Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

We'll we are closing in on 2009 a little less than 3 hours to go. May everyone have a healthy, happy & prosperous New Year.

Today has been fantastic. I've been able to catch up with a number of people from high school on Facebook today and have been having a blast! 2009 is going to be a great year. I'm already looking forward to a road trip in the Spring.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Busy Start to the Week

I hit the office running this morning. Seven pages of to-do's before next Monday. Yikes. The owner decided that we all need to 'clean house' while he was out of town on vacation. Nothing like sorting and shuffling bunches of files, CDs, DVDs, and assorted miscellaneous stuff. Finding a home for some of this is going to be nothing short of miraculous.

We received good news at the end of business today. Walt & I were able to get out of our apartment lease without any difficulty. They aren't even going to have us pay any penalty for leaving early, which is particularly good news.

After work, we ran out to Home Depot and purchased appliances. Now that was a real experience. Buying seven appliances all at once. Thank goodness they are delivering.

The house closes on the 7th, and there is so much to get done, our list is several legal pad pages long. Even with that much of a list, I do feel as if I'm leaving a lot of items off.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Off we went this evening with Mom & Dad to Texas de Brazil, this was their first trip there. Walter as always was quite impressed with the service and food.

Otherwise the day was basically spent packing. I do detest packing, although it is a necessary evil. Only 10 days to closing and 26 days to moving day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Festivities

Yesterday, Walter & I got up very early...he was dying to get to Wally World to buy a computer game (Spore) that his younger brother told him about on Christmas day. It was a true male mission - he was in full hunting mode until he had it in his hand. After than, whatever, he had achieved his goal for the day. We poked around in the Christmas clearance for decorations for the new house for next year, but really didn't find much. The prices were the same as before Christmas. We tried Home Depot in search of a couple of deer for the yard, but they too were out of them.

Walt dropped me off at Mom's and she and I set out for a shopping adventure. We began at the mall, not really shopping for much in particular. I found a diffuser for the flash on my camera, it will make a great deal of difference in the close up shots.

The time we had out was fantastic. We haven't had much time to have a 'girls' day out in ages. Even though we both didn't buy very much, we did have fun. I found the deer for the yard that I was looking for at Target. Poor Mom, she took everythign that I did buy back home with her to store until after the move. At least I won't need to pack what is at her house.

This evening Walt's taking Mom & I downtown to photograph the lights. I just hope that the rain holds off until we get back.

No rain this evening, just nice weather to be out and about.

Here are some of the photos from tonight.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

We had a pretty sedate day. Sean wasn't up too early, but was pleased with his 'party pack' of Family Guy DVDs. We all ended up watching the silly things for a good portion of the morning.

Dean came by to pick up Sean and brought along Buddy. It took him a little while to calm down, but he was fairly well behave on the whole. We all met up for lunch at the Mongolian Grill, one of the few places open today. Lunch was surpisingly civil, plenty of pleasant conversation.

Walter is all fired up this evening about a new computer game that Sean & Dean were telling him about. Poor thing was disappointed that Wally World wasn't opened this afternoon so he could buy his very own copy. So in lieu of getting is today, we're off for an early morning shopping adventure in the morning.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Thoughts

I use to love Christmas. I couldn't wait till the day after Thanksgiving to put up the tree and outdoor decorations. Last year I duly put up the tree, but with Walter's accident and not seeing the other kids, it was almost a moot point. This year it seems, that Scrooge has come been lingering around the apartment. I'm still holding out that it will improve, at least next year will "hopefully" be more settled.

Just heard from the youngest, he's not coming over until tomorrow. Too much to do. Oh, well.

Walter & I headed out for the evening with a stop by Roz's house to deliver the much asked for "peanut butter candy". Courtney was pleased that we brought it by. I doubt that it lasts very long. Glad to have someone enjoy it that much.

We had dinner out at Mom & Dad's with the family. Alice baked a Yule Log cake. It was beautiful. The lasagna was delicious and the company was great. The kids all did great for such an exciting time of year. I've posted a bunch of photos in my Facebook album. The best photo by far was of Terry. He opened up his gift and was tickled to so much with the tags! If only we all could be so excited about something so simple.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day:
"Mankind will never see an end of trouble until... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power... become lovers of wisdom." - Plato, The Republic


I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her. On the way, my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted .... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it! That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.

Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care...

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Break

Dr. Martin brought in a copy of the new practice magazine, Smiles of Richmond, that we put together. I was so delighted to see all the hardwork had finally come together into a great final product.

Ah...a brief vacation from the normal routine of life. We only worked until 12:30 today, then had a delightful luncheon at Maggiano's at Short Pump Towne Center.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hmmm...Another Fast Paced & Full Week

It has been one heck of a week. It all began last Friday...Walter had put in an offer to buy a house and was waiting to hear if the offer was accepted, but there had been no reply by end of business. So we wen through the whole, oh well, I guess we'll just stay where we are deal. He even went so far as to start cleaning closets and organizing to stay put.

I put in a long Monday with our out of town copyrighter at the office and even did some video shooting. By the time I got home Monday night, Walt was telling me that the sellers had accepted his offer, even though he had heard nothing. Well, turns out he was absolutely right.

The realtor called him first thing Tuesday with the good news. Well, I got the news early on Tuesday and am going in with him to make the purchase. The house is a great investment and once it is all said and done he'll be ahead when we close. I spoke to the mortage broker and did all the preliminaries for the mortage over the phone, everything went through without issue.

The house will require a little bit of work before we move in, but it is a real DEAL! As you can see it does need a new roof, but that isn't a biggie. Funny it's almost the same color of the house that we lived in on Leiden when Walt was little.

Here's the House - Fordham Road

I put in another long night - till almost 10 p.m. Doing several video shoots after hours for the consulting company. When I got home Walt had lots to tell me and we ended up going over details until nearly 1 a.m.

Now that we have started down the road to closing which is going at such a rapid pace I can hardly believe it. Walt has been taking care of all the details, he even brought papers by the office for me to sign on Wednesday. It was the fastest signing I've ever done. When I got to the end I noticed that the closing date had been changed to DECEMBER 30TH! Two weeks! from offer to close. My head is still spinning. We're meeting on Monday to sign papers with the mortage broker.


I'll be so grateful to be out of this stinking apartment. The ceiling still has a gaping hole in it and there is still water puddled in the carpet in front of the door.

Walt was here on Wednesday when they came and replaced the padding under the carpet, which was removed last weekend becaused it was soaked. They did the replacement and then....a contractor climbed up on the roof and hosed down the roof. Which caused the ceiling to leak and water to soak the newly laid carpet padding. They never did come to clean up their mess.

Then Thursday rolled around and it rained. Hmmm...guess what happened, again! More leaking and more soaked carpeting. I made the call first thing Friday morning to maintenance and left a message, "Good morning, it has rained and now for the 6th time, the ceiling is leaking and the carpet is soaked. Please send someone out to get the water up."

Walt informed me this evening that they did come out, but maintenance isn't allowed to drive on the grass any longer, so they can't bring the carpet machine over to extract the water from the padding. The comedy never ends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rainy Disaster

Here is it pouring down rain and the ceiling and front door at the apartment are leaking. So far the water has expanded about 40-inches into the apartment. This is really no way to live.

I've contacted maintenance and they tell me that they can't do anything to fix the problem, the "best" that they could do today was to come in and cut the huge hole in the ceiling, exposing the upstairs neighbor's floor (also you can see there isn't any insulation between the floors).

I'm waiting for the 'repairman'. Walter tells me that they told him that they had to contact a contractor to come out and fix the problem. Hmmm...they also said that he would most likely be installing a stoop over the front door. That sounds just like what I told them that needed to be done three rainy, leaky door days ago. Amazing! Call maintenance. They can't do anything and then they do exactly what you tell them needs to be done.

Even as I am sitting here, the puddle inside is growing with each passing hour. I expect that it will be another five or six inches larger in diameter before morning. You would have thought that maintenance could have brought up a shop vac to suck up some of the water. In fact, I asked them to do so this morning...LAME!

In the meanwhile, we've moved furniture out of the path of the puddle. Hopefully, I may have to put the end table up on top of something before I go to work in the morning. I don't want ruined furniture. It was also mentioned by someone I was talking with this evening that it was a wonderful electrocution hazard. I hadn't really thought about it but, in order to turn the lights on and off in the room we have to access the switch by the front door. It could be a shocking experience.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Search

Walter continued his search for a house this morning. I believe that he has found the "one" that he wants, it is just a matter of writing up the correct offer. Hopefully, he will have an answer by the first of next week.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A weekend in December

Mom & I went out to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens on Tuesday night to view their GardenFest light display.

See more photos

Today I went out with Walter, so that he could look at houses. He had a handful to look at today and has another handful for tomorrow. He may have found what he is looking for, but we'll see. It is as he said, "a diamond in the rough." It would be a great deal and give him loads for his money. It would just be a matter of the type of offer that the sellers will accept.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day:
"Mankind will never see an end of trouble until... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power... become lovers of wisdom." - Plato, The Republic

Bank Line

With only two tellers working at the bank, the line I was standing in was moving very slowly. As I waited, I began to fill in my withdrawal slip. Not sure of the date, I turned and asked the woman behind me.

It's the fifth," she replied.

A man from the back of the line advised, "Don't write it in yet!"

Consumerism in Christianity

A man was stranded on the proverbial deserted Pacific island for years.

Finally one day a boat comes sailing into view, and the man frantically waves and draws the skipper's attention. The boat comes near the island and the sailor gets out and greets the stranded man.

After a while the sailor asks, "What are those three huts you have here?"

"Well, that's my house there."

What's that next hut?" asks the sailor.

"I built that hut to be my church."

"What about the other hut?"

"Oh, that's where I used to go to church."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday This & That

It has been a busy day loads of video and audio files to mess around with.

This evening Alice and I attended the RAUG meeting at TecHead. We had a great time and picked up a bunch of new tips and tricks for Illustrator. I know that I came out with about five different things that I will use regularly.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

A few things from the email box. Just too funny!

The Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically. This virus is called Weary Overload Recreational Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever - DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life completely. If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises.

Take two good friends to the nearest grocery store and purchase one or both of the antidotes - Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) and Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should immediately forward this medical alert to five friends. If you do not have five friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

After being innundated with television commercials for the super early bird sales at Kohls and Old Navy, I decided to head out this morning, if I go up. (I didn't set an alarm) Well, six o'clock rolled around and off I went. Now I wasn't looking for anything particular, but I was disappointed it didn't appear that they had gone out of the way to get very much "special" into the stores. I went went the intent to find a sweater and possibly gifts for the boys. That didn't work out - I ended up coming home empty-handed. Even though I wanted to contribute to the economy.

On the way home I ran by the post office to drop off over 700 pieces of mail for work. I'm going to going back, only this time to our post office to pick up a package that came in for me on Wednesday. Which of course, couldn't be left in the ity bity mailboxes here at the apartment.

Afer the successful journey to the post office, I hopped on the Powhite Parkway and headed to the river. Sunrise photos over the James with the train tresel in the foreground. Today is just about the only day that I could get out on the bridge without being run over by the crush of normal traffic.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wishing Everyone a Postings

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

The Very First Thanksgiving Proclamation
by Marcia Segelstein

The very first Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by the Continental Congress on November 1, 1777. It was a time of upheaval unimaginable to most of us. Only the year before, the signers of the Declaration of Independence had set in motion events which would change the course of history. At the time the proclamation was issued, the outcome of those events was yet to be determined, and a bitter war waged on with young men giving their lives for the cause of freedom. Uncertainly loomed, but faith suffused with gratitude prevailed, as is clear from the words of this remarkable document.

Here are portions of this first proclamation, which called for December 18th to be set apart…

“That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor…That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE.”

Innocent Victims of an Obama Presidency
by Marcia Segelstein

The good news out of Election 2008 is that all the predictions that racism would ultimately prevent Barack Obama being elected did not come true.

There is, however, a tragic irony that may well also occur as a result of this election. James Kushiner, publisher of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, writes about it on the magazine’s website:

“[W]hile blacks have risen from the indignities and injustice of slavery in which their bodies were sold and consumed as property, and have endured segregation and second-class citizen status and racial discrimination, and have now one of their own elected to the highest office in the land, this very president-elect, Barack Obama, will increase the death toll among black human beings if he fulfills his promise to enact a Freedom of Choice Act, which will serve as a firewall around Roe v. Wade, the Dred Scott decision of our times…Discrimination based on the color of one’s skin is not now the burning issue of our time…It’s that we’ve forgotten the value of human skin in the first place.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recapping the weekending

Now Saturday began lazily enough. Our goal for the day was to let Walt give blood and then do some grocery shopping. So much for good intentions...

Walter arrived in perfect time to give blood, but he ended up needing to wait about a half hour. We went over to Hardees to kill the time and have a bit of coffee. I hadn't been home it quite a while since I'd been to a Hardees. They even brought our order to the table. Since it was change over between breakfast and lunch they brought around the cinnamon raisin biscuits and were passing them out to everyone in the lobby. We ended up bringing home a six-pack of biscuits for the freezer. While Walter was giving him blood he had the oil changed in the Jimmy. Thye even gave it a state inspection for good measure. Of course it passed with flying colors.

They off to the grocery store by way of Bob Moates Gun Shop...This was a mistake. What we thought was going to be a quick run by turned in to a purchasing expedition. All kinds of paperwork, a background check and visit to the cash register later we left out with the new firearm in hand. It was time to take it out for a visit to all those that it needed to visit with. A trip to Mom & Dad's and a run by Patrick's as well. After a great deal of visiting, we finally made it to the grocery store.

Walter & I were talking at Food Lion, we neither could remember exactly how long it had been since we'd done any serious shopping. Most likely close to eight months. We went armed with a list which worked out great. Suprisingly it didn't take too long, but at least we didn't stray too far from the list.

We've spent the day relaxing and cooking.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

The Buzzard, Bat, and the Bumblebee

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The weekend begins

It has been a busy day. I finished up the magazine that I've been working out. I believe that publication is going to be right at the first of the year.

Walter dropped by the office this morning, it seems that his crew had other plans for the day. One showed up with a shotgun and ammunition, claiming not to know how it got into the truck. He was going to slip off for a day of hunting, and the other fellow decided to that today was excellent for fishing. So, Walt took a day of vacation and they just closed down their group for the day. Walter had a productive morning, visiting his lawyer, doing some shopping, and even dropping by the office to have a cup of coffee with me.

I heard from a couple of folks that were on my trip to Italy. They all enjoyed the DVD that I made. It was good to hear that they had received them and that they had worked. Sometimes the duplicator doesn't work....Then again I had purchased some higher quality DVD's to use for the duplication.

This evening he and I had dinner at Olive Garden. Mistakes were made by Olive Garden - it took three shots for them to get the appetizer right. At least the Zupa Tuscana was good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The week is coming to an end.

This evening Walter & I sat down and created a menu for the next two weeks. Wow, this is something that we've not done in ages. We managed to put together two weeks of dinners and a grocery list. It looks like we'll be heading off to the grocery store on Saturday. The plan is to cook over the weekend and freeze everything. This way we won't have to think about what we are going to eat every night.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Some interesting Quotes:
  • The government is not your daddy. Its purpose is not to raid middle-class neighbors' wallets and give it to you (lazy).
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.........
  • We will end no whine before its time.
  • I work for the Department of Redundancy Department.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bass Pro Shop Tour

Walter & I went out last night to check out the Christmas decorations at the Bass Pro Shop in Ashland. I had heard that they were already deck out and ready for Christmas, and even Santa is there to hear what the little ones are asking for. There is even no charge for pictures with Santa, no matter how old you are.

We checked out all the mounted animals through out the store. Wow! Some of the neatest displays. The fish aren't mounted, they are in a huge aquarium at the base of the waterfall. Here are just of a few that I took photos of. There is that one of Walter and the bear - proof that there is something out there that is BIGGER than him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A November Snow!

Who would have thought that a prediction for snow flurries in November would actually be right? Just doesn't happen here. It's usually too something for snow to fall this early in the year. Now if it had been late January - everyone would have been running to the grocery store to lay in a supplies for the next two weeks. I guess that's a southern thing - snow equals not being able to leave the house. I've seen it happen, people who are usually sane all of sudden lose their minds and have to buy enough milk, bread and junk food to last for weeks of confinement in their homes. Now the fact that no one is ever snowed in that long doesn't matter, nor the fact that they just bought that much stuff last week when snow was predicted. On second thought I'm not sure it is truly a southern thing or a transplant thing - as a kid I don't ever remember my parents or grandparents going crazy because it was snowing or going to snow. I think it is a transplant to the South's thing. It would stand to reason. Normally it snows a couple feet at a time up North and they do get snowed in for long periods. So, now that they reside here in the winter weather challenged South they just can't get out of the habit.

On a much different note, I found this great new mascara that does as advertised. I picked up some of the new L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara the other day and just broke it out to try it. It works fantastic. Much longer lashes and at the end of the day the product just washes off, as advertised. I forgot to take off my make up last night and woke up this morning without raccoon eyes - not a smudge or streak. All I had to do wash off with water and I was as good as new. Terrific product.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Turkey Recipe

Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing -- imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

8 - 15 lb. turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.

Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's butt blows the oven door open and the bird flies across the room, it's done.

It is now closer to reality than you think

You're sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way. With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows.

One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you're in trouble.

In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

"What kind of sentence will I get?" you ask.

"Only ten-to-twelve years," he replies, as if that's nothing. "Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven."

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can't find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both "victims" have been arrested numerous times. But the next day's headline says it all: "Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die." The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters. As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he'll probably win. The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you've been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven't been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn't take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.

How did it become a crime to defend one's own life in the once great British Empire ?

It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license. The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed Man with a Kalashnikov rifle (AK-47), walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of "gun control", demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearm still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands."

All of Martin's neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn't were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply. Police later bragged that they'd taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.

Sound familiar?


Thought For the Day: " does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lunch & Learn

It has been another busy day. This morning I headed down to TecHead for a lunch and learn on Bridge, PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign. It was a very profitable trip for me. I picked up a number of tips that I'm sure that I'll be putting into action on a regular basis. I even had a mini Illustrator beginners lesson after we had finished our session. Not too bad.

The afternoon was full working on getting the magazine layout redone. We're on what I think is the 17th revision, the sixth full numbered revision. Hopefully this will be one of the last full revisions that we'll have to do.

We had a 5:30 conference call to go over social networking and all the things that we need to know to make it work properly. There's a lot to do and whole lot of sites to visit. The end of the day finally came just after 7:00 p.m. It was a long one, and I was ready to finally be on the way home for some rest and relaxation.

I found out that neither one of us had made it home this evening before the maintenance office closed - looks like a phone call will be necessary first thing in the morning. We're going to have to get the water all cleared up from around the front door before it becomes moldy and very gross. My entertainment this evening was led by Walter. He had Carla's dancing around the apartment all excited because he asked her if she wanted to "GO!" Just the word to make her just about go crazy.

The trip out to Jersey Mike's just about made her day. We made it back in just enough time to have dinner while watching House. A great way to wind down the evening.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day: "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." - George Washington

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sleepy Sunday

I woke up this morning with an exteme headache. I must have been stressing over something in my sleep. Nothing much has seemed to help alleviate it, except more sleep, and even that isn't working too well.

The Correct Way to Weigh Yourself

The correct way to weigh yourself;
I can't believe I was doing it wrong all these years. WE MUST SPREAD THE WORD

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lazy Saturday

The day started out slow and easy, I went out just after lunch to run a couple of errands. I was all set to head out when I opened to the door and found the temperature to be nearly 80-degrees! Here it has been down to near the 30's and we've bounced all the way around to 'summer' temperatures. Perfect weather for enjoying the outdoors today, but everything was still soaked from the rain on Friday.

Back to the trip out, I did a run out to Wally World, for all the cars that were in the parking lot you would have thought that there would have been more people in the store. I was surprised at the shelfs as well, not nearly as full as you would expect. It seems to me that they have cut back on the stock in the store. Now whether that is a valid observation or not I am not so certain as I typically stay out of the stores as of late.

As I was coming home down Midlothian I noticed that the price of gasoline has dropped down to $1.79 a gallon. What a drop from the high of about $4.00 just a moth or so ago. Next thing you know it will be below $1.50...oh we can only wish.

I got a phone call from our networking group in California this afternoon around 2:00 p.m. The server at the office had gone down. I ended up going in and turning it back on. Took me about an hour, but it was a necessary journey. It will be great if I don't have to make that journey again tomorrow.

The rain has started up again. Walter will be talking with maintenance on Monday about the water that is coming in again around the front door. It is just lovely to have wet carpeting and mud outside. Yuck! The mud is piled up from where they have laid new gas lines.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day: Life is a tragedy for those that feel and a comedy for those who think - fortune cookie

Friday, November 14, 2008


We had a pot luck at lunch today to help celebrate, our hygienist, Lori's impending arrival, Miss Savhannah Jade. According to the midwife and doctor, Savhannah isn't due to arrive for 10 more days, but the way that Lori is looking it could be any minute. Savhannah has been a wiggly little one for her mommy all day. As today was Lori's last day, before going out on maternity leave, we've got a list of dates when we all think that the new arrival will make her appearance.

The afternoon has been busy as usual, I was working on videos and revisions to the magazine. There will be more revisions when I get in on Monday - I'm sure. It'll be okay, it is just the way that it works.

I've heard from a couple about the DVD that I made of the trip to Italy. From what feedback I've gotten everyone has appreciated and enjoyed it.

Walter got back in to town this afternoon, and is taking full advantage of being home. He's on relaxation mode this evening, with plans to take in the gun show tomorrow. I'm not going with him. The last time, I went with the full intention of being unable to find anything to purchase, didn't quite work out like that. It'll work out a whole lot better this week, since I'm staying home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tough Week

It's been a tough week. Loads of video to edit, very, very time consuming. I've even been working on a magazine, that has involved multiple edits.

I am so ready for the weekend and for the days to get longer. I need more sunlight. It is a real bummer leaving out as thing are just beginning to get light in the morning and then coming home in the dark. Yuck!

Walt should be heading back into town tomorrow evening. It will nice to have him back. I'm sure that he'll be glad to be home as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A lioness on the prowl

Well, now there was an interesting blurb on the radio (WRVA) this afternoon - it seems that there is a lioness on the loose in the general vicinity of my apartment. From what I heard, she has been seen wandering around a just about 1 1/2 miles from here as the crow flies. Just what I want to see when I open my door in the middle of the night to let Carla out.

The news report stated that they were thinking that the lioness has been a pet and either gotten loose or had just been let out. Delightful. And here when I first heard the report I thought that the zoo had had an escape, but the zoo is in the opposite end of the county from where I am. Now just to wait to hear that she is caught.

This evening I'm working another teleconference for work. It'll be about two hours then time for bed.

I've not been feeling all that perky for the last couple of days. It's progressively getting worse, but not anything specific that I can put my finger on. No fever or other big symptoms, other than feeling nauseous and having a headache. Advil has been the drug of choice to work on the headache, yet it hasn't been working out really well. The nauseousness is getting worse hopefully it will pass before Monday. The history of this "bug" is a couple of really bad days of nausea and some congestion to go with it. It has been sneaking its way through the office over the past couple of weeks. I really thought that I had managed to avoid it, by just staying in my office with the door closed. Oh well. I'm looking forward to it just running its course and being done with.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

The Man Rules

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down finally , the guys' side of the story. (I must admit, it's pretty good.) We always hear ' the rules' from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note.. these are all numbered '1' ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothings wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

First off, a big thank you to all our veterans for your service.

Another day of video editing. Everything I was looking at was beginning to run together by the end of the day. Seven hours is just about too long to look at a computer screen almost continuously. It was just one too many files...Oh well, I'll be back at again tomorrow.

I came home this afternoon at lunch to find the utility company out digging around the apartment. Not sure who was doing the work I asked and they told me they were with the gas company. They were laying new gas lines. It seems that they were having to put in the new lines, because the old ones have oodles of leaks and they can't find all the old ones. Now that just verified what we've known all along - at the old apartment I'd smell gas from time to time and even here. Not too long ago the neighbor told me that they had called the fire department because they smelled gas. Once they investigated they were told if they had walked down the hallway with a lighted cigarette it could have blown up the building. Just lovely. Well, on the much brighter side things are finally getting fixed.

Alice called this evening to tell me that the Food Lion is going through a rebranding after the first of the year and will changes names to Bloom. Now to me, Bloom sounds more like a florist than a grocery store. They have been remodeling their stores so it is in line with them trying to become a more "up-scale" grocery. We'll see how that all works out after they get the name changed over after the first of the year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday As Usual

I spent about six hours today processing and converting videos all day.

I posted a few more of my photos on my Facebook page which you can view by clicking here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Road Trip with Mom

Mom & I headed off at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning for a road trip to nowhere in particular. We started down 360 and took a side street over to Genito and then another side road over to Route 60 just below the turn off for Bear Creek Lake. We continued West on Route 60 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We started off on the parkway at the Buena Vista overlook and continued on North along the parkway to the Waynesboro exit.

Here are a few shots from the road trip this weekend.

Carla walking on a rock wall at an overlook – She’s a right spry old lady. She hopped up there without any encouragement. I was walking past the rock wall and she was right there with me, only walking on top of it. She was sure having a good time. Every time we got out of the car at an overlook, she had to get out as well and stretch a bit. She was acting just like a little kid, wanting to play at every stop.

This is the James River between Appomattox County and Nelson County. Mom & I parked the car in Nelson County and walked back along the bridge to take photos. There were beautiful reflection in the river. While we were taking photos, a couple came paddling out from under the bridge. I also took several other photos of an island in the river near the bridge.

The next set of pictures here is from somewhere along Route 60 before the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance. The next one is from along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We took lots of pictures, but they all had a similar look. Even though the leaves were no longer at the peak of color, the views were still great. Mom & I really did enjoy the ride. We had a great time talking and just enjoying a girl's day out.

This is a real neat sign I saw. The curve was suppose to be extremely sharp, but driving it, it didn’t look like it. Now on a bike it might be sharper than in a car, but the sign that showed the shape of the curve was definitely out of whack.

Just down the road from here Mom & I came across an apple tree with apples still hanging on the upper branches. We also saw a beautiful dogwood tree full of berries. There were also huckleberry bushes loaded with berries beneath the dogwood tree.

Mom & I took a little side trip off the parkway to Sherando Lake State Park. These photos from Sherando Lake, not too big of a place but pretty. From what I read on one of the plaques it was built during the 30's by the Conservation Corps. The second photo is of a reflection in the lake.

We came across a neat place in Love, VA, just off the parkway that rents cabins (Royal Oaks Cabins) pretty secluded place. It would be a neat place for a weekend get-away.

As we were heading homo down Route 250 towards home, we ran across these creepy cows – turns out they are Belted Galloways – a breed first brought over from Scotland in 1950. One of their nicknames is Oreo Cookie Cows. Mom was convinced they had been crossed with pigs. They do have that look.

Sunset around 5:15 p.m.

Just after sunset, right about 5:30 p.m., about 8 miles west of Gum Springs we passed what we thought was a deer, but weren't quite sure. I told mom it was an albino, but just to make sure that we weren't crazy, we turned around to be sure. Sure enough. There at the edge of the woods was the real treat of the evening, an albino deer! I pulled over to the edge of the road and Mom whipped out the camera, which wasn't cooperating at all. I stuck my camera out of the sunroof and snapped a few myself. A couple were really bad, but at least we could make out the shape of the deer. The second photo is the best of the bunch that I took.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Recapping the Week

It has been a big week - first off we've had the election. There are those that are really happy and just as many who are greatly disappointed with the results. Well, at least we'll have the opportunity to make changes again in four years. For the better or worse, we're stuck with what we've got until then.

On a happier note, Lucky and I went out for dinner on Wednesday night. It was a nice way to perk up the middle of the week.

The boss headed out of the office Wednesday afternoon, and we've been on production mode ever since. Lots of document production since he left. I spent the day last couple of days preparing and uploading documents to our online library. Then there were the couple of buttons that I have prepped as first drafts. An in office ad for a mother's day promotion, and finally working up an eight page magazine for the office.

This evening as I was dropping off a large mailing at the Post Office I ran across this lovely example of quality work by a marking crewing. Love the possum markings! I'd seen something like this online, but never thought that it was anything other than a big joke. Well, I guess it wasn't a joke, just really, really sloppy workmanship. What were they thinking?

Walt's back in from Franklin this evening. Poor thing has been living out of a hotel room for almost three weeks now. He's glad to be home. I took him out for a welcome home dinner this evening at Red Lobster, it was almost a waste. The service was rotten, and of course Walter knew it and complained about it. Always the restaurant critic. He did settle down before dinner ended and our trip home was delightful.

On a creepy note, the neighbors pitbull barked unmercifully at us. It was scary. He wasn't on a leash or with anyone. Vicious and loose is not a good combination.

Mom tells me that everyone is looking for pictures from the trip to Italy. I've got them up in albums on Facebook (they let me upload a bunch at once), hope you can access the movies as well. Enjoy!

Italy Video One Italy Video Two Italy Video Four Italy Video Five
Italy Video Six Italy Video Seven Italy Video Eight Italy Video Nine

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Time to get out and vote.

It is a rainy morning here in Virginia. Usually that means a low turnout at the polls, but with things so close I'm putting my money on people putting in the extra effort to vote.

I'm off myself - the polls don't open for another 20 minutes, but I want to vote before going into work and this is a new polling place for me, so I don't have the feel of how quickly they move along.

Grab an umbrella and hit the polls. Make your one vote count.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The polling place had a line when I arrived. I was about 5 minutes early. It looked like there were nearly 100 people already in line. Once the doors opened we began to swiftly move along. It took about 45 minutes for me to cast my ballot. This was from the time that I got into the car this morning until I was exiting the polling place. Not too bad.

I swung by for coffee at the Burger King and the manager there said that they had been hopping since they opened this morning. I suppose that there were a bunch of us out much earlier than normal, so that we could be sure that we were able to vote.

Jamie & Roz got into the office early this morning as well, both had been out to vote. Jamie was at the Crenshaw polling place at 4:30 a.m. to get in line and apparently the turnout even at that hour was tremendous. Roz on the other hand got to her polling place just before 6 a.m. and wasn't able to vote - she had to be at work. She reported that the lines were three across and wrapped around the building with the county police handling traffic control. People were even parking on Midlothian Turnpike so that they could walk to the polls.

It is going to be one mess for the rest of the day. They are seeing patients in the office today - I wonder how many will make it? Could the wait at the polls make a difference in the schedule today?

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Quiz Query

My daughter's 5th-grade class had been studying astronomy.

One morning at breakfast she announced, "On Friday we're having a quiz on the moon." That's when her little brother piped up, saying, "Are you gonna let her go, Mom?"

"Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns the press."

Great Value in Disaster

Thomas Edison's laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December, 1914.

Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison's life's work went up in spectacular flames that December night.

At the height of the fire, Edison's 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind.

"My heart ached for him," said Charles. "He was 67 - no longer a young man - and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, "Charles, where's your mother?" When I told him I didn't know, he said, "Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives."

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew."

Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver his first phonograph.

Shoe Problem

One night a fellow drove his secretary home after she had imbibed a little too much at an office reception. Although this was an innocent gesture, he decided not to mention it to his wife, who tended to get jealous easily.

The next night the man and his wife were driving to a res- taurant. Suddenly he looked down and spotted a high-heel shoe half hidden under the passenger seat. Not wanting to be conspicuous, he waited until his wife was looking out her window before he scooped up the shoe and tossed it out of the car.

With a sigh of relief, he pulled into the restaurant parking lot. That's when he noticed his wife squirming around in her seat. "Honey," she asked, "have you seen my other shoe?"

Nice Boyfriend

One night a teenage girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents, and they were appalled by his appearance: leather jacket, motorcycle boots, tattoos and pierced nose.

Later, the parents pulled their daughter aside and confessed their concern. "Dear," said the mother diplomatically, "he doesn't seem very nice."

"Oh please, Mom," replied the daughter, "if he wasn't nice, why would he be doing 500 hours of community service?"


"The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping up and down."

"A letter carrier's career is a mail-dominated profession."