Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Take a Few Minutes

Friends and families come in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing about them is just that-them. Today we are seeing more and more families coping with issues they had not planned to have. Frequently called "the sandwich generation", they must deal with raising children as well as caring for aging parents or grandparents. The very fact that these friends and family stay in touch is important to the well being of them all. Our time together is short. We may not think so but it is. We are all so busy with ourselves that we wake up one day and discover we forgot to call Aunt Bess. Now we can't because she passed away. We did not take the time. We think sadly, "if only... "

I remember the losses in my life. My parents, my in-laws and even some friends are gone. I can't get them back. Sometimes I will see some reminder that takes me back to another time and wish that I could talk to those I have lost. My mother and I did not always get along, especially when I was a teen. She was gone at 49. So many times I wish I could talk to her. My father lamented that she was the one who wanted grandchildren. He would rather have her. But as luck would have it, he lived to see the grandchildren she wanted. Over the years he became my best friend. Back then we had no IM or e-mail, we wrote letters or talked on the phone. Though he did not see them often, for a guy who didn't really care about having grandkids, he enjoyed them. Now he is just a fading memory for them.

We are only here a short time. We need to remember to take that time and use it well. Don't end up saying, "why didn't I?" I heard someone say "talk to me now, don't talk about me later cause I won't care then." Families and friends rush to the aid of those grieving for a loved one. This is comforting for sure. Then again, how many times have I heard someone say they had been meaning to stop by but... We all have busy lives. It is not always easy to drive across town to see that old uncle in the nursing home. Few of us like to visit nursing homes. They can be depressing. But sometimes there is no choice. We can't always cope with kids, work and parents or grandparents. Some of our friends or family are lucky enough to be independent until the end. Of course some of our old friends and family can be crabby and annoying. But we must remember it's better to talk to them now, rather than about them later.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Bunnies Anyone? How about Some Eggs?

So we had Amanda and Pat over for dinner Sunday. Jimmy gave both of them chocolate Easter Bunnies as a joke, Hers was white chocolate and his was the regular one. I was going to make a cake but decided not to cause I could not find my cake cover. Can't leave a cake out on the counter without a cover here. Since the grass and weeds have started growing we are having some extra little unwanted guests fly in and around the house. Little brown bugs keep coming in the front door. They seem to be attracted to food or drink. They really liked my wine. I kept having to shoo them away from my glass. When I was in the kitchen they kept trying to sample the food as I was cooking. And to think they weren't even invited.

Jimmy got an unusual phone call Saturday from Bobby. He was at home with Brad while Traci went to pick up Cheyanne from her father's house. I guess he just needed to talk. Sometimes after your parent dies you have to find some communication. It was a nice call. We hear from them so rarely. Bobby is always busy and Traci is, well Traci. She is not much for communicating. Annie and I talked before they left to check out where they will be living since Jason will be starting a new job in a different town soon. Nothing was said by Pat about his pending move. Well, it was Easter.

Amanda brought her laptop. For a while there it looked like dueling laptops. I have been running a new security program on our pc. I downloaded the trial version. It looks like it would be something to get after we get the pc disk reformated. Right now I can do some things. But if I try to search for something, I still get taken to some odd place. I was trying to get to a bio on Charlton Heston but was maddenly always sent some place else. I just have a few things I need to try to get off here so that Amanda's friend can clean up this poor sick computer.

Our next door neighbors must have taken off a few days. It is spring break. One good thing I did notice. The poor lonely beer bottle has moved on. I hope it will be happy in it's new abode. Meanwhile Lady is a little miffed because Jimmy's laptop has taken over her lap space. She has to compete now. I almost got a cute picture of her with her head on the keyboard, but Jimmy made her move before I could take one.

Well, now I feel the call of an Easter egg. Even though we have no little kids around anymore, Jimmy still likes to dye those eggs. We dyed two dozen eggs. Wonder how long it will take to get bored with them for lunch? Ok, ok, now Daisy is pestering me to go out. The only problem is, will I be able to resist the chocolate cake Amanda and Pat brought as I pass it sitting on the counter. Now where is that leash?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Give Me Strength!

Well, here I am again. It looks like we are going to have to reformat the disk on the poor pc. One of Amanda's friends is going to help us with that as soon as we can get together. This is so very frustrating. Jimmy bought a flash drive to store our pictures and his music on while this thing gets fixed. This whole thing reminds me of men who dont read instructions. When he bought this pc it did not come with a recovery disk. In the first few pages of the manual were instructions to make one. Gee, that would have been nice. I dont have $200 to buy another Windows XP program. Of course now Jimmy discovered at least one virus in his music. He had already planned to buy a used laptop from a friend. He had saved up for this for a while. He finally got it yesterday. It is really nice. But when he put in the flash drive he discovered the virus. Crap!! I will be so glad to get this mess fixed.

Amanda and Pat will have Easter dinner with us. I guess this will be when Pat tells us that he will move to Odessa and that his former ex is pregnant. Oh Joy! Maybe I should did a foxhole and stay out of the line of fire? Dumb,dumb,dumb. A grown man making such thoughtless choices. I guess he is just another example of the current way people do things,backwards.

Well, I am going to try to concentrait on good thoughts. Happy Easter.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Surprises, Some Good, Some Not

As I write this I am fighting to regain control of the computer. The other night after Jimmy finished his poker game he checked his mail and finished answering his MSN Messenger chats. Apparently in the middle of all this some spyware and or trojan horses grabbed hold of our system. I worked all day yesterday using our spyware killer. It is still in trouble right now. Grrr! I asked him what in the world he did. Who knows. Along about noon he called me to ask about dinner. What? He never calls about dinner. Surprise we have tickets to the Houston Rodeo to see Toby Keith. I could not refuse because Toby Keith is one of Jimmy's favorites!

So we drove over to one of the bus locations and were wisked away to Reliant Stadium. I had forgotten how much walking is envolved in being at that stadium. Since it was late in the afternoo we skipped the animal exhibits. After all cattle all smell. When we walked into the crowd making it's way to the stadium where all the activities are held. Getting to the seats should be an event as far as I am concerned. On the way to our seats we had to fight the crowds going for food, drink, and all sorts of things for sale. Let's face it buying a meal at the rodeo is not cheap. Just imagine a hot dog for almost $6.00. Eventually we made it to our seats. We missed the tie-down roping and bareback riding contests. We did see some of the team roping and saddle bronc riding. Steer wrestling was fun, sort of. Some how wrestling a steer to the ground is not that fun to watch. At least to me. I did get a kick out of the barrel racing which is the women's contest where they race their horses around three barrels as fast as they can. Most of these racers are young, but there was one lady who was 64 in the race. Bull riding is painful to watch, muchless do. No wonder they have the rodeo clowns jumping around. I liked watching the clowns, especially the apprentice clown. The announcer kept talking all night about this clown in training. He danced around and acted silly. The crowd loved him. Of course then he had to take his final exam in the barrel. Yeah, get in the barrel and let a bull push you around. Is this guy nuts? Apparently so- the apprentice clown was Matt Lauer of the Today show. I wonder how he feels this morning.

One of the big hits of the rodeo is always the calf scramble where kids chase and grab a calf. It is not as easy as you would think. If these kids manage to catch and pull a calf into the center of the area, they get a calf to raise next year. I know those kids were tired.

Finally time for a little music. I am no much of a country music fan but I did enjoy Toby Keith. One of these days I might actually get used to the loud music and fireworks going off. Jumping nearly out of my seat every time the fireworks is so not cool. I actually did understand some of the lyrics of the songs over all the noise of the band. What was that you said? When we left I could not hear because of the buzzing in my ears.

More coffee, please. Since we did not get back until after midnight and got up before six, snore. Now it is back to work. Hey, virus scan, are you done yet? The spyware guys are waiting. Again. Surprise, what trojan horse? I need a nap.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Tattered Flag

It has been really windy here the last couple of days. As I walked Daisy this morning, I looked up at the American and Texas flags flying at the volunteer fire department building. I guess I am like everybody else and don't really pay much attention to the flags flying around at various places. But I was astonished to see how torn these two flags were as they flew proudly in the breeze. The American flag was still secured but as it waved in the wind, it was clearly in shreds. Then I looked at the Texas state flag which was in even worse shape. It was flapping wildly and holding on by one clip. At any moment I thought it could be torn completely off. It was even more torn than the American flag. I e-mailed my concern to the office manager.

Maybe it is just me. I find the sight of these two flags a disgrace. When I was a kid we were taught about the care of our American flag. I always thought that when our flag was too tattered it should be taken down, burned and then replaced. Maybe I am wrong about that. I don't know how expensive these flags are for companies to buy. But of all places I would think that a fire department would make sure their flags were kept in good conditon. People have fought and died for these symbols of freedom. Look at how many firemen and women lost their lives on 9/11. Texas has a long and storied history of the battle for freedom. Like I said, I never really gave flags much thought. I see them everywhere. As an American, I am embarrassed to see our flag is such bad shape. I can't help but feel sad.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Beer Bottle Saga Continues

As I walked Daisy this morning I noticed two empty water bottles on the grass at the curb. Tisk, Tisk. I wondered if they would be interested in the lonely beer bottle. They could surely keep it company. Then I thought that maybe that would not be a good idea. Suppose one of them decided to stay and make a family? Is there any hope for a water bottle and a beer bottle? Of course if they made little bottles what would they be? Would they have near beer? Or would they have beer flavored water? It does not look promising, about like a dog and a cat. I don't think they will get along. But maybe they could keep the little guy company. I understand that the two beer bottles and five beer cans in my refrigerator may be leaving in the next few weeks. They have just about overstayed their time there. Would any of the cans or the two bottles consider visiting the lonely bottle? Will the loney beer bottle be able to find happiness with a beer can? Or would they have too many creative differences? Maybe the one of the beer bottles in my refrigerator will leave first. I sure hope that if one of them does go that the bottle next door will have a good pick up line. What's your sign is so lame. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Are They Gone Yet?

At last the Texas primaries are over. Pant, pant. It seemed like every time I looked at any of the local news shows Hillary, Barack, Mike and John were all running around Texas. The local tv stations all raced ahead to get the best spots to report on all the candidates as they made their way across the state. From what color pantsuit Clinton wore to Obama's appearance at the Houston Rodeo. Wonder what Tim McGraw and Faith Hill thought? John McCain and Mike Huckabee ran around the state in a never ending dance of delegate hawking. Mr. Huckabee finally gave up the ghost and dropped out of the race. The McCain steamroller was just too much. And just where was Ralph Nader? Not here.

The one saving grace for me was that I never got any phone calls. Thank goodness. Of course the conventions are coming this summer. Maybe the Democratic convention will be fun. If things continue to be so tight, it could be a good fight. Good old fashioned political squabbling. Of course the Republican convention will not have much in the way of surprises. John McCain is now the man. Who will he pick for a running mate? There is still a lot to be decided on both sides.

For me I am glad they are now out of the state for a while. We have more important things to worry about. Will the Rockets make it into the playoffs? Most sports talking heads don't seem to take them seriously. They still are flying under the radar. So are our Astros. I watched a little bit of a couple of games. Spring training games being what they are, who cares? I still am hopeful that they will surprise all the naysayers.

Now that the politicians are gone (for now) I can get back to what is really important. Just when will my son come by to inform us of what we already know? At least I have been able to get this silly computer just about back to it's former "glory". Gotta love Microsoft. Spending more than half a day just to get the service packs and patches back up is as exciting as watching paint dry. And of course in true imitation of life, we still have the on-going beer bottle saga. Still there, still lonely. And so it goes...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Who Said Soap Operas Aren't Real?

John Lennon once said that life happens when you are making other plans. That is why I never make plans anymore. Thursday the computer crashed. Jimmy ended up having to do a full recovery on it. Ever since then I have been fighting to get this thing back up to speed. Friday Jimmy was supposed to buy a laptop from a friend. But that didn't happen because his friend had not finished getting things off and onto his new laptop. Saturday Jimmy had to try to fix his truck. Another friend from work who is a mechanic said he would come help him as well as his other friend. Neither of them showed up. Frustrated, Jimmy did as much as he could by himself. Finally he gave up. He was certainly depressed because nothing went right. He was really looking forward to being able to use the truck again instead of our Trans-Am and he was hoping to be able to set up his new laptop. Even his nightly poker game went badly.

Oh well, at least we were going to have a nice visit with his daughter Amanda on Sunday. She has shed her long locks for the now popular "bob" style. It looks nice and we had a nice late lunch and visit. That is until she dropped a bomb shell. She and my son Pat share living space. Since my son works odd hours we rarely get to see him. She told me that his ex-girlfriend had moved to Odessa and that she has a job. She never bothered to do that when she and my son were together. Pat had to do it all, working, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of her kid while she sat on her butt. Finally they broke up and he moved on to another girl but that did not last long. The bomb exploded when Amanda told me that Pat was moving to Odessa. It seems that his former room-mate is now pregant with his kid. Bang! That was the sound of my heart hitting the floor. Not one member of our family likes this woman. This is on top of the fact that he is not divorced from his first wife who had a kid that was not my son's. I am thinking this has the makings of a soap opera!

Let's see, my soap opera would have all the elements of the current stories on any soap opera today. Just look at the cast. We have Pat who spent a lot of time on probation during high school. He was even sent to live with his father until his father turned reverted to his old jerk ways which is why I left him in the first place. Then we have the oldest daughter who finally has, hopefully settled down now that she has a good husband and three kids. She had a child by her first short lived marriage. We had to talk her into keeping her first child whom she wanted to leave with her ex-husband. Luckily she changed her mind and we have a lovely 12 year old granddaughter. The middle daughter Annie and her husband have two great little boys, one of whom has some developmental issues. Then there is Amanda, the youngest and in some ways the oldest. She never really stays in a relationship for long. Now she is seeing a guy who was a good friend of all the kids when they were in school. Now he is in prison, hoping for parole in 2010. We have known this guy for years and don't think he is guilty but, that is another episode. I kid you not, you can't make this stuff up! That is unless you write for a soap opera! At least on tv I can get previews of the upcoming episodes! Now, let's see, I wonder which shoe will drop next. I know I am not dreaming. On the other hand if this were a dream I could wake up. Ha. Now where is my Daytime Emmy?