Monday, August 31, 2009

Jazz

In the course of the day today. I ran across a dentist who is a jazz musician and had even put up a jukebox on his practice website. Way cool. I've enjoyed listening to it all morning.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday

Wow, am I sore from my massage. I didn't think that I would be this sore today, but I sure am. Even so, I do feel much better. Who would have thought that a massage would make that much difference.

Mom & Mamaw dropped by this afternoon for a nice long visit. It was good getting to see Mom, especially since I missed her on Friday night.

Not much elese going on. I hope everyone has had a great day.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Fortune Cookie Wisdom for the Day: You are going to take a trip to the seaside.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Soothing Saturday

I spent the morning working on the newsletter for my class assignment. It's well under the way to completion. I am seeing the end just around the corner.

This afternoon I headed over to Health Plus and go a massage. Oh boy! It's the first one that I'd ever gotten and boy have I been relaxed ever since. Wow! It was nice to have someone do my shoulders. I could feel the stress leaving as each minute passed. Janna was a miracle worker. This is something that I will definitely do again.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded t he many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, 'Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.' May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

God determines who walks into your life ...it's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.' I would like this back. If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you....When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello Friday

I started the weekend a little late, I had clocked out an was on the way home when I realised that I forgot my cell phone. Oops! During my run back into the office to get it off the desk, the boss caught me and had me do a project for him that had to go out immediately. I ended up getting back out of the office about an hour later.

On the way home I was checking in with everyone and ended up heading straight out to Mom & Dad's to have dinner with Dad. He said the magic word, turkey salad. Mom had made some up this week. Yum! I could sit eat it with a spoon. I had a nice visit with Dad & Mamaw Stapleton before heading off to the Verizon store.

I had had trouble with the battery on my phone on Sunday and it has continued to act up all week. Tonight it died on the way to visit with Dad. So I left early enough to make the trip to the Verizon store to have it looked out. Turned out that the was having an issue, but they had me just purchase a new one. Then after making the purchase, I found out that my warranty had expired yesterday. I then decided it was time to talk to the manager. Since I had tried to have the phone issue corrected on Sunday, they went ahead and refunded my battery purchase and gave me the new one at no charge. The battery definitely has fixed the problem. Even with two bars on the battery I can have a conversation!!! Yipee!

Tomorrow I'm finishing my InDesign class. It has been difficult just getting the time to think about the final class exercise. Between work and a couple of other obligations it has just been about impossible. I have cleared the schedule for the weekend and am putting the assignment on the front burner. Now, there is only one thing that would change that...and I'm not anticipating that it will happen, but I'd drop it in a minute if the the other thing did come up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wrapping up the week

Lots and lots going on this week. Uncle Louie, in keeping up with Mom, has had knee surgery. Word is that he is doing well. Walter has been tackling the woodpile in the front yard. It is shrinking daily. Maybe the neighbors' kids are up to helping him out this final few days before they head back to school.

I've been contemplating my final assignment for InDesign. I think I've got a feel for how I want it to look. It just getting in the layout done and dropping in the content. I'm shooting for a weekend completion. Then it will be time to get started on the next two classes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Updates

Things seemed to move along just fine this morning, until Jami tried to file insurance claims....Ut Oh! Turned out that there was a patch that still needed to be installed. I was swamped with things, so I only got the ones that really needed to be updated right away. I'll be shooting to get the rest of them done in the morning.

Why is that you always miss the typo until you after you hit the 'publish post' button? Grrr.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought For the Day: GOOD looks catch the eye but a GOOD personality catches the heart!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another day, another challenge.

I really don't want to do it, but it looks like I'm going to have to be the one to do it. So I'll just buck up and get on with it. We're having a software upgrade at the office and I personally have wanted to have no part in it. So many computers and so little time. It's a server install and not really one of those things that I do a lot, thus the reluctance to even get involved with it. Oh well, it will be a later night than usual at the office.

Walt got an interesting surprise at the house yesterday evening. It seems that the 'nosy committee' had dropped after he left in the afternoon to leave him a little 'love note' on the front door. Apparently there is some sort of code compliance issues with at the house. Hmm...wood piles that have not been removed from the front yard and heaven forbid there is a camper in the driveway! The weather hasn't been helpful in the progress of getting the wood clean up, but then again, Walt's been trying to clean up what was left by the previous owners at the same time. And that, takes longer than just stacking wood at the back of the yard. Shoot we even had to find the property line so we would know where to put the darn stuff. It's funny (not really) that the county doesn't deal with feral cats but gets in a real snit over firewood. It's a crazy place. I told Walter the next thing that they'll have an issue over is the stumps in the yard.

On another note, my computer has been doing funky things lately. Yesterday I lost my internet connection at the office, literally. It took rebooting the computer to even come up with the icon for the office network. Then today, I lost my speakers. Same solution, but what's going on? I think Vista may have been partying a bit too much lately and is forgetting where it hides stuff from itself.

Talked to Walter this afternoon and he was telling me that he has taken care of the 'issue' with the wood. I don't know exactly who he talked to, but they surely did get an ear full.

While I've been here waiting on the server to do it's thing, I've had the opportunity to spend some time doing some more catching up with Tim. They sure are a busy bunch over there. Lots of things going on. I'll have to catch back up with Alice this evening. We usually do the commute home phone call, but I got to talking with Tim first. Mom's even chimed in, I still need to give her a call back.

I'm looking for Walter to show up her anytime now to help me finish off the rest of the office computers. It's just going to take the time to wait for them to install.

10:00 PM Finally home from getting the computers upgraded. It only took three phone calls to various tech support numbers to get it underway. Then it wasn't terrible, just kept me moving from machine to machine and back again. Then of course there were the Microsoft updates that were also thrown in to the mix. They make for such fun surprises.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In a Reflective Mood

I have slipped in a bit of a reflective mood over the past few days, with that said....

What is it that really keeps us from pursing our dreams and passions? Family, friends, fear, cowardace, money? Or just not knowing how to begin?

We all do it, we play devils advocate in our heads, some of us even write lists. Generally our questions are relatively the same,
  • Will our family approve and accept what we are going to do?
  • Will our friends still be our friends? Will they disapprove?
  • Are we fearful? Is that fear rational or is it just vague and not specific?
  • Are we afraid of being alone?
  • Are we afraid of taking the chance to step out beyond what is the status quo.
  • Do we or are we cowarding behind the 'normal' because we do not want to accept what could be?
  • Or even worse are we more afraid of not being able to embrace what could or couldn't be?
  • Do the responsibilities of normal life keep us tied to what we've always done? Not allowing us to go forth and conquer the world and ourselves.
  • Is money our task master? Are we working only for money? Is there some magical figure that once reached will 'allow' us to pursue our dreams?
  • Do we feel trapped by our circumstances? Just not knowing how to take that fist step to living our lives to the fullest?
  • Are we waiting on someone or something? Do we find ourselves living life vicariously through others that are out there living their dream?
  • Are we waiting on life to find us? Life is happening all around us, but in order to live our own life we must step out and join dance.

I am guilty of all of these things and probably much more.

In the end what are we after all is said and done:

  • A footnote in history, a line in a book? Or
  • Have we really been and done something that will be enduring? Or
  • Touched others in a way that has a positive lasting effect?

    • In reflecting on my own life I find that as I've been on my own journey there have been a few individuals who have always been a part of me. Whether knowingly or not their 'presence' has indelibly altered me. I am who I am in part because of the role that these special people have played in my life. Changing my perspective, nudging me forward, pulling me out the mess of things that I make from time to time, encouraging me to move forward, or simply giving me a much needed kick in the pants!

      Then there are those extra special people. These are ones that touch your very soul. Moving you to reach past what you may think is possible and take hold of what can be. Thank God for them, for without them who would we be.

      After writing the above I drove past one of the churches in the area and saw the following:

      Thought For The Day: Never be afraid to trust an unknown future.

      Sunday, August 23, 2009

      Sunday Afternoon

      Cassie and I got started on our afternoon adventures right after church. A quick lunch and then off to the Valentine Museum. The tour of Wickham house was fairly interesting as was the museum. Off the gardens we found the sculpture studio and dicovered a treasure trove of unique pieces by Edward Valentine. I particularly like his proposed Robert E. Lee monument.

      More photos

      I noticed that my cell phone was losing it's charge, so we headed up Broad Street in search of a Verizon location. Once there they discovered that my phone was operating on version 3.0 software, and the current version is 6.0! Hmmm, how did that happen. I left the phone there for a much needed upgrade and headed off to visit with Tim & Elda.

      We had a splendid visit. Cassie and the cousins played for a couple of hours. I don't think we'd have even left when we did, if we hadn't of had to be back to the Verizon store before it closed.

      I got Cassie back home, and turned right around and headed back across the river to continue my visit. We had quite the time. Walt was checking in on me by 10:30 to make sure that I was alright. It was a great visit and made for an interesting close to the weekend.

      Sunday Morning

      I was out on the porch this morning enjoying the wonderful weather, and there amongst the remnants of the fallen trees I spotted this butterfly. Amazingly enough it stayed around long enough for me to go back into the house and get the camera.

      Well I'm off shortly to pick up the niece, Cassie, for a trip to the Valentine Museum. Admission is free on Sundays through Labor Day, since neither of us has ever been I thought that we take advantage of that this afternoon.

      Saturday, August 22, 2009

      Saturday Update

      I was so pleased with the turn out at last night's event. I believe that everyone had a good time. The pictures were great and Tom Griggs has even added a few more to the ones that I took. Who would have believed that there would be a photo of me let alone three or four?

      After getting the house guests back on the road this morning, I headed out for a short shopping trip. I just couldn't pass up printing out a couple of the pictures from last night.

      We had an unexpected visitor around midday, an older gentleman that Walter had given several loads of wood to, came by and delivered a bag of homegrown tomatoes. He wanted to give them to the nice boy that had given him the wood. He was just as nice as could be.

      A pleasant afternoon rain cooled temperatures off here about 10 degrees and cut the humidity to almost nothing. We should have had these temperatures last night.

      I finally got Dad on the phone this afternoon to wish him a happy birthday. He was the hardest man to get hold of today. Off and about early this morning and then off again late this afternoon. I had to catch him in transit.

      Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

      Thought For the Day: Enjoy the ride. There is no return ticket

      Views on Aging

      Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

      'How old are you?' ' I'm four and a half!' You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

      You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

      'How old are you?' 'I'm gonna be 16!' You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life ! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

      But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

      You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone..

      But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

      So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

      You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

      You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; 'I Was JUST 92.'

      Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. 'I'm 100 and a half!'

      May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

      HOW TO STAY YOUNG
      1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them.'
      2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
      3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever, even ham radio. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
      4. Enjoy the simple things.
      5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
      6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
      7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge .
      8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
      9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
      10. Tell the people you love that you love them at every opportunity.

      Here's To a New Beginning

      Last night we all got together to welcome home Brian and send him off at the same time. We had a fantastic time at Glory Days Grill. It was great getting to spend time to catch up and wishing him well on his new adventure.

      All the pictures from last night.

      Friday, August 21, 2009

      Hmmm...

      Just thinking! Okay, don't laugh. See what happens when I'm left to my own devices on a day off. Doing the typical housework, catching up on email, more classwork, possibly some yardwork and pondering some interesting questions for example.

      Danielle & Ben's baby was due on August 4th and today is the 21st, what are the odds that the baby has been born by now? If a normal pregnancy is right at 40 weeks and it would now be 43 weeks, I'd venture to say that the baby is most likely here by now. If not, Guiness Book of World Records will be making an announcement sometime soon for them. Although I did do a Google search and came up with a link to a woman who 'supposedly' had a 17 month long pregnancy. Yikes! Can we all say hoax?

      With that being said, I wish them all well on the new arrival, and ask that they let me know the details sometime. I'd like to know if it was a boy or girl.

      Thursday, August 20, 2009

      And I'm Off

      I've pinned a note to the computer monitor in my office, and I'm off for a three day weekend.

      I've been catching up a few things here at the house this evening and have a list written for tomorrow. The only things on the schedule for my 'weekend' are:

    • Brian's Party at Glory Days on Friday Night, and
    • Taking Cassie to the Valentine Museum on Sunday afternoon
    • Social Media Revolution

      A great video on the way that social media is changing the way that we get our news and find products.

      Wednesday, August 19, 2009

      Hump Day

      It has been a busy day as usual. Work keeps me busy, as usual. We're working on producing the Fall edition of our Smiles Of magazine. New colors, images and copy. We're just about done.

      As the afternoon wore on we were taking bets whether or not it was going to rain. Well, of course, the clouds rolled in and looked quite threatening until it all of sudden let loose and poured briefly. Looks like the rain finally caught up with us this evening. It has been raining cats and dogs for the past 30 minutes here. At one point it sounded like someone was standing over top of the skylight pour buckets of water onto it. It sounds like it is beginning to move out of the area now, but you never know it could slip right back around and hit us again. I know all the plants in the yard are 'thrilled' - I've been negligent in actually getting out there and doing some watering.
      I received my final grade for my last assignment in my Color Theory class today. So this evening I logged into class and took my final exame which finished up my Color Theory class. I ended up with an "A" for the class. Yeah!

      My InDesign class has been plodding right along, it just takes longer to put together some of the pieces than in other classes. I went to work on my final session yesterday and found out that one of the sample/example pieces that we were suppose to be using wasn't even in the download area. Turned out that the instructor had had an "Oops, I'm bad." moment. The document was up this evening. I'll get on that lesson tomorrow, when I can stay up late and not worry about getting up early for work. (Yes, I have the day off on Friday otherwise it would never happen.)

      Walter it seems has put in a full day as well. Working on the Suburbans with Tim. He tells me that he's got one just about ready to put the engine back into and the other ready to get rid of. Yeah, he'll be down to one Suburban. I truly didn't think he needed two, but at least he'll be able to sell one for parts or possibly donate it as a tax deduction.

      Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

      Thought For the Day: The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous. - Shana Alexander

      Best Come Back Line Ever

      Now I checked this out on Snopes.com, and it is absolutely false - never happened. However, according to Snopes.com this thing has been floating around the internet since 1998, and there was one actual incident in 2002 involving a man and his pumpkin in his basement. But even knowing all this....it was too funny not to share.

      In summary, the police arrested Patrick Lawrence, 22 year old white male, in a pumpkin patch 11:38 p.m. on Friday night.

      On Monday, at the Gwinnett County (GA) courthouse, Lawrence was charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour, public indecency, and public intoxication.

      The suspect explained that as he was passing a pumpkin patch on his way home from a drinking session when he decided to stop, 'You know how a pumpkin is soft and squishy inside, and there was no one around for miles or at least I thought there wasn't anyone around' he stated in a telephone interview.

      Lawrence went on to say that he pulled over to the side of the road, picked out a pumpkin that he felt was appropriate to his purpose, cut a hole in it, and proceeded to satisfy his alleged need. 'Guess I was really into it, you know?' he commented with evident embarrassment. In the process of doing the deed, Lawrence failed to notice an approaching police car and was unaware of his audience until Officer Brenda Taylor approached him.

      'It was an unusual situation, that's for sure,' said Officer Taylor. 'I walked up to Lawrence and he's just banging away at this pumpkin.' Officer Taylor went on to describe what happened when she approached Lawrence.

      'I said, 'Excuse me sir, but do you realize that you're having sex with a pumpkin?

      'He froze and was clearly very surprised that I was there, and then he looked me straight in the face and said... 'A pumpkin? Shit .... is it midnight already?'

      Tuesday, August 18, 2009

      Another Day Under the Bridge!

      It was an amazingly full and tough day. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions, without really knowing what direction I 'really' needed to be truly be going in.

      I've got homework to continue doing this evening, but after the whole day at the computer screen it isn't happening. As an added excuse, I'm missing a file I need to use while going through the final lecture of my InDesign class, but it seems to be MIA. Even the instructor doesn't seem to know about it. We'll see if it shows up soon. Time to check in online to find out what's going on with it.

      Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

      Thought For the Day: "One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. . . . Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it." - Ronald Reagan

      Regifting Robin

      An interesting website that guesses what gift you have select from based on a number you select. But...you don't enter any numbers on the screen. Hmmm. It's pretty neat.

      I picked this up from the Patriot's Post today:

      She's a Pro

      The woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon grove seemed to be far too qualified for the job.

      The foreman frowned and said, "I have to ask you this: Have you had any actual experience in picking lemons?"

      "Well, as a matter of fact, I have!" she replied. "I've been divorced three times and I voted for Obama."

      Statements From a DC Airport Ticket Agent

      A DC airport ticket agent offers some examples of 'why' our country is in trouble!

      1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

      2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman's (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa" his response -- click.

      3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!" (OMG)

      4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife (Landra Reid) who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map." (OMG, again!)

      5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time." (Aghhhh)

      6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

      7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, '"Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?" I said, "No, why do you ask?' He replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!"

      After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, Ca. is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.

      8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

      9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright(D) from Ala who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."

      10. Senator Dianne Feinstein called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. She said, "Yeah, whatever, smarty!"

      11. Mary Landrieu, La. Senator, called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those."

      I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

      12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York." I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the man. After some searching, I came back with, "I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a rhino anywhere."

      "The man retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" The reply? "Whatever! I knew it was a big animal."

      Now you know why the Government is in the shape that it's in!

      YES, THEY WALK AMONG US, ARE IN POLITICS, AND THEY CONTINUE TO BREED.

      Monday, August 17, 2009

      And the Week Begins

      As I was headed out to work this morning the mist had settled into the bottom field at the end of the road. Normally it's not usually this heavy and easily captured on 'film'.

      Walter gave me a call this afternoon informing me of a few unexpected visitors in our backyard. It seems that one of the neighbor's cats had had a litter of kittens in between the two old woodpiles behind the toolshed. Nothing like trying to clean out old rotten wood, only to find five little kittens tucked in between them.

      Not wanting to crush them, he left them where they were and I came home at lunch time with a box from the office. I was able to squeeze into the space and pull them out without any trouble. I spent awhile trying to find out where we could take them to get rid of them. I certainly don't want any cats, and especially not five of them. Carla would have an absolute fit! This evening, if the mother cat hasn't moved the kittens out of the box and into a new location, we are going to take them over to the neighbor's house and present him with his new kittens. Then they will be out of our hands.

      It seems that Chesterfield County says that cats are able to run free within the county. Now I know that cats can't be kept on a leash, or in a backyard. But let's be real...does any one person need 17 cats! Let alone five more kittens. Get with the program and have your cats spay and neutered.

      Miracles never cease, the kittens were gone when I got home. Yeah! No need to worry about how to get rid of them or where the mother had put them.

      This evening I had a nice visit with Tim & Elda when they came by to pick up a scanner. They've got lots of stuff to scan. The scanner even automatically makes pdfs which is going to be a real blessing.

      They also brought over Carla's doghouse. I'll get that put into the backyard this week, put up some wire around the base of the deck and Carla will be all set with her very own backyard playground. Then I can let her out in the backyard for hours on end to enjoy laying in the sun, without needing to worry about her wandering off or the neighborhood pit bull catching up with her on the front porch.

      Let's Help Out the Special Olympics

      Hello and good morning!

      I am reaching out to you today because I am going to be jumping 30 stories (from The Suntrust Building in DT Richmond) in October and Need your help!

      I am looking to raise $2000 for The Special Olympics. Donating through this secure site is the easiest and most efficient way to contribute to my fundraising efforts. Your support is greatly appreciated—and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might be interested in making a donation as well! Even a few bucks helps :) $5, $10, $25 (anything you can do!) will help me get to my goal of $2,000!


      Your donation will assist Special Olympics Virginia in reaching our total fundraising goal of $100,000. And with your help, I hope to surpass my own fundraising goal and join other adrenaline junkies rappel down one of the tallest buildings in Richmond. It’ll be an extreme adventure that will lead to extreme community impact -- helping Special Olympics to inspire more INCLUSION, UNITY and RESPECT for 9,500 Special Olympics athletes across Virginia.

      For those business owners out there, I am planning on wearing a sponsorship shirt and promoting those businesses through my website. If you donate $100 or more, I would love to include you in those promotions. This is a very exclusive event, reserved for 70 people (invited from across the country) so media coverage WILL BE PRESENT. Please help me and Special Olympics in any way you can!!

      Please donate here: http://www.firstgiving.com/whitstyles

      Best,

      Whit
      www.stylesbridebootcamp.com/
      www.twitter.com/whitstyleswww.twitter.com/bridebootcamp
      whit@stylesbridebootcamp.com
      804-349-3264

      Sunday, August 16, 2009

      Winding Up the Weekend

      We've had a pretty quiet conclusion to the weekend. Kicking back and watching movies, fixing a couple of graphics and not much else.

      Walt's been out and about a couple of times today. Hope he's having fun.

      Saturday, August 15, 2009

      Hollywood Cemetery

      I surprised Cassie by picking her up from her outing with her brothers this afternoon, to take her off on another weekend journey. Today we headed out to tour Hollywood Cemetery, but first a stop off at the Valentine Museum to pick up a map and guidebook.

      It was a good thing that we started there. We found out that the Valentine Museum has free admission every Sunday through Labor Day. I know where we're going next Sunday afternoon.

      The trip to Hollywood Cemetery was almost an adventure in and of itself. It seems that we picked move in day at VCU for our trip.

      It was a very interesting trip. The headstone sculptures and monuments were amazing. Jeff Davis had a very commanding view of the city. Cassie was especially taken with the black dog.


      Photos From Our Trip

      We even took a side trip out to visit with Tim & Elda's family. We picked up Miss Abby, and I took the girls for ice cream at Baskin Robbins. They really enjoyed the afternoon treat. We had a very enjoyable visit, sitting out in the backyard talking. I've promised both the girls a 'Girl's Night' at the house one Friday night. Girly movies, polishing nails and just being goofy.

      Walter got a bit goofy himself this evening. He found out that my cell phone would read the text messages, so he spent a good hour sending me strange messages to hear the phone read back. Some of them tickled him so much I thought he was going to split a side.

      Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

      Thought for the Day:
      "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government" - Thomas Paine

      Kola

      A koala was sitting in a gum tree smoking a joint?

      When a little lizard walked past, looked up and said, 'Hey Koala! What are you doing?'

      The koala said, 'Smoking a joint, come up and have some.'

      So the little lizard climbed up and sat next to the koala where they enjoyed a few joints. After a while the little lizard said that his mouth was 'dry' and that he was going to get a drink from the river. The little lizard was so stoned that he leaned over too far and fell into the river.

      A crocodile saw this and swam over to the little lizard and helped him to the side. Then he asked the little lizard, 'What's the matter with you?'

      The little lizard explained to the crocodile that he had been sitting with the koala in the tree, smoking a joint, but got too stoned and fell into the river while taking a drink..

      The crocodile said that he had to check this out and walked into the rain forest, found the tree where the koala was sitting finishing a joint. The crocodile looked up and said,'Hey you!'

      So the koala looked down at him and said,

      'Mannnn dude...
      How much water did you drink!?'

      What's In A Name

      A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children. "You all have obsessions," he observed.

      To the first mother, Mary, he said, "You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy."

      He turned to the second Mom, Ann: "Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny."

      He turned to the third Mom, Joyce: "Your obsession is alcohol. This too shows itself in your child's name, Brandy."

      At this point, the fourth mother, Kathy, quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand, and whispered, "Come on, Dick, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. Let's pick up Peter and Willy from school and go get dinner."

      The Window Through Which We Look

      A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
      The next morning while they are eating breakfast,
      the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
      "That laundry is not very clean", she said.
      "She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
      Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."

      Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
      Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
      the young woman would make the same comments.

      About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
      nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

      "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
      I wonder who taught her this."

      The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
      cleaned our windows."

      And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
      depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

      Great Start to The Weekend

      Friday was very good, midday I headed down to Techead for a Lunch & Learn on Photoshop CS4: Quick & Dirty Editing Photo Tricks presented by Sean Cooke. The class was great. I always bring back at least one tip that I can put into practice almost immediately. Sean always is educational and entertaining. Coming back from class the day just flew by, it went amazingly smooth and productive.

      This morning I finished reading, the book I picked up last weekend in Williamsburg, 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho. Interesting read. I've even added a couple of photos from the Williamsburg trip to the image scroll at the top of the page (one of a butterfly and a bee).

      This afternoon, Walt's off to Patrick and Laura's wedding, and I'll be picking up Miss Cassie for another outing. We're heading off to Hollywood Cemetery. I found out from Alice that while Miss Cassie and I are out and about, poor Master Andrew will be mowing the lawn. Yike! I tried to get Sean to go with me as well, but it seems he's already out and about in Powhatan.

      Thursday, August 13, 2009

      Much Better

      Today turned out much better than yesterday. Much calmer and smoother. Oh there were a couple of glitches for the day, but nothing major at all.

      I'm still trying to figure out how you can call an account manager and never get them to call you back. Especially when they send you an ugly notice that you might have done something wrong (but not really). Seems that they apparently just couldn't get it together at all.

      Cool, I figured out how to get the date on these dang post, using the new template. Yeah!

      Wednesday, August 12, 2009

      Wanted: One Pick Me Up

      August 12, 2009

      Dang, I am sorely in need of a pick me up. The last couple of days have just been yucky. The last thing that I want to do is get into one of those funky moods that seem to just suck you in. I've been scouring through my email for the fun graphic feebies, but there really has been much to get excited about.

      Work has been...well work. Create, revise, revise, revise. It's the nature of the beast. Frustrating at time.

      Perhaps this evening will be better. I've got homework to do and maybe, just maybe I'll be inspired.

      Tuesday, August 11, 2009

      Could this be the day?

      August 11, 2009

      Could this be the day? Maybe, maybe not. It could have already happened for all I know. Danielle was due to have her baby last Wednesday. So... the big question is has he or she arrived yet? Perhaps I'll know before Christmas or not.

      I really would like to be excited about it yet. I'm not, after being locked out of the their life for over two years, it's hard to be excited.

      Sean had his own adventure this morning. He had his wisdom teeth removed. I asked him what he was going to do now that they had taken out all his wisdom. As groggy as he was I don't know if he'll even remember the question. I should have reminded him that he need to put those teeth under his pillow for the "Tooth Fairy" (wink, wink).

      This evening I'm home working on class work and another little project. Seems like for the most part that's about all I do.

      I did get an interesting report on my outing this past weekend with Miss Cassie. She has been able to taunt Andrew with it. For once she has had a better 'weekend' adventure than he has. She most likely won't be letting him forget it for sometime.

      Walt's out and about this evening with his friends. Glad to that he's out enjoying himself.

      Sunday, August 9, 2009

      Road Trip Day Two

      August 9, 2009

      Well Cassie and I had another full day. We headed off first thing this morning to Yorktown. We spent some time there at the waterfront. It was quiet and very nice. There had been some work done there since my last visit.

      We were thinking of heading on towards the beach way, but took a few side roads too many and ended up in BFE. Turns out that it was lucky for us that we did we got some cool photos of a crane in the marsh there. After getting ourselves turned back around and headed in the right direction we started for Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway.

      Once we hit Williamsburg, we found out that the Parkway was closed just about 4 miles before reaching Jamestown. We took the side trip and drove right through to the road closure, just to see what we could see. I was glad that we did. We saw oodles of Ospreys.

      Onward to Jamestown, where we caught the ferry over to Surry County. Cassie was a little spooked about riding on the ferry, but got over it once we were under way. As we were going up Route 10 we spotted a fawn on the side of the road, I tried to get stopped and get a photo, but it just didn't happen.

      We stopped at the Hardees in Hopewell to grab a milkshake. That turned into a real fiasco. When they handed them out the window, we were quite surprised to see those sad things. They were only half full, watery, and not even icy cold. I've never seen anything so sad. The manager did refund my money, but WOW.

      As a last stop on the way home we went to Henricus, just getting in before they quit selling tickets. It has changed so much since the last time I was there with the kids. They've added several new buildings, livestock, and chicken! Outside of the settlement enclosure, they have added a dock at the base of the cliff with a paved pathway and handrail. We did get to see a large ship leaving out the James and passing under the Varina-Enon bridge, the photo has smaller boats in the picture as well to give you some sense of the size. Huge!

      You can see more trip photos here.

      Sean came over this evening to give me a look at his new haircut. Saturday he decided to shave his head. It didn't look as bad as it sounded, but then....he has found a hat to top off his new look.


      The boys posed for a photo together on the porch this evening. Walter was barefooted with Sean in shoes and of course wearing his hat. I made the comment that they both would probably look a whole lot better if their clothing wasn't so loose. Walt's lost a lot of weight and Sean likes the baggy look.

      Saturday, August 8, 2009

      Road Trip with Cassie

      August 8, 2009

      I started off this morning with a new haircut and color. Mom even posted a picture of the new cut on Facebook.

      Then a trip out to visit with Mom, turned into an impromtu trip to Williamsburg with my niece, Cassie.

      We left Richmond a little after Noon and made it to Williamsburg before 2:30 p.m. After getting Carla all settled into the hotel we headed off to Colonial Williamsburg to have a look around. There were loads of actors in period costumes. I don't believe that I've ever been here and seen that many.

      We went to the Colonial Garden where we saw pomagrante and fig trees. They had planted gourds with the grape vines on an arbor. Very interesting to see the gourds and grapes hanging above your head. Cassie also got to try her hand at bring up water from the well in the garden. Then to top it off they had her haul the water bucket to the giant barrel in the center of the garden. The guide said that during the Colonial period they thought that it was bad to use well water on the plants, so they warmed in the barrel during the day before actually using it.



      Cassie really enjoyed going into the shops. We stopped in the Barnes & Nobel, always a bad place to go, and Cassie got a couple of books and I picked up one for myself as well. On to Merchant's Square and we went through the Scottish store. I found a great pair of heather earrings and a cute braclet for Cassie.

      We enjoyed a very nice dinner at Carrabba's. Cassie tried calamari and creme brulee. I do believe that she enjoyed them both quite a bit.

      This evening I took her down to the pool for a dip. It wasn't too long after she got into the pool it started to drizzle. Oh well, she was already wet and it wasn't thundering, so we hung out until it started really coming down. The umbrellas next to the pool didn't do much to shield me from the rain. I ended up getting drenched.

      It has been a full day. Who knows where we will end up tomorrow? The only real plan that we have is to take the Jamestown Ferry home. Up to then it's anyone's guess.

      Friday, August 7, 2009

      Alice's Haircut

      August 7, 2009

      Today is a red letter day, Alice finally cut her hair after 7 years. She gave us the word on Wednesday that she had scheduled an appointment. Not one to pass up the opportunity to offer moral support and get a few picture. I left work early enough to catch up with her at the salon.

      I even was able to get video of the actual cut.

      Thursday, August 6, 2009

      A Relaxing Evening

      August 6, 2009

      It has been a most pleasurable evening. Just kicking back and not doing anything. Very unstressful and relaxing.

      I had Molly Maids come by today and finally get the house it's first deep down clean since we've moved in. They did such a nice job. Now I can focus on the other stuff that I want to get done around the house. It was surprising how much they did in just an hour. I was expecting them to take longer. I may just have to get them to pop by every month or so.

      Walt had some company over for dinner this evening. We had a very pleasant dinner and conversation. It was nice having people over, even if it was unexpected.

      Twitter & Facebook Down

      August 6, 2009

      I just heard on the radio (WRVA) that Twitter is down - they are experiencing a denial of service attack.

      There may be something going on with Facebook as well. I haven't been able to login to the site. I keep getting this error message:

      Transport error (#1001) while retrieving data from endpoint `/ajax/composer/attachment.php': A network error occurred. Check that you are connected to the internet.

      1:45 p.m.

      Facebook joined Twitter earlier today, apparently suffering from a denial of service attack. Connections at this time seem to be tenuous. All I have been able to do is get to the login window, after that nothing. Hopefully they will be able to get this issue resolved soon. With so many businesses now utilizing both Twitter and Facebook to promote themselves, this has got to be hurting.

      Wednesday, August 5, 2009

      Full Day of Events

      August 4, 2009

      It's been a busy day, full of magazine prep, burning CDs and DVDs, downloading & converting some video, handling order fulfillments and phone calls. And it's not over yet, I'll be working a teleconference this evening.

      I've signed up to attend a lunch & learn on Down & Dirty Photoshop Tips & Tricks at Techead next Friday. Sean Cooke is going to be doing the presentation. I always enjoy his classes. He's even put together a book, Mr. Cooke’s Little Brown Book It is full of Adobe® Design Suite Tricks. It is a great reference to have right by the computer.

      Whitney in our office is going to participate in an event to raise money for the Special Olympics. She will rappel 30 stories from the Suntrust Building, here in Richmond. She is gathering sponsors, if you would like to help her reach her goal, Click Here.

      A little teaser for Friday's upcoming post, Alice is getting a haircut. After seven years of letting her hair grow, she has decided that it is time for a change. She's all scheduled with a Friday afternoon appointment. I'm even taking off early to go with her and bring back photographic evidence that she did indeed get her hair cut. Be prepared for an awesome change.

      Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

      Thought For the Day:
      A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart, stays in your mind, even after years apart.

      Carl

      Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much, but he would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.

      Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.

      Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.

      When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.

      He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.

      He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him.

      Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?"

      The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with a malevolent little smile.

      As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down.

      As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled.

      Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg, so he lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him.

      Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it.

      "Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.

      Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday."

      His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.

      Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?"

      "I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the calm reply.

      Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.

      A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose.

      This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to toe in the icy water.

      When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done.

      Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

      The summer was quickly fading into fall and Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches.

      As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack.

      "Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time."

      The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl.

      As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

      "What's this?" Carl asked.

      "It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet."

      "I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?"

      The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it, but every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing
      love against our hate."

      He stopped for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back."

      He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say.

      "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with that, he walked off down the street.

      Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

      He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather.

      In particular, the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church.

      The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life.

      In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

      The following spring another flyer went up. It read: Needed - A person to care for Carl's garden.

      The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door.

      Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer.

      "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said.

      The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl.

      He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him."

      The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done.

      During that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community, but he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.

      One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday."

      "Well congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?"

      "Carl," he replied.

      Monday, August 3, 2009

      And We're Off

      August 3, 2009

      August has begun with a flurry of activity. Walter has been out working on the yard. We may actually be able to walk around the yard before the end of the month without tripping over a piece of split wood. He was able to more or less figure out the back property line over the weekend, with a compass and piece of string. Very interesting activity, especially when you are walking through the bramble in no man's land in the backyard. Please don't make me go in there again.

      Last night Walter received an interesting Facebook contact, his cousin from North Carolina found him. They haven't seen one another since Walter was five months old. It is amazing. Turns out that he had done a Google search on himself and found the genealogy, which in turn gave him the name that he could search for on Facebook. So neat. I ran the same search and found one of the other cousins and a post that she had looking for family information. I'm going to shoot her an email with a link to the genealogy site this evening.

      My day has been full of ripping audio from video, then a little bit of audio editing on top of that. Quite repetitive. I've even been able to get some work on postcards for one of the doctors in Minnesota.

      Tonight's Clover Hill Alumni get together was a fabulous success. Jeff Creech came in from North Carolina and Joe Brame came up from Yorktown. It was great seeing so many people coming out. The group ranged from the Class of '79 to the Class of '89. Quite a mix.

      Walter even met up this evening with a few of his friends from Manchester High School. We kiddingly told them that they had been sitting at the 'kids' table at the end of the evening.

      Saturday, August 1, 2009

      August Begins


      Fantastic Day! Slept until noon. Wow do I feel rested. I've been busy working giving the blog a whole new look. I found a great template and am really happy with the way that it looks. There are a couple of tweaks that I'm working on, for some reason the date isn't showing up on my posts. But on the whole it is really nice. Lots of ways to update and change things up.

      The search box at the top right-hand side of the page allows you to search the contents of the site.

      I'll be adding a box to the bottom right-hand side that where I will add links to neat tools that I find and use.

      The items in the gallery at the top of the page are photos by me, designs by Alice Pettey, Photos by Tim Parsons, and Photos by Dorothy Parsons. I'll be adding some of my own graphics in the future.

      This afternoon, Walter got a wild hair, and we've been out with a tape measure and twine marking off two of the property lines. We've got the one between us and our next door neighbors done with out any problems. The back line is a little sketchy, but Walt thinks he may have gotten it figured out. Thank goodness he is good at what he does. We are pretty sure that we have found where the line is suppose to go, and if it is correct, the yard is much larger in the back that I first thought.