Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

A bit early but we have a busy day ahead of us.  We are having a party here for our friends tonight and possibly later, weather and drunkenness permitting, moving it over to one of the local establishments to ring in the official New Year!  In the meantime there is food prep, shopping and cleaning for us to get done.  However you ring in the new year, be safe, happy and, well, Cheers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Memories Thought Out Loud

My early Christmas memories seem, looking back, pretty wholesome and festive with family, family, family.  When I was young, oh, say single digits up to age 10, it was always a long drive and an overnight stay.  The drive was about 200 miles, filled with car games, fighting with my younger brother and carsickness from my dad's smoking.  (Ironically I would grow up to be quite proficient in the smoking arts.)  I have plenty of memories of having to listen to crappy music and my father's arm flailing wildly into the back seat while he swears and threatens to pull over while my mom wails and cries, trying to stop it all before we have an accident.  After I was 11 we had moved much closer to the relatives-ground-zero, within around 45 miles, so the car trips weren't so bad, relatively speaking.  By then there were 3 of us kids in the back seat, my little sister usually got the 'hump', the middle back seat separating me and my brother and besides, we had seniority for the windows!  I remember always picking the seat behind the driver - see the aforementioned arm flailing wildly, I was more out of reach.

There was always two stops, both my grandparent's houses.  Both lived in the same town, basically my parents' hometown, and near where most of both of the rather large extended families lived.  My mom's side was always a bit more religious.  A bit meaning borderline fanatical.  When we stayed there at times other than Christmas (unless we stayed late enough) we always had to recite the whole damn rosary after dinner.  I do have fond memories of - because we were made to kneel somewhere - kneeling on the staircase with my uncle Art, a young teenager at the time, our fronts out of view while we stealthily read Richie Rich comic books and tried to set speed records of saying a whole 'Hail Mary' ten times when it was our turn.  There was always a large turnout that packed that small house for the Christmas celebration, but it always seemed to run smooth.  Dinner, check, cleanup, check, presents, check, cleanup, check, football, check, and maybe some euchre and seeing who naps first, check and check.  On this side of the family I was the second oldest grandkid and my youngest aunt was less than a year older than I, so you can see the age range and catholic influence there.  Speaking of catholic influence, I do remember having to go to Christmas services and when we were there for overnights when I was younger I believe we went to their church, either on Christmas day or the night before.  When I was a bit older and it was a shorter drive we went to our own church before a day trip to the relatives' town for the holiday.

My other grandparents' house, my dad's side, was a bit smaller, well, if not smaller it seemed like a bigger house.  On this side I was the oldest grandkid.  I had two aunts who were teenagers and they had a pool table downstairs - guess where I liked to be!  Everything ran pretty much as it did at my other grandparents' house, like clockwork, year after year.  All the traditional roles were reinforced, women did the food and dishes and men drank beer, watched football, scratched and napped, year after year.   Looking back from then and up to now, I am glad I have those memories.  I know that I don't see many of my aunts or uncles at all anymore, but with the families I'm from I know I could get the benefit of the doubt from them if ever I needed it.  That's just from the way it was back then.  These days, although both my grandmothers are luckily still around, those big family gatherings have splintered into each family's own gathering with their own kids and grandkids.  And that is as it should be.

When I think back now as I write this, I remember mostly all the good.  All the presents I received, good and bad (read: toys or clothes), and I could start to tell who really gave a shit as I got a bit older.  But I can't ignore the bad memories, either.  The hell car rides, endless waiting, tired crankiness and the yelling and tension that always seemed to  accompany these things, usually on the ride to and from.  I'm not sure if any of this has anything to do with me being agnostic (practically full atheist now) or my disdain for religious, commercial holiday gatherings that seemed to start with my adulthood or not.  I do try to remember the good times more than the obvious bad stuff, but that is selective memory for me.  I'm not sure where I was going with this.  I was inspired into thought by a Diamond Geezer post and I just thought writing it out might help somehow.  Now it's time for bed.  I hope it's not a tough read, I'm not actually a real writer.  Happy Holidays, all.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have A Holly Jolly One...

...if that's what you like.  I'm enjoying the days off.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peanuts And A Rare Packer Loss

A couple weeks ago a good friend of mine, Jerome, came over to watch a football game on TV, and he came bearing gifts!  These 4 Peanuts characters played Christmas tunes together wirelessly, two songs each for a total of eight.  The wireless part has each of them joining in with the others' songs, like a little band.  We've had a lot of fun with these since then (Thank you, Jerome!), putting different ones in different rooms and randomly starting them several times a day.  I liked how my mom's husband Dan was as enamored with them as I yesterday during their visit, so after the game today (next paragraph) I looked to see if I could find them online as a last minute gift for them.  Well, they are still available.  But at about 30 bucks each or a set of the four for around a hundred dollars, well, maybe they'll be cheaper next year.   I hope Jerome got them at regular retail early in the season because 30 bucks a pop is outrageous.  Here's what I'm talking about:

(Oh, the Packer Gnome in the middle was also a present from Jerome while I was still laid up last year - he's very good with presents!)

And today the Green Bay Packers lost for the first time in their last 20 games to the Chiefs, 14-19, first loss since December 19, 2010. I'm actually not very upset about it, because at least it should get rid of the extra pressure of being undefeated and we should still get home field advantage for the playoffs handily. Being undefeated is not a goal, being the champion at the end is, and always will be, the goal. An undefeated year is, and should be, mostly a by-product of the original goal of all teams - winning the Superbowl. Hopefully they will learn from this game and start a 5 game winning streak next week, winning a second consecutive Superbowl in Indianapolis.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The First Snow Of The Season

...Arrived in the wee hours of the morning today, much to the dismay of all the weather forecasters in the area.  Just enough to coat everything in about an inch or more of the damn stuff.  I don't particularly enjoy snow.  I don't participate in many outdoor winter activities (if I can help it), I just have to move a lot of it around for the next several months - off the car, off the roof, off the steps and walks and off the driveway.  Grumble, grumble, grumble...

On a brighter note, my mom and her husband Dan came up for lunch today, bearing gifts and buying lunch.  I didn't put up much of a fight for the check making me think later how we expect our parents to take care of certain things from a young age until, well, forever, seemingly.  At least that's how it happened when I grew up.  Hell, they still have more money than me!  Anyway, it was a very nice lunch and visit today and I hope they had a good time as well.

Tomorrow the Packers travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs.  If the Packers win they officially secure the top seed in the division and will play all their playoff games at home (last year all were on the road).  Go Pack Go!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pic Dump 36

Once more, all the pics I deemed worthy to save for a second look dumped here for everyone's viewing pleasure.  Same as always, some may be NSFW, click the pic for original size if different, much more after the break and just... Enjoy!

I thought I could goad a comment from my brother by posting him in his halloween costume on the front of my last Pic Dump.  Maybe he'll have something funny to say now if I remind him of it!  Hey, Kevin - "OH, YEEAAHHH!"   ...and what do your kids want for christmas?

Update:  Well, he did get back to me - just not here. Presents are ordered and on their way. Oh, for some reason he liked the t-shirt above better than his own halloween costume. Hmm, I wOOnder why?

As always many thanks to the fine sites on 'My Favorite Sites' list in the right column!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We're Smelling Roses 2012

Here's an updated version of last year's song celebrating Wisconsin going to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row.  You can see the original here.   Now we just have to win this time...
On Wisconsin!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear Santa,

While things are going well enough for us, especially in these times,  and we can afford the things we need, luxuries often elude us.  My beloved Green Bay Packers are having another stock offering.  Though it is just an expensive piece of paper, it is one I would be honored to own for many reasons.  Unfortunately I just don't have that kind of expendable cash.  Please, Santa,  if only I could have this one thing...

Monday, December 5, 2011

United States Of Prison

I've been subscribed to The Amazing Athiest's video page for a while now. I rather enjoy his rants and find myself mostly agreeing with him. I realize it may be the same thing as those outrageous Fox News shows - just the other side of the coin, my side, but I enjoy watching him and I will add him to a list on the right soon. This video caught my attention with the relation of the (failed) war on drugs and the profitability of private company prisons. (See my Drug War Clock in the lower right column.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shopping, Roses and Football

December is here and the shopping season has begun! Although I don't plan to travel this Christmas we still plan on getting gifts for all the nieces and nephews. Hey bro and sis, ideas on what the kids like would be most welcome! Most of my shopping will be on Amazon this year, as it was last year. Who has the patience for all the traffic and crowds at the shops? Not I.

It's the middle of a big football weekend for us here in Wisconsin.  The Badgers won the inaugural Big Ten Championship game last night and will be headed to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row (video highlights below).  My friend Jerome came over for the game, a very good gut-wrenching game that thankfully they pulled out at the end.  And today the Green Bay Packers travel to New York to face the Giants in bid to extend their record to 12-0 and clinch their division.  It's a nice time to be a sports fan in Wisconsin....

Update: The Packers have now improved to 12-0, 18 straight wins dating to last year including playoffs! Highlights here!

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Holiday Weekend

I hope everyone enjoyed their long Thanksgiving weekend (if you were so lucky).  We had my wife's family over for dinner, my wife planned this so I could watch the early game (I'm so lucky!).  The Packers moved to 11-0 with a win against Detroit, and her family had a good meal and conversation.  Things always seem to happen, though, like say you'll bring dinner rolls but instead bring a loaf of bread and a huge unplanned-for-let-me-get-a-folding-table-to-hold-extra-stuff crock pot with swedish meatballs.  Same type of thing every time.  No worries, I'm starting to get used to it - what else am I going to do?  My wife had a wonderful meal prepared for everybody as usual, but thankfully all had left after a couple hours.  I had the last piece of pumpkin pie last night but turkey will find its way into a few meals very soon.

On Friday there was some work to do.  I cleaned up the leaves in the yard for what should be the last time, and also got plastic up on the bedroom windows.  That's about it.  Kate, well, she never stops.  She's always cleaning or cooking or doing laundry, always something.  I try to do my part around here, but in reality she does much more, especially since my string of surgeries this past year plus.  (Speaking of, I may have a torn meniscus in my right knee.  I'll know more a fortnight into the new year, the earliest appointment available.) That evening some friends stopped by for drinks and snacks.  It was a nice evening and I enjoyed myself.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing some serious resting and relaxing, and maybe fighting off a bit of a cold.  I'm still winning - wish me luck!  It was a nice few days to spend at home and try to recharge the batteries a bit.  Today I went into work early so I could leave early for my yearly physical, twice rescheduled due to surgeries.  I'm basically fine and fit, just got some needed oil for the rusty spots is all. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Ahhh, my first four day break from work since I've been back after surgery. Technically I shouldn't miss any workdays until after the new year, when I get a little of my time back, or else I get my wrist slapped. Still, it should not be a problem unless I get incredibly sick, but I did get my flu shot a few weeks back. All this means is I will not be travelling for any holidays this year. I believe I stated that earlier, but if not then here it is in plain language for all to see. Last year I did travel and boy did I have a day. Nothing seemed to go well for me and I was mad at the world for it. Not the best way to have a holiday. No, now I must drone on with work and use my time away wisely, which I see as rest and recuperation and not fighting crowds, driving for hours, and smiling and nodding while I hope to not miss the game that's on. Selfish? Maybe, but I've always hated the hype of the holidays and the guilt trips to gather and gift.

While I hate travelling, we will be hosting a bit here at the house. Some of Kate's family will be here (after the Packer game) for a nice Thanksgiving meal and tomorrow evening we will be having some friends over for drinks and socializing. Other than that, we have several things to get done around the house in this time, our time.  So I guess after all this you could say that I am thankful that even with the bustle of the holiday I will have some free time in the next 4 days.

I hope you enjoy your holiday as you see fit! Go Packers!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Boring

Today's Pearls Before Swine cartoon.  I thought it was cute.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Signed, You Should Too

A neighbor came around a bit ago with the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker and one for his deputy governor.  This neighbor is very much involved in the community and is a block captain among other things.  I don't discuss politics much, I usually don't have enough faith that my opinion is an informed enough one to assert myself in conversations, but I will say that these new republicans scare me.  I just don't like where things are headed.  Not at all.

On a related note, I came across one of those political graph sites the other day.  I've come across it before, or something similar, but never saved the results.  So after taking the 6 page questionnaire, here is where I stand at this moment in time:

It looks much as I remembered and generally how I feel.  Comparisons with some world figures are below.  Where do you stand?  Visit the Political Compass Test and see.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Veterans Day


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Minnesota As Packer Country

Well, whaddaya know?  They hate us as much as we hate them.  The big difference is that, in my adult lifetime anyway, Wisconsin usually wins - whatever the sport.  I found this over on ESPN's NFC North Blog, a bit of his commentary is below.

The video embedded in this post has been making the rounds in Minnesota for about a week.

It warns that the state will become new territory for the Green Bay Packers if the Vikings relocate amid continuing uncertainty about their stadium proposal. It's a stark and simple presentation, and it's one that conjures another reality: Minnesota actually was Packers territory before the Vikings landed in 1961.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sloppy Snow And A New Toilet

As I write this we are getting our first significant snowfall of the season, it snowed a trace overnight last week so we got to miss out on the first.  We're expected to get about 1-2 inches, mostly wet and sloppy stuff that isn't expected to last, thankfully.  That's good because we haven't cleaned up the leaves or gutters outside yet.

Also, I came home from work early today to meet the plumber.  We are having a new toilet installed this afternoon.  The old one was from 1947, so our house must have been built in 1947 or 1948.  We only had a rough idea about how old the house was until we saw the date on the toilet.  64 years old!  Imagine all the, well, things that toilet has seen in that time, or don't, actually.  The new toilet is much more efficient, 1.6 gallons per flush, but has a capacity of 1000g, which I'm told is enough to take down a small cat, so it should be good for our needs.  It is a Gerber Avalanche toilet if you are curious enough to google it.  When he is done with the toilet he'll be looking at our water softener.  It has been acting a bit off lately so I want to get some tips on how to clean and maintain it or have him fix it, whatever is needed.  I always hated dealing with plumbing so I hope all my questions and problems are resolved very soon.  I'm not going to post any pics of this event, but I may update this later when all is finished.

Update a bit later:  All went well.  The new toilet fits the space very well and the water softener just needs a good cleaning out.  All in all, an ugly, sloppy day outside but a good day inside!  I think I'll make myself a drink now....

Friday, November 4, 2011

FreakAngels Has Ended

It happened a little while ago, but I had not pointed it out here yet.  I will miss it.  It is a web comic that I have read every Friday for, well, several years now - ever since it started out.  And I'm not normally a comic reader at all.  It was Tom Reynolds (of Random Acts Of Reality then and now) who pointed it out right at the beginning, so that was good timing to get in right at the start and I was hooked from the first.  It was also kind of neat to be there at the beginning, especially since I never got bored and kept with it all this time.  If your into this sort of thing then I recommend taking a look while it is still there.  I will leave the link on the right for at least a few more weeks until I can find out if there is a similar project coming up that I may also want to follow.

Farewell, FreakAngels.  Start reading from the beginning here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pic Dump 35

It's that time already!  Time to free space on my computer by dumping all the pics I've saved recently!  Straight from the internet and dumped into one nice coiled steaming pile place for you to enjoy.  Same as always - some may be NSFW, click for original size if different and lots more after the break!  Enjoy!

Oh Yeeaaah!     This is my brother.....really..    Hi Kevin!
As always many thanks to the fine sites on 'My Favorite Sites' list in the right column!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!

You see what I did here?  A gratuitous Halloween post today brings my post count this month to 7, the least I have ever posted in a month, now for 3 months running.  I've thought about maybe taking a break but I really don't want to, I just need more motivation and a sunnier outlook.  Until I feel I'm forcing it or posting becomes a chore, I shall continue....

My office is encouraging people to wear costumes today.  I plan to dress normally, but where I have my usual water bottles instead I will be sipping blue Gatorade out of a Windex bottle.  We'll see what kind of reactions I get!  I will post this automatically in the morning and maybe I'll edit it if I get a funny story I can share.

Update:  Overall it went over well, the Gatorade looked exactly like Windex in the spray bottle.  I got a lot of funny looks and comments.  Many people were shocked to see me drink 'Windex' and others knew right away it had to be something else.  Btw, no, I did not carve this pumpkin, it's just a picture I found on the internet.  Good luck with trick-or-treaters tonight!

Update #2: It's almost 8:00pm and we have turned out the light.  We had maybe 25 trick-or treaters.  The first group of the night looked like three brothers.  The first one was young enough, the second I thought was borderline.  I was surprised when the third stepped up (without a costume) and said boldly, "Trick or treat!"  I laughed, "No," I replied. "You have a beard - you're too old!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Very Grand Sunday

My sister, Kelly, with our Grandma W, 85yo.
James and Lindsey with Grandma L, 91yo or so, their other great-grandmother!
Today was a lot of driving but well worth it.  I got to my sister's house a little after 10:00am to start herding them toward the car.  They were mostly ready already, I just wanted to get going so I could be home again before dark.  The kids are bigger every time I see them.  Lindsey had on cute new glasses and sported a leg brace from a skateboarding accident, and James showed me how he flied his real neat remote control helicopter I got for him last Christmas.

We arrived at Grandma W's house about the same time as she returned from church.  It was a very nice visit, the kids got some early Halloween candy and brownies.  Before the conversation started to lag too much we excused ourselves and were on our way to Grandma L's house.  The kids were again fed sweets, cookies and soda, while we had a nice visit.  Again, after maybe almost an hour and a half I had us on our way again.  On the way back to my sister's house we stopped for a late lunch, and a short drive later I was home again, and before 5:00pm!  It was tiring keeping up conversations and with all that highway time so I am glad I'm home to get a few things done before I have to go back to that place I work tomorrow.  Sorry for the lack of detail but I have things to do!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Garden Work and A Grand Road Trip

I'm a bit upset about the Badgers' second loss in a row earlier tonight, but I'm not surprised.  They may be a victim of their hype and soft schedule this first half of the season.  All is not lost, onward and upward, yadda yadda...

Today was a productive day in that we were able to clean up the garden for the winter.  I had hoped to do a bit of water sealing today but it was very dewy out this morning, enough to not fully evaporate until past midday.  I just posted about our gardening part of the day over at the garden blog, so you can read about it with more detail and pics there, but suffice it to say that my wife did all of the heavy lifting on this one and now it is done.  It is a full month before we did it last year, but with more frosts like last night coming I think the time is right.  Kate harvested the last of the usable peppers on Friday.  We still had many small peppers growing that I would have liked to see grow up, but starting with last night's frost their end was soon near.

Tomorrow morning I will be driving down to pick up my sister and her kids, then we will be making a trip to see both of our Grandmas, the kids great grandmothers, for a nice Sunday visit.  If you know me, you know I'm a homebody - I am hoping to be home by dark at the very latest so I can relax a little before having to go back to that place I work the next morning.  Wish me luck!  If I have time tomorrow evening I may even post some pics of my beloved grandmothers!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Badgers, House, Yard and Family

Happy weekend, everyone.  Last night was more than a bit of a downer as the Badgers lost to the Spartans on a replay review on the final play of the game.  It was quite a big letdown, Wisconsin is now out of the BCS Championship hunt.  I don't expect the Packers to win all of their games, yet I do hope they make a good run to the Superbowl again.  The Badgers, on the other hand, could only hope to go undefeated and then still they may not have been considered for the national championship.  I would much prefer a playoff format, but you can read about and discuss that on other sites.

At the crack of dawn, Chuck was here to finish washing our house.  It's taken him a bit longer to finish than I would have thought, but I knew he was busy.  Yesterday my wife and I got a lot of things done in the yard and cleaned up the garden a bit, garden blog post coming soon.  I got the bushes in front of the house trimmed, mowed to mulch leaves again and pruned the lilac bush some more to encourage new growth in Spring.  My wife did some replanting and cleaned up the garden in addition to everything else she does on the weekends.  Later today I will have to run out to get some garden soil and manure to add some nutrients to the soil before we plant the garlic bulbs.

My grandma called me yesterday, she likes to check in every few weeks.  She was happy to hear that I was talking to my sister about coming down for a visit before the snow starts falling this winter.  Scheduling is the only difficult thing with football and my Sis working weekends right now, but I'm sure we will figure something out.  Sunday after Thanksgiving might be feasible, but hopefully we can get down there before then.  I know you read this, Sis, so let's get on the ball and figure something out!  Also, congratulations to my niece and nephew on their first Tae Kwon Do tournament!  It sounds like they had a lot of fun and it looks like they did very well!  Love you J & L!

The sun is shining though the weather is seasonably cool. Still, it's a nice day to get some more little outside projects done before the Packer game this afternoon.  My wife just got home from a late breakfast out with her dad and Chuck just finished up with the house so I best get going.  Have a great day, all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wisconsin Featured on ESPN's Depth Chart

In an hour and a half or so, the Wisconsin Badgers(6-0) will be featured on ESPN's Depth Chart. Here's a preview:

And while I'm at it, here's a preview of Saturday night's game:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Updates And Thoughts For October

I did think about posting, especially Friday, but I guess I really didn't know what to write.  I still don't really know, but let me start typing and we'll find out together, shall we?

A week and a half ago I hired a guy to wash our house for a reasonable price.  He's the same handyman guy that my neighbor hires to clean up her yard in the fall and that I hired last year to do the same, since I was still just barely on crutches at the time.  Interesting guy.  I negotiated the price with him for less than what he originally wanted, but so far I have tipped him a bit and bought him lunch once, the check won't be made out until the job is completed, though.  The first day, a week ago Saturday, he got almost the whole house done but for a bit in the front.  A couple days later he came back after work and got the front of the garage.  So there is 3/4 of the garage and a bit in the front of the house yet to be done.  I'm hoping it will be done by the weekend, and he expressed the same last I talked to him.  I've told him that I'm in no rush, but I know he has other things coming up.  It was surprising to my wife and I just how dirty the house had become, who knew you had to wash your house?  We didn't.  You can bet we will spend a little more time on it in the future so it doesn't get this bad again.

Our friends Z&B had their housewarming party on Saturday afternoon and evening.  We went late in the day, it was planned ahead with other friends and my wife made a cake for another"s birthday.  There were still many people, and it was nice to see and meet their parents, as well!  There was plenty of food, drink, and much to my dismay a whole room of desserts.  Guess where I hung out!  I did eat terribly all of this past weekend.  I have to change my mindset if I want to stop maintaining and start losing pounds again.

I managed to update my garden blog, listed on the right (I'm too lazy to link right now).  I only try to do that at least twice a month and I managed to miss the beginning of this month, sorry.  The weather is fall-like again.  After that first wave of leaves I mowed to mulch a week ago today and now the yard looks like the pic on the right in the last post again.  There are still many trees that are holding on to their green for now, including our own.  Eventually gravity will win.  I have to stop worrying about it until it gets here, though.  Maybe it's because I had to sit last fall out, or maybe it's because I am not as mobile and agile as I was 2 years ago, but I tend to worry about things on my list to get done before winter.  Most things it just isn't time for yet, others any time or plenty of time, but it's all on my mind.  Maybe that's another reason I haven't been sleeping well the last few weeks..... G'Nite.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Difference Does A Week Make?

In some ways, not a lot.  In other ways, quite a bit - weatherwise here, anyway.
One week ago, a few leaves.
Now more leaf litter, and not ours.

I could point the camera up, but you've all seen trees turn in fall.  All these leaves so far have blown in from the surrounding area, which was mostly green one week ago.  Now the neighborhood trees look more yellow, yet our own Silver Maple tree is still hanging on to its green - for now.  I do have a new toy, an electric blower/vac-mulcher, to use this fall.  When I tested it out though, it was pretty loud.  It's not something I want to have to use often and I think I should still buy some hearing protection for when I do have to use it.  For the most part I will still use the old fashioned rake, I just liked the vac-mulcher part for using the leaf mulch in the flowerbeds and garden.  Probably with the leaves from the front and side of the house.  We get a lot of the leaves in the back from the Black Walnut trees next door and I'm not so sure I want to use those leaves as any kind of mulch.

On a different note, I have been thinking a lot lately of why I haven't been posting much recently as much as the few times a week I usually have in the past.  Well, far as I can figure, my rehab really was uneventful and since I've been back to work, well, my last post says how I have been feeling about that, and I think that has a lot to do with it.  I just haven't been quite as happy lately.  I could argue about how right now is a great time to be a sports fan in Wisconsin.  The Packers are 4-0 and looked upon as almost unstoppable, the Badgers are 5-0 and looked upon much the same, and the Brewers just won their opening playoff series about an hour ago and will start play in the National League Championship Series on Sunday (Opponent TBD).  While I can - and do - enjoy the hell out of all that, I still have to get comfortable with my position in life again (read: get used to drone mode again) after sitting out half of it over the last year.  I gotta remember to get a lottery ticket now and again.  I can't win if I don't play, right?

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Month Back And Looking Forward

Well, where the hell have I been lately?  I had to post something today or else I would have had even fewer posts this month than last!  Sorry for the lack of blogging lately.  Really there has not been a whole lot going on around here other than the weather growing cooler.  Next week is supposed to get back up into the 70's (F), maybe for the last time this year, we'll see.

It has been a month since I have been back to work.  When I returned I made a conscious effort to keep my head down and keep to myself.  Now, I have pulled even farther into my cocoon.  I show up, put my headphones on and work, I don't talk to anyone unless I have to, then fly out of there as soon as I can at quitting time.  I've come to realize that most of the people in my department are either just content to be there or else they couldn't cut it in another department and got busted down to my level.  The loudest ones aren't happy unless they are unhappy.  I spent my first three years there trying to make things better, but they don't want better.  They want to bitch and moan, use the better part of a half hour for a 15 minute break, and socialize instead of work.  It makes them happy.  I want to move up.  I had a promotion a year ago that I had to pass up because I broke my leg.  Now I keep checking the job board but nothing has opened up yet.  Sigh.  All in due time, I guess.  Until then, I can manage to avoid confronting all the illogical procedures (or lack thereof) and ignoring the poisonous co-workers but it does make me sad.  I can recall a time and place when I counted my co-workers among my best friends.  Those days are long gone.

My comments here are general in nature, not everybody sucks.  And I'm not the best me I can be all the time, either.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pic Dump 34 XL

Even though the last Pic Dump was only 10 posts ago, it has been over a month since the last one.  And now - for some reason - I have tons of pics to dump, so let's get started!  Same as usual - click the pic for original size, some may be NSFW and more after the break.  Enjoy!

Many thanks to the fine sites on 'My Favorite Sites' list on the right!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Separation Anxiety

It has been a quiet couple of days.  Monday morning my wife left to go to Michigan for a conference for work.  I will be leaving in a little bit to go pick her up at the airport.  For some reason I thought I would have extra time with her gone, but it hasn't been that way.  I come home from work and get on the computer to check all my favorite sites and watch The Mike O'meara Show, then by the time I have dinner it is almost time for bed.  Same thing different day.  Weekdays are always difficult that way for me, just trying to get everything in that I want to before bedtime so I can get up the next day to do it all over again.  The biggest difference the last few weeks is that I have been spending a lot of time reading articles about football and, more specifically, the Green Bay Packers.  I'm going to have to limit myself if I'm to keep my sanity.

Speaking of sanity, it will be nice to have my wife home again.  Even though it was a conference for work, I think in some ways my wife may have enjoyed being away for a bit.  More specifically, away from me.  She has spent the last year looking after me while I recovered from one surgery or another so any trip away is probably good.  But again, it will be nice to have her home again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Google+ Is Now Open To All

I made it about 3 minutes into this video before I just gave up. Who has this kind of time and can afford to put so much attention and effort into it? Not this guy, not at all. I may be old fashioned and even a bit antisocial, but if falling slave to hand-held devices and social networks is the alternative then for now I can live with being a modern day hermit.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RIP Puddy Revisited

I know I've been absent from here for some time.  Truth is, my recovery time in August was pretty uneventful and since Puddy left us we have felt pretty, well, unsettled here.  All that aside, tonight I was looking through our old photo folders for something and came upon probably the best pictures of Puddy ever taken.  All were taken by my wife just before Christmas last year. So, at the risk of bringing up that sadness some more, here is one more look at my wife's beloved Puddy...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football Is Here!!!

Finally.  After a lockout summer and finally a new collective bargaining agreement, preseason is over and the action starts tonight with the Saints visiting the Packers at Lambeau Field in the opening matchup of the NFL season.  I've been looking forward to this night as I do every year. I'm not too fond of scheduling games when I have to be up for work 6 or 7 hours later but, hell, I always stay up and suffer the next day.  It's worth it.  Also, I know I haven't been posting much the last month or so, that may change soon as there are things I have been thinking of and pic dumps to post!  Now, got to go, I have much to do before the game starts!  Go Pack Go!

Friday, September 2, 2011

RIP Puddy

We had to have our cat, Puddy, put to sleep yesterday afternoon.  We guess she was about 17 years old or so.  She had been going downhill for the past few weeks and, well, it became time.  My wife got her a few years before we got together, Kate was the only one she ever even half trusted.  She may not have been the best cat, but she was ours and she will be missed.  Bye, Puddy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Kiss Poster*

The first Kiss poster ever made, from 1975.
I've been a Kiss fan almost as long as I can remember.  It was way back in the late 70's when I somehow acquired a secondhand Kiss poster that I have hung on to and taken with me everywhere all these years.  In the early 90's  I had the fortune of attending a Kiss Convention in Chicago.  It was there I saw the same poster, advertised as the very first Kiss poster, on sale for $50.00.  It was in better shape than mine, but it gave me my first idea of what I actually had.  When we moved into this house, it is the only poster my wife would let me put up, in the back room, and behind the door.  Well, this poster still meant a lot to me so recently I had it put into a frame.  It didn't come cheap, it cost almost a hundred bucks to have it done, but I am very happy with the results.  The matting covers the yellowed, taped and pin holed border and the frame and non-glare glass flatten it nicely for display.  The lower left corner dates it:  1975 Boutwell Enterprises/Rock Steady Management, All Rights Reserved.  The lower right corner says:  Exclusively Distributed by One Stop Posters, Los Angeles Ca, 90006.  And going up along the side from the lower right corner it states:  Lithographed in USA Eureka Lithograph Co.

I include the details just in case someone else searching on the web may come across this and be able to tell me about what it may be worth these days.  I have searched numerous times online and can find no mention of ANY Kiss poster before 1976.  No pictures, no copies, no nothing.  It doesn't really matter, I certainly don't want to sell it.  I am curious, however, and even more now that I cannot find anything on it.  It is located to my left as I sit at our computer and I must shut the door to see it (see pic below), but it still makes me very happy knowing it is there and now looking better than ever.

*Update:  Since posting this earlier it has been on my mind again so I spent the last half hour trying different search terms in google yet again - and I finally found it online!!  The site is not english, but it does price it at $150.00, about what I expected.  The link I found is here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Work On Monday

I had my last follow up appointment for my back surgery yesterday.  All seems to be as it should be.  I still get some tingling in my right calf and foot, but less and less as time goes by.  Hopefully it will eventually completely disappear, but I'm at peace with the fact it may not.  Starting on Monday I go back to work part time, just 4 hours a day all week, then after Labor Day weekend it's back to a full, regular schedule.  It is nice to have time off, but it would be nicer to be fit enough to accomplish something with that time off.  That is why it has gotten boring, not being able to physically do many of the things that I normally would like to do with all that free time.  In a week I can resume some light exercise and stretching.  I will have to get used to doing my morning physical therapy exercises again every day, and I may start getting on the exercise bike for a leisurely workout after my half days next week.

As I write this I have been dealing with the doctor's office and my work's HR department.  It seems my disability time must be extended for my half days next week so the time I'm not there is not put toward disciplinary action.  Work wants the notes, my doctor's office cannot send the notes directly, work must request the notes and my hospital's disability department then releases the notes.  Work should then approve it and we all move on.  I am being the middle man in all of this and it's getting annoying since I'm trying to enjoy myself on the last day in the foreseeable future I can watch my favorite podcast live.  Waaah.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Mojito Party

We had a nice gathering of friends on Friday night.  The strawberry mojitos, three big pitcher's worth, went fast but there was plenty of beer for after.  Thanks to all who came, I hope everyone had a good time.  My wife put on an impressive spread.  Four grilled courses (jalapeno poppers - plain and bacon-wrapped, marinated shrimp, fresh pineapple and beef tenderloin on skewers), plus a table full of sides for vegetarians and carnivores alike.  Everyone seemed very impressed, but they usually are.  My wife really enjoys this kind of thing and she does it very, very well.

The Packers were also on, playing a preseason game, so I kept going back and forth a bit to check on the game.  I heard many nice things said about how well I was getting around.  I did cheat a bit, however.  I took my last two 12-hour oxycontins that day.  I had much to do all day and then play host that night and the pills stopped all those nagging aches and pains from getting in the way.  I did hit a wall, right about the time the party ended - and it ended early, about 8 or 8:30.  The rest of the weekend was spent dealing with those aches and pains I got from moving around so much that day.  It was well worth it and hopefully I can stay healthy so we can do this on a more regular basis again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Couch! And More...

Happy Friday all!  Overall it has been an average week for us, just a few out of  the ordinary and eventful things...

Last weekend we went out and bought a new couch and ottoman which were delivered on Thursday.  Kate has been looking online for quite a while for the perfect size and style for our small living/dining room, finally finding a new one that we both liked very much.  Before, the room only had 2 recliners and the four dinner table chairs for seating.  Fine for us, but inconvenient for entertaining.  We moved one of the recliners to the porch and a bookshelf to the back office/computer room and now we have seating for 3 more people, including the ottoman.  This morning I got it all Scotchguarded except for the ottoman.  We're not happy with the, um, centering of the pillow top on the base.  It's hard to describe, but there is a tech due to come out and assess it on Tuesday.  It's not something that can really be fixed so we want it replaced.  For almost 300 dollars just for the ottoman I expect a little better quality.  Bonus:  The pillows came with the couch!

On Wednesday I had a mobile repairman for small equipment out for my snow thrower and lawn mower.  The snow thrower has had an oil leak since about 18 months ago, so while I was laid up with a busted up leg last winter my wife used a shovel with a little help from the neighbors here and there.  I saw an article in the newspaper about the owner/operator earlier this Summer and saved it but thought I better have him out now before I go back to work.  Both machines are only a couple years old so there were no major repairs, but it was worth it to have the leak fixed, blade sharpened, oil changed and both tuned up without having to load them up and take them somewhere.

Beside all that, Jerome stopped by for a nice visit on Wednesday.  He and about a dozen or so more friends will be here tonight for our belated Strawberry Mojito Party!  This party was supposed to happen in early July after our strawberry harvest but was delayed due to my back pain, then recovery, this Summer.  So today is all about cleaning and preparing for that, with most of the work, and all the food prep, falling on my wife's lovely shoulders.  She has been good about keeping me from doing anything to hurt my recovery.  I do do what I can and my wife is still very supportive, but I hate that I can't help more yet and am very thankful for her patience.  I will try to keep the camera out so I can share some pics of the party here this weekend!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pic Dump 33

I've nothing better to do but surf the web lately, so it's time for another Pic Dump!  Another collection of what I found interesting for some reason and saved to share here.  Some may be NSFW, click for original size if different and many more after the break....  Enjoy!

Many thanks to the fine links on 'My Favorite Sites' list on the right!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nothing Lately*

It's been quite a while since I've posted.  There just hasn't been anything going on with me or anything I've come across that I felt like passing along here.  Mostly I have been doing nothing.  Just trying to take care of myself while my back recovers from surgery.  It's not easy to do nothing.  I can't exercise other than walking, and I haven't done enough of that, so I have felt my strength and stamina slip away.  My overall eating has decreased significantly, and I've also noticed that my body does not tolerate fast food at all anymore, it really puts me in a bad place.  I have two weeks before I return to work to try and get myself together a bit more.

My Mom came up for lunch yesterday.  It was a nice visit but would have been nicer if I was feeling a bit better.  When she left I slept for a couple hours then my wife and I went to a 'happy hour' get together at our friends Bridget and Zubin's new house.  It was nice, they have a very nice house, but again I was feeling weak and tired so I wasn't a whole lot of fun to hang with.

It has been a week and a half since I've posted and this is all I have to say.  Sorry, that's it.

*Edit:  I have also gotten some comments from people about my last post about work.  I want to make it clear that I don't resent any of my co-workers, most are very -and some very very- nice.  It's not a perfect world, it is pretty much every man for himself and take care of your own these days and I understand that.  Work is work, play is play, business is business and that's about it. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back To Work, Briefly

Yesterday I had my first follow up appointment, 2 weeks after back surgery.  This morning I took a note in to my place of work.  I walked through my area, only seeing one or two heads look up, to my supervisor's desk.  After chatting with him briefly I walked back through to leave.  It made me kind of sad.  I wanted to stop and talk to people but, when it comes right down to it, no one really cares.  There was a time and a (different) place where my workmates were some of my best buds.  Several of us would meet up outside of work and even vacation together.  Where I am now there are some very nice people but no one I trust completely or really even want to know better, anymore.  They all care about themselves mostly, and I can't blame them for that, I guess.  This is the third time I've been out for surgery in the last year so I have noticed this before, but it still makes me kind of sad and I know I will be a more closed, superficial person with them when I do go back to work.*

*Exceptions may be Cindy the guard and Keelan the receptionist, the two whom I've always talked with the most.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hung Over

They say you shouldn't blog when drunk.  I did that early this morning and, well, I don't think it turned out too bad.  I was just enjoying one of my favorite bands.  We went out for dinner and drinks with friends last night.  I can't remember when I last had more than 3 drinks, but I may have tripled that last night.  I am one hurting son of a gun today.  Thanks, Jack.

Blackie Rules!

There are many reasons why I like Blackie Lawless and some of them are here in this video from Tuesday in Athens, Greece. Despite his 'reborn christianity' or whatever, (he won't perform his more controversial earlier songs) he is still a helluva showman and I still love his music. He's one of the few I will do everything I can to go see whenever I get a chance. I saw W.A.S.P. back in 1984 opening for KISS, then I finally was able to see him again last year. My Review and Follow-up (with video) from back then.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Man Without A Facebook

I enjoyed this, for obvious reasons if you know me. Has anyone ever been able to successfully delete a facebook account? Not that I've ever heard. Why don't you try it?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Every Argument Every Couple Ever Had

Every Argument Every Couple Ever Has EVER. from Casey Donahue on Vimeo.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bacon Cupcakes

I've been up to a whole lot of nothing lately.  I'm feeling better, I'm able to stagger around without the cane now, but I can't exercise yet and still take things very careful.  My day consists of staying out of my wife's way in the morning, showering, then watching TMOS (live podcast around 10:00am every day here).  After that it is mostly just a series of naps in the afternoon.

Jerome, eating his bacon cupcake!  Mmmm.
One thing that did happen over the weekend, Jerome and Lisa came over and grilled steaks on Saturday (and brought bacon cupcakes for dessert!). Because of all my medical stuff we haven't entertained this summer like we usually do, so it was nice to be social again even though I was drugged up and didn't move a lot. I've since mostly stopped taking the pain meds and muscle relaxers. I got tired of being foggy all the time. It sounds like we're going out to eat Saturday night and my Dad wants to see me for lunch on Thursday. I don't know what that is about yet, but there must be a reason. So, anyway, I am slowly trying to return to the land of the living. But until then it may continue to be slow around here. Bye for now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Monday's Back Surgery

Last time I had back surgery, 11 years ago, I spent two nights in the hospital.  I had back surgery again on Monday and I was home on Monday night.  I had the option to stay overnight, but I was glad to get home.  I actually felt pretty good for the first 24 hours after surgery,until the swelling kicked in and the hospital drugs wore off.  I'm still really sore, but I am taking it easy and keeping myself medicated enough to get by.  I expect to be off work for another 3-5 weeks or so, minimum.  Thank you to everyone who kept me in their thoughts.  I'm still not up for a whole lot yet, but I hope to feel better soon.  This is it.  I've had it.  Three surgeries in less than a year for three unrelated problems.  Egad!

That's about all I have to say right now.  Rest and recuperation is all I have planned for the foreseeable future.  Then, hopefully, I can get back to work and back to my projects list with plenty of time before winter!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Enough For Ya?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pic Dump 32

Even though I've had nothing but time while I await surgery, I've mostly stayed away from mindlessly surfing the internet.  Thus, this pic dump seems to have been a long time in the making.  I may be a couple short of the usual 50 or so pics, but I won't be posting for a few days so I'm doing it today.  Same as always; click the pic for original size, some may be NSFW and more after the break!
I've been both of these lately.
 Many thanks to the fine sites on 'My Favorite Sites' list on the right!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rise of the Apes

If you know me then you know that I generally don't watch - let alone go to - movies. That being said, this new 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' movie has me very interested. I was always a fan of 'The Planet of the Apes' movies. I remember going to a movie festival with my friends when I was around 10 years old and seeing all the movies on that big screen in the old Dixon Theater. Several years ago now my Mom gave us a DVD player and I think it came with the remake that was made several years ago, so I have seen that. This looks like it may be a prequel of sorts, explaining how they rose to power? I don't know for sure, but maybe I'll ask my wife to go out to a movie with me. I think it would be the first time we've gone to a theater since that flop Kiss movie, 'Detroit Rock City,' it was a terrible movie, too.  We went to that on opening night, that was on August 13, 1999! I just looked it up!  Wow, is that bad?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Biding Time 'Til Surgery

It has been a week since I posted.  It is still a week until I have surgery.  I have been off work, biding my time as comfortably as I can manage.  I can still get around the house with my cane, but I only do short trips and try to plan them well.  Our electric bill will be larger with me home all day with the air conditioning and computer on.  The cat has not taken to my company all day every day and spends much of the day under the bed, though I did almost walk in on her at her food dish in the kitchen this morning.  I quickly turned and left as not to disturb one of her few ventures out.  She is getting quite old now, old enough for my wife to be concerned about her, um, input and output.  I seem to have less pain and more numbness and tingling now which allowed me to stop taking percocet.  I had been on it every day since sometime in March, which couldn't be good, and I felt like hell for several days after stopping.  I had no appetite whatsoever, no energy, and found myself in quite a funk.  I feel better now, I still take 2 oxycontin each day, but I've only had those for about 2 weeks now.  When I was taking both I had more pain but it only helped so much so I stopped taking everything one day.  One thing I was disappointed with was that after 3 days of barely any food and I still weigh the same.  I almost look forward to getting back on the exercise bike.  I have been smoking clove cigars for a few weeks now.  I have felt stressed yet I do not want to become addicted to nicotine again so I found a 'cheat' that I must make sure is temporary.  I use it as an excuse to get outside and stare at our yard.  It breaks up the day.  Well, this is it for now.  No real 'proper' type of post, just ramblings and thoughts.  I'm bored, and facing yet another surgery really sucks.  That about sums it up.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th, 2011

Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I'm still off work for about 2 more weeks before surgery.  I'm going to have to find some more time-fillers to make the days go by quicker.  As much as my job sucks, like most everyone's job, I would much rather be at work feeling healthy and normal.  Soon enough, I suppose.

We could hear the Rhythm and Booms fireworks clearly last night but we can't see them from our house, though.  No matter, we were in bed before they were done even.  I'm not sure how many people were there last night, over 100,000* is the norm, I think.  I'm still trying my best to be able to run errands and go out to eat, you know, normal things.  The reality is that most stores are too much walking and not enough chairs for me.  I can only stand for a short period of time then must sit, I can't even lay down.  If I didn't happen to have this cane from my leg injury I would barely be able to get around.

There I go, complaining again, but I do have kind of a funny story from yesterday for you!

A friend of mine stopped over yesterday just to kill some time.  I updated him on my next surgery and he mowed my lawn!  Kate is capable, but I know it would be much easier on her if she didn't have that to add to her list while I am once again warming the bench.  He's been a casual friend for a long, long time, but I thought that was a hell of a nice thing to do and I appreciated it very much.  He might keep doing it for me until I can do it myself again, and that would be even better.  After he mowed and just before he left, Kate noticed something interesting about us.  First of all, we have the same name, Scott.  And, in general, we were both wearing black and gray camouflage print shorts, red t-shirts, shades (mine-prescription, his-sunglasses), and black caps.  We got a good laugh out of that.  I brought it up then, but I should have insisted on a picture!

*It was 250,000 people.  I don't know what I was thinking - I blame the drugs!