Thursday, January 31, 2008

I know how this guy feels.

I woke up this morning with the same ailment I've had for a week. Nyquil helps me sleep but gravity moves all my congestion around so I spent some time coughing up hairballs.


Once I get vertical it's not too bad at all. I went downstairs with my iPod to combat the baby noise and got myself a bowl of wheat chex. Sabrina followed me into the living room and received the first spoon of cereal. I told her that was the only one she'd get because grampa is sick. Soon she was back for more. When I told her no, she touched her chest with her hand which is sign language for please. I melted. I got up and got her a small bowl and fed her from that as she ran around playing.

Even the baby women have their way with me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Online poker and Joni Mitchell

Sunday morning finds me alone in the house. Everybody is at work or church and given the choice between those three, I am right where I want to be. I called in sick again today. It has been a hard winter for some reason. It can't help when sick people with non-refundable tickets file past us all day. I have 350+ hours of sick leave so I might as well use some. I will have 175 hours of "use or lose" annual leave (paid vacation) this year.

I have 80 hours of vacation scheduled for July. That leaves me with 95 hours that I have to use or lose. It's a sweet situation to be in and I never forget it. Of course I have worked for 20 years to reach this point. Now I just have to find a time to take them.

Sabrina has figured out that if she pulls the cushions off the couch and piles them up she can step on them and then climb up onto the couch. She gets that "queen of the mountain" look on her face before she makes us scramble to keep her from going over one end.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Gimme a bottle now or I'll smoke your ass with this here six shooter

Taken Feb 13, 1959

Saturday morning an the sun has not quite risen but it is light enough. I am in the living room. Yes, I AM supposed to be at work but I am ill with a throat ailment. My grandson is in his little foam chair watching kiddie TV and embracing his two stuffed animals. A bear and a frog. My granddaughter is here with me on the sofa. Leaning on me as she drinks her milk and watches the TV with Lola, her cabbage patch kid in her arms. It amazes me that she shows it a motherly affection had her age of 14 months.

Their mother is lying on the other sofa with pretty much the same ailment I have. My son had it last week so we decided to give it a go.

Me? I'm surfing while my iPod serenades me with Jazz.

Theses are the Saturdays I always long for but rarely get in my line of work.

Time for some online poker.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My parents and I sometime in 1958

I'm up
Listening to WWOZ in iTunes
It helps a little
This still sucks
And blogger gives me an error message
Please try again it says

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

As part of my style metamorphosis I bought a green and black plaid heavy flannel shirt. I think it's a good "don't need a sweater or light jacket but it's too cold for just a shirt" thing. So my wife put it in the wash for a rinse before use. My 19 year-old daughter just held it up and asked me if I bought it.



"For ME"

"Did you buy a rifle TOO?"


Monday, January 21, 2008

Today is my mother's 73rd birthday.

I called her and she's fine.

She has bought a scanner and my sister is teaching her how to use it so expect some old pictures to pop up soon.

I'm off the next two days and some work friends want me to play golf on Wednesday. They have made a tee time for 8:20 AM. The course is surrounded by tall pines. If it's sunny that morning we will be in an out of shadows at about 35 degrees. If it's cloudy we will be in drizzle and 35 degrees.

I told them I will be there.

Yeah, right.

It's like they've forgotten that we're in Vancouver, Canada.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I type this with one hand because my granddaughter is snoring on my chest. She's got a load in her diaper but it doesn't smell too bad. The football game is on and the dusk has made the living room dark.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I have created a new genre in my continuing effort to use my iPod as a way to escape to a happy place that seals me off from the unwanted noise of life.

I call it Lilith

Perfect by Doria Roberts
Cherish by Fruit
Living Under June by Jann Arden
Down So Long by Jewel
St Teresa
Ladder by Joan Osborne
The Choice
Ten Cent Wings by Jonatha Brooke
Stay by Lisa Loeb
What Would Happen? by Meredith Brooks
Big Talker by The Murmurs
Carnival by Natalie Merchant
Push and Pull by Nikka Costa
Road To Dead by Paula Cole
We Belong Together by Rickie Lee Jones
Building a Mystery by Sarah Maclachlan
Tuff Kid by Shawn Colvin
My Favorite Mistake by Sheryl Crow
Cornflake Girl
Amber Waves
Pancake by Tori Amos
For My Lover
For You by Tracy Chapman

Ladies, thank you so very very much.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yet another instance in which my kids are under order to put a bullet in my brain.

I saw an individual with a cammo "trucker" hat with one word embroidered on the front.


If the kids aren't around and any of YOU see me wearing such a hat, please, feel free to blast away with your hand gun.

Thank you

For those of you who don't know the other cases...

Me wearing any of the following,

Black socks with shorts
Wrap around senior citizen sunglasses
A blue tooth phone attachment in my ear
A kiss the cook BBQ apron
Socks with sandals
A Speedo
A puka shell necklace

That's all I can think of right now.

Monday, January 14, 2008





How about a drive through my beloved Arizona?


I am lucky enough to be able to stare out the door of the house where I grew up. When my mother passes we are supposed to sell the house and split the money 5 ways but I'm going to do all I can to buy my brother's and sisters' out when that happens. I don't ever want to lose this house.

This is where my father worked at the time I was born. Right behind that vine covered palm tree was the entrance to the Broadway Village Bakery. The bakery was open until sometime in the 80's.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Sabrina in her Sunday dress

I hate the light
but I love a soft sunrise
I hate the bright
but I love the smile of your eyes

I let the darkness embrace me
I run from the demons who chase me
but they're like old friends
compared to the emptiness
that fills my days

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Two minute warning on the New England-Jacksonville game.

Dinner, dessert are done.

Time for bed.


Nap on the couch. Football playoffs. Green Bay's winning in the snow and John Wayne's on another channel. The Cowboys. One of my faves of his movies.

I had grilled cheese sammiches and tomato soup for lunch.






My daughter works down on Granville and since I took the boy to work.


I was deep in thought that I will not reveal. Listening to a set I made up from iTunes that I call 4play.

The hall light went on. Then the tall skinny silhouette appeared and turned on the harsh kitchen light.

"Turn that light off" I startled the boy.

"What are you doing up?"


"Will you give me a ride to work?"


"But it's pouring outside"

So now I'm back. Sitting on the sofa in the dark. A large Tim Horton's hot chocolate by my side. It's a wet, cold, gray morning and I navigated through the road mist listening to another set made for movement that I call "glide".


Wish You Were Here
Rain Forest
Why Can't It Wait Till Morning? by Fourplay
Touch by John Klemmer
Always and Forever
Dream of the Return
Letter From Home by Pat Metheny
Our Love Runs Deep by Richard Smith
Waltz For Isabel by Spyro Gyra


Bali Run
Max-O-Man by Fourplay
Last Train Home
Facing West
See The World
Slip Away by Pat Metheny
Rockin' a Heart Place by Spyro Gyra

Yep that's all jazz. For those of you wanting to get into some jazz but want to ease into a nice groove without goofy "smooth jazz" that you here on the radio, I cannot more strongly recommend Pat Metheny's Letter From Home CD.

And most of those Fourplay tunes are from that group's first, self-titled, release. Fourplay gets it's name from being made up of four jazz legends.

Bob James
Lee Ritnour
Nathan East
Harvey Mason

(Lee Ritnour has since left and been replaced by Larry Carlton)

Day off and it's 5:30AM???

Yeah, it's nice and quiet. Everybody is asleep and the only noise is from the fridge. Sometimes this is better than being asleep. A nice quiet consciencenous. Being aware but not having to pay attention or have thought interrupted by people.


Maybe some soft music and there goes a distant train whistle like a chant. This is very nice.

So why am I typing?


Friday, January 11, 2008

iTunes buys today

James Taylor
Led Zeppelin
Crosby, Stills, and Nash

oh the classics


Sir Edmund Hillary died today at the age of 88.

You all have heard various stories of people who have died attempting to summit Everest. One that sticks out in my mind is the Aussie who used a sat phone to call his wife before he died short of the summit.

Did you know that IF you wanted to climb Everest you have to be willing to plunk down about 65 thousand dollars just for the permit? Did you know that if you die on Everest above a certain altitude they leave your body there forever because it would LITERALLY KILL anyone who attempted to haul you down?

Hillary was the first man to summit Everest. He did it in 1953

He did it before it became the rich man's event that it is today. Before the all the mountain's summit routes were mapped out. Before GPS, before sat phones.

The last rock outcropping before the snowy summit on Everest was named the "Hillary step" in his honor.

If you look at his wikipedia entry you will see just what an accomplished man Sir Edmund was.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How exciting is MY evening?

Just me and my son are home.

Hot dogs await us if we get the hankering for dinner.

Wife, daughter, babies, are in Bellingham shopping.

I'm listening to Billy Joel on the ol' iPod touch. (Songs from the Attic. A collection of live versions of songs he picked as his faves. I love it)

The TV is on the channel that scrolls what's on.

24 minutes until the 6PM NBC nightly news.

I'll probably watch the news and then go to bed.

Four square boxes are tumbling across the planet.

I wish I could be there for the opening.

I hope it comes back to me.

The trouble is this post will be down towards the bottom and maybe off when that day arrives.

It'll still be good.

Two baby stories.

Your Baby's a Weapon of Mass Destruction

I heard Sabrina making noise in the room and ran to pick up my granddaughter. I pushed open the door and something pushed back. I fought it back and walked over to the crib and picked the baby up.

She was loaded, and soon handed off to the trained experts.

Because I Love My Baby

I was driving along today when I came up behind a van. The van had a bumper sticker that said "Baby in Car" and had a little picture of a baby with a seat belt. The driver's hand was dangling out the window. It held a lit cigarette.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The alarm went off and the usual "screw it, call in sick" thoughts weighed in.

Shower, shave, and downstairs where I looked out the door and saw it was snowing.


Overnight snow in Vancouver means the roads are a mess.

The day just kept spiraling down from there.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday has come around again
I'm in the same old place
the same old face
is always watching me

Who knows
How long I'll have to stay
Could be a hundred years
Of sweat and tears
The rate that I get paid

Diamonds are what I really need
Think I'll rob a store
Escape the law
And live in Italy

Supertramp, From Now On

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Many Sundays

in Douglas, Arizona after church my grandmother's house was a quiet refuge. A big bed by a big window with a view through the porch vines to the street. Sixth Street, four house east of A Avenue.

The breeze through the sheer drapes. The other window had one of those pull down paper shades. That whole house is etched in my memory forever. It sold for eight thousand dollars when my mom moved grandma up to Tucson. I was heartbroken. I wanted to keep it forever. I still drive by the house almost every time I'm in Douglas but I visit it much more often than that.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Work is a downer.

I have been doing what I do for almost 20 years. I have never wanted to quit more than I do now. Many of the guys I work with feel the same way. This was even BEFORE what I write below was officially announced.

The Government conducted a poll of it's workers. All 36 agencies. Me and 10,000 of my fellow DHS employees responded. The poll asked us how we felt about our management. Things like knowledge and ability. Things like if we thought we were rated by our mgt based on actual ability to perform. Basically they wanted to know our thoughts on our bosses.

Wanna know where they finished in the rankings of management knowledge and ability out of 36 agencies?

According to the opinion of 10,000 of America's front line officers in the fight against terrorists entering the U.S.?

36th. Bottom of the barrel.

I was working the other day when a man came up to me. He had a ball cap on. On the ball cap there was embroidered writing.

It said, "you make a difference".

A non-employee, a traveler, unknowingly gave me more encouragement than any of my supervisors have in more than a year.

How messed up is that?

Friday, January 04, 2008

I watched an excellent documentary on people who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

"The Bridge" was made in 2004 by people manning video cameras posted on both ends of the bridge and shooting for days on end. I warm you that if you watch it, you will see people jump to their deaths.

The filmmaker interviewed friends and family of suicide victims as well as one man who survived his plunge to the bay below the bridge. It was EXTREMELY well made and presents the subject without offering opinions.

It's not a movie for everybody and if you do want to see it I suggest that you did what I did.

First I looked at the website and read how it came about.

Then I watched the DVD.

Then I watched the "making of" feature on the DVD.

That way I went in at it by getting a feel of the story, then I saw the story, then I saw how the story affected those who made it.

I WILL tell you this no matter what you think of this project and in case you decide not to watch because you wonder how somebody could watch these people jump. The people who made this film received training from suicide prevention personnel who actually work on the bridge. They were trained on signs to look for in people who are going to jump. Things to key on. They all had cell phones with bridge personnel on speed dial and were able to prevent several people from jumping.

I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

So now where do I go?

Back in the summer of 2006 I started planning my 50th birthday. Where did I want to be?

I chose Italy. Even found a nice place in Tuscany with a golf course.



London. It's gonna be London. That way we can take the train to Paris and Liverpool and London is really cool.



EXPENSIVE!! The dollar just keeps dropping and July is a pretty popular time to go to London so I would run into buttloads of stupid Americans.

Boston. Fenway Park. The Green Monster seats on my birthday. Very cool. And if the Bosox aren't in town that day we could fall back on plan B. Yankee Stadium in NYC. Cool. I have a friend in D.C. and she would love to have us at her place. From D.C. we could take the train everywhere. And of course we could spend the better part of a week just seeing everything in D.C.



The kids have started grumbling. They want to go too! They want to be with the old man when he turns 50. Of course they REALLY want to go to D.C. and NYC. You know how kids are. If I stayed home they would be, "call us when you blow out the candles". But I must admit that my birthday celebrations are pretty mellow like that anyway. Even I just show up when it's time to blow out the candles.

But not THIS year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Collared Shirts for Everybody!

So what's happening this year? What's the theme?


50 suave, debonaire, sophistication.

No more tee shirts.

I refuse to buy them except to use as undershirts. Maybe the odd black to wear with black pants and the sports jacket. I will still save a few of the faves for some occasion like after I play golf and I wanna lose the sweaty golf polo shirt for the cool down drink. That means GOOD (not cheap on sale or logo'd) polo shirts and even dress shirts. I see all these cool colors and patterns of shirts but tell myself, "that aint me". Well it is NOW. That leads us into.....

Say goodbye to blue jeans.

Except for cruising out in the country or attending the rodeo. Gonna start buying dockers and slacks. That rolls into...

No more hooded sweatshirts.

I will keep the hoodies I have for quick jaunts out into the cold gray days but now I'm gonna buy some nice light jackets. I even have some of the prettiest alpaca sweaters that I never use. Time to break'em out.

Better shoes.

I have three pairs. (other than my work shoes) Tennies, or runners if you will, a pair of walking/hiking shoes, and a pair of brown slip-ons (my fave). I buy cheap shoes. I paid more for the slip-ons than the other two combined. Maybe that's why they're so comfy. I need to leave the "on sale for $30-40 last season's model" caca alone now and buy some good shoes from actual SHOE stores.


Aqua Di Giorgio for when I'm out socially.

DIET: (no, I'm not going on a diet. just some general practice)

No more doughnuts, twinkies, or other hand sized pastries.

Do I need to explain?

No more Coca Cola at good restaurants.

"I'll have the prime rib and a coke". See? I'm man enough to admit I have a slight problem. Now, I don't like wine, and the 20ish waiter might think I'm cheap because "I'm good with water thanks". But it's better than him/her thinking I should be at the drive thru window because I'm ordering a coke. They always quit thinking I'm cheap when they see the tip anyway.


NO MORE CREDIT CARDS!! The exception would be for air travel. Of course I have one I use to make hotel and rental car reservations. But no more general purchasing with plastic.

Now the clothing is going to be a "phase in" situation but it will be sooner than later and today I plan on gutting my dresser drawers and closet. I bet I have over 30 tee shirts that will be bagged and tossed in the goodwill bin. I have a large collection of Hard Rock Cafe shirts and I plan on sending those off to be made into a quilt. Oh, and most of the ballcaps will be bagged also. Maybe I'll have a garage sale.

Gonna be a fun year. I'll update this list as I think of more stuff and I'm making a soundtrack disc in the next few weeks so you can get the feel of my year. Give me a little time on that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I love music

Here's some music trivia from 1958

Billboard Top 100 tunes that you might recognize.

Great Balls Of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis
Tequila, Champs
At The Hop, Danny and the Juniors
Peggy Sue, Buddy Holly
Tears On My Pillow, Little Anthony and the Imperials
Splish Splash, Bobby Darin
Chantilly Lace, The Big Bopper
Hard Headed Woman, Elvis Presley (#1 on July 28th)

Also born in 1958

Michael Jackson



This year I turn 50. I will be celebrating it all year. The actual date is July 28th but we're going nostalgic kids. Lots of Zona history.

So 50 years ago today (yeah, it kinda stands me up too) I was in the womb. My parents were celebrating their first holidays as man and wife. We lived in a small house out in the sticks near Tucson, Arizona. There were some horses and cattle on the land and my parents rented the place from a cousin. The house consisted of two stories with the top floor being one room that my parents and my older brother and sister all used as the bedroom.

My dad worked at Broadway Village Bakery as a delivery man. He went to work very early and delivered pastries in Tucson. Sweet rolls and doughnuts and pies to cafes, and drugstores that had lunch counters (which was common back then). He also delivered doughnuts to offices for their workers.

Mom stayed at home and raised the kids. Although she does not remember exactly what they did on New Years on 1958, she was pretty sure that she prepared a meal that consisted of ham. A meal of ham became a tradition in the house on New years.

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