Sunday, November 30, 2008

Max is quite a lapful for Ava!!

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Grammy with the four little ones...

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1st Lady and I with our four grandchildren....

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Sunday: YUKKY weather!! Frustrating afternoon....

WOW.....did I ever sleep last night!!!! Sure that is interesting to all of you readers....haha!! But, we did have some things that had to be done this morning..........Rachel had to get home to Cape and the 1st Lady was going to take her down there, do a bit of shopping, and then go visit Mike.

Dr. Jeni and Darrel, and the three little ones all left last night around 11pm....UGH. BUT, it is easier to drive when the kids are all sleeping in their Suburban. Sooooo, it was just the 1st Lady, Rachel and I here at the stick/brick this morning.

After they left for Cape, I did some straightening inside....and then the cold rains began to turn into snow showers.....but, thank God, it melted as it hit the ground. Shortly after lunch, the "Tech Specialist" called me and said he would be here to check on the DirecTV blurry problems within a half hour.

And, he WAS on time, to say the least. Sooo, after explaining the problem(s) to him.....and for the umpteenth time to the service people of DirecTV........he began checking out everything that he could find. He went out side in the nasty weather,"looked" up on the roof, and checked the cable entrances into the stick/brick. After about 45 minutes.......he, too, gave up! Calling the DirecTV office.....somewhere???......he told them that a Tech Specialist MUST come here, as there is really a problem with the blurriness on each tv. Seems that he was NOT a T.Specialist, but just a service guy. He emphasized on the phone that there is definitely a problem........
Soooo, once again, we will have a DirecTV person here ....this time on Tuesday!!!! You know......I do believe I will be blind before this problem is resolved!!!!!!!

I did some laundry, had a very late lunch, and then just relaxed. The Amazing Race was soon on........and the final three couples that are in the finals next week have really been a surprise to me. Just didn't think that two of the three would ever make it........

Nasty weather day.......frustrating afternoon with nothing resolved concerning our satellite problems..........but, it has been a really good four day Holiday at TheHowserHouse......and, as always.....

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Betsy and Andy Matthews

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A LONG day which began very early!

WOW....the alarm sure went off early this morning....4:15AM!!! And, by 5AM I was driving north to take Jeremy and Anne-Marie to the STL airport to catch their flight to Atlanta......a flight that left at 7:30, which meant that they had to check in by 6:30Am.

The first surprise of the day came as I head west to get on Hwy 67 north.....and I couldn't figure out why there was soooooo much traffice at 5am....and then realized when I reached the only stoplight in town, that EVERYONE was going to WALMART for the early morning sales!!!!! Looking over to the store, I could see the parking lot was completely full!! WOW......for some reason I just cannot imagine that our tiny little mini-Supermart could have had THAT many bargains before the sun was even beginning to brighten the eastern sky. CRAZY!!!!!!!!!

By 6:30, I was letting them out in at the entrance to the Delta Airlines tickets counters.......and I was soon on the highway heading south. After one brief stop in Festus at the Panera Bread to get a pastry.....well, I got two of those delicious things......I arrived back at TheHowserHouse at 8:15......feeling like I had been up for hours and hours......instead of only four hours.

The rest of the day just flew by with a house full of grandchildren.....running and playing and having a great time. Becky and her brother, Brian, left for STL before I had returned from STL so I didn't get to see them today. During the afternoon I feel asleep on the sofa in the den and slept soundly for two hours......

After dinner, Dr. Jeni, Darrel and children went out to see their friends......and I enjoyed a visit from two former band students and friends......Andy and Betsy Matthews of north Chicago. It was really super to see them......having not been together for many years......and we had sooooo much catching up to do, as well as discussing soooooo many others who we all knew or who we wondered about. We really must do this more frequently!!!!! I really enjoyed the evening....and hope they can return again soon.

And sooooo, another day disappears in my Life......always wonder how many are left????!!! My tech problems are not solved yet.......hopefully Sunday afternoon?????? But......not matter always....

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little vino and some appetizers to help with the wait for dinner to be served

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The preparations become furious......

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Becky and her brother Brian arrive.....

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Rachel and Meghan serve themselves

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Dinner is served.......very informal is the best!

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MUST have been something in the Turkey!!!????

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Anne-Marie, the 1st Ladyu, and Dr. Jeni

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Jay and Anne-Marie

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Meghan and Rachel........Meghan, Ava, "Uncle Jay" and Rachel

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TURKEY DAY.........

The Typical Turkey Day here at TheHowserHouse stick/brick........shouts of grandchildren vibrating throughout the house, smells of many various food dishes, the turkey roasting in the oven, and phone calls coming in from across the country. Whew........not a place for quiet here, but then if it was, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving!! And.....all of the fun, food, family would not be the same without the usual frivolity......

Late this morning the doorbell rang.....and there stood Nick former student who is doing such a super job of advancing in the trumpet performance world!!!! A grad student in trumpet performance at Western Michigan University, he has been offered a full scholarship with benefits to begin his studies for his Doctor of Musical Arts at Michigan State University next fall!! QUITE an accomplishment!!!!!! Sooooo proud of him......and he has worked so hard, even though he has a natural gift for the trumpet......and he deserves every award and accolade that he receives!!!

And soooo, it is impossible by this time of the Turkey Day to walk through our stick and brick without slipping and falling on the many varied toys, book, etc, etc., scattered throughout the house. BUT....they ARE having fun!!!

Tonight will be a short sleeping one: I have to leave no later that 5am in the morning to take Jay and Anne-Marie to catch their flight to Atlanta in the morning so he can return to the campaign office there. A short break for him it has been....but enjoyable for all of us. sure was a good day...and as always....

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday: A very, very BUSY day!!

After no morning rituals, I was up and on the phone at 7:30 this morning to talk with the installer about the cable that he make sure it was all brand new. He assured me that it was new......and so at 8, I called Directv. With was a lengthy conversation, as I talked with three different service people......and then was assigned to a "Case Manager". She called me about two hours later, and once again I explained the problem . Long story short......Directv is sending out a "Tech Supervisor" on SUNDAY afternoon to check out the system, etc., etc. Hmmmm.....why do I not feel good about a positive resolution????

This morning I also ran out to the home of Dave and Sue Hanner to look at their HD tv and to compare picture quality with ours.........and the one they have is mucho better than ours!!!! OK....there has to be something wrong here......

The rest of the morning was spent in preparing for a house full of, etc., etc. Then this afternoon I left at 3pm to run up to STL to the airport to pick up Jeremy and Anne-Marie, their plane arriving at 6pm. unusual that there were not very many people in the airport at all.....and this is supposed to be the heaviest travel day of the year!!!!! I have seen lots more people in the terminal on a normal day than this evening!!!! Really unusual!!!

We drove on back to F'town, picking up something to eat in Farmington before arriving at the stick and brick, which was already jumping as Dr. Jeni and Darrel with Meghan, Ava, and Max had already arrived. On the way home, Jeremy relayed a few stories about his experience being with former Pres. Bill Clinton last week in Atlanta. Clinton had flown from Dubai to Atlanta to give a speech or two for Jeremy's new candidate, Jim Martin, who is in the run-off for the US Senator from Georgia. Jeremy and Clinton really got along great he was saying........and he was sooooo impressed with him as he sat one on one with him as Jeremy gave him a briefing on the campaign status.

And sooooo, a busy day........however, as always.....

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TUESDAY: Continued Tech Problems....!

A great day outside.....WOW!!!! Chilly but sunny without any actual wind....wish I could have been outside......enough said!

OK....after the morning rituals, the dark and rich French Roast coffee I began the wait for the "tech man" to arrive DirecTV......supposed to be between 8am and 12noon. Ok.....around 8:45, DirecTV called me and said the tech service guy would be there late this morning. Soooo, I kept waiting....and then around 9:30, "he" called and said it would be around noon before he would be here.

Needing some propane refilled in one of my bottles in TheHowserHouse on-wheels, I took the bottle out, went to the propane office and had it refilled, forgetting to take a checkbook since they do not accept credit cards(small town and a bit regressive). Nevertheless, it is filled and I will return tomorrow with the check for them.....

Back at the stick and brick, I continued the wait........and continued the wait......and continued.....and finally, about 1pm, he arrived. A nice guy......but after tackling my problem for a bit over two hours, trying different things including installing a complete new HD/DVR receiver, nothing could solve the problem of the non-HD channels being sooooo blurry, like looking through goggles under water in a pool or lake. Eventually, he just said there was nothing he knew to do.....????? I STILL HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM!!!!

Tomorrow, down to Heartland Satellite and talk with them about the cables being used. This evening I got online to our RV forums....RV.NET and the Cedar Creek RV Owners Club.....and received about twenty suggestions/thoughts/ideas/etc. Several suggested that the cables that enter the house from outside need to be changed......??? Not knowing anything....please remember I'm the first person to say that I am technologically challenged.......I will try to talk my way through this problem at Heartland Satellite, explaining what I had sent to me online this evening............ Hmmmmm.......what a situation this is........but, as my luck as gone this past few days/weeks.......I shouldn't be surprised, should I?????

The 1st Lady returned this afternoon.........LOVED the new fridge and how it makes the kitchen look so "all together".......and then try to wade through everything that has happened with the satellite problems. And, like me......she couldn't wade through without drowning!

Tomorrow.....the stick and brick will begin to fill up with immediate family members. I have to go to STL to pick up Jeremy/Jay and Anne-Marie(of Mobile, Alabama), being there by 6pm when their plane arrives from Atlanta. I learned today that their flight back to Atlanta LEAVES at 7:30AM Friday.......UGH!!!! THAT will be an EARLY, EARLY run into the city, still overloaded with turkey and trimmings! Dr. Jeni/Darrel, and Meghan, Ava, and Max will arrive after dinner tomorrow evening, and then on Thursday Becky, Rachel, and Brian from Cape G. will arrive in time for a mid-afternoon dinner. We will be using TheHowserHouse for extra sleeping areas......the reason for the propane refill today!

And soooo, another frustrating day.......and still not solution. ANYONE have ANY ideas???????
However,.........there are many who would love to just have these type of problems instead of the problems of just their day to day living, sooooooo for me....I do know that.......

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kitchen remodeling is FINALLY completed!!!

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New fridge; ss reflecting lights

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Monday: Clouds, sun, damp, and blustery winds all day long... was a varied weather day.....guess that makes it more interesting, huh?? I was up fairly early as I had been told that our new stainless steel fridge would be delivered, set up, and the old moved sometime this morning. what the hell does that mean, I thought last night as I put myself into a very comfortable horizontal layout. Soooo, not knowing I set the alarm........and.......

I was up at 7am.....morning rituals completed.....and some freshly ground French Roast coffee to start off my day. Aching for some bright sunshine, I opened up all of the drapes and then even turned on some lights.....I needed that!!! And, 8 I began calling answer. I called at that time because I did the same thing on Saturday....and someone answered at that time. By shortly after nine, I reached someone and...Yes, it would be delivered this morning.

Sooooo, I asked if they would call me as to when they were leaving I DID have lots of things to move out of the old fridge and store on the countertops in the kitchen.....and hope that the frozen items stayed frozen. Finally, at around 11:30...the two deliverers/installers arrived.....and immediately went to work. The house front door had to be taken off the hinges....and after two hours, everything was complete and the truck drove down the street. Hurrying I began to move everything back into the new fridge, filling the bottom drawer freezer first. It looks really nice and certainly does have LOTS more room than the old one which is now living nicely in the garage for any "overflow" of food that needs to be kept cool.

I am still depressed, pissed, and totally at a loss to understand why the picture on BOTH tellies is sooooooo shitty!!!!! The only good pic is on the HD channels....and the rest remind me of YEARS ago when everything was slightly blurry like it must look like when a person has cataracts!! HORRIBLE!!! I am very anxious for the technician from Direct to arrive in the morning........I have seen tons of tellies that are using Direct and none....NONE....have such a shitty picture. There HAS to be something not installed correctly.......HAS TO BE!!! And....if he cannot get a good clear picture when not watching the HD channels.....than this damn thing can be un-installed and my Charter cable re-installed.

The 1st Lady is returning tomorrow morning.......she will have been gone for 10 days...and now she has to get her rear in gear to get ready for Turkey Day and the traditional dinner. Our son, Jeremy.....he called this afternoon and said he and Anne-Marie are flying into STL late on Wednesday afternoon and will have to fly back on Friday Atlanta. Just coming up for Turkey Day and the dinner.......and that is GREAT!!!!!

AND....the good news is that my name is on the list to get a ticket for the swearing in ceremonies of the Inaugural!!!! Now....just keep hoping it all works out so that I can get a close-up(??) viewpoint. A couple of more things that I must complete.....and that is the decision to either rent a car and drive from Philly to D.C. area, or to just come down on the train. Leaning to doing the what the hell do I do with a car....can't drive it into the city with upwards of 4 MILLION people expected, but then the Metro will be packed also. Perhaps I should just stay downtown when I arrive on the train and just "camp" on the streets until morning......but then what the hell do I do with my carry-on I will have to go through security to get anywhere near all of the Inaugural events. Problems....problems!!!

Ahhhhh......another day........and that makes one less day of my life to hang out here! But, you know.......even with all of the problems of technology that I have been "enjoying".......

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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SAT/SUN: Two days.....each very different!

Yesterday, Saturday, it was a very dark gray day here and I could tell from the minute I pulled my sagging hulk out of the horizontal position, fighting the gravity the whole time, I knew that my throat was going to scream at me...very loudly.

It was very sore.....seems to have been nasal drainage, but that is rather unusual for me. But....not for yesterday. Soooo, I found myself just sort of laying around, reading some online newspapers, playing Free Cell on the pc, and then making a quick trip to the magnificent Mini-SuperWalmart....(I'm being sarcastic). And then.....I just watched some programs on the tellie, read some more.....and became a couch potato/sagging bum.

Today....a gorgeous day...and no throat problems????!!!!! Curious, but I won't complain. Soooo, after watching my morning talking heads shows, I went out and began to mow and mulch the millions and millions of leaves in the yard. The mower I have had really does a great job of mulching the leaves, but I find that I have to mow slower to make sure they are properly mulched....hmmm, I wonder just what a "properly mulched" leaf looks like???

I was nicely interrupted by the visit of Andrew Gipson and we enjoyed a cup of left-over French Roast coffee from the warmer.....and some great conversation. No deer from either day of hunting, but he had a great time though with family and the outdoors....different than the band room he normally finds himself in each day with many kids.

After he left, I finished the lawn/leaves.....and was back inside by the sun was already gone, covered by some more gray clouds. After a brief rest........I fixed some polish sausage and sauerkraut, one of my long-time favorites. was soooooo good!!!

Early evening and I began to watch some of the tellie.....and OMG, I watched 60 Minutes on CBS.....and OMG, OMG!!!! There was a long story on this incredible, amazing teenager who is blind, but is a musical savant.....and THAT is an understatement!!!! All I can if you didn't get to see this program......then find it online at the CBS website and watch it........I am still just overwhelmed by it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm still upset with Directv......when it is not on an HD program on the plasma, then it is blurry and not clear and distinct. No, it shouldn't look like the HD programs, but it should look very good.......and it is just not good at all!!! On HD, it is very good....not sure it is as good as with Charter cable.....but it is sooooo much better than the regular tv programs that are not on HD.

Now.....the HD DVR is wonderful. It does such a super job of recording the programs just like they look on the live HD shows......and it is soooooo much better than our TIVO!!!!!!!!! UGH, UGH....what to do. Guess I will wait until Tuesday when the Directv technician arrives and then if he can't make some adjustments, we will probably return to Charter Cable TV.

And, tomorrow....time unknown.....our new ss fridge is to arrive. Guess I will call when the store opens in the morning so I will know when to take everything out of the old one, but not too soon as don't want things to warm up very much......especially in the freezer section.

WHEW.....these last few days have been stressful,.....actually that may be an understatement!!! And, there are still a couple of more to come......, not to mention starting to make some adjustments/changes with our cell service/phones. OMG.......all of these marvelous technological advances and equipment can certainly make Life more complex when they don't operate as they should......Are we really better off with all of these things??????? Hmmmm......I really do wonder......

I am watching the History Channel in HD.....and it is truly beautiful. Now, if only the non HD channels would be the somewhere close theses!!!

Ok......a stressful day or two, or three.....but you know, things could be soooo damn much worse!!!! I could be without a job....well shit, I AM without a job, aren't I? OK.....I could be without a house.....soooo, things could be worse....a LOT worse......I could be suffering like many, many are at this moment with no income, housing in jeopardy, no medical insurance,.....tons of things that I take for granted....soooo, you know........I am certain that for me.........

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday: OMG.....what a hellish day!!!!

Where to begin? But first....a thought to ponder for me, and you: Am I getting to old to handle a bit of stress, of things not going as easily as planned, or as I thought they would?? Too Old????

Ok.....awakening around 6:30 I knew that I had a full plate for today and that I would be exceedingly lucky if everything would merge and come together as I wanted them to do. after the morning rituals, after a couple of cups of French Roast coffee(do you really think I would use any other kind??), I began to read my emails and a couple of newspapers when the phone rang and I was asked if I could go ahead and have the installer for the satellite tv come a bit early. Of course....why not? So, in less than three minutes, he was here.....a young man in his late 20's...that's a guesstimate.....and so I showed him around the house, where the two tellies were located, how to access the snake pit full of cables/cords/etc in the cabinet inside the garage behind my built-in-to-the-wall plasma and the recessed pidgeon squares for the receivers and cable boxes....and where the Charter cable wires came into the house. And then I left him to "go at it".

About that time, Dave Hanner came over to work with me to move the section of cabinets in the kitchen up one inch so that we can get the new refrig into place on Monday when it is delievered....I HOPE!! Well, we began.....and very, very quickly discovered that neither one of us could individually hold up that cabinet while the other one unscrewed and re-screwed the screws out and into the wall. Sooo, we decided to move the old fridge out of the way, but discovered we had nothing of substance to protect the new hardwood floor in the kitchen.

We began to slowly roll it out....and thought it was going well. Getting it out of the way and as far away as the fresh water plastic tube for the ice machine would allow, we then noticed that the rolling wheels/casters had left some very obvious marks on the new floor......DAMN, DAMN!!!

Then we found out we needed more Dave called his brother who lives about a block down my street and within 10 minutes he was Danny-to-the-rescue. And so, after about an hour and a half with the three of us.......we had the cabinet taken off the wall, moved upward one inch and then re-attached to the wall. UGH!!! Danny then went back down to his house to get some cardboard pieces and we then moved the fridge back into his proper place for a couple more days. But......the floor,....well, I suppose we will get used to the marred places.....not any cuts or deep scratches....just more like a messed up finish on the wood......we have no stain, just a clear coat over the sanded wood. Oh well..........

Well, the two brothers left.....and then the satellite installer was still working....and after four hours he finally finished. He got it going, called it in to the office of DirectTV, and then moved on out and on to another project. was time to play with it..........

I worked with the color, the sharpness, the contrast, etc., etc.......and each time I would return to the HD channels, I became more frustrated with the not-so-clear picture......NOT to mention the non-HD channels. In fact.......I became almost ill at what I was seeing on not only the plasma, but it was even worse on the regular non-HD tellie in the den. There was NO clarity on either tv.....and the it was so bad that on some of the scrolling/rolling words and letters they looked just smudged!!!! No definition at fact, the tellie in the RV using only the antenna looked better than they did!

Well.....still had not had lunch......and it was 3pm....and soon Mike Goldsmith arrived for a discussion on piano performance,......and I dug out some old music that I have, and he selected a piece to work on for an audition/interview that he has coming up in the next couple of weeks. We also some coffee.....and discussed many of the topics of the day, PLUS he checked out the picture on each of the tellies and agreed 100% that SOMETHING was not right!!

After he left......around 4:45pm, I called Heartland Satellite here in F'town where I made the arrangements for the installation........I complained rather strongly...and the owner/operator said he would by and check it out. About 5:30.....still had not had lunch......he arrived and looked at both of the tellies.....and didn't see anything that looked bad to him......or at least, so he said......and told me that that is the way his looks. Well......I just quite frankly told him that I felt sorry for him that he had to watch a tv with a picture like that!!! I told him that I would rather have my Charter with only about 5 HD stations than to have to watch this foggy picture either one of my tv's. Sooooo, he said he would call Direct....and then get back with me. I told him that unless something could be done, they could just come and un-stall it, re-install the Charter receivers and cables, and take the Direct equipment in the morning!

Around 6pm, he called and told me that I would have to cancel with Direct...that he couldn't do it. Soooo, I called Direct, complained and told them to come and get all of the equipment. Then......the man I was talking with said perhaps that I needed a Direct technician to come out and check it out first! After some frank discussion, I said OK.....but I would not pay one cent for the service, nor for not having the equipment removed they could not send someone until Tuesday. I did get his employee number and told him that there had better not be any charges for these three days until they could get here.....and he assured me I would not be charged anything, even though the original 24 hours would have expired. DAMN!!!!

Soooo, that conversation was not even finished when the doorbell rang and it was my former student and very, very good friend, Andrew Gipson, from Edwardsville, IL came in to visit and discuss for awhile, before he left to go to his family's cabin south of here for a weekend of deer hunting. lunch yet, nor no supper! I fixed myself some cheese/bologna and crackers.....I had not had time to go to the market for bread, etc., etc.......and so we sat and talked for an hour or so trying to catch up on sooooo many issues and topics.

And 8pm, my day seemed to settle down and peace again returned to TheHowserHouse....I think. The weather..........COLD!!!!! And, getting colder for tonight. As David Letterman said last night: "It was so cold today, I was shaking like Sarah Palin taking a geography test."

And even though this was a day from Hell...........I still have to say that even with all of these unplanned events which popped up today....a day I thought I had planned soooo well.........

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

About 6pm, he called me and told me I wol

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday: The weather is COLDER!!! UGH!!!!

Another EARLY morning......due to a "musical rehearsal". How DARE they do this to me......after 30 years of EARLY morning rehearsals requiring me to arrive at school no later than 6AM and in the process, having to unlock the school, turn on the lights, and hope that no one spent the night in the building!! (There's another story in this statement). Soooo, at 6AM I pulled my sagging hulk out of the bed, dressed quickly, and then pushed the "start" button and got the coffee maker going....quickly.

At 6:15, Rachel's alarm went off a few minutes she padded out of her cute little bedroom with the blue skies above and white, fluffy clouds painted on the ceiling and walls. As always.....she quickly fixed her cereal and began eating it without any talking. At 7am, she was dressed, her hair fixed(by herself), and off we went to her school where, yes....she had a music rehearsal at 7:15am.

I returned to the house, saw that Brian got off to his job, and then went through my normal morning rituals. Afterwards......some very hot French Roast coffee, a couple of pieces of toast, and my morning "plumbing" meds....and, for those of you who followed this blog this past spring......those meds are keeping things flowing just like normal!!!

And then the day began......cloudy, dark, windy(30mph), and the temps dropping......OMG, surely it must be the end of December and time for us to head to the border!!!! Most of the day I spent either sipping coffee and reading the online newspapers, or......reading a book by the large front window, or napping.

Becky returned around 4:30 or so....perhaps a bit later. And before long, I was on the road headed out to the hills and our stick/brick which had been setting dark and lonely for the week, not to mention TheHowserHouse sitting in the driveway. It is good to be home again......staying in someone else's home for a few days, and "running" that home is just not quite the same as being in your own matter how enjoyable it is to spend the week with the oldest granddaughter!!!!!

Tomorrow....a busy day here with two separate "installers" coming to do to very different jobs....and most likely at the same time!!! This should be interesting........brings to my aging mind the day a couple of years ago when we had the new carpets installed at the same time that the new hardwood floor was being installed in the kitchen AND at the same time the new bathroom was having ceramic tile installed!!! WHEW.......THAT was a day of getting things coordinated and keeping the peace between contractors!!

And sooooo, a cold night expected here.......but, I am nursing a cup of hot tea which in turn is nursing me.....a warm way of relaxing! Even with this god-awful cold and windy weather..........

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday: TAXI new occupation!!!

OK.....the alarm went off about 6:15.......a few minutes before Rachel's alarm went off in her room. I was up and had the coffee done by that time......and while enjoying my 1st cup of French Roast (yep, I brought the coffee and the coffee maker with me), I quizzed Rachel to make certain if she had everything ready for school, packed into her backpack, and then we went over the day's/evening's schedule. I took her over to the Middle School and she was there by 7:30 as she wanted to be........for her music ensemble rehearsal. It is an audition group of 5th and 6th graders who not only play the recorders, but also play some exotic drums and percussive instruments. They have been asked to perform at the Missouri State Music Educators' Conference in January at the Lake of the Ozarks, so rehearsals for this very high caliber audience is certainly a necessity!

Returning to the house, I checked on Brian to make certain he was ready to head to his special work for the day, checked to make certain he had his lunch packed, and then waved him off to worked as his transportation arrived. Ahhhhh......a bit of time for my morning rituals was next on my morning agenda.....and, of COURSE,.....more coffee!

I began to feel that nasty little many start to pound inside my aging skull as the minutes went by.....and by mid-morning, I decided to take a couple of Excedrin to try to quiet that guy up there. Around 12:30, I left for My Daddy's Cheesecake Cafe....and to meet our friend from F'town, Sue Hanner who was in town for a Dr.'s appt. and to do some shopping. We also ran into another friend from F'town, Jo Daniel and two of her long time friends from Dexter, MO. We had a great lunch......both of us with more agenda items to we didn't spend much time just relaxing over our sandwiches....haha!!!

OH yeah......earlier....around 6:45 this morning, I checked flight prices on Southwest Airlines and got the best price I have found in over a week on the flight from Harlingen to the Inauguration. The price from Harlingen, Tx to Philadelphia, PA was only $258.38 total.....and so I made my reservations!! To fly into Washington or Baltimore, a price of anywhere from $400 to $500 or more was being quoted, so I felt really good about locating this price at the right time of the day....EARLY!!! I will now either take the train from Philly or rent a small car and drive down to Annandale, VA where I will be staying with friends.

After leaving lunch.......I went to the Cape Mall to the Lenscrafters shop....and finally had my eye glasses adjusted. They were in not soooo good of shape.....too many times off and on over the past year, but after about 5 minutes, they were just as good as new.....and finally,......FINALLY.....I can see and read without pushing them around and up and down and constantly adjusting them on my nose.

And then....a quick stop at the house,.....and it was time get back into the taxi and go pick up Rachel from school......which I did. Arriving home, Brian was soon back here and I told him we were going to go to Fazoli's for supper, prior to him going to the Civic Center for some time with some of his special friends......time to play cards and socialized with everyone!!

So after a bit more than time at home.....we left for supper at Fazoli's........and, best to say this??? It has been a couple of years or so since I have eaten there, and from what I ingested this evening, it may be three or four times that many years before I return! Guess I have experienced tooooo many really great Italian restaurants/cafes and it certainly was difficult to eat the pasta I had tonight after eating at those other ones!

After dinner......we went on to the Civic Center where I took Brian inside to find his room. The young lady in charge said it might be good to return by, Rachel and I left and then took care of another agenda item......returning the videos back to the video rental shop. Again....back to the house for a little more than an hour......and then.....back to the Civic Center to pick up Brian!

Home again........everyone took their showers and prepared for the morning departures. Me? I did some reading......a little of the tellie....and then began to look around to make certain that I didn't have my personal things scattered around the house, as I should be going back to F'town tomorrow afternoon.

OK.......I'm just more than certain that all of you readers are thoroughly enjoying my ramblings of my days as a taxi driver, cook, and house sitter. Not my usual writings about traveling and sight-seeing......but, more of a journal of this evolving Life of mine as a grandparent with the time to spare to take care of the younger generation of my family. Hang tight.....stay I will soon be "on the road again" before tooo long!!!!

And when that occurs, it won't really change anything always......

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday: Getting colder....UGH!!!!

Hmmmm......I had to set the alarm for 5:45 this morning....whew...UGH.....DAMN!!! Not used to getting up THAT early, but Rachel was getting up at 6:15 this morning and I did want to be up and going by the time she came out of her bedroom. And......she is NOT difficult to get up...she just turns off her alarm and then is up and going fairly quickly. She goes into the kitchen and is eating her cereal before I can turn around twice.

We left the house a bit before 7am.....and took probably about 10 minutes to get her over to the Middle School.......she did have an early music ensemble rehearsal this morning at 7:15. From there I drove out to F'town and arrived at the stick/brick a few minutes after 8am.

The Heartland Satellite company was to arrive at 9:30 to begin the installation of the dish and satellite receivers, etc.........however, at that assigned time, no one showed up. And finally after waiting another 30 minutes I thought perhaps I should look at the phone messages, and OF COURSE, he had called yesterday saying that the equipment for my installation had not arrived yesterday, but would be here this morning, and sooooo, he would come to the stick/brick at 1:30pm!!!!! CRAP......I had to be on the road by that time in order to pick up Rachel a bit after three.......knowing the road construction was still going on....I knew it would take me longer than normal to drive back down to Cape.

Sooooo, I tried to call....NO ANSWER! Finally reached someone in their office, told him I couldn't be here this afternoon and asked for the main guy to call my cell phone this afternoon. Guess what? No one called this afternoon!! And I imagine that I will now have to call early in the morning and get this installation rescheduled.....hopefully on Friday???

I picked up Rachel around 3:15....and we came back to the house for a small amount of time. At 4:45 we left to go over to the Civic Center where she needed to register for basketball this winter, and as part of the registration she had to do six tasks such as dribbling with each hand separately and some layups from various spots on the court.

Afterwards, we returned to the house again....and I began to fix supper. Brian wanted some Lasagne which was in the freezer in a Stouffer's box.....GREAT!!!! I fixed some mac and cheese for Rachel, some green beans for Brian and nuked this Lasagne, which actually was quite GOOD!!! Then this evening I made some brownies and now we are all stuffed like Sarah Palin would do to a moose she shot from an airplane!

A good day............and as always.........

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sun/Monday: Away again....just not a journey..

Yesterday morning, after the Sunday morning talk shows....I put a few personal things into my bag...and drove down to Cape Girardeau. My daughter-in-law's father has had surgery and she needed to attend to him in STL, so I am taking care of my granddaughter......who is mature enough to take care of herself, but just a bit young to stay alone(5th grader).

The afternoon was spent in relative quiet here at their home. I did some reading online.....and before too long it was time to fix a bite to eat for Rachel and her uncle, Becky's brother who also lives with them. He is a special young man....and he has come a long, long way with the special needs that he has to live with. I fixed a couple of frozen pizzas and that satisfied all three of we waited for "60 Minutes" to watch President-Elect Obama and the new to-be-1st Lady of the land. WHAT a relaxed and enjoyable interview that was!!!!!! WHAT A DIFFERENCE from the past 8 years of a leader who had difficulty putting together intelligent and complete sentences!

Today......Rachel was up....her own alarm clock went off at 6:30am.....and she had had breakfast, on her own, by 7am! I took her to school at 7:30.........and she happily trotted off and up the sidewalk to her school building.

Back at their home.....I took care of my morning rituals and had some more French Roast coffee...I brought my own coffee AND coffee maker as Becky does not use coffee(can't imagine Life without that dark, rich elixer of Life). Then about mid-morning, I went over to the Supermart and picked up some ground beef and a few other things for supper.......planning on broiled hamburgers wrapped in hickory smoked bacon, fried potatoes, and some corn. After shopping, I went to the local Cape mall and was soon involved in sipping some wonderful cappuccino while thumbed through several new magazines about Modern Bathrooms, etc., etc.....getting a few ideas about what we might do with the bathroom footprint that we have to work with. I spent about an hour or more there......and then went back to the house.

I picked up Rachel at 3:15........and by 6:30, we had all three had supper with some great broiled burgers as I mentioned above. After the clean-up.....the evening was well on its way and before long, Rachel decided to hit the bed......a few minutes earlier than usual.

Tomorrow???? She has an early....7:15AM.....rehearsal with a special music group that she was selected for.....and after I drop her off, it is a quick trip back out into the hills to F'town as the DirecTV installer will be there to get the wiring of the house done, install the necessary receivers/boxes and put the dish up on the roof. Then......back down to Cape by 3:15 to pick up Rachel. She then has to be at the CivicCenter by 5pm to get registered for a basketball program offered there.

And sooooo, you now get an idea of what my Life is like this week???? Not bad.....and just really GREAT to spend a bit of time with Rachel!!!!!!!!! Such....SUCH a lovely young lady who is mature well beyond her years.....WOW!!!!!! know how I feel about my positive Life, don't you? No matter how things can turn and cause some problems...and we all have eperienced those times, haven't we?.......I still know that.....

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday: is really getting COLD!!!

WHY are we not down in southern Texas right now?????!!!!! I guess it is because we are grandparents who do want to spend the Holidays with the grandchildren and their parents....BUT, this weather is beginning to put questions in my mind about this decision to not leave until the last of December! UGH!!!

The winds began getting stronger early this morning and with gusts up to 35 mph and the temps falling through the 30's all day with dark, dreary clouds was not much fun to get outside of our stick and brick. However.......

The 1st Lady and I went up to Farmington around noon today with only one thing we had to do.....and we DID it!! YES WE DID!!!! We ordered a new stainless steel three door of those with the double doors and the freezer compartment on the bottom. As always with us, this has been an ongoing project for several months.....with the 1st Lady being a detailed analyst comparing every unit in every way possible in each and every brand....WHEW!!! But, I finally said that "NOW IS THE TIME".......and no matter what..."YES WE CAN"!! Sooooo, we did!

It will be delivered a week from Monday....and we have to get someone in to re-do the section of new kitchen cabinets which hang over the fridge.....they must be raised about 3/4 of an inch...not much, but just enough to make it a nuisance to get them moved. We ordered a Samsung.....and hopefully it will be "just the one we have been wanting", but who really knows until you start to use the expensive thing!

We made one other stop over at Lowe's to begin looking at bathroom vanities, sinks, tile, faucets, etc, etc. as we are going to remodel the bathroom from top to bottom, as well as the laundry room. Not until next spring will this happen.......and that will be "with luck" if it gets done by then, but I hope to get a contractor scheduled for late April(??).....HA.....I HOPE!!!

Tomorrow......we are each departing and going our separate ways: the 1st Lady will go up to Monroe City to then take her mother to STL to see a specialist and then on Tuesday, she will then go to Dr. Jeni's to watch the two granddaughters. Dr. Jeni, Darrel and Max will fly to Tampa, FL on Wed morning for a court appt that afternoon to finalize the adoption of Max!!! They will remain there until Friday when they will then fly home. Soooo, the 1st Lady will not return until Saturday to the stick/brick.

Myself?? I leave tomorrow to go to Cape Girardeau to stay with our oldest granddaughter while her mother goes to STL to stay with her father, as he has just had a quadruple bypass and will need some TLC at his home for several days. He is doing well, but should not be alone until he is getting around a bit better. As it is only 50 miles from our stick/brick to Cape, I will run back up here on Tuesday morning after I take Rachel to we are having DirecTV installed and disconnecting the Charter cable. I will return to Cape in time to pick up Rachel from school that afternoon.

I have to be back up here by Friday as I have a friend coming to make the adjustments on the cabinets which have to be moved that small fraction of an inch higher before next Monday. Always...always something!!!!

I finally talked with our youngest son, Jeremy, this evening. He left New Orleans last Friday...the day after he had closed down his state campaign office for the re-election of Sen Landrieu........and went that day to Atlanta. He had been called by the Democrat Senate Campaign Committee in Washington, DC......and was offered the position of Georgia State Campaign Manager for the Dec 2nd re-vote for the US Senator from GA. He was not quite certain he was going to take it as he was literally.....I repeat, LITERALLY....exhausted from Sen Landrieu's campaign, but.......the price was right and he was arm-twisted to go over there as he was REALLY needed for this very important election. With only three senate races still hanging from last week's election: Alaska, Minnesota, and this one in Georgia, it is a VERY important election...and position! Seems he does his job well.......and appears to be well-recognized for all of his intense work on these campaigns!!!!!! The 1st Lady and I are really proud of him....REALLY PROUD!!!!! He graduated from Auburn Unversity and has been going strong from one election to another since that time......and loving each and every campaign!!!!

And so.......I hope the winds the temps tonight are to dip into the middle twenties....ugh! But, you know.......we could be living in that state with the Governor who can see Russia from there.......and THAT I wouldn't want to do, always.......

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday: OMG.....winter is making a small debut!!!

Hmmmm......I really didn't want to get up on time this morning, but with the schedule we had layed out for ourselves, it was necessary to my sagging hulk out of the horizontal position and into a struggling vertical position (still sagging, though).

After some wonderful, steaming French Roast coffee, some great artisanal bread which I toasted and then buttered and put on some blueberry jam, I spent a few minutes reading the NYTIMES online, and a brief look at the Washington Post before the 1st Lady made her appearance in the kitchen. After moving a bit quicker, we soon were on our way to Cape Girardeau to once again check out the various refrigs that were available to visually and physically inspect. Did we make a decision???

Hell no! Sooooo, after much discussion and more discussion, we decided to have a little lunch at My Daddy's Cheesecake Cafe and Bakery. WOW....this was the first time we had eaten here....but, it will NOT be the last time. It was excellent!!!! A great choice is provided from coffees, to pastries, to sandwiches, and soups........WOW!!! I ordered the chicken on ciabatta with sweet red roasted peppers smothered in melted cheeses........perfect!!!! Sooooo good!!!! The 1st Lady enjoyed her chicken salad on a croissant, but she kept saying that she like the flavors of mine much better than hers......hmmmmm, did I make the right choice???? YEP!!!

We ended the lunch with one serving, which we shared, of a wonderful, moist Red Velvet Cake......OMG. It was sooooooooo good!!! Once again, all of you in the Cape Girardeau area......go, go, get yourself there for some wonderful food!!!!! (They ARE open for breakfasts)

The afternoon was spent visiting with Michael....and it was a great visit for all of us. Returning to F'town, we battled driving rain the entire 100 miles.....making the already blacktop highway even blacker....and with it being a new surface, the lines are not painted yet....and it took forever to make the trip back up into the hills to F'town!

A good day.......even though the weather became nasty......and it is suppoed to be a wet 38 degrees with 35mph winds from the north tomorrow....... but not to matter......

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

THURSDAY: Coffee with a good friend.......

The morning arrived and I felt as if I had not slept most of the night......suppose I ate tooooooo much last night and therefore, it was difficult to have a restful night. I will try to remember NOT to do that again!!!

About mid-morning, Michael Goldsmith came by for some coffee.........and I think we talked more than we drank coffee.......and, always about the topics of the day that most important for each of us. We use these times to bounce thoughts and ideas off of each well as talk about our families. Always a GREAT way to begin the day when he comes by the stick/brick!!!

This afternoon, I took the Park Avenue up to get an oil was a bit overdue. Then I stopped in at Sears and also at Lowe's to check on their refrigerators. That didn't take long as they really didn't have any that we were interested in.

Returning home.......the afternoon was about gone.....and soon the sun was well as the day. Nothing much happened today around TheHowserHouse. Seems like each day just morphs into the next one with no real differences noted. Tomorrow we will go to Cape to purchase/order a new stainless steel refrig....and get that finally taken care of.

A very quick day, today was.........a very ordinary day, today was......but, as always.....

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tues/Wednesday: UGH.....get me to the RGV!!!!!

OMG......the typical Missouri/Misery November day finally arrived today........very dark with low clouds, chilly rains, and just damn dreary.......ohhhh my.....please get me down to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas!!!!!!!!!! Let those damn winds blow down would still be 100 times better than today was!!!!

Sooooo, as to be expected.....we remained inside for most of the day, excluding only one trip out to the local grocery to pick up a few needed items for dinner tonight. We invited the Hanners over for drinks and dinner.......and, it proved to be a really great evening!!!!

The 1st Lady fixed a Chicken Tortilla Soup with lots of chile peppers, black beans, tomatoes, chicken breasts.....and OMG, did it ever taste like good hot comfort food for a chilly and damp evening outside. Just perfect!!!! We then played Rummikub for a couple of hours which was then followed by and apple/cranberry crumb cake with some dark rich coffee. Lots of laughs, lots of discussion about the great election results........and talk of our children, also.

Today......some great news!!!! A long time friend from our USAF days during the Viet Nam conflict that I had written to recently emailed me today and said his son lives within the Beltway of Washington, D.C.......and he has a new house and that I could stay there during the Inauguration in January!!!!! And, he(Bill) and his wife would join me there and attend the ceremonies together with me!!! WOW.....I have tried and tried for several days to find a hotel that is somewhat close to the D.C. area.....with no luck. Soooooo, this was incredible news!!!!! Now.....I just need to get flight reservations from Harlingen, Texas to D.C. and back to Texas. And......hope that my son, Jeremy, will be able to get some tickets to the Inaugural events in the city!!

And soooo, a great day with the above news......some shitty weather.....but, a very warm and fun-filled evening with our good friends. What more could you ask for???? As always, with great times like this......

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday/Monday: Not feeling on top of things....

Today and yesterday......well, for some damn reason my body has been telling me that all is not quite right with it. Yesterday......I awoke with that damn little guy inside my head hammering away.....and OMG, but he was there ALL day long.....he didn't even take a lunch or dinner break. He just kept pounding away.....but, you know, when it became evening and he should have been going home and taking the night off, he just kept pounding and hammering inside my head all night long!

Then today.......while the little man had left during the night, there seemed to be something inside my gut that all day long, it squeezed me tightly......some intense cramps. OK.....this is not something I usually feel, so it must be some little old bug inside there that is causing all of this unpleasantness!!!! Anyway........I feel certain that another good night's sleep will find my aging and evolving sagging hulk of me feeling much better tomorrow!!!!

And soooo, not much new to say other than the above paragraphs of bodily problems. know......even with these little minor disturbances.......

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

And yes......our country is moving forward now since we are in "D"!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday: A COLD day, but a very warm evening!!!

Oh IS time to head south to warmer temps.......especially in the great climate of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas!!!! We just can't wait....and with these cold, windy days/evenings, our thoughts are on the wonderful friends, incredible food, and GREAT TIMES that are always there in the RGV!!

Today we went to visit Mike.....had a great visit and then returned mid-afternoon.

This evening???? is times like this that make teaching all of you Life worth every minute of it!!! We attended the wedding of two former students/band members here F'town.....Collin Follis and Jenna Yount. It was a very large wedding, but a beautiful one!!

It is amazing how you can only be gone from the school....well, guess it has been 7.5 years....and then you have difficulty putting names with the faces you see. There were a few that I just had to have help with in remembering the names.......and, to be quite honest, they HAD changed soooo much over the years. And.....of course, many, many were married with children. It was really great, though, to see and talk with the former Heather Menteer, Amy Miller, Matt Smith, Travis Rehkop, Derek Smith, Paul Graham, Jeff Firebaugh, Lane Matthews, Nathan Johnson, Nathan Thompson, and many, many more!!!!!!!!!! It was the largest grouping of former students that I have seen at one time in several years......and oh my, soooo enjoyable!

I had several go into great details about how much they had learned from my "hard discipline" in they hated it at the time.....but how much they had gained and how much it had meant in their adult lives right now!!! THIS is what teaching is all about..........the rewards are not monetary....but, the end results in making a difference in the lives of students as they grow and mature.........and how it can make you feel when they come up and say, "Thanks, Mr H for what you taught me". WHAT a week this has been......!!!!! Emotions from many sources have just about overwhelmed this aging and evolving sagging hulk of Me!!!!!

No doubt about it.........

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

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday: A day to relax and, to THINK!

I barely got out of the stick and brick today....walked around to the backyard to see how the plumbers had finished installing a new pipe/sewer line from the house out to the street to join with the city sewer lines. We had contracted to have it done while we were in New Orleans......and, it is done!

Today......I have been thinking a great deal about this week.....and how when we left F'town on Sunday morning and then returned here yesterday evening......just how much our country has is not the same country as it was last weekend. And.....when I think of all of this history that has been made this week as I did today......once again those tears are uncontrollable and they are soon dripping off of my face.......I just can't control all of the emotions that have been stimulated by this election!

I may have mentioned before some of what I am going to say, but I am again going to write about just how deep my feelings are when it comes to the subject of race in our country.......

When I went to school in a small town of about 3000 people from 1949 to 1961.....those people were all white, yet.....we did have a couple of black families that lived outside of this small town....out in the country, perhaps because it was safer, or it was because there were probably some laws that would not allow them on the streets after dark. Each day, a school vehicle took a small number of children from those two families to another school 30 miles away where they could attend a school with other black children. I do not know if it was a segregated school or not.....but, most likely it was. And.....every evening they would be returned to their homes in the country.

I never really knew much about this.....just a hazy memory of it being discussed from time to mother was always very active in the school's PTA, serving in many offices in that organization.

When I graduated in 1961, due to some very positive events that had happened to me with my music/piano performances and I enrolled at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, where I had studied piano privately with their Artist-in-Residence concert pianist for the last two years of high school. Lincoln U. was originally a college that had begun as a college for black students....and was formed after the Civil War. When I attended, the student population was 85% black and 15% white.......having been integrated after 1954.

My mother had raised my sister and I to know no color in people......and I will forever be sooooo thankful for that!!! Soooo, being a student at Lincoln was not really much of a culture shock for me........and it was a place that I felt right at home. Being a music major meant that I instantly had a campus any music major will tell you, all of us were family within that department. And.....soon I became a member of the University Band, as well as the University Orchestra and University Choir.

Quite obviously, my best friends were black...........and we had great times together, as do all friends while going to college. At the end of my 1st year, I was asked to pledge and join one of the social fraternities at Lincoln.......and I was one of the very first white students to have had the honor to join the black frats! Not having many financial resources for college, I declined. However, soon afterwards....I was asked to pledge Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.......a professional/social music fraternity.....and I did so......and what a great time it was.....and still is when I now see my former students who are music majors and we soon become Frat Brothers!

I travelled with the University Band to other college campuses.....and some of them were almost completely black. was GREAT.......we had such fun, sooo exciting. However, a couple of the trips through other states opened my eyes to the things that my friends could not do....things that I COULD do. Such as.......eating in certain restaurants/cafes, the three restrooms situations, the drinking fountains, etc., etc......things that my students in the past years could not even fathom......could not understand at all. One time when we were stopped for an evening meal....and going into the cafe, I sat down with some of my friends.....and I was given a menu, but they were told they could not sit there. Soooo, I ordered....and then got up and walked out!

I used to eat in a cafe up on the main street of Jefferson City once a week or so......and I began to become aware that all of the tables up by the LARGE plate glass window ALWAYS had "reserved" signs on them....... One evening when I went in, all of the other tables were full of diners....but, the management told me to go ahead and sit at the "reserved" tables as they weren't really reserved!!! Well.........soon after that evening, I returned and asked if I could sit at one of the tables up front.....and was told to go ahead....not a problem.

Well........about five minutes after I was seated and had placed my order, some of my friends came in and joined me sitting beside the window. Hmmmmm,...... the manager came unglued, but we were allowed to finish our meals. I did this several times in the next few weeks....and soon I was asked to not return to this cafe!

In Jefferson City, the bowling alley was not integrated........and so, at some point in time, I joined many of my friends for several days at the bowling alley to carry a sign and to walk around the circle drive...and around....and around....and around, carrying that sign calling for them to open the place for the blacks from the University and the others living in Jeff City!! And.....finally, we were successful.....with a token evening each week where the black families and students could go bowling. SUCCESS!!! And....later as time went by it was totally integrated for any day, for any time of day.

Another time, I was asked to accompany my best friend to his home in East St. Louis, IL, for the weekend. And, of course, I went!!!! What an incredible experience it was to go to the all black neighborhood bar and BBQ place for Saturday was great!!!! And, his family......I was welcomed with open arms!!

And there many, many more wonderful experiences while going to school there.......experiences that most of my high school friends never had the chance to have, to learn from, to enjoy. How very, very lucky I those years at Lincoln changed my entire Life. Tolerance, acceptance, diversity, and most of for others no matter what the race.......all of these became a part of my Life...and to this day, they remain even stronger than ever.

And soooo, having gone through experiences such as above.....seeing the "other side" of Life for those who did not have white skins.........and then experiencing this wonderful day this week.....the election of a President who is black(albeit only half black)......well, it is has been something that I never, never thought I would ever see in my Lifetime......and as I said above, the tears continue to flow out of these old, aging and evolving eyes of mine. I am soooooo excited, I am so overwhelmed, and I am sooooo happy that our country is finally beginning to mature ...and to grow..... and to accept those with skins that are not white.

I sit here with goosebumps all over me.....just remembering Tuesday night, November 4th, 2008. This IS "change"........and for me, it is almost more than my emotions can handle......and, not only for me, but for all of those millions of black families there is hope.....hope that for everyone..........

LIFE CAN BE REALLY, REALLY GREAT AS IT HAS BEEN FOR ME........And, as I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

HELP.....need advice/help!!!

Is there anyone in the Wash D.C. area aware of any available rooms in the D.C. area for the Inauguration of President Obama???? If you have any ideas, contact me through the "Comments" section as to how I can talk to you.......

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday: A travel day.....

This morning was more humid in N.O. than the past few days, but.......knowing that we were leaving made this weather change not very important.

After checking the rooms for any things we might have overlooked, I checked out, sent for the car, and soon we had the luggage loaded, hot coffee and tea with us, and we left the hotel at 7:30AM. Using our GPS, it was a piece of cake to get out of the one-way, narrow streets in the French Quarter....and quickly onto I-10, which hooks up with I-55 going north to Missouri.

We made a couple of quick stops for refreshing ourselves and for refreshments for ourselves. We made a late lunch stop just south of Memphis for some really great BBQ sandwiches with sides......almost too much to eat and then have to drive....haha.

We arrived home at 6pm.....a bit longer than it took us on the trip down to New Orleans, but we did take longer for lunch and had a couple of extra stops today than on Sunday. It is such an EASY trip down to New Orleans from here.......I don't know why we don't go more frequently.

I must make a comment about the French Quarter, as well as other parts of the New Orleans we visited this trip........ The Quarter is shining with lots and lots of the beautiful old French style buildings all sporting new paint jobs.....or in the process of getting painted. Now...that is not to say that it is all clean and spiffy, but progress is being made....and it is going to really be nice when...and is all finished. On Canal is much cleaner, much brighter, and looks just great for an older city.

New Orleans has soooooo damned much is sooooo unique, sooooo attractive in it's own way......and a jewel of culture that most cities cannot claim. The 1st Lady and I absolutely love this wonderful city.......the culture, the arts, the wonderful people, the architecture......the city is fantastic!!!! We actually discussed that if the weather was better year round we would actually think seriously about moving there. These few days there in such perfect weather certainly were the best few days we have ever experienced there.............and, we had many regrets about having to drive away from all of these things we enjoy sooooo much!!!! We are already looking at the calendar to try to find a way to get back there in the spring when we leave the Rio Grande Valley after we spend the winter down there!!

Ahhhhh........I am still very emotional about the results of the election.....and the "Change" that has already occurred with President-elect Obama's election. I have soooo much to say about this.....specifically since I had soooooo many experiences with the Civil Rights movement during the 60's while I was in college.......of which I will write about very soon........

But, this has been a super week.....and I just cannot say how lucky I/we are to be able to enjoy, to experience, to have the opportunities to make these trips to such wonderful places.......and I know so well that.......

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

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday: A day of being very tired, but.......

OK.......I didn't get to bed last night/this morning until 3AM....and then the phone rang at 7AM from a great friend to talk about the results of the election for Obama and for Jeremy's senator. Soooo, a bit later we finally managed to pull our aging, evolving bodies out of the bed. Morning rituals being completed, we went down to the lobby to select our breakfasts...and then ate out in the Palm Courtyard.

A bit later we walked over to the Center for Contemporary Art....which is the headquarters for a marvelous, city-wide art exhibit by artisans and artists from around the world. There are exhibits all over the city and each one is free, along with the city providing a shuttle bus to get around from one event location to another. We spent the late morning and most of the afternoon taking in some of these amazing art was just stunning!!!!!!! This will last until into the winter.......and seems to be attracting many, many people into the city to view these wonderful sights.

Late afternoon, we returned to our hotel for a short time before Jeremy came by and picked us up and took us to his apartment in the downtown area. Later, he dropped us off at the little Louisiana Pizza House where we had eaten some excellent pizza last night.....and this time we selected some wonderful pasta. I had the Veal Piccata with lemon butter and capers which was placed on top of linguine, which was cooked just perfectly....not mushy, but not excellent choice, I thought.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for our stick and brick....and should be there by late afternoon. It took us around 9.5 hours to drive down on Sunday......and should be about the same time returning, unless we find ourselves in the afternoon rush hour traffic somewhere.

This has been a very relaxing, but exciting trip to New Orleans!!! We really do love this charming and very unique city..........we have already decided to return in the spring we did last year......and I am already looking forward to it!!!

Another great day........a day that assures me that.......

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

Entrance to the courtyards of our hotel.....

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Our morning walk along the Mississippi River in New Orleans.....beautiful!!!

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Greeting the supporters as they arrive in the hotel!!!

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Citizens and supporters from Louisiana begin to arrive.....

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The press gets set for the evening....

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Awaiting the entrance of Sen. Landrieu

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