Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reflections Not Resolutions

Well, it’s the last day of the year, hard to believe that 2006 is almost behind us. I know many people use this time to make resolutions for the upcoming year – I never have done that. I would rather use this time to reflect on what has happened during the past 365 days. Here are a few of the highlights:

* last Spring I drove Orchard Mesa road near Palisade. I can still see and smell the apple trees blooming.

* took up golf and the kids getting me a set of golf clubs for Father’s Day.

* in May, I went to a conference in Nebraska. The conference was okay but I really enjoyed stopping to see Dan and Julie on the way out and then Cliff and Marilyn on the way back.

* Char’s graduation when she received her Master’s degree.

* Tiffany’s graduation from college in December.

* Nate and I finishing our golf lessons.

* the visit from Dan and Julie. Yes, golf was involved.

* driving Tiff out to Chicago so she could finish school.

* losing and then finding my cell phone at O’Hara International Airport.

* wine nights with Bobby and Tina.

* playing golf with Tiffany.

* playing lots of golf with Nate.

* getting beat at golf by my eight-year-old friend – Geno.

* playing golf with Bobby.

* the vacation Char and I took to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Capital Reef. That was a great vacation.

* attending the Morrow wedding in Lincoln.

* after the wedding, driving back to Denver to drop Char off, going back to Lincoln for a meeting where I became really, really sick. (Not all reflections are good).

* getting my first book “published”.

* having Tiffany's friend, Jason, come visit. We spent a couple of hours in the car telling each other jokes just to discover the place we were trying to visit was closed.

* doing the Palisade wine tour with Char and her high school friends. That too was a great trip.

* spending Thanksgiving at the Morrow’s farm and having the book signing.

* celebrating another anniversary with Char.

* Dan Morrow and his surprise visit. (Actually, it wasn’t a surprise I just got the weekends mixed up).

* celebrating Christmas a little differently this year.

* reading the posts of all my blogging friends and appreciating the comments you left on mine.

All said 2006 was a pretty good year.

Here is wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fever !!

It happened at the same time last year. I don’t know if it is cabin fever or getting ready for Spring fever. Last year I did this - PERMaNET Solution.

This year I decide to upgrade my wardrobe. I thought about keeping it as a golf hat but then I like to golf with Cliff, Dan, Tom, Nate, and Bobby and didn't think any of them would appreciate it. Well, actually I thought Cliff would get jealous!

The hat is now in the trash and the snow is still piled up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Give Me A Break !!

It snowed last week! Twenty-seven inches of snow in my driveway!

We are now under another “extreme winter watch” a “blizzard warning” a “significant winter storm” all depending on which TV channel you listen to. The airport is already canceling flights. It is snowing outside and will get worse tonight. Great – just great!

Christmas is over – I am done with winter! All I want to do is play golf, plant trees and flowers, harvest corn, have a BBQ on the deck, tour the vineyard, etc. Do you see SNOW in any those? Yeah - me either.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Different Type of Christmas

Nate looked at me and said, “I was a little disappointed in what you got me this year.” Then we both laughed.

We had a little different type of Christmas at the Campbell household this year. We decided that we would buy our own Christmas presents and put them under the tree. But there were two rules.
Rule One: There had to be a wrapped present for you from each member of the family under the tree on Christmas morning. That meant I had to buy myself three presents, wrap them, and have them tagged To Dad From Nate; To Dad From DOR; To Ralph From Char. If you think about it that idea has a lot of value. Everyone gets exactly (or almost) what they want and you can stay within your Christmas budget without all the commercial guilty going around about “spending a little more on that someone special”. It actually worked quite well. The fun part was before opening a present we tried to guess what was bought. What did Dad buy Nate - then it was fun to see what it was.

Rule Two: Ralph and Char took care of the stocking stuffers. Since we were doing Christmas a little different, I decided we might as well do the stockings a little different also. We had Christmas stickers. Each one of those orange post-it notes has someone name on it. Below the notes, we had the gifts. It made sense since many of the stocking stuffers would not fit into a stocking anyway.

It was a relaxed and fun Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

The Campbell household wants to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I know many people are celebrating “Happy Holidays”, but here we still do Christmas.

We are shoveled out, everyone is home, meals are planned and it should be a fairly restful and enjoyable time.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Digging Out

You might have heard we got some snow in Denver. Twenty–seven inches on my driveway to be exact. The back deck, where it drifted, has even more. I spent yesterday shoveling the driveway. Today I cleared a path to the cul-de-sac. Another day or two I might even be able to get a car out.

Tiffany is coming home tonight. They opened the airport at noon today. My neighbor and friend with a four-wheel drive is taking me to the airport to pick her up. I had to bribe him with a pot of beef and noodles. Okay, I didn’t bribe him he offered and I just thought the beef and noodles would be a good way to repay him.

Well here we are a few days away from Christmas. No gifts have been bought, no stocking stuffers purchased and we are stuck at home. Tomorrow I will venture out on foot in search of the perfect Christmas gifts.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Heart Palpitations

There are many good ways to spend a Friday night. But, last Friday night we had a great way to spend it - Tiffany graduated from college.

I am glad I had taken my medication that morning because my heart was beating pretty fast as she crossed the stage to get her degree.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And it Came to Pass. . .

There once was a high school girl who loved to play basketball and she was very good at it. One day during a game she fell and tore her ACL.

After surgery and rehab, she returned to playing basketball and she was still very good but now she was more determined than ever. One day this girl did not feel very well so she decided to stay home from school. However, she had a basketball game that night and amazingly, she felt well enough to play.

The next day the girl had math class. At some point during the class, the teacher commented how it was interesting she did not feel well enough to come to math class but felt well enough to play basketball. The girl replied, “I don’t need math.”

And it came to pass that years later that girl, DOR (Daughter of Ralph, a.k.a. Tiffany), will be graduating from college this Friday.

She will be a math teacher and a girl’s basketball coach.


(I’ll be back early next week with pictures. I’ll also keep I close eye on my cell phone while in and leaving Chicago)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Making Hay

Orchards, vineyards, and hay bales. Those are just three of the things that fascinate me. I’m not sure why - they just do.

The other morning I was flying down the interstate at about 75 MPH and glanced off to the right and saw these hay bales. I got off at the next exit and backtracked down the frontage road just to get a picture of them.

When Char and I were on vacation at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park I had to stop and take a picture of hay bales outside of Tropic, Utah. All those natural wonders and I’m on the side of the road taking a picture of hay.

But, this is one of my favorites. It was outside a fruit stand in Palisade. It stood about twenty-five feet tall.

Most likely constructed by someone else who is fascinated with hay bales.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Miki's Meals

Well, I just made brown sugar maraschino cherry drop cookies from Miki’s recipe. I am convinced when the Food Network discovers her they will name the show - Miki’s Meals. If it’s like Emeril’s show, where people set up front and get to sample the cooking, I’ll be there when she makes these cookies.

They are really quite good.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Have You Done

Yesterdays post was about how rude many people are at Christmas time. But on the other hand, it also brings out the best in people. This happened today.

When I arrived at the coffee shop for a meeting, my cell phone rang. It was the person I was to meet; she would be a few minutes late. Not a big deal, I went inside got a cup of coffee and sat down. A few minutes later one of the young ladies who worked there walked up and said,” Sir, there is no good way to ask this but are you over 55?” I told her I wasn’t but was pretty close. She thanked me and started to walk away. Okay, here is where curiosity kicks in.

“Excuse me,” I said “but why did you want to know that?”

She asked me if I had the seen the two boys who had just left. I said I glanced at them but that was it. As it turns out those two boys were both thirteen (not your typical age for doing good deeds). They had been collecting aluminum cans since Labor Day with the purpose of doing something at Christmas. What they did was go into this coffee shop and purchased twenty $10 gift cards. They asked the manager to hand them out to any senior citizen in the store and to any senior citizen that came in until they were gone. They also said they didn’t want anyone to know who they were.

A couple of college students at the next table joined in our conversation. They were critical of the two kids – why didn’t they take the money to a homeless shelter, people in this coffee shop didn’t need gift certificates, why didn’t they donate it to a church?

The lady who worked there was also a college student and to her credit she set the record straight. She looked at those two college guys and said, “What have you done for others?” You could have heard a pin drop.

You won’t hear that story about teenagers on the news tonight. Maybe we should.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Seasonal Food

Have you ever wondered what food best describes your life? I haven't.

But I might have come across a food that describes the Holiday Season. A few days ago, it just appeared.

I had the "opportunity" to go to a mall. I could not believe all the unhappy people. It started in the parking lot with people handing out one-finger salutes like they were candy canes. Then it moved inside with people pushing and complaining about the lack of customer support. The highlight had to be the "instant" credit card line. People were upset they had to fill out an application to get a credit card. It was actually pretty depressing.

I thought it might have just been me. But today I read, 'Randon Seasonal Happenings and Thoughts' posted by Miki where she talked about "people getting ruder by the moment".

So what is the new food group for the Holidays?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Where's Char?

I have trouble sleeping especially when I travel. And unfortunately, I travel a lot. Some people think it is because I'm in a strange room, some believe it because of a strange bed, and others have even accused the poor little pillow. While all those might contribute to the cause, they are not the reason.

A few days ago, I once again discovered the truth. I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed Char wasn’t in bed. I laid there a few minutes waiting for her to return – she didn’t. That’s when I got worried. I threw off the blankets and left the warm bed to go look for her.
I peeked in the bathroom – she wasn’t there. I looked in her office – not there. I walked downstairs and looked in the living room – no Char. Then into the family room – empty. I was in the kitchen when I realized she was in Atlanta. I had taken her to the airport earlier that day. In fact, I even took this picture.

I went back to bed and tried to sleep. Of course, it's hard to sleep when you’re chuckling.

Guess I don’t sleep well when she travels either.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Little Things

When my cell phone rang at 6:40 in the morning, I didn’t think much about it. It happens quite a bit. But, it was DOR (Daughter of Ralph) and at that hour of the day, it was unusual. Our conversation went like this:

DOR: Dad, I thought I’d call and let you know I miss you.
Ralph: I miss you too Tiff.
DOR: No, Dad, I REALLY miss you. It snowed here at last night and left a lot of ice of the windshield. This morning it took me a long time to scrap it all off and I was in my teacher clothes. I got thinking about all the mornings when I was home you scraped my car windows for me.

It was December 1st, when Tiffany called. The beginning of the most commercialized month of the year. Once again, I realized that with all the hype to get “the perfect gift” and “too show someone you care” it is not the size of the package or the dollar value that matters. Most often, it is those “cups of cold water” that will be remembered.

Thanks for the phone call Tiff.