Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Final Touch of 2008

This morning I had a tooth pulled and is an appropriate end to 2008, which will not go down as a great one for me. Taking a cue from son Brendan, time for 'Two to the Wind' and get busy living in 2009.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Golly

Found these two pictures of me striking a dashing pose in the '80's (left) and in front of Mark and my '68 Nova we shared in high school. See the "SS" at the rear of the car? Don't believe it, it was just a decal we put on it. Still, it was a neat car. What is that I'm holding? Surely not a book!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Trip Home On Sunday

Waiting to board in Tampa.


On my plane to Peoria waiting to get someone to load the bags.


Flying out of Chicago toward the end of my adventure in Peoria.


Escorted by Mackenzie, Brendan, Nancy and the grandkidlings, I left Tampa and went to Chicago O'Hare and then down to Peoria. We were, of course, delayed by an hour and 45 minutes from Tampa because the plane taking us didn't arrive till late and then they had to check a problem with one of the wheels.
Finally leaving, I was kind of happy because there wasn't anyone in the middle seat. However, there was a real jerk in the same seating section as me. First, he refused to hang up his phone even after a flight attendant told him it should have already been off. Very important call he said to her, and what was he talking about? His cold and congestion! Then after we got going his overhead light tended to blink out and he became more agitated. He'd flick the light, knock on it and make harrumphing noises. The idiot didn't realize that all he had to do was flip on the middle light and that would have been enough to see what he was doing. God what a creep.
Anyway because of the lateness of our departure it ate up any leeway I had to catch my Peoria plane. Because I had already missed 2 of 3 busiest Fed Ex days at Blick, it was imperative I make it back to work at 9:00 the next morning.
Finally landing in Chicago, I looked at the departures and noticed I had to go to Concourse F from Concourse C. That is no small feat in 15 minutes. Imagine this old guy running around O'Hare with a rather sizeable carry-on, with the wrong kind of shoes, and only minutes to get there.
Finally, I found my gate with about 2 minutes to spare, sweat coming down my forehead, panting like a dog, and someone says, "Peoria?" I huff "Yes." and they say, better hurry, its leaving. So off to the gate I go, give them my boarding pass, and through a couple winding aisles, through a couple doors, and into the cold (I forgot my hoodie in Tampa, so I was cold, too). A person guides me to my plane and I climb aboard. And guess what? We were delayed by 45 minutes. Couldn't find anyone to put the baggage in the plane. Made it to Peoria, and was told by my ride (thanks again Pat) that my truck wouldn't start. There is a picture of the cart with the bags sitting on the tarmac above. Traveling is a lot of fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our Adventure

Leg 1: Bloomington IL to Atlanta
Brendan and I went to Bloomington on Wednesday night since we didn't want to drive Thursday morning at 2:00 am. We stayed at the Holiday Inn next to the airport and walked over to Wild Buffalo Wings. If Galesburg's is anything (presently under construction near new Wal-Mart/Menards area) like this was, it will be pretty decent. Good food, cold beer, and reasonably priced.
I woke up at 3:00 am and got Brendan up soon after, and over to the airport we went. All was good and weather was cold but OK. Then we got word that there was a problem with the on-board computers. Boarding was delayed by a couple of hours. Brendan had to go up to the information desk and get a pass that put us on a later flight out of Atlanta to Buffalo. But eventually we got going and made it to Atlanta, late but still fresh and roaring to go.

Leg 2: Atlanta to Buffalo
We found the flight and gate from Atlanta and boarded the flight to Buffalo to retrieve little Michael and Alhanna who were being ushered across the border from Canada. I don't remember much from this flight, but it seemed long and I was glad Brendan got a little sleep.

Leg 3: Buffalo to Chicago
We disembarked and scurried to find the kids. We had a little time so we weren't racing. Found the kids, had a good hug as I had not seem them since July of 2007. Michael looked much as I had last seem him, but Alhanna was almost as tall, if not taller than him. Her speech was pretty fluent and was easy to talk to, very much advanced from last year.

Leg 4: Chicago to Tampa
OK, by this time Brendan and I are unravelling. Due to a delay and a longish flight (the pilot had said we would be landing in 15 minutes, but it was more like a half hour) we only had about 10 minutes to find our gate and board. I got a nice dressing down from A Screaming Eagle for being whining and anxious. I'm sure I deserved it. I must have been terrible. Our gate was just down the way a tad so after a pit stop and a brisk walk, we made out gate and flight, and off to sunny Tampa. Michael got a tour of the flight cabin and a set of wings from one of the attendants.

What started at 3:00 am ended at around 11:45 pm. Greeting us at Tampa International was the entire crew of Nancy, Mackenzie and Drew.

More Pictures Of Blythe Christmas





Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And Now The Adventure Begins...

If you'll excuse me for a few days, I am off to be with my family. Tim, keep an eye on the place. Missy will be in G-Burg recuperating from surgery, while Brendan and I get the kids in Buffalo and fly to Tampa. We are going to Bloomington tonight so we will be close to the airport, although the weather looks OK right now. Wish us luck, and sorry we didn't get over to Burgess last weekend, I am at the mercy of the 101st.
I will try to update in Florida, so stay tuned.

What Really Happened At The Bush Shoe Throwing Incident

http://www.jwz.org/images/stoogew.gif

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Acting Like An Old Woman

Best line of the week: I am telling Brendan its time to get organized for the trip and he says "Jesus, stop acting like an old woman. Mom doesn't even act like this!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two To The Wind

In less than 72 hours Spec. Blythe and myself will embark on a travel adventure. We leave Bloomington at 6:00 am on Thursday morning and travel to Atlanta, then to Buffalo where we will pick up Michael and Alhanna, then proceed down to Tampa by midnight. Wow, the whole family together...can't wait.
The weather will be great, there will be no delays, the border guards won't detain anyone, the planes will all be gassed up and flight-ready, and no one will get tired, weary or cranky. As Brendan says when I get itchy/edgy/nervous/anxious/old-womanish about the trip or anything, "Two to the Wind". Apparently this is Army-speak for "shrug it off" and "what will be, will be".
Concurrently, Missy goes to the hospital on Wednesday morning for surgery and a biopsy, and then will remain there till I return on Sunday and pick her up early Monday.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Frozen Tundra That Is BFE

This is the 5 mile road going East out of BFE to Route 150. Some places are icy. Now couple that with coooooooooold weather, and you can get a sense of how fun winter can be here. I see it was 76 and sunny in Largo, Florida this weekend.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Nice Gift For the Cub Fan In Your Family


http://www.songsbykevin.com/index_files/Page476.htm

Go to the site above to check out a new CD by Kevin Henrickson. It is about an elusive dream, a longing for a World Series victory with song titles like:

Christmas Cubby Nut
Santa, I Want a Cubby Pennant
I'll Always Be A Cub Fan
Ronnie the Snowman
Christmastime In Wrigleyville
Clark and Addison
What a Christmas - For When It Happens!
And others...

And also a note for you losers, tomorrow, Monday, is the day you find out if the Veteran's Committee will let Ron Santo in the Hall of Fame. I hope he gets in as a player, and not as a broadcaster.

Hey, Guess What We're Doing For Christmas!

It took elements of the 101st Airborne to get it accomplished, and a few encouraging words here and there, but it looks like we may have it worked out.  On December 18th (Thursday) Brendan and I will travel to Buffalo to pick up his kids from Canada, and we will then all fly South to Florida for a couple of days.  I have to be back at Blick on Monday morning so I will fly back to Peoria via O'Hare on Sunday.  In the words of Holly, Yikes!  I'm nervous as a whore in church about traveling alone to Chicago (I can't even make bus connections!) but the prospect of the whole family TOGETHER in one place has me quite excited.  It has been a year and a half since we were all together.  My what an adventure.  Mother Nature, please don't fuss.        

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meaningless Ramblings...

1. This past Thanksgiving I received invitations to invade peoples homes. Brendan came up from Fort Campbell so we went to Port Byron to brother Phil's. Jeanne fixed a great meal and some people were there I had not seen in a long while (Aaron, Ashley, Jason, Maggie) so it was nice.
But my thanks to Pat and Gay who thought about me and asked me to join their families for this special day. Like I have said before, many people talk a good game, but these two guys actually went the full mile. Thank you and it made me feel good.

2. Speaking of good deeds, another past Knox County Academy co-worker, Bob Sheehan, aka, The Mayor, Hizzoner, Superfly, Fifi's Father, went to Toronto, Ontario over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was kind enough to remember I had grandkids up near there and offered to take a box of Christmas goodies up to them, thus saving around $40.00 - $50.00 postage. Thanks Bob, another guy who deserves applause.

3. And thanks to Mark and Holly who hosted a great evening in Aledo for Brendan.

4. I was feeling sorry for myself driving from Galesburg to BFE last night in less than favorable conditions, when I thought about others who have it far worse than me. Tad, my neighbor drives 70 miles one-way each day. Tim goes to Muscatine from BFE. Jeremy drives over to Mt. Pleasant and back each day, and all the other people who have to spend much time behind the wheel when it gets nasty.

5. My fantasy football team is in 1st place. If it works out (and now I'll probably jinx myself), I will have won both baseball and football in one year. My my wouldn't that be a trashtalk coup?

6. I am trying to sell my snowblower. It has started first time since I bought it some 4-5 years ago. I am taking it into work today and got it out of the basement, and wouldn't you know it, it won't start. Must be from the Great Flood of 2008.

7. Mets have been quiet in the off season, but next week the Winter meetings start in Las Vegas. Watch for major signings!

8. I bought a new phone last week, and remember the Peter Principle? I think I have reached the level of my incompetence: I can't access the voicemail messages. They keep coming in (6 at the moment), but darned if I know how to get this gadget conquered. By the way, besides that I love it. It is a Samsung Delve, and it is far easier to text than my old Razr. It is also bigger and feels more substantial when I am talking. It also has internet access and other things I haven't explored yet.

9. Brendan is coming back on the 10th for a few days and look out: Lisa, Marvin, Janine, and Pat, he is looking for you guys.

10. Score: So far two winter storms, and we haven't even exhausted the 1st week of December.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Latest News From the Gerdes's


Breakfast guests. Isn't this a cool picture. I thought North Canton was a big city, but here we have a couple deer who found their way to the Gerdes's back yard.


The Dave Matthews band was always playing on Grove street at John and Tarasa's. This summer they had an opportunity to see them in concert. This is how close they were.


Tarasa and a cute little lap dog. Looks like Andrew is playing with his DS.


Spooky Halloween decorations at the house.


Old friends from the "Tiki Days" along with neighbors Lisa and Dave were the Gerdes's who lived on Grove street across the road. We all gathered on weekends and had adult beverages and discussed all manner of subjects. It was a fun time, and then, seeking job upgrades with her work, Tarasa, John and Andrew took off for Ohio. John recently sent some pics.
John and Tarasa are flipping the house and are busy renovating it for sale in the new year. John is a hell of a carpenter, and that means he is good. I am a hell of a carpenter and that is bad. Have a great Holiday season, guys, and if you're in the area let me know.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brendan Got A Tattoo

Sunday Morning Blues

I knew it would happen eventually.  Guess I just wasn't ready, though.  Sunday morning greeted BFE with some snow and "winter advisories".  Bad day for Brendan to head back to Fort Campbell.  Well, Floridians, look at this and be thankful for redundant sunny skies.    

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Brendan's Night In Aledo







We had planned to go to Aledo for a drink or two and then back to Burgess so Brendan could have a beer with Marvin and Janine, but, as we could/should have suspected, Aledo was difficult to leave. We met Mark and Holly at Scooters and eventually went over to Beerbellies.  Saw a lot of familiar faces and many wanted to thank Brendan for his service, particularly with alcohol.  

We got back home at a decent hour, but we were in no condition to stop anywhere else.  Next time, Burgess, I promise.   

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Army Hand Signals







The Army uses many strategies to accomplish its missions. Apparently in Army 101 the use of hand signals is highly emphasized. Here we have heavily classified and sophisticated signals that no doubt convey complex information to the knowledgeable "receiver".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Pics Of Tennessee Trip

Karen Booth, Brendan's friend from Birmingham England. Love the lilting poetry of the accent. She was "grossly humiliated" when a local BP would not sell her alcohol because she did not have an American ID. Of course everyone else took her UK ID.
Bastogne Division soldiers herding parents and friends to busses for the Welcome Home ceremony.

Banner hanging on the Days Inn where we stayed. This was the same motel we usually used when in Clarksville. The banner was free from Build-A-Sign company which has done some 45,000 of them for families. Great company.

Proud and beaming parents of an embarrassed soldier having to pose for another picture

Local joint with the best biscuits and gravy. We had breakfast here three times, and everyone always ordered the same thing.




Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is Mr. Waddles. He belongs to Franklin, a fellow soldier friend of Brendan's. He accompanied Franklin on all of his missions. Before Franklin came home he gave Mr. Waddles to Brendan so that he would be safe during his missions as well. Our family owes a debt of gratitude to Franklin and Mr. Waddles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Couple Items In the Paper


Yesterdays Galesburg Register-Mail had an interesting ad on page three. It reads: "Thank You, To my son-in-law (not either of my daughters) for taking me to the emergency room." Well, that should be a cheery Thanksgiving Dinner.
* By the way, what is that thing in the lower left-hand corner. Is it a pepper? Or pickle? The mystery thickens.

The other is a rather sad one, announcing the closing of the old Skate Palace. We used to take some of the better behaved kids at the Mary Davis Home, back in the day when we were able to so such things. They had fun and the place seemed well run and supervised. However, just a year or so ago when I was working at the Knox County Academy it was a popular Friday night place to go. I can remember talking to some of them on Mondays and they would talk about the fights they intentionally choreographed, just for the fun of it. In fact I usually asked on Fridays if they were going to the Palace and fight, and many would say yes, and they had their targets all worked out. Sad way to have fun, and sad end to a good positive place that seemed to be anachronistic in today's world.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow Removal In BFE


As the temperatures drop, thoughts go to the winter worry of making it into work on time. Since it is a 20 minute or so drive, I asked to see the BFE snow removal program. I am very concerned.