Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Early Blogging

I have discovered when I wake up in the middle of the night I have exactly two minutes, give or take a couple of seconds. One of two things will happen within that two-minute window. Either I will fall back asleep or I’ll start thinking about things. The problem is when I get thinking I become wide-awake and might as well get up.

So, at one thirty this morning I was walking around the kitchen when I started wondering about blogs. Not, mine, but yours. I decided to go back to the archives and see how some of you started and what you said in your early blogs. I didn’t get to everyone but I am sure I will have another middle of the night session.

I read a few of them and so far, my all time favorite has to be by Rachel. In October 2005, she wrote a post called, Where is Ralph. It said, “Last summer we had a frog that lived in our garage. He was a fat happy-looking fellow and we got along real well. I named him Ralph for no particular reason. I guess he just looked like a Ralph.” The story goes on to say that one Fall Ralph left and didn’t return. I’d just like to go on record here that I have posted several pictures of me so Rachel won’t be too sad about Ralph’ s disappearance.

Then there is Marty. In July 2004, Marty wrote,” I'm posting this using BlogWizard. It's a nice tool that allows you to blog unconnected. It's one of many reasons I've moved to Blogger - there seems to be a much more vibrant development environment surrounding it.” I glad I didn’t read this in 2004. I would have had no idea what he was talking about. Well, I guess I still don’t.

Rodent made an observation that contains a lot of truth. In January 2005, she wrote a post titled, My First Anonymouse Entry. In it she said, “There are a lot of strange people out there that think they are interesting...some of them actually are.” Rodent, I will forever consider it an honor when you leave me a comment.

Then there is Cliff and his great sense of humor. Even when he doesn’t know what he is doing, he can make a pretty good joke out of it. In June 2004, he wrote a blog called, Alpha, which says, “If I told someone from our small town that "last night about 4:30 A.M. I was blogging for the first time", the women would turn red, and run. The men would just wink and say, "well attaboy. It's about time. You're what, 54 years old"?” Cliff, I would have liked to been there when you explained blogging for the first time.

Like a Virgin was posted by Jerry in July 2005. I liked the comment left on this post. It said, “Just remember that none of (us*) qualify as public figures so the ability to sue for slander is quite lenient.” * I took out the name and inserted us; I don’t need a lawsuit right now either.

Even in the early days, you people wrote some darn good stuff.

Monday, December 26, 2005

My First Poem

The speed limit on the interstate is seventy-five miles per hour; top speed now was five miles per hour. My fifty-five minute commute was now at an hour and a half. I had missed one meeting and stood a good chance of being late for another. I was getting mad.

So, I asked myself – “Self, beside set here and getting mad, what can you do?” Suddenly it dawned on me, write a poem. Now, that’s a pretty unique thought since I had never had it before. Okay . . . a poem about what? I thought for a moment and decided with Christmas only two days away a Christmas poem was in order.

For people like Les Morrow, an outstanding Cowboy Poet, it might be easy. But, for me, it wasn’t. I mean the first thing to do was think of words that rhyme. Then figure out what to do with them.

Suddenly, I was off the interstate and back to ‘normal’ driving speed. I was now upset because I had to concentrate on driving again. Then I realized I had spent forty-five minutes working on my poem. It was eleven stances (I think that is the right word). All caught on a little tape recorder I carry.

It goes with a post I made on December 11, about Christmas Decor. Let me know what you think.

Cartridge in a Bare Tree

‘Twas Christmas day when I heard, “What the hell?
Out in our tree is a shotgun shell”.

My decorations were noticed now by my son;
I told him not to worry it had been through the gun.

He turned and smiled and looked at me;
As I explained the cartridge in a bare tree.

He walked away shaking his head;
But I knew that more had to be said.

I told of the morning a neighbor had little to do;
He stopped by to see if I was tipping a few.

I mentioned how people stopped just to stare;
When they noticed my decoration hanging out there.

Up until now, Tiffany been pretty mellow;
But she now wondered, “Why’s the shell yellow?”

Yellow’s the color shot with a twenty gauge;
A decoration we can pass down from age to age.

I told how her Mother didn’t like it at night;
She really thought it needed a big spotlight.

Then she asked why I didn’t hang up just a few more;
I don’t want them commercialized and sold in a store.

Well, Christmas is over it is plain to see;
Time to take the cartridge out of the bare tree.
Pictured are Char supervising as Nathan holds the shell and Tiffany “removes” the decoration from Christmas 2005.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas

This will be my last post until after Christmas. I will post again early the morning of December 26.

So, first I want to wish everyone who stops by a Merry Christmas.

Secondly, I would like to thank all of you for reading my posts, leaving comments, and giving me the privilege to read your blogs. At this time last year, I had two readers, Cliff and Marty. Both of them helped me throughout the year. Marty helped me discover and learn some of the in’s and out’s of the blogging world. Then there is Cliff. He taught me how to post picture, make links, and introduced us a great photo software program. At times, I am sure he has regretted doing all of these. So, a special thanks to the two of you.

Again, Merry Christmas. I’ll be back on December 26th, with my first poem.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ralph O'Claus

Are you ready for Christmas?

At 7:00 this morning I wasn’t. At noon it was all done. Yes, I know I still have three days or so but why wait until the last minute. I can hardly wait to put the presents under the tree (see the post below). Ralph O’Claus is ready for Christmas . . . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Lost Angel

I’m not in the Christmas spirit at all this year. I know what I want to get everyone but just have been putting it off.

Then there is this whole Christmas tree thing. Char wanted the Christmas tree set up. It is always such a pain. We have an artificial tree that we never take down; it stays in the basement fully assembled most of the year. But . . . I mean it take a lot of work. You have it carry it up the stairs, put it in the proper spot, and then plug it in. It takes a good five minutes of my life that I will never get back!

Then there are the decorations. This is where my Christmas spirit shines. You want it decorated put up the ^$&%$#&% decorations. The only thing I need is an angel on top. So, I started searching for the angel. I went through box after box of decoration looking for the angel. I can’t find it anywhere. So, I did the next best thing. I know he’s no angel but . . .

First, notice how much hair the angel has. Then, click on the "angel" to see where you go.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Common Sense or Research?

A few mornings ago, I was in bed listening to the news. One of the stories was about road rage. In Colorado, there are 3,000 reported cases of road rage a month and the number is increasing. One of our communities hired a researcher to find out why. The reason? The Holidays. There are more people at the malls and they are stressed. Gosh, that’s a surprise a few days before Christmas and all!

I called a friend of mine at the city and had them look into it. That little bit of information cost $65,000. I could have done it for $1.27. How?

I stopped at a coffee shop this morning. Two cars, each going different directions, tried to get the same parking space. It’s 6:15 in the morning and people are already fighting over parking spaces. Both drivers got out of their cars, threw their arms in the air as if they were the only person in the world to be offended by such an unjust act and couldn’t figure out why God hadn’t stuck the other person dead yet. Of course, a verbal exchange took place. It ended when one of them walked back to their car and said, “Well, you have a Merry $#^^%%*& ^^%&^& Christmas too, you stupid )(*&^&&!!.”

Did, I happen to mention it was 6:15 in the morning? I could have saved the city $64,998.73 had they just called and asked. They could have just paid for my coffee.

A year ago, on December 18, I made a post called Holiday Rage, no one read it or at least no one left a comment. Funny, it seems fitting to post it again. Here it is:

Holiday Rage

Ah, the Holidays! Nothing helps get you in the mood for the holidays quite like a dusting of fresh snow on the ground. Then seeing the grill of a green car shoved up the muffler of a red truck with flashing lights all-around. It really sets the tone for the holidays. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Of course, two ladies doing hand-to-hand combat over the last sale item at a local department store can get you in the spirit as well. Neither one stopping to think they probably have boxes of them.

It is also quite festive to have the person in front of you shriek at the cashier that she has just spent the past two hours shopping for the ‘perfect’ gift and she doesn't care what the bank says about her credit limit.

Variations of these same experiences will be played out in communities throughout the nation. Proving that even road rage has a seasonal side and has transformed into Holiday Rage. All these incidents detract from the joy that the holiday season should bring. With that in mind, here are some holiday survival tips.

· Spend as much time as possible with people you like. You'll be around the others the rest of the year.

· You do not have to over spend. The national debt will increase without your help.

· There is no such thing as the perfect gift. Be thankful for what you get and equally thankful for what you are able to give.

Be mindful of the real reason for the Season. It is indeed a season of joy.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

PERMaNET Solution

It started on December 12, when I posted a story titled,” Gone But Not Forgotten”. Then Cliff wrote,” In Defense of My Good Friend Ralph...if it please the court” on December 15. So, if you have not read these please do so right now and then hurry back for the thrilling conclusion to PERMaNET.

Cliff ended his posted by saying,” Ralph, you've got plenty of hair. But, how about a perm? I'll go with you and we can both get it done.” I have no doubt that Cliff would have gone – but where? Tekamah is a nine-hour drive for me. Cliff hates coming to Denver so when he does visit I know it is a sacrifice only a good friend would make. So, that leaves North Platte, Nebraska. It’s about half way between Tekamah and Denver. The only problem is, neither one of us knows of a good salon in North Platte. We don’t have to – neither one of us has that much hair. So, I took a different angle. . .

I decided to use one of those ‘Do it yourself’ kits. The one I picked promised a radiant full body finish for all hair types. The first step was putting in the gel to ensure the fullest body possible. This is a time consuming process, my wife, who was helping almost tripled the time required because of her laughter.

Next is the curling stage. Tiffany, who is home from college, helped here. This took a lot of time too. She kept complaining there was nothing to wrap around the curlers. Hey, if you don’t want to help me look beautiful I’ll find someone who does. (I hope she doesn’t quit because I have no idea who else I would get.)

Finally, the curlers are put in place. But, you need to wait for the gel and all that other ‘stuff’ to do its magic. So, . . .

You might as well get comfortable with a good book. This is the hardest part. The box said, “in as little as 45 minutes you will have a glowing, thick, luscious hair style". Forty-five minutes is a long time to have a net on your head while waiting for the gel to set.

Finally, it was done and the results were . . . well, pretty funny.
Cliff. I know you said you would go, but don’t worry, this will never happen again. A quote, which was made famous in your office at Thanksgiving, just happened – I took this one for the team.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Where's Cliff ?

Marilyn is a great lady. She and Julie run Morrow’s Kennel in Tekamah. I’ve been there several times and it is always full of dogs. Most are there to be groomed. I’m not sure who does what but between Marilyn and Julie it gets done and the dogs leave the kennel looking better than they ever have. They just do excellent work. But all this raises the question . . . where’s Cliff?

It’s not common knowledge – but Cliff likes dogs too. Especially cute little pink ones.

Okay Cliff now we are even.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Don't Look Now

On our last visited to the Morrow’s, Char decided to go on a horseback ride with Julie. Pictured from left to right is a horse, Julie, a horse, Char, and Marilyn.

Now, just for a minute forget about the people and focus on the horses. Is it just me or is the horse on the right whispering to the horse on the left, “Don’t look now, but do you know what their doing over there?”

Monday, December 12, 2005

Gone But Not Forgotten

This is the top of my head. My wife took this picture at the Morrow family reunion last August. Even after seeing this photo, I still love her.

Some people may think I am deep in thought, others that I'm being prayerful – the truth is I was laughing at Les Morrow, who is a great storyteller.

Besides those lonely strands of hair, a few things should be pointed out. It’s amazing how few times we really see the top of our head. I thought I had more hair than that. Also, my barber might be a liar. For years, he’s been telling me it was thinning. There is a big difference between thinning and GONE. Given how little hair there is, could you in good conscience charge fourteen dollars for a haircut? Maybe seven dollars, but not fourteen.

I wear a hat a lot and now I know why. If you notice, right in the center it is pretty shiny. On a bright day, if I were to tip my head just right I could blind somebody.

I use to have hair. It may be gone but it is not forgotten.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Decor

"What the . . . “

Those words crossed my lips one night when we pulled into the cul de sac. Some of our neighbors had put up their Christmas lights and decorations. Enough lights to transform my little cul de sac into a landing strip for Denver International Airport. Then there were the decorations. A six-foot high inflatable donkey and a five foot high inflatable Winnie the Pooh. I’m still trying to the make the Christmas connection with Winnie the Pooh. All I know is in a strong winds it looks like the donkey is about to have its way with Winnie the Pooh. Geez, lets take it inside!

Not wanting to be out done I decided to put up some decorations. This is a landmark year, the first year I put up outdoor decorations. I hung a used 20 gauge shotgun shell from my little leaf linden tree. That’s it – one shotgun shell. It’s drawn a lot of attention from the neighbors but so far, only one has asked. I affectionately call it, ‘a cartridge in a bare tree’.

While I would like to take credit for such a unique idea, Cliff and Marilyn told me about it. Marilyn’s mother did it a few years back.

I’ve been watching. Several of my neighbors have pulled into their driveways, gotten out of their cars and stared, yes, stared at my little tree. I guess people just appreciate tasteful Christmas decor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Why I Eat Breakfast

First of all, I am in no way blaming my wife. It clearly wasn’t her fault.

Char had planned a great anniversary weekend getaway for us. She had booked a room at a very nice mountain Bed and Breakfast. We planned to have nice dinners at local restaurants, drive to a near by town to visit a winery, go on hikes, set in the hot tub at night sipping wine, and . . . . well, never mind. It was going to be a fun and relaxing weekend.

Then disaster struck.

One morning, before breakfast we were out for a walk. The air was crisp and cool, and the bright rays of sunlight held promises for the new day. When, all of the sudden, we heard rustling in the forest behind us. Without warning one of the largest bears I have ever seen came charging down the hill. Not wanting any harm to come to Char, I yelled for her to flee and save herself as I turned to hold off the gigantic, savage beast. The battle ensued for what seemed like hours, but I'm sure it was only a few minutes. Suddenly, it grabbed my forearm. Unable to continue the fight I was about to surrender to my fate . . . when I glanced at my watch. Breakfast was ready – we'll continue this later.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Contentment is defined as having happiness with one's situation in life. Pictured above are Cliff and Madi. Madi is the daughter of Dan and Julie.

The only problem I have with this photo is figuring out who looks the most content – Cliff or Madi?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Big Game Hunter

I use to hunt a little but never was very good at it. I mostly walked around, looked at things, and just enjoyed being outside. Once, I had a chance at a large bull elk – it was only about 30 yards away and may have been a new state record. But, it ran away because of all the pictures I was taking before I could take a shot. Now, I’m sure it could have been a state record.

The Friday after Thanksgiving Dan and Tom took me (and the rest of kids) out to shoot clay pigeons. Clay pigeons are round, brightly colored clay disks, about four inches in size, which are flung through the air by some contraption. It's called trap shooting and I use to be quite good at it. But, like many things, it now falls into the “I use to. . . . .” category.

Anyway, I still hit a few of them. This brings in one of the key lessons about hunting I had drilled into me – don’t kill to kill, eat what you kill and don’t waste it. It’s hard to do that with clay pigeons. Above is a picture of me ‘hunting’. To the left is a close up picture of my 'kill' on the barbecue. In case you’re wondering, they were quite crunchy and tasted a lot like . . . . well, chicken.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Question of the Day - 12/2/05

Question: Did she find the insurance policy?

Background: Yesterday morning I was upstairs shaving when from the kitchen I heard my wife yell, “You ate all that beef jerky?” I did what most men do in this type of situation – I yelled back, “What?” It only buys you a few seconds but for some reason we need the extra time. She repeated the question as I walked into the kitchen. A spirited conversation followed something like this:
Wife: The bag was full.
Me: It wasn’t that full.
Wife: It was full.
Me: I gave some to the dog.
Wife: How much?
Me: Half a piece.

Then I heard how much salt was in jerky, how it wasn’t good for my high blood pressure, how it was less than a week since we got the bag, how I need to eat better, etc. All good points but she missing one key factor – that beef jerky was really, really, good.

That afternoon she called me from the store. They were having a sale on roast and she wanted to know if I wanted her to pick one up.
Me: Sure, pick one up.
Wife: How big?
Me: Large enough to feed six people we’ll have the neighbors over.
Wife: It’s not the kind of roast. It’s the kind you make jerky out of. (Side note: This is where I removed the receiver from my ear, stared at it, and thought, “What the . . . “)

Just a coincidence - I think not.