Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another one of those "Varied" days.......

Hmmmm, for some reason at 6:00am I was wide awake......laid there as quietly as I could until 6:30 and then said to myself, "to hell with it".....and pulled my sagging, evolving hulk up to a sitting position, oriented myself to this early rising, and then padded out of the room, down the hallway, and got the coffee maker perking, trying to get it to be a bit quieter...HA! I do not enjoy rising at this early time of the day, but for some unknown reason I am waking earlier and earlier each day....DAMN!!

So, I sipped a couple of cups of coffee, read the online newspapers, checked my email, and just remained quiet until 8am when the ladies of the house began to stir around. After a quick shower and my normal morning rituals, I took my last cup of coffee outside onto the patio and enjoyed the morning sun and fresh air. Oopssssss, did I just say "fresh air"????? Oh mother-in-law still smokes and the air inside the house is never going outside is always a nice way to start the day.

I spent most of the morning doing some reading in and out of the house......I'm into a book.....finally. With 709 pages....I am only on page 53, so I am not certain it is going to be a good book....yet. But, I need to get my mind into something other than the "news" right now......

After a great lunch of freshly fried chicken, the 1st Lady and I left for the stick and brick. BUT.....we "had" to make a stop in the ST Louis area........and so, we stopped and shopped at the Chesterfield Commons Mall at the Sam's Club store. Spent way tooo much time there and then it was on the Gravois Bluffs Mall for a stop at Kohl's. I dropped off the 1st Lady there...with her cell phone turned on.....and went across the street to the local Starbuck's Coffee my usual grande cappuccino and sat and enjoyed the music playing in the shop.......some operatic arias of which I really do love!!!!

Then it was back across the street and after waiting for 40 minutes in the car, I called her and told her it was time to get moving. Sooooo, we left....and drove to Farmington where we stopped to order a birthday cake for this approaching weekend.......enough said for now. This weekend the stick and brick will be full as it is the town's annual Azalea Festival.....the BIG event in the town for the year!!!!!! Dr. Jeni and Darrel and girls, as well as Becky and Rachel, will all be here to take part in the "festivities"....i.e.....the carnival rides for the granddaughters!!!!

In the spring of 1992, Dr. Jeni's senior year in H.S., she was selected as the Queen of the Azalea Festival........and so, it always brings back many memories of that particular weekend!!!! It was very exciting for her......not to mention our excitement when she was selected by the panel of judges and the announcement made. Ahhhhhh........memories!!!

Arriving home, we unloaded the car, I went out to WalMart to get some gas for our early morning departure tomorrow to go see Michael.....and then to be at Rachel's 4th Grade "Graduation" next year she moves on to another of the schools there....a different building and area of town.

And so.....this day has been varied!!!!! And.....isn't that a good thing???? I think so.....keeps me multi-tasking in my advancing evolvement of Life! And soooooo, as I still believe....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A beautiful day in northeast Missouri!!

Yep....the title says it all today. Bright...and then a few clouds, but plenty of sun to warm the early 31 degrees up to almost 70 by mid-afternoon!!! The air was cool, but the sun felt just great.

Today????? Good Lord....what can I say??? This gorgeous day just slipped away very quickly......and I was very lazy during this "slippage". Laid around, sipped some not-so-good coffee, watched a bit of the tellie(horrible choice of stations, almost NO choice),.....and then an early-afternoon nap. Later this evening, while the sun was just beginning to set, the 1st Lady and I took a two mile 30 minutes.

Tonight.....more doing lots of nothing!!! Except.....I am certain that I am gaining weight.....CRAP!!!! And.....a bit of a small concern....ever since last Thursday's procedure in the Surgery Center, my "plumbing problems"(that some of you don't care to read about) seem to be a bit more aggravated. I have just tried to mentally push this aside, but it is rather difficult to do...........not certain as to why this is happening......., but it is certainly least to this sagging hulk of me. certainly brings a bit of negativity into the day, as far as I am concerned.....AND, I am not a negative person. DAMN!!!

And so......tomorrow's plans are to leave for our stick and brick.....and should be home during the day. As you know........Life is toooo short to stay in one place..........and by not staying in one place, I am always certain that........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dinner in Hannibal, MO: Ed/Marilyn and TheHowser's

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Weather: FROST!!! .....Dinner with Ed and Marilyn

Can you actually believe it???? Frost is expected here in NE Misery tonight....and also in F'town in SE Misery!!!! I actually believe there will not be any prolonged Spring season........we will just go from this type of strange weather right into the Heat and Humidity of the Summer Season in Misery!!! UGH!!!!!!

Today in Monroe City???? Chilly, windy, a bit of rain, but overall, a really decent day. We have had a good visit today with the 1st Lady's mother......and, a brief 30 minutes with her younger brother, David, when he came to the house for lunch with us. This afternoon.......well, to be quite honest, after eating a LARGE lunch.....I soon found myself on the sofa and soon was out in la-la land taking a nap....something I rarely every do!!!!??

And….I slept almost two hours….WHEW!!! This is something new for me……..and when I awoke, I was even a bit groggy…..tooooooo much sleep???? Perhaps so!

The 1st Lady and I had made plans to meet friends from Llano Grande RV Resort for dinner in Hannibal…….so, we got ourselves cleaned up and ran over to Hannibal. We made a couple of quick stops at two hardware stores looking for a certain kind of weed killer that the 1st Lady, a retired Chemistry teacher, was looking for to kill (perhaps?) the wild violets in our lawn. We did find one small container of the type she was searching for….and then it was a quick run out to Fiddlesticks….a nice restaurant where we have dined many times before.

Ed and Marilyn had already arrived…..and soon we were having a glass of dark red medicine together…..and for the next two hours, the four of us never came to a period!!!!! Amazing…..we have many things in common, not to mention our love for rving……and our love for travel. It was almost as if we never had time to take a breath!!!! Because they have lived in Monroe City for a long time prior to moving to Kansas, the 1st Lady and the two of them have many acquaintances in common. And what does this bring to my aging mind???? The catchy tune: “It’s a Small World”!!!!!! And….it really is!

Anyway… was a wonderful two hours!!!!! And…..I realize just how much I miss the friendships and fun we had in the RGV for almost three months this winter!!!! WOW….I just can’t wait to return!!!!!!!! As Ed and Marilyn said tonight…….being here is like being back in reality…..with all of the responsibilities that reality brings with it. All four of us would rather be in the RGV!!!!!!

A GREAT dinner….a GREAT evening with friends…..and they all combine to assure that……

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!……And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


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Ava....waiting on cake and ice cream

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WOW……with all of the windows in Dr. Jeni and Darrel’s master bedroom, the light poured into the room VERY early this morning. Living in the rolling hills not far from the Missouri River, they do not use any window treatments on the large wall of huge windows….in fact, the entire three floors of wall on the backside of the house is all huge windows…and the master bedroom has it’s own balcony overlooking the terraced back lawn which slopes down into the uncut trees and a lazy little stream(unless it floods as it as been doing lately). It is a beautiful setting, however…….at the very early hour this morning the sunlight did awaken this sagging hulk of me. I laid there quietly, trying not to disturb the 1st Lady, however….Ava began to whimper across the hallway in her room and so she soon found herself in the king sized bed where we were……quickly returning to sleep laying there between the two of us.

We were all up and going before long…..and by late morning, Becky and Rachel arrived from their new home in SE Missouri. OMG……..yesterday’s post….I forgot to mention that on this Family Birthday Weekend… is ALSO Rachel’s 10th birthday…..TODAY. She had a BD party last weekend with her school friends……and next weekend everyone will be at our house and we will have the family celebration of her BD then!!! Sooooo, a VERY BIG Happy Birthday today to Ava(3), Rachel (10)… Jay for his BD yesterday (31)….and to my mother who would have been 95 today had she lived another year.

I ran into town and picked up four large pizza’s and breadsticks….and upon returning, a few minutes later two HS friends of Dr. Jeni and Darrel…and their little son….arrived to take part in the BD Party!!! Soooooo, it was a grand time with a total of 13 at the estate……

Ava was overwhelmed by all of the presents and was so enthralled with all of them that she decided to not open them all at one time…..and so as the afternoon went by, she finished opening them later. And… wasn’t long until the 1st Lady and I were the last ones left there…..and soon we were on the road….by 6:30pm, heading north to Monroe City.

We arrived here in two hours……and the 1st Lady’s mother was already in bed. She turns in early….and sleeps late in the mornings, also. Her health is constantly declining…..she just seems to get a little worse in step-down plateaus……where she levels out for a period of time and then slips a little bit farther down again. She has just been diagnosed with a “weak aorta” and that is not a good thing to hear……….So, we are being very quiet and letting her remain asleep tonight.

HEY…..did anyone realize that I AM online tonight, sitting in her large kitchen…..she built a new home town a few years ago. Yep……somehow someone in the neighborhood does have internet…..and it is not locked up, so I am piggy backing tonight!!! Hope it remains this way!!! Guess we’ll see……………

So, I will close this post tonight….and try to get it posted while “their” internet access is still floating around the area!!!! As always……..

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!……And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!! (See you tomorrow at 5:30 in Hannibal, Ed and Marilyn…Fiddlesticks!!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Beautiful and clear......

WOW....I slept like a log.....guess I was making up for the past couple of nights of tossing and turning and not sleeping. Sure felt better this morning........

After a couple of hours of "getting ready", the 1st Lady and I left for a few days....going first to STL to do some shopping/looking. Again.....another couple of hours of looking and making a list of the models of stainless steel refrigerators that we liked.....and didn't like. With closer inspection of a couple of them, we began to try to decide what we would "give up" and what we would like to have as far as storage goes. Amazing how a couple of the newer models in the GE Profile line have such horrible veggie depth in them at all......I do believe it would be impossible to even put a head of lettuce in them......measured at a little over 4" in depth!!!!!! TERRIBLE!!! Then on one of the models you had to open both of the "French doors" all the way to get the "deli drawer" to pull out all the way!!! Poor planning on GE's part. We are wanting the newer three door models with the freezer in the bottom "drawer" which pulls out. BUT.....on some of the models the freezer drawer doesn't pull out as far as some of the other models!!! Go figure!!! Soooooooooo................we didn't buy one today. Still have some positive/negative checklists to go over......

Then we grabbed some Starbuck's......of course, mine was a grande cappuccino....which was not made correctly the first time and I had them remake it......asked for a semi-dry and the one they prepared for me was way overloaded with steamed milk to be called "semi-dry"!!!! I could barely taste the dark coffee!!!!

We had had lunch earlier at Panera Bread........always good!!! I ordered the Panini Chicken with melted cheese and Applewood cured bacon. YUMMMMMYYYYY!!!! Also had the Greek salad which was really crisp and the Feta cheese was outstanding. Great, great lunch!!!! The 1st Lady had Chicken and Noodle Soup and a Classic Salad....which she practicaly inhaled rather than swallow.....hahaha. She was REALLY hungry!

Then, we went through Fenton and picked up Rachel as she is spending the night with us at Dr. Jeni's and Darrels estate southwest of STL about 35 miles. We are celebrating Ava's 3rd birthday this weekend and tomorrow will be her "open the packages" day.....she is soooo excited!! Today was Jay's 31st birthday.......WOW!!!! WHERE has the time gone to????????

The LARGE house in the woods is filled with small children.........Darrel's mother is here from Branson for the birthday....and she brought her two other small is just two years old...and the other is about one year old. Sooooo, excitement runs supreme here I sit here at the bar typing this!!!!!

And so........another day gone........rains coming tomorrow.......and even tho we didn't get a refrig ordered/purchased today........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Beautiful Day......wet and stormy evening!

OMG......I hardly slept last night.....???? Can't find a reason...should have been really tired, and I WAS....but it was difficult to go to sleep....and then I was awake at 4am.....and virtually remained that way until 6am....and finally just got up....UGH!!! I quietly made the French Roast coffee and then read the newspapers that I read daily online.....and about 8:30, I woke the 1st Lady. I waited to do the morning rituals until she was awake....I do not like to use our new bathroom off of the new bedroom until she is awake. I could use the other bath....but all of my "utensils" are in our bathroom and so I just wait.......

After more coffee and after my time completing the morning rituals, we took a two mile walk out to the City Lake and back......the street we live on ends at the Lake. Then........our day of doing odd chores around the yard, the house, etc., etc. began and finally ended early this evening. Our son-in-law, Darrel, called and was to race here in F'town this evening, but they continued to give severe storm warnings for here, so we didn't go out to the track, knowing from watching online radar that it WAS going to storm with rain and possible hail.

I am dead on my feet......will I sleep tonight??? Hmmmm........I sure as hell hope so. I have been feeling better today....and more so as the day has progressed. I have not taken any pain meds pain=no meds needed.

I appreciate all of you who have emailed, called, and have let me know that you have been concerned and curious as to how I am doing. As of now.....I have just assumed that it will be necessary to continue to take the two meds for a long period of time.........forever??? Oh well......if the meds continue to do the job that they are meant to do......that will fine. I can handle that!!

We are going to Dr. Jeni and Darrel's estate for the is Ava's birthday...and it is also Jay's birthday over the weekend. Then from there, we will go on to Monroe City to visit and check on the 1st Lady's mother. We also are excited as we will be meeting Ed and Marilyn.....a couple from northeast Missouri whom we met at Llano Grande RV Resort this winter.....and we are going to meet them for dinner Monday evening in Hannibal!!!! REALLY looking forward that the evening with them!!!!!

And sooooo, with the rains coming down, the lightning striking near by, and a few harsh winds whipping around....I will close this. thanks to all of you for your deep concerns!!!!!

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quite a Day.......

The alarm rang at 5am.....and after a quick run of the morning rituals...I woke the 1st Lady....and 30 minutes later we were on our way to Festus....just south of St Louis. Checking into the Twin Cities Surgery Center at 7am.....I was soon in a bed...and before long, it was 8 and I was on my way to the surgery room. I had no longer arrived in there....and I blanked out. Yep....whatever they put in the IV took affect QUICKLY.....and the next thing I knew it was 8:45...and the 1st Lady was sitting beside me in the recovery room....and from what she said, I had been talking to her and everyone for about 20 minutes.....BUT.....I don't remember a damn thing!! Some kind of "loss of memory" drug, so I don't know if I was screaming in pain while the procedure was going on or whether I just laid there???? Who knows.........I suppose the Dr. and his team who were doing the exploratory looking inside me!!!

Long story short: The Dr. told the 1st Lady that nothing was seen......that there was nothing "foreign growing" in there....and so, it must just be a "growing problem". I believe that can be fairly well controlled by meds.

Even though I was really groggy, slightly dizzy, and just plain "out of it".....we, at my request, went across the street to Panera Bread and had a pastry and I had a cappuccino dry. WOW....the coffee tasted good!!!!! After that, with the 1st Lady driving, thank God, we went to Kohl's as she needed some new clothes for a banquet tonight......and so, I just kind of hung out, leaning on the shelves, finding a chair in the shoe dept. and just slowly......ohhhhh soooo slowly...began to regain my normal thought processes. Hmmmmm, sure wonder what I might have said in that surgery room????!!!!

We headed back to F'town and were home by noon or slightly afterwards. The afternoon was spent just laying around..........just simply doing nothing!!!

Tonight....yep, I am feeling fact, much like my normal sagging hulk of me. Just really exhausted, though. I have some new meds for infection to ingest each day, as well as some pain pills for the "burning sensations"...........should be over in a day or two.

And soooooo, tomorrow???? Who knows.........and as a friend who writes a daily blog always says, "I just can't wait to see what the day has in store....". But, no matter what happens tomorrow.......after a day like today.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

A QUICK Update this afternoon........

Just returned from south StLouis...Festus....and the Surgery Center there. The procedure went fine.......and the results were very good. No foreign objects growing inside the plumbing pipe nor the liquid storage bag!!! I am a bit groggy and dizzy......and I said to someone a minute ago.....a bit dizzier than I normally I'll write more this evening. The procedure WAS far as I know....the memory is totally blocked. The 1st Lady sat there and talked with me for 30 minutes in the recovery room.....and there is no memory of that at all..........worse than short term memory, it is NO memory....haha. Later.......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A day of variety..........

I got up....and looking out side, the clouds were quickly covering the rising sun.......and it wasn't too much longer....a couple of hours...before the rains and the thunder began. Not a lasting rain, not a lasting by noon, the clouds were leaving and the bright, clear blue sky emerged and the rest of the day was a bit steamy....and in the lower 80's!!!!! Another day for wearing shorts....yeah!!!!

This morning.....I just puttered around, did a lot of reading online, sitting at the bar with my steaming French Roast cup of coffee right beside me.... Later morning I placed a phone call to my long time friend from my USAF chapter of my Life......he lives in Pennsylvania and so I wanted to know if he had voted yet! HAHAHA.......he said that he had, but because of all of the media around, he went and got a haircut before going to the polls....hahaa!!! It was good to talk to him....we don't do that enough these days.

The afternoon was spent in planting a few flowers, going to the farm store where I bought some grass seed and a bale of straw to cover up the new seeds in the ground. was time for our evening guests....David and Sue.

As they did last week, we watched American Idol and Dancing WT Stars.....and then we finished the pictures of our Egypt and Jordan trip last fall. It is always fun to have them here.....and we always finish off a bottle or two of some vino while they are around.

As it is getting late.....I will bring my cloudy thoughts to a close before I say something to bother someone that I don't even know. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be more rain and storms....and then on Thursday morning I have to be in Festus at the surgery center for my unpleasant procedure from what I am told. I DO hope that they really knock me out COLD for this!!!!! UGH!!!! Doubt it could be any worse than when they went up me twice in one week in search of those nasty kidney stones which I had about 10-12 years ago. Just as I wrote about it a couple of days will be a "Fantastic Voyage"....but just not for ME!!!!

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

80 Degrees.....WOW!!!!

Oh yeah.......this was a beautiful day with wonderful temps!!! Keep it up, Mother Nature!!!

This morning I was up and going my mission for the morning was to drive to Eureka to Byerly's RV to pick up TheHowserHouse. Sooooo, I left here at 8:30am......and was back here by 12:15pm......not quite four hours and two hundred miles.

When I arrived, TheHowserHouse was ready and waiting. I signed the paperwork and then inquired about the brand of new axles. I talked with the service men who installed them and then hooked up with the truck....and was soon on the highway. Like I said above, I was back and in the driveway by 12:15 this afternoon. With the support of Forest River and Cedar Creek, I received two new axles, new springs, shackles and bolts, and new two new tires and a check for the other two tires which I purchased about three weeks ago ($595.00). I am really happy that Forest River/Cedar Creek stands behind their products so strongly as well as supporting their customers when there are problems/issues with their products!!!!! There are many other companies that just don't do that!!!

This afternoon, we drove up to Farmington for a late lunch at Applebee's......they offer a really great deal during their lunch hours....until 3pm. We each had a salad and the 1st Lady had a sandwich, while I had the Three-Cheese Penne with grilled chicken.......and each meal was only $6.99!!! GREAT DEAL!!!!

We did some shopping later looking for a certain kind of chemical spray that would KILL wild violets in our yard, which has been taken over by these broad leaf plants. And......they just don't die!!!!!! We fought them last summer......and there are still here now!!! DAMN!!!

Returning to the stick and brick, we just kicked back and relaxed. This evening I went on MSN's Instant Messenger and visited with Doug.......a great friend from the province of Alberta, Canada. We both wished we were square dancing.......but, they have had three feet of snow since Friday up there.....BRRRRRR.....!!!!

And so....another day goes by. It has been a GREAT one.......with wonderful weather and a repaired RV for not one dollar, other than the gas bill up there and back!

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Guess???? THIS was a perfect....PERFECT Spring Day!!!

The aging, sagging hulk of me......seems to be struggling to remain in a horizontal position past 6:30AM any more.....?? Not sure why.....but, since the sun is up and shining, at least today, I really don't mind the early hour. I quietly left the bedroom in it's darkness, closing the door quietly, and then made my Fr. Roast coffee as the lappie got itself going and loading and ready for me to read the Sunday online papers.

I sat at the bar where I could look out the back wall of windows and enjoy the birds at the feeders....trying to gobble all the sunflower seeds down before the squirrels and the CATS discovered them at the feeder. At 8, I began my Sunday morning marathon of talking head per major network......and agreed and then disagreed with some of those heads on each show.

As soon as they were finished and I had taken care of my morning rituals, I headed out the door and into the trusty rake in my hand....ready to attack the yard and all of the hidden sticks, limbs, and twigs that were doing their best to not be seen my this sagging hulk. And so, the immense task began......raking up all of those hidden wooden villains into smaller piles so tha they would fit into the wheel barrow. Well........I worked until almost 5pm.....and I WON!!!! Yep.....the battle is finished.....and I have declared myself the VICTOR!!!! And.....those piles of everthing were soon consumed in a victory I danced around it with my rake in hand, making certain that none of those wooden villains escaped their fiery fate. And so....the end of the afternoon arrived, the victory dance completed, and their fiery fate sealed with smoke......

A glass of dark red medicine was body was needing it desperately as it was beginning to scream in protest from all of the "fighting with the rake" that I had done today!!!! And.....soon, I was feeling a bit better and decided to grill some burgers for supper tonight. The 1st Lady made a delicious slaw.....and the burgers were grilled as close to perfect as I have done for quite some time!!!! YUMMY!!!!!!

The day is growing dark......and in checking my emails, I found one from Charlie and Kathy who live in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada........friends that are from our winter in the RGV!!! WONDERFUL people who also love to square dance.........we sooo enjoy our times together that we are making plans to stop and see them this summer.......we can't wait!!!!

Tomorrow.....I am running up to Eureka outside of STL to pick up TheHowserHouse. Yep....she is ready to come home after her weekend away from this sagging hulk. New tires, new "lots of things".........and it is time...I have to wash her, massage her roof with conditioner, and then put some fresh make-up/wax on her skin so that she will shine and also repel any nasty little flying critters that always like to cling to the front of her, taking a free ride, but also.....meeting a timely death at the same time!! Ahhhhh, they are sooooo damn difficult to get off when they smash their guts against the front of the RV!!!!!

Hmmm.....later this week I will have to submit my sagging hulk to the mercy of the Dr's who will lay me down, administer some "memory blockers" in my bloodstream, and then take a "Fantastic Voyage" up my plumbing pipes to explore and see if there might be anything hiding up there that shouldn't be allowed to remain!!!!! I have been told that this "Fantastic Voyage" will not take more than 15 minutes......but, I'm not certain they realize just how long the journey might be for them.......heehee!!! Guess we'll all find out Thursday morning..........

Sooooooo, the muscles of this hulk are screaming loudly "You worked us too hard!!!". Sooo, I will bring this day's post to an end.....and let my body sag a bit more.....into a horizontal position, and enjoy the rest of the evening in front of the tellie!!! You know what????......of course, you do......and that is:

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More rain......what the hell did you expect???? A few other earthquakes.....years ago!!

Nasty....gloomy.....depressing......Misery!!!! Yep...another damn day of this miserable Misery might by now be wondering why we have our stick and brick here in this state???? know....I am beginning to wonder about the same thing!!!!!! And....the near future is not pleasant to think about........we will soon be through, very quickly, with Spring.....and then comes the horrific heat and humidity which will last until mid- to late-September......UGH!!!!!!
OK....enough depressing thoughts........

Today was all of the above in the first, I did some research online......working on a couple of projects and plans for perhaps....just perhaps, some more remodeling of the stick and brick. Because of keeping my mind occupied on these things......the day actually slipped away very, very quickly.

One other project kept me going for 2-3 hours as we seem to be having problems with our HP3301 All-In-One printer, fax, scanner, copier, etc., etc., etc. And that kept me busy checking out various troubleshooting solutions from the HP website......but, not certain that any one thing is going to work for us........we'll see!

While doing some of these online things today.........I began to think back to other times when I have experienced personally rocking around in other earthquakes........and my remembrances made this little shaker yesterday morning seem very minor.

The first time that can remember being in an earthquake was sometime in the summer or early fall of 1969. I had been in Japan on some temporary orders.....actually up in northern Japan at Misawa AFB.......and I was awaiting a commercial flight back to Seoul, Korea. Sitting in the first floor restaurant which had LARGE glass windows which looked out over the flight line runways......I was having a small breakfast and tea. Suddenly, is ALWAYS "suddenly"....the place began to shake...and then it became stronger and then even stronger....and the glass windows began to break and come crashing to the floor with glass flying everywhere....I could see the runways going up and down like ocean waves....and they then began to buckle from the heaving ground underneath the concrete. I made a quick fall to the floor and crawled under the table just as the tea cup turned over...........and then in what seemed like an eternity...the ground stopped moving and everything began to settle down.....broken windows, broken dishes, ceiling tiles on the tables and floor, and the restaurant completely ruined.

WOW.......what a shaker!!!! I now do not remember the strength of this quake, but it certainly was not a small one like yesterday's!!!!!! Obviously......I didn't fly out of there that day....or the next. Eventually, I caught another flight a few days later and returned to Korea.

About a half year later....I was then stationed in Okinawa....and was working the graveyard shift.....from midnight until 7-8am.......and while sitting there at my desk one night.....everything began shaking. This one....was more like yesterday's quake.....small, but surprising and a bit disturbing!

In 1983, the 1st Lady and our three children and myself spent the weeks during the summer driving up to Alaska, touring the state for four weeks and returning back to the lower 48.....a total of 8 weeks of travel covering 11,000 miles in a pick-up and slide-in camper. On our return trip, we took a LARGE ferry/ship across Prince William Sound......a 13 hour trip...which ended in Valdez, the large oil port. We spent the night there and then the next day toured the area and began to drive up the highway on the way to the Yukon Province border of Canada.

We decided to stay overnight in one of the many, many pull-off state camping areas...and as we drove into the park, a large sign stated to beware of the grizzly bears in the park!!! Well, as it was summer, it never gets can read a newspaper or go trout fishing at 3am and still see everything very clearly. Well, we went to bed.......and in the middle of the "night", the truck/camper began to shake and rock from side to side.....very violently!!!! I realized what was happening and the first thought I had was "were we underneath a cliff....or by a stream that might rise up"?????? I looked outside and saw the trees swaying from side to least making a 45 degree angle with the ground, rather than the normal 90 degree angle.

The 1st Lady woke up yelling....."It's a BEAR!!!!!" .......hahaha, as she thought a grizzly was on the truck/camper!!!!! Well, the canned goods and many other items began to fall out of their proper cabinets....and then it was over!!! Later that morning, we heard that it had been a 6.4 quake....and had been felt for hundreds and hundreds of miles from the epicenter.......VALDEZ, which was only 20 miles down the road from where we had spent the night!!! WHAT an experience it was for all of us!!!!!!!

Soooo, yesterday was not that big of a deal, other than we felt it shaking us here in the darkness of the night in southeast Missouri/Misery.........and I am certain it will not be our last one to be felt. It is a cool experience.......but that is only because we were never in any danger.....or had any of our property damaged......right???? They can....and are.....deadly, and those kind we do not want to experience, EVER!

A day has gone away.......and we have not really done very much, but just be retired and enjoying that part of our lives........however, .............

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday: Part 2.......

As far as I can tell, we have no damage from the 5.2 rattler this morning.....and that is what it did do to the stick and brick HowserHouse!! And......we didn't even feel the second quake shortly after 10 this morning.

Of course, this has been the topic of conversation all day around here. We had several phone calls concerning the quake.....just more or less excitement that this occurred here and.......say, not in California. Just one of those days that we will remember for a while........

The rains didn't begin until this afternoon.........and I don't know how much we received this afternoon, as we went to Cape and then to visit Mike for the afternoon. And.....that just about says it all for today..........nothing monumental to discuss.....just a little quake......and, sorry to say, that about wraps it up for today. Surely tomorrow will bring something more interesting???? I sure hope soooooooo..........but, nevertheless......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

A NEW way to be awakened!!!!

Yep.....I was awakened this morning in the wee hours.....and thought it might be a big wind storm for just a brief instance....the house was creaking and making weird noises in the night. I hear we experienced an earthquake, which registered at 5.2 on the earthquake scale....need more coffee to spell out the correct Richter(?) name. Hmmmm........this is an odd spring!!! No least my dark red medicine bottles are safe and sound laying on their sides in my wine rack....and no glasses fell, either....WHEW....that is a BIG relief!!! More later.....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yep.....Spring is HERE.....(at least, today).....

Am I not being optimistic enough about the season....which is almost a month old??? I guess I am just not confident I??? Well.......the rains are returning tomorrow and Saturday around this part of the state.......let's see how those temps hold up and then I will know whether or not that Spring has if that is the most important thing in my Life....huh??

After the alarm awakening me, I pulled myself up into a sitting position....and then wobbled my sagging hulk to the necessary room.....and jumped into a steaming hot shower attempting to jump start my day. After a quick cup of steaming hot French Roast.......I took care of a few items in the stick and brick and then moved to the outside to begin the final checking of TheHowserHouse and the truck before hitting the highway. I had planned my departure so that I, hopefully, would be on the highway on the other side of town by 8:30.........but, I needed to wait to leave the driveway until about that is when the local high school begins the first class. I have to get onto the busy highway that leads to the H.S.......and it is difficult enough to get the rig going on an incline and pull out onto the highway without having to worry about lots of high school traffic. plans materialized completely....and I was through town and onto the highway going to STL by 8:30. By the time I had passed through south STL and drove out to Eureka southwest of the city......I arrived right at 10AM........93 miles in 90 minutes. NOT toooooo bad for pulling TheHowserHouse up the highway!!!!

WOW....Byerly's service center was right on top of everything.....and greeted me warmly when I stepped inside. The entrance to the Service Center is marked nicely on the asphalt with lines and markings as to where to stop your rig for the service. Inside.....they were actually awaiting my they had an opening for this afternoon in one of the service bays, even though the 5er wasn't scheduled until tomorrow morning. Sooooo, I unhooked it from the truck.....and left the keys inside when I signed off on the work order. Both new tires have well as the new axles!!! will be ready for pickup on Monday morning........!!!! GREAT......I felt soooo sorry for TheHowserHouse as I drove just sat there on the asphalt looking sooooo lonesome among all of the other units that were sitting there.......and none of them actually knew any of the others.....all strangers within the enclosed fence!! Little did TheHowserHouse realize that it was going to have a complete transplant of two very, very important parts of it's body........

And so......driving away, I returned to STL...actually Fenton...and stopped at a new pick up a grande cappuccino........ummmmmm.....soooo damn good! After that, I drove back to the stick and brick.....and arrived back around 12:30pm.

The rest of the day was a bit more relaxing..........the 1st Lady returned around 4pm after being gone for almost a week visiting with her mother, as well as taking her to two Dr.'s appointments during the past couple of days.

A little later, my former piano student who is about to graduate from H.S......came over to discuss his senior year...and his plans for the future. Still undecided as to which of two universities he will attend........I am anxious to learn of his decision, a big decision for him!

And sooooo, another terribly fascinating day of my Life has quickly passed by........just an average day for me, other than leaving TheHowserHouse alone in the suburbs of STL. However.........I can say with enthusiasm that.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today.....Is is REALLY Spring??? Sure looks and feels like it!!!

WOW......what a gorgeous day it was today!!!! Can we stay this way here in it has been Missouri!!! Looks like rain is coming tomorrow evening and the following day....but that is to be expected here during the spring season.

Today....after a cup of French Roast coffee.....a quick look at my email and a brief glance at the online newspapers that I read daily......I finished taking the plants outside into the bright sunshine....and then I left for Cape Girardeau....and the LensCrafters shop in the mall. WELL......the highway between here and there is under construction, once again......part II of their plans to get the highway paved and widened. took me about 30 minutes longer than usual to make the drive down there.....we were stopped a couple of times for the construction efforts.

Anyway.....arriving there, I quickly went into the shop....and put on the sunglasses that they had made for me during the past week.....AND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.........the damned things were not made vision was fuzzy when looking through them!!!! Soooo, after several adjustments and "try-ons".....they decided that they had to be remade!!!! Oh well....each trip just counts for the 2008 IRS deductions..........

Then......I stopped at Starbucks for a cappuccino.....grande.....and began enjoying it immediately!!!! Leaving Starbucks......I went over to Sears to check on stainless steel refrigerators.....and looked over the three door models.....talking with a sales lady....asking questions, listening to her....and asking more questions. Sooooo, a decision on this purchase is just around the corner, so to speak. Next week??????

I did a bit of more hurried shopping....and took longer than I had anticipated doing.....and so by the time I returned to the stick and brick on Buford was later than I had planned for it to be! By the time I did return......I was not in the mood to work in the yard again today....and I will more than likely be upset with myself for not working in the yard.

Tonight.......after a light supper......I watched the debate and Tivo'd "American Idol"......However, I did flip channels at the end to see who was voted off of "Idol"....and I certainly agreed with the results!!!!! And sooooo, the evening has progressed and tomorrow........

Tomorrow I am off to Eureka, MO.....where I have to take "TheHowserHouse" for the replacement axles and new tires which Forest River's Cedar Creek Division is furnishing for me, along with the shop charges for installing all of that. I will have to leave it there for a few days....and then return to pick up next week.

Nova Scotia???? Well.....I checked online and found out that the diesel fuel prices there are $1.44 PER LITRE!!!!!! Now....that is rounded off....and it does depend which gas station is used, of course.....BUT........that makes the price of a gallon around......$5.76!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And....THAT price is in Canadian dollars!!!!!!!! Soooooo, thanks to the Bush Administration who wishes to make certain that the price of gas rises, since they are not doing one damned thing about trying to halt the rise in will be a few pennies more than $5.76 as of today.

Soooo, myself......I am beginning to re-think our summer journey to Nova Scotia.......which would most likely find us driving close to 6000 miles......and with towing the 5er at about 10-11 mpg......the costs are rising daily........THANKS to George and Dick!!!! Some intense discussions and some hard calculations are going to have to be made.....quickly!!!!! We will be going to Niagara Falls in Canada for the Canadian National Cedar Creek matter what the cost.

And so.....on that note of the unreal cost of gas........albeit depressing.......I still, and always will, firmly believe that............

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

OMG.....another Catch-Up entry.......

With the advent of short term memory loss.....I am going to either have to make notes each day....or stop being so damned lazy and write this every night!!

Yesterday......I was up bright and early....and then by 8:30 I was having coffee with a good friend, former band parent, member of the bd. of education, and a local insurance agent. We hadn't been able to find time to meet for a LONG time....and so we talked and visited for a LONG time yesterday morning at the local coffee shop. It was great to see him again!!!!

The afternoon......well, it was playing a waiting game.......waiting for the damned lawn to dry out so I could walk across it without sinking up to the top of my shoes!!!! didn't really dry out enough to let me work and clean up the yard...........

After dinner......Dave and Sue came over to check out Dancing With The Stars with the HD program on my plasma.....and it is really beautiful!!! Then we looked at some of our pictures of the trip to Egypt/Jordan.......connecting the lappie to the plasma tv in the wall. Sure makes the pictures stand out.......and it is great to see them again and revive those fun and incredible memories!!!!!!!


Up and going slower this morning.......I awoke with a bothersome headache....but after about an hour, some Fr. Roast coffee, and lots of water(I needed that!).....I was ready to spend some time in the yard. Sooooooooo, I raked...and I raked......and I raked.......limbs, twigs, leaves, junk, etc., etc. into small piles around the back yard. After lunch......I went to the burn pile and began to burn many of the dried grasses which the 1st Lady and I had cut down last week......and then I began to put the piles of crap into the wheel barrow and transported them to the burn pile....and before long they were all gone up in smoke.

By that time.....I decided it was 5 o'clock somewhere....and so I had a dose of my dark red medicine sitting on the patio and munching on some of those wonderful Tostidos With a Hint of Lime!!!!! WOW......I can't stay away from them.....sooooooo crisp and soooooo tasty!!!! Love them!! After a dose of the medicine, I decided to grill another steak....and so I put a potato into the convection oven.....and about an hour later I was dining on a perfectly grilled steak and a delicious potato!!!!!!

Tonight.......I am enjoying American Idol.....such incredible talent, especially by the guys!!! This has to be the best year of finalists that I have seen or remembered. it is the Dancing With the Stars......which is a bit corny, .....I like the competition from last night better than this!!!

And sooooo, two days have gone by....and you know what I haven't done yet?????? I have not reviewed my blog to see where I need to begin again on my Life Chapters.....and I do want to get back to that again. MUST DO!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow.....back to the yard....and then a trip to Cape G. to pick up my prescription sunglasses......again!!!!

OHHHHH......I finally got together with Doug Porter of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.......our great friends from the RGV with whom we square danced with, as well as traveled together when we left the Valley down in Texas!!! has been at least a week since we have talked...and we both have lots to catch-up to do....but, our conversation was interrupted as he had a client arriving for an appointment. He is what we here in the States call a CPA.......but, it is a different titled name in Canada. was great to visit for a few minutes!!!!!! Let's do it again, Doug!!!!

And so....another two days of my every shortening Life has come and gone....UGH!!!!! know I got to thinking about Osmosis.......and realize that is why things have started happening to me!!! Yep......once I put that Medicare Card into my wallet and into my body instantly knew it!! And so......that is why it started to act differently and give me a couple of minor problems........wouldn't you agree???????????????? Got to insulate that card a bit shell, my sagging hulk of me doesn't need to get any wild ideas now that I have that damned old age card!!!!! always.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Are we SURE this is the middle of April??????????

WOW.......this is the coldest I have been ALL winter!!!!!! think, it snowed BIG heavy flakes for a time today,.....not sticking on the ground, thank God!!! was sooooo damnp, sooooo chilly, soooooo gloomy and gray.........and yet, the grass IS green. Oh well......tomorrow,the sun is to shine, the temps will bounce back to the upper 50's, and tonight's HARD freeze will have thawed and hopefully, it will be the last time until November!!!!????

Today.......after my morning rituals, my French Roast coffee(which I had in my hand most of the morning), I enjoyed thoroughly the three major networks Sunday morning talking head shows. Then.......I made a list of things that we needed out at the Necessity Story (Wal-Mart) and made a trip out there.

Returning to the stick and brick on the hill, I just puttered around inside, watching a bit of the tellie, and finally catching the last of the Master's Golf Tournament.......only because with the plasma, the HD Master's was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Every blade of grass was visible....and it was a great show to watch.

This evening, I went out to the Hanner's to pick up my camera which I had left last week......had a glass of my dark red medicine....and then returned home. Soon after I arrived, the Hanner's walked in....they were checking on a small house across the street with the thought of purchasing it as an investment. Another glass of dark red medicine was needed and they needed some two....and then they were into the dark of the damp and chilly night.

And sooooo, another day in TheHowserHouse without the 1st Lady.....and it was very quiet, and even with ALL of the big windows which we have, it was still gloomy because of the ugly weather. Isn't it something how the weather can affect one's mental attitude?????? Hmmmm.......don't think I can take winter here in Misery any more! was a fast day......and, in fact....all of the days the past week have gone speeding by......UGH!!!!! Life is very fleeting......., but......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brrrrr.........guess it is time to go to the RGV again!!!!

OMG.....frost tonight, snow flurries tonight, and a hard freeze tomorrow night here on Buford Heights in F'town!!!! It is drizzling now...and I had to go outside and open the slides up on TheHowserHouse so that I could turn on the furnace/heat. Yep.....I will NOT winterize it least not in April. What happened to "global warming"???? Hmmmmm........

Today was a lost day for me......... I awoke with my throat really more sore than yesterday, so what did I do of interest???? HA......all I did was lounge around in my warm clothes and slippers.....did some reading, did some thinking, and did some tellie watching. that is my entire day........did you enjoy reading about my activities? Huh????

I actually thought about writing another chapter of my Life.....but, I became involved in some PBS HD shows this afternoon and.....well, the next thing I knew it was getting darker and the damp, cold darkness was here. Soooooo, for me.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!........And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Just finished watching an amazing MSNBC documentary!!!! I wondered aloud if I was back in the RGV!!! Yep....we had very strong winds....upwards of 40mph, JUST like in the RGV. Other than that....the temps were in the upper 50's and the sun was bright and cheery!!

Most of the morning was spent in getting a few things done so that the 1st Lady could leave for Monroe visit her mother for about a week. There were income taxes to check over and then sign....even though since we live in a county that was declared a disaster county because of the horrendous floods....we are allowed an extra month to get the tax forms finished and mailed. And then, with the dropping temps, she decided that she had to take some extra clothes....take some that were much heavier than those she had planned to take with her.

She left around noon......and made several stops along the way. We are shopping for a new stainless steel refrigerator...and so she spent time doing some shopping for one that would fit the space we have, but would also fit our needs. She called several times, but not sure she found exactly what she seems to be looking for........

Me????? I have been fighting the onset of a sore throat...and so, I sat outside on the patio until the winds became too strong and too cool, so back inside I went and just relaxed quite a bit.

Sooo, hasn't it been an interesting day for this evolving sagging hulk of me?? HA!!! You probably wonder what the hell I am actually talking about, aren't you?? Well.....there are days for all of us that just don't seem to have any direction to them......not direction for us, either. However.........what I have just experienced by watching the tellie has opened up many thoughts for me......and for any others who also had this marvelous opportunity to see this documentary.

What was this film???? "Meeting David Wilson"........a documentary about two David who is black and the other one who is white and who OWNED the family of the black David Wilson back in the 1800's!!!!! Let me encourage each one of you to find a copy of this documentary and the follow-up "A Conversation about Race" which is so thought-provoking......I find myself even questioning my thoughts and my feelings.........

I attended and graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO. At the time that I was about 85% black......and the four and a half years that I spent there was the most life-changing experience that I believe I have ever had. I believe I could write a book about the marvelous experiences that I had travels with the university band where I could be served in a restaurant but my fellow band members could not be served, my amazing experiences walking and carrying signs in the protests to integrate various facilities in Jefferson City......and yet, this documentary and follow-up has opened my mind to new thoughts and new ways of seeing this conversation about race.......

I could go on...and on....and on....and on about all of this....tonight's shows and the days and nights of my college education at a black university. I have soooooo much that I can discuss......soooo much that I can relate....... And you know......this is 2008.....and to think that we STILL have to have a conversation about race........after all of these hundreds of years.

I will simply close this for now.......and just once again strongly encourage and advise you to see these two incredible and disturbing shows that were on MSNBC this evening. They will make you uncomfortable.....but you really should see them!

Yes......even with the thoughts racing through my mind now.....

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

This entire evening is a MUST SEE for all grade levels in every school in this country.....public, private, and home-schooled students.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

WOW......we are almost surrounded by water below our hill.....

I was awakened around 4am......and realized that it was beginning to rain......and rain HARD!!!! And.....this continued on and off ALL day!!!!! Yep.....I do not know how many inches we received, but it WAS fact, they dismissed school right after lunch today, or at least they must have because the school bus stopped at our corner and let off the neighborhood kids around 1:40pm.....two hours earlier than normal.

At around 7pm, I drove down the hill.....but had to change course to another street as the entire park, soccer fields, ball fields, street, etc., etc was covered completely by the raging waters of the creek. Now......granted, it will go down just about as fast as it came up.......but, we did have one street that we could have descended the hill on had we needed to go somewhere. The waters had spread over a HUGE area.........looked like a large lake.

The 1st Lady had gone to Cape and to see Mike with Becky joining her for the morning.....and she returned around 4:30 this afternoon, not having any trouble with the high waters. I......I woke up with a headache.......and now have the beginnings of a sore throat. I spent several hours working and completing our income taxes for the Feds and the State.......however, I had to spend a LOT of time talking with my wonderful little lappie began locking up and wouldn't shut down.....and sometimes wouldn't come on!!!!! Several calls did get me professional help, but it just took sooooooo damn much time to do all of this.....right when I was in the middle of answering questions and doing some calculations on various figures.......DAMN!!!

Word has reached me that there is someone.....perhaps, more than "one".....who has had enough of reading about my on-going "plumbing problems"! Well.......SORRY about that, but I AM the one who has the problem and I AM the person who writes this blog and I AM the person who has to think about this everyday/night and I AM the person who worries myself about this and the possible cause of this "plumbing problem"at the ripe age of 65.......sooooo, I AM NOT going to apologize for the subject matter and topics of this daily rambling......which IS a journal of MY Life and one that I use to refer back to from time to time when needed!!!!!!!!

The 1st Lady is leaving in the morning to visit her mother in Monroe City for several days. She is taking her to a doctor's appt. next Tuesday...and then will return here to the stick and brick after that. Me.....I have several things to do.....finish the taxes and get them mailed off.....write a recommendation for a former student of mine.......need to find a compatible time to listen to a former piano student of mine who is playing at the Mo. State Music Festival later this month......and then wade through the mud to get the yard cleaned up from the winter weather of snow and ice and RAIN.

Last fall.......I began writing at various times......the "chapters" of my Life.....and soooo many comments/emails/replies about the little autobio of this sagging hulk of me. Soooo, I am hoping to continue this, beginning with the next chapter from where I left off. Now......When I do this, I will post the archived months and days where the earlier chapter are printed and so that you can review, or just simply begin to read from the beginning

Rains have let up......the cold...not is due in here this weekend with the lows below freezing...AND possible snow flurries!!!!! DAMN......take me back to the Rio Grande Valley!!!! all goes to make up our Life, like it or not.......sooooo, even with these weather fluctuations, I am quite certain that no matter what........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!........And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wed.'s Post.............

WOW.....WHAT a long day this has been!!!!! But......let's talk about yesterday and not get the "cart before the horse"......

Yesterday was a rather laid back day.........We had our morning coffee/tea......and the 1st Lady then began to do a bit of cleaning. I left a bit before noon and went to Farmington to get all 68 (I LOST one) of my hairs cut back. I have been looking like a long-haired flower child for a couple of weeks, if not more.....and so I just told the cutter lady to make it look good....and to do what she could with me, too. Soooo, then I went and had the oil changed in the Park Avenue......using that model name sure tells everyone how OLD our Buick is, doesn't it? They just don't make those models any more......DAMN IT!!!!

Returning home, the 1st Lady and I loaded the Turbo Tax....and began the dreaded afternoon of putting in the info that is needed to have the program figure out our taxes. Well......we got bogged down...and then after a couple of hours, we tried to go back to an earlier point and couldn't get there, so we just gave up. I will begin again tomorrow.........maybe.

Our good friends Sue and Dave Hanner and I talked and they asked us to come out for drinks and dinner.......and since we haven't seen them since right after we returned from Egypt and Jordan, we went out for the evening. AS ALWAYS.......a wonderful, wonderful dinner!!!! WOW.....that Sue can really cook! We had some dark red medicine to assist with the dinner......and lots and lots and lots of discussions about oh-soooo-many topics!!!!! Four months of not being together took it's toll....and we were at times ALL talking at once....and sometimes on four various topics......HAHAHAHA!!!!!

Soooooo, this morning the alarm went off at 5:30AM....Yep, THAT is early!!!! Crap....I never get used to getting up at that ungodly time of the day any more........used to do it all the time when I was teaching band, but alas.......Nevermore!!!! Soooo, it was a terrific struggle to become sagging, evolving hulk finding it very difficult to climb out of the bed and walk around to our bathroom. Performing the morning rituals with quite a bit of grogginess, I walked out of the bathroom very quietly, so as to not wake the 1st Lady.....and going into the family room where I had laid out my clothes for the day's trip.....I realized that I had left my watch in the bathroom!!!! Sooooo, I stumbled back into the very dark bedroom....and after feeling my way around the bed, I promptly ran right into the 1st Lady's bedside table and lamp!!!!!! SHIT.....and here I was attempting to be very, very quiet....and CRASH!!!!!! SHIT!!!! So, I just turned on the bathroom light, got my watch and left the bedroom, knowing that she was wide awake!!!! WHAT a way to begin this long day..........

After a cup of coffee and checking my watch, I put my briefcase and coffee and jacket in the car.....and headed to Eldon....200 miles northwest of here over hill and dale and flooded creeks. Arriving in 3.5 hours after stopping briefly at Panera Bread in Roll for a dry cappuccino and a wonderful almond pastry, I moved on up the highway......I stopped at the Amish Store and purchased four pounds of their incredible fresh cream butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is soooooooooo wonderful.....and so I purchased more than the last time, knowing how much I have wished that I had purchased lots of butter the last time I had been here.

Then I went to the cemetery to put out some fresh flowers on Michele's gravesite.......the grave of our 8 year old daughter who died quite suddenly in 1974. We try to keep seasonal flowers there year round.......she just loved little flowers when she was with us for those very few years.

Then back into town....and I met my sister at the bank........and we began the short process of closing out the final two bank accounts of our mother's......who passed away one year and one day ago....April 8, 2007. After that we went down a block to a new little cafe for lunch......where we promptly ran into three friends of friends. It was nice to see them and a surprise for all of us!!

We then parted......and I went north of town to visit a wonderful former student of mine who is now a wonderful young lady. OMG.......she, Chris Popejoy Hart, is undoubtedly the strongest person I believe I have ever known....... I wrote about here sometime back......she having been in a horrific car accident in which she lost her young daughter.....and almost lost her own life. She has had many surgeries......too many for me to remember.....over the past year....and is still unable to walk without the aid of a walker.....but, for the most part, she uses a wheel chair.

Yesterday she was elected to the Eldon Board of Education......and so we did talk school for quite some time. She, her husband Todd, and son Matthew live in a beautiful home in a gorgeous setting overlooking a large lake and some very green rolling hills. Chris has been a part of our family for many, many years.......she being the best friend of my niece and she was always at our family gatherings on Holidays, etc., etc. She is an amazing person..........simply amazing!!!! We have always been close friends, even as student-teacher.....and it was soooooo great to see her, to be able to spend some quality time with her and to talk about the tragedy that she has experienced. She remembers our deceased daughter....they were in the same grade school, Chris and the 1st Lady and myself all have a very tragic common bond!

After visiting a couple of hours, I returned to town and stopped by the best friend of my mother....Lois. We visited for almost an hour........and it was great to see her......another extended member of our family. was time to hit the road for the 200 miles back southeast to F'town. After a couple of stops.....I arrived home by 7:15pm.........and really rather tired. At least I beat the rains that are supposed to descend upon us once again.....UGH!!!!

And was a special day.......why??? Because of the wonderful two hours I spent with Chris one can be around her without coming away filled with amazement and awe at her inner strength and faith. You are an incredible young lady, Chris!!!!! The 1st Lady and I love you.....lots!

Yep.......she is living proof that.......

LIFE IS INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!!........And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I'll play catch-up tomorrow, Wednesday, evening...........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

SURPRISE!!!! Jay brings in a cake with candles for Dad's 65th!!!!!!

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The Saggin Hulk with his youngest son, Jay, on the 65th birthday in New Orleans

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UNEVEN wear on the inside of TheHowserHouse tire tread!!!!!!

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Shoes on TheHowserHouse being changed in Memphis last week!

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Granddaughters.......aren't they great??

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The Sagging Hulk enjoys Ava and Meghan at the stick/brick

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Meghan, displays her toothless grin!!!

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Monday.....and a beautiful day.....again!! Tomorrow??? Hmmmm.....

YEP......another gorgeous day....Spring in Missouri is always fleeting, so it IS important to enjoy each day in this season when that day is beautiful!! Tomorrow......hmmmmm, we have Flash Flood warnings with perhaps upwards of 2 inches to arrive upon our already very drenched, saturated, and muddy soil here in southeast Missouri. I still have to tiptoe across our lawn...going from one distinct patch of tough grass to another......just to keep from going deep down into the mud under the grasses.

This morning I was up VERY early......why?? Well, my aching/throbbing shoulder was just giving me fits all night long.....and so by 4am I decided to get out of the bedroom so that the 1st Lady could sleep a bit more peacefully......rather than lay next to me as I tossed and turned and groaned with the shoulder.

Soooo, I have been awake since 4 this morning........! UGH!!! I had an appt to meet my great friend, Goldie, at the local coffee shop at 8:30, so I was focused on that while having my own Fr. Roast coffee before going to the city center.

Having not written too much about the tire problems I had returning to Missouri from Tunica, MS last week.......long story short: Three of my tires were practically bald on the inside part of the tire tread left on the inside. I purchased two new ones to replace the two that were the worst....and then came on home. With discussions with other Cedar Creek owners across the country, I began to realize that the cause was most likely the axles under TheHowserHouse.........quite a few have had to be replaced on other CC rigs. Soooo, I took pictures of the tires........and,

Last night, after talking with the Cedar Creek RV Owners Club national President....I decided to write to the main individual at the Cedar Creek factory who manages the repairs and assists with problems that the owners might have. I explained the problem.......attached the pictures of the tires......and sent my phone number to Steve Hicks. Well.........this morning........

I had planned to call him after meeting Goldie for coffee, BUT.......while at the coffee shop my phone rang....and it was Steve Hicks!!!! Yep......he told me that Cedar Creek would REPLACE both axles, send me two new tires, and then REIMBURSE me for the $597.00 I spent last week on the two new tires I purchased in Memphis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW....WOW....WOW....WOW!!!!!!!!

WHAT a company!!!!!!!!! That replacement of the axles and tires and reimbursement is obviously many, many thousands of dollars....and, GET THIS: my warranty is no longer valid! But, as Cedar Creek has done with others who have had this same problem........all of this, including the shipping of the axles/tires/etc. and the installation of the axles will be taken care of by Cedar Creek!!!!! What does that say about the Cedar Creek Company??????? About the parent company....Forest River?????? It says that they do stand behind their products.....they place high value on their customers opinions and their relations with the public....AND on the customers safety!!!! I AM SOOOO IMPRESSED.......and, I am so glad to be a Cedar Creek owner!!!!! Many, many, many thanks to Steve Hicks and to Cedar Creek........!!!!!!!!

Soooo, after returning to our stick and brick, the 1st Lady was ecstatic about the phone call from Steve!!!! We have been flying high all day........

The rest of the day was spent doing some yard least where we could get to without sinking in the mud......and then this evening, the 1st Lady went to Farmington to meet some of her friends for dinner this evening.

Tomorrow....rain, as I said above. I had planned to run up to Eldon to close the final accounts of my deceased mother, but I have elected to wait until Wednesday hoping the rains will have disappeared by that time. The roads to Eldon from here.....200+ miles.... are all over hill and dale....and for the most part, only ragged two lane highways, so I will wait until Wed morning to run up there, take care of the necessary business and return to F'town that afternoon.

And so.......a beautiful day.......a day full of happiness from one phone call, saving us many, many, many dollars, and a day of thanks and gratitude for the decision by Cedar Creek/Forest River/Steve Hicks for replacing our malfunctioning axles on TheHowserHouse!!!!! And, of course.......there is no doubt that.....

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What a beautiful Spring day!! was almost nearly impossible to remain inside today.....the temps were in the middle 60's, a very, very light breeze, bright blue sky.....and LOTS of mud underneath my feet each time I stepped onto the lawn.

Where did the morning go to???? I played with Ava and Meghan.......assisting Meghan on the piano again....until she could play the melody and I played a duet with her by chording and jazzing up Mary with her Lamb.

Again was Grand Central Station with people dropping by to visit. Andy and Laura from the Edwardsville, IL area(Andy is a former student of mine and is now a high school band director) were in town so they stopped by for an hour or two, with a couple of glasses of my dark red medicine. With Dr. Jeni/Darrel and the girls still here, the 1st Lady had just set the food onto the table for a mid-afternoon dinner when Andrew and Laura I ate and talked with them.

They had not been gone very long when the doorbell rang....and it was Chuck, another former student and now a high school band director. More dark red medicine was shared....and we visite for a couple of hours....covering many topics during our talks!!!! It was great to see him again......

Sooooo, it was after 5pm before our stick and brick resumed it's normal quiet by that time everyone, including Dr. Jeni and family, had left and returned to their own stick and brick homes. I swept the hardwood floors, vacuumed the carpets, and generally put things back in place.

Sooooo, a very busy day here!!!!!! It is ALWAYS wonderful to see my former students......and even more so to learn how things are going with those who are now making their living in the field of music education and performance!!!! With 38 former students whose careers involve being in music education, music performance, music therapy, music business........I am really excited to learn of their successes in their chosen careers!!!!!!! THIS is what being an educator.....a band all about!!!!! Watching them succeed and enjoy their lives!!!

And so....another day goes by. Tomorrow I am meeting another former student, my former associate band director here at F'town........for coffee in the morning. We haven't been together for many months....tooooo many months....and I am really looking forward to seeing him again!!!!
Sooooo....after a wonderful day.......I know all toooooo well that.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

OH YEAH.....I AM alive and well!!!! what happened to this evolving, aging sagging hulk of me yesterday that I didn't get a post made last night??????? We had waited most of the day for our expected visitors to arrive.......and then late in the afternoon, we received a call that they wouldn't be here!!!! thoughts at the time were not very kind, but whatever....Life goes on, doesn't it?

However, about 11pm last night Dr. Jeni and Darrel, Meghan and Ava did come down from their Estate in Franklin County......and the 1st Lady was ecstatic to see the two granddaughters once again!!!! It had been over three months since we had been together.....and she was really needing this granddaughter fix. We had seen our other granddaughter over Easter weekend in New Orleans....and then again early yesterday afternoon when we attended a small ceremony at her elementary school in Cape G. where she received a cute little award for her work in the classroom!!! Soooo, last night...after we got the girls to bed, we sat up and talked for quite some time....until it was really quite late.......

Today.....two little girls running rampant through the stick and brick and having a wonderful time with the openness of our home........lots of room to play and enjoy! All day long we had people dropping in unexpectedly......many to see Dr. Jeni and Darrel.....and even his parents who live in Branson were in the area on business and they stopped in for an hour or so to visit. At one time......we had a great Happy Hour on the patio in the back of the stick/brick....with 12 people here having a great time visiting and enjoying drinks and snacks.

Later....I grilled some steaks, the 1st Lady did the baked potatoes and green beans....and soon we were enjoying a great meal together as the sun set behind our patio room where we have the dining table......most of the wall is glass and overlooks the patio and back lawn(????). More like a mud yard with some brave tufts of grass penetrating through the muck!!!

And sooooo,......a wonderful day......and I taught Meghan to play Mary Had a Little rote. My grand piano will soon be hers to take home with her......I just have to make the decision that I am completely ready to let her take has been a part of my Life and an extension of my soul for 25 years or more......and it is not an easy decision for me to make..........................but,...

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

AHHHH.....we ARE back in Misery(MO.)!!!!!

Gloom, chilly damp temps, drizzle, misty, and now RAIN, RAIN, RAIN with a low of 42 tonight. DAMN......why the Hell are we back here in Misery????????????????????? I have not yet been able to walk across my "lawn"....or should I say the field of MUD???? And.....we remain under a Flash Flood WARNING for the night and into tomorrow morning......however, our stick and brick is high on a hill and cannot be touched by a flood.

Today.......when we returned day before yesterday, our car would not start....a DOA for the battery. So, I did get it started by jumping it from the truck....took to our auto repair shop and had them install a new battery.......all of this taking a bit of the day's time.

We did finish up in getting the stick and brick up and going full force.......cleaned, dusted, etc., etc. and the day disappeared. We are expecting some visitors....and so this was necessary not only for us but for any visitors we will have.

UPDATE: My plumbing personal problems are currently NOT a problem. Of course, I constantly think about Easter weekend when my problems were not there going into that weekend and then all hell broke loose and the gates of the dam shut they had the 1st of March. Sooooo, who knows???? I am happy in that I have now slept for three nights straight through without having to get up in the middle of the night from 1-3 times each night......WOW!!!

And day flew by in the gloomy weather......and it will most likely remain that way tomorrow, also. Oh creative juices are not flowing through my fingers tonight.......everything is a bit dreary here.....and not much excitement or wonderful restaurants or any square dancing around this part of Misery. Do I miss the RGV????? HA....what the hell do you think?????????????? know as well as I know that Life is too short to be complaining.....right???? And always, no matter how miserable the weather is here in Misery.....

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A cool, but great day......just not very warm here!!!

Well, I was out of the bed early this morning as I had to drive to Festus for my urologist appointment. I also had to be "full" of liquids for a test they were to run on me, soooo for the 55 minutes it took me to drive up there.....I consumed four bottles of water....and by the time I got into the office, I was about to burst. But.....the test went well.....and......after more prodding and feeling, the Dr. decided to make a change of meds.....and I will now be on a prostate shrinking medication....which is supposed to take 3-6 months to begin to work.....

I also have to have a procedure......and thankfully, they will put me into la-la land for this procedure. He just wants to go up and look inside me......hmmmmmm......wonder what it looks like in there????? Doubt I will ever know......hahah!

Drove home and was drinking a cup of steaming French Roast coffee by 10:15.......and then we began the day long task of moving things out of TheHowserHouse and back into the stick and brick. Then....we spent some time getting the stick/brick opened up and functioning once again since it has been closed up for three months. We are about to get our lives going again here on Buford Heights.......and just in time for another round of several inches of rain that has been predicted.

Let's see.......did anything exciting occur today???? Nope......just got it all cleaned out.....and then closed the slides before the rains and wind come. Made a list of things that need to be done or fixed before we leave again in just two months........

And so.....a rather boring day for anyone that was not here today......not too much news to put out there in cyberspace. I have some thoughts to express.....but, not tonight. Anyway......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Day 94: Back in the stick and TheHowserHouse sits quietly in the driveway

RAIN....RAIN.....and more rain arrived at the Sam's Town RV Park during the night.....and when I got up, the ground was saturated and the water was standing on the ground. I began to get things ready with TheHowserHouse to travel northward....and then!!!!! I noticed one tire that was almost bald on the inside of the looked really dangerous!! So, then I checked the other tires and OMG....another one was just as bad.

Sooooo, I got the yellow pages from the Park Office....and found a Goodyear shop just off of I-55 at the state line in Memphis.....and calling them brought good results. They could get two tires within the hour....and so.....we hurridly finished storing the things inside and out.....and were soon on our way...about 35 miles from where we were at Sam's Town.

Within 1.5 hours, the new tires were installed......and I kept the old tires to do some checking with Cedar Creek about what happened to them. Goodyear had been called by the shop I was buying from.....and the company did not think what happened should have happened to the tires in less than 9000 miles of road travel!!!! Soooo.......when I can get a moment......

We arrived home around 3:30 this afternoon.....and quickly began to unload things into the stick and brick. However, we couldn't begin to finish.....and just decided to call a halt to this task until tomorrow.

I have my urologist's appointment in Arnold tomorrow at 8:30am. Anxious to get this done....and hopefully begin the process of learning about my plumbing problems.......

And so,........enough tonight. We are at home......about 7000 miles driven during the three months of wintering in Texas and the 10 day visit to New Orleans. Simply.......a wonderful, wonderful three months in sunny Texas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW.......!!!!! Can't wait until next year..........soooo many new friends were made and it will be great to see them again!!!!

What more can be said?????????

LIFE IS INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! (Remember: Life is toooo short to stay in one place!)

Day 93: A catch-up post after no internet on Monday....

Monday’s Post…….

Hmmmm…….the damn alarm went off at 6am….and so I struggled valiantly to put my sagging hulk into a vertical, or at least a semi-vertical , position. Yep….no one to blame for the “damn alarm” except myself… I had set it last night. So, I took my shower, completed the morning rituals….made the coffee, and then began the varied tasks of getting TheHowserHouse ready for moving up the road(s).

I woke Jay….and then about 6:45 I got the 1st Lady up…..and after doing the dumping of the holding tanks, putting away everything that had to be stored that is inside TheHowserHouse, and then checking AND re-checking everything, we were ready to pull out of our site by 7:35am…..and we were out of the KOA by 7:44.…and after about three miles of stop lights, we were on I-10 and heading northwest, changing to I-55 and then went north towards Mississippi.

A fuel stop was made in Mississippi, a lunch break was enjoyed at noon in a highway rest area, and then we were turning off of I-55 about 1:30pm and going west toward the Tunica Casinos. Well….then the frustrations began as the roads have changed, they are not…repeat NOT…marked correctly and instead of 25 miles, we went almost 50 miles because of bad detour markings and no…absolutely NO place to make a U-turn, even without TheHowserHouse behind us.

Soooo, it was about 3pm before I finally got to Sam’s Town Casino-Hotel-RV Park. Luckily, they did have a very few unreserved sites and so we got one. After setting up, hooking up the umbilical cords, and then taking a needed rest to kick back and do nothing, we discussed the evening ahead of us.

Oh yeah……the phone calls have been coming in all day long…..with wonderful “Happy ‘Birthday” wishes!!!!! THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU who called and/or emailed cards, well wishes, etc., etc., etc. MUCHO APPRECIATED!!!!!! At the present time I cannot get online……Sam’s Town Wifi doesn’t reach out from the hotel far enough to allow me to use it in the RV Park.

Sooooo, we cleaned up from the 400 mile trip….and then re-fueled for tomorrow’s trip on to F’town in the present state of Misery….again, only this time is drenching, drenching rains….DAMN!!! After getting the fuel, we went back to the Hotel/Casino….and had a really nice dinner at the Grand Buffet. Surprisingly, it was better than average buffet food and we really enjoyed it. Maybe we were hungry????

Then we gravitated into the Casino….and the 1st Lady gave me $20 since it was my 65th to use tonight. I do NOT enjoy losing any money at a casino……therefore, I do not ever put more than $20 into the games…and then I walk away!!!! Yep……never have enjoyed it, never will!!!! Only once did I ever win anything interesting and that was back in the late summer of 2000 in the Beau Revage(sp?) in Biloxi…….winning $1280.00 on a $1.00 pull of the slot machine arm. Tonight……well, I had put in less then $10 when I won $50!!!! And then, I won another $11.….and finally left the Casino with a profit of $70. OK……that will probably be it for several years….haha. At least it happened on my 65th!

We will depart here tomorrow around 8am…….and it is not really very far….so we should be home early afternoon, depending on the weather fronts that are heading our way. It has been a good day……not a difficult drive as the Mississippi roads are wonderful………….and with the cash in the pocket and the plumbing in good shape today……

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!….And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!