigar, a cold beer with lunch, watching the Notre Dame football games, fish soup at Christmas, all will always remind me of my dad.  Baseball, Touhy Avenue, 618 East Golf Road, taking flowers to the wholesaler's market at 5am and watching the sunrise, countless trips to the zoo, or museum, or downtown to see Buckingham Fountain, and yes even a Cubs game...  Do you remember the giant hunk of tootsie roll we had in the basement refrigerator?  Or how about the time Dad with his bandana tied around his head, no shirt, came buzzing along in Larry's Nova to pick up Laura, and her friends thought Dad was actually her brother?  ;) 
The more I think about this day, the more I think that we always were a close family, despite the miles between us, and we always did the best we could to help daddy through these past few years.  I am glad Heather and I got to spend the afternoon with him a few weeks ago, even though he told the same stories, I always liked hearing him talk about his good ol' days.
I was always interested in those stories he told about when he was a kid.  Those are always fun to listen to.  I am glad he started talking with his siblings a few years ago, and at least he had HIS family back together again. 
I am also very very thankful that Mom has Aunt Linda nearby.  She spent the afternoon with Mom today.  (they got drunk on Southern Comfort Old Fashioneds!)Tomorrow Susan and I will help Mom get through the first planning stages for Dad's funeral and wake. 
This is gonna be tough for any of us....   all of us.  Dad was so well-loved and well-respected by everyone who knew him.  I am sooooo glad I got to visit with him just a couple  weeks ago.  We swapped stories, ate cheese/crackers/salami and beer for the afternoon.  it was great...
I gotta go to bed... gniters

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chimney bird

Here's another picture of a bird, sitting on top of a neighbor's chimney!

From Mothers Day 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009


From Mothers Day 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009


I dont know where Im going
But, I sure know where Ive been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An Ive made up my mind,
I aint wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again

Tho I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what Im looking for
Oh lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on,
cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An here I go again on my own
Goin down the only road Ive ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An Ive made up my mind
I aint wasting no more time

Im just another heart in need of rescue,
Waiting on loves sweet charity
An Im gonna hold on
For the rest of my days,
cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An here I go again on my own
Goin down the only road Ive ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An Ive made up my mind
I aint wasting no more time

But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go...

An Ive made up my mind,
I aint wasting no more time

An here I go again on my own
Goin down the only road Ive ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An here I go again on my own
Goin down the only road Ive ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An Ive made up my mind
I aint wasting no more time...

But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go,
Here I go again...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! 

Here is a picture of the flowers my daughter sent.  The photo is linked to a gallery with some more pics of the pretty flowers!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainy days

It's been raining for the past 36-48 hours.  Might keep raining through tomorrow.  Here's a picture from my livingroom window.  I think the rain streaked window sorta looks cool.

From 4-26-09

Birthday Flowers :)

From 4-26-09

A picture of the flowers Heather and Justin sent me for my b-day.  They're so pretty!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cpl. Tsuffis

Brian, in Afghanistan.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CDC Alert

The Center for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically.

This virus is called Weekly Overload Recreational Killer (WORK).

If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever - DO NOT TOUCH IT!!! This virus will wipe out your private life entirely. If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises.

Take two good friends to the nearest liquor store and purchase one or both of the antidotes - Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) and Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should immediately forward this medical alert to five friends. If you do not have five friends, you have already been infected and WORK is, sadly, controlling your life. Get help immediately.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tax plan

I need to change my "Humor" tag to be "Humor or Sarcasm."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wah Wah - George Harrison

You've given me a wah-wah
And I'm thinking of you
And all the things that we used to do
Wah-wah, wah-wah

You made me such a big star
Being there at the right time
Cheaper than a dime
Wah-wah, you've given me your wah-wah, wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Oh, you don't hear me sighing

I don't need no wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free from the wah-wah
I don't need no wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Hey baby, you don't hear me sighing
Oh, no no-no no

Now I don't need no wah-wah's
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free - of wah-wah
I don't need no wah-wah

Wah-wah (repeat and fade)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Such is life (or suck?)

No pictures in this post, just venting and ranting.

My travel wheelchair broke nearly 3 weeks ago in the Milwaukee airport. I was on my way to Ohio, the first of two back-to-back trips. I had to leave it in my car and do without. The Detroit airport is so huge, I was beginning to think my legs were going to give out on me. I was travelling with a co-worker who didn't seem like he wanted me along for the trip. So I tried to make it as painless as possible for him, which wound up biting me in the ass instead. By the end of the trip I was in too much pain. Then I had another trip to Madison, which thankfully did not involve airports. It did, however, involve an old old building with no elevators, a huge flight of stairs up and down, and a hotel room WAAAYYY down the hall from the elevator. Pile on more pain. BLAH.

My nice comfy primary wheelchair needs new batteries and tires. About 4 weeks ago it started leaving a daily or twice-daily drip of oil on the floor at my desk. (the nice, comfy - but old - primary chair lives at work since my van got smashed up over a year ago and I can't get a loan for a new one so I can't bring it home with me anymore. bah.) So now I have to fix or more likely replace my fave chair. :(

I have worked with a place called The Wheelchair Guy for my travel wheelchair for a couple years now. So I called them up to find out about getting a new primary chair. Guess what. They are not a provider in my secondary insurance's network so they can't work with me. (Different funding source for the travel wheelchair which is not my insurance.) So I dig up the provider directory and there it says "for durable medical equipment, your doctor will have the list of providers." BAH! So I make an appointment, and went in to see him yesterday.

Doctor seems unprepared to tell me where to go. Doctor asks nurse to call a place about 20 minutes away, to see if they accept both my primary and secondary insurance. They said yes, they do. So he writes up a prescription for a wheelchair and tells me to contact the place.

I go to the place today. Guess what. They only sell manual chairs. UGH. They refer me to another place about 5 minutes away from them, and off I go. Get to the other place, lady inside confirms that they do indeed accept both of my insurances. Ok so far so good. Then she points me to a small collection of used electric wheelchairs and scooters. I'm like... uhmmm... none of these are going to suit my needs at all. Asked if we could talk about new chairs. She says "well we're getting out of the business of electric chairs, and we don't carry new ones anymore." AIEEEEE! Ok, can she refer me to some place in southeast WI that does? "oh, yes," she says, "there's a place in West Bend that's very good." I ask what is the West Bend place's name? "The Wheelchair Guy," she says. GRRRRRRRRRR

I said they won't take both of my insurances, so she made a few calls and got me the name of yet another provider that was another 20 minutes down the road. At this point I am very tired, giving up for the day. Going home to do my own research to see what chairs are out there, etc. Never thought trying to do something about my wheelchair would turn out to be such a run-around.

While at the doctor yesterday, talked about some other problems I seem to be having including a headache that has been long-lasting and constant - about a month now. He asked a bunch of questions, did some initial assessments, and is sending me off for an MRI of my noggin and a digital-video-recorded swallow study next week. Said something about having to rule out brain tumors or neurological damage before deciding what to do about all the weird things going on in my upper-body region. Not sure what I'm hoping for on all that. I'd like to know why all these things are happening but sort of worried about what might be discovered.

Sigh. The rant is long enough and my hands are tired. laterz...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Spring Forward

Which just means we all lose an hour of sleep.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Big Sky WiFi

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years. They came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago. Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 200 feet, and shortly after, a story in the LA Times read, "California Archaeologists Find Traces of 200 yr-old Copper Wire, concluding that their ancestors had high-tech communications 100 years before the New Yorkers" One week later, The Great Falls Tribune, a local newspaper in Montana, reported "After digging as deep as 300 feet in his flower garden in Great Falls, Jack Kooker, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Jack has concluded that 300 years ago, Montana had already gone wireless.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Word of the day

Today's word: LIQUIDITY - When you look at your investments and wet your

Tomorrow we'll learn SOLIDARITY