Monday, August 29, 2005

3000th hit today…

You know, when I started this place, I never really expected much. I thought, initially, I’d have a sort of online journal. A place where I’d work a bit on my writing chops, vent about the occasional strange happenings on the job, maybe relate a bike trip tale or two.

I never, really thought that I’d have folks, like you, who stop by, take the time to read what I’m thinking about, leave me such great comments, thoughts and ideas of your own… and in short make having this blog something I look forward to checking in on, and writing for, every day.

So, according to sitemeter, since may 14th when I place the ‘meter’ here someone has stopped in over 3,000 times now, viewed pages almost 7,200 times. On average a reader still spends nearly five minutes here per visit.

So, before I let another minute go by, I want to say thank you, to all of you, who keep stopping by, and making this place as much fun for me as it is.

While I’m on the subject of statistics… here are some of the ways folks have surfed in here in the past few days…

Each of these was word, not ‘phrase’ searches, and from Yahoo unless otherwise noted.

I sort of understand these showing up here…

  • [ people's ambitions, hopes and dreams ]- #10 of 182,000
  • [palmetto bugs in north Carolina ] - #6 of 15,200

I understand these pretty well (in fact I love being #4 in that huge list!)

  • [code world] - #4 of 75,249,920 (MSN)
  • [mortgage loan source code written] - #21 of 5,790
  • [places to hold a wedding reception in roanoke,va] - #4 of 4,700
  • [ overhaul chip fosse ] - several visitors.. but I can't find a link

This one I’m definitely baffled about..


Last, but certainly not least, there was:

  • [ picture sexy women whit girl fat in world ] - #4 of 250,000

For the life of me I can not begin to understand why Yahoo, would place this place #4, in a search where the user was clearly looking for something slightly different!! I suppose that’s why I’m not a web site ‘position’ marketer… supposedly those folks know ‘all the tricks’… or at least that’s what the ads say!!

This is a busy week for me. long days and a fairly big meeting with the folks from D&B (Dun and Bradstreet) tomorrow. Long days primarily because I’ve missed some time over the past couple of weeks with Maryan’s surgery and all (not to mention the vacation) and this is a short pay period as we’re off on Monday.

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for writing this week, but I’ve been working on a few things; one about how things go wrong when the principle of enlightened self interest is not working, another about our Colorado bike trip a couple of years ago, and one more about our (Maryan and I) journey of getting this house rebuilt.

I’ve got pictures to scan for both the bike trip and the house project… so, I’m putting it to you folks, which piece would you like to read about first?

You vote by comment. Whatever story shows the most interest I’ll finish it first, and if needed I'll scan and upload the pics to go with it (I need to clean up and expand the ‘photo gallery’ anyway!!)

Thanks again for stopping by!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What does it mean to be a Man?

I’m sure a lot of folks may disagree, but I’m not so sure the common descriptions of what a ‘Man’ is, are at all close to my definition.

You see to me, being a man isn’t at all about being ‘manly’ in the sense of being big, strong or a tough guy. It’s more about actions rather than appearances.

Some folks have commented that I’m a ‘good guy’, or ‘one of the good guys’ recently, mostly in response to my posts about my wife’s recovery from back surgery and my attempts to keep our home running as well as she does.

Well, I’m not really a ‘good guy’, in fact I’ve been described in the past as “the one your mother warned you about” (this was my mother, talking to my first wife when we’d announced we were getting married), and “your worst nightmare” (this from someone who had, admittedly, really ticked me off), but rarely as a ‘nice guy’ or a ‘good guy’, except by folks who’d become friends of mine.

To me, being a man, is in short, doing whatever you have to do to provide for your family, never making promises you can’t keep (including your marriage vows), regardless of how difficult, or unpleasant it might be at the moment.

Anyone can shine when the spotlight is on them. It’s those guys who get up every morning, head to a job they hate, work very hard at it all day, and then come home and give their love, time and remaining energy to their family, that are the ‘real men’ in my eyes.

It’s entirely possible, that my whole take on this is slanted. My Dad, was a ‘real man’ to me. No, he wasn’t always ‘there’ at ball games, class plays and so on, but the reason he wasn’t there, was because he was working, often 12 hour days, 6 and sometimes 7 days a week. Was he a “workaholic”? No, he was just trying to earn enough money to keep food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads.

When he did have time off, he spent it at home, with his family. Not hanging out at a local pub with the “boys”, although from the stories he told me of his younger days, it used to be one of his favorite things to do.

So I grew up in a household where everyone pitched in (us kids usually grumbling about how unfair it was, after all we didn’t ‘ask’ to be born) to get things done. If Mom was not feeling well we’d all be given extra chores to ‘pick up the slack’ so she could rest and get well. It wasn’t an option, it was what we did, and it was how life worked. I really didn’t know that our home wasn’t like everyone else’s.

Maybe it was like all the other homes, then, at that time, but I doubt it. Today I see I was learning a code, a system, a way of life from the eyes of my parents. That family was everything, and everything was for the family.

I distinctly remember the first time I got drunk on a Friday night, and woke up on Saturday tired and a bit wrung out. I had full intentions of calling in sick to work, but my Dad, was not having that in his house. I got a fairly long explanation about being responsible. How the folks at the job were counting on me, that my overindulgence the night before should not become their problem, it was my problem, I’d created it, so get up, get dressed and deal with it.

I’ve lived my life this way, pretty much as long as I can remember. Yes, I’ve made promises I didn’t keep, but never as a result of my action, or inaction. It was always an outside influence over which I had no control. Like the time my car broke down on the way to pick a friend up at the airport. I eventually hitched a ride there, and we rented a car and got home, but I’d promised to meet them at the gate, and didn’t.

Sometimes, I make promises, and then my life situation changes before I’m called upon to deliver. Once I told a very good friend that if he ever needed a place to stay, if I had a ‘roof’ he’d have a place to stay. Well, there was never a need, until shortly after Maryan and I got married (like the next week), he and his wife had split up and he needed a place to stay. Of course I opened my (our) home to him.

It was a difficult few weeks as she and I were newlyweds, and not accustomed to having anyone around… it was a shaky start for us for sure.. But I kept trying to explain to her I’d made him a promise, just like the promises I’d made to her, and I wasn’t going to break it. I hope today, in retrospect she’s seen that my word is in fact, my bond. That, while that was a difficult time for us, it was a glimpse of what she could expect from me in the promise department.

I feel fortunate to have found a career in life that I enjoy. That I found a talent I had, that companies were willing to pay for (most of the time), and well enough that I don’t have to work 2, 3 or more jobs... because, if that’s what I had to do, that’s what I would do.

Loyalty is another huge issue for me. If I’m not loyal to my friends, my family, my employer, what kind of man would I be?

I’d never, regardless of the cost, not help a friend who was in need of my help.

The same goes for my family. They can tick me off, have me so angry I’d like to knock them into the dirt, but, when push comes to shove, they’re my family and I’d be there for them in any way I could.

Employers, well, they’re a special category. Not exactly friends, or family, but a bond, a trust still exists between you. They’ve promised to pay you, and you’ve promised to do the job they’re paying you to do. That’s the deal. In the process you become privy to company ‘secrets’ or at the very least the company’s competitive advantage, you can’t give, sell or otherwise transfer that information outside the company.

You, simply go to work, do your job and keep the company’s best interests in the center of your focus. If you can’t do that, or the situation becomes intolerable, for what ever reason, leave, find another job. Don’t “tell tales” after you’ve left, or make excuses about “what they did” to you, accept that you chose to leave, and move on.

No one ever moved forward, successfully, while looking backward.

Same deal if they “let you go” (the PC way of saying they fired you), in my experience, anytime an employer has decided they no longer required my services, in the long run, I’ve been far better off. I’ve never complained, whined or told anyone (as in prospective employers) anything about the circumstances surrounding my departure from any job. That was then, this is now, what’s important is what I, and that potential employer, bring to the table now.

It probably goes without saying at this point, but all of this is most true in the relationship with your wife. She has to be able to count on you completely, each and every time, to be true to the promises you’ve made. I’m certainly no ‘chick magnet’, but, even so I’ve had my share of opportunities for a little extra-marital ‘fun’. Haven’t done it, won’t do it, can’t do it. See, to do so, would break the promise I made at the front end, during the vows, how could she ever trust my word again?

I promised her, before her first surgery a few years ago that I would do what ever she needed me to, during her recovery. I meant it then, and there was no need to “re-make” that promise, it’s just part of the deal as far as I’m concerned.

To wrap up this ramble, to me, being a man is all about your word. It’s the one thing in life no one can take from you, but yourself. If you give it, be true to it, that’s, what being a man is all about.

As always I welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read, and comment on, this.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Another movie scene I could have lived without….

I mentioned the ones from Alexander the other day….

Well another of those movie images I didn’t need getting into my brain was Kathy Bates naked, and Jack Nicholson’s wrinkled white ass in ‘About Schmidt’… I could have lived my entire life and not missed a thing if I hadn’t seen that scene. What were they thinking!!??

Ok… the Maryan update.. she’s better by the day.. I can tell that because she’s remembering now to ask me to do things she wasn’t even thinking about a week ago! I’ve got to admit, even though I’m doing a decent job of going to work and coming home and doing household duties, things are not remotely as well run as when she’s handling it.

I might get better at it by the time the 8-12 weeks has passed, but, I doubt it. In all honesty, I’m not much of a housekeeper. I can do it, but my tolerance for dust, miscellaneous misplaced objects, cat hair, dirty laundry, etc.. etc… is far greater than my wife’s is.

I’ve always been a wait until you’ve got something worth doing, then have at it kind of housekeeper. Maryan… well if she’s got enough dirty clothes for a load of laundry… they’re getting washed, and right now… so… way before I’m even thinking about laundry, she’s already got it on the ‘list’.

No, there’s not an actual list… well maybe there is, but, she never lets me see it… It’s more like, I get home, and after an acceptable ‘decompression’ period has passed… she’ll ask, ever so sweetly… “Were you planning on doing laundry tonight?”

Now a couple of years ago, I would have thought that’s what she wanted to know, and answered simply, “No.”… However, today, the older, wiser Bill knows that question translates into… “Baby, that nearly full laundry basket is beginning to bother me, and it would make me feel… ohhh… so much better if those clothes were washed tonight”

So today I answer… “Yes, actually I was, did you have anything special you wanted washed?”

For what it’s worth, I’m taking a bit of poetic license here, as that exact conversation never took place… But similar ones definitely have!

Also, before anyone gets the impression I’m complaining, I’m not. I’m happy she had the surgery, and is recovering nicely… and I’m happy to do whatever makes this process easier for her. You see when the situation was reversed, she made sure I didn’t ‘want’ for anything, and gave me all the space this grumpy, recovering, old fart needed!

Some interesting ‘Search landings’ in the last few days… I’ll probably put a list together again soon… the most interesting though was a search on [ Code World ]… This place was number 4 of 73,875,890 results!! I guess I’m like a lot of people… I like being at the top of the list... any list!!

Oh, spoke to the magazine editor today, the September issue will be out next week!! I’m supposed to drop by the office and pick up some complimentary copies (so I can send one to Mom etc…) and discuss writing a couple more articles for them.

One step at a time I guess, I just wish I knew what I wanted to write for them next. I’d planned a ‘Day Trip’ motorcycle article, but, there hasn’t been much riding this summer. I’m hoping we’ll get to take a short fall ‘color’ trip, but the magazine will be putting together stuff for January or February by then. I’ll come up with something for November or December though…. I’m just not sure what.

That’s about it for now…. Thanks again for stopping by, and leaving your thoughts… I appreciate each one!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Go DSN-Less!!

No more DSN connections ever… (almost)

For years, as a developer needing to access data from a variety of ‘non-native’ sources, I’ve built DSN’s or ‘Data Source Names’. The little files became a repository of all the connection information required to hook up with and get data into, and out of a data source, and then packaged and included them with our applications for distribution.

Whenever possible today, I prefer to utilize the newer “OLE DB” access method, but not all languages, nor all databases have OLE DB providers available yet. So like with many things, I use what I have, regardless of what the ‘best’ way might be.

For a while now, where ever I have to use ODBC, I’ve been taking a slightly different track. No more ‘DSN’ connections. Instead I’m focusing entirely on ‘Connection String’ type connections.

I know they’re not as popular, for a host of reasons, but for me, this track provides at least one significant advantage, flexibility. The problem with DSN connections, from my viewpoint is that they provide an ‘exposure’ of user name(s) and passwords to even the most casual hacker type

You might argue that embedding an entire connection string, in an application could do much the same thing. Simply hard coded in place I’d agree. However, once you place the components of the connection string in a separate file, and encrypt the sensitive components in the process, it now becomes much more secure than that stored DSN.

There are several ways to access data sources, some MS-SQL options follow:

ODBC DSN Connection String (Not recommended)
In Visual FoxPro

wrkStn = ALLT(SUBSTR(SYS(0),1,AT('#',SYS(0))-1))
myConnStr = "DSN(DSNName);” + ;
“UID=(user);” + ;
“PWD=(password);" + ;
"APP=Microsoft Visual FoxPro;WSID=" + ;
wrkStn + ";DATABASE=(sqldatabasename);” + ;

ODBC Connection String (recommended)

wrkStn = ALLT(SUBSTR(SYS(0),1,AT('#',SYS(0))-1))
myConnStr = “DRIVER=SQL Server;” + ;
“SERVER=(sqlservername);” + ;
“UID=(username);” + ;
“PWD=(password);” + ;
“APP=Microsoft Visual FoxPro;” + ;
“WSID=" + wrkStn + “;" + ;
“DATABASE=(databasename);” + ;

The other reason I don’t recommend DSN, in any form is that, in any concurrent (multiuser) situation all users are bottlenecked by how fast the ASII file that holds the DSN can be accessed.
With “File DSN”, every must open, read, and close an ASCII file before presenting the data anew to the provider/driver since the ASCII file may have changed since last connection. Even System DSN’s require a reading of the registry to gather up the connection info.

DSN’s usually become bottlenecks on all but very lightly used systems.

Why go DSNLess? First, it requires no server setup, just a carefully constructed connection string as demonstrated above. DSNless connections demand that that you know the name of the file (i.e. file based databases like Access, Paradox, FoxPro, etc.) or the address of the data server (SQLserver for example). Armed with the appropriate information you can now open a data source without a DSN!

It’s faster than even a system DSN* since it saves a trip to read the registry on each attempt to open a connection, it’s also much more secure if you add in this next trick as well.

I use a system file to hold all of the connection information for the entire application. The user name and password are stored encrypted, as are the server and network names. I’ll admit the method I use to encrypt these values is not extremely secure, and could most likely be ‘cracked’. However, the ‘cracker/hacker’ would have to know what file these values are stored in, and, what each one of them ‘maps’ to as I don’t use identifyier names like ‘password’ in that file, only the application and the administrative tools know what these values are for.

So, what happens, when a something changes? The security team changes the production access password, user name or renames a server? If you’ve done something similar to what I’ve outlined above, the admin tools are run, the changes recorded and everyone goes back to work. Much, much simpler than redistributing a new DSN to every user, or rebuilding all the “System DSN’s” at the server level!!

This process grew out of our efforts to create ‘data factory classes’ that enable us to set the source database to MS-SQL, Oracle, or Visual FoxPro (basically any ODBC or OLE DB compliant source), without recoding the application!

In the process we discovered that attempting to maintain the ‘correct’ DSN’s even at the server level was not something we could rely on the customer to do. We could however rely on them to get us the correct connection information whenever they made a change.

The exception to the “No DSN’ rule for us is IBM DB2 data stores. These guys require a specific client, and none of the ODBC drivers I’ve had a chance to work with support DSNLess connections.

Is anyone else doing something similar? Thoughts? Ideas?

Missed my post last night...

We had company when I got home. Nina had stopped by and was actually cleaning the kitchen floor when I got home, and she'd already run the cleaner over the carpets... she's such a great girl... I can't tell you what a nice surprise *that* was!!

So, I made us all some pasta with sauce and italian sausage, with some hot fresh bread for dinner.

After dinner we watched "Alexander"... decent movie... too long (close to 3 hours), too bloody, and I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing Angelina Jolie 'sing', or seeing Colin Farrell becon a boy to his bed... but, it was a decent movie, just not as good as 'Troy' or 'Gladiator'.

I've got another post in the works, that hopefully I'll finish tonight :)

Don't ya hate it when 'real life' interferes with blogging? :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Some folks equate it with fear, and as I wrote a little about fear recently, I thought I’d take a shot at fear's sibling, anxiety.

Webster’s defines anxiety as a state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.

Psychiatrists see it more as a state of apprehension, uncertainty, and worry resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.

Sounds a lot like fear though doesn’t it?

It’s different though, fears are generally a learned response, where we’re born with the makings of anxiety. All people feel anxiety… it might just be the butterflies in your stomach as you prepare to ask someone out on a date, the ‘rush’ that has you running out the door when you are running late in the morning, or maybe it’s that uneasy feeling as you head off on a trip to somewhere you’ve never been. Usually these feelings of anxiety are uncomfortable, but anxiety is just a normal part of being a human being.

In fact, anxiety, panic and worry are all part of the human experience.

Each of these aspects involves the anticipation of danger or threat. Anxiety is sometimes defined as a normal innate emotional alarm response to the anticipation of danger or threat. This means that it is part of our biological make-up as human beings. We don't learn to how to become anxious--we are born with it because it helps us to survive. Anxiety serves as an "alarm" to protect us from harmful aspects of our environment. Taken together this definition means that anxiety is an innate, protective response to our environment.

It’s when these feelings begin to rule our lives that they become a problem.

It can be difficult to tell if your level of anxiety is too high. The ‘rule of thumb’ I use is to ask myself "how much is this affecting my life, keeping me from doing the things I want to do."

Since anxiety is a normal part of life there are certain times that anxiety can actually be helpful. An optimal level of anxiety can contribute to positive performance. Too much anxiety, or too little, and your performance will be impaired.

The type of anxiety that’s been a problem for me is more of a… concern maybe…. That seems to surround some thing or event, future or uncertain, which in turn disturbs my mind, and keeps it in a state of (often painful) uneasiness.

It’s been with me most of my life, but seems to return with a vengeance when I need it least.

When starting new projects, often in the first meeting or two, I’ll find myself becoming anxious, worrying, and often at the very same time wondering where that feeling is coming from.

I’ve managed, for the most part, to keep it all at bay, most of the time. How, I’m not really sure.

When I was teaching, for example, I’d break into a cold sweat before the first class of the day, everyday. Despite that, I’d walk into that classroom anyway, and once I actually started the lecture, almost always, the anxiety would lessen and eventually disappear by the end of the day. Unfortunately, it almost always returned the next day, and I’d repeat the process.

I know what I was anxious about. That one of the students would ask a question I couldn’t answer, that I’d blow the lecture or, worse yet, somehow the students would know more about the subject than I did.

Was it irrational? Yes, it was. It was there though, and very real, regardless of how many times I proved to myself it was irrational. Still, I somehow found it within myself to press forward each and every day. I’ve wondered at times what would have happened if I hadn’t found the strength to do that, if, for whatever reason, I’d been unable to ‘press on’ and the anxiety had taken control. It’s not something I ponder often because that’s a reality that doesn’t make me anxious, it truly frightens me.

I sometimes wish I could put my finger on the specific moment in time where anxieties began to interfere with my life. It’s as if I could find that moment, and understand it, maybe I could change it. However, in all the research I’ve done, it’s been fairly clear that some of us just have more anxiety than others. Some have virtually none, some an appropriate amount and others, like me, have a bit too much. I feel fortunate that, for the most part I’m able to move past the anxiety, to move towards what I want to do despite it.

In those times where it paralyzes me to ‘inaction’, that I’m eventually, sometimes with the help of my wife, or a friend, to find a way to move forward again.

A little over a decade or so ago, my daily anxieties were so great I needed a medication to get me through that place. It had become so bad that the mere thought of going to work in the morning, or coming home at night filled me with dread. Dread of what? That was the strangest thing, there was no specific ‘thing’, it was just an overall feeling of ‘impending doom’ whenever I thought about doing anything, other than, what I was doing at that moment.

Once I was through that period, and with the help of a patient and knowledgeable therapist, I found I was able to get through the day without the medication and feel ‘normal’ again.

So, for the past 10 years or so now, anxiety and I have this sort of ‘cease fire’… I know it’s there and can feel it attempting to creep into my life nearly everyday. But now, instead of letting it in, I plunge forward before it can take over. Each time I do, and ‘nothing bad’ happens, it’s like a little victory for me. With each new victory, the next becomes a little easier.

Maybe it’s just my years on the planet that’s helping me move forward. Maybe it’s just raw determination… and maybe, just maybe it’s the result of knowing the downside of not taking back ‘control’ of my decisions, and not wanting to revisit the other side.

I’m not really sure what it is. What I am sure of is that I’m thankful I had a choice, and made the right choice for me!

I’m sitting here at this moment wondering why I’ve written all this. It was cathartic in a way, to put it on paper, but I think the real reason I did so, was in the hope of reaching someone who might be having a similar struggle. To let them know, they’re not alone, and that help is out there. Also, for those of you fortunate enough to not have this thing haunt you, but who may know someone who does, to give you a little glimpse of what they deal with, inside, everyday. To let you know that your one word of encouragement might be all they need to break through the moment and move forward once again.

Does anxiety grip you or a loved one? How do you, or they, handle it?

As always, thanks for stopping by, reading and especially for those of you who leave your comments behind!!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today was a pretty good day…

… in the ‘coding’ trenches. I had one of those days where the dozen things you’ve been juggling for the past few weeks all come together on the same day. I spent the day completing the testing, and rolling into production no less than ten new features/fixes/enhancements for the primary application I’m responsible for.

I love days like this. It seemed like I went from one completion to another all day, and everything worked as required, no runs, no glitches, no errors.

So much of the development cycle is a seemingly endless cycle of code, run, crash, debug and repeat, that days like today are fairly rare.

If you’re building a new application, you have a number of them at the front end of the project, a few more in the middle, but, as the complexity grows and programmers get added to the mix, it grows increasingly difficult to get anything 100% right the first time.

I wonder sometimes if I’m the only one with this experience. If you hang out on any of the programmer forums it seems like 90% of the members are ‘monster’ coders, with bugs virtually non-existent in their work. Interestingly enough, in Microsoft’s research on software factories, they say that only 10% of programmers are truly gifted, the rest range from ‘more than adequate’ to ‘unacceptable’ with a fairly good percentage in that unacceptable range!

Then again, maybe anyone who isn’t coding to the Microsoft ‘standard’, which changes fairly regularly, was deemed unacceptable?

I don’t know….and quite frankly... I don't care about that!! I do know I had a great day at work though, and that’s a wonderful way to close out the week.

I stopped in at the local PPG Automotive paint distributor on the way home today to pick their brains about what I should be using as a ‘foundation’ primer on the truck project. Turns out that the recommendation today is for an 100% Urethane solution from primer through clear coat!!

Things have definitely changed over the past 25 years in the paint business!! Back in the day, we’d use a lacquer primer, a urethane base color coat, House of Kolor “candy” (also lacquer based then) for the stripes and graphics and then a urethane clear topcoat. That was 'state of the art' stuff back then, hell, we didn't even really know how dangerous it all was at the time!

Urethanes, for those of you who don’t know are two part paints. The urethane paint, and a catalyst (or activator as it’s sometimes called) that causes the paint to chemically cure. This chemical cure is similar to how two part ‘epoxy’ products work. The older finishes like lacquer and enamels cured through solvent evaporation, much like house paint does.

There are many advantages to these urethane products, but, they also have one very big ‘downside’. They’re extremely toxic. They contain something called isocyanates (cyanide sound familiar?), and can cause central nervous system damage and even death if used improperly. Using them properly involves plenty of ventilation, proper breathing gear, paint suits, gloves, etc... all because this stuff is dangerous even if you get it on your skin!

I’m telling you all of this as I’m trying (typing) to decide if that’s the way I want to go. I’ve used urethanes extensively in the past, and I have the breathing (and other) equipment I need, but, I don’t have a ‘paint booth’ to properly handle the overspray and fumes (ventilation)… So, I’m working up a plan to create a ‘draft booth’ in the garage that I can set up and take down as needed. The problem I have at the moment though, is I don’t have the room, or the time at the moment, to really fabricate this stuff. Or at least it wasn’t in my ‘plan’ until much later in the process.

One of the projects on the 'scope' I mentioned yesterday, the DotNet ASP gig in Virginia, is looking grim. Seems the IT manager would love an off-site team, his boss though is saying ‘No Way’. I’m trying to set up a conference call for next week to see if I can persuade them to let us have a shot at it. I may even volunteer for a Saturday meeting in their offices if they show some interest.

Oh… and Maryan is doing very well… she even managed to sneak a little on line time and drop a comment on yesterdays post!! She’s got to be feeling better if she’s using that PC!

That’s about it I guess, I’ve got to go make dinner and start some laundry (I’m telling you the neighbor is sneaking their laundry in here!!) Then maybe later we’ll find a movie or something. I know, not exactly a wild and crazy Friday night... but, I have a feeling that once she’s completely healed up we’ll be heading back out on the bike again, and often!

Speaking of the bike, I picked up the rest of the repair parts I ordered today, so I’ll be wrapping that up and it’ll be 100% again tomorrow… I’ll take some pics… and maybe, just maybe I’ll head out and get some wind in my face too!!

(a little update... the heat index was 85 at 5:30am this morning, over 90 shortly after sunrise... so.. all that garage work will have to wait.. although I don't think there's any avoiding mowing the lawn today!!)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Have you ever...

I'm interrupting my rant to ask you to surf over to Nic's place and read her post about the vet who's being denied instate tuition because he spent 'toomuch time in Iraq'!!

You may now return to your regular reading...

...tried to build anything that’s being defined by a committee? If so, then you have some idea of the various complexities involved.

Now, in most situations there’s at least a ‘committee’ of two, as in you and your spouse deciding on some landscape plants. The smaller the committee, the simpler the task.

Software development is a funny business, in many cases the users are the ultimate ‘committee’, but, the developers never really see or talk to the users during the development process. Has anyone from Microsoft ever called you to ask you what new features you’d like in the next version of Word or Excel? They haven’t called me in over 10 years either!

The project I’m currently involved in is a ‘central site’ database, that’s utilized by an entire industry. The top seven or eight companies in this industry, all have one or two representatives in the committee, along with three or four from this company, and a project leader, and a project manager.

We spent March through July building the specifications for this sync project, obtaining sign off from all participants at each step along the way. Towards the end of August, two members of the committee called a halt to the project while they re-evaluated the specifications.

The past few weeks have been interesting. There’s been a lot of email and phone calls, mostly to clarify items that were clearly spelled out in the specifications and several meetings between the industry folks to discuss the direction the specifications should go in.

Keep in mind here that any, and I mean any changes to the data streams that flow from them to us, us to them and between the industry members all follow a specific EDI standard. The industry decided, a few years ago to only implement EDI changes every two years. The 2006 EDI spec is nearly finished and about to go into development. This means, that for the changes they’re requesting now, the earliest possible point for them to be receiving that data in an acceptable electronic format will be 2008!!

The change to the process they’ve requested, will require we have the ability to send additional data, it’s in their formal change request, yet, in that same request they’d like an estimate for the change order ASAP so the project doesn’t get ‘off track’.

Unfortunately, virtually none of these folks are IS/IT folks, they’re business people. Very good business people, but not at all qualified to be making IS/IT calls about data structures. Yet, they’ve been picked by the industry to build this new mechanism.

I love this gig, the company I’m contracted to, the way they do business and everyone I’ve met from the industry. I just don’t think they really know what they’re asking for with this one. I’m making a prediction here today. When this all shakes out, and it will in the next 6-8 weeks, I’m guessing we’ll be doing exactly what we initially planned to do. Except, we’ll be adding a complicating step, providing a utility that will never be used as intended, and building in an “indicator” to show a particular entity’s “sync status” instead of creating a separate unique ID to track the entity.

All in all though, it’s been an interesting ride as this works itself out. It’s a perfect example of the principle of “Enlightened Self-Interest” at (or not at) work.

Enlightened self-interest, is a product of balance among narrow self-interests, shared-interests, and altruistic or other-interests.

Enlightened self-interest in this context means that any one particular aspect or dimension cannot simply be maximized or minimized. The committee cannot be driven solely by self-interest, by altruism, or by concern for shared-interest. Instead it must pay conscious attention to whether the results are adequately meeting needs for individual companies, as members of the larger industry, and as responsible individual business people.

The quality of the final product will be a direct consequence of harmony or balance among the three.

At this particular point, they’re not quite there yet!


Maryan continues to recover quickly, in fact I may have to tie her to the couch so she won’t be tempted to ‘do things’… I’ve mentioned before that for me, the most difficult thing about the recovery period was the ‘do nothing’ part. It originally sounded great, until about the third or fourth day, then, I began to loose my mind wanting to be able to do something, anything, besides sit and watch TV or read.

Maryan and I are a lot alike in that we like to be doing things. Little projects, tasks etc, keep our minds busy and entertain us in ways TV just can’t. So I know she’s going to struggle with that during recovery… but, she enforced the rules on me, so I feel it’s only fair I do that for her!


A couple new projects hit the radar scope today. One, a DotNet ASP project up in Virginia should start right after Labor day if we get it, and it’s an off site project so I can stay on the job at the current gig.

The other, another offsite project, involves converting some old SBT FoxPro data into something useable for Peachtree. It’s not going to be a ‘big’ project, but, every one we do usually brings in two more eventually!

Hell, if I could string together enough of these I could live anywhere I wanted to without worrying about a ‘job’ or the job opportunities as it would take geographic location entirely out of the picture! That’s a dream I’ve been working towards for more years than I care to admit, maybe, just maybe, with all the current ‘outsourcing’ trends it could happen!


I’d intended to write something humorous today, but just couldn’t get it together with everything else I had going on. Hopefully soon.

I’ve got intent to hit the shop this weekend and get back into the truck project. The local weather guy is claiming it’s only going to be in the 80’s… if that’s true I should be able to make some progress again. On the agenda is finishing the work on the two fender wells, the welding on the bed and with any luck getting a coat of primer on all the ‘hidden’ tunnels and such on the underside of the bed.

Once that’s done I can begin reassembling the bed and start the blocking and leveling process! I really want to get this thing together and in primer so I can show you all that process.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Motif Monday... but on Tuesday

Courtesy of mtrl

I saw the first of today’s Motif posts “Fear” on Nanina’s Hawk Talk blog, it got me thinking, and I decided I needed to write something about fear myself.

Fear is an insidious emotion. It creeps into our lives and can often cause a near paralysis of our ability to act. In my life I’ve had fear as a companion more often than not.

Fear of:
  • Failure
  • Success
  • Acceptance
  • Rejection
  • Living
  • Dying
  • Motorcycles
  • Learning new things
  • Not learning new things
  • Dentists

Well, you get the picture, or at least I hope you do. I lived a good share of my life afraid. Afraid, of doing, and of not doing something, anything and at times nearly everything. I felt trapped in my own body, that at times I was looking out, from eyes that were not my own.

Although I stopped being afraid of dying after facing death, close up twice, I found that I had an even bigger fear ‘about’ dying, than I did ‘of’ dying. I still have that one. I don’t want to die wishing I’d done, said, or tried, just one more thing. So, I resolved myself to living, instead of wishing I could, to begin, in small ways to take control of the fears, and press on despite them.

My fear of motorcycles is the first fear I can remember conquering. It began immediately after a near fatal motorcycle accident. Before that, I had no fear of them at all, in retrospect; it was precisely that lack of fear that led to the accident. The day I got released from the hospital, I went out and bought a new bike, before I actually rode it though, I spent a lot of hours riding a little ‘Honda-matic’ just to get ‘back in the saddle’, and get over the shaking that overtook me when I’d get on.

It was my love of riding that helped me past the fear. I truly believed if I didn’t conquer that fear, and right then, I’d never find the courage later in life. I no longer fear motorcycles, in fact riding is one of my favorite activities, but, I still to this day have a healthy dose of respect for what can happen if you ever forget the consequences of losing a respect for them.

My fear of failure nearly destroyed me as the garage saga was ending. I’d worked so hard, sacrificed nearly everything I had at the time, in an effort to make that place flourish. It was devastating to me to see it slipping away, almost visibly through my fingers. I started drinking, nearly every night, to lose myself and the pain. I nearly did lose myself, but never the pain, it was always there, no matter how much I drank, it never went away.

Once Josephine offered me a ‘way out’ though, my outlook started to change as well. I would be working with my friend and cohort Al Dimauro and receiving a steady paycheck again.

As things go though, working ‘for’ Al, was different than working ‘with’ him. The demands of production body work were beyond my skill set at the time and as such were dragging down the body shop's production, as a result I shifted over to the repair side of the shop.

Once there I settled into a daily routine, and was doing all right, except, I still felt as though something was missing.

I started looking for other jobs, but it seemed I couldn’t even get an interview, let alone a job, without a college degree. My earlier attempts at college had not been exactly spectacular successes. I’d passed, but, never really excelled. My fear of failure caused me to drag my feet, forever it seemed, until my wife (at the time) suggested we could make it even if I wasn’t working. Between the GI bill money I still had, and the available college loans, if I managed to find a little part time work we’d be ok.

With that little bit of courage, I enrolled, and managed to get through college and graduate with honors. I even started grad school, intending to earn an MBA and become some sort of high powered executive. But, at the first roadblock, a professor that I’d had in undergrad studies… I bolted, fearing failure, I bolted.

I’ve thought back on that moment for several decades now. If I were the man then, that I am today, I would not have bolted. I would have stood tough, done whatever I had to do to get through his class, and move on. I wasn’t that man then, I simply gave up. I’ve made a lot of excuses, mostly about family finances (and we were b-r-o-k-e for sure), but in the end that was just a convenient excuse to bail on what had become a very scary situation for me.

However, I credit that moment with changing how I view fear(s), and more importantly how I try to deal with them.

I read somewhere that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of the fear” or something close to that.

I’d like to be able to tell you all that I always act, in spite of my fears, but I don’t. My fear of Dentists, born of many, many traumatic dental visits as a child, haunts me to this day. I’ll go to the dentist, but if I get out of a regular dental visit cycle, it’s nearly impossible for me to re-establish one. My rational mind tells me it’ll be ok, and 99 out of 100 times it is, but there’s that little kid still in there constantly reminding me of those ‘other’ times. It’s one fear I’d like to be able to eventually completely conquer.

I still fear failure and rejection, but choose to act now instead of being paralyzed by the fear. Sometimes, all I need is a little encouragement from Maryan, a little word or phrase that lets me know “she” believes I can do it, to propel me forward to action. At other times I manage to get moving on my own.

Let’s take the truck project as an example. This is a much larger restoration project than I’ve ever done alone. I’ve done several with the help of some very talented folks, never one this extensive, on my own. As I began planning it, I had a thousand reasons not to start it. It might cost too much money, take too long, what if we decided we wanted to move and it wasn’t finished, and many, many more.

In the end though, I was able to picture her face, and the smile that this truck, restored and running perfectly, and maybe more importantly, brought to this condition for her, would bring. That thought is what keeps me going out to the shop, and slowly but surely making progress. I still have fears, as I’m working on it, that I’ll be unable to do the task at hand. That my skills won’t be good enough to pull off what I’m trying to do, I keep going anyway.

What I fear most in life now though, is losing loved ones. Family and/or friends, I’ve learned that when they’re gone, they’re gone. There’s no, one last chance, to tell them how you feel, or that your life is better, richer, for having them in it, so you have to tell them now!

I still fear divorce, I’ve been though one, I do not want to go through another. When I started dating after the divorce, if the ‘marriage’ topic came up, I’d let it be known, in no uncertain terms, it was not in the cards for me. Fortunately for me, Maryan felt strongly enough about me (and us) to stay with me anyway. She hadn’t wanted another marriage in her life either, so my attitude wasn’t ‘the end of the world’, although the longer we were together, the more we both began to see we wanted to, and should, get married.

Yep, I was scared as we moved closer to getting, and eventually got, married. I was more nervous this time than the first… some would say with more reason as I knew now the downsides. In retrospect though, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, she colors my world in ways I’d never imagined. Once again, fear was just an obstacle to be climbed over.

That’s what I try to do these days, square up on my fears and climb over them. I’m not always successful, but, I keep trying.

What am I afraid of now?

  • Moving back to New York. I know I’d be happy living close to my friends again, but, there’s not the work there, that there is here. I’ve grown accustomed to being able to pay the bills!
  • Not moving back to New York. I’ve been away over ten years now, I’ve met some new friends along the way, but none that are even remotely close to the folks there.
  • Something happening to the Mrs. I don’t know how I could deal with that. Greg commented on how she keeps me sane, and the truth is, she does. Sane and centered, before her I was very much ‘in the wind’.
  • Not being able to finish my novel, it was moving along so quickly at first, then the muse left me, and it’s been difficult to find it again.
  • Finishing the novel and being told it’s not worth publishing. Even though I know that’s the most likely outcome, I still fear that likely eventuality.

Well... that’s enough about fear(s) for now, I hadn’t really intended to write this much, but once I started it just sort of flowed out.

Maryan is doing MUCH better today! The fever is gone and she’s been sleeping a lot, which she should be! She’s also moving about the house pretty well, and trying to do things she shouldn’t be doing (which lets me know she is truly feeling better!).

Once again I want to thank all of you for your prayers, thoughts and words of encouragement, both of us greatly appreciated each of them!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Something I rarely do…. A little of someone else's humor.

Nina stopped by yesterday to see us, and check in on Maryan. As usual we ended up having a meal, and watching a couple of movies. One of the things she brought with her was the “I’d like to take it back” moments that follow. Either they’re really funny, or I really needed to laugh because I was laughing almost too hard to read them!

Here we go:


Salon Moment

I walked into a busy hair salon with my husband and three kids in tow and proceeded to ask loudly, “How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blowjob?” I turned around and walked out and never went back. My husband didn’t say a word… he knew better!

Golf pro shop moment

I was in the golf pro shop comparing different kinds of golf balls. I’d become unhappy with the women’s type I’d been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good looking gentlemen who work there. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking I looked him straight in the eye and proclaimed, “I think I like playing with men’s balls.”

Mall moment

My sister and I were at the local mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were carefully looking over the display case, the young man behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied simply, “No, I’m just looking at your nuts.” My sister started laughing hysterically, the young man grinned and I turned beet-red. To this day my sister has never let me forget it!

Child moment (Art Linkletter was right, they do say the darndest things)

Have you ever asked a child a question one too many times? My 3 year old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at a Taco-Bell for a quick lunch between errands. It was very busy that day, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco I smelled something ‘funny’, so I of course checked my 7 month old daughter and she was clean. Then I realized Danny had not asked to go to the potty in quite a while, I asked him if he needed to go, he said, “No”.

I kept thinking that he’d had an accident and I hadn’t brought any clean clothes for him with us. I asked him again, “Danny, are you sure you didn’t have an accident?” “No, I didn’t” he replied.

I just knew he must have as the smell was getting worse. So, I asked one more time, “Danny, did you have an accident?”

This time he jumped up, yanked down his shorts, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled “See Mom.. it’s just farts!!” All 30 or so patrons nearly choked on their tacos laughing! He calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An older couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh they’re ever had!

Evening News Moment

This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for several days, and a very embarrassed female news anchor, who in the future will, most likely, think before she speaks.

What happens when you predict a major snowstorm and it doesn’t occur? This female news anchor, the day after the predicted snow had failed to materialize, turned to the weatherman and asked: “So Bob, where’s that 8 inches you promised me last night?”

Not only did he have to leave the set, but half of the crew did too they were laughing so hard!

I hope some of those made you laugh as hard as they did me! Sometimes, a good laugh is exactly what you need, and you don’t know it, until you’ve had it!! My thanks to Nina for, as always, brightening our day.

We spent some time (about 4.5 hours) in the ER today, on the orders of her surgeon, checking out the fever that’s been showing up since surgery. It turns out that it must just be her body’s reaction to the surgery, and the healing process, as they couldn’t find any evidence of an infection or other systemic problem that would be causing it.

I suppose some folks would be upset about being there all that time to be told it wasn’t anything more serious than a fever. Me, I’m happy knowing that’s all it is. Now we can just move forward, keeping it under control with Tylenol etc, and not have that ‘nagging’ worry that something more sinister was going on.

So that’s about it from here today. I’ll probably have to head into the job in the morning, at least for a half day on site as there are a few things I cannot do from here. I’ll play it by ear and see how she’s doing in the morning.

I’m hopeful that by this weekend I can get back to the truck project. Today, at the moment it’s about 93, with a heat index of 105… still too hot to make any meaningful progress anyway, but with each day that slips by I feel like I’m moving further from my timeline. I hate that feeling!!

As always, thanks for stopping by. If you hadn’t noticed it seems I’ve made the ‘Spam’ hit parade. I don’t know if I should be flattered, or pissed off. I suppose I’ll have to do a little research now on blocking spammers and their assault on the comments area… I’m sure someone, somewhere has already devised a fix, at least for the ‘automated’ processes.

I could disable anonymous comments, but that seems like giving in to me…. I’m open to suggestions if anyone knows of a solution that works!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Good Sunday Morning!

More Search Landings
From Yahoo: (which for what it’s worth, outnumbers all other search engines combined in hits by at least 10:1)

Finally… two I completely understand…
#2 for the person searching for [ ]
#3 in a search for [ Braleigh ]
And one more…
#6 [ BTTW ] (“Ball’s to the wall” for those of you who don’t remember)


A quick update on Maryan…

She’s doing well. We had a bit of a scare with a fever yesterday, but a call to the Doc, some Tylenol (well a generic) and she was back on track. It seems, according to the ‘on call’ Doc that spiking a fever of 101-102 the day after surgery is common. Who knew? It certainly didn’t happen after any of mine, or hers, previously! Thankfully though it was nothing much, just a little ‘blip’.

She was finally able to get comfortable enough to sleep through the night last night. Once she’d gotten to sleep I actually settled in on the couch and slept pretty well myself. I thought about slipping into bed with her, but, was afraid I’d disturb her sleep if I did. I certainly could have slept in one of the other bedrooms, but, I wanted to be close by if she needed anything (she didn’t).


And… while I’m in the subject of Maryan…

You know, I always ‘say’ I know how much she does around here, and that I appreciate everything she does, but, until I’m actually doing it, I’m not so sure I really do have an ‘appreciation’ for it.

She takes care of so many little details (like seeing to it everyone gets paid and don’t come knocking on the door looking for money, or shutting off the power/water/gas, etc..) and does it so well that I think I actually forget, on a conscious level, that they need to be done.

I’m not really much of a detail type person. I’m much more a ‘big picture’ kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I can do the detail stuff, and as a programmer I have to do that, but it’s not really my strong suite. I’m much better at looking at a situation, defining the problem and devising a solution than I am at actually carrying out that solution. Maryan on the other hand is incredible with the details, I constantly marvel at how well organized ‘we’ are as a result of her efforts.

I may be the one with the ‘big plans’, but the way they eventually come to fruition is through her keeping me organized and allowing me to continue to see my ‘vision’.

One of the ‘other’ things she does well is take care of the ‘lawn’… and I’m not really talking about fertilizer etc… I normally do that… it’s the little things, like where a planting should go, how much area we should have in ‘grass’ and where the flower beds should be, how they should be shaped etc… most often, when she’s telling me, I’m convinced, in my mind, that I’m not going to like what she has planned… but… when it’s finished, and often as it’s taking shape, I’m able to ‘see’ what she had in mind, and I always like it!

Now, we don’t have a magazine type lawn, far from it, but, given the overgrown weed bed that was the lawn 4 years ago, and that I’ve dug up good portions of it to add drainage two or three times in those four years, it’s really starting to look great! So much so, that a couple of the neighbors have even commented on how nice it’s coming along.

This downtime right now, is giving me some time to reflect on all she does and how effortless she makes it all appear. How much better, richer actually, my life is for just having her in it. How much more the house, looks like a home inside, from her touches.

When I hear folks going on, and on, about what an ass their spouse is, I wonder if they really are able to picture their lives without this person. If they are, and that picture is truly so much better, they should do each other a favor and move on. If not, maybe, just maybe, they should stop complaining and focus on the reasons they’re still in love with that person, and want them in their life!

Our relationship isn’t perfect; we certainly have our ups and downs, like any couple. But, I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time we’ve had, or will have for anything else!

To all of you who took the time to comment and wish Maryan (and I) well, thank you!! As Firehawk commented, it’s these little connections we find, even out here in blogger-land that let us know we’re not ever really alone!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Good News!

Maryan came through the surgery just fine, in fact within about 30 minutes of them wheeling her into the room she was asking what she had to do to go home!

She’s dealing with some post-op discomfort, but, as far as I can tell, (and from what she’s said) the pain now is substantially less than she had before surgery.

As I was waiting for her surgery to be completed, I found myself thinking about medical care today. Ten or fifteen years ago my friend Larry had a cervical fusion similar to the ones I had a couple of years ago. His surgery lasted a couple of hours or more, the bone graft came from his hip, and he was in the hospital for nearly a week.

Today, well yesterday, Maryan was in, and out of the OR in under an hour an a half, up in her room within the next hour, and on her way home within five and a half hours of the start of the surgery!

So, here we are, a complicated neurosurgical procedure now takes less time than the average brake job, and the patient is on their way home about as fast as the owner would be picking up the car!

I’m more than a little amazed. I’ve been giving 1st hand witness to the changes in the computer industry in terms of speed and performance, but had never really thought about the changes and improvements in medicine. I don’t know why this all didn’t strike me after my surgery, but it sure hit me square in the eyes yesterday!

Sure, bringing her home so soon after a procedure like that is a little scary, I found myself worrying about a car accident for the first time in decades, as she was in a pretty delicate condition. However, having her home, where I knew she’d get what ever she needed, was far better than being here and wondering if her needs were being attended to. (After her hysterectomy the night shift folks were a little less than ‘helpful’)

Anyway, that’s my thought this morning, after a late night and early morning… maybe I’ll have more to say later, maybe not!

I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to write a comment letting me know you were thinking of us, and wishing her well. It’s funny, but, in some ways this ‘blogging’ thing makes me feel close to all of you, and knowing you’re out there, and care, is a nice feeling for sure!

So, all in all, we had a successful day yesterday. She’s feeling better this morning than she was last night. She’s able to walk around with less and less pain by the hour…. And… the pain she’s having is from the surgery and distinctly different than what she was feeling before surgery.

So, thanks again for all the thoughts and well wishes… each of them was greatly appreciated!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Another chapter...

in the health saga begins tomorrow (Friday) as I take my wife to the hospital for her back surgery.

It's been a tough six months or so for her, one of ups and downs, dashed hopes and false promises, as she followed all of the medical advice only to end up needing surgery anyway.

She's a real 'trooper' though, through it all she's never lost her sense of humor (well ok, there were a couple of moments) or her optimistic outlook. I'd like to think that when I was suffering with my problems a couple years ago that I was half as easy to be around as she's been.

I mention all this only as a 'warning' if you will that one of two things is likely to happen over the next few days, I'll either be blogging "a lot", or be nearly absent. It all depends on how the surgery goes, how long they keep her in the hospital, and how much care she needs once I get her home.

One of the upsides to all of this has been the company I'm contracted to. Well the people there actually... they've been supportive, concerned and understanding despite my needing to work some strange hours and often from home. Calling in to meetings instead of attending in person and so on.... through it all my manager has told me to do what I need to do for her, and do the best I can to keep things 'on track' project-wise.

I was really concerned a few times as deadlines crept up, and I felt the need to just work from home as I knew she was suffering. Somehow though, it's all on track at this point, some of it's been luck I'm sure, as I've hit a couple of 'home runs' code wise lately and those kinds of things are normally spaced a bit farther apart!

As much as I’ve talked about how nice it would be to be able to move back up North, it would be just as nice to get a full time gig with this company. The previous company I worked for, made a lot of noise about being supportive, but when push came to shove, it was just lip service. The owner complained about the time the doctor made me stay out of work, despite the fact when everything was done; I still had sick days on the books! This is quite the refreshing change!

I know Maryan will probably be upset when she reads this, and finds I worked from home many of those days because I was concerned about her. She would have been upset if I’d told her when I did it… I’m still glad I did!

So I’m still looking at the truck project each night when I get home, and the plan now is to get back at that ‘next’ weekend after she’s had a week to recover. By that time she’ll be tired of me hanging around, and will probably suggest I go make some noise in the garage! (With any luck at all she’ll be feeling that much better by then!)

Still no word on the job possibility, but that’s ok… as I’ve said before, we’ll just see how it plays out.

I just got a call, as I was writing this, from Mitch and Debbie, just wanting to wish Maryan well tomorrow. It struck me as I was talking to Debbie, how absolutely “like them” it was to make the call. It’s got me missing them, Whit and Leslie, and that little town all over again!


Oh… more ‘interesting’ search landings…

Via Yahoo….
#153 for [how to wire single pol light switch ]
#6 for the search [" tanned, rested and relaxed" ] (another one I was happy to make!)
#131 for [boys nude physical exams ] – That’s just wrong.…

#2 on MSN when looking for [chuck gronsbell ] (remember, the guy I worked for at APA? He actually emailed me the other day wanting to know how I was. Small world it seems!

It’s looking more and more that the most recently updated pages bubble to the top of the search lists, all else being equal. I’m fairly certain I’ll be adding a sitemeter to my professional sites too, I really like the free stats, and the additional info with a paid subscription would be very helpful.


Well, not much else to say tonight. My mind is pretty full of thoughts about tomorrow, concern for her (and me as well if the truth is to be told). I’m just hoping and praying that her post-op will be as easy for her, as mine was for me. In all actuality, I felt so much better after surgery, than I did when I went in, that when they asked how much pain I was in I told them honestly ‘none’.

I may have been in pain, but what ever pain I had, it was so much less than I had before, it honestly couldn’t tell. After the first surgery my throat was real sore, but as long as they kept the orange juice glass full I was fine. After the second, my left hand felt like it had been severely sunburned, so much so that air blowing across it hurt, but even that, was not all that bad, in comparison!

As always, thanks for 'listening', it's nice knowing you're all out there!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Some more musing...

Finally!! A Google search that makes sense!! (To me at least)

I was #15 for the person who was searching for:

["50 minutes" + blog + "good beer" + "good friends" ]

Now there’s a search I’m glad I came up on!!

This one took me a minute to understand how I even showed up, as #9 of 9

["frankie carr" + "las vegas" ]

Then I remembered I’d mentioned each of these items, but in two separate and fairly far apart posts…. I think I'll never stop marveling at the search engine results!!


I worked from home again today; it truly is one of the better ‘perks’ with this contract. I get so much more done when I’m here, but I’ve told you all about that before.

So, about the possibility up in Central NY, so far, nothing. I know my resume was hand delivered on Monday, so I’m thinking at this point they’re not exactly ‘up against the bit’ with a need to talk to me. It’s ok though, our philosophy is, if it’s meant to be, it will happen, otherwise we should just let it go!

I have to admit to being a bit torn anyway. Between really being excited about the prospect of moving back, being close to my Mom (who's 78 this year), my oldest friends, and really enjoying the current contract.

The project manager has mentioned on several occasions that she’d like to see the company hire me on full time, and has been working to put that together. I'd really would like that to happen as well, if the fit is right!

On the other hand, contracting for the past year has me more relaxed than I’ve been in a decade. More focused on family, and time away from the office than I’ve ever been (Maryan has a lot to do with that as well) and in general pretty satisfied with the way things are going. The allure of a regular paycheck, paid time off, a 401K, company paid medical etc.. is strong though… very strong.

Regardless of what the ‘real job’ market brings, I’m continuing to work on finding market(s) for things I’d like to write about. I’ve got a piece about the truck project in the works, which has me wishing I’d taken 1,000 more photos!!

Another article/story about motorcycling, a fairly general piece, which has more to do with my philosophy about riding, and why it’s such a part of who I am, than with roads or destinations. No, it’s not the leather and chains (although it’s a nice bonus!)… for me it’s about a ‘one-ness’ and a totally ‘in the moment’ experience.

I wonder sometimes, how I got to that ‘Zen’ kind of motorcycling experience. It wasn’t the book (“Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance), I read it, enjoyed it, but never really adopted the author’s concepts at the time.

Back then I was consumed with speed, horsepower, blistering acceleration, and big ‘top end’ numbers. Finding me cruising down a 4-lane at 120+/mph was not unusual… nor was clipping off sub-12 second quarter miles (again on the street) on the Kawasaki…

Somewhere, between then, and here, I discovered the joy of the ride itself. So much so that I’ve told many folks that you’re never quite as alone as you are when riding a motorcycle.

You’re encased in riding gear, leather jacket and pants or a ‘riding suit’, either one equipped with ‘armor’ in the appropriate places. Gloves to protect your hands, above the ankle boots, and finally, your head encased in a full face helmet. This ‘suiting up’ has an interesting effect on me.

First, it all insulates you from the environment a bit, then helmet especially blocks out nearly everything but the sound of the bike, and the wind.

So there I am, cruising down some twisty mountain road, in and out of the dappled sunlight, picking a line for the next corner almost before I’m out of the last, yet, initially my thoughts are the loudest thing inside that helmet.

But, as the miles roll up, those thoughts are soon replaced by the wind, the rumble of the engine or the occasional scrape of a peg on the highway, until finally they’re quiet at last. The job, that leaky faucette, the credit card bills, problems with a neighbor... everything... evaporates... replaced by the process of riding, the 5 senses taking it all in and my body reacting, working with the bike.

Some folks take a pill, I take a ride… and when the weather will not cooperate, I head into the garage and let the sounds of the grinder, air ratchet, hammer on steel or a DA sander take its place.

That quiet, in the moment serenity, do you know it? How do you ‘get there’?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Musings... it's been a while

First, some weird Stats:

I’m forever interested in the ways folks find this place, most who arrive here via a search engine never leave a note, or stay more than a couple of seconds.. but I have this strange fascination with how it is the various search engines plop this place in their results. For example I’ve recently been:

  • #2 however when you want to find info about “annual physical doctor procedure” via Yahoo
  • #4 on the search for “Newport Boy - World Naked Bike Ride 2005” on Yahoo
  • #4 on the list if you need info re: “sanding rough-cut wood on an existing wall”
  • #4 when searching on the words “humiliating doctor physical exams” on Yahoo
  • #7 when you absolutely need to know about “the challenger hot nut” via Yahoo
  • #13 on Yahoo when using the search words “code 1, Fire department jargon”
  • #15 in a search for - "SBT Accounting System" Import – when my professional pages didn’t even make the list!
  • #45 when looking for “tossing salad” using blogsearchengine
  • #50 in a search of “chip foose main painter” on MSN
  • #86 on Yahoo when searching for “boys doctor physical”… who goes 8 pages deep anyway? I can’t recall the last time I went more than three!

But, it’s you folks, the ones who stop by regularly, and leave me comments often that generate the statistics that always amaze me.

Since May 14th, you’ve visited here nearly 2,500 times, viewed nearly 6,000 page impressions and spend an average of nearly 5 minutes here per visit. I know I don’t say it enough, but, thank you!

Thank you for your kind words, encouragement, enthusiasm and a general ‘joy in life’. I find myself coming here, and to your blogs, to recharge myself when feeling low, as well as to improve an already good day.


With all of the time on the road recently, I’ve been thinking about traveling, specifically the difference between ‘trips’ and ‘journeys’.

In my way of thinking, a trip is sort of an A to B kind of thing. In all honesty, for many years of my life that was traveling for me. Hop in the car, point it towards the destination and drive hell bent until I got there.

In fact much of my life revolved around one ‘trip’ following another.

Then, somewhere in the 90’s, I discovered the ‘journey’. That discovery has made all the difference in the world in my life. I don’t take trips any more, not in my day to day life, not on vacation, not ever if I can possibly avoid it. It’s one of the reasons I prefer to ride, or drive, when ever I possibly can.

First, it slows the travel down. Airplanes are great A to B devices, but they’re certainly not set up to make enjoying the journey easy. It can be done, but it’s always considerably more difficult.

I was pondering, while driving back last week, why it is Maryan and I have so much fun, where ever, when ever, we travel. It dawned on me that we’re never focused on the destination, but the ‘process’ itself. We pause to take little side trips, check out something we noticed, but had no previous pans to see. We almost always leave ourselves plenty of time, so we don’t feel ‘rushed’ to make a particular ‘spot’ by the end of the day.

The other thing we do, more often than not, is travel without any ‘reservations’… preferring to stop, and find a place, when we’re ready to stop moving for the day. Our one concession to this is when we have a vacation ‘destination’, like the most recent trip, where we plan on ‘staying put’ for several days.

This vacation, like nearly all of ours had a few “want to do” events, and only one “plan to do” event. I’m not even sure if we did all the ‘want to do’ things, but going with the flow, taking things one day at a time resulted in experiences we could never have planned and pulled off!

Today, at lunch, we were talking about life and our lives together specifically. One of the things we really do have in common is a taste for the unknown, a desire for freedom from unnecessary structure and a joy in dealing with life as it happens.

You see, I think, that you can spend your life working in vain to try and conform the universe to your ‘plan’… or, instead, learning to cope with the chaos that is life, and embracing the things that get tossed in your path.

We’ve decided to sort of take each day as it comes. To dream and aspire of course, yet not become consumed with those things, to instead, adjust them to the reality we find ourselves in at the moment.

I don’t know if this ‘style’ is right for anyone else, but, I thought I’d pass these thoughts along anyway. Who knows, one or two of you may try it, and find it works for your lives as well!!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Who ever said…

Warning... This is a fairly long post, even by my standards!! I thought about Posting each day seperately, but, as all of the week's activities were so intertwined, I decided to just post it all as one 'batch'... I tried to upload the photo's about 90 of them, but blogger died during the upload. I'll post them all to my webspace later and see if I can get a 'gallery' type link working.
The photos for this trip are now posted here
You can’t go home again… Lied.

You can, and I did, this past week.

As most of you know, I was looking forward to this trip. It would be the first time back to North Bay for any length of time since about 1992 for me, and, the very first time my wife would meet these folks that I’d written and talked about.

What I didn’t anticipate was how emotional the reunion would be for me. On Saturday, we got to the “fireman’s field” about 9:30 or 10:00AM in anticipation that Whit and some of the guys would be already there cooking for the party. (They were)

What struck me, as soon as I arrived, was that it was almost as though I’d never left. There was Whit, with a smile every bit as big as I remembered, Tom Metcalf, Dick Slade and friends cooking chickens and banking off the fires. It was very reminiscent of the days when we’d held chicken BBQ’s and “Fireman’s Field Days” in years past.

Britney has grown into a beautiful young woman now, looking forward to her upcoming college experience, yet every bit the happy youngster I'd remembered as well!

Jolie, Britney's mom, brought her new Sportster down to the field to show it to me, and managed to "talk me into" taking it for a spin (those of you who know me, know it didn't take much talking!). As I was cruising "around the block", which is, in reality about a four mile ride, I spotted Mitch and Debbie Fox (my old neighbors) in their front yard. I hauled the bike to a stop, spun around and stopped to talk with them for a minute. We talked and made plans for later in the week. Reluctantly, I brought Jolie back her bike, I could have spent the entire day just cruising the back roads... but I'd come here for the party!!

The party was a great affair; I saw and talked to dozens of folks I hadn't seen in years, the amazing thing to me, they were exactly as I remembered them. Open, outgoing, family oriented, "salt of the earth" folks who showed up to congratulate Britney, and her parents, and to share in their proud moment.

There was a ton of food, cold beer, great weather, wonderful conversations... it doesn't get much better! I swapped old firefighting stories, re-told many of the tales I've written about here, explained 'blogging' to those folks who'd never heard of it, and in general just got 'caught up' with these old friends.

We left the party around 8:30 or 9:00 and headed back to the little cottage we'd rented. I think we were asleep 20 minutes later.

Sunday morning, I woke up to footsteps outside on the deck (we'd slept with all the windows open, it was just that nice with the breeze blowing in off the lake). It was Whit, his wife Leslie and their son Jake. They'd stopped by to take us to breakfast! Maryan was still a bit 'stiff', as all of the activity the day before had taxed her back to the limit, so the four of us headed off to the "Vienna Hotel" for breakfast while she stayed home and rested up a bit more.

That breakfast was like a trip back in time for me, the home cooked food, the conversation, all so familiar, and another of the regular activities here that I'd missed. During the course of breakfast, I also had the chance to see, and talk to, Gary Skinner, my old Chief at the Fire Department. He's still in the upholstery business, and still active in the FD and EMT departments. I would have liked to have had the chance to spend some more time with Gary, but, that was not to be on this trip.

After breakfast, and yes, I did bring breakfast home to Maryan, They brought me back to the cottage and we made plans to get together later Sunday afternoon.

Maryan and I used the next couple of hours to lie out on the decks, sip a couple of cups of coffee, and in general just relax.

We headed up to Whit and Leslie's place around 2:00pm, I think we were all in the pool within about 10 minutes and spent most of the afternoon there. Leslie's sister Cathy and her husband Joel (who we'd met at the party on Saturday) were also there, as was Whit's sister Janis. We spent the majority of the afternoon talking, laughing and playing a game of 'keep-away', or 'monkey in the middle' in the pool.

Later, Whit fired up the grill and began dinner, teriyaki steaks, grilled squash and zucchini (fresh from the garden) as well as a Whitney family treat, fried squash blossoms. A wonderful relaxed dinner, filled with conversation and laughter.

After dinner Whit and I slipped out to his shop and we looked over a couple projects he was working on. I actually had a chance to show him a trick to restore some badly oxidized aluminum wheels, and we talked about old friends, now gone, and the good 'garage times' gone by. We also talked about how much we’d missed each other and how it would be great if we lived closer so we could get together like we used to.

Around 8:00pm Maryan and I headed back to the cottage, to allow Whit some free time before getting ready to rest up for work the next day, and to get Maryan home to rest her back as well.
Once again she and I were asleep shortly after sunset.

On Monday, because she liked the breakfast I'd brought her back, I took her to the 'Hotel' for breakfast, once again the food and service was great. As we were eating, I noticed a woman sitting at a table near us, and I was sure I knew her, so I asked the waitress if it was who I thought it was. She confirmed my suspicions, so I went over and introduced myself to Ruth Medinski. Ruth, and her husband Rudy, had run a small country store when I'd first moved to North Bay. She remembered me as well and we spent a couple of minutes talking, as we were finishing up, our waitress introduced herself, as Ellen Turk, Ron Turk's wife, and that while we'd never actually met, she'd heard her husband mention my name several times over the years. Ron was a 1st assistant chief at the FD back in my firefighting days.

Monday afternoon we headed up to Mitch and Debbie's place. I was excited about seeing these two, and their sons Robbie and 'little Mitch', neither of which is little any more. Robbie is married to Tammy, a great young woman, and they have a young son Cameron. Mitch and Debbie are grandparents now! Cameron was a wonderful source of entertainment as we talked.

Talk we did! I don't think there was a pause in the conversation for the entire time we were there! Mitch and I have a hundred stories, and had Maryan, Debbie and Tammy laughing all afternoon. It was almost as though I'd never left.

It turns out that Debbie is involved in the FD now, helping with fund raisers and such, and her best friend is married to "Skip" the current chief. At one point during the day, she mentioned that Skip wanted to meet me, if there was time this week. It seems every time the "Old Guys" are sitting around and swapping stories, my name seems to come up!

I was a wonderful afternoon. I found myself slipping back into that warm comfortable feeling I always had when spending time with them. Here I was visiting with another old friend, feeling almost like we'd sat and talked yesterday instead of over 10 years ago.

We called it a day around 5:00pm as Maryan's back was acting up and I needed to get her home so she could get it back 'under control'. I should mention here that she's been amazing throughout this trip. First, she's in a lot of pain, and yet has let me haul her all over creation to visit with old friends of mine that she'd never met, and Second, that she's tried so very hard not to let her discomfort put any kind of damper on the trip!

I think it's been made easier by the folks we've been spending time with. They've treated her like an old friend, not like someone they've just met. But, with that said, that's how these folks are. Friendly, accepting and more likely to accept someone than not, I think one of the most gratifying things to me, has been all the comments they've made to me about how much they like her!

This trip has also brought home how much I'd missed these folks, this area, and this town. I've found myself fighting back tears and unexpected emotions many times a day since we arrived on Saturday. It wasn't until later, Monday evening, that it dawned on me why I'd felt so much emotion.

This town, and with these people, is the only place I've ever felt like I really belonged, actually made a difference. Over the years I think I'd downplayed that possibility in my mind. Maybe to lessen the fact of how much I missed the lifestyle here, or the sense of loss I'd felt ever since leaving. Hearing the old stories, feeling the 'love' at the homes of my friends, just brought it all rushing back.

It was really, amazing to me, that all of these folks remembered me. I'd known that there would be a few who would, most likely those folks I'd been close to. I had no idea that my life had touched so many others here...

Tuesday morning, we just lay around and relaxed, I got cleaned up and headed to Canastota to have lunch with Whit, and get a tour of the "Diemolding Corporation" plant where he works.

I got a grand tour, he showed me the process, the specialty machines he'd built and the amazing quality control procedures they had in place to assure the customer gets 'exactly' the products they ordered, with a near zero defect rate!! I was impressed to say the least.

After lunch, I took a little side trip to Oneida to snap a couple of pics. One of my old shop, now a 'Kwik-Fill" gas station/convenience store. One of Dave Farah's old body shop, and another of "Ryan Dodge" both now closed up and abandoned. It was sad to see these places, which once bustled with activity, boarded up and empty.

Once I got back to the cottage, Maryan and I headed up to Mitch and Debbie's place again. Once more we sat around chatting and catching up on the events in each other's lives over the past decade. Around 4:30 we headed out to the "Mason Jar" for dinner. We all ordered the 'All you can eat" sirloin steak dinner. The steak was cooked to perfection, and certainly more than I could eat! In fact Maryan, Debbie and I all got a "to-go" box to take home the leftovers.

While dinner was great, the conversation was even better, once again we spent several hours together without the smallest gap in the conversation. I kept thinking that vacations simply don't get much better than this!

We (Maryan and I) had been talking about the area, the people, and how much she was enjoying the trip, the people, in short everything. She kept asking me, "Why was it you moved from here?"

There was one reason I moved from North Bay, and that was my ex-wife, she didn't want to live there any more. So we moved to Liverpool, NY, with an initial plan to keep the house in North Bay. That didn't happen, for many reasons, the biggest of which was a change in our 'employment' status that made it impossible for us to maintain both properties.

I can’t say the move was all bad though, as eventually, I followed the 'work' to North Carolina, and have been there and doing well work-wise, since 1993.

We'd been tossing around, pretty light-heartedly, the possibility of moving back, but, every conversation ended with, but, there would have to be a J-O-B... and they’re pretty rare for my skill set in this particular area.

Well... what happens on Tuesday night? Whit calls my cell phone on his way home from work to tell me his boss wants to see my resume, as they're planning on making a change in their IS/IT department.

So, all of a sudden, this has switched from a 'wistful' conversation to one that's looking very possible! Obviously, my background might be different than what they're looking for, or the 'match' might not be right, but it's sure been fun so far to think it might be possible.

Fun and more than a little bit scary as well. We'd have to get the house in Burlington ready for sale, hope we can get enough for it to cover our investment, as we've only been in it 4 years, and then find some affordable place up here. Not to mention the truck in pieces in the garage, or the 100 other 'almost finished' projects around the house. Time will tell I think... in the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the rest of the week!

On Wednesday night I went up to Whit’s place as he had a little work to do on Britney’s car. We hung out in the shop; I was more an ‘observer’ than a ‘helper’ as he was changing the starter out and there’s just not room for 4 hands on that job! It was great though, pretty much we fell right back into that easy conversation we’ve always shared, especially about cars. Later we did a little diagnostic work on a young fellow’s off-road truck, giving him the bad news that he had a camshaft problem.

As they discussed the costs associated with changing the cam, I found myself wishing I could be there next week to twist some wrenches and get that truck breathing right again.

About dark I headed back to the cottage to see Maryan and see how she was feeling. She was better, but still not 100%. Greg Campbell had stopped by while I was out, it seems Phyllis (the manager) had told him where we were staying, and left his number asking I call when I got back.

I gave him a call and he was about a block away at the ‘Crazy Clam’. He said he’d be over shortly. When Greg got there, he’d brought is father in law, Mike Dunn, with him, explaining his wife would also be joining us. Mike, and Greg, had known Larry Flint and we spent some time discussing Larry and how we all missed him.

Maureen arrived; we opened another round of beers, and started talking Fire Departments, rural living, and the changes in the ‘Beach’ since I’d last been there. They left all too early, I could have sat talking until dawn, but they were not on vacation!! Before they left though, they graciously made a point of opening their home to us should we ever be back. The wonderful thing about all of these folks is knowing that this offer wasn’t anything but heartfelt!

On Thursday, we slept in until about 7:30, did a little ‘pre-flight’ packing and then went looking for property for sale in the area. We called a couple of realtors; Kelly Ryan called as back quickly and pointed us to several homes she thought we should ‘drive-by’.

We saw several we thought we’d like to look at more closely, but felt we should save that for when there’s a real possibility we’d be moving. It sure was fun though, looking and dreaming… That one’s too close to the neighbors, the garage is too small, great garage – lousy house, and so on… The fact my wife got excited about the thought of moving, liked the area well enough to leave North Carolina for… well, I simply don’t have the words to express the emotions I was feeling!

As the day got late far too fast it was close to five when we stopped by Mitch and Debbie’s to say our “see you later’s”, as with everything on this trip, my only regret was that we hadn’t planned two weeks or more! Parting was emotional, as expected, but we’ve all agreed that if the job possibility doesn’t work out (and I don’t give it much more than a 50/50 shot at this point) they’ll be stopping by on their way to Florida in February!

Next we headed over to Whit’s Mom’s house for dinner. Despite several attempts to convince her she didn’t need to make us dinner, there was no changing her mind! She’d prepared a small feast for us. Homemade spaghetti sauce, sausage, meatballs, roasted peppers, eggplant parmesan, salad, garlic bread…. It was amazing. Once again, great food, great friends, wonderful conversation… it just doesn’t get any better!

Before dinner I’d started a ‘tune up’ on her PC, and after dinner between conversations I’d slip back and check on it. I can tell you this, that dinner, was the best payment I’ve ever received for PC work, and I would have gladly done it for her anyway, I just think that much of her and their family.

As we said our goodbyes later that evening, I was truly sorry to have to be leaving. But, Friday we were headed down to see my Mom, and would be heading home from there. I couldn’t help thinking one more time, as we walked down the driveway, how great it would be if this job possibility worked out.

Friday morning we woke up to very strong winds blowing in off the lake, and some strong storms passing to the North of us. Eventually we got the Tahoe loaded (next time we’re pushing for a ground floor unit!), and head off to Ilion to see Mom.

My Mom is a tough old woman, 78 this year, and still, despite how she’s really feeling, when you ask, she always says “Oh, I feel great!”… Her husband Andy though, set us straight. It seems she’s got some ‘leaky valves’ in her heart, if you listen to one Doc, or nothing wrong with her valves if you listen to another… I could hear the frustration in Andy’s voice as he told me what they’ve been though, once again causing me to feel like it’s time I move back. I simply need to be closer, should he need help with her, or, they need someone to straighten out the various Doc’s and their stories!!

We had a great lunch, and talked all afternoon. Around 3:00pm we went over to the hospital to pick up my Aunt Ann, Mom’s sister, who’d been there for several days undergoing some tests and such. It’s been a very long time since I’d seen Ann, but, despite the time and her hospital stay, I’d have known her anywhere! Mom was funny at the hospital, she an I went up to get Ann, Andy and Maryan waited downstairs, as we stood inside the doorway of the room, she kept mentioning I was blocking the way for the attendants… I just kept telling her I’d move her just as soon as they arrived.

When they did arrive, she asked me if I knew the way out of the hospital, I simply told her I’d follow the nurse who was wheeling Ann out… she seemed to think that was a good idea! I mention this only because I think it’s interesting how folks think when they’re worried about someone else, and Mom was definitely worried about her sister, despite her assurances to the contrary!!

Downstairs we managed to get Ann in the mini-van, and I walked her up to her apartment once we’d gotten her home. I spent a couple of minutes talking, hugging and promising to return as soon as we could, before heading back downstairs to Mom, Andy and Maryan in the mini-van.

As always, when you go ‘home’ it’s tough to have to get up and leave, even after 6 hours or so, I hated to have to get on the road, but it was time. Fortunately, about an hour before we had to leave, my sister Kathy, and husband Joe came by and we had a few minutes to catch up with them as well. I know we need to make another trip up, and fairly soon, there just wasn’t enough time for everything on this trip!

If this piece seems a bit ‘rushed’, it’s because the week was a blur of activity, far busier than I ever expected, or hoped. I wouldn’t trade off a minute of it all though, as I really believe it’s the best vacation trip we’ve ever had!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Short update post....

We're homeward bound.... It's been a long, and wonderful vacation and trip down memory lane.

I've got a ton of stories to share, but in short... I caught up with old friends, swapped lies, swatted flies and popped the top on a few cold ones! I honestly didn't know how much I'd missed these folks until we were face to face again.

I can't wait to tell you all about the trip. I expect we'll be home late on Saturday... and I should have something together about the trip, with pics, by Sunday.

Thanks for all the well wishes, we truely had a wonderful time, with wonderful weather!!