Monday, July 28, 2008

Meme'd Again.....

7 songs. I was going to say "April Come She Will," just cuz she meme'd me again. lol (actually I do like the song/poem)

I decided to just go for it without giving the subject a lot of thought. No particular order or priority to them.

1. North to Alaska by Johnny Horton
2. Sloop John B by the Beach Boys
3. A Living Prayer by Alison Krauss
4. This Magic Moment by Sweetness
5. Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner
6. Any Mark Zeeman piano arrangements
7. Waitin for the Sun to Shine by Ricky Skaggs

Saturday, July 26, 2008

James and the Giant Peach???

Or, how about Sarah and the giant zucchini? We are watching the three local grandkids overnight. I deliberately waited to harvest some fruit of the garden so they could help. First, to the beans. Sarah and I scoured the bushes for mature beans. We found a great number and handed them off to Micah and Seth to put in the bowl. Then I took them to the Zucchini plant to show them the monster I had been saving for them. I lopped it off and gave it to Seth but the oversize veggie was a bit much for him so he dumped it off on Sarah. Finally, over to the cucumber where we found a ripe one. Seth thought the cucumber was about right for his size, and I got them to pose for this pix. It remains to be seen whether all the kids will eat the beans. We are hoping they will at least try ONE.

We brought the veggies in and I uploaded the one picture I took. The pix looked a little fuzzy, so I tried to get the kids outside again for a curtain call. They didn't look at it as a curtain call, more like a grudge-match. Micah decided it was too hot to go back out. Seth, who was at the door and ready to exit until Micah decided to stay in, did an about face and followed his big brother's lead. Sarah, always a trooper, did their duty willingly. The beans were already being washed so Gamma made them AWOL.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Daughter April "meme'd" me. At first I thought the word had something to do with warming up to sing (just kidding). According to my computer dictionary.....
Meme (mēm): an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means or imitation.
I think the idea is to have others learn by observing things we share.

April listed some rules, but I'm not necessarily going to pass them on cuz she meme'd almost everyone I know in the family already. So I'll spare you the rules except to say I am suppose to list seven things about myself generally unknown to others.

1. I cut my own hair. I think I've been to the barber only a half dozen times in the last 10-15 years. (no latent jokes please). I've learned that the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut (If I goof doing the chore backwards while looking in the mirror) is about five days.

2. I love riding motorcycles. I have had several. My first at 15 ½ years of age (one could legally drive one on the street back then with only a learners permit) was a Triumph, then came a Velocette, next a Harley Davidson when I got back from Vietnam, and finally a Kawasaki I traded for when the kids were young. I quit because I saw too many people get maimed or disabled in motorcycle accidents and Paulette wasn't comfortable with me riding, and didn't like riding with me. I have a few scars yet to prove they can be dangerous. My Mom (GG) wrote once that something she always wanted to do was ride a motorcycle. So I took the Kawasaki over one afternoon when she was in her late 60s and took her for a ride!

3. I eat most anything set before me. That includes Zebra in Africa, or fish innards in Asia.

4. I can fix most anything (not news to some of you). We haven't called a repairman in perhaps three to four decades, except one time when an item was under warranty. (though on very rare occasions I do take a car in for repair.) I change my own oil. If an appliance breaks I fix it. If I can't fix it I replace it. Kids call and ask me how to fix this or that or stop a toilet that won't quit running. Elisabeth and Jo asked me to look at ovens when they wouldn't light. I went to get a part for our washing machine and the parts counter rep told me parts were no longer available because the machine was 25 years old. I had been repairing it that long.

5. I tried to fix broken clocks as a kid. I enjoy intricate mechanical details and trying to figure out how things work.

6. I have been carrying a pocket knife since I was in sixth grade. I earned it in a contest at school (how things have changed). It never got me in trouble at school back then. Several times since 9-11 I have had problems related to carrying a knife. Once I actually got it on an airplane when I forgot it was in my pocket. I made it through the metal detector and past the random screener. Several times I had to bring the knife back to the car before a Marshall would let me into a courthouse. It's a tool, not a weapon.

7. When writing stories, thesis, etc., I have to redact twelve or more times before I like what I have written. I'm jealous of someone who can write once and be done.

This exercise is neat. At the risk of sounding conceited allow me to add a few more for the benefit of other generations
• I enjoy a project (as long as it doesn't take toooo long). I like the sense of accomplishment when the project is finished. Then I stand back and think, "I did that and it is good." That is part of imago dei in me.

• I have a strong bent toward horizons, and I like bringing them close until I can see over them. I have seen things and done things few people on this earth have been able to see or do. (Mom and April have urged me to write them some day for the benefit of the grandkids. Perhaps when all the horizons I see are gone.... but there is always another.) Getting down to the level of the people in a different culture is often difficult on the body but opens fantastic doors. Without it I would never have seen the Salt Cathedral in Columbia, or tramped the footpaths of equatorial Africa, or met a boy raised from the dead. I've heard it said, "Man knows not his time." Me either. I wonder if I would have been an explorer or an aviation pioneer in another era.

• I love teaching and seeing people transfigured by what they are learning. I have come to see the best teaching is not lecture. I relish being a peripatetic teacher.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Farmer Mel

We have five rows of veggies, along with a few mounds of zucchini, cabbage, and three tomato plants hidden behind the young orange tree. The carrots and onions hardly show up in the pix, but are doing well. The small plants in the foreground are bell pepper. They seem to be doing ok, but are slow growers compared to most everything else. I think they are the late bloomers of the garden.

The big event is we are starting to get produce. We had our first green beans yesterday for dinner. Amazingly good! We have been picking cilantro and basil for over a week. Cucumbers are now pickle size. I lopped off our first zucchini this morning. Two more should be ripe in a few days (one plants a zucchini to feed the neighborhood). I don't think we are going to put Stater Brothers Markets out of business. But it will help relieve the increased costs of produce at the store due to fuel prices. And the garden is fun. I plan to plant another row in a few weeks so we get a fresh crop into fall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Weekend in Big Bear

Last weekend was the Manx Dune Buggy Club annual Big Bear get-together. This is the biggest event of the year and happens in the mountains just up the road from us. We relished the opportunity to get out of the valley heat. A few hours into the setup task the sky clouded over and the heavens emitted lightning, thunder, downpour, and hail. We hunkered down in the RV and watched (and felt) the display. As soon as it was over I grabbed the camera, which works intermittently, and put a few of the bigger hailstones on the step for a picture. They were melting fast. I'm glad we didn't get caught out in the open. Those hail marbles would hurt. I was reminded of talking to grandson JJ when a thunderstorm went over their house in Texas. He didn't like them. I told him they reminded me of the power of God. He seemed to be thinking about that.

Over seventy buggies and their owners attend the buggy event. Saturday morning was Show n Shine, a car show for buggies. The line of buggies stretches around the corner.

We had thunderstorms and occasional hail every afternoon, and got caught out while driving the buggy more than once. One day we got drenched to the skin. That made for a cold drive back to the RV. A hot shower at the RV never felt so good. At first people laughed when we decided to take a golf umbrella. Then they got caught in the deluge.

When we returned to camp those staying in tents found the downpour had washed under the tent and soaked their gear. Another party left the vent over the bed in their camper open which drenched their mattress. We had room on the RV so invited two couples to sleep in the extra bunks. Only one accepted. He was originally from France which turned out to be a providential visit because our daughter Elisabeth is hosting a foreign exchange student from his area of origin. It's a small world.

In spite of nature's display (or was it because of) we had a great time. The rains kept the dust down but weren't of enough duration to make the roads muddy. And the temperatures were fabulous, mostly in the 70's. When we drove down and pulled in the yard Sunday afternoon I opened the truck door and .... 100°. I wanted to turn around and go back up the mountain.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Car Show

Yesterday, the 4th of July, we went to a car show at church. I probably would have stayed under the A/C (about 100° on the grass field and humid from all the watering the grass receives) at home but they asked me to be a judge of the cars. I didn't bother with sunscreen because I didn't figure judging would take long. Several hours into judging 100 entries I was a literal a redneck. My neck still burns a day later. Despite my letting it be known bribes might be considered no one offered. (Can you picture me taking a bribe? Kinda like the Pope becoming a Protestant.) If anyone asked my name I just told them the pastor's name. No sense being subject to recrimination from those who were unhappy they didn't place. It was long and hot and FUN. JoAnna showed up with the kids and Seth was a pistol. In the heat he wanted to be a mama's boy hanging on her all the time. I felt sorry for her. The other two ran off and indulged in the plethora of water activities on the far end of the soccer field. Made me wish I was 8.

I entered our green Tow'd in the competition, (See header picture) which usually does well against others in its class. I have three blue ribbons to prove it. But a non-buggy car show generally goes to the car with the most $ invested. I bet the winner of Best of Show had $40,000+ in his car. A few were for sale for about that. There I was with my meager $2500 (and a few years of elbow grease) buggy. Despite giving my car high marks for subjective reasons I didn't win anything. ;-)

We finished the night at a baseball game with Jo, John, and the kids. Great fireworks show afterward. Then sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes waiting for someone to let me into the outflow line (My thanx to that guy in the red Accura). Got home close to midnight. I haven't done that in a long while.

No pix? Well, my third digital camera decided it didn't like dust. Sometimes it will work if I help the lens extend. But that's a lot of work. I'm looking for another camera. But you know us Dutch guys. It may be a while.

Fishing is hard work

I like fishing Alaska and found this picture on the web. It tells a story so I thought I'd post it. This pix was titled "Fishing for King Salmon is Hard Work." Actually, the fellow was probably so engrossed with fishing that the tide came in and cut off his escape route back to the mainland, so he decided to make the best of it for a few hours until the tide went back out. The tides in Alaska are greater than we experience in California. I have seen them go 12 feet and am told they can go 20 feet on rare occasions. That kind of movement can flood behind you in a matter of a half hour. I've had it happen, but managed to jump across before it was too deep. Swim or wade? Water temp is probably about 45°. I suspect he thought catching some rays for a few hours sounded like a better option.

Alaska has its share of fun names. In the interior there is a town named "Chicken." They actually wanted to name it "Ptarmigan," but nobody knew how to spell Ptarmigan.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Too cute

Little Johnny was spending the weekend with his grand-
mother after a particularly trying week in kindergarten.
His grandmother decided to take him to the park on
Saturday morning.

It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful.

His grandmother remarked..." doesn't it look like an artist
painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just
for you?"

Johnny said, "Yes, God did it and he did it left handed."

This confused his grandmother a bit, and she asked him
"What makes you say God did this with his left hand?"

"Well," said Johnny, "we learned at Sunday School last
week that Jesus sits on God's right hand!"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

California Burning

It's been quiet here. Not much to write the blog world about. Until today.... July 3.
California reportedly has 1400 fires burning..... er, make that 1401. Usually we don't pay much attention until the second emergency vehicle goes past the house. More than that went up toward the mountain so I walked out into the heat and this was the scene from the end of the driveway. Every few minutes another fire truck goes past: 7, 10, 13, now 17 (I better quit counting or I won't finish getting the pix up). One has to feel sorry for the firefighters. I'm writing this at 2:20 PM and it is 109°. My guess is the fire is about 2.5 - 3 miles from us. We see water dropping helecopters working our side and there is no wind, which is good. The smoke is going mostly up. I don't sense any threat to us.
Our daughters will probably remember the Sunday afternoon hike up to the little forebay reservoir on the top of that ridge.

As of 6 PM it is looking like they have the upper hand on the fire. We've seen a number of aircraft dropping retardant on the flanks, and the amount of smoke is greatly diminished.