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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Birthday day

This is a big day in my family. Bruce, E and Penni's daughter all have a birthday today.
Grinnygranny talks about this night 28 years ago on her blog.

Bruce used to tease E when he was growing up that E stole his birthday.

Been watching lots of football today. Cowboys didn't play well, but then nobody expected them to. Chicago played a good game to keep New Orleans out of the playoffs. Hard to imagine that those two teams played in the NFC championship game last season. Colts aren't doing much better than the 'boys.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Days of relaxation

S and girlfriend spent another night with us, but are now living with other friends. Their puppy got along alright with Watson, but Lucy wouldn't leave him alone and they had to be separated.

Our poor kitty is sneezing his head off. He's still eating so it's most likely allergies instead of a cold.

Grinnygranny and I went to do some after Christmas shopping. We got E his birthday present and decided to get new sheets. We went to Macy's because I had a coupon good for 15 dollars off. We got two sheet sets that at regular price would have been $120 and our jaws dropped when it rang up for only $22. Eating in the food court cost more than that!

We got a new board game for Christmas called Dread Pirate. We've played it once and it was fun (at least for me -- I won), but so far haven't had a chance to play it again. Now that our house guests are gone we might play it more.

Right now we're watching Octopussy on our marathon of James Bond. My how much technology has changed in the last forty years!
Grinnygranny and I agree that Roger Moore was the best Bond, even though two of the worst Bond movies were his. (Moonraker and View To A Kill)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day after

I sincerely hope that everyone that visits the Family and Friends blog had a Merry Christmas or holy day(s).

We had a nice morning of pancakes for breakfast, opening presents, rested a bit and then a nice dinner. Tried to call Mom and Penni, but got no anser. We also have a tradition (if we're home) a having a James Bond marathon. We start on Christmas Eve after watching the Home Alone movies and A Christmas Story. Today we are finishing up the Sean Connery movies and moving into the Roger Moore phase.

E, his girl friend and her two-year-old son were here as well. They went out in the evening to spend time with Penni's step-son "S".

S and his girlfriend needed a place to stay for the night so they slept on the couch. That'll teach me to whine about not having enough family here for the holiday! All eight of us went out for breakfast this morning. S and girlfriend are moving in with her mother for about a month and plan on moving to Arizona where he is supposed to have a job. I had him call his father, but there was no answer, he left a message and said they talked on Christmas.

Anne Littlewolf called and we had a nice talk. She is getting a lot more work done in her studio with 2 1/2 feet of snow keeping her close to home. She's hoping to have a gallery in Alaska start stocking her drawings and painting soon. It got me thinking I need to line up some book signings after the first of the year. Here's another one her paintings.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Thoughts

Grades are entered, room is ready to turn off the lights and being forgotten for two weeks. Still four hours before I can leave. We are having a faculty luncheon to say goodbye to all those who've found greener pastures for next semester. Grinnygranny justed texted me (I want to sh**t the idiot that came up with this idea) that she's getting off at 2:00pm. We might head out to do some shopping before it gets dark.

So now I'm just sitting here listening to Jim Brickman's Christmas CD and thinking about how different this Christmas is compared to others.

  1. First Christmas without Dad, this is going to be tough. He really loved dressing up in his Santa suit, passing out presents to the grandkids.
  2. First Christmas where we are all alone in Albuquerque. After Penni and her family moved, and then Mom and Dad, we still had Grinnygranny's Mom. Now she's in Nebraska and there's no other family here. For so many years we always had to figure out and take turns at whose house we'd have Christmas, then we'd all get together sometimes twelve or more for that special meal, drinking punch, egg nogg, hot Dr, Pepper, watching all the kids play with their new toys, listening to music, the men talking politics trying to solve all the problems of the world, the women talking women stuff, taking pictures. Then going to Walgreens on the way home (the only store open on Christmas) so the kids could spend some of the money their grandparents had given them. As much as it's nice not to be traveling it seems rather lonely with just the four of us.
  3. First Christmas without seeing our grandchild. We'll have him for the summer, and E is going down to spend time with him between Christmas and New Years, but we will miss his infectious, mischevious smile.

Wouldn't you know, a student just showed up to take a final. Guess it's a good thing for the student the skies clouded up and it's too cold and windy to golf.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time to Rest

Just gave my last final, had a nice lunch, came back, graded the last papers and posted the good or bad news (as the case may be) for the students. I had quite few absent yesterday and today.
Tomorrow is make-up day for those who have a valid reason for missing their final (this is the only school I've ever worked at that does this, and it lets the kids play the system too much)
It does give us (teachers) a whole day to grade papers, average grades and close down the room. It drives me crazy because I stay on top of my grades and I can do all of the aforementioned in an hour -- which makes me sit here and twiddle my thumbs all day just in case a student that missed the last two days deigns to show up and take a final.
I thought about using one of my many sick days -- which is what most of the teachers do, you just have to leave copies of your finals so someone else can watch the students take the test and they'll be waiting for you to grade in Jan., but it looks like we're getting a storm tomorrow and Sat. with rain and snow in higher elevations. If it's not a good day to go out and golf I might as well come to class. I guess I'll play it by ear in the morning.
Grinnygranny and I thought back over the year a few days ago and it dawned on us that every holliday of three days or longer in this last year we were on the road to either Texas or Nebraska. No wonder we're pooped and in need of a rest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Soap Box time

Thanks to Yikes for the cartoon.

I love Arianna Huffington's analogy:

With Mike Huckabee's continuing surge, the Republican Party now has an Iowa front-runner who, like George Bush, is anti-choice, born-again, against gay-marriage, and gets political advice directly from God. So why is the Republican establishment suddenly in a state of near-apoplexy? They've been cultivating evangelicals and fundamentalists for 30 years. Now they finally have a candidate who's truly part of the movement. Which, it turns out, is precisely the problem. The evangelical crowd was fine when it was just a resource to be cynically exploited every few years in demagogic anti-gay get-out-the-vote campaigns. But now the holy-rolling monster the GOP's Dr. Frankensteins have created has thrown off the shackles, fled the lab, and is currently leading in Iowa. And the party doesn't know what to do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Home stretch

  • We now have our Family Christmas pictures in. We'll be mailing a bunch out in the next couple of days to all our scattered family.

  • Grinnygranny and I did nine holes yesterday, we were just a little tired the rest of the day. Really out of shape, but the weather was nice if just a little nippy.

  • Just talked to Mom. Penni's hoping to go home Thursday, but the blood clot they've been giving her blood thinners for isn't going away. Mom's sore from the rehab, but it's not as painful as before the surgery. She's going to start working on getting up and down stairs tomorrow and the doctors will discuss when she can go home on Thursday.

  • Last couple of nights we've been playing Scipbo and Uno. E joined us Saturday night. It was nice having all of us together.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Talked with Mom this morning. She had surgery Thursday and sounded much better than the last few times we talked. She sore and in some pain, but nothing like she had before the surgery. Now with some rehab she'll be able to go home and return to normal.

Penni is still in the hospital with another bowel blockage. She's scheduled for more chemo next week.

Melissa begins working at Wendy's tomorrow. She's excited right now, we'll see how much enthusiasm she still has after six months.

Last week of the semester. Finals on Wed & Thurs. Don't have to go back until Jan 8. Hope the weather holds and I can get some quality time on the golf course. This time of year I tend to put on weight and it doesn't come off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Son's ex-wife

If there is anything my ex-DIL is capable of doing it is turning everything upside down on a moments notice and then saying, "Never Mind!"
She called E yesterday and wanted him to come and get Ritchie (this is her Christmas with him) as she and her husband (I think they're married, that's why she divorced E?) were having problems and she didn't want Ritchie caught in the middle. E looked into taking the weekend off so he could go, but this time of year that is a near impossibility at the last moment. Yesterday and today are his regular days off, and as it was too late to drive out last night that would mean a 14 to 16 hour drive today. Auntypesty doesn't have orientation for her job until Friday, so she volunteered to drive down with E to share the driving. They were set to leave and 0500 for the all day trip. Grinnygranny and I were looking into someone to watch our Grandson until Christmas break. Then at midnight ex-DIL calls and said that things have been worked out and E doesn't have to come get him. A bit of a relief, a bit of a let down (it would be nice to spend more time with him at this age), and more running around at the last minute for absolutely nothing.

Called and talked to Mom. Needed to let her know that the on-again/off-again trip with the three guys is off-again. She's in rehab with a crumbling vertibra, and can't get the doctor to come in and talk about surgery. She has to have rehab three hours a day in order to stay in the facility, but it is extremely painful. There's also concern that her heart wouldn't be strong enough for the surgery. What a wonderful medical system we have, Medicare will pay for your care financially, but you'll have to endure three hours of torture every day.

ps. Mom called today and she is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. Bruce is down there, which means he got through all the ice in Oklahoma. Penni is back in the hospital with an infection.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some Good News

Auntypesty starts her first real job Friday. She's through the interview process and finally has a job. For some reason I didn't think this day would ever come, not all her fault, she has been tied up with family concerns.
Had to laugh at this one.

Monday, December 10, 2007


What I know that's going on in Texas is that Mom is in rehab. The back doctors that were to determine if she needs surgery didn't show up today.
Penni is home and having good days and bad days.
The trip with E, S & M is off as S couldn't get off work.
They're working on trying to get out there, but I'm not sure if it's in the cards.

One regular week and then finals. This semester is finally going to be over, it's already felt like an entire year. I'm needing some rest.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

For a laugh

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

Dust is settling

Mom called Tuesday, they've diagnosed her with a crushed verteba in the upper back. They're going to try rehab before doing any surgery. It's always a relief knowing the problem over the guessing game that seems to take forever. That will keep her in the hospital for some time, but it's the same hospital that Penni goes to for tests and treatment. I tried to call Mom last night, but only get her voicemail, I'll try again tonight.

Auntypesty put in job applications yesterday, and then we went golfing before picking Grinnygranny up from work. It was overcast and cool. The news said it was going to be sunshiny and warm and that the storm wasn't supposed to come in till the weekend. Wish they would get it right!

E is planning on taking a trip out to Canton week after next with S and BIL's brother M. They couldn't go with us at Thanksgiving and all want to spend time with Mom and Penni.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I've been fooled.

First things first. When I called Bruce this morning he's back in Oklahoma, but had made arrangements for Mom to be transferred to the hospital in Dallas. Which is as much as I know right now.

We bought the latest DVD package of The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Yesterday in the afternoon we watched the movie for the millionth time and auntypesty played some of the games in special features. The rest of the evening we listened to Christmas music on Satelite and I started reading the book that came with the DVD. It starts off with a lengthy set of introductions by Goldman explaining how he spent a long time recovering from Pneumonia as a child and his father reading the story to him and it had changed his life. How when his own son turned ten he wanted to get a copy of the book as his birthday present and there is an intersting story in tracking down a copy and how his son hadn't liked it so he read it himself and decided it needed to be abridged from the original by S. Mortgenstern. He gives a detailed account of all the problems in getting a studio to make the movie, his failed marriage and then taking his ten year old grandson to Florin City for a visit. They walk through the Mortgenstern Museum looking at the sword made for a six fingered man, a mold of Fezzik's hand twice the size of Andre the Giant's, going into the study and looking through Mortgenstern's diaries and going on and on about how these people actually lived and that the story was true. He even places Florin and Guilder as two small countries between Sweeden and Germany. I read the first hundred and fifty pages of the story, where he talks about deleting an entire chapter because it was just about the argument of Humperdink and his cabinet about marrying a commoner and him making her the Princess of a small area of the Kingdom, what it took to teach her court etiquette. There are chapters on Inigo Montoya and his father, the life of Fezzik and so on and so forth.
Now I knew a Florin was the money of Florence durring the Renaissance, and a Guilder was the Dutch currency which created Capitalism during the Reformation. But the way Goldman intersperced such personal detail in his introduction he had me believing that there actually were countries called Florin and Guilder, that there actually was a S. Mortgenstern and that Goldman had only abridged the original story.
So having pricked my curiosity I Googled Florin. No surprise most of the entries were about the currency, and a number of cities in the United States with this name, but I did come across a link to Florin City. I followed that link anc came across some critiques of the novel. LOW AND BEHOLD the introduction and abridgement were all make up! I think Goldman must be getting a perverse pleasure as people for the last thirty-five years have fallen for his hoax and he laughs his head off at the gullibility of the reading public.
The critique then went on to explain the allegory hidden in the story (It's about economics). I found it fascinating and read it to Grinnygranny.
She was not impressed. "It's just a story, don't try to make so much out of it."
I argued back, "You could say the same thing about Jonah. It's a story most children can relate to and understand, but at that level it's little more than a just a story, but when you look at it as allegory with Jonah representing the Hebrew nation, Nineveh the Gentiles and how Jonah refused to deliver God's message to the Gentiles he flees and is swallowd by a big fish, with the big fish being the Babylonian Captivity. That Nineveh repenting representing Christianity and salvation being open to Gentiles. The story makes much more sense. There's no need to try and find a fish big enough to swallow a man -- that wasn't the point of the story!
Grinnygranny just moaned and said,(referring to Princess Bride) "It's just a story, don't make so much out of it."

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Yesterday brother-in-law called, Mom is in the hospital (small town in Texas) as she cannot move without great pain. Penni is also in the hospital (in Dallas) having a bad reaction to the chemo. Bruce drove down and I talked to him for a few minutes. They think it's Mom's Siatic Nerve that's the problem, but it would be ten days before that hospital could do the test. He will most likely have her transported to Dallas to be in the same hospital as Penni. So far today he hasn't called back to let me know what's happening. Something needs to be done about the situation out there, but I don't know what it is right now.

Took auntypesty to Southwest writers today. She seemed impressed with the meeting and the speaker today talked about journal writing. I bought the speaker's book entitled Journal Writing for Women. Maybe she'll start doing some writing now she's home.

Grinnygranny has finally blogged again and has an interesting letter that eveyone should read.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home again

Actually had nice weather for the drive out to Canton. Our usual route was clogged because of a fire in the Manzano mountains and the town we pass through was the staging area for fighting it. We avoid I-40 at all costs. So we went further south on I-25 and drove throught Carizozo and Capitan, past the turn off to Trinity site (where they dropped the first atomic bomb), through Roswell and into Texas. It is a nice drive especially from Carizoz, Capitan and Lincoln; really pretty country.
We made it into Canton on Thursday, and relaxed the rest of the day. We took Auntypesty to the Seiko outlet for her belated birthday present Friday morning and did a little more shopping. The Factory outlet stores at Tangers (Terrell, TX) were not very busy for Black Friday, guess everyone was in Tyler or Dallas at the Malls. Had a nice dinner in the afternoon with Penni, her husband and MIL, Bruce came down from Oklahoma, Mom and us. There wasn't much Turkey left over. Took lots of pictures.
Penni seemed to be in good spirits, but Mom's having a lot of trouble moving around. She has a number of doctor's appointments next week to figure out the problem. Neither Mom or Penni are happy with Auntypesty's attitude the last couple of months so all were kind of at the parting of the ways stage.
We were worried about the weather on the way home, but only ran into a light rain for most of the way. We could see the snow on the ground by the side of the road and on rooftops, but the roads were in good condition.
It's nice to be home, and I've been catching up on all my e-mails and blogging for the last five days. Nice to see a good number of my fellow bloggers also dormant for the holiday, and I'm not alone in taking time off.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nice surprise

Started making out lessons for this week and discovered that we (aps) have Wednesday off. Called grinnygranny and she took a day of vacation so we are heading out a day early. Makes it a lot nicer. Not looking forward to two days driving out there spend a night and two days driving back, this way we get a full day.
Talked to Mom again, Penni will be home, but with the feeding tube. She'll have chemo again next week, its the radiation that she no longer needs. She said Penni has through this whole ordeal has maintained an upbeat and positive attitude, which is essential in fighting the disease; but it's starting to sink in that her time is short and she's having bouts of depression.
It will be good to spend time with her before bringing auntypest home.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Penni needs prayer

Just got off the phone with Mom, They're running tests today on Penni because they think she has another bowel blockage. She's been in the hospital since Tuesday with Pnuemonia, which from what I gather has cleared up. It looks like they'll be sending her home tomorrow, but using the feeding tube again. We'll find out more when we get there later this week. I told Mom we could leave tomorrow if needed, but she didn't think that was necessary. It seems like every time you think the treatment has this cancer cleared up it comes back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Missing Mistress

Mistress was our little predator. She loved bringing in birds, squirrels, mice, rabbits, lizards as little presents. And it was nearly impossible to pen her up in the house. In the twelve years we've lived here numerous cats have disappeared in the mesa behind our house. Mistress went out yesterday and didn't come back this morning. When our son got home (she's actually his cat and brought her here from Oklahoma) we told him that she still wasn't back. I'd just posted the pictures of all our pets. He went out looking and found her on the mesa then had to take a shovel an bury her. A coyote wouldn't have left anything behind so our best guess is either a prairie owl or this time of year falcons and hawks are migrating. We're sitting around remembering her. Of all the cats we've had she was the one we felt would be safest out there, and for over two years that's been the case. She'll be missed.

Four legged family members

Lucy our Black Labrador

Watson our Cocker Spaniel

Pippin our Cream Cycle Cat

Mistress our little predator

Anne sent me a picture of her latest painting, sold while still on the easel. I really like it.

I've been under the weather the last two days and didn't feel like getting out of bed much less looking at the computer. Got im himmel do the e-mails pile up if you lay off for a couple of days. I don't even want to think about the tests that need to be graded that my subs gave.
Next week a flying trip to Texas. Looks like we'll be bringing aunty pesty home possibly Mom too. Penni is in the hospital with pnuemonia, but they are both physically and emotionally so drained from the last twelve weeks they can't make the drive to Dallas and back anymore. They need to come here for some rest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Anne Littlewolf, aka Raven1, sent me some pictures of her wolfpup. So as not to make my own four legged children jealous I'll be posting pictures of them later.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Novel news

Danny Andrews was here a couple of weeks ago hosting an alumni dinner for Wayland (Baptist University). He's replaced the long time Public Relations and Alumni coordinator, Joe Province. I gave him one of my fliers on Optimus. He recently e-mailed me wanting particulars on the novel so it can go into the Alumni magazine they send out every four months. It's about bloody time! I've sent them e-post cards, and e-mails announcing it, and they've ignored them. Maybe during the transition I fell between the cracks, but finally it should be out there.
I've also created a new blog optimuspg.blogspot.com -- even though the other blog was devoted to Optimus it started out as my Captain's Log blog and had that URL address which made it confusing. I'm shutting down the other blog site and letting this one take over the novel. It will be much easier to put on business cards and fliers for advertizing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fireworks Day

Interesting that Len Goodman mentioned to Jane Seymour on Dancing With The Stars that today (Nov. 5) is Fireworks day in England. I think that most of the American audience went "Huh?" And I would have been right with them if I had not read earlier today's post by Scott Horton at his No Comment blog. A real tip of the hat to him for explaining this day of celebration, how it fits into today's world.

To sum up this day, it commemorates the foiling of a plot to blow up King James I and Parliament. England then used this day to burn the Pope in effigy and persecute all Catholics who were blamed for this attempt at destroying the government.
Horton then gives this quote to explain why the U.S. has never observed this celebration:

Order in Quarters issued by General George Washington, November 5, 1775:

As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

29 years

Anniversay time again. Twenty nine years ago Grinnygranny made me the happiest man on Earth. The road has had its bumps and dips and hills and valleys. She married a divorced defrocked preacher working as a security guard and wound up with a teacher and writer. Time sure does fly when you're trying to make ends meet and rasie a family.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Soap Box

I got this e-mail from a well meaning friend. It's been circulating in the ethernet for years. It's time to parse it and see if it makes the grade.

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

There is no rule that keeps a student from offering a personal prayer. Every year there is a "Meet at the Pole" event countrywide where students meet and VOLUNTARILY pray. English departments offer a course on the Bible as literature. Numerous poems with religious themes are analyzed and discussed. In World History class Ancient Judah, and life of Jesus are taught as well as the rise of early Christianity. During the Renaissance and Reformation Christianity is mentioned in great detail. It is against the establishment clause of the first ammendment for a government, school, or teacher to tell a student they must pray, or tell them to say an officially sanctioned prayer. If a student wants to express their religious beliefs and it pertains to the discussion at hand they are perfectly free to speak up. If they want to preach when I haven't called on them or it has nothing to do with the subject being taught, or if they want to pass judgement on my faith or teaching style they're out of line, and actually in violation of the commandment to honor thy Father and Mother: teachers legally act in loco parentis to their students. Faith in school is the same as it is everywhere subject to Timing, Approach and Appropriateness.
In grading this paper as a teacher I would tell the student to check their facts and get them right.
If students want to use colored hairspray or pierce themselves what does that have to do with prayer or God. It does show the author as someone who has a problem with non-conformists and expect the schools and teachers to enforce their own personal ideas of conformity. As a teacher I would grade this part down as being off topic.
I'm pretty sure that all schools, public or private, secuar or religious, outlaw students from bringing guns to school, especially after Columbine. All School libraries have copies of the Bible usually both Protestant and Catholic. Not all have Q'urans (I do hope that the accepted spelling at this time) Vedas, Talmuds or other religious writings. As a teacher I'd say this is an extreme exaggeration devoid of any truth. I'm not sure, but isn't telling the truth a Christian virtue? "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd
It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

I'm curious about the objection to a pregnant Senior Queen and unwed Daddy, would the writer rather she got an abortion? And then it's wrong to pass out contraception. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it too.
As a parent I taught my children right and wrong. How good a job I did is between God, me and them. I expected their schools to instruct the subjects they are required by law to teach, proper respect and manners that are required to function in a society. I did not want anyone else intruding into my parental responsibilties. Nor as a teacher should I pass judgement on the personal lives of my students. Jesus after all said "Judge not, lest ye be judged likewise." Notice how judgemental the writer regarding the electoral process at the school, but holding elections is a proper function of our schools in teaching them the democratic process, as well as living with the outcome of an election even if your candidate loses.
I'm not aware of any witchcraft classes in high schools, but they might be mentioned in literature or history the same as vampires and totempoles, or maybe the students dress this way on Halloween, but schools do not force or "establish" this belief on the students.
The only passage I can agree with is the statement that when chaos reign school's a mess. 80% of teaching is discipline, but I prefer to use behavior modification techniques and the school's discipline policy over preaching and trying to "save their souls."
For the last remark, didn't the writer fuss about gun control?

To quote Jesus once again, "Oh ye scribes and Pharasees, hypocrites..."

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Spent almost all day yesterday at a screenwriting seminar. Chris Vogel who was teaching the class has been working on movies since 1980. He's written a book, which is what he had condensed for the seminar, in order to get everyone to then run out and buy it. He's helped out on the scripts for Lion King, Aladin, Hercules and other Disney movies. He talked about what it takes to get a script accepted, someone asked if he has sold a script, he has -- to a film in Germany, but it has not had international release. Hark! Verily! does that say how hard it is to sell a script!
The class was more about the different stages of a story and how the same stages of a story apply to the process of writing one. I really did learn a bunch of material and feel like I got my $75 worth.
Santa Fe Screenwriters is also having a screenwriting conference May 27 - June 1. There will be top agents and producers to pitch stories and try to sell scripts. All for the low low price of $695 for the conference, $200 to gain access to agents and producers, or $795 for both. If you sign up before Nov. 30 they knock off $150, and because I attended this seminar they'll reduce it another $100. Well golly gee I'd get all that for just $545 plus the cost of motel room and meals, gas and other incidental expenses. Kind of glad I write novels instead of movie scripts. Think of all the money I'm saving by not goint to this event.
Let's see I skipped Glorieta's Christian Writer's Conference earlier this month that's another $400 to $500 dollars I saved. Grinnygranny shouldn't fuss too much because I bought another 20 books since the Publisher had a 50% off special. Somehow she doesn't see things the way I do. For some strange reason she thinks I should be making money off these books and somehow all the expenses compared to what I've collected doesn't compute. When I go the the Southwest Writer's Workshop almost all the other authors are in the same boat I'm in. I keep telling her that not every person who picks up a basketball makes the amount of money they pay Shaquille O'Neal.
Anyway I have a fresh new supply of books to sell -- going cheap for a collector's item (book signed by the author)only 20 bucks. Just e-mail me and I'll get you a copy.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Here's a picture of the painting my "Twin" sent. It looks wonderful over the fireplace. I'm calling it Aspens in Colorado. It also makes for wonderful wallpaper on the 'puter.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Trying to figure out how to download avideo onto the blog site. Think I've got it. Here's a balloon that flew over the house. We have them coming by all year long to land behind the house.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Thanks for all who have offered prayers and support, Penni is home after 10 days in the hospital. She's still going through radiation and chemo, but has started eating and her bowels are starting to function again. So far good news. She still needs prayer as well as Mom and daughter who are acting as taxi service. Mom has a more complete update at her blog.

Is anyone out there?

I don't seem to get too many comments when I get on my soap box for some reason. BUT I'M GETTING ON IT ANYWAY!

Paul Krugman in today's Opinon page of the New York Times gives both barrels to the Great Sound Machine sliming a 12 year old boy suffering from head trauma for daring to speak truth to power.

All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate. If service members oppose a Republican war, they’re “phony soldiers”; if Michael J. Fox opposes Bush policy on stem cells, he’s faking his Parkinson’s symptoms; if an injured 12-year-old child makes the case for a government health insurance program, he’s a fraud.
Meanwhile, leading conservative politicians, far from trying to distance themselves from these smears, rush to embrace them. And some people in the news media are still willing to be used as patsies.
Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America, insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.
And there’s one more point that should not be forgotten: ultimately, this isn’t about the Frost parents. It’s about Graeme Frost and his sister.
I don’t know about you, but I think American children who need medical care should get it, period. Even if you think adults have made bad choices — a baseless smear in the case of the Frosts, but put that on one side — only a truly vicious political movement would respond by punishing their injured children.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Politics politics politics

Sometimes a political cartoon says it all!

At the Huffington post John Cusack has two interviews with Naomi Klein, author of Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism who has figured out the method to the madness of Bushco. Click here for part 1, and here for part 2.

Here's a quote:

Klein: You hear people complain about how Hezbollah is a "state-within-a-state" in Lebanon -- what about Blackwater in the USA? And that's just one company of hundreds, and a relatively small player compared to Lockheed and GE and Booz Allen. But once again, we can't keep being surprised by this shadow world -- it is an inevitable consequence of Rumsfeld's vision of an outsourced and contracted-out state. A right-wing journal in the U.S. called Blackwater "al Qaeda for the good guys" and it's a striking analogy. Wherever the disaster capitalism complex has landed, it has produced a proliferation of armed groupings outside the state. No surprise, really -- when countries are rebuilt by people who don't believe in government, the states they build are invariably weak, creating a market for alternative security forces, whether Hezbollah, Blackwater, the Mahdi Army or the gang down the street in New Orleans.

Now that is scary!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Busy busy busy

  • "Twin" sister came to town over the weekend. I know it's confusing because my real sister is so much in my thoughts and prayers and mentioned here, but "friend" just doesn't suit when speaking of Anne. She made some wonderful contacts for her children's book and a number of writers are wanting her to illustrate their books.
  • Replaced the garage door that died last Thursday. Nice to have it actually open and close without assistance.
  • Had a fun round of golf with some balloon pilots from Arizona on Monday at UNM South, in for the balloon fiesta. Unfortunatley there was an accident and a woman fell and died that day. The first fatality at the fiesta since 1994. With over 700 balloons taking off every day for 9 days every year this is a rare occurance.
  • After the round of golf I had a writer's workshop and fortunately got home in time for the last half of the Dallas game against Buffalo. WAS THAT A GAME OR WHAT?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In need of prayer

My sister is in the hospital truly fighting for her life. She's had radiation and is set for another round of chemo Monday. Mom and M are spending nights with her so she isn't left alone. I could hear in Mom's voice, when she called, the terrible toll it's taking on her. It's hard hearing every few days what's happening there and not being able to be present. Thank the Lord for a daughter willing to put her life on hold in order to help out.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I want to gag, to spew out of my mouth the foul stench of a recurring advertizement by a member of my state's national representative. Little Miss Nasty. In little more than a year she is up for re-election again, and the putrid aroma of her pressuring a Federal Prosecutor to rush indictments still lingers over the country and the state and my city, which she so horridly misrepresents.
This abomination of false advertizing has to do with the S-Chip vote that was recently cast. She is proclaiming to all that this vote will help insure millions of needy children and it's all her doing it even asks the viewers to call in and thank her. (Ulp, gasp, gag, urp)
Well pin a medal on her! (heavy of the sarcasm).
She fails to mention that the northern Democratic representative also voted for the bill, and that the southern Republican representative voted against it. Also absent is the almost certain VETO by Der Decider leaving the children of this country with less health care not more!
Oops, excuse me I just had to retch.
So what is making me so sick? The dawning realization that the morons in this city will swallow the putrid garbage she's dishing out and probably re-elect her.
It's enough to induce permanent bulimia.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quiet week

Had grades due this week. Other than that had a real quiet week. Don't feel like getting on a soap box --- must be mellowing out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Random Thoughts

  • I'm still thinking about the journey that this summer began, but right now it's still to raw to write about.

  • I wasn't too sure about trying to teach this year, and I did look into retiring, but the normal routine has been cathartic which is right now what I need. As much as it galls me to say anything positive about the school's administration, they have been exceptionally supportive an understanding before the year started and since I came back. I only wish they had been this human last year when Robin was dying of cancer and they went out of their way to make her last few months miserable.
  • Scott Horton is so articulate today about how George W. Bush meets all the requirements for the term TYRANT. If anyone is reading this check it out.

  • I've been watching the "talking heads" heads on the idiot box analyzing suicide bombers again. Whether its New York Times, Washington Post or even the Huffington Post they can't reconcile reality to their theory. They always say that poverty is what causes people to become desperate enough to blow up those around them. But Osama is OIL RICH! The bombers at the World Trade Center were MIDDLE CLASS and well educated. It's understandable that those with nothing to lose would opt out for the "Take as many with me as I can take" attittude, what motivates those who have education, wealth or both to become fundamentalist be it Christian or Muslim? They are the ones wanting to blow up the world just to see a spectacular sight. Anwer: they find their education and wealth doesn't give them meaning or purpose.

  • Here's my take: Religion is about MEANING and PURPOSE. Fundamentalism's meaning and purpose is to keep morals of the religion pure. All other aspects of the religion take a back seat. The be-all and end-all is morals, and the morals focus almost exclusively on sex. Lying, cheating, stealing, false witness, murder are all rationalized away in order to keep the marriage bed sacred -- just as long as MEN control the marriage bed. Men can stray from the marriage bed with mistresses if they can afford them -- plural marriages stops this practice, or with prostitutes -- just so long as the practice is illegal and prostitutes are the criminals. Let a woman stray and watch out -- civilization will crumble!

  • Am I wrong? I cite stong examples Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Compare their Presidencies. The one charge the fundies could level at Bill was that he was a womanizer. George has been as far as we know quite faithful to Laura, but every other commandment in the entire Ten Commandments have been consistently broken and overlooked by the Blind Faith fundamentalists.

  • Christian and Muslims are at war with the modern world because of its focus on sex. Hey SEX sells. Ever since the "It Girl" advertisers have sold toothpaste, soap, cars, air travel, and even hemoroid creams by using a pretty face or large bosom. Movies and television shows have to display bare breasts of women and bare bottoms of men. Now I ask you does the whole world have to go up in flames and all life on this planet die just because Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione and Larry Flint have made fortunes selling sex to the masses?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

College Friends

Since attending my college reunion in Feb of 2006, I've been e-mailing a number of friends from College. It has been very helpful to have their prayers and concerns the last few months. One of these friends has recently helped get me in touch with a very special friend from College.

This friend has the feminine version of my first name and we both went by the same dimenuative -- Pat -- as well as having the same first initial on our last name. We both played chess and were in the tournaments that the school hosted,

and a number of our opponents commented that they were confused as to who they would play when they saw the bracket posted. We laughed about it the first year and

from that we started calling each other "Twin" So this is a real special friend as she is my unofficial "Twin Sister."
She e-mailed me and we've started catching up on
thirty years. Here are some pictures of her paintings, and not only that, unlike my novel, she's making money off her art. She paints under the name Anne Littlewolf. And though I may be rather partial they're quite good.

Friday, September 14, 2007

School Failure

Round about way to get to this, but Bruce mentioned this on his blog and I went to the link he provided and like it so much I thought I would reproduce it here, This is an excerpt by Ed Sunday-Winters concerning Public School Failure.

Ed Sunday-Winter’s
10 Ways Public Schools Fail Students

10. They fail to exclude students with physical or mental disabilities that make learning difficult.

9. They fail to exclude students who don't live in the right neighborhoods. Public schools are everywhere, not just in the backyards of suburban churches.

8. They fail to exclude students who cannot afford tuition, books or supplies.

7. They fail to let children go hungry who cannot afford to pay for lunch or breakfast.

6. They fail to exclude students because of race, ethnicity or religious creed.

5. They fail to teach from a narrow, outdated worldview that does not recognize advances made in all academic fields of study.

4. They fail to advocate the beliefs of one particular religion.

3. They fail to recognize that some children just cannot be taught.

2. They fail to quit teaching children when confronted with a barrage of criticism from political and religious leaders.

1. They fail to refuse any student the education needed to live life, embrace liberty and pursue happiness.

Indeed, our public schools are failing in these and many other ways. And I am glad that they are doing so.

However, one thing that all of our schools need--be they public, private or home schools--is our prayers. Please remember to pray for our students and those that teach them this week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The worst part of being a history teacher is that you can see things coming and you feel like Casandra -- No matter how much you try to warn people what is going to happen, they won't listen!
Within a week of the attack on the World Trade Center, when Bush finally came out from the rock he was hiding under, I could tell he was going to use this disaster the same way Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to disband the German Parliament and take over total power.
Six months later the American Patriot Act started the burning of the Constitution. No more need for Warrants, assassinate people you don't like -- that's called a Bill of Attainder -- expressly forbidden in the Constitution -- Forget Habeus Corpus -- call a press conference, announce you've captured a terrorist and lock him away for three years without charge, subject him to mental and physical abuse then convict him for leaving fingerprints on a piece of paper. Stalin at least made the innocent sign blank sheets of paper which would later hold their confessions before sending them to the Gulag. Arrest all your political opponents on trumped up charges so you never have to fear the outcome of an election. The polls are showing the American Public is fed up with the dog and pony show. Now if we can just get some backbone into the Democrats before more damage is done.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hard Times

Mom has been over a couple of times to make sure daughter is properly packed and taking everything she needs to stay with her. They are leaving in the morning. Mom's friend is driving with them and will fly back so they can all take turns at the wheel.
Penni had a colonectomy today, and they are inserting a feeding and hydration tube in her stomach to try and clear the bowel blockage. They will start chemo therapy in a few days. The doctor is telling her not to give up hope, but she has gone down so fast it's hard not to think the worst. Bruce has been with her for the last few days and will be there this weekend as well.
It's hard being 800 miles away, but there's nothing I can really do either here or there except pray.

Bruce has posted a picture of Penni with her daughter. Penni wrote one of the chapters in this book that deals with Ovarian Cancer. TORCH: Tales of Remarkble Courage and Hope.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Too good to pass up

I found this post at Scott Horton's No Comment and like it so much I copied and pasted. I hope he doesn't mind.

Scott Horton

Brontë on Convention and Morality
Charlotte Brontë, a colored drawing from 1873

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is — I repeat it — a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.
–Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, preface to the second edition (1847)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Q & A Game

Yesterday I answered the questions spookyrach asked of me. If you are interested in playing the game here are the rules:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Whirlwind and questions

Just came back from four days of almost non-stop driving. We spent some time Saturday night and Sunday morning with Mother-in-law. They're talking of releasing her from the hospital Tuesday and she's actually looking forward to the nursing home. After the initial diagnosis this is amazing. She has COPD and came down with Pneumonia which put quite a strain on her heart. She is rallying and will be back on her feet in a few weeks. It was good to see her and spend a couple of meals with Grinnygranny's brother and family.

Spookyrach picked me while I was away to answer some questions. So here goes.

1. What is the most embarrassing CD or Ablum you own?
I've always had a thing for Iron Butterfly's Innagoddadavida. I played it over and over again when I was a senior in high school and drove Mom crazy. I studied to it in college at an institution 40 miles from the nearest known sin. My room mates weren't pleased. I had a tape player that I listened to on the bus when we traveled for Track and Cross-country meets. I was playing it once when the coach was filling up with gas. He got on and started up the bus just as the music hit the rift where they are scraping the guitars shifting from the drum solo back to the melody. Coach turned off the engine and started it back up thinking the bus was throwing a rod. When he figured out it was the music and not the bus he gave me one of "Those" looks. Whenever I listen to it at home wife and kids either leave or close their doors. But I still love the song and groove on the drum solo.
2. Which could you better tolerate - leaving the country permanently or never leaving your current state?
I seem to be traveling all over the place outside my state and have lived elsewhere. If I had to I could live in another state, but I don't think I would want to live outside of the good-ol-US of A.
3. Who would play you in a movie of your life, and why?
It would have to be someone not too tall, a little overweight, but not bald with a good sense of humor. Tom Arnold comes to mind.

4. What is your greatest fear and how do you conquer it?
I was a summer missionary in Grant's NM the summer after my sophomore year in college. I spent two weeks in a small house by myself. It was fine for the first week, but the second week the walls started caving in on me. The lady who owned the house was visiting her daugher for those two weeks and when she came back I was very grateful. After my ex-wife left Ft. Worth when I was at Seminary I spent the rest of that semester and the next alone in student housing. Even though Bruce was not far away I hated the feeling that if something happened to me no one would know about it for weeks or months and I've never regretted leaving seminary to come home. I guess my biggest fear is being alone. God has been gracious to me all my life that I've have been surrounded by those I love and the times of solitude have been of short duration.

5. What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?
I was hired at a job once. When my supervisor took me around to meet my co-workers he introduced me to a guy I had never met before, but when he told him my name he said he knew my ex-wife, who my brother married, knew I was married to grinnygranny, and my first roommate in college. When I learned his name it made sense because his son was my age and was in the church youth group I attended in high school. He was also a fellow deacon with my Father-in-law at their church. I really did learn just how small the Baptist circle was in Albquerque that day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Deep Breath

Sister-in-law called again. Mother-in-law regained consiousness, is aware of where she is and has talked to the doctor. Grinnygranny talked with her mother a little bit. She's not out of the woods yet, but her condition is more promising than when we got the first call. Could be a case of dehydration and when they got an IV in it brought her around. We'll be taking a trip up there this weekend to check on her.

Out of the blue

Grinnygranny's mother is in the hospital with heart failure and not expected to survive the day. Sister-in-law called and told her that she pushed the call button in her apartment and the EMT's arrived, but that her heart is giving out. By the time they got her to the hospital she was unconcious and they don't think she'll last more than twelve to twenty four hours.
We had planned on taking Auntipesty up to see her after graduation, but time ran out on that trip. We were going to try and make it up there this July, but the situation with Dad didn't make that possible. We were planning on going to visit either at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but now it's too late.
This is getting tough.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Treading water

Mom was released from the Hospital Saturday morning. They finally started her treatment Friday evening after I left, maybe what I said to the doctor lit a fire under the nursing staff. She's staying with her friend. Went by to see her Sunday and she was doing much better.
Monday sister was to find out from her doctor what kind of treatment he wanted to do. The choices are not very good. Have surgery to remove the colon, which would only make the other tumors more aggresive, or daily chemotherapy. When I talked to Mom last night she said the doctor still hasn't made up his mind about the treatment, but they are wanting to send her home.
It was actually good to get back into the classroom and start teaching once again. It's like riding a bicycle -- you never forget. I've got a ton of papers and attendance to catch up on, gradebook to setup and that kind of stuff to keep my mind off the other problems for a few minutes at a time.
Mom is wanting to drive home in the next few days and daughter will be going with her. Daughter is both a blessing and a curse at times. I've told Mom is she becomes more curse than blessing to fly her back.

Friday, August 24, 2007

When it rains...

I thought things would get somewhat back to normal after Dad's funeral. So much for thinking.

Sister was admitted to the hospital on Saturday before the funeral with a bowel blockage. She was flown home Wednesday. They did a CT scan yesterday, but so far I haven't heard what they're going to do. Bruce has been there and we talked this morning he thinks they'll do surgery, but since then no word. Mom is afraid that her cancer is moving from stage three to stage four.

Mom started having back pains on the drive out. She went to urgent care yesterday morning, they gave her some antibiotics saying she had a lung infection. She kept telling them that her kidneys were hurting, but they wouldn't listen. She called me later (she was staying at a friend's house) unable to get any liquid down or medicine in extreme pain. I called 911 and had her taken to a hospital. Spent most of last night with them doing nothing, they did give her a pain killer that helped a little.. The finally got her to a CT scan around 2am. They said they would admit her at 6am, but didn't get her up to the room until 9:30. They finally gave her some acetomenaphin at 10:30 the first pain medication in ten hours. The doctor finally deigned to see her at noon told her what the treatment would be. Mom told me to go home and get some rest. When Grinnygranny got home we went to dinner and then visited Mom. They had done nothing. The doctor made the mistake of trying to get on the elevator to leave as I was getting off. I backed him up and enlightened him that his orders were not being done. He said he'd talk to the nurse. I told him if he didn't want to treat Mom I'd take her home as they weren't doing anything. Mom decided to stay the night, but I'm bringing her home tomorrow because I don't think they'll be doing anything tonight either.

Monday will my first day in the classroom. I'm not mentally ready for this.
I had planned on writing more about Dad and doing a chronology of the summer, but it's not over yet.

Monday, August 20, 2007

In Memoriam

Today we laid Dad to rest. Bruce did a fine job with the service. Penni was unable to attend, she had stomach pains Saturday and was taken to the hospital where they discovered a bowel blockage. They are trying to break up the blockage without surgery and could be in the hospital for four to six more days. I videotaped portions of the service and showed it to her this afternoon.

My Eulogy
The two standout experiences I had with Dad:
In 1969 I was running track in Junior High. Dad was working nights and taking classes at the University. I didn't see too much of him. One night he came home smiling like the Cheshire Cat. He told me that in one of his classes there was a lady whose husband was coaching track at a rival school and he asked her how his team was doing. She answered by saying, "Pretty good except for the damn Prescott kid." Then she caught herself and asked him he was Dad's son.
Dad said, "He sure is." (Her husband thought he could win every track meet that season and take the city championship. A couple of days earlier against that school I finished first in three races and it was his first team loss.)
Dad was not stinting in his praise or showing pride in Bruce, Penni or me, but this time was rather special. He was so happy to be the father of "That damn Prescott kid."
The other special experience was many many years later. Dad had retired and was getting out the house by substitute teaching. It was nice that whenever I needed a sub I could choose Dad and know I had a sub the students would not misbehave on. I would tell them that I had never been able to get away with anything on him all my life -- so don't even think about it. One of the teachers in my department was seriously ill and I needed a long term sub for six weeks. Mom and Dad were just coming back from a drive up to Washington State, Oregon and California. With only one day of rest he agreed to the long term contract and for six weeks we taught across the hall from each other. I could see the pride in him as he saw me "in action" so to speak. The teacher who Dad was subbing for wasn't very happy about it at first, but when he came back he told me that the classes were the best behaved he had ever seen after a long term sub.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A picture of my parents

Mom let me play around with her printer which has a scanner on it and I got this picture to work. The others were black n white which didn't scan too well. This is Dad with Mom in his State Defense Force uniform at one of their big to-do's.

Loose ends

Bruce has a number of posts concerning Dad and has pictures -- my pictures of Dad on my external hard drive in Albuquerque -- he's also written about the genealogy that he and Mom worked on while here.
Mom has posted some thoughts as well.

For me it's still too soon to start on the chronology as it's not over yet. The funeral is Monday then I'll start posting.

Got out on the golf course today, trying to recover now, this heat and humidity is a killer.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mercy and Grace

Dad passed away this morning. There's a lot of loose ends to tie up for the next few days and then we'll be driving home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Difficult days

Left here Tuesday to take care of my extended leave. Dad seemed normal when I left. He took a big turn for the worse just a few hours later. He could have had a stroke.
I am set for the next two weeks with a substitute and regular sick leave, the paper work I took with me for extended leave they won't need until this two weeks is over. My sub was there so I showed him the room and went over lessons, he'll be there Monday for the in-service to get ready. I got my room set up, but didn't have time to get my computers out of storage and set up. I went to the first in-service day on Wednesday. Maybe the stress of this summer is getting to me, but all the changes they are setting up for this year has me thinking about retiring. With a financial meltdown going on and my retirement dependent on the stock market that may not be the best financial decision to make right now.
It doesn't look like Dad will survive the weekend, after talking to Mom Tuesday night and her telling me how much his condition worsened after I left I was afraid he wouldn't be here when I got back. Her account of these days is on her blog. Penni was here to help Wednesday and after I got in yesterday Bruce came in, though he may not be able to stay too long.
Mom and Bruce have been digging up Prescott genealogy and seem to have made the big break past 1910 that has stymied Mom for years.
I'll post a chronology of the time here after it's all over instead of dwelling on it now.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hurry up and wait

You need to be at the airport two hours before your flight, or so the wisdom goes, but I find myself sitting and waiting most of those two hours. These whirlwind trips are exhausting.
Had a nice book signing. Sold three books, one to a former student well past his ten year class reunion. It was nice to spend more time with grandson, the kids and Grinnygranny. I did have to clean out the fish bowl as none of them seem to be able to do any more than just feed the poor thing. Dogs and cats were happy to see me. Sometimes you need to get away from what you have to really appreciate it.
Our van's ABS light keeps coming on, and I had them take it in to get checked out. $90 later they couldn't find the problem. It comes on then when you turn off the car and it stays off for awhile till it comes back on again. Sure enough on the way to drop me off it came back on again. I told Grinnygranny to take it back to the service repair shop so they can see we are not hallucinating. She got there at 7:00am and they don't open to 8:00am on weekends. She decided not to sit and run it for an hour and went home.
Guess I have the time to catch up on all the other bloggers before it's time to board the plane.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home sweet home

Even if it is only for two nights. Flew in this morning and it's nice to spend time with my energetic and noisy grandson. Made new handouts for my booksigning tomorrow and cut down my poster (courtesy of B Dalton's) to fit a picture frame -- getting upscale!
Went to school and picked up textbooks to take back with me and start working on lesson plans -- just in case I don't make it back for the first days of school.
I'm going to write a journal about this experience. Mom encouraged me yesterday as we were driving to Tyler to get her new glasses that had come in. Penni's MIL was watching Dad for us. I told her I had thought about doing that with this blog, but thought it would be way too morbid for non-family readers, and upsetting to family members not here. I may post portions of the journal later -- perhaps much later when the perspective of time can soften the words.
Looks like I'll have to put a new air conditioner on the house. It was making a lot of noise before I left, but is really making a racket now. I'm putting the roof on hold until later, just not much later.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Over did it

Dad got up this morning as chipper and energetic as I've seen him since I got here. He was talking up a storm. I was planning on going out to get a hair cut today so Mom suggested we all go to Athens (thirty miles from here) where she gets her hair done and then have lunch. After my hair cut it was too early for lunch so we drove to Palestine (they pronounce it Palesteen around here) and back for the scenery. It is a pretty drive. Had lunch in Athens and then came home. It really wore Dad out. He's sleeping now. When we got home he said, "No more long trips."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back to normal

Family came in Sunday. Got video of Dad reading a book to Ritchie. I don't have the right cord to transfer the video to my computer or onto vhs tape. We went to see the new Harry Potter movie yesterday and I let Grinnygranny pick out a nice outfit at Sagharbor for her birthday. They left this morning. Got a call a little while ago and they made it to Clovis and will be back home without too much trouble tomorrow.

Finally had time to catch up on all the news in the blog world.

Scott Horton at No Comment has so many pertinent articles it's hard to list them all. I could spend the better part of each day reading just this blog.
My own observation from all that I've read today at Ariana Huffington and Scott Horton is that Dick Cheney has become America's Rasputin.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

whirlwind weekend

Flew back to Albuquerque Thursday. When I got in E was being sent to an emergency room as a pallat had fallen on his foot. Then while waiting on word of his condition -- they bandaged it up and sent him back to the store. We found our Cocker Spaniel had an abscess on his front paw. Took him to the vet, got anti-biotics and they lanced it. Went to pick up E and brought him home.
Friday E was scheduled to work a couple of hours later than usual. They told him he'd answer the phones instead of being on the floor. We went to have lunch with Grinnygranny and took him to work, he can't drive his truck which is standard and he can't use the clutch with his hurt left foot. Antiepesty left to spend time with her boyfriend, taking R with her and I then went to my book signing. When it came time to put a table, chair, poster and bag with books in E's truck we had a downpour. Got drenched. When I got to the Hastings they had a table set up with ten books. I sold two, but one person told me that my book was mentioned at a home school convention, so maybe I'm starting to get a buzz on the book. Then picked E up from work.
They were planning on leaving to drive down here Saturday morning so E and autiepesty could spend time with Dad before he gets to the point where the pain medication makes him sleep all the time. My flight back was for Sunday and I decided to fly back a day early and changed flights. Got back just a little after Bruce left, so Mom wasn't left here alone with Dad for very long.
I'm hoping that Grinnygranny, auntiypesty, E and R have a safe trip. They should be here tomorrow morning.
Mom had to put a third pain patch on Dad today and a number of pills before he settled down. He got up and ate supper then sat for about two hours in the recliner dozing off and on before heading back to bed. I'm hoping he'll be more alert when the family gets here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gratitude and Rage

I've had a lot of time to think about things while trying to keep cool and dry among the Kudzu of East Texas. The hospice nurses have been coming every three days to check on Dad and deliver the medication to keep him pain free. It has been such a blessing. At the first hint of pain we can give him something to ease it. When the time comes they will provide an electric hospital bed. One of their assistants is coming today to give Dad a shower. I did have to get a shower head on a hose to help with this yesterday -- cost all of 8 bucks, and installed it. They will come every other day to keep him clean. And all of this is 100% paid by Medicare. It is hard to describe the relief and gratitude for this service. As we have questions about what to expect in the next few weeks as he declines they are very knowledgable and experienced on the process.
Then I think back four years to when my Father-in-law was spending his final days. He died of bladder cancer in Albuquerque. A veteran of World War II, long time parts manager of a car dealership that passed hands to multiple owners, and a wonderful man. When he decided not to endure any more radiation treatments and Hospice was brought in they quickly assessed the situation and insisted he be placed in a nursing home. There was no offer of pain management, in-house care, special bed or anything. I remember him sitting in the living room whimpering in pain. For the last month in the nursing home he was neglected for hours at a time without any relief. I spent most of my time shuttling my Mother-in-law and wife back and forth, but no one could spend nights with him, and we would get calls from the nursing home in the middle of the night telling us he had gotten up from the wheel chair and fell. We tried to get them to stop wheeling him to the dining room and feed him in bed, in fact just keep him in bed, but they would wheel him to the dining room and then wheel him back to his room, then not put him in bed for hours. He would finally try to get in bed on his own and naturally fall. Blessedly he breathed his last, but when I compare the way my father is being treated by Hospice to my FIL it just makes me angry that such a wonderful man died in so much pain and discomfort and neglect and knowing what I do now that it didn't have to be that way.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Quiet night

Finally had a chance to get out on the golf course yesterday. Dad was sleeping peacefully, Mom didn't have anything she needed to do, sun was shining and the course was open. The humidity out here really drains you! It's only been a week since I've played, but it felt like I did 36 holes instead of 18. The course wasn't in very good shape, but at least I got to hit that little white ball and chase it. (I had to stop and think, yes I've only been here a week, seems like just a few hours at times and more like a month at others.)
Bruce and family came in. Dad was up for a little while and I was able to get video of everyone.
He was up and had a good breakfast this morning, They got to spend more time with him and say goodbye before having to leave, Bruce was a little worried about trying to get over the Red River to get home. Bruce is going to try and come out to help Mom when I go back for the book signing. Hope I sell a good number of books for all the cost involved in being there.
The satelite here has been down almost all day as there was a stationary line of thunderstorms south of us blocking the internet until around 7pm. Dad just had a good supper, and is now back in bed. Tomorrow Mom and I are going to rearrange the living room to try to make it easier for him to spend time out here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Time passing

I've been in soggy East Texas since Sunday. When I arrived Hospice was here and went over the pain regimine. Dad was doing well and was quite alert. Monday he did well and was even up much more than normal. Wednesday he slept a little bit more. Bruce came with wife and son. They spent time with him and we sat and watched a movie. Dad got through most of it, but couldn't sit for all of it. They left Thursday morning for Mississippi to pick up their daughter and will be back tomorrow so she can spend some time with Dad too. We took Dad to his doctor, ate a nice meal, he spent the rest of the evening sleeping -- seems the trip really tired him out. Then this morning he woke up in pain. The hospice lady doubled his patch and brought more medication. The tumor has noticably grown. He's spent most of the day sleeping, we don't know if it's the medication or if he's just tired out from all that's happened this week. We're hoping for a better day tomorrow when Bruce and his family show up.