Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


This story might not have a happy ending.

Last night went better with Cat than the first night did....he only woke me up once, about 3AM being really loud and restless.  Before leaving for work, I got him fresh water, fresh food, cleaned the litter-box, and closed the door to my childrens bedroom.  I forgot to close the door to my bedroom, because at the last minute I decided to actually go through the effort to make my bed, so impress my wife when she got home this afternoon.

And that was problem number one with my day.  My wife and kids didn't make it home today.  Conditions at Snoqualmie Pass started bad, and just got worse from there.  At 10:30, the DOT closed the pass for avalanche control and 'several spin-outs and collisions'.  Usually when they close the pass for avalanche control, it's an hour or so...but as the day went on, the closure dragged, and the amount of road closed increased to where I-90 was closed between Northbend and Ellensburg, both directions.  About 4:30, they opened the pass back up Eastbound from Northbend, but westbound is not expected to be open for another hour or so.  Rather than deal with that, my wife just decided(and I totally concur, even though I miss them greatly)that she should wait it out a day.  If she wakes up tomorrow and the pass doesn't look any better, she will head out and make the 400 mile drive home via Portland, Oregon.  For the sake of her sanity, I hope the pass clears up.  We have amazing children, but 4 hours with them in a car is better than 8.

Problem Number 2 was noted as soon as I got in the door.  Cat feces.  I could smell it...much too strong for the little box to be causing it.  I did a quick tour through the house, and in my bedroom, my worst fears were confirmed....at least 2, and possibly 3 separate feces...events had taken place on my bed.  The bed I made sure to make....now that would have been a conflicting message for my wife to come home to.  

I cleaned things up, and drug our comforter downstairs to the apartment laundry room, where it just barely fit in one of the machines.  Ran it on wash cycle twice, then spread it out before drying to make sure the stains were gone.  While that was going on, I did some thinking.

Cat is very sweet.  As stated before, he looks relatively taken care of, and that, coupled with his declawed state would indicate that SOMEONE cared for this cat at some point.  I cast my mind back to my morning, and when I was cleaning the litter box...to the best of my memory, the material left in the litter box did not resemble almond roca...much like what had been left on my bed, it was had the texture of chocolate left in a hot car too long(hows the visualization going  for you?)

Could that explain why Cat had been left outside, waiting for some weak-willed fool to feel sorry for him...an excess amount of Anal Leakage?  I am hoping that for right now, it was caused by whatever he had been eating prior to me letting him in....or maybe the sudden influx of rich food(canned tuna and canned chicken) that I offered him prior to buying cat food, and that it is not an indicator of some chronic condition.  Leave it up to me to catnap a potentially ill cat. 

If this problem does prove to be long-term(which in my case means it lasts more than another 48-hours, or two more more feces related incidents occurring, whichever happens first)...I'm not sure what I will do.  My options are somewhat limited:

1. Live with it, and learn to find the fun in discovering cat feces in areas it doesn't belong.  Not bloody likely. 

1a. Cat gets over Anal Leakage, becomes perfect family pet.  Possible...would be 2nd best outcome after finding his real home.  

2. Bring Cat to the vet, for medical assistance.  Once again, not bloody likely...if I didn't pay for expensive diagnostics for my cat of 9 years, I'm not going to do it for a cat I have known less than a week. 

3. Throw Cat back out the door.  Overnight lows are expected to be above freezing again...the conditions which caused me to feel bad for the cat originally have changed.  Not a very likely option to take, since at this point I bet the cat would sit outside my door and MEOW.  Much like the tell-tale heart, I would not be able to ignore it.

3a.  Throw Cat out the door, then call animal control to report a stray that has been outside my door for 2 DAYS meowing.  A guilt free option on my part.  This option might have to be taken, as the local Human Society doesn't accept strays.

4.  Lie to local Human Society, and make up excuse for bringing in Cat.  This option would cost around $75, and, I'm not a very good liar.

5. Bring Cat to vet, say he is sick, and ask to get him put down.  This option might draw suspicion...bringing in a cat every-other month to be put-down is not normal behavior.   

6.  Bring Cat out to desert for target practice(.22 at base of skull).  There was NO WAY I could have done this with my last cat...if I did this soon, I MIGHT be strong enough...but he is awfully sweet.

7.  We locate Cat's actual family, and the story ends Happily Ever After.  Not Bloody Likely.

The way I see it, 8 out of 9 options end in some form of tears....mostly from my girls, but quite possibly from me.  And, there is always the possibility that somewhere in town, some other family's little girls are crying because the big, cuddly tom cat has gone missing. 

Whatever happens, I know for a fact that any options involving Cat going away need to happen sooner, rather than later.  My gut instinct, and disgust of misplaced runny cat feces tells me that unless he suddenly gets over whatever is wrong with his digestive tract, he is on a one week countdown in our apartment.

Meanwhile, I am wasting valuable time in my life searching the internet for Cat Diarrhea remedy's. 

Sad Day

Last WWI Veteran Dies, at 110.

Doesn't seem to be a lot to say.  Imagine being a 16-year, and wanting to be 'Over There' serving your country bad enough that you lied to both the Marines and the Navy, before finally being accepted by the Army.  I can't imagine 16 year-olds today wanting ANYTHING bad enough to go through that effort. 

It's doesn't matter that he never actually saw combat....truth of intent was there, and as he once joked, 'Didn't I make every effort?'

Yes you did sir...yes you did.  I can't imagine living to be 110 years old.  And his family helping to still live at home.  The story is he spent three hours the previous day, enjoying the sun on his front porch.  What a glorious thing to be able to think of doing....

Pull up a log around the camp fire sir...you earned it. 


Just make yourself at home...

So, the first night and day with my new border, Cat, has been interesting.  I am not going to try to psychoanalyze a cat, if such a thing is possible, but not knowing anything about this cats past history, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it has some 'abandonment issues' that have resulted in hard-core separation anxiety.  It's been like having a meowing stalker...

There is no shyness here.  I remember when we first brought home our last cat, Missy, she hid from us for like 48 hours before starting to meet the family.  This guy I had to toss him out of the bathroom twice so I could have some privacy for my shower, and then he meowed outside the bathroom the whole time.  If I am on the couch, he sits on the couch with me.  If I am on the computer, which you can see from the couch, he gets up and sits at my feet.  If I am folding laundry and putting it away, he follows behind me, meowing until I sit down again. 

I want very badly to not like him as he sits curled up by feet as I type this.  Due to forecast overnight winds in the 40mph range tonight, I didn't put up any 'found cat' signs...but I did go looking for lost cast signs, and did some checking on craigslist...no one has noticed him missing yet. 

In other news, I went to Ranch and Home and the Mall to do some shopping for an Anniversary gift for my wife.  Our 10th Wedding Anniversary is rapidly approaching.  A couple of weeks ago, we had visited different jewelery stores at the mall, and so I bought her something she had liked then...it won't be a total surprise, but I would rather have it narrowed down to 4 or 5 'acceptable' choices, minimizing surprise instead of taking a total flier and failing. 

Ranch and Home was the third place I went to this weekend that sold firearms...and none of them had a PMR-30 in-stock.  Sigh.  I would really like to at least HOLD one prior to ordering one.  Baring a PMR-30, I am leaning towards a new pocket .380 for myself.  With the alignment pin on my P3-AT working itself out on my last range trip...I am lacking trust in it.  The Ruger LCP, the Sig P238 and Kahr P380 all look really nice. 

The only other firearm that really caught my eye this weekend was a flattop Armalite AR-10.   Asking price on it was $1350....which seemed to be too much, when I can get a PTR-91 for $200 less.  Heck...I go so back and forth over needing a .308...after reading Rawles book, Patriots, I NEEDED a .308...and then ammo prices went up, up, up.  Now...I have an AR, and and AK type...do I really want to worry about stocking ANOTHER caliber? 

Oh..you mean another caliber like 22 WMR?  Sigh. 

Well, that's Strange: Repo, the Genetic Opera.

With the wife and kids being gone, it seemed like a good opportunity to watch something negotiation free on the TV.  I settled on something I had been wanting to watch for a while, something that would let me indulge both my sensitive side and my sci-fi steampunk side, I hoped.    'Repo, the Genetic Opera.'

Well, I was looking for something different, and I certainly found it.  Repo was very...unique.  I like most musicals: The big bloated ones that many Broadway 'purists' hated back in the mid-to-late 80s....Les Miseables, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon etc.  More traditional stuff like My Fair Lady and Mame, and Rock Opera's like Tommy and Jesus Christ, Superstar.  And, shows that don't seem to fit category's, like Xanadu, and Moulin Rouge!.

I' m not sure I liked it, but I know I didn't dislike it.

Focusing on the positives first, the cast was unusual, but good, and worked.  Going into it, I knew Sarah Brightman and Anthony Head were in it.  Sarah Brightman has long been high on my list, not just for being a beautiful lady, but having an amazing voice.  No one else can play the role she played in this show, even though I'm not sure how much of it was acting and how much of it was just being Sarah Brightman. Anthony Head I had seen before from my wife's recent addition to Buffy.  He even sings on Buffy a few times, so I expected him to pull his weight, and he did so admirably, coming off much creepier than he did as Giles on Buffy. 

Alexa Vega, as the female lead was impressive...prior to this movie, all I knew her from was the Spy Kids Trilogy.  Her voice, while not big and bombastic(Broadway style), was good when she got the chance to sing, and she emotes properly, and since she is 20, not the 17 she is playing, I guess I can say she is quite fetching. Paul Sorvino brought a feeling of grounding and seriousness to the show.  The gentleman playing Graverobber(Terrance Zdunich) was really good...he had some of the best material to work with as far as songs, and made the most of it.

Paris Hilton really surprised me.  Yes, her voice is a little breathy, but, for the life of me, having watched it, I can't think of anyone else who could be cast in the role she played.  Sue me, but she was interesting, and perfectly cast.

The music was the weak point...I just didn't like some of it.  The songs didn't seem to have any flow to them.  Taken as a piece of art, it was good...taken as a musical...well, nothing is still rattling around in my head...it might just be that I need to watch it again...give some of the songs a chance to work their way in instead of having to listen to them to follow the story.

Overall, I probably give it a 7.5....really good casting, neat idea, neat setting...there were just a few times when I felt I had fallen into an 80 minute Nine-Inch-Nails video. 


I'm so weak

So...it's about 8:15, and I am minding my own business, folding some clothes while listening to Toto videos on youtube, when there is a knock at the door.  I quickly pulled on a shirt and opened the door.  I had no idea what to expect(didn't use the peep-hole...poor OPSEC, I know).  Standing there was a little old lady.  'Is this your cat?', she asked?  Looking down I saw a husky black and white cat walking around her feet, meowing.

I told her no, that we didn't have a cat, which is quite true, since we had our cat of many years put down some number of weeks ago.  She went on to say it had followed her up the stairs, then paced outside her door for a while, so she thought maybe it belonged to someone in our area.  Could be I said, and did my best 'Not interested' impression, all the while thinking about the temperature being 25 degrees or so, and bound to get colder than that.

Once I closed the door...I couldn't concentrate on the nothing I had been doing before.  About 20 minutes later, I gave up and opened the door...sure enough the cat was now pacing the walkway in front of my apartment.  Poop.  Opening the door further, I stepped back, and the cat walked right in and started a tour.

Double poop.  Seeking guidance, I traded a few quick and frantic texts with my wife...Argh...no litter, no food....argh!!!!!!  SWMBO pointed out Safeway and Big Lots are less than two minutes away.  Argh!!!!

We set a course of action...I would go to the store to buy the cheapest litter box and litter I could find.  The cat would get placed back outside while I ran my errand.  If it was there when I got back, I would let it spend the night, then 'Found Cat'signs would go up tomorrow. 

Spent $9.75 at Big Lots...and when I got back to the apartment, the cat was gone.

That's cool.  I mean...we had told the girls when we buy a house we can get kittens.  An adult tomcat didn't fit in our plans.  Plus, lets say he does have a family...my girls would have been broken hearted to see him go away. Having rationalized it thus, I continued to check the door every 20 minutes to see if he was back, even going to length of doing IRONING to stay up later.  Finally, about 10:15, I heard a meowing at the door...


Currently, his name is 'Cat'  He likes to be petted and purrs LOUD.  If he doesn't settle in some place and stop MEOWING he is going back outside.  I've shown him where his litter box is, he has a bowl of Honest-to-Gosh Tuna, and a bowl of water.  He seems very healthy, and I am assuming it is a him...likes to have his belly rubbed and I didn't feel any teats.  He has been de-clawed...and he is a moose..my guess is 15 pounds or more.

I swear by all that is WHOLLY...tomorrow I'm putting up signs...you can't make this stuff up. 

Whiskey can be clear?

For the most part, I am a beer guy.  With the variety of beers out there, there is really not a reason to drink anything else, in my opinion.  My wife is interested in seeing us act like grown-ups and occasionally drink wine, and I am okay with that.  If I find the taste of the wine too strong, I will guzzle it to prevent wasting it, and then rinse my mouth out with something more acceptable, like battery acid...or beer.

With very few exceptions, hard alcohol is something that I mix if I am tired of drinking beer and need a break.  I've never really been introduced to the varied world of scotch.  Vodka is something you put Red Bull or Rock Star in.  Whiskey, bourbon and rum go in diet soda.  Kahlua gets mixed with milk.  Peppermint schnapps goes in my wife's hot cocoa.  Gin...ick...lick a pine tree and get it over with.  Not sure I forgot anything...

As far as quality goes...I am more than willing to concede that Crown Royal, for a blend, is much smoother than say...Black Velvet...but when I'm putting it in Store Brand diet cola, do I really care about smoothness?  Like-wise for Grey Goose vs. Smirnoff or Kahlua vs. Kapali.   I might or might not admit to buying a bottle of the good-stuff and then adding cheaper stuff to the bottle just to have fancy looking bottles at my house, depending on how lame you think that is. 

Today, after finishing my laundry, I went and swung by Black Heron Spirits and Portworks located just outside of Richland, for a little tasting.  They currently have a line of 5 products they produce there: a vodka, a whiskey, a gin, a lemoncello, and a huckleberry cordial.  I tried everything but the gin, since my opinions of that are quite set in stone...my wife likes gin and tonic, but since I was alone, I didn't see a reason to waste any of their gin.

The lemoncello was the only thing I was uncertain about.  Very interesting..but it was the last thing I tried, and right after the huckleberry cordial, which was outstanding.  I'm not sure anything would have impressed me after their huckleberry cordial, except more cordial.  It's made with half-a-pound of huckleberries per bottle! 

Their vodka, Ink, was fantastic.  Not sure how else to describe it...it was perhaps the smoothest hard alcohol I have ever tried.  I bought a bottle to bring home. 

Then there was their 100% Corn Whiskey, Desert Lightning....it's a totally different breed from any whiskey I have previously tried.  While not as smooth as vodka, it was still much smoother than any 100-proof alcohol has a right to be.  There was an underlying corn flavor to it also...like lightly toasted corn nuts.  The whiskey was also totally clear due to not being aged...it didn't need it though, as mellow as it already was. 

Price wise, I thought the stuff was very sensible for as good as it was...under $30 a fifth for both the whiskey and the vodka....I have seen things I did not like as much sell for much more at the liquor store.  The huckleberry cordial was about the same price, but it was a smaller bottle...375ml type size. 

Now just waiting for a special occasion type situation to broach one of my new bottles. 


Wife and kids just got in the car to go visit my mom for the weekend.  They are planning on spending Saturday and Sunday night, with my wife swinging by our house that is for sale to check on it at some point.  If I went, we would have had to come back Sunday evening, and with the rising price of gas, I am not sure the 500 mile round trip is worth it for one night...not that I don't love my mommy still, but...there are times you have to balance Expense vs. Reward. 

One of the things that I am eternally grateful for is how well my mom and my wife get along.  It could be that the stereotype of feuding spouses and in-laws are just created by Hollywood...but even so, they get along better than I ever could have hoped. It's been that way since the beginning, so it is not like they are just acting nice to each other for my girls benefits...

It has made things easier for me.  We were married on the east coast and moved cross-country less than two weeks later.  Prior to that, the furthest my wife had even been from her mom was a couple of hundred miles, for a week or two.  It was a pretty major change for her, and my mom stepped in and provided a lot more family feel for her than I could.  They might occasionally have a discussion or two about what counts as 'spoiling' in regards to my kids, and my wife wishes like hell(me too) that my mom would stop smoking...but...those are minor.  All in all, it's a very good relationship, and  one of the toughest things about moving to this new job was that it put the Cascade Mountains in between us.

I of course, have no really big plans for my weekend of freedom.  There are three baskets of laundry in my bedroom right now, begging for my attention, and I am trying to decide if I want to use the apartments laundry room and drag it out, or go to a laundromat in town and knock it out.  Then....ummmm....yeah.  Maybe do some blogging or something...

So exciting...no wonder I have so many visitors...tune in later and we can talk about doing dishes!


Priorities man, Priorities.

This happened last week, but I just noticed the story enough to care:

Walla Walla gunman takes beer, but not cash, from store

By Paula Horton, Herald staff writer

A masked gunman robbed a Walla Walla convenience store early Friday but took just two 12-packs of beer, police said.
The suspect made no demands for cash.
The robbery occurred at 1 a.m. at the Zip Zone at 110 N. Ninth Ave., said Walla Walla police Officer Tim Bennett.
The suspect walked into the store wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and went straight back to the cooler, where he took out two packs of beer, Bennett said.
When the suspect turned and walked back toward the entrance, the clerk saw he was holding a handgun and did not attempt to stop him, Bennett said.
The suspect, who apparently was just after beer, then walked out of the store, he said.
Several witnesses saw the suspect and a second suspect leave the scene in a gold sedan, Bennett said. A sheriff's deputy saw a similar vehicle parked several blocks away and as the deputy got closer, several known gang members took off, Bennett said.
They left behind open containers of the same brand of beer stolen during the robbery, he said.
The robbery is under investigation by the department's special teams unit.

I'm dumbfounded.  Not that thievery is right, but...if you are going to out and expose yourself to the legal risks involved with using a firearm to rob a store...why wouldn't you ROB the store?  The only thing I can think is that people are more likely to resist if you start talking cash.  I for one can't see myself risking a gunfight over two 12-packs of beer.  

I just wish I knew what they were drinking...I'm guessing it's not the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat I stopped and bought to go with my spaghetti for dinner tonight.  

Winters last gasp

With the end of February rapidly approaching, we HAD been enjoying some quite nice weather in the interior Pacific Northwest.  For most of the middle of February, day time highs had been crossing 50, and night-time lows had been staying above freezing.  We were able to bring the girls to the parks to play a few times, which is nice...they have both adapted well to enhancing their calm and not bouncing off the walls in our apartment, but...they are young girls and being able to get outside and run around and just make a bunch of noise is good for them also. 

As we roll into the weekend though, we have one last(hopefully!) bunch of cold winter air making it's way into the region.  We were forecast to get 2-4 inches of snow, but that never really materialized. Instead, just wind and dropping temperatures.  Thursday's high is expected to be somewhere in the low 20's, with 15mph winds, gusts to 25ish.  That makes for pretty brutal outside working conditions, even with the company buying folks a nice set of Carhartt outerwear every two years.  More limiting than the weather on people is the effect of the weather on our job.  Both the management of my company and our DOE oversight are fairly realistic about working outside in cold, windy conditions...the wind being more limiting.  When working with potentially contaminated radioactive material outside, wind is not necessarily your friend. 

Having spent many years growing up in Rhode Island, and many years stationed in Connecticut, I am not unfamiliar with cold...what is new to me is it being cold with no pretty white stuff to look at(and cause car accidents).  This whole cold, dry, high desert feel is new to me.  Both SWMBO and I are going through hand lotion left and right, and today(not for the first time this winter, either) I had an out of no where bloody nose.  I haven't had so many of those since I got all kinds of anemic cutting weight for wrestling back in High School. 

The good news is the cold is really only supposed to last a few days...Sunday is expected to be almost 50 again, and Monday and Tuesday are over 50...I really expect this too be the last hard freeze of the year. 


Your mission, if you should choose to accept it...

I'm afraid tonight's bloging adventures have preempted by house-hold duties.  My wife has decided(and rightly so, I might add) that the time has finally come to get our pantry organized, categorized and quantified.  I am needed for what I am normally needed for...my strong back and weak mind.  The easy part has been done, and now our apartment looks like this:

Now comes the fun part...trying to fit it all back in the cabinet in a way that makes sense for finding stuff.

Yay!  Maybe tomorrow we can be ambitious enough to tackle the dry-goods. 


You can't pick your allies....

Occasionally, when I am snuggling in bed with my wife and we are listening to AM Coast-to-Coast on the radio, I am struck by the thought that 'Oh my Gosh...these are the folks on MY side?!?!!?!'  No wonder we don't get taken seriously sometimes.

Enter Rush Limbaugh.  It seems the latest thing Rush did to get his name talked about was call Michelle Obama a hypocrite for not walking the walk on her 'eating healthy' campaign.  At a recent dinner in Vail, the First Lady had a very tasty sounding dinner of braised ancho-chile short ribs.  Rush jumped on this opportunity to criticize her for eating ribs a bunch of 1500 calorie a serving ribs, instead of roots, berries and tree bark. 

Look at me of all people, all open minded and defending The First Lady...but, nothing I have read about her eat Healthy/Let's Move initiative is that controversial.  It's about following the food pyramid and being more active.  Hard to get all upset about that...I even used the search function on her site, and couldn't find a single use of 'tree bark' or roots. 

Sigh....calling her a hypocrite was bad enough...even worse was this quote:

"I'm trying to say that our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you

What a stupid thing to say.  The women on the cover(and inside) of the Swimsuit issue are freaks...hot freaks, but still nothing approaching 'The Norm.'  Comparing ANYONE to a professional model is stupid.  As for the Alex Rodriquez comment....let's take a look at that:

This is a picture of Cameron Diaz leaving a gym over the last weekend.  It's a little different than she looked back in The Mask.  Heck...with those arms, she might almost be able to engage Michelle in a 'Gun Show'. 

Kind of makes me glad that I consider myself a Libertarian....than I can pretend for real that Rush isn't on my side...


Why is the GOP so mean?

Yesterday, a young lady of my acquaintance posted a link on facebook to MoveOn.Org's '10 Most Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women'.  While I am not a member of the GOP, if an election looks like it will be close enough to matter(like all three of Dino Rossi's failed attempts to run for major office in Washington),  I will usually vote for the Republican, rather than do the right thing and vote for the Libertarian.  In the end though, I really hate blanket attacks on either party, although I am guilty of doing so myself from time to time.  While few and far in between, there is the occasional Democrat who is not a total waste.  

1.  Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. Shocker.

 Almost blogged about this a week or two ago when it was big news.  Not from the abortion standpoint...that is one of the few things guaranteed to get people even more spun up than guns.  But, as a father of two girls, the terrors of rape are something that will never be far from my mind.

  The furor arose over a bill introduced by Republicans which used the words 'Forcible Rape' in regards to the government funding of abortions.  As stated, let's ignore the purpose of the bill, and instead focus on 'Forcible Rape'.  The big complaint with this term was that it would open the door to not counting statutory rape, 'date rape', getting a girl drunk or stoned.  Maybe...because later in the article they also go on to say that legally speaking, forcible rape is a null term...not properly defined in federal criminal code or in many states.
  Rape is rape.  If you want to look at the word 'forcible', well...in my opinion, anything that involves a woman having sex against her will is force: getting someone drunk, stoned or roofied up removes their ability to think straight, and is a force.  Someone over a certain age using their age as a lever against someone below a certain age is a force.  I HOPE that is how things would have been interpreted...anything less would have really messed up.

2.  A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
 This is a true statement, and I have no real answer for it other than to point out it is one person introducing this proposed change, not the whole GOP.  I see no reason to change the legal wording here.

All I really can say is that as a man, you do reach a point in your life when you realize the power that an accusation can have...and it is scary.  Whether that accusation is proven or not is usually not an issue...for many crimes of a sexual nature, the accusation itself is enough to destroy someones life.  In that case, it is up to the media to remain objective....which is not likely to happen.  But...any woman who has suffered a rape is a victim, and should not be refereed to otherwise.

3.  In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
 Nope, not for real.  The wording of the bill was originally intended to modify the justifable homicide laws in South Dakota making it permissable to kill someone while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child.  Yes...this could have been interpreted as permission to go kill an abortion doctor...but when questioned the, gentleman who introduced the bill attempted to clear it up.  Basically, it meant if you saw someone attacking your pregnant wife or daughter, and you felt that attack was placing the pregnancy at risk...homicide was justifiable.  

Certainly sounds like a war on women to me.

4. Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

6.  Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7. And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool. 

8. Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

Gonna lump all these together under the 'Gee, I hope so' category.  Not that I take glee in these particular programs losing money and funding, but, money has to be cut from somewhere, and some of those things are going to be sad, and yes, people will suffer.

5.  In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

Okay...part of me wants to go all free market and say if a hospital doesn't want to provide a service, than they shouldn't have to provide that service.  The problem comes in when you figure the federal funding side of things into it.  If you have a 100% Privately Funded Hospital or Clinic, I don't think you can force them to provide a service they don't want to.  But...if you are taking federal money, you better be willing to perform any service that is federally legal.

9. Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country. 

10. And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).
 These two both fell victim to a recent amendment voted onto the H.R.1 funding bill.

As someone who just a couple of paragraphs ago was all about cutting funding to Head Start and Food Providing programs, you would think I would be all happy about another $317 Million being saved by this amendment...but I am not.  Planned Parenthood is about so much more than abortions...there really is some attempt there at PLANNING PARENTHOOD...and spending the money up front in family planning and pre and Peri-natal care would be a better investment than having to pay it to support people who weren't prepared to have children.

As for their last dig at funding the contraception of wild horses....poetic license again.  What Dan Burton's amendment really did was seek to bar budget money from being spent on wild horses and burros 'except for the purposes of fertility controls.'  Basically...no more spending money to round them up and keep them in pens and corals...catch them, sterilize them, and get them back out again...much cheaper.

Or heck...feed them to all the hungry old folks that lost funding in the other proposals.


Don't trip trying to back-peddle so fast

A couple of days ago, I praised the Governor of Montana for some bold talk about wolves.  Turns out I may have been giving the Governor too much credit, and forgotten that as a Governor, he is just a politician, and most of the time with politicians, talk is talk

Politically speaking, it's not really back-peddling by the Governor....it's 'clarification' by his underlings. 

While the Governor bravely said his state would 'take actions on it's own' to control wolf populations along the Idaho border, a spokesman from the Montana  Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department said the agency is actually awaiting a response from Federal Officials prior to taking action on wolves in that area. 

After the Governor thumped his chest and boldly told the U.S. Interior Secretary that he had directed Montana wildlife officials to shoot "whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.  In a meeker more subdued manner, on Friday the policy was revised, to reflect what was already in place, as the governor's natural resources adviser, Mike Volesky, told The Associated Press that wildlife agents had "discretion to use whole-pack removal" — not a mandate to do so.

 Way to stay strong Governor. 


Just call me a thief

I flat out stole today's Non-News News Story, from Tamara.  Other than distracting me from the Wisconsin Senatorial Brouhaha, it's pretty much a waste of paper. 

One-Third of U.S. Households Lack Broadband Web Access

Most of the article is stats and hooey and mismatched stats about how not all Americans are able to sit in their houses or on street corners in every neighborhood and stream video of a guy getting hit in the junk with a wiffle-ball on youtube.  A new study by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration says that about 1/3rd of American households lack broadband internet access.  Reflected in that 1/3rd is 5-10% of the U.S. Population that:
only have access to internet services that are too slow to even support a basic set of online functions, such as downloading Web pages, photos or video.
Oh, the horror!  They might have to call Domino's or Papa Johns ON THE PHONE to order pizza, instead of going to their web-page.  Hmmm....maybe I should be more concerned...they probably can't find my blog either.  It would explain my poor readership numbers.

Let's see...rest of the article is blah, blah, blah...oh...here is something new:  It's turns out that sometimes you don't actually get the speeds that are advertised!!!!!  Really? 

Then we get to the end of the article, and I am not sure my response would be any better than Tamara's, which follows in red.  

It might also be interesting to consider the implications of local demographics, which can easily be explored via The New York Times' interactive map of U.S. Census data. In some cases, there are interesting correlations between the broadband options available in an area and the race, income or education level of the people who live there.
In other words, neighborhoods full of unemployed, non-English-speaking, high-school dropouts, the ones most likely to want to watch streaming reruns of American Idol on their smartphones, are the ones least likely to be able to do so. In an unrelated economic factoid, these very same neighborhoods are also underserved by Whole Foods stores and Mercedes Benz dealerships. It's obviously a conspiracy.

Strange, you mean a whole industry(not just one greedy corporation!) feels that they might not see an immediate profit developing a service in an area where the inhabitants of that area are unable to afford said service...

But of course, the Government thinks it can do better.

For definitions and examples of the COST of the Governments 'Better' please see: Amtrak and U.S. Postal Service.

Not sure what upsets me more...the implication that it's some huge conspiracy against the poor and down-trodden, or that I was totally unaware there was a National Telecommunication and Information Administration prior to reading this article.  


Wrapped around the axel.

I am not sure why what's going on in Wisconsin in regards to their Democratic Senators running off makes me so mad.  My only exposure to Wisconsin has been cutting across the southern part of it twice on I-90.  I will admit that I have looked at the nuclear power plant in Twin Creeks as a possible place of employment, and that they opportunity to hunt more than one deer a year is intriguing.  In my mind, theoretical Wisconsin is a place of cows, cheese, and rolling green hills over run with 200 pound whitetails. 

Not sniveling, petulant politicians who need to get over themselves.  And it's just getting worse, and making me see red. 

The newest thing is this:   Wisconsin Democrats Could stay away for Weeks.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who was among those who fled, said Friday that the group was prepared to be away for weeks, although he would like the standoff to end as soon as possible.
I hope to Gosh Up in Heaven that if these chuckle heads really stay gone for weeks, they at least stop getting paychecks.  Their JOB is to represent their constituents in the Wisconsin State Legislature, not a Chicago Hotel...and who the hell is paying for their hotels in Chicago?  If it turns out that their unauthorized vacation in beautiful Illinois is being charged to the taxpayers....I'll...I'll...well, not being a Wisconsin resident all I can really do is blob about it again. 

Then there are the teachers.  Earlier I expressed sympathy for the teachers, acknowledging that if anyone has the right to be upset about the direction and speed with which this bill was moving, it is them.  In Madison at least, they have lost my sympathy.  They had to close school in Madison because 40% of the teachers called in sick to join the protest at the Capital.  To me, that is an illegal Strike.  If they don't have a doctors note when they return to work, FIRE THEM. 

Bah.  Glad stuff like this can't happen in Washington, where our Democratic Governor and Democratically controlled legislature don't have the gumption to make hard decisions like this. 

I'm taking my ball and going home!

This news from  Wisconsin, where all 14 of the states Democratic Senators FLED FROM THE STATE to avoid a vote is quite disgusting.  In the media, it is being compared to what happened in Texas in 2003 when Democratic Representatives AND Senators, fled the state to avoid a vote on district restructuring.

From the quick spot research I have done, I can't find an example of a time when a whole Legislature's worth of Republicans fled the state to avoid having a vote go against them.  Plenty of 'Not voted' checks marks(and that is across party lines), but never a time where a whole batch of Republican Legislators ran away because they weren't happy with the writing on the wall.

Enough bashing...most politicians suck...best just to accept that and stew quietly.   Oops...one quote in particular from this article  bears bashing on:

"The story around the world is the rush to democracy," said Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar. "The story in Wisconsin is the end of the democratic process."

Ummm...Bob....Get Over it!!!!!  The 'democratic process' worked.  The majority of voters in your state elected a Republican Governor.  A majority of voters from a majority of Districts voted to give you a Republican controlled Legislature.  THAT IS DEMOCRACY!!!!!!!!!   Grow the F#*& UP!  You still live in Wisconsin.  Move to North Korea if you really think democracy is dead in Wisconsin. 

Now to look at the bill which is causing all this consternation.  The AP is labeling it 'The nation's most aggressive anti-union proposal'.  Let's break it down a bit. 

The bill would strip collective bargaining rights from all Wisconsin Public Employees(state, county, local) except for Police, Fire and State Patrol.  It would also make workers pay half of their own pension plan costs, and 12.6% of health care plan costs.  The Governor says this would be an increase an employees share of the Pension and Health Plans go up an average of 8%.  He doesn't say 8% of what...total salary, take home pay, or their previous expenses...whatever.  I hate things quoted as percentages with no supporting data.  Also, the Governor is saying this is much less than is being asked of people in the private sector, and I have no reason to doubt the truth of that. 

Asking people to pay a larger share of their pension and health care does seem to be the standard.  When dealing with the Unions though, often times that involves having to renegotiate an existing contract that written in happier less fiscally responsible times.  In several prior situations(as proven by this very old article by Gregg Easterbrook, included just so I don't seem to be speaking out of my belly-button), when faced with the reality of either renegotiating contracts or being laid off, Unions haven't always done what seems to make sense.

On the plus side of the bill, it would save the state of Wisconsin 300 Million dollars over the next two years.  Unions would still be able to represent workers, they would just not be able to demand pay increases beyond the consumer price index, or FORCE EMPLOYEES TO PAY DUES. 

In my opinion, it is this last thing that is really driving the Unions crazy. 

My wife and I don;t agree on everything, and one thing we disagree somewhat on is Unions.  As a Nurse, she sees the positive side of the Nurses Union as far as being an advocate for patients rights, and ensuring that nurses are given proper working conditions and hours to take good care of their patients.  As a manager, I dislike that unions have a way of protecting people that are better off on the street.  Actually, dislike is not nearly a strong enough word.  If I was an unmotivated employee, I would certainly want to work for a union company.  As a person...I recognize that Unions played a very strong role in protecting workers and establishing workers rights.  I have seen pictures of the conditions people used to have to work in...I would hate to see a return to those working conditions. 

One thing my wife and I do agree that somewhere along the it would appear that SOME Unions may have gotten too big and greedy.  Along the way, SOME Unions have gone from being about the workers, to about the Union.  While protecting the workers from the evils of Big Business, the union has BECOME a Big Business.  By taking away the unions right to force employees to pay union dues, how can union management continue to earn a living just by being union management? 

In the end, this whole thing once again boils down to some people not being able to accept reality.  Things can NOT continue the way they have in the past.  Spending has to come down. There is a reason people want to be public employees...traditionally, it's a pretty secure, well-paying gig.  Not always, and even the proposed Wisconsin bill recognizes that...exempting the fire fighters and law-enforcement groups from the bill. The only public employees I feel a little badly for under this bill are teachers.  Everyone recognizes that most public school teachers are not paid adequately for what is expected of them.  In an era of across the board budget cuts, I am not sure how you solve that problem...Oh, I have ideas, but none of them will get ME elected.

Until someday things get bad enough, and then my ideas do get me elected!


It's here!

The weekend, of course.  It just so happens that a regularly scheduled Friday off, and the Presidents Day Holiday on Monday are acting in concert to give me a 4-Day weekend.  Certainly, a person would have big plans for a four day weekend.

Not really.  For most of the last month and a half, we had been thinking that our activities this weekend would somehow be tied to closing on the house in Belfair, whether it was signing papers Friday and then visiting friends and family for a few days, or heading over the weekend to visit and sign papers the following Tuesday/Wednesday.  Either way, we didn't make plans for something independent this weekend. 

All that really matters is the week is over, and it was a doozy.  I could go into detail, but it really wouldn't matter.  To put things simply, for the past 25 years, the area where I have been working has existed for the sole purpose of making sure the waste tanks at Hanford were properly maintained, and didn't leak(too badly).  That meant a whole bunch of preventative maintenance and checks to make sure levels(gas concentrations and fluid levels really), and not a lot else.  Other organizations on site handled the real work. 

As the site shrinks, and the clean-up progress, jobs are changing.  The organization I work for is now supposed to be getting ready to actually process the waste that has been sitting in the tanks.  This is not easy for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the equipment is old, and doesn't always work very well.  2nd, the work force.  Because the work was very basic for so long, at times, let's just say the star performers didn't end up here.  Because of reason 1(the equipment being old) the workforce(reason 2) is called up to do a lot more corrective maintenance than ever before...and they don't like it.  Not only do they not like it, some of them aren't very good at it.  And, before someone thinks I am bashing the working level folks, I am...but not exclusively.  Much of the management is challenged also.  To use corporate jargon, there is a 'cultural change' required, and like many cultural changes, this one is painful at times.  One could almost view it as a physics problem...there is 25 years worth of stationary inertia that has been allowed to develop...things aren't going to be rolling forward smoothly in 6 months.

Then there is my position.  As someone hired recently, with no prior Hanford Site experience, I am seen as one of these agents of 'Cultural Change'.   I'm younger than a lot of the old time folks, and I came in and stole one of their supervisory positions(now, throw aside for a minute that most of these folks didn't WANT the pain of being a supervisor.)  This makes me a target for constant testing.  I get asked questions they already know the answer to.  I get asked questions that other supervisors have already answered(the ask mom and dad game).  The fact that they are right, and that I AM out to rock their world and shift their paradigm doesn't make the constant testing any easier, or any less frustrating, especially since I believe my way of wanting to do things COULD be easier and better than the way they are currently doing things.

During my time in the Navy, one of the things I always disliked was how a new C.O. or X.O. would come in and change everything without observing how things were working first.  I have been at this job almost 5 months now, and have resisted many urges to speak my mind, or change how things are being done.  I am still observing.  I try not to draw conclusions from a single observation of something...you have to assume you are catching someone on a bad day, and look more for trends than single instances.  It frustrates me to already have been tried and labeled by the jury as one of 'Them'. 

Most of all, I try to have faith that things will get better...the alternative does not bear consideration.  And yeah...that was me not going into detail.

All I really know for the weekend is that Friday I committed to load up the car and go to the laundromat while the wife schools the kids, and Saturday we our children lined up to go to the YMCA's Parents Night Out.  It's basically a supervised play-date from 6-10pm on Saturday night.  It's done at one of the local schools, and the watchful eyes are provided by the YMCA.  12 dollars a kid...$24 total for both my kids for 4 hours is MUCH less money that I would pay a teenage baby-sitter in my house.

The only other thing on the list of possibilities is a trip to the  Goldendale Observatory State Park if it looks like we might have clear skies either Friday or Sunday night.  It's about a 1.5 hour drive, and I think the kids will find it to be really neat.  Oh heck...I KNOW daddy will think it is really neat, and hopefully the kids will not be bored and pout.  PLUS, by taking a scenic route, we can swing by the 20 Acres with a Yurt property for sale in that direction.  Even if we aren't going to be able to buy in the next two weeks, it is another area of the state I haven't been to yet. 


Gotta like a guy who hangs it out there.

Montana to Kill Wolves that Prey on elk.

Good for the Governor. He is doing what he thinks is right for the people of his state, regardless of the consequences.  This decision is NOT going to make him popular with the North Eastern Liberals who think wolves are cute when they see them in the zoo. 

The only thing that really annoys me is how it is going to be done.  The State PAYING people to do it is all wrong.  I remember back in the late 90's when I was stationed in Connecticut, there was a big brouhaha because many townships on the East Coast were paying for contractors to come in and control their deer populations using night scopes and silenced .223's. 

Even as a 20-something year old guy, I KNEW there had to be a money making opportunity in their somewhere...being a hunter, I know that hunters will pay A LOT of money for a chance at an extra deer or two.  At the city and county level, ANY amount of revenue that can be brought in instead of being payed out is a significant gain. 

Finally, that seems to be the case in some locations.  Hunterdon County in New Jersey brought in $24,000 last year selling 800 hunting permits.  350 Deer were collected, 81% of them antlerless.  The city of Hillsdale, Michigan is running a month long culling program, allowing hunting until 11pm at night, WITH artificial light.  67 of the 100 permits have been filled already, with 1 week left. 

Frankly, I think they should trap about 200 of those wolves and let most of them go on Long Island, a few in Maryland, and the rest in Massachusetts...let them meet in the middle, and we will see how long people think they need to be protected. 



Received a bummer of a call this afternoon from our real estate agent.  The intended buyer of our house in Belfair was not able to follow through on their intention to buy our house.  Apparently the buyers had a set of defaulted Student Loans on their credit history, from about 6 years ago.  Being defaulted FEDERAL Student Loans, it seems the FEDERAL Government was not willing to underwrite the loan to buy our house. 

It really shouldn't come as a huge surprise...10 days ago, prior to the 1st  date targeted for closing, we had to extend because if loan issues...I guess I should be looking at the fact that it would have been a pleasant surprise if things HAD worked out. 

There is an old saying...are you really paranoid IF everyone is really out to get you?  Same kind of goes here...do you really count as a pessimist if things do eventually go wrong?  I'm trying to stay positive, but part of me wants to use this as an excuse to laps into a pity-party for at LEAST the rest of the night. 

I should know better than looking beyond what is immediately in front of me.  What sucks is as we were getting closer to the closing date, we were starting to plan the next step.  We were going to use some of the closing money to buy pretty decent Anniversary gifts for each other.  Because of the move, and the fact that we knew for a FEW months at least we were going to be paying both rent and a mortgage, we went light on Christmas, hoping instead to splurge for our 10th Anniversary. 

We were also working up towards a pretty major decision in regards to housing.  As bad as living in this apartment stinks, my wife and I were starting to lean towards not immediately jumping into a new house when our apartment lease is up in June.  There were two reasons for this:  1) In September, when the 'Stimulus' money runs out, there is expected to be about 1800 people laid-off.  That could affect local prices enough that waiting a while would be worth it.  PLUS...I am not sure I made the correct decision, taking this job.  While I didn't expect Rainbows and Unicorns, I also didn't expect what I have gotten myself into.  If I knew what I knew now 6 months ago...I am not sure I would have uprooted my family to take this job.  I have to stay in the job at least 18 months to not pay back my relocation assistance...waiting to jump into a house will give me more time to see how things shake out.  Hopefully, the more familiar I get with the job, the less bad days I will have. 

2) is this property: 20 Acres with Yurt.

If the house does close, we are going to come out ahead...like enough ahead to put over 50% down for this 20 acres with a yurt.  My wife and I have been talking about wanting some kind of vaction/get away/GET AWAY FROM PEOPLE property for a while...this would fit that bill.  If we don't want to buy a house right away, jumping into this property might a morale raising thing to do for our future. 

Anyone want to buy a house in Belfair?


You might not consider it a good thing, but...

Over the last two days, I have seen a huge increase in traffic due to being linked on two new blogs...Now realize, in my case, this huge increase means going from 11-14 hits a day to 60-80 hits a day...an increase of  between 430-700%!!!!!!.  Put that on a chart, and it means I am only another 4 or 5 links away from being one of the biggest sites on the internet!  Which of course proves what Mark Twain had to say about lies, damn lies, and statistics.

So, special thanks to Kurt at A Trainwreck in Maxwell, Jay at MArooned, and Sabra, at Trailer Park Paradise, who was the first person depraved enough to link to this fine place you now find yourself.

In other news, had a fine, fine Valentines Day dinner with my family at our kids favorite restaurant, Shari's.   'But dad...they put smiley faces on the pancakes!!!!!!'   Despite having done this for my daughters many times at home, they say I do not do it as well as Shari's does.  Could be....I do do it cheaper though.  Tonight Shari's was MUCH busier than I thought it would be at Shari's, to the point that it was 93 minutes from when we walked in to when we walked out.  I am pretty sure that was the longest I have ever been in a Shari's.  It wasn't our waitress fault...they just got slammed by other people who didn't feel like staying home to cook, but knew that there was zero chance of getting into a better restaurant on Valentines Day. 

The kids are in bed, and my wife is currently abusing my crackpot.  It's full of Kool-Ade and Yarn, as she attempts a new-to-her method of dying yarn.  I have a hard time believing that Kool-Ade would form a colorfast dye for yarn, AND if it does, it will make it that much longer before I actually drink it again.

I am happy that with her dying, crocheting, knitting, and needle felting she has something to keep her busy at night.  And the product she turns our is not bad.  This is a hat she made for my daughter for Valentines Day.  She dyed the yarn herself, and calls the color Fruity Pebbles.  Because she thought people might be curious, it is Jacquard Acid Dye and Superwash Yarn.

She is really good at making hats, scarves, and pot holders.  I keep picking at her to start practicing on socks for me.  To me, knitted wool socks would be the ultimate. 

Best Valentines Gift EVER

The wife and I are not really all that big on Valentines Day.  Rather than try to find a sitter and compete with other folks for restaurant space, we will do our thang wither the weekend before or after.  Valentines Day is usually a card, some flowers, and chocolate.  There damn well better be chocolate.  With our Anniversary only a month later, we have just never been big on gifts, especially for me.  I'm a man, and a back-rub is a pretty good gift as far as I am concerned. 

This year, I bought the wife a Big Hershey's Kiss, and wrote her an actual letter.  Made her cry too. 

She got me the best gift she has ever gotten me on Valentines Day:

Meeting her was the luckiest day of my life. 



As we close in on the 2 month point since the whole family completed the move to Richland, AND football season no longer dominates MY Sunday's, my wife has been making it quite clear that she is ready to start looking for a church for the family to attend.

Church is a difficult subject for me.  To put things bluntly, I am not a very religious person.  That is not to say I am not spiritual, in my own way.  It's not often that I blame how messed up I am now on my parents, but this IS something they had a direct impact on.  My father is Jewish, my mom was Protestant(I believe her church growing up was Congregationalist).  Rather than fight over which one to raise me, there was not much religion at all...we 'celebrated' Christmas, Easter, Pass Over and Hanukkah in equally secular methods.  I do remember going to Temple once or twice, though I never had my Bar Mitzvah, and if we were visiting my moms family over a weekend, I would got to her church with her.

For me, a church is a building...while I appreciate the architecture and real estate of some of them, I do not 'feel' anything in a church.  Where I DO feel something, is out in the woods, sitting on a hillside looking out at the world.  This is my cathedral. 

My wife, she is a religious person.  She was raised Episcopalian, but is pretty satisfied now with and non-denominational Protestant service.  In the past, my wife has stated that she doesn't need a Church to help her talk to ummmm....well, God.  But, given the chance, she does like the fellowship of a Congregation, and the grounding in a community that being a member of a Church can give you. 

Our different views on religion were never anything we kept from each other.  Even before we got married, we decided we would never interfere with each others beliefs, and there would be no forcing, brow-beating, OR belittling(although it should be noted that this conversation first took place after she threw out two Wicca books  had bought during a 'curious' phase of my life.

She has never really had a regular church since we got married.  Every 6 months or so(usually after football season winds down), she will start looking for one, and after trying 3 or 4, she will settle on one, and then football season starts again, and I tend to lose interest.

I worry about my girls though.  If I can do at least as good a job of raising them as my parents did with me, they will be okay.  At times, I wonder about what is supposed to guide me through this world.  I feel I can live a Good Life and be a contributing member of society without a book telling me to do so, but the subject of religion is one where I would like to try to do a little better than my parents did, even if things are presented to my daughters as more of a history lesson than as the Gospel Truth, and this includes the Jewish side of their heritage.

When our first daughter was born, I worried for a bit that my wife's attitude might change.  In one of our pre-child conversations, we had kind of concluded to treat religion like we would treat pierced ears...when our kids were old enough to ask for it on their own, we would allow them to do so.  We did not consider it our right as parents to permanently put holes in their ears for them, or bind them to a religion they might grow resentful of with a Christening. 

Now that the girls are 5 and 8, and starting to express curiosity, I haven't reneged on my side of the deal, just like my wife didn't try to force a Christening on me during my moments of weakness as a new father.  I let her do the research and make the plans, and I do my part by wearing nice clothes, and smiling when we attend a new church.  While the original deal was just not to interfere, I love and respect my wife enough to actively assist.  Starting at a new Church can be tough, especially if the existing congregation is close-knit.  I don't want her to have to start off my making excuses for where he husband is.  That is not to say I will attend every day, once she picks a Church...as the spring weather gets nicer, daddy could find himself at the Gun Range every couple of Sundays.

Today, we went to Central United Protestant Church, in Richland.  Very nice place...all of the people were very friendly, one of the ushers even walked us all the way down to the children Sunday School classrooms, instead of just pointing us that way.  My only problem, and I'm not saying it is wrong, is that it is TOTALLY different from my mom's Church, which accounts for about 50% of my life-time church exposure.  Very active and lively...band playing upfront, singing along with words projected on a screen instead of trying to follow along in a Hymnal...it's the kind of Church my wife likes, and that is what matters.  Me?  Perhaps because I feel most spiritual alone on a remote hill-side, to me, Church should be solemn occasion, not a party.  It's not for me though...I am there for morale support and presenting a strong united front. 

 No complaints about the Pastor.  The 'message' part of the service lasted a good 40 minutes, and while there was no fire and brimstone, he was a very engaging speaker.  His sermon for the day revolved mostly around 'Accepting your mission', the mission being to Live the Word, and Spread the Word, instead of just trying to survive every day.  One phrase he said hit especially close to home: 'Dying for five, just to live for two', referring to how tough it is just to make it through some weeks, clinging to the idea that the weekend will be good enough to make up for it.  This is very close to matching up with how I have been living my life during my 'adjustment' phase at my new job...making my weekends with the family get me through my week at work.

The girls had a good time at Sunday School.  As my wife observed, much like church services, Sunday Schools are different than they used to be. 

I am not sure that there will be any looking at other churches.  This one seemed to fit my wife's interests pretty well....they even seem fairly active in community outreach, to the point where they help support a local woman's shelter, where my wife is already talking about volunteering some or her LPN-type skills.  No mens bible study sign up for me though. 

I just hope the NFL avoids all this lock-out talk, so I have an excuse to reclaim my Sundays in the fall. 

Spoiled Rotten

While making myself a tuna melt sandwich for lunch today, I decided to use one of the many cans of 'tuna in water' we have, instead of the much less numerous Starkist Pouches.  About 18 months ago, we happened upon a really good deal for the pouches, so I really can't remember when the last time was that I opened up a CAN of tuna. 

What a disappointing product compared to what comes out of the pouch...but, when mixed with the right amount of mayo and relish, then placed on toasted wheat bread, and broiled to melt some cheddar cheese on to it, the result was passable.  Not as guilt-inducing as the Taco Bell I drove past on the way home from my errands either...took a lot of will-power to not go through the drive through...but with Biscuits, Gravy and Eggs on tap for dinner tonight, I'm pretty sure I didn't need 1200 calories worth of Taco Bell for lunch. 


Date Day!

Over the last couple of weeks, my wife had been doing some fill in afternoon childcare coverage for a friend of ours.  Today was the time to call in the markers, so about 11 o'clock we dropped our girls off at their house and went out for a little private time.

Our first stop was at Hole in the Wall, an indoor gun range in Kennewick.  Originally, we were going to use some of our own guns, and potentially rent one of their Springfield Armory XD's.  Plans change though...after putting a couple of magazines through her Walther P22, I talked SWMBO into trying my CZ-75b.  The only previous time she had used it was an outside range back in Poulsbo, shooting at 25 yards.  I thought she might want to try it again, at a more realistic distance of 3-7 yards.

Not so much.

From a results standpoint, if it was the only gun in the house, I have confidence that she could hit a human target in the torso.  She didn't like using the gun though...and it didn't help that on the 4th round, she adjusted her grip and ended up with a nasty bite on the back of her thumb.  She was a trooper, and finished off that magazine, but that pretty much ended any interest in 9mm for her on the day.  After that, she pretty much wanted to stick to the Walther P22, and her Firestorm .380, which is fine, I suppose.  I was pleased with her abilities with both of those guns, and it could be I am placing too much emphasis on finding her a 'sidearm' style firearm.  Once our membership cards come in for the outdoor range at Rattlesnake Mountain, I will begin serious training on our 20ga Ted Williams Autoloader.  She already likes our Rock River M4gery, and between that, a 20ga with a couple of rounds of #3 Buck in it, and her .380, she is pretty set.  Since she is so comfortable with her .380, it might be worth it to me to try her out on one of the Beretta 84's...I would feel loads better with her having 13 in the magazine than 7...

I put 200 rounds through my CZ-75, and fall more and more in love with that gun every time I use it. 100 Rounds of Speer Lawman, 50 of Speer Gold Dot, and 50 more of Federal HST.  I have yet to encounter any ammo the CZ doesn't cycle, and I have put many different kinds through it.  Work fine, last long time. 

Less impressed with my Kel-Tec P3AT.  Every time I use it at the range, I realize I have totally forgotten how long the trigger pull is.  5 yards or less, I can put every round in the targets chest, one aimed round at a time.  At no point have I had any real repeatable success, that was not pure dumb luck, at pulling off a double-tap, with the Kel-Tec.  KNOWING something is barely better than a contact distance defensive solution, and repeatedly facing the reality at the range are two different things. 

One gun never came out of my bag, my Taurus 731UL.  I know that somewhere around the house, I have at least only lonely box of .32 H&R Magnum ammo.  I couldn't find it, so I brought it on the off chance that the gun range had some in stock.  They did, but I couldn't bring myself to pay the $*(#& THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS they wanted for a box of it.  As I write, I am continually distracted by another window in which I am searching for the best price online for at least 250 rounds of it to be delivered to my house.  And, I have found out that even online, $35 for a box of 50 rounds of Black Hills .32 H&R Magnum seems to be the going rate. 

After the gun range, I took my wife to lunch at a Pho place we hadn't tried.  Being relatively new to the area, there are many places we haven't tried yet, and since this was supposed to be a date, SWMBO wanted Pho, and that is what she got.  With an order of spring rolls and some Vietnamese Iced Coffee, it was a satisfying lunch, and it left us a little more time to kill before we had to pick up our kids.

Back in the direction of our friends house, there are three Wineries...and look, just enough time left to pop into Bernard-Griffin for a tasting!  They have two lines of wines...their Tulip Labels, which are in the $10-14 a bottle range, and their Reserve Line, $20-35 a bottle.  Being somewhat familiar with their Tulip Line already, the wife and I opted for the Reserve Tasting.

I'm not the biggest 'wine guy'....given the opening, I will opt for a beer every time over wine...but if we open a bottle at home, I will drink a glass or two to keep it from being wasted.  Like most folks, my wife and I started with the sweet whites, and have moved on from there.  She likes most reds, I am okay with reds, if I stick to blends...most varietals are too 'bold' for me.  I liked their Malbec, and really liked their Orange Muscat.  Since the tasting fee was applied to any bottles you bought, it didn't make sense not to buy a few bottles, and since we were in the area, why not buy a few bottles more. 

If I could design a perfect date, the only way this one could have been better is if we were riding Unicorns around town instead of our 2004 Subaru. 

That is not to say the DAY was perfect.  Prior to packing the kids up to go to our friends, I made a batch of what were supposed to be Berry Scones....I had previous had great success with scones, and my friends wife had expressed interest in having some next time I made them.  Seemed a nice way to thank her for breaking us free on a Saturday afternoon.  But...my scones didn't come out right...rather than flaky, dry scones, they came out more like muffin tops...still tasted okay, but the texture was not what I was looking for out of scones. 

Also, at the range, I had another sad making moment with my P3AT...about every 4 shots I noticed the assembly pin was trying to work its way out...I haven't cleaned the gun yet tonight, but I will do some playing with it tonight, and at some point hit the internet to see if I am doing something wrong.  Not something that is building my trust in this gun, but I'll be damned if I was going to let it ruin a perfect day with my wife. 

Veteran Move

When you decided it has finally reached that point on a Saturday morning that you need to wake your wife up on a Saturday morning, going into the bedroom with a fresh baked Blueberry Cranberry Scone and a hot cup of tea improves your chances of making it back out alive by about 1745%.


ME WANT!!!!!!

On the way home from work today, I stopped at Ace Hardware to pick up a few boxes of Sellier & Bellot .380 for a trip to the range tomorrow with my wife.  .380 is one of the few things I have guns for, but have less than 750 rounds of on hand.  I still can't get over paying more for a box of .380 than I do for a box of 9mm...oh well. 

While there, I a gentleman was filling out the paperwork to pick-up a new purchase.  Noticing the Kel-Tec box, I scooted closer to see what it was.  The gentleman seemed quite happy to show off his new toy, as well he should be...it was a brand new PMR-30...

I'm sure some credit for this photo goes to Mr. Oleg Volk...

The gentleman was even kind enough to let my handle the gun...very light...not sure how heavy it would be with 30 rounds of .22 magnum in it, but, it fit the hand well.  Quick research on Chuck Hawk shows .22 Mag out of a 6 inch barrel revolver is 175ft-lbs.  Figure lose some speed out of the Kel-tec, but that still compares somewhat favorably to a .380, which comes in at 200 Ft-lbs for the Federal Hydra-Shok and Remington Golden Sabre.  The big thing of course, would be 30 rounds, vs.8 rounds in my wife's Firestorm.  Given the choice of shooting someone 2 or 3 times with a .380, or 7 or 8 times with a .22 Magnum...I think you would have a hurting person on your hands either way. 

While .22 WMR is not as cheap as .22lr, it is still cheaper than .380...Midway has 50 round boxes of CCI Maxi-Mag for 10.30.  I think if I ever get a PMR-30, I would choose to load it with FMJ over H.P, seeking penetration over expansion. 

And make no mistake, I do hope to get one.  I have never been the type of guy who needed ANYTHING(computer game, technological gadget, new gun) as soon as it was released...I prefer to let other people do my product testing for me. 

One regret for the day is that I forgot to ask the guy what he was paying for it...they don't have them on sale in the store, so I haven't been able to see a price for one yet.  Davidson's website says MSRP of $415....usually prices come in below that, but until the 'newness' wears off, the PMR-30 might be selling for above MSRP. 

Might have the first thing to put on my Christmas List....


And sometimes, we don't agree...

When we initially moved into this apartment, and we didn't know how long we were going to be paying rent for the Apartment, AND mortgage on the house in Belfair, some of the things we agreed we could do without were a land-line phone, and a big cable package.  All we ended up getting for cable was the 'Basic
Package...and then only because the cable company only wanted $3 more for Basic and the Internet than they would have charged me for just the internet.

As a result of only having 9 channels of TV that aren't selling something(merchandise OR salvation), showing politics, or in Spanish, when we are in the mood for something mindless, 90% of the time it comes streaming through our Wii from netflix.  This has resulted in us watching several series that we just never got around to watching when they were originally on. 

Most of them, my  wife and I have agreed were enjoyable: A British series called 'Survivors', Dead Like Me, Bones, and seasons 6-10 of South Park, which we just didn't get to watch a lot of...staying up to watch it in real time was keeping me up past my bed time.

The last two weeks, my wife was watching the first two seasons of Damages, with Glenn Close.  It is a legal drama, but not like Law and Order.  It's not that I am unintelligent, but there was WAY to much double crossing/screwing each other over for me to keep track of...she watched one episode while I was at work, and it was all over for me.  That, and one of the main plot points of the series is what a cast-iron Bitch Glenn Close's character is.  Believing someone would willingly work for this woman is asking me to suspend belief more than I am able.  Giant transforming robots...got it.  Someone allowing themselves to be debased the way Patty Hewes(Glenn Close's character) does to people...nope. 

Just this week, my wife started working on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  I was about 3 or 4 years too old(and too macho) to watch the Buffy Series when it was on T.V.  Watching it now, I'm not sure I was missing anything.  Many fans of Firefly are really fans of Joss Whedon, and first cut their teeth on Buffy, so there must be some redeeming qualities somewhere in this series.  So far, the only thing I have really gotten out of the series is how OH MY GOD HOT Sarah Michelle Gellar was on this series.  I'm pretty sure that even as someone who didn't watch this series I was aware, at the time(because of Cruel Intentions), that SMG was hot...like Top 10 hot...but then she did Scooby Doo...and, I wrote her off. 

After season 5 of Buffy, I suspect my wife will also want to watch Angel.  Watching Bones has given her a fairly major case of the hots for David Boreanaz.  My hope is that I can convince her to alternate that with episodes of my next choice, either 'Dexter', or 'Band of Brothers' when it shows up from Netflix on actual DVD's. 

I've gotten so used to streaming through my Wii, it feels very old-fashioned now to have to wait for something to come in the mail. 


Any Gun is Better than a sword or machette?

Fresh from the Yakima Herald:

NEW Collision prompts Sunnyside sword fight

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — A hit-and-run collision Wednesday followed by a brief sword fight led police to arrest a 25-year-old man for assault.

About 4 p.m., the Sunnyside man spotted a 27-year-old rival and intentionally rammed his 1981 Ford F-150 pickup into the man’s vehicle as he backed out of his driveway in the 100 block of South 11th Street, said Charlotte Hinderlider, Sunnyside police spokeswoman.

The alleged assailant brandished a sword, swinging it at his enemy, who had climbed out of his own vehicle, Hinderlider said.

The suspect fell, giving the victim time to pick up a machete that happened to be laying in his yard and defend himself from his alleged attacker, Hinderlider said. Meanwhile, the victim’s mother, still in the vehicle, dialed 9-1-1 from her cellular phone.

After minutes at most, the attacker left in his truck and police caught up with him at a house several blocks away in the 1400 block of South Sixth Street, Hinderlider said. No injuries were reported.

Hinderlider said the two men had a long-running feud but its origin was unclear. She also said the victim may have been using the machete to whack away some of the shrubs in his yard.

Police plan to ask prosecutors for charges of first-degree assault for the sword attack and two counts of second-degree assault for the crash.

No injuries were reported!?!?!?!??!?!  Two guys were swinging at each other with a machete and a sword, and there were no injuries?!?!?!??!   

Now in addition to having a few guns placed around the house for easy access, I need to make sure I leave a useful tool or two laying around the front yard.  Too bad the guy hadn't left his lawn mower or weed wacker out the last time he finished using them.


Having picked up a boatload of Cherry and Apple Pie fillings when they were on sale for the Holidays a couple of years ago, and also possessing many, many boxes of cake and brownie mix, a favorite easy desert around the house is Dump Cake.  Boiled down to it's most basic, you take your powdered cake mix, maybe mix in an egg-or-two(recipes vary), and then dump in a can of your pie filling. Stir to remove the lumps, pour it in a 9 X 13 pan, and bake until it sets. 

Today, being bored with basics, my wife made some internet recommend additions...namely, placing blobs of marshmallow fluff strategically on top of the cake while it is baking.  My only real complaint, if you can call it that, is that to eat the whole bowl of it I got for myself, I needed to fill my cup with milk twice.

A basket full of kittens is not as sweet as this cake is. 



I'm kind of at a loss for anything topical and controversial to right about, in my attempts to spin up the masses, and rally the commoners to my side. 

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are in their bedroom, trying to fall asleep.  It's just another way they are different.  Older daughter takes after me..my time in the Navy taught me that sleep is valuable, and I gained the ability to roll over and fall asleep RIGHT NOW when I need to.  Younger daughter and my wife are the type of people who need to get ready to fall asleep.  There are occasionally periods of time lasting a week or more where our  'biorhythms' just don't match up very well...for work I try to be in bed by 10, and wake up at sometime between 4:30 and 5....she like staying up until midnight, and the girls usually let her sleep until 8ish.

My wife is currently out in the kitchen, engaging in one of her newest hobbies, dyeing yarn.  While that dries, she will either work on some knitting, or needle felting.  She recently opened a shop on Etsy: Frolocking Fiber.  It's something she enjoys doing...any money she might happen to make would just be a validation from someone other than me that she is talented.

I am cruising the internet...primarily to research Springfield Armory's XD(m) pistol.  Over the weekend, my wife and I swung into Ranch and Home to do some pistol handling.  To my surprise, the gun that she said felt best in her hand was not the Sig, not the Browning Hi Power, not the Ruger SR9, and not the Oh So Pretty Stainless Steel Kimber 9mm...it was the XD(m).  Now, on the nice side, the Springfield is much cheaper than either the Browning or the Kimber...but....ugh...what a functional, lacking in aesthetic appeal gun it is. 

The guy at Ranch and Home told us that there is an indoor gun range in Kennewick(which I have driven by), that rents guns(which I didn't know), and that he was pretty sure they had the Springfield's in their rental selection. 

Looks like I have a good idea for a Weekend date. 

I do not think it means what you think it does.

100% of the credit for this goes to Breda. 

The punch line, like for all good jokes, is near the end. 

'Open to the Public by Invitation Only.' 

Now, as a disclaimer, I can't find what is officially in the White House Itinerary for the speech.  Another article says 'Public Attendance is by Invitation Only', which is still a pretty loose interpretation of 'Public'.

One can only HOPE that the Administration realizes it is CHANGING the definition of the word 'Public'. 



I didn't know that you could get hung-over on food, but that has to be what happened to me. 

Went to a friends house for the Super Bowl yesterday, and I ate WAY to much.  And I'm not talking too much broccoli and carrots.  I'm talking too many hamburgers, little smokies, sweet and spicy wings, jalapeno/artichoke dip, brownies, Bacon Explosion...and beer(Killians, Blue Moon, Coors Light.) 

I'm sure I'm not alone, and that 90% of the rest of the population(who cares about football) feels this way.  It was a slow start to the day, but at least the was left over wings and bacon explosion for lunch at work. 

I'm not going to review the football game...I am glad Green Bay won, just so that Rothlisberger didn't win a 3rd Super Bowl, allowing him to be compared to Tom Brady. 

One of the main Pop-Culture fall outs from the game yesterday was Christina Aguilara messing up the words to the National Anthem.  Sad yes...but, I'm going to give her a thumbs up for: Doing it live in the first place, AND for powering through and making it work.  Yes, she is a famous singer, and should be used to crowds, but I have to imagine singing the National Anthem LIVE at the Super Bowl is more stress than most people could possibly imagine. 

If she needs a shoulder to cry on, I'm here for her. 


Reason Number 1,545,984 I love my wife

In preperation for watching the Superbowl at my friends house, I decided to make a Bacon Explosion(or 2) and then, since we had many boxes of brownie mix, why not make some brownies too?

Flush with my recent baking successes making scones, cookies, and blueberry muffins from scratch...how hard could brownies be?

Got my ASS kicked.  The baking...not tough.  Getting the brownies out of the pan?  Toughest thing I have done in my life.  I had to make two pans of brownies just to get enough presentable brownies on a plate.  The only positive result of this was that I had a bowl of failed brownie pieces for us to chomp on. 

At one point, my wife brought her empty tea cup in the kitchen, and feeling a moment of inspiration, grabbed some of the left over bacon crumbles that didn't get in the Explosion, and rolled it into a ball of brownie crumbs, and popped into her mouth.

Her eyes got HUGE as she chewed on it, and I interpreted what came out of her mouth as 'You have GOT to try this.' 

Never one to ignore what my wife tells me to do, I repeated her technique, and tried some myself.  It was pretty A-Okay.  The only thing that prevented me from showing up at my friends house with plate of brownie bacon balls was a shortage of bacon bits. 

Someday, the world will be ready for what we discovered today. 



Just got finished watching G.I. Joe with my wife.  We both said we were looking for some mindless action, and that is exactly what we got...plenty of action, and I am now mindless.

In truth, I have come away from the movie with two things:  the realization that I am two hours closer to dying, and a decision that a leather wearing, Red Headed Rachel Nichols is like 20 times hotter than a leather wearing, dark-haired Sienna Miller. 

Bacon disappointment.

Earlier this week, I committed myself to making a Bacon Explosion for my buddies Superbowl
 gathering this weekend.  I had two choices...use some of the high-quality butcher block bacon my wife bought for me when it was on sale, or look for the best 'on sale deal now' to preserve my stash of bacon.  While at Win-Co, I found a likely looking selection of bacon, choosing to go with

2 pound package for $4.50...not a bad price.  The bacon looked nice and thick, so I picked up two packages.  Problem solved, and my bacon in the freezer was safe.

This morning, I decided to cook up some bacon and scrambled eggs for the girls, and get a jump start on cooking my crumbled bacon for inside the Explosion.

Inside this package, I found some of the fattiest bacon I have ever had.  I have brought home bags of 'ends and pieces' with more usable meat than I found inside this package. 

I am a big fan of bacon grease...I keep a jar of it in my fridge to use with other cooking applications.  This was just too much though...I was ending up with tiny, shrived little things that looked like sizzle-lean.  It might work diced up, but there was NO way I could weave this stuff up to work as the outer layer of a quality Bacon Explosion. Sadness engulfed me, and I took two packages of vacuum sealed, high quality(MY!) bacon out of the freezer to thaw out. 

Lesson learned.