Author: Tommy

Discarded PC gadgets

I heard the story about an old Navajo Indian that was telling his two grandsons about there being to wolves in his belly and they were constantly fighting.  One wolf was evil, mean, vicious and unkind to everyone.  The other wolf was good, kind, considerate, and generous to a fault.  “But Grandpa”, says one kid,” which wolf wins?”    The wise old Indian replied softly:  “the one I feed.”  There are days when I feed the mean wolf.  I dunno why. I don’t like him.

This past week has been really hot.  I had to trim some branches out of a few trees with an extension saw that I have.  It will reach about 15 feet up a tree and if I stand on a latter I can reach about 20 feet.  The problem I encountered was that I was sawing without safety glasses and the sawdust floated down and instead of landing on the ground, found its way into my eyes.  Normally, tears will wash stuff out of my eyes, but that did not happen this time.  The next day my eyes were bloodshot and very sensitive to sunlight.  Jerilyn boiled some water and mixed in some boric acid and has this small glass that fits over an eye.  I poured the glass about half full, placed the glass over my eye, tilted my head back and looked thru the bottom of the glass, rolling my eye to different positions.  After 3 days things were much improved.  Fortunately, we had an appointment with our eye doctor on Thursday and everything checked out fine and there was no eye damage.  I guess that is why Jerilyn is known in these parts as “Doctor Mom”.

I booted my PC the other morning when I got up and, lo & behold, the small utility program I use to remind me of things only contained 3 of 35 reminders.   I don’t panic easily, but I do panic, and those occasions normally arise when something is wrong with my PC.  I had other plans for the day, but they were immediately put on hold until this problem was resolved.  I have been lax in doing my weekly saves and it seems I was about to pay a heavy cost for my lack of concern.  After looking for a copy of the data file for 2 hours, I decided to select a “Restore Point” created by my system and see if that would work.  In about 10 minutes, my PC reboots itself and to my amazement, there, intact, was my program with all its reminders in place and ready to guide me thru this life telling me when to turn right, turn left and go straight ahead.    I don’t think my life is complicated; I just make it that way.  I have friends who never read a newspaper, magazine or book.  They do not own a PC.  They are very sociable, get their news from their TV and seem to enjoy life every bit as much as I do.

I have several large boxes of discarded PC gadget stored upstairs and I refuse to throw them out.  As I peruse them it is almost like looking at a scrapbook, remembering when I used this or that thing and what was going on in my life at the time.   It is also a reminder of how much I have enjoyed my PC.   My day always starts with making coffee and looking at my e-mail.  It is always good to hear from old friends and close relatives.  Like all of you, I get a links, jokes, some newsletters, junk mail and a lot of just interesting stuff.   What I really enjoy though, are the e-mails that are personal communication.   I have some friends that can write the most interesting things and as I read their observations I am thinking to myself, “This person sure knows how to communicate their thoughts to others”.  My son sent an e-mail to his family a few months ago about the state of his mother’s health.  It was a superb communication, containing a wealth of information about her health and a few personal observations.  I only wish I could communicate that well.  My daughter, on the other hand, only does e-mail at work and so most of our contact is an occasional phone call.

Jerilyn and I went to the local “rock” company yesterday and picked up two that she had previously selected.  Together, their weight was 1200 lbs.  They charge $120 to deliver, so we decided to bring it home ourselves.  I have a trailer that carries 1500 lbs, but the tires were rated to carry 560 lbs. at 60 psi.  Needless to say, I was concerned.  Fortunately, we arrived home without incident, used the ramps I made a month ago (you may remember them from a previous WOW), and pulled into the yard.  The next chore was to transfer the trailer from the truck to my lawn tractor and head for the back yard and the location down by the canal that Jerilyn has chosen to place them.  I knew this would be the most dangerous part of our adventure.  Our trailer will dump, so the next chore was to use a hydraulic jack and tilt the bed so the rocks would slide with a little assistance from us.  Within an hour, the rocks were in place and the job was complete.  Not quite Stonehenge, but an engaging task for us.  I’m just glad it was accomplished safely.

This past Saturday night Jerilyn and I were returning home (with friends Don & Louise) from a country music show about an hour’s trip away in a rural area.  It was approaching midnight and we were in the left lane of a dual highway with several cars from the show in our vicinity.  Just as we rounded a curve, Don noticed a car coming our way, in our lane, obviously going the wrong way.  Don immediately moved over to the left lane (fortunately, no one was there) and flashed his lights at the car as it passed us and the others in our group.  We knew there were many people from the show behind us.  We thought about calling 911, but that far out in the country, whatever was going to happen would happen before police arrived.  Somehow, the person driving that car must have realized they were going the wrong way and stopped for I have not read or heard of any accident in that area.  I do know that if we had met that car just 30 seconds earlier in the curve, none of us would have survived for we were traveling 60 mph and the other car’s speed was about the same.  Repeat after me: “God is good, all the time”.  Amen!

I hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world.  For me, I’m just thankful

to be able to send this letter to you.  Until next time.



“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”




Buying stocks

I went out the other day and ate breakfast with my Uncle KD and his wife.  He continues to fight the dreaded cancer that has taken up residence in his body.  We seldom talk about it.  Instead, we shoot the breeze about sports, news and other things that make for a lively and interesting conversation.   I have always been close to him and his family.  As a matter of fact, my first wife is his wife’s sister.  As very young boys, we talked about how, when we grew up, we would marry sisters and live in a two story house.  I would live upstairs and he downstairs.  The sisters part we got right, but the two story house thingy never happened.  I’m sure we had other dreams as youngsters, but, that is the only one I remember very well.  His wife is the sister I never had, so that makes her very special to me.  Up until I met Jerilyn she was the hardest working person I knew.   I know I cannot keep up with either one of them.

Jerilyn and I attended a high school graduation cookout for a family member last Saturday evening (congrats Timmy) and there were quite a few people there we did not know.    The thing is, everyone was swept up in the joy of the evening and celebrating the closing of one chapter for a young man and the beginning of another.   I remember as a young high school graduate wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  I started off working for our local grocery store making $5 a day.  Forty Eight years later I set here writing this letter and wondering where all the years went, and did I use them well?  I’m certain Tim will figure out the direction he wants to take and what he has to do to get there.  I think most of us go from one job to another until we find the one we want to keep.  He has a good support system in a nurturing family and that will go a long way in helping him strike out on his own.  I like the quote, often attributed to Mark Twain (in error), that says: When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.  I’m sure Tim doesn’t feel that way about his dad!

I went shopping the other day for some things I needed to organize the shed.  The temp was in the mid-90’s.  I went into Costco to buy some things and stopped by their food bar and ordered their fat free yogurt.  It is sorta like eating frozen custard.  They put it in a 16 ounce cup and give you a spoon to eat it with.  It cost $1.25 and is delicious.  They offer vanilla & chocolate, but I normally get the swirl, which is a combo of the two flavors.  Well, I’m standing there watching the woman swirl the yogurt into the cup, and when she finishes, she reaches over to the spoon place and, yup, you guessed it, she stuck two spoons in it.  Now, I’m standing there by myself.  Does she expect me to share with her or do I need the extra spoon for a backup (they are plastic)?   I must have a flashing neon sign on my forehead that says “this fella cannot eat sweets by himself”.  I calmly took my cup of frozen yogurt and walked to a table.  I really should not let little things like that upset me.  I stewed the whole time I was eating that delicious stuff.  As I finished and walked out into the heat my thoughts changed to the oppressive temperature and the amount of shopping I needed to accomplish.  Next time I will be prepared!

A couple of weeks ago I bought some Apple stock (AAPL) for $122.05/share.  It closed today at $138.10/share.  I’m normally not that lucky.  My reason for buying it was the iPhone.  In my opinion the iPhone will revolutionize the way we use our phone, get our e-mail and browse the internet.  Sure, I realize it is not for everyone, but a lot of people will go with the iPhone when their current cell phone contract expires (me too).  I expect Apple stock to go much higher.  I’m debating buying more and the price just keeps climbing.  One thing for sure, in the stock market, you cannot procrastinate.   Just so you know how my luck runs, I bought two other stocks at the same time.  Express Scripts (ESRX)( cost $50.54/share and is currently selling for $53.88/share.  Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMY) was bought at $31.66/share and is selling for $32.10/share.   I think this quote is very true:  The difference between playing the stock market and the horses is that one of the horses must win……Joey Adams    

hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my weekly ponderings.


“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”





Cleaning out the shed

I have spent the last week cleaning out the shed and I am amazed at what I found in there (things stored long ago and long forgotten).  I decided I would put down something to cover the floor since all that was there was subflooring and it absorbed everything.  I went to Lowe’s and they had 19½ X 19½  rubber tiles.  Each box had 8 tiles and the sign on the stack of boxes said $4.88.  I quickly deducted from their chart that I needed 6 boxes and we had a $10 coupon.  The amount came up as $234 and we told the girl the boxes were $4.88 each.  She adjusted the total.   so we paid about $20 for the tiles.  After installing the tiles I had just about enough left over to do the work bench.  I needed two more tiles, so several days later we stopped by Lowe’s and I picked up 3 boxes (they were so cheap).  When I checked out the cash register rang up $118.  “Whoa”, I told the checkout clerk, “something’s wrong here, the sign on the stack of boxes says $4.88”.  “Well”, says she, “the computer says differently.  You need to go back and talk to someone in that area”.  Sure enough, as it turns out, the tiles are $4.88 each.  So, I buy two and leave the store.  My rationalization is that I paid Lowe’s each time what they said I owed them.  But, I know that I paid $30 for what should have cost me $250.  Will I go back and pay Lowe’s the difference?  Probably not.  But, I know in the bottom of my heart, when I die and go up to meet Saint Peter, he will turn to a page on my record that is headlined “LOWE’S”.   And I know I had better have a good answer.

I started taking Vytorin for high cholesterol a few weeks ago and had to stop it on July 4th.  My hips started aching quite badly, so I decided to stop it for a few weeks to see if the pain would go away.   The pain has stopped after only 5 days.   I will start it again next week and see if the pain returns.

Well, the roofers finished today, collected their tools out of our driveway and left.  We are quite pleased with the results, although a little poorer than when they arrived several weeks ago.  Our next task is to paint the trim and then have new gutters installed.  After that, a local company will reinstall the gutter guards and everything will be complete.  If I were a betting man, I would wager that it will not be completed until Labor Day.  Probably, would be finished sooner, if I set things right with Lowe’s.

The big boat was supposed to be sold to a fellow by July 1st, but he failed to come up with the money.  I’m thinking about listing it in our local paper and see if there are any takers.  The sad thing is, I have let half of the boating season slip away, waiting on this sale to take place.  As they say, “live and learn”.

I read in the paper the other day that Al Gore’s son (age 24) received a ticked in California doing 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway in a Toyota Prius.   I was unaware the Pius could do 100 mph.  The deputies said they smelled marijuana and searched the car. They found less than an ounce of marijuana along with Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall, which is used for attention deficit disorder.  He was arrested on a drug charge 3 years ago also.  Sounds like the young man needs some serious help and not just a slap on the wrist.  Hopefully, Mr. Gore will not try to use his considerable clout to get his son off the “hook”.

I removed our bicycles from the shed last week and parked them in the garage.  Jerilyn and I have decided to run three times a week and ride our bikes one day a week.  This will give us a total of 4 hours exercise for the week.  Well, I sure hope the next 1 hour session on the bike is a little better than the first.  I have blisters where I have never had blisters before.  We went up and down every street in our neighborhood and those of neighborhoods close by.  We went early on Sunday morning and I was surprised by what we saw.  One fellow was out washing his vehicles, a woman was out raking her yard, men and women were out jogging, another fellow was sitting on his front porch reading his paper and yet another guy was painting his steps.  There are so many things you do not see while driving your car.  I think this is a new and exciting way for me to find out about my neighbors and my neighborhood.   Hope those blisters heal soon.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my weekly missive.


“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”




Is life a series of bad news with good news interspersed here and there?

The other day I was working outside in the sun in 95° weather.  After an hour, I started feeling weak and the sweat was streaming (I sweat a lot).  I walked over and sat down in the shade, but did not feel any better.  About that time, Jerilyn called me in to eat lunch.  Afterward, I still felt weak and washed out.  I put away my tools, went inside, took a shower and set down to read the paper.  I promptly went to sleep and woke up several hours later.  I felt weak the remainder of the day.  I guess you can still do dumb things at any age.   I think I would have been alright had I been working in the shade.

Do you ever get the feeling that life is a series of bad news with good news interspersed here and there?  My prayer list seems to keep growing.  Sometimes, I feel so bad when I keep asking God, over and over to help the people I love and care about back to good health.  I wonder if He ever gets tired of the same requests.  I have tried asking him only once a day and then thanking him for my many blessings in my other prayers.  But, the health of those close to me lay heavy on my mind and I get back to praying for the return of their good health constantly.  There are 6.7 billion people on earth.  Of those, 12% are non-religious and 2.3% are atheist.  To me, that means The Lord, or whatever he is called in other lands, could get approximately 6 billion prayers daily.  If all these people are like me and repeat themselves, what must He think?  Maybe, originality is not required when praying.  Maybe, God looks into our hearts and understands.  I hope so.

Jerilyn’s stack of newspapers, which dated back to February, has been greatly reduced.  She gave up the other day and summarily selected half of the stack for immediate recycling.  “I’ll never get to all these papers”, she mumbled to herself, as she neatly shoved them into a paper bag.  They set comfortably at our curb, waiting for the recycle truck to pick them up.  I cannot read a newspaper that is a week old and prefer not to read one that is 3 days old.  I have to admit that I get most of my news from the internet.  I mostly use our local paper for local news and sports.  Newspaper readers are declining about 6% yearly.

They say you can tell a lot about a man by looking at his friends.  Mostly, I believe this is true.  If you don’t have a lot of friends you may be a quiet person, keeping mostly to yourself and enjoying the company of a few friends and relatives.  If you do have a lot of friends, you are probably outgoing and socially engaging.  The overriding part of this equation is the quality of your friends.   I believe we all prefer to think our friends are good people, or we would not have them as friends.  I also believe that we have people thrust into our lives that we would not choose to associate with.  We make the best of that situation.  I guess the point here is that if we are judged by our friends, are we also judged by those people thrust into our lives?  More likely, our lives are filled with people we choose and people not chosen.  I remember, as a young boy in high school, my mother telling me “Tommy Joe, you are known by the company you keep”.   She thought some of the guys I associated with were ruffians.  Anyway, the associations stopped and life soon got back to normal.  As adults, associations are not so easily dissolved.   For a moment there, I thought I had the answer to this dilemma, but, it seems to have slipped away.  Until it comes back, I will continue to struggle for a solution.

Las week I sent out an e-mail about George Bush disparaging our military in a press conference.  I received a few inquiries from the readers of this weekly missive stating they doubted George Bush said those things.  I must admit, in retrospect, it did not sound like him.  After some extensive research I have concluded that he did not say those things.   I am surprised how easily I accepted that article as truth.  When you don’t like someone the door that lets negative things in seems to open wider.  When it comes to George, my door must be wide open.  I regret sending you that article and promise to be more circumspect in the future.


I hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading.


“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?”

Dolores Huerta



where do you came from?

Have you ever wondered where you came from?  I don’t mean who was your Great, Great Grandfather, but much farther back than that.  I learned at my family reunion that my earliest relatives arrived in America in 1623 from England. But, The National Geographic Society has launched the Genographic Project, a five year effort to understand the human journey – where we came from and how we got to where we live today.  You and I can participate by joining and receiving a kit that contains a swab and a lot of other stuff.  We take the swab and swab the inside of our mouth and send it in to someone.  In 6-8 weeks they come back and tell us where we came from 60,000 years ago.  They will do either your mother’s side or your father’s side of the family, not both.  It cost $99 to become a part of this project.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not need to know that information that badly.  Sure, it would be nice to know, but $99 is a little steep for information that you will probably never have any significant use for.  I normally do not provide links in this e-mail, but just in case there are some of you interested,  click here

My doctor put me on a cholestrol drug last week (Vytorin).  During my conversation with the nurse that called me with the results of my blood test, Jerilyn whispered into my ear “Ask her if they have free samples”.  I did, and lo and behold, she gave me a month’s supply of free pills ($62).  The last cholestrol pills I tried several years ago caused muscle pain and I stopped taking them.  I’m hoping these will be “side-effect free”.  I had blood drawn in April and then again in June, to insure that my cholestrol was indeed high.  Both times they gave me the results in “particles”.  I’m so used to the old “good & bad” thing that the the particles only confuse me.  I go back in another month for another blood test.

While we were back home for the Hale Family Reunion, we stopped by and visited the graves sites of Grandma & Grandpa McCoy, Grandma & Grandpa Hale, Uncle Guy and Mom & Dad.  It seems to be the only chance I get to talk to most of those good folks.  They were all important in my life and they are all sadly missed.  Grandma McCoy (a Cherokee Indian) told me many years ago that “when you die, your spirit hangs around your gravesite to see who comes to visit.  That is how they tell who really cares”.  Now, I don’t know if I believe that or not, but I would hate for any of those wonderful people to think I didn’t care!

I spent the last several days building a set of ramps that would allow me to drive my truck/car/tractor over the curb at the front of our yard.  I tried to be as creative as a dumb ole country boy could be.  The ramps had to be very portable (light & with handles), very wide, and water resistent.  I kept the weight of each one to around 25 lbs and the handles allow me to carry them like a suitcase.   Now, whenever I want to wash the car or truck, I can drive them into the yard and water the grass,  plus, I’ll be in the shade.  Also, whenever I haul in mulch/dirt for the yard I will be able to take it wherever I want, eliminating transferring it to a trailer hooked to my tractor.   I’m not a very good carpenter, but the measurements did not have to be very precise.  Each ramp is 15 inches wide, I have tested them and they work exceedingly well.  Score 1 for me.

I was standing in the garage yesterday and Jerilyn steps in and grabs two pitchforks and says “follow me”.  She leads me to a mole tunnel and says “watch it move”.  Sure enough, I could see “Moley” making his way back thru his tunnel.  Well, we commence “stabbing” like a couple of fanatics intent on saving the world from these useless vermin.  Jerilyn then takes a small trowl and tries to locate him.  Sure enough, she uncovers him, he is on his back with his insides laying out on the ground.  We give up thundrous applause!  But, all of a sudden, this fat little fellow’s legs start kickin’ , he rolls over and heads off up his tunnel again.  Frantically, we try to top him, but it is to no avail.  “Never mind”, says I, as we walk back toward the garage, “he will die soon enough.”   One of these days I will develop a foolproof mole trap.  The whole world will be grateful.

This past Sunday evening I was returning a book to our local library and I noticed a young Asian couple teaching their young daughter how to ride a bicycle.  That sure brought back some memories.  I remember teaching my daughter how to ride a bike.  As long as she thought I was running along beside her holding on to the bike seat, she rode it well.  If she looked back and I wasn’t there she usually ended up crashing.  Forty years later, she still expects me to have one of my hands on her seat of life.  She does quite well negotiating the road of life, but occassionally, needs to know that I am somewhere close by.  That was the way I felt about my parents.  They didn’t have to participate in my daily life, but there was a lot of comfort in knowing they were there when I needed them.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer, or whatever season it is in your part of the world


“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”