Thursday, December 29, 2011

Maid of Mayhem - No ones BFF

She's usually the perfect pet during the nighttime. She has matured enough now to only need to go outside once each night and then, it's a quick squat to pee, a meandering tour around her yards' boundary and then, back to the door rapidly as if something is chasing her. It's a good thing I'm there to open it on her approach or who knows what horrid end she may come to.

We three adult, humans are learning, slowly, but learning. Tooth and claw is a good teacher, much as life has always been for us. Yet, last evening I had to take Gail over to an Urgent Care Center in Independence to stitch up the gash resulting from a playful encounter with Chewy's still razor- sharp puppy teeth while Gail chased her up the stairs trying to retrieve a shoe that has become Chewy's favorite item to steal and run with. I took a look at it before we decided it needed professional medical treatment and estimated three or four stitches would be needed to close it up again. I may be wrong; but I doubt it. It's a caption on one T-shirt Kellie gave me for Christmas. It fits me to a "T" pun intended. Three stitches is what it took, plus a Tetnus shot, a prescription for an antibiotic and a request for a recheck today out of caution related to the fact that the gash came from a dog's tooth.

Chewy has experienced two sessions of crate confinement today, one while Maureen took down the Christmas tree and decorations and stored them again till the next time and once more while I went over the kitchen floor with a damp mop to remove most of the muddy paw prints accumulated since yesterday. It's impossible to accomplish any chore that requires a fast moving object at floor level if Chewy is present. It's all a wonderful game to her. We purchased one of those as seen on TV magic rugs that claims to capture all moisture and mud or grime instantly. It has the potential to work that way if it could be place outside in the varying precipitation, which would afford the most contact length as she waits to be let back inside each time. As it is, she hates to have her feet wiped or be toweled off after being out in the rain. She has had no contact with snow yet this year, so we have something to look forward to soon. I wonder what new set of problems snow will generate for the household?

We are in the midst of rearranging living-room furniture. I wish you could have seen Chewy's reaction as she got her first glimpse of all the changes that had taken place so far. You could see the bewilderment on her face. It seemed to ask, "What is going on here?" Only a blind person could have been more confused in that situation. My imagination is working overtime conjuring up various scenarios as a result. What a joy it would have been to have witnessed her dashing down the stairs with some contraband she had swiped, leaping up into the air to land on a sofa that is no longer there and imagining her crashing into the wall that is behind where the sofa had been before. Is that wrong of me? Oh Well! So be it. She needs to suffer unexpected consequences due to her behavior now and then. How is she going to learn otherwise? We haven't been able to teach her anything so far. It's true, you know. An Old Dog has no chance of teaching a hard headed pup any new tricks.

Honestly, we are shocked at how fast and how large Chewy has grown in six weeks or so. She seems twice as long and twice as tall as she was when she first arrived here.

I've got to put that new video camera to work, capturing her herding behavior, her heel nipping techniques and how she goes about teaching stupid human tricks to stupid humans.

Chewy's not all bad. There are some beautiful aspects of her character and personality and of her physical appearance. Her profile is perfect for her breed. Long, square muzzle, closely set, beady little eyes ... Ha-Ha, I am joking of course. Her ears hang perfectly, her coat is thick and silky to the touch but one must be careful how and when they do the touching. She is quick to admonish the uninvited digit in forbidden areas. It's difficult to learn exactly where all the forbidden areas of her body are. I believe they keep changing as she ages. It less risky to only touch her when absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I believe it was Fred First's admission that there was once a time that he had considered returning Tsunga to the breeders he had gotten him from that caused me to realize Chewy wasn't all that different or worse than any other puppy.  All she needed was some more time and understanding from us.  Patience Clarence ... Patience!

It may be premature to state that I've begun to notice some calming and better behavior in our little darling but I actually do believe it's taking place.  I suppose it compares to being charged by a lion, only to discover that all it wanted to do was get acquainted with you and lick some exposed skin, not rip you limb from limb. Perhaps if Chewy could manage a sound like a purr when she's in that mood, then I wouldn't cringe and adopt a defensive posture as I normally do when she gets playful. Torn flesh and ripped skin takes a while to heal over when you reach my age.  It's not easy to alter one's fears once a relationship has been established between man and beast and their interaction has been a painful and bloody one.

So, there is hope on the horizon.  We will see how it goes from here on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011


I believe our greatest difficultly when it comes to our new puppy (hereafter referred to as "CHEWY") is that our first puppy was such a godsend to us. We've said it many times since Jenny left us. "Jenny was a PERFECT puppy and an even better dog as an adult." Yes! Jenny was comparable to a bottle of fine wine. She only got better with age. We only wished that she could have aged for a few more years than she did. Nine years certainly was not enough time to share with us.

And now I found out that a friend of mine, another Blogger I had the privilege of getting to know via email and reading his wonderful Blog for years now, has suffered the same fate as us. He lost his beloved Tsunga. One difference between us and his family is that they have had and lost several other Labradors.

I was right there with Fred First when he brought Tsunga home. I watched and read all that Fred shared with us in print and photos. Tsunga was such a beautiful creature, in my opinion. Now, I look forward to looking on as Fred searches for a new friend to share his life with. I came right out and told him not to consider an Aussie Cattle Dog as a replacement. Well, I tweeted it to him anyway. That's the same as saying it in a face to face ... right? I just know that Fred is going to come up with something, some final words related to his life with Tsunga that I and the rest of the animal lovers out there wouldn't want to miss it. So, click on this active link to find him and his blog and then bookmark it for future access. I know you will be glad that you did.

Now, I feel a twinge of guilt for my warning. It's not Chewy's fault that she is as she is. It's me! I just know that I'm messing up what could have been a great dog.

I have acquired a moderate dislike for Caesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer of TV renown. What's so special about him? How did he acquire all that knowledge about dogs? Do they teach that stuff in college? I suppose I could have chosen a similar path for myself but how was I to know it was such a lucrative choice as a career? Don't get me wrong. Mr. Milan is a genius when it comes to understanding and training dogs. But, does he have to make it appear so easy?

Perhaps I am rushing to judgment and only adding to my shortcomings. Hey! It may well be that Chewy will mature and flower into a perfect adult dog too. All I must do is stick it out and wait to see what happens in another year or so. Chewy won't understand when I say "I'm sorry" for all the mistakes I've made in the past. Apologizing won't make a nickels worth of difference. I have prayed for guidance but so far, I don't feel led in the right direction.

Watch this web page. I know there will be other confessions to follow. I've got to unload my growing burden as it gets to the breaking point or I'll surely be crushed by the weight.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Precious time

In today's business world, TIME is one commodity whose value has risen off the chart. Supply and demand still applies here. Employees have the supply, and employers demand it from them. Even though companies demand the most valuable item you possess, they are not willing to pay the going price. They are leverage buyers and expect a bargain from you.

Frustration results when an employee wants to hold on to the personal, free time they have remaining during a normal workday, but the employers demands more and more of it.

When your workday begins at 4:30 AM and drags on for nine or ten hours, and those hours are packed with pressure, stress and personality conflicts, power struggles, office politics, company-union negotiations over grievances and contract disputes, production deadlines and such, and then you must fight grid-lock, stop and go traffic, short tempered motorists and those demonic orange barrels, you pull into the garage, close the door and just sit there in the dim light and quiet solitude, trying to unwind enough, so as not to be a threat to your family when you enter the house.

Words like success and career lose their meaning at times. Our bodies, minds, and emotions break down under such circumstances. We are more familiar with terms like hopelessness and desperation.

Those who are unable to cope with the mounting pressure and stress, we come to know as social dropouts, homeless, unemployed, mentally ill or deceased. Is it any wonder we are witness to shootings on expressways, fisticuffs after fender-benders and senseless, multiple murders in the work place?

Frustration and work anxiety can not explain the violence we read about in our newspapers which has been perpetrated by John Doe, normal, good citizen. There is much more involved than that simple explanation. The American Dream has become a nightmare, and if some solution is not found soon, the days ahead will only grow more threatening to the continued existence of the world, as we know it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Hunters Story

"I AM THE HUNTER!" I've heard that statement repeated in my mind countless times. It usually came into my head at the very beginning of a weekend adventure. I could almost imagine myself dressed in Buckskin and moccasins, my head covered by a Coonskin Cap, trusty, muzzle loading, Kentucky Squirrel Rifle in hand, standing straddle-legged atop a brush covered hill, proud, self sufficient and strong.
Piercing, dark eyes scanning my domain, senses sharp and alert, I would test the wind direction, process all the input born of experienced observations and strike out in a direction of travel which was most likely to bring success to the hunt.
Startled back to reality by the noise of a flushed, meadowlark, which I had surprised, truth came to visit and put me in my place. I was the modern-day version of my previous, mental image. Still, I did possess the same primitive instincts and drive of my predecessors. I could feel the influence of their pioneer spirit and my whole body seemed to tingle. I denied the possibility of that tingle being the shiver brought on by the chill of the crisp, morning air penetrating the layers of warm flannel and cotton clothing I wore.
I understood that the man of today is a much different creature than, let's say 50 to 100 years ago. He is usually more fragile, both physically and emotionally. A softer natured individual, due mainly to the comfortable surroundings he was reared in. Artificial climates, either cooled or warmed by the latest in technological advances, filtered atmospheres to breath and comfortable beds to rest in.
There is no need for man to depend upon his own abilities for survival. He buys what he needs to sustain him. If he is threatened at all, it is not by exposure to the elements or the predatory, wild creatures of woodland or field. He is the supreme predator with total dominion over his surroundings. Most of what he needs is there, within easy reach. He does not know the day to day struggle to survive as his ancestors did. So, why does man go out of his way to encounter nature?
I am 71 years old. Born in a sharecropper’s hovel located on a farm in Portland, Kentucky in October of 1940. Delivered, they tell me, by a country Doctor and local Mid-wife. The third child and first son of what would come to be a family with nine children, 5 girls and 4 boys. "Sturdy Stock" was about the best our Father could come up with in an attempt to describe our roots and lineage while telling us one of his home-spun tales. Lacking formal education, Dad and Mom were still very successful at passing on to us, the family's heritage.

Mountain people we were, predominantly Irish and Cherokee Indian by blood. Our family tree had many branches, introducing English and German blood into the mix. It was difficult for me to comprehend the influences that those roots brought to bear upon my own composition as a person. I lived my life by reacting to drives and impulses from within, giving no consideration to their origins.
My earliest memories go back to a time when I was around 5 years old. The pain caused me by a smallpox vaccination at the hand of a Doctor who made house calls was my first. Anything before that was only dim scraps of images, fragments of time and cognition. I was told that our family moved to "The Big City", Newport, Kentucky when I was little more than two years old.
Since I am writing about hunting here, I focused my efforts toward memories of events that involved the out-of-doors and nature. I have always been attracted by anything alive which was able to move and I have always loved being outside in the open air. It mattered not what the weather was like. The more skin I had exposed to the elements, the better I liked it. Possibly, I would have made a good "Nudist" during those days of my youth. A bath in a bathtub was undeserved torture, but a soaking, summer thunderstorm was a joy to experience, especially if I was out in it, drenched head to toe.
The chill of a winter's day was of little concern to me. No coat and a short-sleeved shirt were more than enough protection as I walked the three city blocks to school and back. There was a furnace inside me, fueled by youthful enthusiasm and energy that seemed boundless.
There was always some new discovery to hold my interest. An animal or insect I had never seen before. I remember picking up a grasshopper and studying it intently. I watched as its mouth parts moved ceaselessly, and I thought I saw my own reflection reproduced hundreds of times in its great, faceted eye lenses. I took note of how its body was constructed. A bony-hard, segmented assembly of intricate forms and shapes, joints with hidden hinges, over-sized, spurred hind legs which provided it with the ability to leap great distances. Wing casings that made an excellent place to grasp and hold it during the examination.
Then, I remembered someone saying, "If you capture a grasshopper, make it "Spit" before you release it." I held its mouth to the palm of my hand and the grasshopper obliged by depositing a small drop of what looked like, tobacco juice on it. So, as instructed, I did my part and let it go, unharmed. Still, I couldn't help but wonder, what was it about this small creature which allowed it know what was required of it in this unwritten agreement? To spit on command to receive its freedom. I was never satisfied with other people's explanations of why animals and insects did what they did, so any time I got a chance, I would read what I could find in books concerning them.
I don't recall the first time I took the life of some smaller creature. I don't know if I felt remorse about it either. More than likely though, it was a senseless killing, like stepping on a bug that I saw on the ground. Perhaps I was angry and upset about something that didn’t go my way, so I vented my wrath on it. One thing is for sure, at some time in my young life, I killed a lesser creature and over time, developed a mental attitude about doing so, which would justify the act. Without that kind of mind set, it would be impossible for anyone to hunt down and kill any animal.
My Father loved the out-of-doors too. Over the years, he was responsible for my first introduction to many male traditions and cultural rites that brought me to maturity with respect to hunting.
Yes! I remember the specifics of some of those experiences. He resorted to threatening me with a switch when I balked at participating in some activity that he considered necessary to my continued growth toward manhood.
There are wild creatures that have the ability to strike fear in the heart of inexperienced youth. A water snake, a snapping turtle, a crawfish, and a hellgrammite with its great pincher like mandibles and razor sharp hooks on its tail. It was able to injure a finger with either end. But there were techniques and methods one could be taught which made it possible to pick up and handle such creatures, it was only necessary to be brave and overcome one's fear. It was necessary to learn which ones were bluffing and which one were serious. Some creatures were pretenders, projecting a threat of harm but unable to inflict pain, while others were calm and gave no indication of their true potential, until it was too late and a novice adventurer learned this lesson, the hard way.
"Once bitten, shame on you; twice bitten, shame on me" my Father used to say. He had hundreds of those kinds of sayings to pass on. "Let a sleeping dog lie" he said. It was a lesson I learned quickly. Size didn't matter either. A small, nasty tempered lap dog could rip a finger with needle like teeth if you interrupted his nap. It didn't take long to learn that many creatures will defend themselves when threatened. "Nothing is more fierce than a cornered animal,” Dad said and I took it at face value. He didn't need to prove it to me.
For many years, it was just Dad and I. I was his only male offspring. There were five females and myself for a period of time before another son was born into the family. So, of course, I was the focal point for much of what he had to pass on to his children. We fished and hunted, repaired the car and fixed whatever needed fixing around the house.
But, it was our time together in the out-of-doors that came to mean the most to me. I was his shadow on weekends, never letting him out of my sight, lest he went out on an adventure without me. I couldn't accept that there were situations when my presence was an undesirable factor. He had adult friends and comrades, men he did more grown-up things with, Coon hunting and the like and then there were those times when he and they would get drunk and do man things which I could not share in. I could hardly wait to grow up.
I believe my own individual character as a hunter developed during the time we lived on a farm out in Indiana. I was a teenager then, on the verge of becoming an adult, eager to do things on my own, to put into practice, all which my Father had taught me. In his absence, I was "The Man around the House". He charged me with that responsibility one day as he prepared to leave in search of a job. From that day on, I automatically assumed the roll at any time he was not around. It was a serious responsibility, one I didn't take lightly. The world was filled with danger and implied threats. Snakes, spiders, lizards or who knows what kind of stinging insects could invade the house and what would those helpless women do if I weren't around to save them?
Dad was laid off from his job at the Lakeland Steel Plant and the only income we had was his unemployment, and that wasn't much. He supplemented that with money he earned doing odd jobs for others in the area. Trying to help where I could, I took to cutting cordwood.
I invested some of my income on better tools. A modern Bow saw and a new double bladed ax. My production increased and so did my income. Soon, Dad found a job as a service station attendant on the night shift. My responsibilities as the Man of the House increased with that development. I was in charge for five nights of the week and while he slept during the daytime.
There was plenty of opportunity to observe and learn as I went about doing my chores. There was a natural spring just a short distance from the front door of our house. On wash day, it was my job to build a fire under the tub outside and fill it with water. After my chores were done, I would spend hours watching the events that took place at that spring. Water Striders, like miniature, out-rigger canoes, would glide across the surface tension of the water. Whirligig Beetles would make endless circles in one area for a while and then streak off to some other, more interesting part of the spring only to continue where they had left off before.
The purpose of those aquatic acrobats was a complete mystery to me. Why did they do what they did and what was the purpose for their existence? Mud-daubers would come to the spring to get materials for building their nests. Their tails were constantly moving in an up and down bobbing motion, while they used their heads like tiny Bulldozers, pushing and working the mud until it was the perfect consistency. I often wondered what power gave them the ability to make such a judgement?
Then they would form the mud into a ball that was much too large for them to fly with, I thought, but fly they did and I was always amazed by their strength and flying skills. I've ran after them, following to their construction site, where they worked that soft mud into the free hand shape of what would soon be the future home of their offspring and storage space for the countless, stunned spiders which would feed them.
Small Frogs made that spring their home too. They had chosen a good place to live. There was plenty of food in the form of insects that visited the pool for any number of reasons. There were hundreds of "Wigglers" I called them, in the water. They would hang suspended, just below the surface, with their little snorkel tubes reaching up through the surface to the vital air above. A Water Strider would come gliding by, touch one of their snorkels and it would send them into a wriggling frenzy, darting down and sideways to escape some phantom predator.
An air rifle is a weapon of low muzzle velocity, it has very little power at a distance, but close up, it is an effective weapon for small animals and it furnished many a meal for us when other kinds of meat were not to be had. There are groups of people today, who resent men that hunt. They believe that all hunters kill animals for the sake of killing and leave them lay where they fall. I will be the first to admit; there are such men involved in this activity. I try not to call hunting "A Sport."
The Dictionary gives a very lengthy group of definitions for the word "Sport", none of them pertaining to hunting. That fact seems to back me up in my opinion on the matter. What I did find was the word "Sportsman". It is defined as "One who pursues field sports, especially hunting and fishing." Also, "One who abides by a code of fair play."
Those who are called "Animal Rights Activists" would say there is nothing "Fair" about modern hunting or its methods. Wild animals don't stand much of a chance against a determined Hunter with today's very accurate, high-powered weaponry. But hunting today involves all kinds of weapons, from compound and crossbows to rifles of many different types, with or without telescopic sights. Hunters use their weapon of choice for various reasons. Some do so in the name of "Fairness", some do so to demonstrate their personal skill levels with all types of weapons and stalking techniques or tracking skills.
Reduced to its basic roots, hunting was a means of survival. The taking of an animal's life to sustain human life by devouring the animal's flesh or even using the fur of that same animal to protect the human body from the elements. In a time of great need, man will use whatever weapon is at hand and take the life of any other animal to sustain his own life and the lives of his family members. That's hunting in a nutshell.
In my youth, with the only weapon I had available, an air rifle, I provided my own family with Bullfrogs, Ground Squirrels and various kinds of edible Birds. Seldom was an animal's life sacrificed with any other thought in mind than the fact it would be meat for our table. As our finances improved, we purchased better weapons, 22 Caliber Rifles and 12 Gauge Shotguns. We also purchased and raised some domestic stock, purely as a food source, such animals as Chickens, Ducks, Geese and Pigs.
Poor families eke out a living. It is a necessary part of life. The meat on their table is often whatever is available. Any kind of wild meat is acceptable so long at it can be eaten. Better weapons expand the range of animal types that can be taken. Desperate times keep people from rejecting most kinds of animal flesh, of course, there are exceptions to any rule. But my family ate Rabbit, Squirrel, Groundhog, Opossum and even Raccoon.
Some families develop a "Taste" for certain kinds of animal flesh. Even in the best of times, an occasional meal of Wild Rabbit or Squirrel is a treat, so, even when circumstances didn't demand that we resort to wild meat, the Hunters in the family would venture out into the fields and forest to hunt and provide that preference of taste.
There are other aspects of the hunt which participants find enjoyable. There is a release from the stress of daily life, and contentment in the solitude of a wooded hillside. We often call such activities "Unwinding" or relaxation. There are some women who have crossed over into these activities. They work every day, side by side with men, know the same stresses of the job and do not limit themselves to what society has classified as appropriate means for relieving stress.
For as long as I can remember, I have known a strange excitement that swells within me at the approach of "Opening Day" for the annual hunting season. The anticipation of events that may take place gives place to remembering the experiences of hunts from the past. If there is a gathering of friends who have known the shared adventure of other hunts, the evening prior to another hunt will be filled with tall tales and good natured taunting of one another's lack of hunting skills. They make jokes and laugh, remembering accidents and mistakes or some clumsy pratfall or nasty spill which occurred to someone other than themselves.
A close friend will be the first to recall a time when some one's aim was off and make critical judgments concerning that person's ability to hit the broad side of a barn with a shotgun, all in good natured fun. There is a special kind of "Bonding" which only fellow Hunters can know. Relationships are formed by that bonding which will last a lifetime and unrelated men become Brothers in spirit and soul.
On the evening before a scheduled hunting trip, grown men lay in their beds, wide-eyed with expectations. Sleep is slow to come when closing one's eyes in search of sleep is greeted by images of old, long standing, Hickory groves; their leaves already changing into their autumn colors. The images are so vivid; the crispness of the chilled air can be felt in the lungs as the individual draws deep breaths in their mind. The warmth of the morning sun can be felt on cold, damp shoulders as it filters through the treetops and washes the forest floor with light.
The senses seem more alive; the vision seems clearer, sharper and more appreciative of nature's beauty. Nothing is overlooked or taken for granted. A soft cushion of thick moss was placed on top of that fallen log just to form a comfortable place to sit for some weary Hunter. The forest floor has been carpeted with a thick layer of fallen leaves in preparation for your passing that way. The birds and Ground Squirrels seem to have staged a special performance just for you to observe this day. The birds are more vocal, the Ground Squirrels are more energetic than normal and Mother Nature herself has arranged a display of beauty on this day, which no other man has ever seen before.
As you sit on a fallen log, the seat that nature prepared for you, there is a sudden gust of wind, it swirls through the tree tops and a descending veil of leaves, so thick, it blocks out the sun, comes floating to the forest floor. The breeze is scented with the pungent odor of decaying leaves, tinged with the acidic aroma of damp tree bark. There is a hint of freshly mown hayfields on the same breeze and wood smoke from a distant fireplace. It is such a special day, you know that it may never happen again. You are in no hurry to exit from this place. It is a time of rare events and you allow every impression to flow through you, to leave an indelible mark upon your soul. This day will become a treasure for future years. You store it away, close and lock the door, behind which the experience will remain until you have need of it again.
Certainly, you are blessed above all other men. Mother Nature comes to sit beside you, placing her arm upon your shoulder, nudging you to come to a place just over the next rise, around the next bend in the creek which winds through a wooded valley. She has so much to share with you; how can you not go? With every step you take, the scene changes, before and behind you. Progress is slow and methodical, for you fear you will miss out on another treasure. Life is all around you, its power surges over and through you. You feel invigorated and strong; soaking up the energy which is all around.
Standing on a small rise, you take in the scene before you. Fingers of sunlight radiate through the trees, looking like a great fan of sparkling gemstones. They splash upon the forest floor and illuminate the darkness. Squirrels frolic around the roots of a great Oak and then climb in a serpentine coil around the massive trunk. You should be stalking them, but you tell yourself "There is plenty of time for dying", but life is a vapor and the joy of it is shared by all creatures.
As if to reward your thoughts, from the edge of the woods, a young male Deer comes on the scene. His antlers still covered with velvet; he pauses in one of the fingers of sunlight and strikes a majestic pose. His muscular, young body tenses with alertness. He raises his head to sample the air, sniffs it deeply and exhales. A billowing cloud of vapor drifts out from his nostrils and spreads out into a vanishing mist, luminescent in the sunlight, rising into the darkness just above the his head and is gone.
His tucked tail is suddenly erect, his skin jerks and twitches over his flank and his head turns in my direction. Has he caught my scent? His actions seem to say he has. I remain motionless, but his gaze is locked onto my position. He senses that something is there which should not be, something alien and possibly a threat to him. Caution is his friend and hurried flight his defense. He explodes into action and with several great leaps; he was out of my sight. I can only stand and be in awe of his power and strength. But he has not escaped, for I have captured him in my memory. He will remain with me so long as I have life.

Copyright 2011, Clarence Bowles
All rights reserved. Reproductions without the author's express permission are prohibited.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do you know this singer/recording artist/vocalist?

I came across this video over at

Those Canadians are really getting into this Flash Mob video stuff and they are good at it too.

What really impressed me about this particular one is the fact that the flash mob only had one six hour rehearsal and the video was shot in one take. (this is what was reported in the blog)

I loved the sound track they were dancing to. I searched and searched but could not find out who has recorded the song "I believe she's amazing."

If you are good at Google searching perhaps you could find out for me and pass the name on to me.

If you can, I'd appreciate it. I want to download it from I-Tunes if it's available.

In the meantime, enjoy the music associated with the Flash Mob video I included here.

Tribute post - 9/11/2001

I feel emotionally spent.  I may be dehydrated due to all the moisture that has leaked from my eyes and been forced from my nasal passages.  I don't like being so emotional for such a long time.  I'm glad such occasions don't occur more often.
I will however, offer you the opportunity to shed a tear or two when you watch and listen to the video which follows here. 
I was there - a tribute video to 9/11/2001 from God's point of view.
You may need Him one day also.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why Does Michele Bachmann Think Abolishing The Department Of Education Is A Solution?

Why Does Michele Bachmann Think Abolishing The Department Of Education Is A Solution?

A certain editor at the Daily Beast posed this question.

I would ask them and others ... "Do you not see that the woman has a good point to share and she made it.
Not everything she says is wrong. "

The educational system is not you own private Nanny. If you are thoughtless enough to bring children into the world that you really wish you hadn't, then your responsibility is to parent them as all parents should. That means paying the necessary taxes needed.

If you have children of school age, then gladly pay the tax which funds the schools they attend.
I don't have any children of school age living at home, they are grown and out on their own. Yet, the taxes I pay always include school taxes. Those new school buses aren't cheap. If they weren't there every school day, think about how much you would be inconvenienced. How would they get to school then. Parents over in Cincinnati found out the consequences of not passing the levee needed to fund the buses needed for their area. You should have heard them complain then.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Baby girl is gone and we are devastated

Eleven days ago, Maureen and I had to make the most difficult decision we've faced in many years.  Our beloved dog, Jenny, had been sick for a couple of months.  She seemed to be back to her old self after lengthy periods of various kinds of medications and then suddenly, she got much worse.  Our Vet diagnosed her with liver damage of some kind. She said that she had seen this in other dogs that had been kicked in the side by a horse.  Jenny had not been near a horse her whole life time and I'm positive we haven't been kicking her, not even once. We couldn't watch her suffer one hour longer if there was something we could do; and there was.  We called an Emergency Vet Clinic we were familiar with and were told to bring her in right away.  They would handle everything and anything we needed.

The clinic staff was outstanding. They understood how we were feeling. They knew how horrible a situation it was for us and they did everything in their power to ease us into the process, to support us in every way possible and they were so gentle and caring with our Baby.

Even now, I can't fight off the surge of grief which threatens to overwhelm my emotions. Never have I cried this hard over anything that wasn't human and very close to me. The three adults in this home are simply devastated, crushed, unable to deal with the situation. This home will never be the same again.  It's hard to believe that one small animal could cause this much havoc in a family.

My wife, Maureen will not be comforted.  Any little thing with the power to cause her to remember Jenny in the best of times bring on tears in a flood.  She has heart problems. I fear at times that she will not be able to hold up under the stress of such grief. Then, what will I do?  Curl up in a fetal position and just allow death to overtake me also?  I am nothing without her.  We are next to nothing without our Jenny.  God help us to overcome this.

My struggle to regain control of my life

Today I closed down my Facebook account.  The latest new feature they tried to force upon me, against my will, was the last straw.  They informed me that I have 14 days to sign back in and activate my account before  it is gone forever. One can only hope this is true.

Seems that everyone, even this very software I am using at the moment is "up-grading" my Blogger Interface or attempting to enhance my blogging experience.  It's a modern day fad or something.

I appreciate them desiring to make things easier and more convenient for ME.  I am convinced that is the only reason they are doing all this.  Call me gullible if you want.

Just as I wrote that last line and hit the ENTER key to move to the next paragraph, the cursor jumped up to the beginning of this composition and I just froze in place.

There! It did it again.  What is going on?  They want me to send them some feedback. I'll send them some feedback.  I don't think they will like it though.

Silly me!  I was supposed to go over to the right side here and set the "Options" before I started writing.  That was easy enough.  I wonder why that wasn't made known to me before I began to try out this new interface?

You know; the way I'm carrying on right now, you'd think that I was paying for this Blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A too long short story and a tip from me to you ... just saying......

Recently I searched out a reputable roofer to fix a leak that has nagged me for years now. I thought it had been fix by the fellow I hired to put on a new roof. He told me he had noticed it and did what he considered to be a quick fix. I was elated if he was right and glad to know that there are still some dedicated people doing hard, hot work for a reasonable price. It took a while to notice the indications that he had NOT fixed the afore mentioned leak. The roofer I was led to by some friends at a local eatery whom I break bread with one or two mornings a week, came over and evaluated my problem. He also admonished me for trying to repair it myself, calling the roofing tar from a cartridge I had used "Roofer in a can." He didn't hint around. He came right out and told me that what I did had actually made the leak worse. He was correct. It did get worse after I tried to do it myself.

He came over on the next Saturday morning and using some of the shingles I had saved from the new roof job, took about an hour to achieve what he assured, "Should" do the job. I was to call him if I discovered otherwise. I'm glad to report that so far; so good. We've had some heavy rain since and so far (knock on wood) I see no hint of a leak. Because of his accumulated experience and skills, he also shared some special "tidbits" pertaining to my current roof condition and possible future expectations. In his own words, it won't be too long before I may discover the need to have the WHOLE roof replaced. That was NOT welcomed information. Being the pessimistic kind of person I am, I told myself I would leave that up to the next person who owns this house. HEY! I'm not buying any green bananas now-a-days.

Now! Here's that tip I mentioned in the title of this post.
I'm going to suppose that a great many people live in homes that are frame and drywall on the interior walls. Many may even have drywall ceilings that have drywall compound on the ceilings that has been patterned with a round brush or sponge to create a common design everyone is familiar with.

Any "Do It Yourself" type handyman knows what corner and joint tape is as utilized by those that installed all that drywall in their house as it was being constructed. I'm going to do some "assuming" now. I find it hard to believe that I am the only home owner today that has noticed that the joint tape used in the corners where the vertical walls meet the horizontal ceilings has begun to pull away from the ceiling here and there around the house. If you are one of those, I'm wondering what you did about it. What I do know is that it looks very, very bad when it happens.

All good, skillful, experienced drywall craftsmen will apply a thin layer of joint compound under the joint tape before they begin the process of coating and applying designs on the ceilings. For all I know they may have come up with some device similar to a "Banjo" that is used on flat seams between sheets of drywall that applies the compound and tape all at the same time in the corners I referenced. What ever the case may be, for some reason the result is that they "skimp" on the film of compound under the tape that goes against the ceiling area. They must also end up with a thin layer of compound on top of the corner tape too. That's the only way I can explain the corner tape in that area coming loose and looking so bad. It took approximately twenty years for it to be noticed by myself. I don't know if that is what anyone should expect in the area of longevity when it comes to the lasting ability of drywall tape and joint compound. All I would ask is "Why doesn't the same thing happen to the vertical, inside corners of all the rooms also?" I know that they use a metal, corner "bead" to protect all the vertical, outside corners of the drywall panels. That explains why those areas don't have a similar problem.

I'll repeat myself; if you are one who has corner tape coming loose and looking bad in your home, what did you do about it? Perhaps you called a drywall repair person who came and fixed it someway. Perhaps you are one who doesn't really care how it looks here and there and can simply live with it. Perhaps you would try something like I did to make it better. Use a staple gun to hold it up on the ceiling panel and then cover it up with a heavy coat of paint. That method didn't work very long for me. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else either.

Here's what that some roof repair man that fixed my leak suggested as a simple fix. Using a chalking gun and a cartridge of "painter's friend" type chalking, apply a bead of chalk in said bad looking corner and then smooth it out with a putty knife. Give special attention to the edge of the tape where the crack can be seen. Forcing some chalk through the crack and under the tape before applying a sufficient layer of chalk over the whole taped area on the ceiling panel. The chalk will act as "glue" when it dries and the surface coat will cover any surface blemishes. When it dries it is difficult to tell where the crack ever exited and the next time you paint, the chalk with accept the paint well. It was easy and quick for me and it looks great right now. Only time will tell if this method has a flaw. For what it's worth, there it is. HEY! It's free advice. Free is almost always good (except when it isn't.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Global Warming - explained by a Hillbilly

Global Warming as seen through the eyes of this Hillbilly Philosopher.

I wonder; how long has it been since some scientist has checked on the tilt of our planet? I recall seeing it stated at one time as something like twelve degrees of inclination from the vertical plane. I think it may be time to break out the slide-rule again and do some recalculating.

I say that because I believe the position of the equator has changed. In our hemisphere, I believe it has moved northward, while on the opposite side of the planet, it has moved southward. The only way that could happen is if the tilt of our planet has been altered.

What influences could have brought that about? There are several but all of them involve moving the weight of the earth’s crust from one place to another.

I knew that learning to play golf was going to cause me serious problems in some way but I never dreamed it would come to this. The game of golf and global warming; what has one got to do with the other?

Dave Pelz is some kind of glorified Golf Guru. He knows too much for his own good in my opinion. One day I watched as he explained that no two golf balls are exactly the same. They have some variation in their density brought about by the manufacturing process. All golf balls have “heavy” spots in them and unless one can determine where that heavy spot is and align it just so when one is preparing to make a putt, that heavy spot is going to throw off all their other calculations concerning line and pace of the putt and it will miss the cup.

He brought out this special tool that can be used to determine where the heavy spot is located, position it at the center of a spinning ball and by using a fine-point felt-tip marker, inserting it in a hole and touching the spinning ball, leave a dark line around its determined equator. When one is getting ready to attempt a putt, they position the ball with that dark line centered, top to bottom, so that the heavy spot will roll from top to bottom continuously, insuring the “truest” roll possible. After seeing that demonstration, I got to pondering things unrelated to golf but still having to do with any round object that is spinning around.

The planet earth is sort of round and it’s spinning also. Imagine if you can, one of those machines large enough to accommodate our planet. Once it has been spun for a while and the heaviest spot on it is centered by centrifugal force, would that point be where we believe the equator to be located today?

Our planet is still geologically active. It has a core of melted minerals that are constantly on the move. The surface or mantel of the earth is “floating” on a sea of magma and as magma is forced to the surface by the affects of continuing cooling and the resulting shrinking caused by that cooling, the thin plates of the earth’s crust move in relationship to one another. That natural process in and of itself is changing the density of our planet relationally to its center.

Then, when you add to that the influence of the human race on all that naturally exists, that brings about further changes in the earth’s density. We human beings are mining minerals in one place, transporting them to another, using those minerals in one way or another. We are building structures on the earth’s surface all the time. We harvest trees or burn rain forests and that also has the affect of changing the location of surface weight on our planet. Not to mention the mass of humanity itself that migrates from one place on the face of the earth to another, concentrating populations of millions or billions of bodies into small areas on the earth’s surface and that contributes to a dramatic change in density or weight of the earth and the position of said weight on its surface. Humans tend to migrate to the most temperate areas on the earth’s surface, the places that are the most comfortable for them to live. If the equator is moving, so are the temperate zones and in reaction to that, the earth’s human population migrates right along with those changes.

The concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may contribute to a small temperature rise, but it’s all relative to the affects of our sun’s radiation. Where the sun’s radiation strikes the earth’s surface most directly is the area that will be heated up most. What is being heated up matters to the resulting affects of said heating. It’s all very complicated and I’m not even going to pretend to understand it all accurately. In my own logical way of thinking, if what is being heated most by the direct radiation of the sun is changed because the earth’s relational tilt is altered by any cause, then the resulting weather patterns are also going to change.

I hope that someone much more intelligent than myself will opt to look into this matter and get back with me on it. I’m beginning to get concerned about it. I may need to move to a more temperate zone and do it soon.

Just ask anyone and I’m sure they will agree; the weather sure has been different around here lately.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Growing up is optional

Today I received an e-mail from my younger sister. It was all about great truths one learns in life. You may have seen it yourself; I know it has made the rounds on the Internet.

I have a theory about truth and that is: Truth is not universal. Still, I read and agreed with much that was on that list. Then it struck me that some of those comments would make excellent writing prompts when someone is stuck for something to write about but just has the need to write as therapy. So that’s what you are getting here.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

In my past writing I have often stated that I didn’t grow up until I was thirty-one-years-old. I realize now that I got married for the third time when I was thirty-one. Life was more fun when I was that immature person. When I grew up life became more enjoyable and I suddenly found myself much happier.

Now I have this feeling I should quote Paul the Apostle from my Bible.

1Cor:13:11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I’ve heard others say that a certain child “had an old soul.” I don’t fully grasp what they meant by that. My understanding and comprehension concerning the depth of such a statement is very much like looking at an iceberg floating in the ocean. I can “SEE” a small portion of its meaning but I KNOW there is so much more to be known. In essence having an old soul implies that a child has grown up faster than most; they may even be seen as mature far beyond their years and possessing uncommon wisdom.

For me to grow up required a lot of conscious effort. The amazing aspect of it was that I saw so clearly exactly what needed to be changed. Paul said it so simply “I put away childish things.”

Whenever I needed to know about something complicated, all I had to do was remember every little bit of wisdom that my Dear Old Dad tried to teach me. He had a “down-home” type saying for every situation and circumstance that life could throw at a person it seemed to me. Jesus chose to teach using parables; Dad chose to teach using those earthy SAWS of his. One might not remember them if they only heard them once. I suppose that’s why Dad thought it was necessary to keep repeating them at every opportunity. If a situation called for one, he would dig into his bag of comments and spout it for me.

I don’t recall Dad ever sitting down with me and having “one of those lengthy talks” everyone else seems to have had with their parents, and yet, his words are so deeply ingrained in my character and personality there are times when I could pass as his clone.

My earthly father’s teachings sustained me for the first forty-three years of my life. My Heavenly Father’s influence has sustained me for the last twenty-seven years.

Dad wanted me to be worthy of my salt. Jesus said I am the salt of this earth. Dad wanted me to be a man. Jesus insisted that I come to him as a child. Dad said “stand up and be a man; fight for what you know is right and never let another man see you cry.” Jesus said to forgive your enemies and pray for them that spitefully use you; turn the other cheek and be meek and humble. Dad said “nobody is perfect,” Jesus said I could be perfect as His Father is perfect. Dad treated me like a child, Jesus treats me like his brother. Dad said I was irresponsible; Jesus says I am responsible for my own salvation.

One might suppose that I would be a very mixed up person seeing what confusing baggage I brought with me into my mature years. But my Dad also told me that the time could come when I might replace his advice with surer words of wisdom, tried and proven methods that would produce better results than his. “That’s what all men end up doing at some point in their life.” I hear Paul speak of seeing through a glass darkly until the one that is perfect comes.

I’m glad that my Dad lived to the ripe old age of eighty-two. Because of that opportunity to witness what I grew up to become, he himself had to adjust some of his thinking and opinions where I was concerned. You see; he was right about that much. Dad stopped treating me like a child when he began to see the mature choices I made in my life. Dad was a hard man but he had high hopes for all his sons.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where I am from ... a Floyd First project

I am from tag soap and Robin Hood flour

I am from RC Cola and Moon Pies

The fragrance of the general store at the head of the holler

The pot-bellied stove with it stable of whittlers

Spinning tall tales, spitting ambure into rusted cans

I am from poverty and want, egg money and wood fired cooking stove, ashes on the floor that are swept through the cracks in the poplar flooring planks

I am from under the house playing with chickens and pups

Searching for Doodle Bugs to call from their pits

I am from Floyd Charles, Lula Marie and Carrie June

I am sturdy stock, strong of back and will

I am bathed in Moonshine, reared in slate piles,

Coal mine grit rubs thin places in my ruddy skin

I am from turning plows pulled by Mules

I lay down in seep water from a mine to cool myself in the heat of summer’s blazing sun

I am from Brown’s Mule and Day’s Work plug tobacco

I am slave to Buffalo roll-your-owns and kitchen matches struck on the rivets of my bibbed overalls

I am from long ago and far away, Appalachia was my prison

I have long roots that suckled survival from rocky hillsides

I was captive of family story tellers sharing family sins

Son of Hard-Shelled Baptists and Holy Rollers

Cursed, confused, needy and loved

I am from woods, streams and tobacco fields

I am from proud, angry, desperate dreamers,

longing for victuals and the basic necessities of life

I am from gravel roads and dry creek bed trails that only lead deeper into isolated ignorance

I am from mountains and branch of Sheep Shoals creek,

Walnut Gap and Pepper town ridge

I am from hunger and weariness, Kerosene and blasting caps,

Rock fences and triple strand barbed wire strung tree to tree that Blue Birds perch on and sing as I sit and ponder

I am from tick and chigger, bedbug and White-faced Hornet

I am friend to June Bug, foe to Wasps

I am from the banks of the Kentucky River, Jackson and Booneville, Owsley County, Ervin and Revina

Horse-shoe curve bars my way to Manchester and beyond

I am from Bluegrass and horse farms, miles of pasture and meandering creeks full of sucker and bream

I feed on Rabbit, Squirrel, Whistle Pig and Possum

Taters, Maters, buttermilk and cornbread

I come from scorn and ridicule, Jokes of in-breeding and questionable lineage

I am Hillbilly, Hayseed, Hick and Redneck, pick-up trucks with gun racks and Fox tail on the aerial

I am from hangings and feuds, Rebel Flags and cold long-necks

I am from thick skinned blood lines, hard and tested,

Proven and standing tall

I am from limestone slopes and hardwood forest, Cumberland Falls and Grassy Creek

I am from hard hands and soft laps, rock candy and molasses cakes

I am old and wise, weathered and bent

I am from smoke house and barn, solitude and quiet

Freshly mown hay and hog lots perfume the evening breeze

I am happy, content and glad to be from where I came

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Things I've stopped doing since I've gotten old

This entry was prompted by a recent post on TGB which was a "repost" from an earlier time.

I was hesitant to start making a list titled "Things I've Stopped Doing since I've gotten old."
I told myself ... Self, if you start writing about it, when and how will you ever stop?
I had no answer nor did SELF. Here goes!

Using toilet paper - I now use infant wet wipes. Please don't ask what you may be thinking.
Driving on Interstates or Expressways except in an emergency.
Drinking anything with sugar in it.
Running at any time.
Walking fast unless Jenny is dragging me.
Driving 6 thousand miles a year.
Sleeping in my wife's bed unless I'm taking a nap and she's not home.
Wearing anything that isn't casual. I kept one suit for funerals. I don't need one for my own.
Seeing anything clearly.
Taking a bath. I shower instead.
Going to a barber shop.
Walking someplace if I can drive there instead.
Spending all day on a computer.
Sex ... Participating in it, not thinking about it.
Making long range plans.
Buying green bananas.
Worrying about my weight. It's hopeless.
Working on something that can only be done while on my knees.
Carrying anything that weighs over 50 pounds.
Fishing while standing up or squatting.
Believing there is anything I can't do if I set my mind to it.
Long distance traveling via any means of conveyance.
Using tobacco in any of its forms.
Staying anywhere there are people smoking tobacco in an enclosed area.
Thinking that bad things only happen to other people.
Believing that I don't need a loaded weapon or two in my home.
Believing that all other drivers are not out to hurt themselves or ME.
Thinking that I'll never live past the age of 40 years, 50 years, 60 years or 70 years.
Being in or near a group of people during winter months or the flu season.
Knowingly staying around anyone with a cold or who has uttered the words "I don't feel well."
Watching those abused animals ads paid for by the ASPCA or other animal charity.
Thinking that I did the right thing by crossing party lines to vote for President Obama.
Thinking or stating that I'm not afraid to die.
Bending over, touching the floor without flexing my knees.
Doing chin-ups and push-ups.
Showing off my bicep guns.
Denying that I have "MOOBS" or that I'm not in too bad a shape for an old man.
Believing that I will finish that Sci-Fi novel I started some 15 years ago.
Believing that there's someone out there who needs to read this list.

Monday, January 31, 2011

What a funny, messed-up world we live in.

Take Don Imus ................Please!
The man is funny and he's oh so messed up also.
At times, and what I mean by that is, Most of the time, Don's staff and regular program cohorts are waaaay funnier than Don is.
Also Don likes to use the word "stupid" as an adjective. e.g. - He sings so well - - it's "stupid."
Well! Here's the funny part of Don Imus in the morning program

Changing to a non-related topic "Egypt's revolution."
The media can't get enough of it to please them. Every news outlet wants to have their say about it.
I empathize with the demonstrators that are attempting to bring about change in their country.
I empathize but that's about as far as it goes. I watch and I listen, trying to take in enough information to be able to talk about the situation in an informed manner. It may prove to be a hopeless goal for me. I'm an American. I already have what those people want. I didn't need to do what they are doing at this moment to get it. I honestly can't say "I know how they feel," and I'm glad it's that way. I am blessed beyond measure. Still, I feel like I can't just sit here, watching their struggle on TV and do absolutely nothing.

Do you know exactly how involved our country is and has been over the last three decades when it comes to Egypt's present turmoil? NO! Well, neither do I. I can't help but suspect that our government has influenced what is going on over there right now. We can't ignore all the finger-pointing that is going on around us. A lot of people are saying that WE did plenty over the years to keep the leadership they are trying to oust in power. I can't deny the accusation anymore than I can say the finger-pointers are right. I suppose that's because WE citizens were kept out of the loop or that we have been too apathetic to be informed. President Obama promised us a more transparent government but it's still like looking through a glass darkly.

This morning, after a great influx of information from my TV, I sat back to ponder the topic.
It wasn't long before I arrived at a conclusion, an obvious one. We as a nation cannot just sit back and watch things happen as I've heard and read so many people suggesting. Egypt didn't get here by itself, why do some believe they should get things straightened out on their own? There are forces afoot over there right now that are going to do all they can to steer this on-going movement in the direction they desire it to go. For all we know, the Islamic Brotherhood helped to bring this uprising about and even now are attempting to maneuver themselves into a position of power. I really don't believe that these demonstrators desire a fanatical, Islamic State to be their goal. They have said they desire "Liberty and Freedom" among other democratic sounding elements. I don't think they desire Sharia Law as their new basis for government.

They need a calm, assertive, peace seeking voice to listen to. I had the thought, so I may as well go ahead and suggest it. What they need is some one like this man
to listen too. To help guide them to the most logical outcome that will resemble what they truly desire.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Things that go KABOOM! during the daylight hours

What was that? I said to myself after I had regained my senses. Was it a sonic boom? Was it an earthquake? Is this the end of time and what I heard the sound of Jesus splitting the eastern sky?

It was approximately 2:55 pm; Maureen and Gail had just left the house, going shopping. The truck from Havertys had just finished delivering our long awaited, new, Italian leather covered love seat and I was trying it on for size. (see photo below)

Here I am; old double chin, fat and lazy, couch potato man.

The love seat you see here is so new, the leather hasn't had time to warm up to the ambient room temperature, which my wave controlled clock tells me is 70.6 degrees F.

You know, a man or a woman works hard for most of their life just to get to the point where they can spoil themselves. What you see before you is the end result of all that successful effort.

Just as I thought I had arrived, could relax and rest on my laurels, or in this case, our new love seat, there came such a noise, one that rattled the whole house and its foundation too. I jumped up from my seat, ran downstairs to look around and saw nothing out of the ordinary. I searched the whole house with the same results, then I put on my shoes and went outside to look around.

As I exited the garage, my neighbor across the street, who was standing in her doorway, shouted out to me, "Clarence, did you feel that?" YES! I replied. It shook the house and the noise was terrible. So far, I haven't discovered the source.

She came back with "I'm glad someone else besides me heard and felt it too. I was beginning to think I was imagining things." NO! You are quite sound of mind. I'm just glad to have someone to share the experience with. For a second there I thought I had drifted off to sleep and was dreaming the whole thing.

Back in the house I was still wondering what the heck it was. Suddenly it came to me. Maureen had mentioned to me the other day that some kind of work was going on down in the old Narrows road dip area which had been cut off from the new road construction. She mentioned that it was said, some blasting may have to be done. Was that it? Lord! I hope they don't need to do a lot more of that.

We will wait and see. I was going to call one of our local News stations to see if anyone else had reported any strange, new events. I guess I could drive over there and see what I can see from up on the top of the hill. If they are blasting down there, surely they won't allow anyone to enter the area. I think I will do just that. What can it hurt? Does the old saying "Curiosity killed the Cat" mean anything to you?

Over and out for now. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Smufficated by VOC's, suffering in back and knees

Last week I worked like a man possessed getting our little television room redecorated and modernized. Maureen furnished the design skills and I provided the labor and positive head nods whenever she asked me what I thought about a certain color of paint, kind of curtain or if this or that would look good here or there. I know my place. I have no opinion, not one that matters a great deal anyway.

As usual, the project began with the purchase of one major item. This time it was an Italian leather covered love seat composed of two individual recliners; powered recliners. That one item was incentive enough to get me moving in high gear.

The ceiling, which was yellow or tan, depending upon the available light striking it, was that color because at one time, both Maureen and I smoked cigarettes, required two coats of white before the nicotine was hidden. I have been smokeless now since 2004 and Maureen has been the same since we almost lost her on August 7th of last year. Thank God, she is still here and doing well. All of our lives are better since we gave up the habit.

The walls are some shade of tan now but not because of cigarette smoke. It's a vast improvement from the old color, whatever that was. It was some kind of Martha Stewart - K-Mart pastel rose.

You can see it here behind me in the photo.

We started out looking for something with low VOC's but the price was too high for Maureen's liking so we trucked on over to Lowe's and picked up some Val-spar super-thick, guaranteed to cover with one coat paint with the stink still in it. I still have a lingering headache. It's not bad, just nags at me a little.

The baseboards were a back-breaker and knees killer. I had to put down masking tape along the whole perimeter to protect the marvelous Pergo floor I installed several years back. It's some tough stuff and I probably could have cleaned off any errant paint but why take a chance?

The really difficult part followed the painting. Finding and installing a wall mount for our 32" LED, flat-screen television. Maureen and I discussed the matter at length before we hashed out where it would be mounted, how high, etc. I need to take some pictures to accompany this entry later before I click that "POST" button.

Here is how the TV appears from our normal viewing position and then a picture of the articulated arm mount where I located it on the wall. I was lucky to find a place with plenty of wood behind the drywall. It is very solid and able to support any TV we might mount there later on.

Another little job that turned out to be quite the challenge was assembling the furniture Maureen purchased to complete the transformation. That woman is good! Good at picking what she wants and supervising me while I struggled putting it together. Okay! She helped with the actual assembly - a little.

The narrow stand you see in the left photo is one of the assembly jobs. The other is the low bench you see next to a cute storage baskets stand in the right side photo.

I like the two items she picked up and had me mount on the walls. One says "Rejoice for His salvation" and the other says "Our house is just a little house but God knows where we live."

Then there are the other accents Maureen brought into the room, some from other locations around the house and those new ones she purchased. I believe she brought another accent home today after she and Gail went shopping for a time. She will get around to showing me where she wants it located some time tomorrow. I'm sure it will be as appropriate as the other items she selected.

The love seat is not due for delivery until the 28th of the month. Till then we will get by with our old seating arrangement. I can hardly wait till then. I wonder how long I can sit reclined, watching television before I drift off to sleep? I also wonder how quickly I will manage to sleep in my recliner all night long. It's gonna happen!

In the above photo you can see the old love seat we are currently using and you can get some idea of the new rug we found at a yard sale last fall. It's a perfect color and design for the new remodel.

Reposting "The Living Years" article

The Living Years


Who can know and understand all the ways or means which God uses to communicate with His children. I have heard His voice through many different vehicles and instruments; still I am often surprised by His methods.

Would God use the words of a secular song to reveal knowledge concerning a subject He wants us to be aware of? Certainly He would, if that was the only way to get His message across to us at the time. With Balaam, it was necessary to use a donkey for God to be heard by such a determined individual. For me, this time, it was a group known as Mike and the Mechanics.

Sometimes we seek God's help in a certain area of our life and when He answers we are distracted by something else and just are not able to hear Him. God is interested in every aspect of our daily life and desires to help.

Most of us have some unanswered questions, curiosities of life, about which we would like understanding. Perhaps those questions are connected with events in your own past, behaviors which you, yourself demonstrated and you believe them to be relevant to your present day relationship with a son or daughter.

Do you have a teenager in your house? Do you communicate well with them all of the time? Do you understand all you would like to understand about them? Are you confused at all concerning them? Do you ever look back at yourself when you were a teenager and see that your parents had much the same problems as the ones you may be facing now? Did you learn anything from all that reflecting, something which has helped you in your present relationship with your teenager? Did you see some mistake your parents made and say to yourself, "I won't be like that"; "I'll do things differently", and low and behold, in your efforts to do better, your solution to the problem only made things worse?

Don't you see that this parenting business is haphazard at best? It's trial and error, mostly error, learning from the mistakes you make as you go along, hoping that your mistakes won't have a long lasting affect on your child. You read books written by experts on raising children, or listen to other parents who have experienced similar circumstances, weigh all the advise carefully and then, painstakingly, place your other foot in your mouth.

The first time I heard "The Living Years", Kellie, my fourteen year old daughter, called it to my attention. She said "Dad, listen to this song, I think you will like it." I listened, and you know what, she was right, I did like it. I thought to myself, "My daughter is developing a better taste in music."

From that time on, I seemed to hear the song repeatedly, on the car radio, on TV and in the shopping malls. I don't believe in coincidences. That term is misleading and can cause one to miss out on a valuable learning experience. Sometimes, God has to knock on our mind's door continuously to get us to answer.

There was something about that song which stirred feelings deep inside me. They concerned a subject into which I had invested much time in thought. I was brought to tears at times as I listened to the perfect combination of words and music, and I was puzzled by my reaction. Finally, after several attempts to obtain my own copy of the song, I broke down and purchased a cassette from a local, discount outlet at the Florence Mall. For $6.99 I got that one song and not much of anything else. One bonus was the fact that the cassette cover had the words of all the songs that were on the tape, printed out on it. Not that I had any trouble hearing the words of the song as they were being sung. It just helped to have the words in print so I could study them and their possible meaning at my own pace.

One Sunday morning, as Kellie and I were getting ready for church, she was in the bathroom, the door was closed and I could hear that she had the radio on. Suddenly, I heard the familiar beginnings of that song again. She opened the door, announcing "Dad! here's your song again". I sat down in my desk chair to put on my socks and shoes, and as the music sped up and the words began, I felt as if my heart would break. "Every generation--blames the one before--and all of their frustrations--come beating on your door--I know that I'm a prisoner; to all my father held so dear--I know that I'm a hostage to all his hopes and fears--I just wish I could have told him, in the living years."

"Crumpled bits of paper--filled with imperfect thought--stilted conversations--I'm afraid that's all we've got--you say you just don't see it--he says it's perfect sense--you just can't get agreement--in this present tense--we all talk a different language--talking in defense."

Then came the chorus, it tore away at what remained of my own emotional defenses, and I felt crushed. "Say it loud--say it clear--you can listen as well as you hear--it's too late, when we die--to admit we don't see, eye to eye."

In my mind's eye, I could see the great gulf between generations. It seemed to be constantly expanding, growing ever wider. On one side is the parents; on the other, the children. The only way they can communicate over that great distance is by screaming the words they have to say to one another. Sadly, I could see just how true that whole scene was.

I wondered to myself, "Can even LOVE bridge that wide an expanse?" Are they so much like us that our relationship to one another is like two powerful magnets whose like poles repel, pushing away, increasing the distance between us? I felt so helpless at that moment; and there were more tears.

Why do we have such difficulty expressing what we feel to one another? Why do we pull away into seclusion and write imperfect words down on paper in an effort to relate, only to crumple the paper up and discard it before someone has the opportunity to read it? Perhaps, the act of writing it all down gives us some form of release, temporary relief, but left unshared with someone, what has it really accomplished?

I believe that most parents have met with that same rebellious attitude in their teenagers at times when they have attempted to correct or instruct them in what they see as some critical aspect of this life. Seeing that kind of attitude displayed; withdraw, back away from the situation, not wanting to bring further separation between themselves and this child which they love so much. This child, the product of parental love and concern, the very fruit of their own bodies; how can it appear so alien and remote from them? They are confused, undecided as to what action to take next. Will it be another mistake?

Then, guilt sets in. "It's all my fault; I've made them this way. I have passed on to them, all my own frustrations; all my own personal faults. They are only what I have made them." Yet, there is something inside us, which will try again when we see them heading for a fall. It's called LOVE.

I had to look up the word "STILTED" in my dictionary before I fully understood what the words were saying. "Pompous-Lofty-Formal-Stiff". Is that how our children see us? Do we make ourselves appear lifted-up, superior to them? Do we put on the pretense of being unable to make their kind of "stupid mistake"? Are we pompous in our attitude when we talk to our children? Do we lecture instead of discuss? I'm afraid, most of us do exactly that. The reason we know so much about it, is because we DID make those same stupid mistakes and are not honest enough to admit it to anyone, especially not to our own children. They have little enough respect for us now; what would they think if we admitted to something like that?

I believe that the chorus to this song has pretty much hit the nail right on the head. Someone needs to point out to both parents and children, that it is very hard to understand what someone else is trying to say if you don't listen. Not listening usually leads to more shouting and more hurt, more rebellion and more determination on the parent's part, to make their point understood.

Lack of communication skills leaves so much unsaid, and so much which is said, misunderstood. Parents believe that because of all the experience they have had at communicating, the full meaning of what they had just expressed to their teenager has been fully understood. They had expressed it such a way, anyone could understand it. The problem is, most teenagers seem to speak a different language. They have the ability to read a lot into the tone of one's voice and are very good at interpreting body language, as are parents. What does it take to gain the confidence of one's own child? Even when parents are completely honest and open, they are not seen that way because, in the past, they were always less than that, sometimes they were thought to be devious, divisive and scheming.

To continue; the second verse of this song says, "So we open up a quarrel--between the present and the past--We only sacrifice the future--It's the bitterness that lasts--So don't yield to the fortunes--you sometimes see as fate--it may have a new perspective--on a different day--and if you don't give up and don't give in--you just may be OK."

Does the present actually have a quarrel with the past? Being a parent; I know how much time I have spent reflecting upon my past. I don't care much for the phrase "The Good Old Days." How can we forget the painful experiences we knew while growing up and remember only the good times? How dishonest we parents are with ourselves and how selective are our memories. Of course, most of us had loving parents and there were plenty of good things to remember, but what about those childhood friends, the ones which turned on you, called you spiteful names and tore your simple world apart? There was no way for you to explain it to your parents so that they would understand. Some children are abused physically by their so-called friends, and the hurt went far deeper than any cuts or bruises could penetrate. The hurt is hidden away, deep within their young emotions and never expressed. Who can they talk to? Who would understand?

The root of bitterness; what a monstrous cancer to carry around all those years of a young life. It never shrinks, it only grows larger as more and more bitterness is held within. Is there such a thing a fate? Are some of us destined to unhappiness and conflict with the world around us? If we don't give up and don't give in to the forces pushing and shoving us in one direction or another, we may find that life will turn out all right. For so many teenagers who don't possess the patience, suicide is their permanent solution for a temporary problem. A calm and peaceful exterior displayed by your teenager could be covering up a raging storm of bitterness within. If parents can't take the time and find some way to express the bitterness that they experienced as a child, and assure their children that with time, their life will change; that bitterness could overpower and consume their future.

A new perspective; how does a person obtain one? Certainly not by ignoring one's position in life and hoping it will simply go away. There is an age, a time in everyone's life, when they realize that they are not a child anymore, and yet, they are not an adult. How confusing a time that is for everyone. I will say this; maturity has a way of changing one's perspective.

Parents know about change. They have found ways to adjust to those changes. The good old days are far behind them and their perspective is "NOW". Responsibility weighs heavy upon their shoulders, and doing everything right is most critical. But there is no assurance of doing everything right all of the time. There is no carved in stone method for raising children, because children are individuals, just like us. No two are identical. Don't look to me for any pat answers; I’m as confused by all this as you are. Giving the task your very best couldn't hurt, and love, though it isn't a cure-all, will bridge most of the small gaps.

There is one bit of wisdom I would share with parents and children alike, if I could. It is something I learned through my own mistakes, some advice that could make a difference; "COMMUNICATE". If you can't find the words to say what you want to say in a face to face talk, by all means, write it! Put those words, imperfect though they may be, down on paper, but don't crumple them up and throw them away. Forget about your pride and that perfect image you wanted to project to your children. It will help them to know that you were once, where they are today, that you didn't have the answers and needed to seek someone else's help, even if that help came in the form of a sympathetic ear, just someone who was willing to listen as you poured out all the hurt and all the bitterness which was building inside you. Sure, your children will present different circumstances which shape the problems they are facing, circumstances you may be unfamiliar with, but all that experience you have had is valuable; combining that with parental wisdom and logic and that special kind of love God grants all parents, you will work it out.

Imagine this, if you can; you will become the first person they turn to when they are facing difficulty in their young life; not the last. They could even present you with a problem that will stump you completely, but wouldn't it be great to know that they had the confidence in you to bring it to you for a solution? Should that happen, don't be ashamed or too proud to admit that you too, may need to seek outside help. It's enough that you were willing to listen and try.

The end of the song says, "I wasn't there that morning--when my Father passed away--I didn't get to tell him all the things I had to say--I think I caught his spirit--later that same year--I'm sure I heard his echo in my newborn baby's tears--I just wish I could have told him--in the living years."

How sad it is to say that parents have the most influence upon their children's lives, only after they have left this world. It's a sad commentary on the human state of existence. For the children, it's as if their parent's personality took up residence within the words and actions they recall. Ignored statements and bits of advice suddenly have meaning, or forgotten deeds of love and kindness take on a value never noticed before.

Love and dedication are never wasted on the young. Those heart to heart talks do sink in, slowly, that's for sure, but they do have value and are important.

There is a way to change this all too common outcome in human relationships; please try to find it for yourself and take action.

The living years are over and gone, far too quickly.