Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thank You, God!

A cat died and went to Heaven. God met her at the gates and said, "You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking."

The cat thought for a minute and then said, "All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on."

God said, "Say no more." Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.

A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat.

The mice said, "Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again."

God answered, "It is done." All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, "Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?"

The cat replied, "Oh, it is WONDERFUL! I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!"

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lens Test

Over the last couple of days, I got to do some shooting with my new lens. Storms were crossing the countryside, and I went SE of town to get a good position for some lightning shots. The lens performed up to expectations, and I was able to get several shots of lightning. Some were too distant, and all were way over-exposed. I really need to work on my settings with ISO 400 film, since that's the speed I use for general shooting. When I corrected them with software, lightning bolts materialized in my scenes. This is one of them.

Yesterday while roaming the countryside looking for photo-ops, we took an old dirt road as we often do. It's no fun looking where everybody else looks. At one point while driving along, I spotted something in the road that didn't belong. It was a Prairie Rattlesnake - the first one I've ever seen in the wild. I couldn't pass it up. After I went past him, I backed up, got out, and took a closer look. Yep, it was a rattler. Kewl! He showed no signs of agression or defensiveness, and it looked like he had just had lunch. That is one of the few times they don't seem to care about the rest of the world. That situation presented some good photo-shootin' opportunities that normally elude people. Here is a digital I took of him. I have more shots on film, but I need to finish the roll and get it developed.

An Invitation

I got an invitation this weekend from my sister in Iowa, where all but one of my family resides. It was an invitation to spend Thanksgiving with them this year. It has been 4 or 5 years anyway, since I've seen any of them - both parents and their respective spouses, my brothers and my sisters. With my new-found freedom comes the generally unimpeded chance to actually do what I've allowed to be neglected, for far too long. Yes, I want to see my family again. I want to be the one to go to them, and not expect them to come to me as in years past. The thought of it is a very pleasant one, but it does have a bittersweet component.

I've become such a part of my "extended" family, and so attached to them that the thought of even a short-duration trip to see my parents and siblings feels like I'm going to school for the very first time. For the first time in over two years, I would be without the people who have cared for and about me, protected me, and have allowed me to do the same for them. I would miss them greatly, and mutual worry would be a part of my absence. A 4 or 5 day trip would be partially consumed by 2 days of driving at least 12 hours.

This is something I probably have to do, to continue to repair the damage I have allowed to happen in the past. The thought of it makes me uneasy in ways. My extended family needs me, and I need them. Yet I know I need to restore relationships with my bio family as well. It is a bit of a struggle I need to work with.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


My lens has arrived! It was supposed to be delivered tomorrow, but it came early. I've been watching tracking info online, and was surprised to see it was out for delivery this morning between 8 and 9 local time. When I saw that, I opened my blinds and kept an eye out for the UPS truck. About 15-20 minutes later, there he was! Now I need some play time. :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A New Toy

I had a "free" paycheck this time around, so I splurged a little bit. Well, I had to replace my main camera lens. That was a bit of a necessity. :) I splurged by buying a GPS unit I've toyed with getting over the months. It's the Magellan eXplorist 200. I figure I can do some geocaching if nothing else. If the weather ever gets nasty around here again, and I'm out storm spotting, it can be real useful for reporting my (and severe weather's) location. When we're traveling around new roads in desolate areas, it can be real useful in getting us back to civilization. I can find some excuses to use it. You know how boys and their toys are. ;) I'll just have to be sure to let my navigator operate it while I'm driving. It could be a bit distracting. :)


My new lens has been shipped and should be here Friday. It'll be nice to get some good wide-angle shots of our beautiful skies again. The telephoto I've been using doesn't do the scenery justice. The "big picture" needs to be seen.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Little Angel's Misery

This morning, I sent my typical text messages to those in my family that I have cell numbers for. After I did so, I got a call from my son. He sounded very tired. Seems that my two year old grand-daughter was in pain last night, and they spend all night at the hospital with her until about 6:00am. As his story unfolds, he tells me that she had contracted a bladder infection. The kids' plastic pool is the suspected souce of her malady. They say as the pool water warms up during the day, bacteria begin to flourish.

I'll bet the poor thing was miserable! It's hard enough on adults that know what's happening. Here's hoping she has a swift recovery and is back to normal in no time!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pleasant Surprise

A friend I haven't heard from in a while Emailed me about a week ago. It came to an Email box that I am going to let go, and haven't checked it in a while. It was Ted Williams' eldest daughter. Yep, the baseball legend that played for Boston - his daughter.

When I got her Email, I remembered that just a couple days before she sent it, I was at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. One of the first thing inside the doors was a baseball display. In it among other things, was a picture of Ted Williams and a baseball that bore his signature.

It was a pleasant surprise, indeed! :)

Friday, August 11, 2006


I got a bit crafty today. This shadow box I created is representative of my service in the U.S. Coast Guard. The Texas State Flag was flown over the state capitol. These flags are not sold. The medals are the National Defense Service Medal that was awarded to me for my service during time of war. I enlisted and served out my 4 years during the VietNam war. The one below it is the Coast Guard's Expert Pistol medal. Qualification criteria is the same as the Navy's. The picture of me was taken in early 1977.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Boys

Yesterday while I grilled for dinner, the boys took their positions. From the minute I first lit the grill, they were right there, keeping a watchful eye for interlopers who might get their grubby lips on their morsels.

These guys will even stare down the Rottweiler across the alley in a heartbeat....while he's in his own fenced yard. ;)

Take The Wheel

A dear friend of mine is going through some stressful/fearful times in her life. I grasp for the right things to say, to help ease the turmoil. They aren't there. I feel so helpless, that I can't make it all go away, and make it possible for her to live with inner peace.

When things get out of control, and it seems that your life is going to hell in a handbasket, there is really only one thing that can be done. You have to let go - and let God handle it. You've got to have faith that He will provide whatever need you might have, now and in the future.

A song by Carrie Underwood comes to mind. The chorus says it all:

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this all on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel

When things get unbearable, and it seems like there is no way out - there is always a way. Let "Jesus take the wheel". He will help, but you have be willing to see it and accept that help. Let your troubles go.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Last night I Emailed my son and told him my street address and landline number, where I'm working, etc. (I've been laying low for over 2 years, waiting for my divorce to be through.) This afternoon, he emailed me and let me know he got it ok. He also sent me some pictures.

It feels good to be in touch again.

Good Ole WinDUHs

This morning, I had to reboot my computer. Windows demands it now and then. When it did, it went through the disk check, and naturally I let it do its thing. I had to head to work before it was done, so I left it running. When I got home for lunch, my D: drive had been turned to files with the name "FILExxxx.CHK" - about 10,000 of 'em. I hate it when that happens. There were mostly mp3's and data files on it, along with some programs. It'll take some time, but I'll get it straightened out eventually.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ups and Downs

I am continuing to open communications with my family, and my son and his family. Over the weekend, I gave my boy the number to my cell phone - a TracFone. Actually, I text messaged his wife first by mistake. She called, and well, she's a great kid, but has this tendency to talk....alot. That's not cost-effective with a pay-as-you-go cell service. Anyhow, I text messaged my son right afterwards, and he called to confirm that he got it ok. I've also given him a new Email address that I hope will work out better, with much more space and all.

On the down side, my main camera lens (28-80 mm) is still giving me trouble. It wants to keep shutting down the aperture as far as it can. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and replace it. I'm just glad it's not a really expensive one. I should be able to replace it for less than $200. I've got an "extra" check coming in a couple weeks, so maybe I can do it then. We shall see. I guess for now, I'll have to consider my telephoto/zoom (75-300 mm) lens my main lens.