Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Have you ever wondered why we dream the things we do? Was there something from the day that caused the dream? Was it unfinished business or some other logical reason for the dream? For the last two weeks my dreams have been of my sister Tracy, my Mom, my step Dad and my grandmother. All of which have passed away.

In one dream ,I was a waiter and I was serving lunch to my Mom and step Dad Ray. I was having a great conversation and they invited me to sit with them and take a break. In another Mamaw was in the kitchen cooking dumplings and I was outside doing chores. She then called me in for dinner and said that I have been working too hard and needed to stop for the day. I have had several dreams with all of them but I don't remember any details.

I wish I knew what this was all about. I guess it must be the season and I miss them all.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Italian Cookies

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All Melanie wanted for her birthday was Italian cookies. It is a big chore to make those cookies. you have to make your dough and then roll it out as flat as you can get it. I use to use a rolling pin to accomplish the rolling but then I got a pasta roller. It cuts the time almost in half and the cookies come out even. After the cookies are rolled out, cut them into 1/2 inch strips while you have the oil on to heat to 350 degrees. Then deep fry the strips until golden brown, just about 2 minutes. When all of the cookies have been cooked it is time for the glaze. The traditional glaze is a honey mixture. In a pot pour your honey and about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Do not boil as the honey will burn. At this point you can also add rum or whiskey and stir into the honey to have a little kick added to the cookies. Dip the cookies into the hot honey mixture and then set aside on wax paper to dry. Another less traditional method is to coat the cookies with powdered sugar and cinnamon I like both ways but the honey is my favorite.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dogs Christmas

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Maggie and Christy supervise Melanie in the opening of their stocking. Larry and Princess are so excited they don't even pay attention to the bag of chips. Larry gets his snowman at last. Maggie is trying to choose which one she wants to play with.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dog busted getting into the presents

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I busted Larry trying to take the dogs present from under the tree. He looked at me and then dropped it. You can see his ears are back because he was embarrassed. I'm glad that I caught him because he would have taken it to the back yard and buried it! Bad dog! I think he made the naughty list.


Well today I reached the goal that I set for the year. After today’s platelet donation I have donated 20 gallons of blood and blood product. I only made 20 donations this year out of a maximum of 24 for a year. All of my donations were a double platelet except one. It was a triple! I think of the people that I help with my donation and the medical problems that they have and thank God that I am healthy enough to be able to help. My goal for the new year is to make all 24 donations. I have my first appointment set for January 9th.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wind Chimes

I have a wind chime that hangs inside my house. It is hand blown glass humming birds with glass chimes. It belonged to my mother. I was walking by it one day and I supose the draft made it chime. I looked up and said "Hi Mom." I always think about her but even more so at Christmas. She so loved the holidays.

On my blog I have a quote of the day. I like to read the quotes and see how they apply to my daily living. The quote today was:" One lives in the hope of becoming a memory".Antonio Porchia I know that my Mom did just that. She will live on in my heart forever.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On Frozen Pond

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The first freeze of the winter. This is at 10:30 and the ice is still there. The Koi are all on the bottom at the deep end. Even the bird bath was iced over!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas tree

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In the past I would wait as long as possible to put up the Christmas tree.(One year I didn't even put the tree up.) This year I put the tree up the earliest that I ever have. Jenn and Jordon came over with Paul and the girls to help Ashley and Christopher decorate it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Owl House Update

Well, it has been almost a year since my project was completed. It was quite a chore getting the house to the top of the tree. It was a big production getting it attached to the tree limb as well. Looking back, building it was the easy part! I keep looking up at the box but I have not seen any signs that anything has moved in. The perch looks the same as does the paint job. I even keep looking on the ground under the house to see if I can see any droppings or even an owl pellet. Nothing. No visible signs at all.

Then, the other day Christopher tells me that the owls are too loud and he can't sleep at night. I said "Yeah, right." "No, really Dad you need to pull the house down." he tells me. I have been listening but I didn't hear anything. We came home late on Thanksgiving from my dad's house. As I was walking up the walkway to the front door I heard it. "Whoo.....Whooo". I opened the front door and let everyone in and then went back outside to see if I could see anything. I heard it again. It sounded like it was coming from the tree on the side of the house. I stayed very still looking in the dark to get a glimpse of what was making this sound. ( I researched the sound on line and it sounds like a Horned owl.)

I waited but could not determine where exactly the sound came from or what had made it. It is still a mystery. I now have a new past time in the evenings, looking for owls. I may have to just sit up on the deck for an evening. I will see if I can get a picture. If not then maybe I can get a sound track to post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009


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It had been many years since I shot archery. I guess it's like riding a bicycle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blood donation

It was a typical Saturday morning for me. I was up at 5:30 and out of the house by 6:30, heading to the blood bank for my platelet donation. The deer were on the side of the road munching on the green grass and paying no attention to the cars driving by. I arrived to be blood bank at 10 till 7 and am amazed to see that there are no other cars in the parking lot. Usually there are 5 or so cars. I park and walked up to the building and see all of the usual faces.

John greets me as usual and knows my name before I even give him my ID. (That is impressive given his advanced years.) I fill out my paperwork and Shari checks me in. I get to the donation room and there are staff sitting all around with nothing to, how sad. This time of year it is so important to keep the supplies going. The truth of the matter is people are going out of town or have family in town and don’t take the time for the donation.

I sat down and selected my movie. I watched Ghost of Girlfriends Past. It was very funny movie. I turned down the shirt post donation. I have so many shirts at home I don’t have room for any more. I went to the snack room to have a juice and coffee before leaving. That is when I met Mr. P.

He walked around the corner and smiled before having a seat across from me. His grey hair was cropped in military style and he was dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt. He appeared to in his seventies. I struck up a conversation with him. He was there to give platelets. He explained that he would organize the blood drives at his work and someone mentioned to him he could give platelets. He said that he gives his 24 times a year and has been since he doesn’t know when.

I am certain that Mr. P must have at least 60 gallons of blood product donations. That simply amazes me. I went over 19 gallons with this donation and still have a few more donations to go before I reach my 24 for the year. Mr. P is my new hero. He takes the time to give of him self to help others for so long. I hope I can follow his example and keep giving as long as I am able.

I often think of the lives that I have touched with my donations. Who received my blood product and why? Were they young or old? Were they a good person? Did they survive what ever the reason for the need of my blood product? I will never know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This Little Piggy

I have a pair of shoes that I keep at work. They are very broken in. In fact I have had to suture them up several times now. I just can’t part with them. That is one reason why they are at work. If I brought them home I would be afraid they would disappear. I have a new pair that is exactly the same only in black. The problem is most new shoes hurt my little piggy that cried all the way home on my right foot. That is a story all its own.

The house we lived in while we were in Pecan Valley had a laundry room just inside the back door. That was one of our play rooms. There was a pipe that ran across the ceiling. Donnie and I loved to climb up on the washer and dryer and leap to the pipe. We then would swing out from the pipe and land on a pile of clothes. All the while yelling like Tarzan. Oh what fun!

We also make our lunch quite often. Peanut butter and jelly was a staple. We liked to use the Bama swirl. It is the two swirled together. Back in the day most everything came in a glass jar. Donnie was making his sandwich and the jar slipped out of his hands and fell to the floor. Of course not wanting to get into trouble he cleaned up his mess with a towel. (I’m sure by now a picture is starting to form.)

Latter that day we were playing Tarzan in the laundry room. I pushed the dirty clothes out the door to have a soft landing place. I climbed up on the washer and started my very best yell. I jumped out and grabbed the pipe, swung out and let go. I made a perfect landing in the pile. I felt a pinch on my foot. I looked down and saw blood everywhere.

I backed off the clothes and looked down at my foot. The little toe was dangling off to the side and blood was dripping very fast. Donnie grabbed a dish towel and wrapped up my foot and hollered for Mom. One more trip to the emergency room. I think they knew us on a first name basis as we were there a lot!

The toe was stitched back on with apparently little trouble. I don’t recall how many stitches it took but the scar goes completely around the toe. To this day I still can’t bend the little toe or even move it. I just started to get feeling back in it.

That is why I love my old shoes. I have them broken in really well. They have stretched in all the right places and my little piggy doesn’t cry all the way home!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Leap of Faith

It was one of those summer days where we had nothing to do. So, being the children of our father, we went looking for something to keep us entertained. We went all over the neighborhood looking for friends but everyone was busy doing something inside (that usually meant they were grounded!) So we kept looking. I suggested that we explore the area around the water tower, so off we went.

There was a gravel road that made its way up a hill and at the top was the water tower. Well, it was more a storage tank than a tower. Think of the oil storage tanks at a refinery, about thirty five to forty feet tall with a flat top. We arrived to the top of the hill and proceeded to check out the boonies. We noticed on the side of the tower there was a ladder that went to the top. I looked over to Donnie and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” “Let’s do it!”

The ladder started about ten feet from the ground. We spent a few minutes jumping up to catch the bottom rung. No go, we were too short and could not jump that high. After a few more minutes of problem solving, Donnie gave me a boost up. I was able to grab the rung and then interlocked my fingers around the ladder. Donnie then used me as an extension of the ladder and climbed over me. At last we were on our way to the top.

The view was great! We could see the entire neighborhood. We walked the perimeter of the tower and took it all in. On the back side of the tower you could see where they had to clear out part of the rock structure that the hill was made of to get the tank to fit. (Actually it was coral, not rock. It’s an island!)What we failed to realize is that as we could see the neighborhood, the neighborhood could see us!

We heard the car driving up the gravel road before we saw it. We went to the road side and then we saw the flashing lights of the Military Police vehicle. Oh crap! Busted! We backed away from the side so they could no see us. That’s when we heard it. The bull horn, “Get off the tower now!” I looked at Donnie, “What the hell do we do now?” “Dads going to kill us!” he proclaimed.

We had little time to think it over. We got on our bellies and crawled over to the edge where the ladder was located. There were two MPs standing at the bottom trying to reach the bottom rung. They tried and tried with out success. “We’re saved” I thought as I saw one walking back to the car. Then my heart fell when I realized what they were doing. They were pulling the car up to the tower so they could climb on the car to reach the ladder. We backed away and started looking for a way out.

The back side of the tower where the hill was excavated was our only chance. The ledge of the hill was about ten feet down and about fifteen feet away from the tower. We had to make a decision and fast, we could hear them coming up the ladder. “Let’s do it” I whispered. I went to the middle of the tower and ran as fast as I could. I made a running leap and landed about a foot onto the ledge and rolled to the tree line. When I looked up I saw Donnie running in mid air. It was like it was in slow motion. He landed in about the same place I did and rolled over to the tree line as well. Talk about a pounding heart!

We ducked into the trees and laid flat against the tall grass. We could see the MPs walking the top of the tower. Reaching up and wiping the sweat off their brows. They looked very perplexed. They couldn’t figure out what happened to us. It was as if we disappeared into thin air! We headed off down the back side of the hill and off into the boonies. We were hauling butt because we could not be sure if they would investigate further.

We made it to Hells hole and then stopped for a breather. There was no way they could catch us now. We sat down and I looked over at Donnie. He had blood on his leg! The bleeding had stopped and didn’t look stitches bad. The only thing we could figure is that when he rolled with the jump he must have scratched it on a piece of coral.

We made our way through Hells hole and slowly through the neighborhood, making sure that no one was looking for us. What had started off as a boring day turned into a great adventure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hells Hole

The most favorite place for the Mullins boys to hang out while on Okinawa was the boonies. It was like our playground. There was always something to do or someplace new to explore. One such place that we found was thick with trees and always felt much hotter than it was on the street. That is why we called it hells hole, it was hot as hell!

It was while we were in hells hole that we discovered another aspect of the island. When people would move from the island and they did not want to take their dog with them and could not find anyone to take it, they just turned it loose. The dogs formed packs of feral dogs that roamed the boonies. We referred to them as boonie dogs.

One day while we were down there the dogs caught our sent. They were not afraid of us in the least. Before we knew it we were surrounded by a pack. There must have been 15 to 20 dogs. There was no place to go. That’s when Donnie shouted “up, go up”. And that’s what we did. We all scrambled up the trees as high as we could go.

Before we knew it we were at the tops of the trees and out of the dogs reach. We were trapped! There was no place to go and the dogs were not going anywhere. So I continued to climb up. Up and out the top for the tree. I looked around and it was a sea of green. There were vines growing across the tops of the trees and was binding the branches together. I lay flat as I pulled myself completely out of the tree. It was like I was floating!

I stuck my head down and shouted for the rest to continue up and out the top. Before long everybody was lying on top of the trees and poking our heads down to see if the dogs were losing interest. They were still sniffing and roaming around. We could either stay where we were or we could try to move away. It was decided to see if we could travel the tree tops.

We started off spider crawling across the tops of the trees. It was slow at first but then we got the hang of it. Before we knew it we were a distance from where the dogs were. In fact we were having so much fun we had completely forgotten about they dogs! We poked our head through the trees and the dogs were gone.

That was the first time we had encountered the dogs and it wouldn’t be our last. As that was our first time “tree crawling” but it wouldn’t be our last either. It was so much fun to travel the tree tops and explore the boonies from a new perspective. It amazes me how we were so inventive back then and dared to think outside the box.

Think outside the box. There is no telling what you can accomplish and no telling what you may find out about your self. You might be surprised!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fireworks and young boys

Fireworks on Okinawa were no big deal. Anyone could go to the market and purchase them. In fact, most of the Mullins boys spent our allowance money (and birthday money and Christmas money) on fireworks. Nothing was more fun than finding new and interesting ways to use what we bought.

One firework that we just loved to pop was called a 2B bomb. This one was way cool! There was no need for a match. The firework struck on a match box. It would smoke white and then smoke yellow before popping. We learned that if you waited for the yellow smoke you could toss it in water and it would still pop. There was a creek that ran through the boonies and it was full of these eel looking fish. They would act like Koi, if you tossed something in the water they would school around it. We would spend a lot of time down there tossing in the 2B bombs and disorienting the eels. Oh what fun for boys with nothing better to do!

Models were very cheap over there as well. We would put the models together and spend hours blowing them up with just about any firework we had available. Sometimes we would open up the firecrackers and spill the contents to another container in an attempt to make a larger impact on the object of our “affection”. We tried to make a small cannon once. Our first attempt used aluminum arrow shafts. All they did was mushroom out on us after the fuse was lit. Something sturdier was necessary if we were to make this work. We took an empty CO2 cartridge and packed it with the powder from firecrackers. We used the fuses twisted together to make a long fuse and when we lit it we ran! It turned out to be more like a rocket than a cannon! It shot off in one direction while the projectile went the other. A few minutes later there was a small grass fire that was in the general direction the projectile went. Oops!

Perhaps the worst thing we ever did involved the use of bottle rockets. We would use them to send messages up. Not that we would ever find them, it was just fun, for awhile. Then we had this hair brained idea to launch a lizard. Why not, they were all over the place. We caught several lizards and tried several methods of tying them to the bottle rocket. We had them tethered with a sling, tied directly to the stick, what ever way we could attach them. Sadly, looking back, I don’t believe that any of the poor creatures survived.

I highly recommend that if you have boys mixed with fireworks you keep a close eye on them so they don’t try these themselves. Model rockets have a compartment for sending up a payload safely!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The cost of health Insurance

I received my benefits pamphlet this week to go over so I can be ready to make my choices next month during open season. Boy was I shocked by the changes. They say that the cost will be lower for most employees. I found out that I am not most employees. My biweekly premium is going up by 30 dollars a pay period. If that is not bad enough, the insurance is going from a 90/10 to an 80/20! My deductible is going up from 600 dollars to 1000 dollars and my max out-of-pocket is going up to 8000 dollars. This new plan is now going to cost me over the year 12800 dollars, over 1000 dollars a month. But what can you do except take what they offer. At least I have insurance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The "chrysalis"

I was in my back yard this last weekend trying to start my lawnmowers. With the drought there has not been a need to cut the grass. I noticed that there was a dead insect and it brought back a memory that makes me laugh out loud every time.

We moved to Okinawa in the summer and after we settled down in the house we had a lot of exploring to do. During our explorations if we found something interesting or something that we did not know what it was we would bring it back to the expert, our Dad. If he didn’t know what it was, we would look it up in the encyclopedia. (Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet!) On one such occasion we brought home an object that intrigued us. We showed it to Dad and he thought it was a chrysalis. He explained that in a short time a butterfly should appear. We just had to see what the butterfly would look like. Dad got a jar and put a paper with a small amount of water on it, for the humidity he explained.

During the course of the week we had accumulated many of these objects and had the jars lined up in the living room. Dad finally had to put an end to it because there was too many and no room in the house. I can’t recall the exact number, but there were approximately ten to fifteen jars with five to ten of these objects in each one. Every day we would check the jars but never did we see any butterflies. As the days went by we lost interest in the jars and had all but given up on seeing any results. What ever it was had to be dead. Dad was ready to dump it all as well. One more week and it is all out of here.

About two days later we had a huge surprise! Not one had emerged, but it appeared that all of them had over night! The housekeeper was not happy. If fact she was screaming and really freaked out. She spoke very little English and we spoke even less Japanese at the time. I turned the corner out of my room and could not believe my eyes. The walls and ceiling were almost covered with preying mantises. There were green ones and brown ones and they were crawling all over the place. The maid came from the kitchen pointing a finger and yelling “Out! Out!” So I started to leave. Her yelling then became more persistent, “NO….Out!” She was pointing at all of the little mantises.

I gathered up my brothers (they helped collect the egg cases) and we started to collect the little guys and put them out of the house. We learned to use a piece of paper to scoop them up and remove them. It took us hours to collect the brood and remove the bulk of them. It was several weeks before we did not find them in the house.

We learned a valuable lesson with the mantis egg cases. In the future we then made sure that if we were going to have an unknown object in the house it was to be in a container that had a lid or top to it. We also learned that even though Dad was the smartest person we knew he didn’t know everything!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Frogs in the tomb

The house that we started off with on Okinawa was way too small for our family. It was Dad with the five kids and the best they had available at the time was a three bedroom. It did have a screened in porch that Donnie used as his bedroom. Dad had one, Teri and Tracy had one and David and I shared the last. A four bedroom opened up in Plaza housing and Dad took it. This meant moving away from the neighborhood that we had just got familiar with. But that was O-Kay. We now had new adventures to keep us busy. One such adventure involved a tomb, an underwater flashlight and very daring kids.

We moved into the new house over the summer. Dad had to go back to work and it was just the five of us kids left home alone with the housekeeper. We would get up early, have breakfast and be out the door not to be seen again until lunch time. Our fascination was always with the boonies. We were in the boonies and found a small pond that was at the entrance of an abandoned tomb. There were tadpoles swimming around and we were looking for the frogs. Now these were not your every day run of the mill tadpoles. These guys were huge! We walk around the edge of the water and we heard a big splash. We looked around and could not see anything.

We kept this up for several days, never seeing the frogs but always hearing the splash. The entrance to the tomb was just visible above the water line. Donnie and I had it in our heads that the frogs had to be in the tomb. How could we get them out was the question. We were avid Scuba divers and we had underwater flashlights that we could use to check it out. One afternoon we took the lights down to the pond with us. Rock/paper/scissor to decide who goes first, I lost. The water was not all that deep, maybe three to three and a half feet. The thing was to get into the tomb you had to have your head under the water and come up the other side not knowing what was there. What the hell were we thinking!

I reached my hand to the other side and felt that there was room to come up. Down I went with the flashlight on. I raised my head out of the water and was lighting the place up. It was safe so I called Donnie in. The tomb was not that large and we now had two lights to explore with. When the light went to a small out cropping we saw the eyes shinning back at us. Before we knew what it was it jumped right at us. Talk about scaring the crap out of you. We then heard several more plops into the water. Too late, the frogs had made their escape. We ducked back under the water and out of the tomb. We tried this several more time before we decided we needed a new plan.

The new plan consisted of entering the tomb with the lights out and getting into position to pounce on them. We were both in the tomb and slowly moved over to the edge where they always rested. I turned on the light as Donnie jumped at the frogs. He had two frogs pinned under his hands. I set the light down and grabbed one while he secured the other. Holy crap they were huge. The biggest frogs we had ever seen. Well, what now. Show them off of course! We headed home, Donnie holding a frog, I’m holding a frog and David is carrying the flashlights.

We made it out of the tomb with the frogs and flashlights and headed back to the house. There was a large wash sink in the laundry room so we put some water in the sink and dropped the frogs off. What a catch! We were so proud of ourselves. We couldn’t wait for Dad to get home so we could show him our bounty. Dad arrived and he was greeted by three anxious boys. David was the first to greet Dad. Donnie and I were going to play the guessing game. You know, guess what we found today? But no….David blurts “Guess what Dad, we found giant frogs today and they are in the sink!” The look on Dads face was like yeah right. We grabbed him by the arms and dragged him back to the sink. He looked down and saw two frogs that were almost the size of dinner plates. His eyes got big and his jaw dropped. “Were in the hell did you boys come up with that!”

So we told the story on how we found them and how we caught them. The whole time he was just shaking his head in disbelief. “So, what now?” he asked. All three of us chimed in “can we keep them? Please!” He sat us down and we had a talk. In the end we decided that it was enough to just have caught them. We packed up the frogs and headed back to the tomb to turn them loose. Plop, plop. Back in the water and to the security of the tomb they headed.

Looking back at what we had to go through to catch the frogs I am amazed that nothing bad happened to us. There could have been other critters in the water. To think that we put our heads under the water! We never seemed to think before leaped.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Changing weather

I was in Lubbock when the front moved through. The temperature went from the 80's to the 40's very fast. When I got back To San Antonio the front had moved through already. It lost some of its punch along the way but it dropped the temperature to light jacket weather. We started the day at Fiesta Texas with a jacket at noon. By 4 o'clock the jackets were off, and then back on around 7. Very nice! With the over cast skies it looks cooler than it really is. I looked out this morning and just knew it was soup weather. So I threw together a quick potato soup with steamed cabbage on the side. I like to put the cabbage in the bottom of the bowl and then ladle the potato soup over the top. Delicious!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The pain is gone and the body feels normal again after the Tour DaVita. At first I said I didn't want to see a bike for a year, but now I am looking forward to getting back on it. After my traveling settles down I plan on getting back on it. I have been out of town for the last three days in Chicago. It was cool and rainy the entire time so I did not get out much. I did get out for about an hour between showers. I am always impressed with the number of tall buildings. I was there for the Managers meeting. It was a very informative and relaxing time. The first night there we went to a fine Italian restaurant and then went to a comedy club called Second City. It is where Saturday Night Live actors get their start. It was a very funny show. The next night we had dinner and an awards presentation with the team from Chicago at the hotel. Tomorrow I leave to Lubbock. (I wish I had a UT shirt to wear!) I will be there for five days to help out our newest Access Center. I have just one more trip planned for the year. It will be the first weekend in November down to Houston. Time will tell what other trips are on the horizon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lessons learned

I learned a lot on this trip. The next time (and there will be a next time) I will take my pillow so I can sleep better. I will take some Motrin along to help with the sore body. If I can find the cold packs that you squeeze, I'll take them along for the sore butt. As well as some muscle rub. There is a cream that you put on your shorts to prevent friction rubs. ( Now I know not to wear underware under my cycle shorts!)I know all about friction rubs. I have two of them. They are much better today thank you very much. The last day I took full advantage of the break snacks and I felt I had much more energy for that ride. I need to ride a few more hills to learn exactly how and when to shift. The hills are what gave me a lot of problems. I came to look at them as an opportunity to stretch my legs and hydrate (walk and have a drink). That last day I only walked up 2 hills. Either I was getting better or the hills were not as bad.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The ride of a lifetime!

Day 1 camp site on the lake

Day 2 camp site on a baseball field.

Day 1 injury to my right leg.

Day 2 injury to my right leg
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It was billed as the ride of a lifetime. It certainly lived up to that for me! I flew into Grand Rapids via Chicago. The flight was on time and the weather was perfect. The first camp site was by Wabasis Lake Park in Greenville. It was beautiful. We had dinner in a large circus style tent which was followed by the opening ceremony. Then it was off to bed for me as it would be my first long ride in the morning. The temperature got down to 40 that night and I was glad to have a mat for the sleeping bag.

Coffee was at 6 o’clock and breakfast at 6:30 (as it would be for the remainder of the trip). The ride today was from Greenville to Fremont. The first break was at the 15.7 mile mark, more miles than I had ever done in one day. Just about killed me but I survived. I fell off the bike at the stop sign crossing the street to the rest area and skinned up my right knee really well. Lunch was at the 27.3 mile mark at Long Lake Park. I had pasta and a salad and headed out after about an hour. There was a rest stop again at 48.3 and 61.4 miles. We ended the ride at Branstrom Park for a first day total of 67 miles. What a day. I could hardly walk to my tent to get my shower stuff. I was holding the hand rail with both hands to make it up the stairs. It was shower, dinner and bed for me tonight. I was so tired but I had a feeling of accomplishment

Day 2 was from Fremont to Stony Lake. It was a short 2.6 mile ride to a dialysis center in the rain where we had a program ceremony until 10:00. The first real break was to be at the 12.2 mile but I never made it to that stop. At about the 11 mile mark I needed a drink so I slowed down so I could stop for a drink. My foot got caught up in the stirrup and the bike fell over in what seemed like slow motion. The sprocket put a large gash behind my right calf. A few seconds later the blob started dripping out, slow at first and then faster. I had to use my bandana as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The backraods van came by and took me to the dialysis center to have it cleaned up. I removed the tourniquet and the blood started back up again. It was off to the ER where it took 11 stitches to close the leg up and get me on my way. The backroads van was waiting for me when I got out and I had him drop me off at as close to my fall as possible. I continued the day and finished up at about 5:30. That was 66.7 miles. What a long and painful day. Once again it was shower, dinner, and bed.

Day 3 was my chance to do a 100 mile ride. I had until mile 61 to decide if I was going to go that route or if I was going to do a metric century, 100 kilometers (65 miles). Well lunch was not agreeing with me and my legs felt like they were made of jelly, and my stitches felt like they were pulling. The 100 mile ride would have to wait. I pulled into camp about 3 o’clock. I was ready to drop. I took my shower and headed over to the massage tables to have my back worked on. Afterward it was dinner and bed. I was ready to drop. I had blisters in places that you are not supposed to get blisters.

That was almost 200 miles in a three day time span. There were many times when I wanted to quit, calling for the van and taking the easy way out. But I didn’t. I did most of my riding alone. I was way to slow for the good riders and a little faster than the other novices. I am so glad that I was asked to ride and I hope that I can do it again next year. We raised almost $700,000 for the Kidney Trust. It is a non profit that tests for kidney disease so that dialysis can be delayed or even prevented.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tour DaVita

I will be representing San Antonio Kidney Disease Access Center in the Tour DaVita starting this weekend. This is a fund raising and education awareness event that is sponsored by DaVita. I will be biking 250 miles in 3 days in the hills of Grand Rapids Michigan. The first day is 70 miles, the second day is 70 miles, the third day is 100 miles, and then it is a wake up and a short 10 mile ride to the finish. The nights will be spent camping in tents. I looked at the weather and it should be very good for biking. I will be taking my camera with me and take pictures along the way. I’m not sure of the site but I heard that a web site is set up for folk to follow the tour on line from the comforts of home. I leave at 0720 in the morning and will return on Wednesday evening. I hope to have fun and promote education in the communities that we are riding through. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tree Tag and Bicycle Dodgeball

Remember my ramblings about hair brained ideas. I think that when kids are bored they come up with interesting ways to entertain them selves. Especially if there is a group wondering what to do.

On one such occasion the Mullins boys and some other neighborhood boys were doing just that; trying to think up a new game to keep us occupied. We were bored with just plain tag. It was too easy. How about tree climbing? Too boring as well. (Now comes the hair brained idea.) How about tree tag? Excellent idea!

We sat down and made up a quick set of rules. We wanted to keep it simple so there were only two rules. No tag backs and no touching the ground. With that we were off. There was a perfect tree behind the house that had limbs that spread way out. At the base of the tree we did the usual “enie, meni, myni, mo” to see who is it. Well I was it first.

The rest of the boys climbed the tree while I counted to fifty. What a site that must have been to see all of us jumping around the tree, leaping from branch to branch like a bunch of monkeys. I started up the tree looking for easy prey. Donnie was the closest so it was off to the races so to speak.

We were all leaping and swinging from branch to branch. Climbing high and leaping low. We were having such a good time. Until. Donnie made a leap to a branch to avoid being tagged. His hands slipped from the branch and he fell flat on his back! All we heard was a loud “aughhhh” and then nothing else.

We scrambled out of the tree and gathered around his unmoving body. I stared down at his un breathing body and exclaimed “he’s dead”. I knew what I had to do, find an adult. I took off across the neighborhood to get Fran. Fran was the Mom of one of the kids we played with. She was about five feet tall and went about 175 pounds. I busted into her house and shouted “Donnie’s dead!” I told her where he was and we both took off running. She beat me there!

We looked down at Donnie and his eyes were closed and he was still unmoving. “He’s dead” I stated as a matter of fact. Donnie opened his eyes and said “Who’s dead?” Fran checked him out to make sure he was not hurt. He just had the wind knocked out of him. At least this time there were no serious damage to anyone….unlike that that other time…

We made up another game to help pass the time. We combined riding our bike with dodge ball. What a great game. One person was on one side of the street and a second on the other. Then we rode our bikes back and forth while the ball was thrown across. We could play this game for hours.

One summer day we were playing and I wasn’t paying attention. The ball went across the street, hit the curb and started to roll back. I looked at the thrower and was making faces because they had missed the person in front of me. About that time my front tire hit the ball and stopped it on a dime. Unfortunately the rest of the bike did not stop and the back end of the bike went up and over me. I went up and over the handlebars and the back tire found my face. I landed part on the grass and part on the curb. What a mess I was.

I was told that I got up and was cussing the bike loudly. This brought my Dad to the door to see what was going on. There I stood with two bloody knees, two bloody elbows and a bloody nose. My Dad took me into the house to clean me up. He rinsed a wash cloth to wipe my nose. When he did this his eyes got wide. I wasn’t crying up to this point. After I saw the look in my Dads eyes I knew that something was not quite right. The floodgates opened and there was no stopping it. When Dad wiped my nose he saw that the upper lip was missing.

Dad took me to the hospital where it just so happened to be an aspiring plastic surgeon on duty. When he saw my lip he rubbed his hands together and started his work. My upper lip looked like hamburger meat. Many hours and many sutures later my lip was pieced back together. That is when they noticed the swelling on my right forearm. Over to x-ray we go. Both bones broke clean.

By the time I got home I looked like I was back from war. I had bandages on both knees and elbows, a cast on my right arm and gauze taped across my face. I had to chew with my mouth open and my siblings complained to Dad and I had to eat in the kitchen for the next few weeks. Talk about insult to injury!

I often look back on those days and wonder how did I ever make it to adulthood? What imagination we had. Now a days it video games, computer and television that keeps the kids entertained. I’m not so sure I would call that progress.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Fish Story

Many years ago, before my brain was fully developed, my brother-in-law and a friend decided that we were going fishing for shark at Big Shell. Big shell is an area on Padre Island where four wheel drive vehicles are required for access. I had my Toyota truck and my brother-in-law had a Blazer. We were good to go. We did a tackle check to make sure we had all of the gear that we would need. All was in order. Next topic was what to use for bait. After much discussion, we learned that we could get buckets of blood from the slaughter house. That is precisely what we did, three buckets full! We picked up a roast that was on sale to use for the hooks. We were now good to go.

We left very early in the morning form San Antonio. When we arrived at the beach it was still dark. We drove down the beach until we found a good place to park the trucks. We were all so excited. With all of the blood and bait, we just knew that we were going to be successful. We each pulled out our rods and baited the shark hooks with the roast. Now, how to get the bait far off shore where the sharks are? We decided that the best way is to wade out, cast, and then wade back. So that’s what we did, with three buckets of blood in hand! (Remember, I did say before my brain was fully developed).

We waded out until the water was up to my chest. We all cast our lines out and then opened the buckets of blood, all three! We proceeded to dump the blood in hopes of attracting shark to the area. Keep in mind we are in the water about 300 feet from the shore and it is still dark! We start back, releasing our line as we wade back to shore. We set the drag on the reels and then kick back to wait for the big catch.

Several hours go by without any activity on the reels. The sun is up and we start to see a few trucks go by. Getting discouraged and ready to find a different area to fish, we heard one of the reel click. We all looked over at the rod. It then clicked out again. Then the tip of the rod went down and it was on! My brother-in-law raced to the rod and pulled back to set the hook! At this point we reeled in the other two rods to get them out of the way.

This fish is really giving a good fight! My brother-in-law is walking up and down the beach. He reels in some line and then the drag lets out line as the fish makes a run. This is crazy! By this time there are several vehicles that have seen the struggle and have pulled over to see the catch. Over thirty minutes have gone by and the fight is still going strong! After an hour, there are about thirty to forty vehicles and people are sitting on tailgates and taking pictures.

We reach about an hour and a half into the fight and progress is being made. There is more line coming in than going out and we can start to see a shape under the water. What the hell is that! I walked out into the water and reached down and wrestled it to shore. After all of the planning, waiting and fighting, we pulled in a huge plastic bag! I laughed so hard, as did many of the crowd that had gathered! Some were very upset that they “wasted my morning” on a plastic bag. A good many had been parked for over an hour.

The plastic bag was of the type that is used offshore. The tide must have brought it into the shore and the undertow would pull it back out. Not to mention that the drag was set to lose on the reel. Inside the bag was a small fish that had become trapped. The trip wasn’t a total loss. I tossed the little fish back into the water after asking if he wanted a picture of Moby Dick. That is a fishing trip that I will always remember and always puts a smile on my face.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

She's having my baby!

With all of the babies being born in the Mullins clan it got me thinking and remembering what it is like to be a first time Dad. There are so many emotions that are happening that it puts you into system overload. It is not just the birth. That is the one that is the strongest.

This rollercoaster ride started for me the two words I wanted to hear, “I’m late!” We had been trying to get pregnant for a year and it was just not happening. I even went to a specialist to see if there was a problem. I was elated but didn’t want to get my hopes up. We went and got a home pregnancy test and she did it right away. Positive! O-Kay, this is getting serious now. It is time for a visit to the doctor to confirm the results. The results came back, “Congratulations, your going to have a baby!” Hearing it from someone else made it really hit home. I’m going to be a Dad.

We went to the doctor for the ultra sound. The doctor put the warm gel on Melanie’s tiny flat stomach. “There it is” she said. It looked to me like a little peanut. “Well, what is it? Boy or Girl” I asked. It is still too early to see that. Now it was real. I could see that something was there. The next ultrasound we heard the heart beat. I was very excited.

Days, weeks and months passed and the excitement would come and go. I didn’t know how to be a Dad. Would I be a good Dad? Would the baby be normal? Would Melanie be o-Kay? All of these things were going through my thoughts. In the mean time, Melanie’s body was changing and she was having similar thoughts. There were way too many emotions happening in the apartment.

Then the big day came. We spent the day shopping and stopped off at Jason’s Deli for lunch. I ordered a large baked potato smothered with chili with beans. We got back home and Melanie started to nest. She took out all the baby clothes and held them up, give them a real good look and then fold them neatly to return to the dresser. She did this only to repeat the process again.

Twin Peaks was on the television (we never missed that show). Melanie went to the bathroom and then returned to watch the show and nest. A few minutes later, she got up again to got to the bathroom and then nested some more. This occurred a few more times until she started crying in the bathroom. “Honey, what’s wrong” I finally got it out of her. “I’m incontinent!” she cried. I called the answering service to page her doctor. A doctor called (not her doctor) and said I needed to get her to the hospital to be checked out.

I grabbed her packed bag and we headed out to the hospital. We arrived and the nurse took Melanie back right away. What was happening was her water broke but up high and it would leak out when she moved or the baby moved. It’s time we were told. Let the games begin! Phone calls were made to family and the nursing staff called the doctor.

We got settled in a room and family started to arrive. The room was crowded and getting loud. I asked the nurse if there was any way we could move these people out. “Time for an exam, everyone to the waiting room.” The room was quiet, except for the groans of labor pains. Then when Melanie’s head just about spun around, I asked the nurse for the epidural.

Into the room walks what appears to be a red headed freckle face kid of 13 years old. Melanie looked up and said “You’re the doctor?” “Have you ever done these before?” This is when the doctor replied “Well, this is my first time without the book.” I will state for the record that that is the worse time to be joking with a woman. I really thought she was going to get up out of the bed and strangle him! I assisted the doctor holding Melanie while he started the epidural. “Can we just get this started and quit talking?” I swear that is not the woman I married. “It’s done, you’ll fell better is just a second.”

Now we have calm to the high seas. Remember the potato I ate earlier? The beans are starting to work. I would excuse myself to the bathroom to get relief. Then come back and start “coaching” again. Until I heard those little words of love, “if you tell me how to breath one more time I’ll kill you!” Those classes were a big help, not!

The doctor comes into the room. Hey, that’s not our doctor. “Sorry, your doctor is in New York at the Governors’ Ball.” He delivers Ashley and lets me cut the cord. The nurses take the baby away to clean her up and make sure that she is doing fine. I stayed with Melanie to make sure she was good. The nurse brought Ashley over and Melanie held her for the first time. My eyes were watering and I was trying to hold it together.

I went down to the waiting room to tell the family of the birth of my precious baby girl. I look in the waiting room and my mother and mother-in-law are sitting next to each other. That is when it hit me. I started bawling like a baby. They both got up and started towards me. “What’s wrong?” they said in unison. I was crying so hard at this point I could hardly speak. Then I finally got it out. “She’s beautiful!”

That was the first time my daughter made me cry. It has not been the last and I know there are more tears to come. This is a rollercoaster of emotion called life. Welcome aboard!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Anatomy Class Fart

I was watching my daughter Ashley the other day do her homework. One of the subjects was Human Anatomy. It brought back memories of nursing school and of an incident that occurred during class. I busted out laughing at the memory and I’m sure my family thought I was crazy.

I took my Anatomy class in the evenings. The professor’s name was Mr. T (His last name was too hard to pronounce). He was one of the best teachers that I had at San Antonio College. He kept things interesting. There were always lots of activities in class to make sure that the learning objectives were met.

We were studying the respiratory system and going over the different terms for lung volumes. Mr. T had a machine at the front of the class that would measure the volumes. He asked for a volunteer to come up and have the lung volumes measured. There was a petite young blonde that volunteered.

Mr. T explained the process. “You take in as much breath as you can and then blow into this tube forcing out as much air as you can as fast as you can.” The cute blonde smiled and said o-Kay. She took in a breath and blew it out through the tube. Mr. T looked at the read out and said his grandmother could do better than that! Not wanting to look bad in front of the class, she took in another deep breath and blew as hard as she could.

While she was blowing out her breath she was bearing down and the unthinkable happened. The class was all quiet. Mr. T looked around the class amazed. “Come on! You have to have heard that!” he shouted, barely able to contain himself. “She farted!” My buddy Jason and I lost it, as did everyone else in the class, except the blonde. She turned red and quietly walked back to her seat.

I’m not sure what life’s lesson is for this story. I’m just glad that she volunteered before I did. I got an A in that class, and a really great story.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Starry starry night

Have you ever had a hair brained idea? As kids we had them all the time. Sometimes we had to ask for permission and it was at that point we were told all the problems with the plan. That is why our Dad was so cool. Usually, if it wouldn’t cause any permanent damage he would let us do what ever it was we ask to do.

One such occasion was when we wanted to star gaze on a clear night when there were meteor showers expected. During the early 1970’s there were not many outside lights to interfere with the night sky. When there were no clouds to block the view, the stars went on for ever. I had no idea there were that many stars in the sky.

“Dad, can we watch the meteor shower tonight” we asked. “No problem” was the reply. “But we want to stay up all night and count the falling stars” “No problem.” “We want to spend the night on the roof!” “You want to do what?” I’m sure at that point Dad thought we had lost our minds.

Our house was not like the typical house here in the states. It was made entirely of concrete and the roof was flat. Dad thought about it for a few seconds. (I’m sure we caught him off guard) He started to run through his list; we don’t have a ladder to get up there. We don’t need one Dad. We use the wall to climb up. You might roll off in your sleep. We will make a pallet between the pipes that stick up. For every argument against it we managed to come up with an answer. We were very determined.

In the end we won out. As the sun started to set, the three boys started dragging blankets and pillows up the side of the house. I could only imagine what the neighbors were thinking. What are those Mullins boys up to now? The big surprise came when not only did the Mullins boys climb up to the roof, so did our Dad.

We lay up on the roof that night for hours with Dad, watching the falling stars and just talking about nothing. Dad would point out different stars, planets and UFO’s. When he knew we would be safe between the vent pipes, Dad climbed down and went inside with the girls. I’m not sure how soon after he climbed down we all fell asleep.

We woke in the morning safe and sound. Tossed the bedding off the roof and climbed down. We had counted more shooting stars than I ever knew existed. It was not long after that experience that Dad brought home a big book on astronomy. We would go through the book and point out things that we saw that night.

That was the first time we spent the night on the roof but not the last. It was just one of many hair brained ideas we were able to convince Dad into letting us do. That time spent with Dad that night was priceless.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Funerals and Old friends

Why does it take a funeral or some other drastic event to bring old friends together? Or even family for that matter. I was reading the paper this morning and I always check the obituaries (just to make sure I’m not in there) and I saw a name that is familiar. Johnny Nance. So I read the obituary and I recognize one of the names, Lynette, his mother. I was almost certain. Then when my Dad called I knew it was his high school friend.

I had met Johnny Nance several times. It was usually due to an unfortunate circumstance, such as a funeral of parents. Now the old high school friends will get together once again only this time it is one of their own who will be laid to rest. After each of the previous occasions I would hear everyone tell each other that they shouldn’t wait to meet under these circumstances. Yet they always do.

This is yet another milestone in life. When your friends are dying of natural causes it should give cause to reflect on where you are at in life. Life is too short as it is and the circle is almost complete. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

In this day and age it is easy to keep in touch with old friends. There are cell phones with no long distance charges, e-mail, and the internet with many social network sites. If you haven’t kept in touch with your old friends, look them up and drop them a line. Chances are they still think about the good old days as well. Make the time to reconnect and slow down. Who knows, the next time the high school friends get together it might be you they are talking about.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The $1500 question

So your walking on a sidewalk at school and you look down. Something catches your eye. It looks like trash but it doesn't look like trash. You pick it up to examine it and then your eyes get very big. You start counting...$100....$200...$300.. $400.............$1000.............$1500! $1500 in a roll of cash. No one is around. It is the last bell of the day and your Mom is waiting to pick you up. What do you do? What......do......you.....do?

Well, if you are my son, you take the wad of cash to the school office and tell them you found this on the ground and maybe someone is looking for it. I'm so proud of him! He has been wanting a laptop computer and trying to figure out ways to get one and then all of that money just lands in his hands. He does the right thing and turns it in. I can't honestly say that I would have done that. I guess I'm raising him right. I'm not sure what happens to the money if no one claims it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

C Rations

Summer on Okinawa was always a fun time for our family. Summer meant lots of free time to explore our surroundings and see just what is there for young boys to do. Our favorite pastime was to explore the boonies. We would spend countless hours running around and seeing where the trails led, or making our own trails. This really came in handy one afternoon.

Being around military all the time, we had had several occasions to have C rations. For those of you who have not had the pleasure to eat C rations, let me explain. The C ration is a food pack that was developed for the military for meals in the field. Today they are known as MRE, meals ready to eat. The MRE is in pouches while the old C ration came in cans. As kids, we loved them. It was like eating a gourmet meal.

The Marines would do survival training in the boonies that we played in. One day while we were out, we saw a small group of Marines setting up a make shift camp. What caught our eye were the cases of C rations that were being hidden in the tall grass. The men went to great lengths to conceal their treasure before going out on maneuvers. This was just too tempting for five young boys.

After the coast was clear, we crept into the grass and each grabbed a case. We backed out quietly and then made off with our treasure. Crystal cave was our destination. It was a cave that was not far from where we were. We spent a few minutes to examine the goods to see what we had. Now, it has been around 35 years and I can’t remember exactly what the meals were, but I do remember the excitement that came over all of us. There were cigarettes and gum in every box! We knew that we had to get more!

Silently we made it back to the make shift camp and grabbed another load and returned it to the cave. There was still several more cases left so one more trip would do the trick. We would have all the C rations to ourselves! On the last trip, we could hear the Marines returning to camp. We knew we had to hurry. Three cases, all that’s left. As we were backing out after grabbing the loot, a shout came from across the way “Drop it!”

Five boys turned around to see eight to ten Marines bearing down fast. We dropped the load and started to run. Surely they would not chase after us. Then we heard one exclaim “they took all of them! Get ‘um!” well, that is when we knew it was on. We had pissed off the Marines and we were running for our lives. Through the boonies, five boys being chased by a mob of angry trained Marines. And we were keeping ahead! “Split up!” my brother yelled. Three went one way and my brother and I went another.

We took the Marines on a guided tour of the boonies for about 20 minutes, and then they started to catch up. We knew we had to do something fast if we were going to get away. “The wall! We have to get to the wall!” I gasped. We made our way to what we called the wall. It was the back side of Futenma housing area. Okinawa is a coral formation and that’s what the wall is, a coral formation that goes straight up for about 80 to 90 feet then turns out on it self. Donnie went up first and I was close behind. As he got closer to the top he tracked off to the right where the formation still went straight. At this point the Marines were at the bottom cussing like sailors. I didn’t think I had time to track to the right so I just went for it. Straight up. I was hanging on out over the edge when I felt my brother reach down and grab my arm from above. He pulled me up and we looked over the Marines were down at the bottom looking up. Cursing, yelling and throwing anything they could get their hands on. We knew we had won. We laid down and taunted them from a safe distance. Laughing, calling them names, and spitting. I know not very nice, but hey, we’re kids.

Later that afternoon we met up with our partners in crime and they had escaped as well through a place we called hells hole (that’s a whole other story!). During the weeks ahead, we would meet up at crystal cave and partake in a feast of C rations.

I always find myself smiling as I reflect back on our adventure that summer day. There we were, five young boys going against all those Marines. Against all the odds, and we survived. I often wonder what story those Marines told of the events that occurred that day. I shudder at the thought of what they had to eat because their rations were absconded by a small group of youths.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remember When

Every now and then something happens that makes you remember something from the past. It could be something some one did or said. Or a smell that drifts by. Or even just an image that prompts that memory. I was watching the television and there was a spider and web that was just like the ones we had in Okinawa. And it reminded me when…….

Dad had five kids to keep track of and try to keep out of trouble. That was a very tall order. All five of us, Donnie, Danny, Teri, Tracy, and David loved to be outside and looked for fun stuff to do. There was only one television channel and it had very old programs that were of no interest to kids. We discovered very early on that fireworks are sold year round. We would spend a good portion of our allowance on fireworks. The two firecrackers of choice were lady fingers and 2-B bombs. For those of you who do not know what a lady finger is, it is a very small firecracker about the size of a matchstick. My brothers and I were messing around in the boonies, we saw a spider web. We would take a small object and toss it in the web and low and behold, the spider would come running down the web to see its catch. Boys being boys, we thought wouldn’t it be cool if the spider would attack the firecracker.

Well, we had to give it a try. We took the firecrackers apart and used two fuses for one firecracker. Lighted the fuse and tossed it into the web. Hidden from somewhere above this huge spider speeds down the web and starts to spin a web on its new “victim”. The fuses came to an end and so did the spider! There was a small pop followed by thunderous laughter. Way cool! Living on the edge of the boonies, there was an abundance of spiders. We continued for a while taking turns tossing the firecrackers and blowing up spiders. Meanwhile, Dad and one of his Army buddies are in the house. They hear the sound of laughter and small pops.

Dad looks out the window and sees all the boys walking the edge of the boonies and then he catches what we are doing. “Hey, what do you think you guys are doing?” he yells at us. Dad and his buddy move out to where we have just unleashed our wrath on the spiders. He confiscates the ladyfingers and tells us that we should not be blowing up the spiders and to go inside and think about what we did. There were bunches of “Ah man” going on as we hung our heads and headed to the house to “think about what we were doing was wrong”.

Once inside, after a few minutes, we started to hear laughing coming from behind the house. That sounds very much like Dad. We headed to the back window and what do we see? There is Dad and his buddy lighting up ladyfingers and tossing them into the spider webs. We knew they were successful when their heads would go back and roar with laughter. I guess that is what is meant by the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”.

Those days were so much fun.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First week

Christopher finished up his first week of High School, in a public school. He has been going to Catholic school since pre-kinder, 10 years. His campus is huge compared to his old school as is the number of students, over 800 freshmen. I was glad to see that he gets a set of books for home use and a set in the classroom for use at school. That is so much better that having to cart your books back and forth as I did while I was in school. Soon there will come a time when all text books are electronic. He had his first pep rally today as the first varsity football game is tomorrow. He had a lot of fun and is fitting in really well. I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hot off the grill

Well, it has been a while since I put anything on the grill. I got some country style ribs and some veggies to grill up for dinner tonight. The egg plant came out very good as did the yellow squash and the Zucchini squash. My grill is rusted on the bottom and the rack no longers adjusts but it still did a great job. I am left with just one question.....Why did I wait so long to grill?

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The last time

Sometimes something happens that is so powerful that you have to just let it out. It consumes your thoughts and you try to make sense of it. I have one such moment that stays in my head. I had a patient that I took care of for several years. Every time I saw her she would joke around with me. Over the years I saw the worsening of her condition. She went from walking in to using a wheelchair and finally arriving to clinic on a stretcher. Her last visit remains in my memory as to why I do what I do. Her blood pressure was low and she needed some fluid. I started the IV while another nurse kept her attention. She was worried about the IV and before she even knew it the IV was going and she was relieved. The doctor decided that she needed to be admitted to the hospital for care. This was the worse I had ever seen her. As she was laying there and the ambulance crew arrived, she asked me for a hug. I leaned over and gave her a hug. She whispered to me that she was scared. I had whispered back that it was alright to be afraid and that she would be just fine. She gave me another hug and I told her to take care. Her pressure dropped even further that night and she was coded and intubated. She passed later the next day. I hope that the care I gave her comforted her final hours.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And the world still turns

I had started my blog to keep in touch with family. Everyone is spread out here in the United states and over seas. It was real chore at first because I had to find the time to load pictures and write a little on what was going on in my neck of the woods. As time went on I found that I liked to write and post interesting things that were happening. I enjoyed going to my families blogs to see what was going on and I felt connected. The first social network I was in was My Space, only because my daughter was on it and i wanted to know what was happening in her world. Now it is Face Book. My daughter joined face book and I had to join in order to see what the big deal was. Come to find out, most all of my family had joined face book. I'm sure that this happened the end of last year as the posts on the blogs became less and less frequent. Now, there is not too much happening on the old blog sites. I go look but nothing changes.Day after day, week after week, month after month. I mean FB is great for the quick update, share photos much faster, and keep in touch with other issues. I was voicing my complaints the other day and one of my friends told me that it is just the newest form of social networking and who knows, one day something will come out that replaces the FB. I have become addicted to FB. I check it in the morning to see what has happened over night. I read my messages during the day when I'm on break. I look when I first get home and then check before I go to bed. I am a FB addict. But FB does not tell the story. It does not go into the detail that keep connections strong. I will continue to use FB to stay connected. But I will continue to post on my blog for the story that goes deeper. I will continue to check on the family blogs in hope that something new will appear. Until then, Blog on!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

San Antonio Water Police: Go ahead, officer, take me away!

I received a notice today that I was in violation of the stage 2 water restrictions. I'm thinking to my self, WTF, my grass is completely brown, my xeric scape plants are starting to wilt. What could possibly be causing the violation. My fountain, of course! I have a pump that recirculates the water for the Koi and goldfish. Apparently I have to keep the "fountain" turned off to conserve water. My little pond is almost completely in the shade and does not lose water because of the pond liner. As far as I'm concerned, this is my outdoor aquarium. The Koi do not require that water move but it does keep it looking better. With all of the businesses that water the parking lots and streets, they have to concentrate on very small Koi ponds. How asinine!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

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July 20 was the day. I reached the goal weight that I set to cut my hair, 185 pounds! it was such a relieve to finally cut my hair. I have had a close cut head for the last 9 years and hair touching my ears was driving me crazy. My next goal is 180 pounds. This morning was 183 which puts the total to 14 pounds.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garmin 305 Forerunner: you don't have to be a running nut!

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I first saw this device at work. One of my friends uses it to keep track of his workouts. He is a big time runner. I am just getting into the walking/running thing. I usually bike. The great thing about this device is that it has a mode for walking and biking. It keeps the two files separate so each sport can be looked at individually. As you can see it is a little large but is light weight and after a few minutes you don't even know its there. The screen can be set up to monitor a variety of points. I have my main screen set to show total time, total distance, mile pace, and heart rate. My main tracking point was heart rate. I wanted to make sure that I was getting into a good aerobic rate. The heart rate strap is hardly noticeable. This device keeps track of the workout and then you can down load the data to your computer and see all of the data plotted on a chart. I'm far from being a running/biking nut but this sure helps me get a better workout. The device picks up the satellites quickly and works even when I'm off road in the trees. This is a great training device. Great even for beginners.