Category: 2008


Throw Away Nothin’


I recently completed a project to remedy a space problem in my tool shed.  I have a push lawnmower and a yard vacuum.  The yard vacuum was acquired back last summer and is used to dispose of the many leaves that float down on our yard during the fall.  Well, anyway, setting in my shed side by side took up a lot of my valuable floor space.  With a little effort I was able to design a platform that would let one sit atop the other.  Now I have enough space to accumulate a lot of other stuff.  When I transition to the other side I will be looking down (hopefully) with pity for those poor souls responsible for sifting thru my collection of things I just had to have. My motto is “throw away nothin’ “, if I do, I will need it again within days.

The temp has dropped around here.  The days are in the low to mid-forties and the nights drop down in the low-thirties, with a wind chill in the twenties.  The birds have been hitting the feeders hard and all the animals in our backyard are using the bird bath for their water supply.  Jerilyn noticed that our big bird feeder was being depleted rapidly and we suspected it was the raccoon that hides under our shed during the day.  The other night around 6:45pm (it gets dark here around 5pm), she turned on the outside light and, sure ‘nuff, there he was, hanging from the feeder munching away on the sunflower seeds.  I retrieve the big 9 volt flashlight and shine it on him through the window, but he ignores it and keeps on eating.  Finally, Jerilyn goes to the back door, opens it and yells for him to leave.  He does immediately and now we take the feeder in at night and put it out the next morning.  Poor guy, if he wasn’t so piggy we would be glad to share it with him.  The squirrels do the same thing, but they eat a little and leave.  We have a couple of possum’s somewhere around here, but I haven’t seen them lately.

Our family room looks a lot better now.  The wallpaper was stripped, the walls and ceiling were painted and new carpet has been installed.  It doesn’t look like the same room.  When I suggested to Jerilyn that we move the furniture to different places , i.e. move the TV to another corner of the room, etc, she would have to no parts of that idea.  She will replace things, but not with something different.  She has a strong dislike for change.  If I force a change on her, like getting a cell phone, she will eventually adapt and accept the change, but she will not do it willingly.  I try not to do too much forcing.  It is never good for a relationship.  She is much the same way with me.  I guess it’s the old give and take thing.

I have been busy during the cold weather trying to convert some VHS tapes to DVD.  I have the necessary software & hardware to do that, but it does take quite a bit of time.  Right now, I am converting the class of 1957 high school reunion (in 1987) for a very close friend.  I know a lot of people on that tape because I graduated from that same school in 1959.  Everyone in that tape was in their late forties and now they are in their late sixties.  What a difference 20 years makes.  I imagine the next 20 are going to be the toughest for me.  My mother-in-law is ninety and I look at her and say to myself, “In twenty years I’m going to look like that.”   I’m sure my kids look at me and say the same thing.   Wrinkles, gray hair and creaky joints sure are hard to get use to.  I just hope I don’t get cranky.

If you are a fan of the singer Jewel and you visit her website on November 28th you can get her new “Perfectly Clear” album for a $1 donation to charity:  http://www.jeweljk.com/index.php .

The gas prices in our neighborhood are down to $1.69/gal.  I never thought I would see gas prices that low again.  A barrel of oil is currently selling for $54, down from a high of $147  in July.  There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel and that will make 23 gallons of gas, the rest is used for jet fuel, lubricants, etc.  I just hope the lower prices do not encourage us to continue buying large vehicles.  All the car companies are offering big incentives.  I hope we all resist the urge to buy cars that get poor gas mileage, thus, forcing them to come up with better MPG vehicles.

Herewith are a few select quotes I thought you would enjoy:

“We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant, so we buy ice cream.”……Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”……James Dent

 

And finally, “Eat less cottage cheese and more ice cream.”….Erma Bombeck

 

 

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

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden

 

 

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap


A lot of things we encounter in our daily lives bring back memories.  Like you, I get a few e-mails reminding me of what it was like 50 years ago.  Seems we long for simpler times.  Personally, I like things the way they are now.  I like the friends I have now.  I like the modern conveniences we have today.  I enjoy the ability to connect with people so very far away.   I wonder how many of us would actually go back to our childhood, or early adulthood, if we actually had to stay there.  Sure, there were a lot of good times, but, there was a lot of loneliness.  I had relatives that I very seldom had contact with.  Not true today.  I have friends in far off places that I seldom see, but, have contact with on a weekly basis.  A lot of what I had to do as a teenager, or young adult, to entertain myself revolved around our TV.  No so today.  I cannot remember the last time I was bored (notice I did not say “the last time I was boring”).  I certainly do not take all the credit for my life being so interesting.   A lot of that praise goes to my wonderful friends and relatives.  I firmly believe that you reap what you sow.   “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap.” (Galatians  6:7). Could be a good thing for all of us to take to heart.  If we want our life to be interesting, acquire interesting friends and do interesting things.  Of course, I would be remiss if I did not tell you that Jerilyn is responsible for a very large part of my happiness.  And, I do assume, since all my friends are interesting, therefore, their lives are interesting to them.  I wonder if I am assuming too much?

Aren’t we all glad that the elections are over.  I was so tired of answering our phone, only to find out that someone representing a politician was on the line encouraging me to vote for their candidate.  I was amazed at how brutal a lot of the campaigns were.  Somehow, we have to get out the message to our politicians that we want them to run a positive campaign.  I read somewhere that studies have shown if you scare people, more of them will vote.  I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that is true.  Oh, did I tell you I saw Elvis in a shopping center the other day?  I’m afraid if I examine myself too closely I will find that I live in a fantasy world.

I, like you, have been watching my investment very closely.  Sadly, they are down approximately 25%.  The one account that I personally manage online at TDAmeritrade is down 50%.  Needless to say, I am expecting President-Elect Obama to figure out a way to restore our faith in our financial system and get our economy growing again.  I have to admit to you that I did, indeed, vote for Obama in the election (as if it were a big surprise to you based on my previous musings).  I think I only had one friend vote for him, so consequently, I get looked at as a “poor misguided soul”.   I feel compelled to say that I think he loves our country as much as we do and that he will only do what is good for us as a nation.  From what I have read, his close friends and advisors think his government will closely resemble that of Poppy Bush (left of center).  Only time will tell. I believe he is a reasonable man and will act as reasonable people do.

Jerilyn and I went to a Dolly Parton Concert the other night and had a wonderful time.  The only downer was that I, occasionally, had nosebleed due to the fact we were so high up.  Six of us (Don/Louise, Mary/granddaughter Melissa, Jerilyn & I), piled into Melissa’s van and headed off in the rain to the concert in Norfolk.  It is absolutely amazing how much good conversation occurs when you put six friends together in a moving vehicle.  At times, I felt sorry for Melissa (15), being in an enclosed environment with 5 people  over 60 years old.  Being the good person she is, she never let on that we were “older than dirt” and listened to our chatter attentively.  Dolly, at age 62, put on a dazzling show for two hours.  I was impressed with her interaction with the audience.  If you get a chance to attend one of her concerts I feel certain you will enjoy it.  I would guess about 8,000 people attended.  She is not a top tier attraction, but certainly worth the price of admission.

It gives me great pleasure to say that, for now, the painting and plaster repair work is complete.  It will be resumed next year, but for now it has stopped.  In a few days, we will have the carpet replaced in the Family Room and then we start preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What a wonder time of year.  The leaves are floating to the ground and the trees are so beautiful.  Just as spring is an inspiration, so is fall.  I often wonder how we can see so much beauty in the world and not believe in God.  In church today I learned there are 100 million church members in the United States, but only half of them attend service, on average, 85 per service.   In our church, that figure (85) holds true.  That is so sad.   Unfortunately, Jerilyn and I are not there every Sunday.  That has to be something we work on.

 

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

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden

 

 

The presidential debate


We sure had some high tides last week.  Last Thursday it must have been 5 feet above normal.  Jerilyn had two, large, potted plants setting on the pier, as well as a hanging basket and a basket on the pier rail.  Like a jughead, I go down during a break in the rain to see how much water is accumulating in the boat.  At that time the water covered the pier and was about 6 inches deep.   It was still two hours away from high tide, but, I’m thinking the flowers will be ok.  They are fairly large and quite heavy, so they should be ok.  About two hours later Jerilyn yells, my two potted plants are floating away.  I look out and sure ‘nuff they are floating up the creek.  I go down to the pier and wade out to the boat, the water is about two feet above the pier by now, and watch one floating downstream.  I dunno where the other one went to.  I lower the boat, disconnect it from the pier and head off looking for potted flowers.  I am sure our neighbors thought I was “nuts”, but I was able to retrieve one of the plants.  The other one is hiding out there somewhere.  Where?  Only the shadow knows!

 

I watched the presidential debate the other night and went to bed thinking it was a draw.  I don’t think anyone changed their mind because of what either candidate said.   I’m still having a problem deciding on which one to vote for.  I’m leaning toward Obama because he seems a reasonable fellow, but I want McCain to convince me to vote for him.   I have received tons of e-mail disparaging Obama and absolutely none doing the same to McCain.   There seems to be something inherently wrong with that.  How can there not be one e-mail with someone saying something bad about McCain?   I want Republicans to convince me to vote for McCain, not make me afraid to vote for Obama.   Tell me there hasn’t been an attack on American soil since 9/11 because of President Bush, don’t tell me Obama is Muslin, or won’t put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.   We know Obama is not Muslim and I see people not putting their hand over their heart during the pledge all the time.  Aaaah, if Dad could hear me now, being the good Republican he was, he would roll over in his grave.   I can just see it now, he would say to Mom, “Dolly come over here and look at what Tommy Joe is writing now!”  “Well Preach”, she would say, “he always was strong headed.”  As a footnote, Dad’s nickname was Preach.  His first name was Elden, but Grandma said at age 9 they caught him on a stump after church preaching, hence the nickname “Preach”.  I doubt very few people outside our family knew his real name.

 

Jerilyn and I have spent a lot of time this past week stripping wallpaper off the walls in the family room.  Living close to the water, very close to sea level, has its disadvantages and one of them is that your house has a tendency to settle.  Anyway, stripping wallpaper is not a fun thing to do.  I am not very good at doing things that do not interest me.  Jerilyn really had her hands full trying to keep me on the job.  She is an excellent taskmaster, keeping her focus on the job at hand and not stopping until the job is complete.  If I owned my own company, I would want to hire a dozen employees like her.   I would probably get rich really fast.

 

My youngest granddaughter, Chelsea, just turned 16 and I received a wonderful e-mail from her.   She lives very far away (16 hrs) and we don’t see each other very often.  She was born about a month after my son, Rusty, and his family moved to Tennessee in 1992.  So, on average, we see each other once a year, which isn’t very much.   She is a lovely young lady and I miss her a lot.  Before long, she will be an adult and I will have had very little opportunity to enjoy her childhood.   Maybe, grandparents aren’t all that important in their young lives, but I like to think we are.  She told me once that I thought I knew her, but that I really didn’t.   In retrospect, she probably was right.  What can you know about someone when you are around them only twice a year.   I have tried to convince her what a great grandpa I am, but, I don’t think I have.   Deep in my heart I know I haven’t.

 

My brother Jerry was ready for a visit this week, so off I went to his home in Carolina to spend some time with him.  He seems to be doing ok considering everything that’s wrong with him health wise.  His wife, Patty, broke her hip and had two pins put in place during surgery.  She seems to be recovering fairly well.

 

We are off to Branson, MO, this coming Saturday (10/11).  We went there back in 2006, but Jerilyn wanted to go again, so off we go.  I had fun the last time because I had three first cousins, and their wives, onboard the bus.  You get to meet a lot of people and all the planning and logistics of the trip are done for you.  I never knew that bus tours could be so much fun. I hope to take a lot of pics and share them with you on my return.  I can just hear the groaning now .  I also plan on keeping in touch with my laptop.

 

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

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden

 

 

Why The War on Cancer Has Fallen Short


I have been working on my boat recently.  It is not a very big boat (14 ft.), but, is of sufficient size to get me out to a good fishing place and back.  I bought it from a good friend (thanks Dick), who gave me a really good deal.  He and his wife are selling their home on the water and moving close to their daughter in North Carolina.   Anyway, I decided to make some changes to it and those changes are underway.  Fall is almost here, so the prime  fishing time, for me, is past.  Thusly, I can take my time with the changes and  enjoy the project.  You know, like, getting close to the boat, so it won’t leave me stranded in the middle of the bay or something.

 

Last May I bought a used lawn vacuum from a listing in our local paper’s classified section.  I planned on using it during the fall to collect all the leaves that accumulate in our backyard.  I pulled it out of our shed the other day, planning on putting it through it paces to see how well it picks up the leaves, pine staw, etc, but the darn thing would not crank.  The flywheel was stuck.  Nothing left to do but take it apart and locate the problem.  An hour or so later the problem was resolved and I was happily sucking up our leaves and pine straw for disposal.  Strange, I don’t remember studing yard equipment repair in college.  As a side note, many years ago I worked with a fellow (Frank Fullman) who, when asked how he knew something, always replied, “I studied it in collage (ko-lage)”.  Of course, Frank never attended college, but I have been guilty of using that line very often, ie:  I studied yard in kolage, or I studied boats in kolage, anyway, you get the idea.  It always brings a smile to Jerilyn’s face.  I guess that is why I do it.

 

I recently read an article in Newsweek (Sep 15, 2008) titled:  Why The War on Cancer Has Fallen Short, by Sharon Begley.  If you are at all interested in this subject you will find out a lot in her article.  President Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971 and very little progress has been made in finding a cure, or preventing it.  The mortality rate from cancer has only dropped 7% since 1971.  This is truly a must read if you are someone you love is fighting this dreadful disease.  The article can be found here:  http://www.newsweek.com/id/157548/page/1

We have been busily preparing for some repair work in our home.  We have cracks in the drywall on our ceilings and walls due to our house settling.  We had about 30 anchors install several years ago and, it seems, the settling has stopped.  A contractor is scheduled to be here Wednesday (9/24) to start the work.  After he finishes a fellow will start painting the ceilings.  Almost all the walls have wallpaper on them, so we haven’t decided what to do about those yet.  We may remove the wallpaper and paint them.   The Decider, no not George Bush, hasn’t decided yet.  Anyway, turmoil will prevail in our little hut for quite awhile.  Jerilyn dislikes any type of disruption, so this is taking quite a toll on her.   I am comfortable with a mess, so I’m not bothered too much.  I think that bothers her also.  At my age I try to keep frettin’ to a minimum.

I recently thatched the yard, with Jerilyn’s help, and put out grass seed with starter fertlizer.   We had a fair amount of slow rain afterward and I assumed the grass seed was well on it’s way to popping up.  Naw!  Here it is two weeks later and the results have been very disappointing.   The seed I put on the lawn between my neighbor and I, who has a sprinkler system, is doing mavelously well.  I reseeded some of the bare places yesterday and made a promise to do a better job of wattering.  I always try to to keep my promises.

 

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

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden

 

 

Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life


 

 

Well, it has been quite a while since my last missive (August 4th) and a lot has happened during that time.  With so much to tell, it’s hard to decide where to begin, but, here goes.

I recently took our truck to the dealer and had some work done to it.  The Automatic Braking System (ABS) wasn’t working and neither was the cruise control.  I paid for the part back in May and it finally came in during the month of August.  This month I took our Riviera to the dealer because the ABS light was on.   It also started missing a beat or two when under pressure, so I instructed them to determine the reason for that and fix it too.  .  I dropped the car off and returned home, awaiting a call letting me know what the damage would be.  In a few hours the service lady calls, I answer the phone and she pleasantly says, “Mr Hale, this is Candice at Suttle Motors.  Are you sitting down?”   It was right then I decided I should be, and so, I answered in the affirmative.  “Well”, says she, “you need a lot done to your car.  Do you want the bottom line of the details?”  Trying to avoid the “bottom line” as long as possible, I say meekly, “give me the details, please”.   By the time she got thru the “details” I was amazed that I was able to drive the car to their shop.  I eventually gave the ok to do the work and the car is home now, purring down the road, whenever needed, running like a new car off the showroom floor.   Oh, that bottom line thingy came to $4500.   There goes my kids inheritance.

 

Have you ever wondered if you knew how much time you had left, if you would continue to use it as you do now.   I doubt that I would.  I stand in line at restaurants, wait at auto repair places, wait for my PC to perform tasks that seem to take forever and watch meanliness TV shows & movies waiting for them to get better.    If my doctor said I had 6 months to live, how would I change?   I think my prayers would be longer and not so rushed as they are now.   I would insist that my children & grandchildren let me be a bigger part of their lives and I would include my close relatives & friends in more of my activities.   I would spend less time on daily chores and more time doing the things I enjoy.   I would cherish all the time I spend with Jerilyn.   The sad part is, we very seldom have any idea how much longer we will live, and so, without that motivation, we plug along, doing the same things, not noticing the water draining slowly out of the tub.   Brings to mind a famous quote: “Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life.” ..Eugene O’Neill

 

Jerilyn and I have a trip planned to Branson, MO, next month.   Needless to say, we have not informed her mother of this yet, because if we do, the trip will surely have to be cancelled.  We have been to Branson before and enjoyed it so much we decided to do it again.  The trip will be via a bus cruise with our good friends Don & Louise.  We will leave on October 11th and return on October 19th.   My favorite show is Mickey Gilley, but I am also looking forward to seeing the Pam & Mel Tillis show.  I think we will attend 8-9 shows in all.

 

Our yard has been thatched, fertilized & reseeded and we are patiently waiting for little green things to emerge from the ground.  Our next door neighbor has installed a sprinkler system for his yard and we are green (pun intended) with envy.   There I am, standing in the middle of our yard with a water hose in my hand and I hear the hissing start.    I turn toward the noise and there are all these little gadgets spraying water all over his yard.   Ahhh, the differences between the have’s and the have not’s.

 

My project to use my camcorder to record  people telling their life story is progressing quite well.  So far, as you know, I have done my brother Jerry and my aunt Helen.   It took about 30 minutes for each of them to work their way thru their history.   I have about 30 questions for the interview.   Sooner or later, I will bump into a person that will talk for an hour about themselves.   If none do, then I will interview myself.   I know I can talk about myself for an hour.    Since Gladys just turned ninety, I wanted her to be the first, but, she turned me down.  Said she wasn’t interested in passing the details of her life on to anyone.   My goal is to get everyone close to me to set down and do the interview.

 

I constantly change my prayer list, taking people off as they get better, or transition to the other side, and putting people on that need help.  I am a firm believer that praying helps.  We may not always get the answer we want, but we always get an answer.   I remember, as a young lad, asking my dad for something and his first answer was always “No”.   Many times, I was able to persuade him to say “Yes”.  So, I learned at an early age not to give up when you wanted something.  Now, The Lord normally does not answer immediately, but I believe if I ask him over and over, using the experience I had as a youngster, I can convince him to heal the people in my life that are sick, or in need.  I have never had anyone tell me it works that way, I just believe it to be so.

 

You can find my blog at:   http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/  or my pictures at:  http://bipolar66.smugmug.com

 

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

 

 

“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden