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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Subconscious Mind

Think Positive

Think of the subconscious mind as the storage room of everything that is currently not in your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind stores all of your previous life experiences;
  • Your beliefs
  • Your memories
  • Your skills, all situations you've been through and all images you've ever seen.
The best way to understand the subconscious mind is to look at the example of the person who wants to learn how to drive a car. At the beginning he wouldn't be able to hold a conversation with anyone while driving as he would be focusing on the different moves involved. That's because he's still using his conscious mind to drive.
The subconscious mind; your Autopilot!
Few weeks later driving becomes a natural habit that happens automatically without needing to think about it. That person could even start using his cell phone or talking to his friends while driving (not advisable). This happened because the driving habit has been transferred to his subconscious mind and so the conscious mind becomes free. This allowed him to use it to multi-task.
The subconscious mind is responsible for the automatically triggered feelings and emotions that you suddenly experience upon facing a new situation. If you were about to give a presentation then all the fear and anxiety feelings you might experience are in fact launched and controlled by your subconscious mind. By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.
Since a very early age I had my suspicions that there was more going on with my brain than the things I was controlling (see Post: Quantum Jumping 5/15/13). However, Quantum Jumping leaves more questions than answers. In the last two years I've had two events that convince me that understanding and affecting the subconscious is something we should strive to understand more about. I personally am impressed by it and plan to continue learning about my own subconscious.
The first event:  Some 40 years ago I was award a certificate of achievement that was so important that it had survived the test of time, and one even more incredible test, that of surviving a divorce and division of property. The point being that family photos that were extremely important were lost in the process but this certificate survived. Two years ago the certificate became very crucial in a process, and the reason for its preservation. I had not actually looked at the certificate in over 10 years but I was confident that I knew where it was. Two years prior to needing the certificate I started searching for it to no avail. As the time approached I became so desperate that one night before going to bed I said a prayer, that I be able to locate this very important document. After the prayer and before falling asleep (for about 30 minutes) I concentrated on how important the document was, and how I hoped that during my sleep I would be enlightened as to its whereabouts.
The following morning I woke up refreshed and relaxed, more so than usual. My typical routine was to go straight to the shower, and begin getting ready to face my day. This day, however, I walked out of the master bedroom, past the laundry room and into the garage. I stood at the doorway for about a couple of minutes, and then I focused on a 4-drawer file cabinet, that I had previously searched multiple times.  Without plan or effort I opened the bottom drawer, and went to a file that didn't seem familiar and there it was.
The Second Event:  I've had a wonderful business relationship with a local retail store for over 20 years. One of the main reasons for the quality relationship besides the owner has been a young man that was directly responsible for the quality service I received over the last 15 years. He always took the time to address my needs, and would go out of his way to research answers to my questions. He appeared healthy and robust even. A Monday last summer I received a call from the store owner. He said I know how closely you worked with (name withheld), and I regret to inform you that he passed away last Saturday at his home. My friend was only 42 years old, divorced, and left behind two children that he had custody of. After talking to his coworkers I found out that the Wednesday previous to his death, he had said the following to a small gathering during break. He was looking forward to the weekend, and happened to mention how comfortable his porch at home was; he said that, that was where he wanted to die sitting on a comfortable recliner on his porch with a glass of whiskey on one hand and a cigar on the other. That Saturday after work, that is exactly how he was found. He died of normal causes.  Be very careful what you say to your subconscious because it can and will make it happen.
Take this information and make something positive of it. Tell your subconscious some reaffirming positive things that you want to make happen, and watch the results. Instead of saying or thinking; “life is too hard and I can’t handle the task,” say or think “life is difficult but I am capable to gather the necessary resources to get it done!”  Your subconscious will find the resources that already stored within or find new ones.  I still miss my friend! The best is yet to come….

My Favorite Baby

1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
One shouldn’t play favorites, but of all the ones I had, my favorite had to be my 1963 Impala Super Sport (SS).  It’s hard to believe that I owned it the least amount of time of all the cars I owned growing up.
I envied the previous owner for about 18 months before the opportunity to purchase it presented itself.  As luck would have it, the car belong to the boss’s son.  The young man was a junior in high school when I first met him.  He had a beautiful car, a beautiful girlfriend and daddy big bucks for his daddy.  The young man was a hard worker and he earned his father’s respect, so he wasn’t your typical spoiled rich kid. 
He was a year older than I was and we often worked side by side at his father’s tire store.  This was at a time when Les Schwab was not yet in our area, and the tire store may as well have been the blueprint for a future Les Schwab (established in 1952) tire store.  I only make a comparison so that you can picture the type of quality of business this store was.  Not only did it serve a number of small communities but it also served a very large (hundreds of square miles of farm land).  This young man and I together with other coworkers, traveled long distances to provide field service to wheat combine tires.
Servicing a flat wheat combine tire is a full day chore.  The tires are the size of a house, and are filled with saline solution to add weight and traction. Standard practice when repairing a flat is that you need to first empty the solution from the tire, make the repair and then re-fill the tire with the saline solution.  Any cuts or abrasions on your hands will feel the sting of the liquid when it comes in contact.  Sharing this kind of working experience builds a bond between people especially young people with not much else in common.
The young man had solid prepaid plans to attend a special, and expensive university after graduation, and his girlfriend was going to be attending the same university with him.  He loved his car, I am sure as much as he loved his girlfriend.  Just prior to the weekend he could always be found getting his beautiful 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS into showroom condition before going anywhere with his girlfriend by his side.
Three months prior to graduation, he approached me with a serious concern visible on his face.  He explained to me that his parents had developed long range plans for his future, and that he was about to let them down.  As it turned out his girlfriend was pregnant, and he had not yet told his and/or her parents.  Despite the pregnancy he wanted to attend the university as planned, but it would have to be as a married couple.  He asked me if I would consider buying his car from him.  Providing that his talk with his and her parents went as he thought it might.  I’m not sure that he knew how old I was, but I didn’t tell him I was going to have to ask my mother to help me get the financing for this two year old car.
Have you ever caught yourself saying to your parents, if you just help me make this happen I’ll never ask for anything else again?  Yup, that was me. That car drove like it was an extension of my body.  All I had to do was think that I wanted to pass the car or truck in front of me on a two-lane highway and the front end of the car actually lifted like a speed boat.  This particular car had a rare 409 V-8 425hp (at 6,000 RPM) engine, dual four-barrel intake, and a Powerglide Automatic Transmission mounted on the floor console.  The reason I didn’t keep it very long was the size engine combination with the dual four-barrel carburetors. 
Every time I stomped the accelerator to pass a vehicle or just show-off, I could picture a small replica of the gasoline station attendant under the hood feeding the carburetors from a 5 gallon gas can.  The suction sound made by the carburetors when operating at full performance was a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately as the odometer needle was climbing the fuel gage needle was dropping equally fast.  I knew that I couldn’t afford to feed the beast, and yet while the control was all up to me, my lead foot was out of control.  A beautiful and rare machine like that was real easy to sell back then; today the beauty would bring in around 80K or more.  While I had an impulsive side to my personality in the early years, my sensible side has always prevailed (sooner or later).  When I think about all the cars I’ve owned, I always think about the one that I really couldn’t afford.  The best is yet to come…

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Economics 101

Economics 101
 Recent news reports indicate that we are finally starting to see noticeable economic recovery in various meaningful sectors.  Most of us start believing when it begins to affect us personally, either directly or amongst our immediate family and friends.  You can read all the happy (I’m sure that some of the news articles are planted) news but unless it becomes easier to meet the mortgage payment, and return to a semblance of what life used to be like prior to 2008, we are not buying it.  I am not a person that has ever had an interest in the stock market, so just like before it means nothing to me that the stock market is climbing once again, after all the option of falling drastically is still there.
During a time of expanding Globalization all of our local and personal gains (economic) can be wiped out overnight by some international incident or event. Some obvious examples are the tensions with North Korea, the recent computer hacking of the Defense Department’s weapons systems (believed to be from China).  Banks and credit card companies (financial institutions) are constantly under attack by hackers (almost always from places other than the United States).  All of this attacks are directly tied to us individually, because it’s our property that this Global criminals are after.
The latest good news is that in some sectors of the US property values have started to climb from as little as 2% to as high as 22%.  The Las Vegas area showed some improvement of as high as 20%.  However, when put into perspective, Las Vegas was one of the hardest hit areas with regard to real estate values.  The best way to maintain individual (economic) stability is not to rush out and take the equity out of your property.  I’ve noticed an increase of credit card offers in the mail once again.  My policy is that if I get a mailer offering 40% discount at a store, I stay home and save 100%.  I buy when I need something not when someone offers me a savings on an item I don’t need.
Once upon a time, there was such stability that if you owned a house for 20 years and sold it to upgrade or downsize, you may receive $5,000 more than what you paid originally.  Even if you sold it for what you paid originally, you felt fortunate that you live at your house for free for 20 years.
My sister once asked me what was meant by; “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”  I decided to give her a lesson in economics, and actually spent a half day literally doing so.  At the time (about 20 some years ago) we stopped at a grocery store and I picked a product that we were both familiar with.  A one pound bag of pinto beans was .39 cents per pound, we then drove about a mile to grain mill store and found that I could buy a 100 pound sack of pinto beans for $19 dollars.  I explained to her that if her budget only allowed for $25 dollars weekly on groceries she couldn’t afford the $19 dollars for the sack of beans. She would eventually pay twice as much as I would buying it at a pound per week.
Next we went to the local Sears store, and we went straight to the appliance section.  The price tag was $249 for a nice clothes washer.  We checked with the appliance sales man and he was ready to sell it to us on the easy payment plan at just 12% interest rate.  I explained to my sister that if she couldn’t afford to pay the $249 plus sales tax she would have to make payments ($12.71 per month) and would end up costing her well over $300.  Once again the person that can least afford it pays the most.  My recommendation was that she save the money and pay cash or put a large down payment to minimize the amount of interest paid.  There are no free rides or there shouldn’t be, sooner or later we pay the price.  The best is yet to come…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Are You Better Off Today?

Golden Years
 A favorite question by politicians on the campaign trail is, and has always been, “Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?”  My question is a rhetorical one and not one with an easy answer anyway.  The question is not about a 4 year span of time, but ever.  The easiest way to assess such a question is to target specific areas of comparison.  One might want to measure:
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Happiness 
My question is more in terms of general (all-around wellbeing).
In my early youth, I was better off financially because I didn’t have any responsibilities as compared to most of the other stages of my life, and what made it better was that I had a very responsible mother that took good care of her family.  However, at some point in my forties and until now the control over my financial responsibilities reached a level of maturity and stability that tremendously improved my life.  Lucky or good?  Probably a little of both, but the outcome is the same, much improved.  Remember; the harder I work the luckier I get!
Emotionally, my teenage years were very stable because I enjoyed school and sports, I was surrounded by nice people even if they were mostly school mates, and not all friends.  My family life was not perfect, but above average.  My mother wasn’t in total control in the home front, but enough that she influenced good outcomes.  I worked hard and earned my own spending money plus contributed to the family budget.  When I first got married before the age of 20, the emotional aspect of my life became a roller coaster ride.  There were good times and rough times.  Some highs were the birth of my children, but the eventual and ultimate low was the divorce.  Three years (between marriages) of concentrating on my emotional healing and financial stability helped but didn’t start the total recovery until I remarried, and started my life over.  My emotional recovery became solid starting in my early 30’s when I regained control of family life, career, and finances.
Physical wellbeing is without a doubt at its best in the teenage years.  To answer the question, if I am better off today, would be like comparing apples and bananas.  If I answer that I am better off today, I would be lying.  But some of the improvements in medical science, as well as, a stronger financial personal position definitely allows me to enjoy my physical condition regardless of the wear and tear by time.  I can afford landscapers, construction workers for minor projects, etc.  In other words the things that I would have had to do myself when I was younger, I can now pay to have done.  Thus enjoying the use of my body for recreation and making the best use out of it.
Happiness has always followed me around.  Most likely because of my attitude of; “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’m sure that I’ve had my share of detractors along the way, and I know that if one thing would bother them most would be to drive my neighborhood and see me operating a lemonade stand, when they thought I should be suffering.  First of all I always look for the silver lining, and secondly, if anyone gets my goat the most they’ll see, is me feasting on goat steaks.  I will never give the opposition a chance to see me down in anyway shape or form.  I may get knocked off balance, but never knocked down for the count.  Happiness should always be the ultimate goal.  I’ve been blessed in that I have achieved it surrounded by my family, and for that I am a wealthy man.
Happiness, financial stability, and all the other things that you can measure in your life, must be appreciated if you are going to achieve wealth, because if you don’t count your blessings, you will never know what it’s like to be wealthy.  The best is yet to come….

Worst Weather vs. Better Communications

Worst Weather Extremes 

North America — and the USA in particular — has the world's wildest weather extremes: No other part of the planet can boast its ferocious weather stew of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, wildfires, blizzards, heat waves and cold snaps.
"You'd be hard-pressed to find another patch of land on Earth the size of the USA that boasts such a variety of such intensely extreme weather inside its borders," says meteorologist and author Robert Henson of Boulder, Colo. - USA Today

I hope everyone is concerned about the weather phenomenon taking place in Middle America.  Today’s weather reports are a repeat of recent weeks and months.  Severe storm warnings for an area from Southern Texas through Oklahoma City, Kansas City and tracking to the Northeastern portion of the country.  The forecast includes tornados, hurricanes, wind, rain, and snow blizzards.  High winds in California and out of control fires.  All of this stormy weather is taking place at the end of May and into the summer months.

Is it possible that this has been the case all along through many years, but we just weren’t as aware because communications weren’t as good as they are today?  Not too many years ago “El Nino, and La Nina, is what I used to call my children at home.  Today those terms are synonymous with extreme, and unnatural weather changes.

If we take the time to look into the weather history (data) it will show that the weather has become erratic and almost unpredictable.  Something is affecting the weather in an abnormal way, it could well be what we are doing to our planet (global warming) or not.  We still have the ability to make decisions that can help keep our loved ones out of harm’s way.  Many years ago President Reagan while speaking on the subject of unemployment said that citizens could vote with their feet; meaning that they could move to areas of more or better opportunity.  I happen to think that lives, and property destruction trump (are more important than even) employment.

If the weather was to slowly or abruptly start following a pattern of change for the worst in my area, I would do my best to move out of the way and influence my loved one to move to a safer environment.  I realize that not everyone can do this, however, in order to be here tomorrow we need to survive today’s events.  More simply stated you can’t fight tomorrow if you don’t survive today.

I don’t know what the answer is to our horrible patterns of destructive weather, the study of the subject needs to become a priority.  I am only making reference to lives being disrupted, but we also need to be concerned for the disruption of crops and industries that will eventually affect millions of citizens, and society in general.  I pray that everyone especially in areas affected will stay safe and won’t take unnecessary chances.  The best is yet to come….

Recurring Nightmares 2

Boiler Inspection Nightmares

Recurring Dreams and Nightmares: Many people have the same or a similar dream many times, over either a short period of time or their lifetime. Recurring dreams usually mean there is something in your life you've not acknowledged that is causing stress of some sort. The dream repeats because you have not corrected the problem. Another theory is that people who experience recurring dreams have some sort of trauma in their past they are trying to deal with. In this case, the dreams tend to lessen with time.  By Lee Ann Obringer
Proper boiler maintenance among other processes included an annual safety inspection by the State of California.  The importance of maintaining the boiler throughout the year was for the sake of safety and certification.  Both safety and certification were of equal importance.  If you didn’t operate safely, someone could be injured or worst yet killed.  If you didn’t achieve certification, you wouldn’t be allowed to operate, and someone would be in trouble and possibly get fired over it.  The State inspection was always scheduled for Memorial Day weekend because of the time required for the natural gas operated boiler cooling time.  The three day weekend was barely enough time for the boiler to cool enough for inspection, and to be brought back on line to operate the following morning by 4 am.  The plan for the inspection actually goes on the calendar a whole year in advance.  While the holiday weekend is a very busy business weekend, we still shut down operations at noon on Friday to allow as much time as possible for the boiler to cool off for inspection on Sunday at noon.

The recurring nightmares got so bad that I didn’t want to fall asleep, for fear that whatever was after me in the dream would become visible, and I didn’t care to face it.  The nightmare was always the same: in my nightmare I just moved into a new (older house) house, two story with a basement. The electrical panel was in the basement. Just as I was about to relax for the evening in front of the television set, the lights would flicker and then go off, creating total darkness. I would look in the dark for a flashlight and make my way to the basement door. As soon as I walked approximately half way down the stairs, my flashlight would go dark, and the basement door would slam shut. The room starts turning cold, and I had the sense that someone or something was approaching me in the dark. I knew by instinct that whatever it was, it was evil and meant to hurt me.  If I had any control over the nightmare I would have made sure that I had a weapon to fend of whatever was trying to get to me.  I remember as part of the nightmare telling myself to wake up, but it seldom happened fast enough.

On the post “Recurring Nightmares - May 27, 2013” I talked about my uniform size for a reason.  Part of the boiler inspection included the necessary internal inspection of the boiler through an oval inspection port (manhole port; approximately 14 inches at the longest part and about 10 inches at the widest).  My two Maintenance Engineers were over 6 feet tall and over 220 in weight, I was the smallest person and the candidate to perform the internal inspection.  The pipes through which the flames travel to turn the water into steam occupy most of the center of the boiler (about 17 inch clearance all around the pipes).  All I had was a flashlight to perform the visual inspection, wiggling and crawling around the humid hot interior for about 40 minutes.  All the time I was inside the boiler all I could do was worry about what would happen if I somehow became swollen and couldn’t get through to the port to the outside.  At least four or five times I would work my way to the top port or any of four other smaller inspection ports to catch a breath of fresh air.  Being small wasn’t enough to get into and out of the boiler, I actually had to be a contortionist.

Once the boiler inspection was completed, and certified we refilled the boiler with water, and fired it up.  The inspector would go have lunch and return to make a final inspection once the boiler was operating and there were no leaks.  After the successful completion of that day’s inspection, I went back to a normal sleeping pattern (no more nightmares).  The subconscious mind has more control over our life than we realize.  While the inspection was on my calendar, I never gave it much thought, but subconsciously I was dreading the event, and my mind was definitely fearful of it.  Think about the nightmare; lights go out (darkness), flashlight in hand, sensing something around me (fear of suffocating/possible death).  I don’t understand my subconscious but I am working on trying to influence it.  The best is yet to come…..

Monday, May 27, 2013

Recurring Nightmares

Dark and cold basement

Recurring dreams indicate that the dreamer is postponing an important obligation. This obligation is related to his or her psychological development. By postponing this important obligation, the dreamer will have to face bitter consequences in the future. 

The truth is that all recurring dreams indicate danger, even when they are not nightmares. If the dreamer doesn’t do something important or necessary in his or her life, he or she will face tragic future consequences. The dreamer must follow the unconscious guidance in the dream messages in order to prevent what is bad. When the recurring dreams are nightmares, this means that the dreamer must prevent very dangerous situations.

There was a period of time in my life when as Production Manager of a large facility for a major corporation, I was not only responsible for productivity, and budget control, but also the safety of all 140 plus staff under the business roof.  My duties included over seeing two Maintenance Engineers; a title that shouldn’t be confused or compared to sanitation Engineer titles, used for the purpose of allocating a better salary by labor management.  My Maintenance Engineers actually studied the Plant’s needs present and future, and developed concepts and solution to conceived problems.  They developed plans for the size of the steam boiler necessary to meet the needs based on the heat and steam pressure demands of all the equipment included in the daily needs of the operation.  They also designed the plumbing and electrical supply needed to meet the demands of the operation.  To be fair and not overly pad my position, these engineers belong to a much larger group based out of headquarters.  They were, however, based in the facility that I managed and reported to me for their assignments.

I was constantly being reminded by this fine gentlemen about the importance of maintaining the boiler proper water levels, and the timely use of chemicals used to maintain certain chemical balance requirements for safe operation.  The water used to maintain boiler water level was also from a special source that was processed through a water softener system as required by the proper operating instructions.  I was further reminded, that if ever the low level water alarm system was ringing and there was no visible water level showing, the boiler was to be turned off and safety valves popped open to release steam pressure ASAP and allow the boiler to cool down.  Failing to take this precautions could cause the boiler to blow up (this might have been an exaggeration), and I was told that if the boiler blew it would level or damage a four square block area.

Having shared the above information, I can now share that in early May 1968, my life was almost as great as it is today (it’s even better today without the youthfulness).  Not a care in the world, I had everything I wanted, a very good paying job, my supply of muscle cars (trading every year), decently happy home life with a beautiful little daughter that was my pride and joy.  I wore a uniform made up of dress slacks, dress shirt and tie, provided by the corporation (so I know the following statement to be fact) my measurements (uniform size requirements) were very similar to what they are today with a minor exception; then my pants waist size was 29 inch and the chest size was 42 inch, the minor exception is that those sizes are very likely turned around (kidding, but getting there if I am not careful).

All of a sudden and out of nowhere I started waking up to nightmares in the middle of the night.  The nightmare was always the same; in my nightmare I just moved into a new (older house) house, two story with a basement.  The electrical panel was in the basement.  Just as I was about to relax for the evening in front of the television set, the lights would flicker and then go off, creating total darkness.  I would look in the dark for a flashlight and make my way to the basement door.  As soon as I walked approximately half way down the stairs, my flashlight would go dark, and the basement door would slam shut.  The room starts turning cold, and I had the sense that someone or something was approaching me in the dark.  I knew by instinct that whatever it was, it was evil and meant to hurt me.  The next post will conclude Recurring Nightmares.  The best is yet to come…

Cotton Fields Back Home

CCR-Cotton Fields 

When my mother finally remarried, my stepfather was the total opposite of my father.  I have previously posted that he was a good and hardworking man.  A wonderful provider, but so tight fisted with money that he could squeeze the buffalo off of a nickel.  He is no longer alive to defend himself, but if he was alive, I believe that he would beam with pride at the description.

My stepfather had a third grade education, and was taken out of school after third grade so he could help work alongside his family.  His family background was agriculture, and that to me would become a problem, before it would turn into a blessing.  Because he was a hard worker, he didn’t appreciate the education aspect of growing up.  He probably saw it more as an inconvenience, then helpful.  Only the Compulsory Education Law would guarantee us an eighth grade education.  Every state law is different, but my step brother and I had that going for us.

When I was ten years old my stepfather, got the brilliant idea that my stepbrother (2 years younger) and I should go pick cotton as soon as school ended for the year.  He made arrangements with a contractor to swing by our house on Saturday morning at 6:30 am to pick us up.  The night before we went shopping for clothes that doubled for work clothes and straw hats to protect us from the 100 plus degree temperatures.

Saturday morning at 6:30 sharp a two ton flatbed truck with side rails picked us up at our driveway.  I didn’t know what to expect, but was amazed to see about 25 adults and young kids in the back of the truck (seat belts? what seat belts?).  The drive was about 45 minutes long before we pulled off the highway into an area where the rows appeared to be a mile long, but in reality were more like a quarter mile in length.  For starters we were ill prepared.  Before we could start I had to purchase a “cotton picking sack” (a tool for picking cotton, really!) that was probably 8 or 9 feet long.  Since I didn’t have any money I purchased it on credit from the company store (sound familiar? Definitely no price comparisons.), my younger brother was able to use a free burlap sack.  By noon I made the executive decision to purchase from the company store two bottles of ice cold pop (orange flavor), and two slices of ice cold water melon to go with our bread and baloney sandwiches.

As we were picking cotton, there were two bi-planes spraying insecticides in the adjoining fields, and not knowing any better we actually appreciated the cool over spray in the hot sun.  I could go on with this misadventures for a ten post series, but I won’t.  The bottom line is that when we got to the end of the week my stepfather was handed a bill for $3.86.  The balance he owed (after accounting for our earnings) for all the pop and watermelons slices we ate, plus the cost of my cotton picking sack (real name, promise!).  He wasn’t happy at all!  He did figure correctly, that with the major expense out of the way and a warning, about our spending more than we earned, we would be in black ink by the end of the work season.

The following school year start found me telling a lie on the first day back.  I remember that we all found our sitting places and were welcomed back.  Next we took turns introducing ourselves.  The very next question had to be addressed by each student; “What did you do for summer vacation?”  I was still feeling uncomfortable about the cotton picking experience (no pun intended), so when it came to my turn, I said that we had traveled out of state to visit my grandparents and then spent time helping with the landscaping of our new house (we had just moved to our new house in February.)

My love and respect to all the people that ever picked cotton.

My mistake was to assume that working out in the fields picking cotton was a shameful thing.  Looking back, my brother and I had a choice, we could apply ourselves in school, guaranteeing that we would never be dependent on field work, and we both did apply ourselves.  Only through high school did we both work in agriculture (we were raised on the farm) and that was the blessing, in that we developed the best possible work ethic.  Even with that experience, I wouldn’t change anything in my life’s history. The best is yet to come….

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Love Like No Other

Tribute to A Best Friend by an Unknown Author

Sunlight streams through window pane

unto a spot on the floor...
then I remember,
it's where you used to lie,

but now you are no more.
 It was supposed to be just another day at the mall. My wife was shopping for clothes for our little ones. If there's one thing my wife knows how to do is shop for clothes for the children. She walked into one of the large department stores and left me in charge of the children with very basic instructions. Don't let them out of your sight, and don't go near the Pet Store. I am very good at following directions with regard to the children's safety, but on this particular day I let my guard down.

As we were walking past the Pet Store, I thought it would be fun to just walk in and let the children see the kitties and doggies. Let this be a lesson to everyone and anyone that has children of any age, don't go near a pet shop and unless you have a pocket full of money. The very nice young lady that approached us as we enter the store asked my two year old daughter specifically, and the other children in general, if they wanted to see something real cute and cuddly. The young woman handed my daughter a two month old registered Pekingese male puppy.

My daughter would not return that puppy or otherwise turn him lose. My wife walked into the store just as I was finalizing the transaction. Four hundred ninety-two dollars, plus other costs for supplies, and I was literally going to be sleeping in the dog house. I was in trouble in my wife's eyes, but a hero with my children. My daughter named him Teddy, and Teddy went on to become the center of our universe. That little guy was so spoiled that he wouldn't eat unless my daughter hand fed him at every meal.

The years went by real fast, and my two year old daughter grew in what seemed like overnight. Teddy was there for every grade of school as she progressed through. She would always come home from school and go directly to spend time with Teddy. Teddy was even a part of every one of my children's show and tell at their school. Teddy would get groomed regularly and come home with a ribbon on top of his little head.  He was the pride and joy of our family and the best friend my daughter ever had all the way through her second year of college.

My sons were also and intricate part of Teddy's life, and they loved and appreciated him like an equal member of the family that he was. Teddy lived with us for all but two months of his life, Teddy's fur was a blond color, so in appearance he never aged, but I could tell he was aging by his walk. I have some regrets from Teddy's years with us because I was so busy that I didn't spend enough quality time with him. Even though I was usually the one that drove him to the groomer, or the veterinarian, I still suffer from guilt. Teddy went to doggie heaven 8 and a half years ago and I still carry his dog tag in my key chain in order to honor him. We all miss him and think and talk about him regularly. The best is yet to come….

My Mistress


mistress [ˈmɪstrɪs]


1. a woman who has a continuing extramarital sexual relationship with a man

2. a woman in a position of authority, ownership, or control, such as the head of a household

3. a woman or female personification having control over something specified

 The beginnings of this post take place before I even met my wife.  As with many similar situations this also was work related.  After so many years of marriage the relationship is still ongoing but not as intense as it used to be.  I started out as a typical inexperienced fumbling novice but became somewhat of an expert with continued time and practice.

As I became more involved, time and money became more of a demand, rather than a willing contribution.  The root of this pre-occupation goes back to the time I attended a corporate conference in Santa Barbara California.  What happened at that conference would affect me to this day.  On the last day of the conference, we had what was known as a free day.  Many activities were offered and paid for by the corporate heads.  Amongst the activities offered deep sea fishing, golf, softball, bowling, sightseeing, and just good relaxation by the hotel pool.

I was the youngest mid-management person on the corporation’s staff and definitely an easy prey to new adventures.  Having had limited experience and coming from a small town mentality, when it came time to sign up for an activity, I signed up for bowling tournament (my bowling average was a respectable 192).  My team took the trophy for the day.

The next day on the drive home my companion and sales manager at my office was telling me about some plans to open new locations, and other improvements planned for the coming year.  I was astonished by what I was hearing and asked him if we had attended the same conference.  His response got me started with the affair that would last a lifetime.  He mentioned that he had selected golf as his activity choice for Sunday, and he ended up in a foursome that included the vice president of the corporation.  As the game progressed and more and more liquor and beer was being shared the vice president started relaxing and sharing information about future plans.  My trip companion suggested that I take up golf if I had plans to move up the corporate ladder.

It turned out that his advice was not only good but in fact great.  I signed up for golf lessons as quickly as the following week of our return to town and have been playing ever since then.  I don’t want to say how long but let’s just say that it was soon after the game progressed from bamboo shafts. By the time I married my wife golf was already my favorite past time.  Not long after my wife and I married we started spending time together at the golf course (at least a couple of times a month). My wife enjoyed driving the electric golf cart and basically playing caddy. I hate to admit it but she could actually analyze my game, including swing and short game, and made recommendations. It's hard to improve on a good thing, but I know that she made the game more enjoyable just by her presence. The wonderful experience was ended by about the 6th month of my wife's first pregnancy. The arrival of the children further guaranteed that I would go it alone in the golf course.

My wife labeled my golf interest my mistress, and has actually purchased expensive golf clubs for me as gifts. The mistress is a very expensive one and my golf activity is no longer as intense as it used to be, mostly because the grandchildren need more of my time, and I spend more time on the miniature golf course. The best is yet to come…..

Unnatural Disasters

416 Killed

 The most recent media headlines about floods in San Antonio remind me of the years we lived in Texas.  Hurricane Audrey was the largest (strongest/most destructive) hurricane to make landfall on Texas (1957) during the 1950’s.  Even then, as a child, I wondered why adults were not smart enough make the conscious decision to get their families out of harm’s way.  Had I been in control I would have taken my immediate family for a drive far enough to avoid the initial and most dangerous impact of the storm.  Of all Natural Disasters, Hurricanes provide the most advanced warning for residents to prepare.

In the 1950s, five tropical cyclones made landfall on Texas as hurricanes. Starting in 1955, hurricanes that caused substantial damage to any country could have their name retired from the list of names for the Atlantic basin. Hurricane Audrey, the most destructive Texas hurricane during the 1950s, was the first hurricane to impact Texas to have its name retired.

Often you hear people lament that our society is losing faith (in a religious sense as compared to faith in our government).  Yet many with a strong sense of faith believe that their family members will be spared from the pending danger and hunker down until the storm passes.  I believe that taking every precaution to protect your loved ones in no way diminishes your religious faith.  In fact, I feel that a strong faith would require that you be proactive.

Three feet of water inside our house
I remember the anticipation of the storm making landfall; we boarded all our windows and even the doors from the inside.  My stepfather reasoned that the strong wind would create a suction effect and that boarding from the inside would provide the best protection. As Audrey approached land, we stayed tuned to a local radio station until it went off the air.  We could hear the wind howling louder and louder, until the fear became so strong that you wished you could turn off the sound.  Some people described the sound as that of a freight train going past you at maximum speed.  I had never heard a freight train sound so loud.

We were fortunate to not be in Audrey’s direct path.  First reports were predicting landfall near Brownsville, but it shifted East last minute (closer to the Texas-Louisiana Border).  Two things that come to mind about lessons learned firsthand are:

  • The calm before the storm
  • The eye of the storm

My stepfather was a hardworking man with a third grade education and a doctorate degree from the University of Hard Knocks (street smarts).  Just before the time the storm (Audrey) was expected to reach us, there was a very eerie calm as if someone had flipped a switch and turned the storm off (calm before the storm).  After what seemed forever the roar of the powerful winds died down, and to the inexperienced came the feeling of relief that the storm was over. I must have said something to the effect that we had survived the storm, but my stepfather cautioned us that we were in the eye of the storm.  The eye of the storm differs from the tail end of the storm in that the eye of the storm is abruptly calm and quiet.

When the storm resumed we noticed that water was entering into our house which was elevated on a foundation of about 18 inches.  We quickly placed furniture under our beds to keep the mattresses dry, and we all climbed on to our beds.  Eventually while the storm was raging outside the water level inside our house rose to about 3 feet.  The worst part was not knowing how high the water would go.  My stepfather kept a crowbar handy just in case he had to remove the plywood from a window so we could exit.

Audrey caused 416 fatalities, and tied in with another storm front, to affect as far away as Canada.  Deaths were reported in Ontario, and Quebec Canada (15), and Montreal (11) from high winds and flooding.  Approximately two months later things were back to near normal.  Funny thing is I don’t remember anyone worrying about mildew.  That is the reason why I am so happy to be living in Paradise.  See Post; Living in Paradise (April 23, 2013).  The best is yet to come….