Friday, April 30, 2010

Meghan.....looking older all the time...."fun" times ahead(?).

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Max and Ava....enjoying Applebee's for dinner!



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FRI, April 30, 2010: All about nothing....except tornado warnings!

A good nights sleep in the new 4th bedroom at Dr. Jeni's home......and I was up before anyone else. Planning on that, I quietly left the bedrom in the lower level and went upstairs to the great room and made some.......Folger's coffee....hmmmm!

The morning went quickly.......VERY, VERY windy with storms and heavy rains predicted for today and tomorrow.....ugh. Misery has returned..........I took a couple of hours off and went into Washington to do some shopping at Lowe's, their new Super Walmart, and have a quick bite of lunch.

Returning out into the gorgeous countryside around Washington where Dr. Jeni and Darrel have their wonderful home sitting a very wooded five acres.......I relaxed on the deck and just enjoyed the warm, warm temps brought in by the Texas-size winds. We all decided to go into town for dinner.......and ate at Applebee's. Orderin the fried shrimp dinner.....I was really surprised to see 18 medium shrimp on my plate, a large serving of french fries, and some great creamy slaw.......can you believe it....18 SHRIMP. I was not all that hungry, but managed to get all of these crunchy little critters stowed safely away deep inside my evolving body.......all for $11.95 or some sort of change like that. I also had their Perfect Margarita......yep....that is a great drink.......sooooo damn smooth!!!!! I could have let slide down really quite quickly, but didn't dare as I was driving back to the house. The one thing about this drink......it is at the very least two completely fill margarita glasses full of this wonder concoction.....as they bring it to the table in the chilled shaker....and it certainly gives a hefty drink for the $7 and change!!!!! Highly recommended!!!!!

Back to their home in the woods.......the storms began to approach....and Washington and the surrounding area went under a Tornado WARNING about 6:30 or soooo........and then the winds died completely down to an hushed silence to say the least.....a bit nerve-wracking as May 8th of last year still lies in the front of my mind to surface quickly on evenings such as this! But......we missed any tornadic activity around here.....just some heavy rains.

Tomorrow is the 5th birthday party for Ava....and it will be at some "play place" in STL that is strictly for smaller children. Soooo, we will all journey into the city with the birthday cake and spend two hours their for the little ones to enjoy to the max!!!!!! And speaking of Max.......I'm sure he will really have fun there!

And sooooo, another day ends.....and, hopefully the evening has smoothed out as far as storms go........we are keeping a radar site online open all evening and checking it closely as there are no storm warning towers out this far from Washington.

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

WHAT a MONSTER MOTORHOME!!!



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Interior of their coach


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Lots of singing and rhythmic movements in this elementary choir!!!




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Meghan has the lead part in this song!!!




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A great "show choir" for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders!!!


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THUR, April 29, 2010: Currently at Dr. Jeni's......

Hmmmmm.......this morning was not the restful, relaxing morning that I usually have been experiencing.....drinking my Fr. Roast coffee on the patio, reading the major newspapers from the country, and enjoying the day's beginning. Instead......it was hurry, hurry, hurry as we tried to get everything ready to leave no later than 10am......birthday presents loaded, some semi-dress clothes for Meghan's music program tonight, and enough things to do us until we return late this weekend. Did we do it???? NOPE.....just as it was 10AM...the sacred departure time...the 1st Lady discovered that her tiny little case where she carries her driver's license, some cash, and a credit card.....was missing! Yep......and she could NOT find the damn thing. Soooo, I went through the trash bags in the trash container in the garage, we went through the dirty laundry, I searched the Buick, I searched the truck,.....we looked everywhere......and just as she was about to give it up, she found them in a jacket that she forgot she had worn this week!!! DAMN, but it is HELL to get older and discover that the short term memory loss so often discussed has become a reality!

She had a 10:30 appt for a Dr.'s checkup in Farmington.....sooo, we were late for that. And, from that time on.......we were running behind on our self-made schedule for the afternoon. We had planned to look in STL for a couple of pieces of furniture....however, that wasn't possible. We finally arrived in Washington and on to Dr. Jeni's home by 4pm. WHEW.......what a day!!!

Dr. Jeni's mother-in-law arrived about an hour after we got there....and by 6pm, we had everyone loaded and on the way to the elementary school out here in the countryside for Meghan's spring music program. Luckily......Dr. Jeni and Darrel had attended the fund-raising auction for the elementary school sometime this winter.....where the liquor flows freely...literally....and by the time the auction begins, everyone is in a wonderful mood to purchase items at the auction......GREAT idea for making money....right?????!!!!! Soooo, they bid on six front row seats for tonight's program.....paid a small fortune for them, but it was all for a great cause....the elementary school!!! Soooo, we didn't have to rush and arrive an hour and a half early to get decend seats in the gym......Dr. Jeni/Darrel's last name was on the chairs, as well as having a reserved parking space right in front of the school.

The program was great!!!!! And, Meghan is soooo musical and rhythmic....such a great little dancer!!!! Soooo much fun she has.....and then soooo much fun WE have watching her!!!!! She steals the show.....everytime!

Back at their home by 7:30......the evening was not quite and reserved, not with soooo many kids and people in the house for the weekend!!! A loud weekend is expected....haha!!!

I didn't mention about seeing Darrel and Dr. Jeni's new custom-built motorhome which they just picked up in Nashville, TN a couple of weeks ago. It is one of those units that is on a heavy duty truck frame with a regular heavy duty cab, motor, etc. WOW.....is it ever beautiful....and it will be great for pulling his LONG trailer with two race cars in it to the various races over the summer season!!!! Just sooooo well made......and soooo beautiful with marble tiled floors which are heated floors, all cherry wood solid cabinets...LOTS of them.....four flat screen tv's, surround sound throughout the three rooms in the coach part, as well as recessed lighting throughout, leather sofas, king sized bed, just gorgeous!!!!! A great way to travel to races....or, anywhere for that matter!!!!!!! They designed it in Nashville, and then continued to run down there every 3-4 weeks to check on the progress and check on their design ideas to see if they were being constructed and detailed correctly.........WOW!!!!!!

And sooooo, a busy day......VERY busy day......but, as usual......

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wed, April 28, 2010: THANKS, to all who commented!!

Well, there were seveal comments made...and the are all published on here at the bottom of last night's posting. There were MANY others which came by email....and even a few phone calls! THANKS soooo much!!!! Your thoughts, your requests to continue writing, your appreciation remarks for the last five years which many of you have followed since I began..........ALL of you that responded.......this sagging hulk of Me really does appreciate all of you!!!!

Sooooooo............this morning I was up and had finished the morning rituals by 7:15.....as my good friend, Michael Goldsmith, was to arrive for coffee around 8am. As several of you may know....others probably not....he is "Michael-In-Charge" of the former student reunion.....the Howser Music Fest. We did have many things to discuss about this event......and we made plans for a conference call for later this week/weekend with the entire planning committee. And.....Michael and I had some great discussions on other topics....as we normally do. Got to thinking about this........especially after I saw a picture of him during his early years in HS.....and,.....we have been "talking" about things since he first began beginning band back in his 6th grade.....for 30 years, if I calculated everything correctly!!!!! WOW.....we go back further than I had realized....haha!!!!

He couldn't remain and drink all of the second pot of coffee, like we normally do when he is here, as he had a class to teach at 11am at Mineral Area College, where he is part of the musicl faculty! But......as always......it was great to be able to spend a bit of time together....again!

This afternoon........I just puttered around the yard a bit. Gorgeous, gorgeous day......and one that you do not want to spend inside a sticknbrick....and, so I didn't. I began to burn some of my cuttings from the fountain grasses and other ornamental grasses in the yard.........SSSSSHHHHHH, don't tell anyone(that includes you in the City Hall who read this...OK?) However, after the top layer was gone......all the rest was still very wet, sooooo.......later(ssshhh).

I did a bit of trimming of some grass along the edges......our primitive WeedEater is out of string...and, I cannot find any replacement spools here at any of the local hardward/box stores in town. Soooo, that will be taken care of while we are away for the next four days!!! I will find it.....(I think)!

By 4pm......I KNEW that at least on the east coast it was 5 o'clock...within the boundaries of our great country, so.......I enjoyed a really nice wine.......a Cab from Bodega..a Norton.....in Argentina. It is a 2006 and I found several on sale somewhere this winter, so I uncorked it yesterday and, yes.....it is really very good.....and since I have one of those oxygen sucking pumps, I can put in the rubber stopper, suck out the air....and it does last without losing it's ummph quickly. And...that is what I have done........after a couple of doses late this afternoon!!!!
Some of those incredible Tostito Lime Chips with some great Mexican salsa that can be found in the Latin section of most groceries.....and the afternoon drifted away smoothly with a bit of finesse!!!

This evening, after several thin slices of turkey breast encased in a fresh pita pocket,....a really good way to enjoy some deli meats.......the 1st Lady and I watched last night's "Dancing With The Stars" to see who was voted out.....the correct couple by all means.....and then we enjoyed "American Idol", but both of us were upset at who was voted out overnight. Firmly believe she was the wrong person to send home.....!!!

I have been able to get to my pictures on this blog which I took while at the Inauguration of Pres. Obama.....and so, I am in the rather time-consuming process of capturing them online and then transferring them to My Pictures, which I will later put on a CD and, also, into my external hard drive for safekeeping....I HOPE!!!!! Still working on the Archival problems....and think the only possibility might be to export the entire blog to another hosting site!!! BUT.....I will need my cyberspace/computer guru for assistance with this set-up......the one and only Michael Goldsmith!

Tomorrow....we are off to Washington, MO to visit Dr. Jeni, Darrel and grandkids. Meghan has her spring music program tomorrow night....and so we will be there, of course. We will help Ava celebrate her 5th birthday on Saturday at a party in STL....and then return to the sticknbrick on Sunday. All of May is pretty well scheduled....UGH!!!!!!!! But....we will also be flying to Edmonton, Alberta the last week of May....and I'm terribly excited about this upcoming trip to Canada......or, did I already mention that???? HAHA!!!

THANKS again for the comments, emails, and phone calls....and anyone else who wishes to share your opinions about what I wrote about last night, please,....PLEASE...let me know!!!

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rachel...with a new bike from the 1st Lady and myself for her birthday

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A BAKING BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!!! They made their own hats and aprons, made the birthday cupcakes and had a great time!!!!




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Monday/Tuesday: April 26/27, 2010: ?????????

Oh yeah.....what the hell are all of those questions marks doing in the heading????? Did it make your curiosity go up just a little??? Were you by any chance wondering what I was going to say on here????? Hmmmm.......

Let me be candid.......it seems this little evening chats/blog posts that I have been writing now for five years.....and it has been that long almost to the day!! I cannot find out exactly when I began because the damned Archives on here are not allowing me to get past the last few days of each month........I have toooooo many posts on here, as they currently limit them to a total of 5000. Did I lead you away from my topic sentence of this paragraph??? Yep.....I did that, not intentionally, but I didn't finish the first sentence.......as I was saying, these posts are beginning to not be written each and every day, but seemed to be evolving into posts made every two days. Why????

I think this blog needs some refurbishing.....some changes....a fresh look.....a bit of the spark that has drifted away from my original writings five years ago. You know.....who the hell really, really cares about the weather where I am located??? Huh??? Has my Life changed....has it become just a routine that I have to do each and every evening???? Have I become duller??? (Is that a word?)

As you can see....I am finding myself wrestling with the "why?" of my blogs not be written every day/night. I KNOW that I have tons and tons of daily readers......that I can check on very easily.....as well as where your "server/provider" is located, at least the city/town and state/country. But......why are you here on my blog everyday/evening????? What draws you to this blog?????? What am I saying that is soooooo important that you return every day or so to this blog to read my sketchy weather report for my location, wherever that might be at the time of the writing? Can you give me a clue????????????????

When I began this blog......it was at the suggestion of my close friend/former student/associate band director here in F'town.....Michael Goldsmith. And......I found it an excellent way to communicate with our family when we began our dedicated travels....in 2005. It did serve that purpose 100%......along with pictures of where we were at the time of writing, the things we had been doing that day, and these were immediate tools for our family who were thousands of miles away, depending on our location. In 2007, I even wrote and posted from Egypt and Jordan........many thousands of miles from southeast Missouri. And it evolved into the daily posting of my Life, our travels, our worries, our problems, our families, our friends, and thousands, literally.....of pictures. YOU have traveled with me to not only Egypt and Jordan, but to Mexico and to Canada, as well as to God knows how many states over these past 5 years.....including the inauguration of President Obama in Washington DC last year.

And now.....we are at home for a period of time.....and our Life here at the sticknbrick has become rather mundane.......nothing exciting is happening, or so it seems to me tonight. What did I do today??? Finish mowing the lawn that I began yesterday afternoon and didn't get finished until this afternoon........ Yep, that is the sum total of our/my activities for the past 48 yours....other than living my Life as the man of the house....doing the chores, washing the dishes, making the bed, the morning rituals, drinking the dark Fr Roast coffee and the dark red medicine.....and how many times can I write about those activities without falling off of this damn stool at the bar in complete and utter boredom?????? HUH?????????

Soooooooo......I need your help. Many, many of you have been nothing more than "lurkers" on here......sneak in here, take a peek around the Life of TheHowserHouse, leave quietly, and then return in a day or so......without a squeak from you to me! Sooooooooo.......I need your help. Others have written a few comments from time to time......and they are sooooooo appreciated, even if I might not agree with your words and thoughts......but then, I do know that you don't agree with mine that way...haha!! Your help!!!???? Why are you here???? What would you like to read about on this blog?????? Your thoughts??????????????????

THAT is your assignment, class! Give me some input......should I even continue to write this blog??? I DO love to write....I have always enjoyed writing, even when I was in high school. But.....but......yeah.....some feedback from out there in cyberspace is requested.....please???

Let me know your feelings, your thoughts,......OK?????? I will be waiting.........

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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sat/Sun: April 24-25, 2010: Yes.....it IS raining...finally!!!!

Sat.......do you really want a report on yesterday's weather here in SE Missouri??? If you have heard any news you know that we have had storms, lots of rain, and some unfortunate wind storms, albeit where we live NO tornadoes. And.....that is just fine with all of us. Since our inland hurricane last May 8th, our town has erected more towers with warning sirens on them....and there is one just a block and a half from the sticknbrick. GREAT!!!!!! At least in our well insulated bedroom we will be able to hear it if we ever have another storm such as that horrific, expensive and unusual storm.

We left to go to Cape G about 9am......and our first stop was at the Target store where we purchased the bicycle...21 speed....that Rachel had decided that she liked. From there, we took it to their home and surprised her with it.....perhaps!!?? HAHA....she is 12 years old now, or will be this week....and you can't keep a secret like that from a granddaughter that makes straight A's every quarter/semester! We had a nice visit with Becky and her.....and then we went to the Cape mall where the Lenscrafter store is located.

For the next two hours we debated, discussed, tried on, discussed, and finally the 1st Lady and I each made decisions as to new frames for our new glasses, which we both desperately need. She ordered transition, progressive lenses.....and I ordered two pair....the second pair being prescription sunglasses. As I have been told several times, including yesterday at the store, the transition glasses do no good in a car because of the UV blocker on the front windshields of the newer vehicles.....and since I drive most of the time, I really need some good sun blockers, as I am already getting cataract on my right eye.

The glasses may take up to two weeks......soooo, hopefully we will be able to get any adjustments made prior to leaving for Edmonton the end of May. I was taken back just a bit by the final price tag for the three pairs of glasses......$1200 plus.....UGH!!!!!! And, that price was with a couple of 30% discounts.....DAMN!!!!! Glasses sure do come with hefty price tags........how DO some people afford them????? WOW!!!!!

We did some more shopping...and then spent the afternoon visiting Mike.....returning home about 9pm last night.....and a bit fatigued, to say the least..........

SUNDAY........Terrible tornadoes down in Mississippi yesterday.....whew!!!!! Living here in Tornado Alley, we never know when that could happen to us........and what happened yesterday is sooooo much worse than what happened to us last May.

Today.....a WINDY, misty, drizzling day......a day to just stay inside and look out the windows. I read, wrote, thought, watched some tv, read, slept, thought, and watched some more tv. Damn exciting, it was.......not! The 1st Lady did make a great pasta late this afternoon......linguine with clams, fresh basil, garlic, and lemon sauce......really quite tasty.....and accompanied by some great wine! A nice way to end the gloomy day........

As you see.......today was not an active day.........but, I believe we all have to have these kind of days from time to time...........don't we???? Don't you??? We did get a call from Jay(Jeremy) as he was driving back to Columbus, OH from Cleveland where he had had a meeting. Anne-marie had flown down to Mobile, AL for the weekend.....I believe he said she had a wedding to attend there. He did say that their furniture had arrived via a moving company from Hartford, CT......soooo, he was glad of that!!! I told him we would run over there in the near future for a few days........anxious to see where they are living there in Columbus.

We will be going to Washington, MO to see Meghan's spring music program at her school on Thursday evening. With Ava's birthday party this coming Saturday, we will remain there for that celebration. Rachel's BD party was yesterday afternoon......a "cooking party"....as her guests were going to make cupcakes and a couple of other items, I think. Sounds like great fun.

We are planning to run up to Iowa City, Iowa, a week from tomorrow as on Tuesday of that week, Rachel's percussion group that she performs with will be doing a program at some concert hall at the University of Iowa.....and we don't want to miss that!!!! Should be great fun.....and I haven't been on the campus in years and years. Really great for sixth graders to be able to make a trip like that.......I'm impressed!!!!

And soooooo, we add plans for travel, and we modify others.......but, we are always looking forward to where the road...and airplanes....will take us!!!! We received some disturbing and sad news from one couple, friends of ours from the RGV. He has had throat cancer, been battling that for almost a year.......and while that tumor is no longer there, he now has been told that cancer is in his liver, adrenal glands, and some lymph nodes........really, really not good news!!!! As much as they are BIG optimists, I think this news has hit them below the belt.....they just weren't expecting this news from the Dr.s in Houston, TX........none of us were!!!! As I always, always say when someone asks me how I am doing: I am just fine, as far as I know.....since I have NO idea what is happening inside this aging and evolving body of mine. And....that is soooooo true!!!!

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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thur/Fri, Apr 22-23, 2010: Relaxing, enjoying Life continues.....

Yep......this is one of those times when I have to kind of think about what there is to write about.......these are just those kind of days that nothing much is needed to be done.....and so, I don't do much here at the sticknbrick.

Yesterday, the 1st Lady worked in the front part of the yard......doing just what she enjoys doing: hand pulling/weeding of the "yellow roses of Texas" that those birds I talked with in Feb in the World Bird Sanctuary along the Rio Grande River.....they transported the seeds so that I could bring some of Texas with me.....Dandelions!!! It is relaxing to her to do this.....she can work on her tan....and gives her some "thinking time".

Myself????? I, too, did some work in the yard, doing some weeding and some "detailing" on the sides of the yard. I also did some reading on the patio......sipping coffee in the morning....and sipping my required dark red medicine when got to be "5 o'clock somewhere". The 1st Lady joined me for our own private HowserHouseHappyHour.....and we enjoyed just kicking back on the patio and watching the day slip away.

She then had to get ready as she had her Beta Sigma Phi Sorority Founder's Day banquet to attend out at the Country Club......with not only her chapter, but the two other chapters here in F'town also attending this annual event. She returned between 9 and 10pm....and said she had a great time......glad to hear that. Myself......I watched some tv shows, read some, and sipped another glass of wine.

TODAY.......another beautiful day when for two days it has been "supposed to" rain, but nothing has arrived. I had my morning coffee out on the patio as some of the local F'town Bird Choir came by to sing at the edge of the patio for me. Most of the repertoire was "chance" music......each bird doing his/her own thing and hopefully they would blend and finish the song(s) together at the same time. Well.......it didn't quite happen that way, but I enjoyed them stopping by to perform for me at the bird feeders!!!! (Sounded rather like the first few weeks of Beginning Band Class when the 6th graders were trying to learn how to play a few little notes all together).

ALAS, ALAS.....it is actually raining....a bit.....outside. Some lightning and thunder, but nothing serious. We SURE NEED the rain, so hope it continues all night!!!!

Tomorrow we are going to Cape G. to see if we can find some frames we like for new glasses for each of us; then, we have to buy a new bicycle for our granddaughter, Rachel....as next Tuesday is her 12th birthday!!!! WOW....where DOES the time go to??? Then we plan to visit with Michael during the afternoon.......and return home rather late tomorrow evening. Soooo, you have the agenda for the day for ourselves.....just in case I don't get a post made tomorrow night.

It is less than 5 weeks now until we fly up to Edmonton, Albertat, Canada......YEAH!!!!!!!! Can't wait!!! But.......as always..........

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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tue/Wed: April 20-21, 2010: A Time Out.......(fore me)

OMG.....what a gorgeous day it was yesterday.......just a real WOW day!!!!!!! And, let me tell you.......right from the "git go", I decided that I was going to take advantage of every minute of it. These "perfect" days just don't happen very often........I had most of my weekly chores completed, I had a great novel to finish reading, I had a patio that was just beckoning for me sit and enjoy it........and, sooooo....I took a time out....and did about as next to nothing as I have done for a LONG, LONG time!!!!!!!

The coffee was dark, rich, robust, and deeply roasted.....and so, I simply enjoyed it on the patio during the morning......listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, as well as the songs of the many various birds that stopped by for a quick snack while they were performing their repertoire for me. The main disturbing sounds that penetrated were the many dump trucks that roared around our corner on their way to the construction of the bypass about a half mile or less north of us.....UGH!!!!! Will they ever finish this job????

During the afternoon.....I had graduated from French Roast coffee.....to a bit of my infamous "dark red medicine".....along with some lime chips and guacamole dip....when around the corner came this familiar face......a visitor to my patio. Dennis Bess dropped by to chat, as he had seen me sitting there as he drove by......soooooo, it had been such a long, long time since we had visited that we never ever came to a period. He and I had served on the local Board of Education together....and as I did not run for another three year term due to the fact that we are gone soooooo much from this community, I never run into him any more. He is now the Bd. President......and, with the recent devastating fire at the Middle School, we had much to talk about!!!!!!! It was soooooo wonderful to see him and to spend some realy quality time together.......Thanks for stopping by Dennis....and we must get together more often!!!!

The evening went by in a flurry of shows on the tellie.....especially American Idol. There are still 2 or 3 who need to be removed....voted off...and I believe it will all fall in place when that happens..........

TODAY/Wed...........I woke up with one of those morning headaches....and it stayed around with me all morning and into the early afternoon. I did clean the bathrooms, did the floors, cleaned the kitchen and wiped the prints/marks off of the granite counter tops, and just generally got ready to for the 1st Lady to return to the sticknbrick. She arrived about 4pm......and I was deep into my iPod music/Pandora Station using my new Bose headphones......WOW!!!! THEY ARE JUST INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!! Worth every penny of that $300 price tag!!!!!!!!!!

When the 1st Lady arrived, we had much to discuss.......her Mother's health, the items she tended to at her home in Monroe City, and a quick trip around the lawn and garden areas to check on the herbs that I had planted and look at the flowers and azalea bushes that are beginning to come to full bloom. Then.....she was off to Farmington to mee with her former teacher friends....for their monthly get together for dinner and drinks. Of course, this is the first time she has been around here since December, so sure they have much to catch up on!!!!!

I watched "Idol" and I think the one who was voted off needed to go.....just a matter of when that time would come....and it came tonight. It was a good program/show tonight, even thought I thought that some of the music....well, some of the groups just didn't do anything for me....hmmmm,.....more show with lights and colors than music....my own personal opinion.!!!

Rains are predicted....and we sure do need the rain!!!!!! Hopefully it will be a gentle rain for a couple of days and not the usual Misery gully-washers!!!!!! It is only a month until we fly up to Edmonton, Alberta.......and the 1st Lady and I MUST get the rest of our travel plans made for later in the fall. IF we are going to go overseas this fall, then we must begin to get these plans completed and reservations locked in!!! Sooooo......tomorrow....maybe????? And........as always.....

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

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010: DAMN tired of internet problems here....

WOW.....this has been the longest time since I have been online LONG enough to get a post written.....and hopefully, I will get this posted!!!! My erratic internet continues, so not sure if I can get this posted....with each sentence written I am going to save it...haha!!!! I have had an internet tech guy here from AT&T Thursday, Friday, Sat, and today.....and still it goes on and off at will, if only for a few seconds. BUT......that just interrupts what I am doing and it is lost unless I do it all over again....and, by that time it goes off again, and all is lost.

After he was here this afternoon....it seemed....SEEMED being the key word here....to be working ok. But....an hour later, it began doing that off and on...off and on...sequence which it goes through. Not being off for more than 10-15 seconds....then it is back on. I am wondering if it is the modem.......?????? Well, he will back tomorrow.....

Saturday......just sat around waiting for him to return.....which he did to no avail!!! He worked on some different things....and thought it was fixed. WRONG

Sunday: I spent the day in the yard, mowing, weeding, moving some items, trimming a few bushes.....and cursing the internet connection each time I was online. By Sunday evening...last night....it was barely working. Soooooo..........

Monday: Today I called him early in the morning......and he arrived about 2:30pm. He did some checking with the outside connection lines and found one that was "loose". Soooo, he repaired that one.....tested things...and they worked......................for an hour!! After he left it only took one hour before it started going off and on.....off and on. Sooooo, back on the phone....and he will return tomorrow....DAMN!!!!! All of this shit has been the result of canceling our landline phones within the sticknbrick......because every since they did that, it has been giving me all of this trouble.

The once positive thing that happened to me today: my phone rang..."Mr. Howser?" a man's voice asked.......and then he identified himself.....OH MY GOD!!!!! It was a former student of mine from the very first school where I began my teaching career...in Linn, Missouri. A young man....(at that time)......who now is a grandfather, but still resides just outside of Linn. He was a trumpet player for me and was finishing his sophomore year when I left Linn for Eldon, MO. And.....I have not talked to him since 1974....36 years ago!!!!!!! We talked families, jobs, other students who were in band at that time, etc., etc..... And, he wanted to know more about the reunion in July!!!!!! Johnny Fowler.....if you read this.....it was sooooo wonderful to hear from you again......it just made my day 110%!!!!!

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

THURS/FRI: April 15-16, 2010: GREAT weather.....but, NO INTERNET!!!!!

OK.....I promised....at least to myself...that I would not continue to skip a day of writing on here......but (isn't there ALWAYS a "but").....yesterday the internet went down here at the sticknbrick and I had no service until about noon today! The story????.........

Yesterday morning when I hauled/drug my sagging ass out of the bed, I made my usual coffee...and sat down to read online the emails and the morning newspapers. Ok......I tried to get online....and the screen flashed that the server was down....no internet!!! WHAT THE HELL????!!!! With my laptop sitting on the bar at the edge of the kitchen, I got up and went into the den where the wireless modem is located......and, the red light was flashing on the DSL light....and the rest of the lights were very erratic. Soooo, I unplugged the power and the DSL cable from the back of it....waited the required amount of seconds......and then replugged everything......and it worked!!!.......FOR ABOUT ONE MINUTE!

Soooo, again I went through the process of recycling the modem......three different times, with no positive results. Sooooo, the ordeal began.............I called AT&T, and after going through the required answers to the tinny sounding answering service, I found myself talking to a young man with a heavy accent.....soooo damn heavy that I had to ask him to repeat most of what he said....slower....so I could understand him. He was in Manila....I asked him where I was talking to......and for the next almost two hours....repeat: TWO HOURS......I talked with him about my problems....and he attempted to get them fixed. The main problem ????.........

We had decided after much discussion to disconnect our landlines...our sticknbrick telephones, of which we had six in various rooms around the house. AT&T did that during Wednesday night.....and with the internet service being DSL with AT&T, this confused everything since the internet came in on the telephone lines. Sooooooo, the young Manila Man worked with me to get the modem reconnected, re-registered, etc., etc., etc. with new passwords and system ID and no phone number.....so, I had to talk with someone else to get a strange number assigned to our account....and on and on and on and on. And when that was all completed....and my battery was about out on my iPhone......I had internet service...........until...

About 30 minutes later, red light was flashing once again. Soooooo, over the next 7 and a half hours, I was on the phone with AT&T with 12 other voices....humans.....on the phone attempting to get this problem resolved. About 7pm....this ordeal began, remember, at 8am......I finally was connected with a tech service manager in StL!!!!! YEAH!!!!!! MISSOURI!!!!!! Not the Philippines, not India, not California, not Nevada, not Washington state, or wherever else I was connected to humans might be.......and this great guy walked me through the problems AGAIN for the umpteenth time after telling him my story about no service, no telephones, DSL......everything that I had told all of the other 12 voices on the other end of the phone during the ENTIRE DAMNED DAY.......and he finally began to check his machines and was able to tell exactly what the problem was......a bad wire/cable somewhere down here between my sticknbrick and the AT&T office less than a quarter of a mile down the street!!!!!

Sooooo, he set me up for a service tech man for today...Fri.....and then he called me back to tell me the times he might be here....between 8 and 12noon. Soooo, happily, but exhausted I day on the phone was over. In fact......hahaa....I asked the guy in STL if AT&T had medical insurance??? He stammered, wanting to know why I asked.....and I just told him that I was going to have to now have surgery as my iPhone was grown to my ear...and that it would be impossible to get it off short of having it surgically removed!!!!! He did laugh quite loudly.....and we ended the evening that way. I fell into bed........and was gone very quickly!

FRIDAY/today: Up at 7am.....coffee and morning rituals.....and at 8:15 the phone rang and it was the service guy.....telling me he would be here in about 5 minutes. OK.....he arrives at the front door....and asks me what my problem is with the internet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD GOD.....he was supposed to know all of this since the guy in STL had told ME what needed to be done.....surely to goodness he must have told him when he made out the service trouble ticket.....wouldn't you think????!!!!! Sooooooo for the second umpteenth time I went through the same damn story......and soon, this guy named Tom was off and going around the house with equipment. Well........he was gone....and gone....and gone....and then he was on a ladder fixing a wire/cable that had been almost on the ground next door at our neighbor's house and this wire had been soooo low ever since the inland hurricane which we experienced last May 8th!!!!!

Finally....after getting here before 8:30, he came to the door at almost 12 noon....and said he was finished and I should have great internet connection. Some wires were crossed and put together wrong....at some point in time.....and he got them fixed......that is a quote from him. GREAT...I thought..................uh oh....I went inside and in less than 5 minutes online, the red light was flashing AGAIN!!!!!....and there was not intenet!!!!!

Sooooo, I called Tom back....I had his phone number on my iPhone...and told him the problem. Well, of course...he was on another job. He returned to the sticknbrick about 30 minutes later and I told him things were not working correctly...no service!!! Soooo, suggested that I hook my laptop up to the modem with an ethernet cable and see if that would help......and, at first it did....but then the service went down three times within 20 minutes!!!! I called him back....and he said he would try to come out here tomorrow morning. I finally suggested that he call me first...just in case it decided to work....somehow! Sooooo, by 4:30 we talked again......and it had worked for an hour without breaking down.....!! He agreed to call me in the morning........

With a dinner engagement at the Hanner House at 6pm.....I decided to have a glass of wine......and before I left here for dinner....I had had at least three.....ummmm, perhaps four!!! TWO DAYS OF HELL on the phone!!!!!

Dinner was great....relaxing...and quite a bit more wine, plus some of that incredible "1921" Creme de Tequila of which I had brought back a bottle for the Hanner's and gave it to them in Mobile, Alabama when they were there for the wedding. And now.......I am on the internet.....and we shall see what tomorrow brings forth...........

And.......I suppose that these internet problems are minor to the problems that sooooooooo many others have which are soooo much more important to their daily lives than this was/is to me......so, as always........

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WED, April 14, 2010: Another and another and another beautiful day......

How many times can one discuss the incredibly beautiful weather that we have been having here in Missouri??? Probably not enough....because it certainly cannot hold on for very long: either it will get much cooler, OR, it will become much hotter. UGH for each one of those options.



Well, once again....all toooo soon....another tragedy has befallen the Fredericktown School District: Today one of the History teachers in the high school as well as an Asst. Football coach was killed in a motorcycle accident!!!! WOW.......just cannot seem to move forward this past week without taking several steps backwards.......I certainly feel sorry for the many kids and faculty members who knew him as a teacher and friend.....this HAS been a very rough week for everyone!



The Middle School......more pictures came online this afternoon, but I will not post any as they all look about the same.....just total devastation inside the entire building. WOW!!!! That MUST have been a very hot fire!!! It was announced today, I believe, that on this coming Monday, all students from the Middle School will now report to the Calvary Temple Church east of town where there classes will be held until further notice.......at least through the remainder of this school year. Still no word on the two juveniles that are being held in a dentention facility for juveniles in Farmington, MO, just up the highway about 15 minutes.



This morning I went over our tax return with the 1st Lady......and then we signed off on it.....why not, with the great refunds we are getting??!!!



And.......early this morning I had Skype call from our great friends, Doug and Diane, who live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We had just a super chat......even though Doug is suffering from a cold that he can't shake.....hmmmm, I certainly know the feeling!!! We also discussed our upcoming trip to visit them next month.........



We have made our reservations, as I mentioned a few days ago.....and we are getting excited about the trip. Only six weeks from tomorrow morning we fly to Edmonton for our visit and combined trip with them over to British Columbia where they have a condo. Can't wait!!!!

The 1st Lady left this afternoon to spend until next Wednesday with her mother up in Monroe City. She needs to help her with some inside "chores" that her mom wants done, as well as taking her to at least one doctor's appointment. Sooooooo, it is very quiet here in the sticknbrick, and I definitely plan to get some ready done!!!

OH....don't think I mentioned that m Christmas present from the 1st Lady arrived yesterday.......just ordered it on Saturday. My Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphone arrived and WOW..WOW...WOW, they are incredible!!!! You can hear nothing outside the headphones on your ears....virtually no sounds at all creep in to disturb the listening of music or, whatever. And.....they are meant for using, also, on flights where the engines roar often overcomes the music. These are the BEST headphones I have ever owned.....and, certainly the most expensive. THANK GOODNESS, it was a Christmas present....as I doubt I would have been allowed to purchase them otherwise.....hahaa!!! IF you are looking for some great headphones for music listening, be it for the iPod, iPhone, computer, etc.......please give these a try!!!!

A good day........albeit an exception for the death of the hs teacher.......but, as always......

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The pictures tell the story of how devastating this fire was to not only the building, but the entire community!

Pictures inside the Middle School following the fire on Saturday night/Sunday morning



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Inside the Middle School after the fire



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Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010: The UMPTEENTH beautiful day.......

Yep......this day was another one that was fabulous!!!!! I could hardly remain inside the sticknbrick from time to time.......I just wanted to be outside in the gorgeous sunshine and under that bright blue sky. The temps hovered around 80 degrees all afternoon........WOW!!!!

This morning I did spend most of my time in the yard.......trimming back the last bunch of ornamental grass that I had not done as yet. This was the largest around.....and I spent about an hour on it.......even using the electrical shrub trimmer........and then the mess that it creates had to be raked several times and then taken by wheel barrow to the rear of the yard so that I can burn it when the time is right.

And....speaking of burning........I have heard nothing new about the fire which burned the Middle School here in town on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The news on the tellie a few minutes ago did mention that the State Fire Marshall had not been able to enter the building due to concern about the integrity of the structure. On the other hand.....I read in the paper from Farmington....just north of here....that the State Fire Marshall had already visited the building. Soooooo, as in everything else that the media reports on.......just WHO do you believe??????

According to the "news", no one has been charged with arson even though there are still those two juveniles in the detention center for minors.....still being held. Who knows????? I suppose it will all come out in the near future........I don't think they can continue to hold them for an indefinite time without making some formal charges......or, can they??????

This afternoon......a great, lazy afternoon and I spent the majority of it out on the patio, under the large umbrella, reading a novel that I have become interested in finishing. Of course.....I did take a small power nap in that great chair on the patio.....with the soft breezes blowing and the multitudes of birds chirping.......a great way to spend a retired afternoon.....eh???

Tomorrow.........more of the same. And......as always.......

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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back student door and band entrance

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Rear of the building

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Side of the building...

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Main Entrance....

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