Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009: Visiting Dr. Jeni, Darrel, and grandkids!!

As Max was really ill last night with 104+ degrees of fever, we answered the call and came up this morning so he would not have to go to the baby sitter for the day. Dr. Jeni had already had him at an early appt. with his doctor....and he gave him some meds, saying that it was a type of virus which seems to be making the rounds of young children. The Motrin that he suggested certainly worked well in reducing the high fever....and when arrived about 11:30, he was smiling and jabbering. However, he slept a great deal of the afteroon, and the fever did remain low to none with the doses of Motrin.

I sat inside for awhile....and then I began to really feel strange...my heart was pounding in my head, my legs were weak, I felt shaky......but, it took a couple of hourse before I began to realize what the problems might be: they have remodeled a bit of their new home to add a two more bedrooms...#4 and #5......and yesterday, the painters were here. I had no idea that this had occurred as it just wasn't really evident by aroma....but.....in the past 5-8 years, I have developed a really bad allergy to paint....any kind of paint.....even those that are not supposed to be the kinds that bother people like me with a paint allergy. Sooooo, I left to go in to Washington to do some looking for new patio furniture and a BBQ grill. I stayed away for almost three hours, returning back to their home just in time to turn around and go pick up the girls. Ava was at the sitter's a couple of miles from their home.....and Meghan was back in town.....about 15 minutes drive.....at the local swimming pool and park where she is attending summer camp there with tons of other kids. She spends the entire day in the swimming pool and in the park with lots of counselors/supervisors....and loves it.

Soooo, picking them up, I returned to their home......and soon we were fixing some food for dinner. Once again....the same problems began......and so, I moved to one of their decks and ate outside....and just remained out there until a few minutes ago. Darrel returned about 7.....and Dr. Jeni, who had her offices open from 2pm until 8pm as she does each Tuesday.....returned a bit after 8pm. As I type this, the fumes must still be around....and I will need to sleep upstairs in the bonus room with the windows open tonight. Hopefully, the fresh air will circulate around....otherwise I will be a basket case by morning!!!!

Tomorrow, we will go back in to STL for a bit of shopping, and then the 1st Lady has the Dr's appt to have that small spot on her cheek worked on ......for the skin cancer that was discovered. Then we will go on to her Mother's in northeast MO until Sunday.

OK...this could be my last post for a couple of days as her Mother doesn't no have internet and the closest place that is free is in Hannibal.....and I won't drive in there everyday just to post this little bit of rambling thoughts. Sooooo, stay tuned, keep checking....and perhaps I can get a tiny post online by using my iPhone, but I am not going to peck out very much with my two thumbs!!!!!

As always.....even with my head pounding and swooning around,........

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

Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009: The return of wonderful weather....and I get lazy!!

Ahhhh....yesterday morning...Sunday...I was just a bit hung over....that damn man inside my head once again, pounding away with his sledge hammer, and not letting up all day. He even worked overtime into the evening, but by that time he must have been getting really tired because the pounding was easier and not nearly so loud!!!! Yep.....I enjoyed myself tooooo much Saturday night at the winery with my former students!!!!!! And...I really did enjoy being with them once again......it was as if those 10 years had never happened and, with the exception of the drinks and wine, we were just in the band room talking about everything.

During the afternoon, I managed to get the lawn mower started and mowed most of the lawn.....the temps were still up there, but not nearly as bad as the past 10 days. I retired early during the evening.....just can't imagine why???!!! 5 hours of sleep is just not nearly enough for this sagging hulk of me!!!!

Today....Monday.....I was up at 6:30, and after checking my email, I was out on the patio enjoying the refreshing cool air....60 degrees....and the gorgeous morning as I sipped my French Roast coffee. At 8am.....I started up the lawn mower and finished the job I had started yesterday in about an hour. AMAZING just how well that damn mower runs with cool temps!!!!!!! And, it does seem to use less gas......or, is it because I can mow faster without breaking a sweat?????? Hmmmm......might be the last idea!!!!

This afternoon I ran up to Farmington, got the oil changed on the Park Avenue, and then went and had my 68 hairs shortened.....and it feels good to have shorter hairs again. When those 68 hairs get too long.....well, I just don't like trying to continually arrange each long hair so that it looks good over the bald head!!!!

This evening we had one of my favorite meals for dinner.........steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and orange bell pepper over wet brown rice, topped with marinated chopped tomatoes(salt and vinegar and cracked pepper) and then grated Parmesan cheese over this. On the side we had four filets of Tilapia which had been flash fried with lemon pepper....lots of this!!! WOW.....a glass of my dark red medicine(cabernet sauvignon) and it was nothing but pure enjoyment in dining!!!!!

Tomorrow.....we are off to Washington to spend the afternoon/evening with Dr. Jeni, Darrel and family as Dr Jeni works the afternoons and evening on Tuesday, and Darrel is swamped with business every day.....and Max has a fever, so they do not want to take him to the sitter. Soooo, grandparents to the rescue!!!!!!! Then on Wednesday, the 1st Lady as an appt. with a doctor in STL....she has discovered that she has a small skin cancer....carcinoma(sp??)....that needs to be removed....and from there, we will go on to her Mother's home until Sunday. I will then bring the 1st Lady back to Dr. Jeni's for the week as their sitter is going to be gone on vacation.....and I have things here to do in F'town, so I will return down here until Friday of next week and then go pick her up at Dr. Jeni's.

Next Monday.....I have to have my truck at the Kemp's Auto Body Shop....as they will begin the job of repainting it......due to the damages from the May 8th inland hurricane here. It will take about two weeks.....and I am also having a new tailgate installed and painted, as the one I have now is dented from a couple of times I have backed too closely to the kingpin on the rv and dented the tailgate. Soooo.......we will be down to one vehicle for two weeks.......

And soooo, the evening is beautiful, the temps are to be in the low 60's tonight and mid-50's tomorrow night....SUPER!!!! We are still trying to make a decision with the rest of the family about going to DisneyWorld the week before Christmas.......must get this worked out, IF we are going to go down there. We have a possible trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico the 1st week of November for 7 days....and then the winter in Texas....and then we are getting more serious about going to New Zealand for a month, or more, in April/May. Lots to decide......and, as usual, these decisions all revolve around our travels for the next year. LOVE IT!!!

And sooooo, as always......

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

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Erin and Haley.....former band members!!! They did not look this good in their band uniforms!!!!!!!

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Laura/Andrew Gipson and another member of the '99 class.

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Laura and Andrew Gipson and another non-band member with this sagging hulk of Me

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Denise and Jennifer.....clarinet and flute students....ten years later.

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Denise, Ben, and Jennifer.....three former students in band....a GREAT evening with them!!!

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June 27, 2009: A GREAT time at a class reunion of former students!!!

This will be brief....I have had waaaaayyyyyyy tooooooo much wine and mixed drinks, thanks to former students for treating their old band director!!!!!!

Yesterday: a quick morning, a quick drive down to Cape Girardeau, and then on to visit our son, Michael, for the afternoon. A good visit, even thought he was fighting a head cold and not feeling up to snuff/par.

Today.....we just hung around inside the house with horrific temps outside. This evening I had been invited to the Vance Vineyards Winery for the class of 1999 reunion.....10 years! And....OMG.....what a wonderful time it was.....just simply great to see many former band students and other students from 10 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviously, as I said....way too many former students buying me drinks.

The HowserHouse winery was open this afternoon as a former student, now a band director himself in Edwardsville, IL, and his wife dropped by....and we knocked off a bottle of dark red medicine before the reunion even began! They went back to the local hotel and changed clothing and then we met after they had had their reunion dinner.......and from that time on, I had a few drinks tooooooo many!!! Vance Vineyards is a great place to meet......and I saw soooo many former students that I have not seen for one year.....and for ten years. Sooooo much fun.....too much to drink....and a great time!!!! It is now 12:30am on Sunday, and I need to get my sagging hulk in the bed in a horizontal position before my head explodes in the morning.

I cannot describe the wonderful friendships that have developed with my students......there is no way to begin to talk about how really, really close we were, and how close we remain....as friends!! If you do not understand, go to Facebook: "Mr. H's Band Members" and you will see for yourself the unique relationships that we developed as teacher/student....and now as friends for Life!!!!!!! Their Lives mean soooo much to me.....and I hold each one so close to me as friends that I can always count on at any time I should need them. THAT is why the reunion of 30 years of band directing is such an incredible idea that is exploding with excitement from everyone that played in my bands over those years!!!! HOW LUCKY I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And sooooo, I will close this before I go nuts correcting my typos from tooooo many glasses of vino and margaritas. WOW....just a wonderful, wonderful, incredible evening!!!!!!

And....as always, and especially tonight.......

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"I'm ready for the 4th of July!!"

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Two wet granddaughters.....

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Grammy and Dr. Jeni keeping an eye on the kids in the wading pool.

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Max, Ava, and Meghan enjoying a VERY small pool in comparison to theirs at home.

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Max; and Grammy with him, Meghan and Ava this morning.

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June25, 2009: Global Warming in Misery continues......

Yep......in the mid-100's for the heat index today....as it has been for the past 9 days. And, this is only the last week of June!!

Our daughter, Dr. Jeni, and our three grandchildren, Meghan, Ava, and Max.....left about mid-morning today for their home.....AND, their swimming pool. HAHA...I do not think that running around in the water sprinkler and using the "slip/slide" was a good enough substitute for the little ones. They are used to using the pool daily......

Yesterday....we spent the late morning in the yard....using the sprinkler and the kids enjoying it, but tired of throwing themselves onto the ground to slip/slide was just a bit boring, I'm afraid. The kids were wonderful these three days.....Meghan is growing up, calming down....and little Ava and Max....well, they are sooo good for their ages. All three are growing....and it is just a great joy to have them here with us!!!!!!!!!

This week has really flown by so quickly.....tomorrow being Friday....and the weekend here already. Of course....being retired, everyday is part of a weekend, isn't it??? Next week....July!!!

I am saddened this evening by the death of Michael Jackson. As I wrote on Facebook.....it is a very sad day......the loss of an incredibly gifted musician, entertainer, dancer, perfectionist, and world-wide pop music star. Eccentric, unique, odd, controversial, one-of-a-kind, and a very troubled person........but yet, a man who influenced our culture with his wonderful, unbelievable music performances! Yes.......a very sad day for all music lovers.

As we "sit" here this summer in the stick and brick, we are both getting cabin fever. We normally would be traveling where it would be more pleasant weather-wise....and are not particularly enjoying staying here for the summer. Hopefully, we will be able to get things completed as far as the storm damages being repaired so that we can go out west to the mountains for a bit of trout fishing in late August. The RV may not be repaired by that time, however......it is not damaged in any way that would prevent us from going..and then getting the repairs done when we return the end of September. I SURE do hope it works out.....just need to get away for a few weeks!!!!!!!!

We would have been going to South America...Peru....in September had it not been for the storm....but, as I have stated before....it has set back all of our traveling plans for an out of the country adventure. Soooo, we are in the discussion process of just when we will make a trip....and it may have to wait until April of next year....???

Well......I have the water sprinklers on....as the heat is just sapping our plants, bushes, and grass with the intense hot sun and few clouds bearing down on these yard plantings. And...the buzzer is now telling me to turn these sprinklers off, so I will close this uninteresting post for the evening.

As always..........

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

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"I LOVE to play in the water!!!"

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Wet and tired after using the Slip/Slide

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June 23, 2009: Still the same heat/humidity.....

Up around 6:30 this morning......soooo humid outside that it was foggy, even though the sun quickly burnt it off so that it could shine down on us with all of it's fury. After everyone was up and going......Meghan and I sat at the piano where I began her piano lesson. This time, it was not by rote, but I had purchased the piano books last week.....and so the task of getting her to read the notes. Actually........she did quite well......learning the names were easy for her....and she had already had an introduction to the value of the notes in school!!! And so....the 45 minutes of this teaching went quite well.....she loves it!!! Soooo, tomorrow we will hit it again, but a bit lighter.

Afterwards, the 1st Lady brought out the Slip and Slide....and we all entered the outdoor sauna, which didn't improve as the day wore on. The kids enjoyed the water slide.......and I brought out the patio table umbrella...which for some reason escaped any damage when the tree fell on the table...which was broken and bent. I erected it close to the "water slide" so that we could have a bit of shade from the sun out there in the yard......REMEMBER, we no longer have any trees that make shade!!!

After a bite of lunch, 2 of the 3 were put down for naps.....and then Meghan and "Granny" palyed some games. I also taught her how to play a card game on the computer.....

Dinner was early...and then as the house slowly slipped into a toyland chaos, the kids took their showers and by 9pm....were heading for bed. Oh....of course, they found a mulititude of excuses to get back up.....drinks, another snack, coughing fits(great actresses, they are)...and finally have settled down.

Our a/c has, of course now that it is so humid and hot, decided to not cool down to the temp we set on the thermostat. So, I may have to have it checked tomorrow....if I can get someone to come over and look at it. I did run to WalMart and get a new filter, but that has not done any good......it doesn't want to go below 79 degrees, or so it says. And....it doesn't seem cool enough so believe something is keeping it from cooling down. First time EVER we have experienced a problem with this!!!

Sooooo, another day of squeals, a few tears now and then, and lots of laughter.....and, as always.....

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

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009: And we continue to live in Misery.

Well....somehow I pulled my sagging hulk of the bed at 6am, splashed some water on my face, pulled on my "mowing clothes", and unlocked front and back doors.....and within five minutes I was mowing the lawn. Yep......sure I awakened the neighbors, but when it is a matter of "life or death", I decided to go ahead an run the mower.

With only one breathing, sweat-wiping, water-drinking stop, I continued to mow until 8am....and then gave up....as the sun began to send down the heat with lots of fury. I laid down on the wet grass and laid there for a few minutes until I could breathe semi-normally again, and then pushed the mower to the house and staggered inside, only to lay down quickly on the ceramic tile floor as I was soooo dizzy from the heat/humidity.

After I drank lots more water, and was able to feel the cooling of the a/c, I walked into the shower and let the cold water just begin to bring my sagging, sweating body back to some state of normalcy. Did I finish the job???? NOPE.....still some more, but it will just have to wait until the weather changes and it ges a bit cooler. Not going to come that close to heat exhaustion ever again, if I can help it!!!!

The remainder of the day.....I remained inside. Late this afternoon, Dr. Jeni and three grandkids arrived for a visit. She has taken the week off....away from her dental office/practice....and to spend time with her three children. She is great about doing this often..........being a super mother to Meghan, Ava, and Max.

I threw some steaks on the grill.....and with some corn still on the cob, baked potatoes, and mac/cheese for the little ones, we had a great dinner. And then this evening I made a pan of brownies to go with the home-made ice cream that the 1st Lady had made this afternoon.

Now.....almost 10pm, all three are in bed....and no sounds are being heard from the two rooms. Tomorrow???? Who knows....just play it by ear, however.....I do know that I am NOT going to mow again in the morning!!!!!! Neighbors: SLEEP WELL!!!!

And soooo, with the heat index way above the 100 degree mark today....and two more days predicted to be identical.....we are tired of remaining in the stick and brick, but at least it makes it easier to get things done that way.

No matter......

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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 21, 2009: WHEW....what a hot day in Misery!!!!!

Well, I didn't get my little informative post written last night......just too damn tired, so here I am on Father's Day/night writing and trying to catch up with my happenings???? WHAT happenings?? I really don't have anything exciting to say, except......

Yesterday about mid-morning we decided to go to see Mike.....and did just that. Had a grea visit with him....and returned her about 9pm last night. I watched some show on tv that was not worth my efforts to hold my eyes open.....and so, quickly gave up and went to bed.

This morning......I was up around 6:45, ground some Starbucks Fr. Roast coffee beans....and soon had a wonderful hot cup of that dark and rich liquid......wonderful!!! The morning flew by.....Sunday morning talking heads shows.....and then I spent quite a bit of time watching the events unfold in Iran.......whew!!! Sure glad we have the President we have.....one who thinks before he speaks and/or acts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a delicate situation for the US.....and one where all possibilities MUST be thought out before anything is said or done!!!!!!! The outcome of Iran is totally unknown.........

Talked with all three of my "kids" today as they each called to wish me a great day!!! Jeremy called from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he and Anne-Marie are spending the weekend, Dr. Jeni called...and then Mike called this evenng. Nice day!!!!!!!!!

This afternoon I made my infamous stuffed meatloaf.....and OMG, was/is it ever incredible!!!!! I hadn't fixed this for about a year......and I forgot just how incredible it is!!!!!!! Wonder if they are still serving it up in Monroe City???? There was a restaurant there that took my recipe and was using it for one of the menu choices....!!

About 7pm....I changed into my work shorts/shirt and began to mow the lawn. OMG.....it was soooo hot and humid....the heat index being 103 degrees when I first began. And...even tho the sun was beginning to set....the humidity just kept climbing with the evening dew/moisture. Sooo, by a bit after 8pm I had to stop....or risk collapsing from a heat stroke. It took me about an hour just to recover and feel like a human being again.......I just cannot tolerate heat/humidity any more, as I have said before!!!!! Soooo, I will get up in the early morning, battle the heavy dew, and try to get some more mowed before the sun gets very high.

Dr. Jeni, Meghan, Ava, and Max are coming down tomorrow for a few days(?)....not sure for how long, but it will be fun to have them here!!!!!!!!!!!! It will give me a chance to help Meghan to learn how to read music so she can progress faster on learning how to play the piano. I am giving my grand piano to Dr. Jeni for the kids to learn how to play as they get old enough......just got to get it moved soon.....NOT an easy task!!!

And sooooo, a good weekend, a great Father's Day, and hopes for a week where I can learn when we will get our roof repaired and shingled!!! We'll see........

As always.........

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

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dave Mattson with a unique set of earphones!!

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Dave Mattson talking with me from Las Cruces, NM using Skype

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June 19, 2009: An early morning....and a terribly hot and humid afternoon!

Hmmmm.......who would have ever thought that this sagging hulk of ME would drag his sagging ass out of bed at 5:45AM to go and stand in line to pick up a new phone???????? When that alarm went off at that ungodly time of the night.....errr, morning.....I couldn't even figure out what the loud sound was! Then I realized I had to get out of bed and get myself in a concious state of being......alive.

Yep.....After a quick cup of very hot Fr. Roast coffee, I poured another one into my travel mug...and off I went to Farmington. I soon found myself number 21 in line at the doorway to the AT&T Corporate Store........waiting until they were to open at 7AM this morning. Oh yeah.....I am now catching up to the curve when it comes to the newest in telephone technology......I was there to pick up my new iPhone 3GS.....which was to be ready for the public this morning. Luckily, I ordered one last week.....and so, just before the door opened for the general public, I and two others, after checking our names at the door, were able to proceed to the front of the line and walked right in...and 10 minutes later, I walked out with the new version of the iPhone!!! The line had grown by that time......and I didn't stop to count them.....I just needed some more coffee!!!!!

Returning home, I spent most of the morning becoming familiar with the new updates....and just getting it under my fingers a bit better. Still have a few things.....probably MORE than a few.....but, I'll just say that I have more to learn about this....and will get the job done!!

This afternoon, I went out to the school bd. building to pay for our monthly insurance and visited with some of the "girls" in the main office. Returning to the stick/brick, I realized that it was not a day to be outside working in the yard, so I just did a summer hibernation in the house.....and read, and enjoyed reading some online newspapers.

This evening, the 1st Lady and I went out to a local eatery and enjoyed their catfish dinner special......all you can eat for $8.95...and I had 3 or 4 catfish fillets..........really very good with a very well seasoned breading on them.

Back at our stick and brick, I connected with Skype to the evening dinner out at the International Cedar Creek RV Owners Club Rally...in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I got to see and visit with several of my friends there......and for some, it was the first time that they had been "introduced" to the Skype program where you can see and talk with someone almost anywhere in the world.....for free!! Tomorrow I hope to talk/see with others at the annual business meeting of the Club......just wish that the 1st Lady and I were there!!!!!!

And so....that is my day....a day which saw the heat index raise to almost 110 degrees....UGH!!!!!! Not a pleasant day, to say the least. The a/c was working overtime I believe, but the stick and brick is nice and cool and dry. Same type of weather predicted for tomorrow.......DAMN!!!!

However, as always.......

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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009: A day on-the-go....and a return to the stick/brick.

I slept like the dead last night, but luckily I woke up around 7:30 this morning, finished my morning rituals, and then woke the 1st Lady. About 8:30 we went down to the breakfast room and had an adequate breakfast. As usual, the hotel ran out of muffins, but the waffle maker was never without someone standing and waiting to make a waffle. These were quite good...and we did enjoy them.

By almost 10am, we had checked out....and drove the 15 minutes to my sister's home. And....I was shocked to see how bad she looked......frail is more like the correct word to describe her. But....she has an appt with a specialist for intestinal problems.....so, she is just playing the waiting game. She has lost a lot of weight....and it sure shows.....again, she just looks frail.

After three hours at her home, we didn't want to tire her out more than she already is...and so we departed. We returned to the Outlet Mall for some final shopping decisions....and I decided to purchase a couple of Izod shirts...at a great price!

From there, we went to a couple of more stores to look at patio dining sets....and couldn't find anything like we wanted.....what to do, what to do!!!!????

And then......by 6:30pm, we were unlocking the door to our stick/brick.....a bit tired, but with things to do this evening. It has been a good two days....a very quick two days up to the Lake of the Ozarks and return.....but we did get quite a bit accomplished in several categories....and feel good about all of that. I remain quite worred about my sister.....and will just try to wait out the time until her dr's appt...........

Tomorrow, I have to be in Farmington at the AT&T Store to pick up my new, up-graded iPhone....the 3G S model which comes out to the public tomorrow. As I have already ordered one last week, I can be at the store from 7am to 9am to pick it up.....and I will be. All the reviews I have read give it much higher marks for some needed improvements.....and I am anxious to get it going....and then to enjoy using it. I already have come to depend on the iPhone I have...the 3G....and it is soooo great to have email/internet as I drive down the road. What will the next 10 years bring in the way of communication technology?????!!!!

The heat is ON.....and it remains on HIGH for tomorrow here. But......even with this high heat and humidity.......

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17, 2009: A quick and brief trip to Lake of the Ozarks...

We left this morning about 9:30am.......and after a couple of pit stops, we made a longer stop just south of Tuscumbia at the Miller Country Nursing Home.....perhaps that is no longer the correct name of this place, but I didn't pay much attention. It has certainlly updated and become very modern in comparison to what I remember from when my grandmother was there.

Marsha's aunt...her mother's sister....is there...so, we stopped to see her for awhile. She is 96 and closing fast on 97 years old.....and still in very good shape!!!!! She was having lunch when we arrived and so we set with her, even though she didn't really eat while we all were chatting. She is quite able of walking wherever she desires and her mind is excellent!!!! It is always great to see her and to visit with her!!!!! I also saw the former Eldon High School Ag. teacher...from years ago....Clifford Greenway. He doesn't really know anything, but he has changed that much in looks. Also, dropped by and visited with the wife of my dad's cousin...Clare Sandfort. Again, her mind is gone.....talks and talks but had no idea who I was and she didn't really make any sense in her talking to me. Hmmmm.........and of course, all of these people certainly made my mind begin thinking of what the future holds for me.......................?????

Sooo, we arrived in Eldon at mid-afternoon...actually just in time to get a sandwich at the Philly Cafe.....a place that does serve some great Philly Cheese Steaks Sandwiches. We gobbled them down quickly and then swiftly went to the Eldon Cemetary to put some flowers on Michele's grave, as well as my Mom and Dad's graves. From there we dashed to the Lake and Osage Beach.....where we stopped at the Relax Inn....and got a nice room for only $62.00. This place has changed names as I was here before with a music group from F'town on their way to the MO State Music Festival.......I believe it was after I retired and went with Michael Goldsmith as an accompanist.

We settled in....and then off we went to the Outlet Mall......in the most ungodly heat and humidity I have felt in a couple of years (we were in the Canadian Maritime Provinces for almost all of last summer). It was on the verge of being totally unbearable......just didn't think we could walk around with the temps sooo high and the humidity soooo high. But, we dashed from store to store......or, should I say to the stores that are still there. Yes......this place has suffered from the economic downturn considerably......and, not just this Mall. The entire area appears to be lacking.......lacking in open stores...and, most importantly, lacking people being here!!!!! I was really shocked!!!!!

About 8pm, we returned to the hotel.....and then went out for an ice cream cone. Went down to the "strip"...the area that used to be the center...the hub of this tourist destination. No longer!!!! As this is my home, I continue to be surprised at how it is sliding down hill in such a rush!!! Just really hurts to see how this strip area has changed to.....nothing!

After a small walk there at Dogpatch.....and just where IS Dogpatch???? All of the most interesting parts are gone.....however, the outdoor potty is still there with some guy sitting in it when you open the door and look in.......nothing has changed there.

Returning to the hotel we stopped at Paul's Supermarket.....as it always has a great wine selection and we came out of there with four bottles at decent prices for these brands. Back in the room.......I am heading to bed. In the morning, we will have breakfast here at the hotel....and then go see my sister, who lives not far from here. She has been sick for over a month now....and not making very good progress.......and is the reason for our trip up here. Soooo, I hope she is feeling good enough for us to stop by for a short visit.....my conversation with her this afternoon on the phone made me question our stopping to see her, but we will any way, if only for a few minutes.

And so......as much as I wanted to meet with some former students to begin the plans for all of my former band students....that will have to wait until I can run back up here in the next 2-3 weeks. It just wasn't possible on this quick trip........

As always.......

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16, 2009: HEAVY RAIN....and then somewhat sunny.

Finding myself in the vertical position about 6:30 this morning, I quietly crept out of the bedroom so the 1st Lady could continue to sleep. Opening the panel drapes which cover the wall of windows overlooking the patio, it was easy to see that this morning was not going to be a good weather morning!!!! Heavy clouds, everything was wet....and upon turning on the laptop, the weather radar was rather scary looking......a HUGE line of red..thunderstorms...was headed this way. And......before very long, this fast moving front of storms was upon us.

The 1st Lady was up and going by this time......and I already had a couple of cups of French Roast assisting me with becoming a human being this morning. And when the front pushed through here......OMG....we must have well over an inch.....perhaps two inches....of rain in a very short time. Then.....for the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon, the rains fell off and on albeit much more gentle than earlier.

Me?? Us??? We just spent the morning looking out the windows and knowing that this would be a lost day to work in the yard again. Soooo, between showers I went out to our small storage shed where we have all of the memos that we kept during our remodeling in '06 (has it actually been that long ago?). Finding some yearbooks from Linn HS and from Eldon HS, I rushed back to the house just as the rains began to descend once again.

Soooo, all morning I looked through these yearbooks, finding some pictures of the various bands that I directed from year to year.....and then I scanned these pictures from the yearbooks for the Facebook group page: Mr. H's Band Members. And then this evening, I uploaded this pics to my "....Memories #2" album which is available for anyone to look at.

This afternoon, when the sun came out so that we could have that incredible Misery humidity....I hooked up the RV to the truck....and went up to Griffin's Trailer Sales at the Park Hills exit off of Hwy 67. For anyone passing through this way with an rv....I strongly urge you to stop there if....and God forbid....you should have any trouble along this highway. They have an outstanding service center!!!!!! And....so pulling into their parking area, I went inside with my paperwork to have an estimate made on the front cap, decals, and the rear window. Bruce Griffin made the estimates....and then he said he would FAX everything to my claims adjuster in Ohio....and would let me know how this works out. BUT.....the real catch is...that they are SOOOOOOO busy with servicing rv's that it will be August at the very earliest before they can get mine into their bays to repair it. Of course......it is not an urgent repair....everything is just fine...no leaks, no breakage, etc., etc......we we can still travel in it, when we get ready to go west....AFTER the house is repaired and the truck is repainted. I DO have a date for the truck to be taken care of.....July 6th...and it will take two weeks!!

Returning home......it is only 25 miles each way.......I backed it back into the driveway.....but, not without a bit of confrontation between my spotter....the 1st Lady...and myself...hahaa!! She still, after five years, does not realize how difficult and how much I much move the rv forwards just to move it over to the side a few inches. Soooo, it took me just about a half hour this time with her "assistance" to get it back to where it belongs on the side of the three car driveway. Hmmmm......when she was gone and I returned from NE Missouri a few weeks ago......I backed it into that very same position the 1st time without any problems!!!! Hmmmmm......

Tonight.....well, I have spent the evening working on the pictures for the Facebook group page.....and have been successful getting everything on. I even "captured" a picture from a former student out in San Diego who had an Eldon band picture and had put it into an album of hers on FB this evening.

Tomorrow....we are off on a small journey...but more about that tomorrow!

And soooooo, this has been a productive day!!!! I did fail to mention that around noon we spent TWO HOURS putting two 9" square "boxes" on the wall next to a large piece of artwork that we have in the media room......so that we can put a "piece of stuff" to sit inside those squares on the wall. NOT my idea, but I went along with it. And....it did take some time to get things measured just perfectly because they had to be perfect for my eyes in order to look as they are supposed to look. A picture will show you what I mean later this week.......

A good day! And, tomorrow....in the mid-90's!!!! NOT GOOD....but hell, this IS Misery!!!!

But, as always in my Life........

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

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15, 2009: RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!!!!

WOW.....the entire morning was consumed by rain....RAIN!!!! From the time I pulled myself into a vertical....somewhat.....position.....it did not stop until sometime this afternoon. My morning was filled with some delicious French Roast coffee.....and a lot of just kicking back doing some reading. Isn't that what a rainy day is for???

This afternoon, I located some more pictures of former band performances, trips, students....and began to post them to the group Facebook site: "Mr. H' Band Members". And almost immediately....I began to hear from former students who were looking at these pictures...both by email, Facebook messages, and phone calls.

Around the middle of the afternoon I had a telephone interview with a reporter from The Eldon Advertiser. She wanted to know about our project to find all of my former band students from the past 30 years, as well as information about the planning we are doing for a HUGE reunion of ALL of my former students, from all three high school where I taught. It was a good 15 minutes....and it was a very enjoyable interview!!!

The sun peaked through the clouds off and on for brief moments late this afternoon. Sometime after "closing hours", I had a call from Kemps Auto Body....and my truck is now scheduled to go into their shop on July 6th for the total repainting which is needed because of the May 8th storm here in F'town. It will be in the shop for two weeks.....UGH!!!! At least the insurance is payng for this!!!!!

Well......today I continued to have mental pictures of our good friends in the Cedar Creek RV Owners Club who are attending the International CCRVOC Rally in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We had reservations for months....but...the storm damages must be repaired ....and so, we had to cancel our reservations, the trip, and we are already missing the GREAT times that they will have there this week!!! We have never missed one of these Rallies....and we are deeply disappointed that we cannot be there having a great time each day!!!! HAVE FUN, GUYS!!!!

And soooooo,.........another day in TheHowserHouse.....and, as always......

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

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Picture is worth a thousand words!!!!!

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NOT for sale......FREE for everyone!!!!

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Need wood???? Come and get it!!!

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Hmmmm......."curb appeal"????

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June 14, 2009: HOW could I STILL be alive???

OK.....this morning I slept until 7AM!!!!!!! THAT is quite unbelievable for me....I never sleep that long..but I did. Fr. Roast coffee was soon dripping into the coffee pot a few minutes after I was in the vertical position.....and soon the sagging hulk of Me started to become a human (?) again. The morning was spent with my coffee cup in hand...and watching a couple of the Sunday morning talk shows.......and by 10:30, I was in the yard getting the lawn mower talked into starting for me. And.....then......

I mowed until almost 3pm......and OMG, was the humidity, the sun, and the temps in the mid-80's practically unbearable for this aging, sagging hulk. As I have oftentimes said on here, I do NOT do well in humidity and heat......and today was NO exception. I was soaking wet in an hour....and just kept pushing that damned clackity machine around the yard. I had to stop to re-hydrate about every 30 minutes, but that did not keep me from getting soooo damned hot that I would sometimes just get dizzy.....and then I would head for a chair and more water. I think this was the worst I have experienced here......and I WILL not do it again when the weather is like this. Not enjoyable.....and definitely NOT good for my well-being...i.e...my Life!!

I stopped for a quick bite of lunch....and then by the time I completed the yard....with all of the holes and tire tracks in it from the storm and tree removals...another story....it took me much longer than usual. Of course, I had to trim around the logs, the root ball, the branches, the ruts in the yard......etc., etc. It will take years for this lawn/yard to heal.....and it may never be the same again!!

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in the a/c......you damn well better believe that!! I just fell soooo lucky that I had not passed out in the yard......as I felt like I would do just that several times. Guess I am in better health than I felt like I was while mowing.......!

Hmmmm.....with each passing day, I have more and more empathy for the victims of Katrina. Up here on Buford Heights, we still do not have the trees, logs, etc. out of the yards, off of the curbs, out of the streets.....and out of the way of the two way traffic!!!!! It is becoming very, very depressing......and dangerous. Several times I have heard screeching of tires as cars almost crashed into each other because of the narrowness of the street due to the debris from the downed trees. I wonder.......could it be the old adage......."out of sight, out of mind" ???? There are never tooo many city workers/administrative people that come up here.........WHERE ARE OUR ALDERMEN????? I KNOW that the tree-picker-uppers have been very busy.....but, come on now......only three trucks working on the entire town??????? I may have to join with other residents up here in a protest walk to the City Hall....!!??

But....I am still alive.....and that is something to be thankful for....even though we on Buford Blvd are living in brush and/or log piles.

And as always......even with all of this crap on the sides of the street......

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

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 13, 2009: Once again....I find myself a wee bit behind

Yep....it has been 48 hours plus since I last wrote on here....and at that time, I believe I mentioned that I was speechless......

Yesterday......shortly after the French Roast, fresh banana bread, and checking the mail....the 1st Lady decided that it would be a great day to dash up to the city...STL...and begin looking for the new patio furniture......to replace what was destroyed during the May 8th storm. Soooo, with a few quick movements....we soon were on our way. While driving up the highway, my phone rang...and it was Dr. Jeni telling us that she, too, was on her way into the city from their home....about 35 miles west of STL. She had a hair appointment at her favorite beauty salon....and so we agree to meet for a quick bite of lunch.

When we arrived, she had just finished with her 1.5 hour appt.......and we met her in the parking lot of where her salon is located. We then dashed east on Manchester, across I-270...and parked at the West County Mall....or whatever it is now called. As the 1st Lady and I were in a hurry, as well as Dr. Jeni, we just opted for the Food Court there.....had a quick couple of bites, some drinks, and off we went on our separate shopping tasks.

The 1st Lady and I then headed west on Manchester Rd.....and began stopping at various furniture stores, as well as at a couple of outdoor furniture shops, including Seasonal Concepts....a great store with plenty of choices. We just couldn't make up our minds.....as always happens when we shop for furniture!!! So, after spending most of the afternoon out there, we drove back east...and went to Crate and Barrel near the Galleria on Brentwood Blvd. We really love that store.....REALLY!!! And, we wound up spending an hour in there ....just looking and getting ideas, as well as making some small purchases for some kitchen items.

Then.....it was over to the Galleria....and dinner at The Cheesecake Factory!!! OMG.....the pasta I had was just wonderful.......breaded shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, angel hair pasta, broccoli, and this marvelous light cream sauce that was infused with garlic and lemon juices!!!! OH SOOOOO GOOD!!!!! A great rich cabernet I enjoyed both before the dinner with some delicious warm breads, as well as a glass during the dinner, also. The 1st Lady also had a wonderful pasta with shrimp in it, but....I liked my better...haha!!!

Then we wandered through the Galleria...had not been there since the economy sank down a bit....and we were surprised at the quantity of stores within this huge mall that were no longer.......doors shut and nothing in the windows!!!! Sooooo sad!!!!

By that time it was 9pm....and so we decided to head south for the stick and brick. By the time we returned......we were both more than just a little tired. Yep....and so, I didn't get this written last night.

I am not certain that I mentioned the outcome of the meeting of my house insurance adjuster AND our roofing contractor, Joe Finch of Finch Construction. Well...they both measured the roof together.....and after about an hour, the adjuster came inside and said that she had overlooked one section of the roof when she measure the week following the storm.....and therefore, she now agree with the contractor. Sooooo, the figures for the payment will be adjusted, the guttering will almost all be paid for....only a couple of hundred dollars we will have to pay for.....and the other items, such as the patio furniture will be covered completely, even with the higher costs for the furniture. Soooooo, it was a great morning......now let's see if she is woman of her word!!!!! We'll know when the check arrives!

Today??? We had to take some items to our daughter-in-law and granddaughter, as they are headed to Panama City and the Gulf beaches there for a few days. I have a very large beach umbrella....one like the kind the beach front hotels...not motels....use on their properties there with the heavy material and very large pole.....and so we took that for them to use, as well as a Boogie Board that belonged to Becky and Rachel. Then we went to see Mike for the afternoon and early evening, arriving back here just a few minutes ago. Enjoyed our time with him....and the afternoon just flew by with non-stop chattering.

And sooooo, a good two days....busy with over 400 miles of up and down the road(s)......even though the shopping didn't go quite as well as we had hoped. Oh well....there is always tomorrow.....and a couple of places left in STL to visit....such as Foreshaw's (sp??).

Oh yes.....I forgot to mention that yesterday on our way to STL, we stopped at the Farmington AT&T Corporate Store and I asked if I would eligible to exchange my last week's purchase of the iPhone 3G.......for the new coming out next week...the iPhone 3G S.....a newer model that is faster, more gigabytes, and a better battery. And.......HURRAY!!! I am....since we are new customers for ATT cell phones, and I have only had it a week......all it will cost me is the $20 restocking fee. Soooo, I ordered it.....and can pick it up next Friday!!! OH YEAH!!!!! I am loving the iPhone....and it is sooo incredible to be driving down the highway with no towns even near....and pick up my email, the weather, the internet completely!!!! LOVE IT!!!! The clarity of the sound on the phone calls, the camera which is not too bad....the whole damn thing!!! BUT....sure glad I didn't get one earlier or I would be paying out the rear for the newer model arriving next week!!!!

And sooooo.......as always.....

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

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009: For once in my Life, I am speechless.......

It is 9:30pm....and I just happened to click onto the website....the blog...of a former student who is now a very wonderful friend. I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was going to find there....and I am simply floored and overwhelmed at the very kind and honest thoughts she wrote for the world to read. As I am more than overcome with emotions at this moment, I am going to do something I have never done before.....and probably shouldn't do now. But.....even though this may come across as egotistical on my part.....I want all of you to know just exactly what being a teacher is all about......and that is the not about the $$$, but it is the way you can influence young people while doing your daily job of being a teacher, not knowing that you are actually having this type of an effect on your students. I have had many tributes during this past week as we have gone about getting this Facebook Group site up and running for my former students.....however this specific tribute is sooooo thoughtful and personal that I just want to share it with others. I am still sitting here fighting my emotions..............


Thank you Melissa...thank you!

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 10, 2009: MORNING!!!! Hmmm.....

Just a quick note.....I BARELY remember writing last night's post, so I am not even going to look at....might want to hide. I was soooo exhausted from doing soooo many of those pictures yesterday....and there are still more to search through and scan and get them on the FB page. OK....my Life seems to have taken a turn backwards......back to the days of teaching Band...and listening to soooo many of my students. I really do need to return to TODAY for today!! More later...

Still WEDNESDAY: Well, the day flew by quickly. It was sooooo ungodly hot and humid here today....the air was soooo heavy and thick....terrible!!!! And, tonight.....well, another night of hoping that the tornadoes manage to dodge us. Tornado watch until 3AM.....UGH!!!!!!!

Soooo, what did I do today???? Well.....just not too much of anything. Relaxed, did some reading, nursed a bad headache that I already had going when I got up this morning.....and that same little man just would not quit pounding inside my head...until he must have worn himself out, because around 6pm.....the pounding had ceased!!! THANK goodness!!!!

I spent some time....actually, quite a bit of time, trying to get my HP All-In-One Photosmart 3310 printer to scan pictures!!!! YEP....last night it was working just great.......This afternoon, well.....damn it, it wouldn't work at all. And, it never did scan another picture!!!!!

I went online to the HP website and downloaded a driver, as I have had to do before. With my newer pc, Vista is my "gift" for the purchase......and my printer is just not compatible with Vista!!!! I did get it to work last fall...and it did fine, UNTIL this morning!!!!! Just not sure what the problem is....but, I HAVE to get around this problem somehow. Tomorrow, I will try again to find a way to get it to work. Today I even used the USB cable....and it still would not scan a damn thing!!!

I had even burrowed through a closet and found a large box of slides with some marked in the early 1970's....and found some pics of my first band in Linn, MO. BUT.....I couldn't even get it to scan those slides to make a picture out of them.......sooo, it is really having difficulty communicating with the pc....and with this sagging hulk of ME!!!!!

Tomorrow morning......once again, the roof will be measured by the adjuster WITH my contractor....and we shall see how this disagreement resolves itself!!! Hmmmm..........stay tuned!

The 1st Lady delayed her return until tomorrow.....as her Mother needed to get her hair cut....and so, the 1st Lady remained up there to take her to a beauty shop to have it fixed.

I neglected, in my exhaustion last night, to say that a former student had called me....and it was GREAT to visit with him. Brandon Martignoni......a baritone horn player.....and I have not talked for several years, literally, and has married and has children since we have seen each other. Sooooo, unless the 1st Lady has something scheduled for next Friday.......we will join them as their guests at Tony's in STL. We have not eaten there for a few years.....and so, not only will it be GREAT to visit with Brandon and his wife, but it will give us a great excuse to eat at this mecca of haute cuisine in St. Louis!!!!

Well, here we go again.......the lights are flickering, not completely off, but the storms are to the west/southwest of us, the lightening is flashing, and the thunder is rolling around rather loudly. Soooo, I will get off of here before I lose this writing......

As always.....

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

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

June 9, 2009: Missed yesterday.....been sooooooo BUSY!!!!

Guess what!! MORE storms rolling through here, however.....all of them so far tonight have gone around us. HUGE thunderstorms with horrific winds, tornadoes, flash flood rains, MISERY is here again.....and in the distance to the west, more thunder is audible!!!

I have spent the major part of yesterday and today working with the hundreds of pictures that I have of band activities....most of the here in F'town, but some in Eldon. And......it has taken me hours and hours and hours to go through all of these, not to mention just locating their hiding places here in the stick and brick......and then to get each one scanned, and uploaded to Facebook.

This project is AMAZING!!!!!! I have heard from former students that I have not heard from in years and years.......and EVERYONE I have talked with, those who have phoned from many states, and those who have dropped by.........it has just been incredible!!!!!!! This has become soooo large that any thought of a reunion will have to wait until next year......as I had not realized just how much time this would take....and I'm not even talking about organizing the logistics of such an event.

I have no idea how many former students I have......over my 30 year career. And these young adults live all around the world, as I have heard from many from overseas, most asking if we could not have the reunion until next year so they can get their travel plans organized.

If you have not seen the pictures that are appearing daily........and, you must be a member of Facebook(it IS FREE)....then you will not be able to access them. There is an album on my Facebook page.....and there are a couple of albums with links to them on the FB group page: Mr H's Band Members Search for that and it will get you there.

And sooooo, this is going to close for tonight. I am exhausted and need to get things put away before the 1st Lady returns tomorrow from visiting her Mother.

And as always........

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

Sunday, June 07, 2009

June 7, 2009: Another VERY busy day......

Weather???? Well, it became very, very warm with increasing humidity....and storms arriving tomorrow.

Before I had even finished my FIRST cup of Fr. Roast this morning......I was outside and working at the "burn pile".....as the 1st Lady continued to bring many, many wheel barrows full of twigs, tiny sticks, dead grass/leaves, etc., etc.......all from the loss of the trees and the storm damage to our property. The Gov of MO had give a waiver for all "non-burning" ordinances/regulations, so I decided to try to get these piles of burnables burned today before the storms arrive and then I have to wait around until they dry out....again.

So....for three hours I kept burning these yard "pickings" and when it soon became soooo hot in the sun, as I stood there with my water hose at the ready, a rake in the other hand, I became a bit dehydrated and finally got a chair, bottles of water, and then continued until about noon. But....the sun overcame me and I finally said "To hell with this shit!" and went inside and took a shower to get rid of the smoke on my sagging hulk of Me!!!!

This afternoon, the 1st Lady left for northeast MO to take her mother to a dr.'s appointment tomorrow...and think she will remain up there for a couple of days. Then about mid-afternoon, Dr. Jeni and Darrel came by with Meghan, Ava, and Max.....in their motorhome. They had been down to Clearwater Lake for the weekend....and wanted to see the damages to the house and the "no tree" property that we now live on. GREAT to see them.......and the kids really enjoyed their camping weekend.

This evening....well, it has been all about "Mr. H's Band Members" new Facebook group. Check it out sometime!!! I have been going through tons of pictures....and have many, many more tons of pics to go through so that I can post them on the Facebook Group site. It is ohhhhh sooooo amazing to hear the comments of many of these former students......I had NO IDEA how much Band meant to them.....and our Band Family(ies) from the three schools I taught at. WOW......all of their comments are worth soooooo much more than any teacher's paycheck......I am just blown away by all of this!!!!!

And sooooo, the day is ending...and this sagging hulk of Me is really tired tonight. My eyes are hanging below my sagging three chins....and so, I guess it is time to call it a day.

As always.....and especially with this incredible new Facebook group page(s).......

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