Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Report

Well, Happy Late Thanksgiving to all. We had a very good one and hope everyone else did as well.

Daughter and her friend (male) brought the MIL. It must have been lots of fun: 3 people (him pretty large), wheelchair, 2 large oxygen bottles and a small bottle, some garlic dip, etc. all in a Ford Escort. We were waiting, all prepared with at least 2 minutes to spare! Yes, procrastination, thy name is Don.

Anyway, the MIL was installed in her wheelchair next to the table with the goodies and we talked a bit while waiting for Mr. Turkey to come out of the oven. Finally, he came out, the last minute things were prepared, I carved and we ate. Everything was pretty traditional and good. Most years my wife likes to try out some new recipe but this year I managed to get her to go simple. It was a very good choice and everything was delicious. Hopefully THAT is the start of a tradition! The wine was better than we expected and the male friend offered a toast to our daughter honoring her professional achievements in the last year. This guy isn't always that nice to the daughter so this was an excellent surprise. The MIL was really tired by the time we finished dinner so the whole lot loaded back into the Escort and went home by 16:00.

That gave us time to finish the open wine and call the appropriate relatives. Very, very nice. Once again, hope everyone had a great one!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Had a good weekend. Some relatives who have an acreage keep our trailer on their property. This weekend they needed to take down a tree that had died. The problem was that when it came down, it needed to be across the road in front of their house. The good news is that it is a very quiet road but still it needed to be cleared as quickly as possible. So, we volunteered to help clean up the mess.

We went up on Friday afternoon, got set up in the trailer and took them out to dinner. Saturday morning the guy, my wife and myself went out to bring down the tree. His wife ACTUALLY went shopping! Couldn't believe it but there it was. Outside = his problem. Well, actually, it doesn't bother me since they seem to have a good relationship. It isn't what I want but what the hell: different drummers and all that.

We got the tree down and cleared in about three hours. He cut the tree down then removed limbs. I spent the entire time picking up limbs and carting them to the burn pile. My wife worked as hard as anyone. She used our electric chain saw to remove limbs part of the time and dragged limbs to the burn pile when she wanted a break. She was very proud of her work as was I. Here is this mid-50's woman, an ex-middle manager in a technical field, working as hard as any field hand. She did great.

We slept well that night! And came home today after a leisurely breakfast. What's not to like! Well, no nookie, but I don't need to set up a counter either. ;)

Monday, November 14, 2005


Today we went to an exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry called Bodies. It is a facinating look at real human bodies. These people (they were all Chinese) died then the soft coverings of fat and tissue were removed then muscles, nerves, etc. were replaced with a polymer substance. You end up with a skeleton with, for example, the muscles shown. Each muscle of the leg is seen, where it attaches to the bone, where it attaches to the next bone.

On another body they had nerve fibers illustrated, on another the blood vessels. I said the fat and tissue were removed but that isn't strictly correct. They left skin where it helped illustrate something or make the display more human. For example, the head might have the skin on the left side then the nerves exposed on the left. Most of the bodies were male and the penis and the testicles were intact; it gave the teenagers who were visiting something to titter over. There were a few female bodies including one who had had breast cancer that was untreated. Yuck! I never knew what that would look like; now I know I don't like it. It was rather like a mole only it covered an area 8 inches by 12 inches and was 2 or 3 inches deep. Nasty!

Lungs were displayed, livers, the stomach, pretty much everything you can imagine. In some cases both normal and diseased organs were shown. Smoker's lungs, diseased livers, and gallstones were just some of the fun stuff. It was a very good, interesting and instructive show. Highly recommended if it comes to your area. Wish I could post a sample but I'm not that good a blogger! Email me if you'd like to see the advertising poster or check the museum's web site

Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nothing much....

I'm being pretty dull lately. Haven't updated this blog in 10 days or so. Somehow I've always got things to do; funny how that works.

My wife and I decided that it is time to diet and started yesterday. For me, dieting means smaller portions, fewer snacks and a lot less booze. It always leads to a big rant when we diet together because I lose more weight. It isn't a mystery to anyone but her: I exercise and she doesn't. I walk the dog for half an hour then do another half hour on the treadmill. That makes a big difference. But it isn't easy to get started on an exercise routine, I know that. When I was younger I could stop exercising for a month then start right up where I left off. Now, first of all it is much harder to get started again and secondly I have to go back to lighter weights and shorter durations or I'll pull something then HAVE to stop again. Well, at least I CAN exercise. There is so much pain in the world lately, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami - you name it. It makes you want to just be thankful if you still have your family and friends.

The election in California was interesting. Here is a state that is way deep in debt and the people are simply refusing to stop spending. Of course the measures were going to cause pain to most all of the people who work for the state and all those who receive state assistance so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that they lost. They may well be a majority! One thing I haven't seen so far is anything about the turnout. The number of people who can control an election is surprisingly small if you do the calculations, I hope that isn't what happened in this case. And I'm also hoping that somehow the state can turn itself around and not start defaulting on their loans!

France is also in pain. Night after night of violence caused by the pain and frustration of being second class, unemployed citizens is easy for me to understand. The social safety net of monetary and medical benefits keeps people from starving (in most cases) but you pay for those things with a lost of pride and self-esteem. I've been without a job and I sure didn't like it. Even a crapy job is better than none and in France unemployment is huge, over 10% of the population by US State Dept. estimate. (An aside. In Freakonomics the argument was made that inner city dope dealers don't even make enough money to live on but they want to do it because it is a possible escape from a place where there are no other jobs.) Here is another problem where I certainly don't see any easy fix. The traditional politician would try to turn the peoples attention outward and attack another country. Let's hope that doesn't come to pass here!

Well, hope I made your day cheerier but I bet I didn't. (Sorry about that!)