Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

This year was hit and miss when it comes to goals except I missed more than I hit this year. I switched jobs in the spring and getting acclimated there took more focus than I expected.
My top goal that took a great deal of focus and energy was publishing my book. I'm proud of that accomplishment. One shortcoming might bee that I spread myself too thin and try to do too many things at once.
My second goal was to get music in at least one movie or TV program this year. Jilda and I both spent a lot of cycles writing, recording and pitching songs. But placing music is slow work. We do have a shot at getting our song "Christmas of My Dreams" in a made-for-TV film next year. It's hard to say if get in the movie, but it is in consideration.
My third goal was to lose two pounds per month. I not only did not lose two pounds per month, I didn't lose any weight at all. In fact I gained a pound this year. I made a brash and ill advised promise to eat an anchovy if I did not meet this goal.
See photos below.
My next goal was to go someplace I have never been. That did not happen either. In fact, we didn't get to travel much this year at all.
My last goal was to get my column in five additional publications during 2008. I pitched the columns to hundreds of newspapers in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi and Arizona. I had positive responses from several papers and they ran a few of my columns for free, but the only paying newspaper I picked up was 280 Living which is in the 280 corridor south of Birmingham. So I count this one as a miss too.
So my goal performance was less than spectacular, I did have some things that I'm proud of:
Both Jilda and I are healthy
We are both happy
We got a chance to spend quality time with our friends and family
We reduced our overall debt by over 10% Both our vehicles are now paid for
Sales of my book have exceeded expectations.
I finished the draft of next years goals a while ago and I will post them tomorrow.
However, don't expect to see any brash statements this year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I've had a lot of jobs in my life. Not all were glamorous. Actually, very few were...well to be totally honest, none of them were. But here's the deal - if worse comes to worse, there are a lot of things I can do.
Pick cotton
Shovel out manure from commercial chicken houses
Chicken catcher (commercial)
Cut grass
Lay blocks
Work on the chain-gang for the highway department
Maintenance mechanic work
Professional student
Repair radio transmitters and receivers (Army)
Newspaper reporter & photography
Gas pumper/windshield washer
Garageman (maintain vehicles)
Telephone installer and repair
Computer operator
Computer maintenance
College professor
Singer songwriter
Heavy equipment driver
Web designer
Promotions coordinator

These are all actual jobs I have held at one time or another in my life. I'm not looking for a job, but in looking back over my resume, it's comforting to know that there is a better than even chance I could find work that I can do.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Three Phases of Christmas

Do you ever wonder why each year when you get ready to decorate for the holidays, you find your Christmas lights wound into what appears to be the world’s largest ball of chewing gum? I have a theory. I think it’s due to what I call the three phases of Christmas.

Phase I happens in late November or early December when you’re channel surfing your car radio to find a decent song. All of a sudden, you hear Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. A smile comes to your face as you realize that Christmas is just around the corner. Soon you get a beautiful Christmas card from an old friend and you remember a Christmas past. Again, you smile!

You write out your Christmas list and begin considering what would make the perfect gift for each of your family and friends. You go shopping early to pick up the gifts for the folks who won’t be home for Christmas. As you approach the store, you hear The Salvation Army bell softly tinkling, and you reach into your pocket to donate a few dollars to those less fortunate.

Phase II happens in mid December when it finally occurs to you that Christmas is HERE! You panic as you begin to wonder how on earth you’ll get everything done before the fat man comes.

You go out to the garage to fetch the Christmas decorations and you’re almost crushed by a gigantic ball of twinkle lights. It takes you days to unravel that mess. While decorating, you come dangerously close to falling off a ladder and breaking your neck. A day later, the jerk next door apparently hires a landscaping firm to decorate his yard, making your exterior illumination look sad by comparison. You’re no longer smiling.

Phase III happens the last weekend before Christmas. You are officially freaked! You go to one of the big city malls and a flock of kiosk operators swarm you like flies on roadkill in August. You get jabbed, poked, pulled, and sprayed with all manner of toiletries and perfume. You walk around smelling like a hooker.

The clerks are so frazzled by ungrateful shoppers that when they say Merry Christmas it sounds more like a snarl. I think what they’d like to say is, “I hope you and your family choke on fruitcake.”

When you get to your car you, discover that you have received a gift that keeps on giving. Apparently, an inconsiderate shopper has unloaded their cart, and rather than park it where it belongs, they simply give it a push down the parking lot where it careens off several vehicles before coming to rest against the door of your car. One thoughtless act - $1200 in ding-damage. Happy Holidays!

By the time Christmas Day arrives, you’re sick of hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” You reduce the possibility of hearing it again by jamming the radio off and tossing the knob out the window. You consider ripping the speakers out of the door but fortunately someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re forced to hurl some obscenities, which takes your mind off the song.

You are so beaten down by the holiday madness that the day after Christmas, you just want it to be over. All you can think about is tossing the tree and getting that junk out of the yard. You go around babbling for hours. You lose all recollection of that day and later, you’re surprised that the decorations made it to the garage.

And…..That’s how your Christmas lights always wind up looking like the world’s largest ball of chewing gum.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

End of Year Stuff

As part of my year-end chores, I calculated our Net worth. It's a little depressing. Total debt is down, but our investments are hurting.
This subject came up Christmas night when we were visiting with friends. As I expected, everyone was pretty much in the same shape with the exception of our older friends. They have almost all their money in bank and they are holding some commercial property. Both are hard to beat right now.
I know things will get better. As the old song goes, "if you ever gonna see a rainbow, you have to have a little rain."
So I haven't dwelled on the down side, I've focused on what it going well. We and our families are healthy, I have a job, my book is selling, and despite all the doom and gloom, I know that things will work out. I am working on my goals for the coming year and I find that exciting.
It's back to work tomorrow, but it will be another short week. Most everyone else has vacation so I should get a great parking space tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Good Day

It's warm enough to swim this evening here in Alabama but there is another line of storms that will move in after midnight that could get nasty. Maybe we should wear football helmets to bed tonight.
Today was a delightful day. Our friend Paul Jones did a surprise birthday party for himself and it was a hit.
He normally does his weekly radio show from the BBQ Caboose on the square in Lynchburg, but it only holds about forty people. Paul needed a bigger venue for his surprise party so he got the Lynchburg Country Kitchen which is a restaurant that went out of business last year. The Kitchen holds about a hundred and fifty people. I'm not sure how many were there today, but it was crowded.
We got to see Charlie Louvin. Charlie was born in Henager, Alabama in 1927. He and his older brother Ira Louvin toured throughout the south. They also had a string of hits in the 50's and 60's. Charlie and Ira have often been called one the most influential duos in Country Music History. Check out Charlie's website
We also got to see a country music legend's great nephew.
I know, when they announced that this guy was Grandpa Jones' great nephew, I was prepared for the worse. Usually when you have someone you think is riding on the coattails of someone famous, you don't expect much. But I'm here to tell you that Phillip Steinmetz is a remarkable performer. He not only sings like his great uncle, but his claw hammer style on the banjo I think is actually much better than Jones. He was funny, and very professional. He was a chip off the old block. Here is Phillip's website.
We couldn't get out of Lynchburg without having some grub from the BBQ Caboose. We ate like it was Thanksgiving and then I slept as I drove home. All in all, it was a good day for the Watsons.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Little Fishes

I dread having to eat the anchovy on New Years. Jilda chided me last year when I made that claim.
I wrote my goals out and the very last line I said "If I do not lose 20 pounds I will eat an anchovy." Jilda, always the mindful said, "You better be serious about losing twenty pounds, because I know how you hate anchovies and your friends won't let you forget that you promised to eat one of those little fuzzy fishes."
Here's the thing, I need to be hard on myself. I need to drop some weight. One of my buddies at works said, "just don't mention it, no one will know." But I'd know. There is no way I would "not" do what I said I would do. I have not lost twenty pounds so watch out little fishes.
Jilda is fighting off a cold so we are going to wait until morning to head out to Lynchburg. I'll try to take a few pictures for tomorrow evening's entry.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Letters to Santa

My Letters to Santa have evolved through the years. When I was a kid, I wanted to write Santa to say, “Please check the Sears and Roebuck Catalog and bring me one of every toy on pages 312 through 427.” My lists would have been massive, and required additional postage. I did worry about what would happen if I angered my jolly, rotund benefactor.

I could almost imagine my huge list pushing him off the deep end. “Not sure what happened officer;” Santa would confess. “When I saw the length of this list, I just snapped. I promptly hitched up Rudolph, went to Alabama, and threw little Ricky into a wood chipper.” I could imagine the arresting officer having one look at my list and saying, “Yep, good call Santa, he deserved to be shredded. It’s best we thin out the shallow end of the gene pool while we can. We’ll code this as justifiable chipping.”

Mom would shame me into keeping my list short. “Son, don’t wish for more than Santa can carry.” Embarrassed by my Christmas cravings, I always pared down my list and honed in on a few special things. One year I asked for a Daisy Pump BB gun, one year a red Huffy bicycle, and one year a new baseball glove. Santa was always more than kind to my family and me.

One thing I learned later in life is that “things” don’t really make you happy. They break, wear out, or simply lose their luster in time. What really brings a smile to my face nowadays are the memories I have collected through the years. They never lose their luster – in fact, they become more treasured as time goes by.

We all know that Christmas is a magical time and that most anything is possible.

If I were making a list this year, it would look something like this:

Dear Santa,

1. I want to spend one more day helping Pap (my grandpa who passed away in 1970) put horseshoes on a mining mule. After the job is finished, I want to sit with him in the shade of his old sycamore tree and drink a glass of Mama Watson’s sweet tea. I’d love to see him pull his can of Prince Albert tobacco from the pocket on the bibb of his overalls and hand-roll a perfect cigarette. His timeworn Zippo lighter was older than I was.

2. I want to take a fishing trip with my dad and two brothers. I want to pitch a tent on the banks of the Tennessee River, catch a mess of crappie and fry ‘em up in a campfire skillet. We always said we’d take that trip one day, but we never did.

3. Jilda’s mom and dad are gone now Santa, but I want to have Christmas dinner with her folks one more time. I want her dad Sharky to give one of his classic blessings, delivered with the eloquence of a country lawyer. I then want to dive into Ruby’s turkey and dressing and eat myself into a stupor. These are the things on my Christmas wish list.

My wife Jilda, our friend Tracy, and I wrote a Christmas song a few years back and the chorus describes what I would truly like for Christmas.

Everyone that I ever loved

Friends and family

Have come together to celebrate

The Christmas of my dreams.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I went out to the mall today and picked up a few stocking stuffers and it wasn't as crowded as I expected it to be.
As I drove home, I could see shafts of sun to the east but in my rearview mirror all I could see was angry black clouds with greenish light seeping in between. When I walked in the door my phone was ringing. My sister-in-law called to tell me there was a tornado warning for Walker County. A storm spotter had reported a funnel cloud. The road I live on dead ends onto Coon Creek Road.
When I walked to the back deck to get a sense of how bad and how close, the wind started blowing rain horizontally and the trees in my yard were swaying like a yard full of drunks. I stepped back inside and grabbed my flashlight. I started herding my dogs to the middle of the house in our safe place. And just as quickly as it had started, the wind died down. The rain kept pouring, but after the squall line blew by, all that was left was water and lightning.
As soon as that was over, I got a call from work and we had a computer down hard. I got on the phone with a sense of dread because it's an older computer and it's Christmas Eve. I could envision being on the phone all night. As it turns out, we managed to remove the defective component and the computer booted right up. I said a silent prayer.
Jilda got home a little while ago and fired up a pizza, and put on some Christmas music. I began to feel better at once.
We have Christmas Eve to ourselves these days. Tomorrow will be hectic, but tonight we'll kick back, maybe watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and open the gifts we give each other.
I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spoiling Younguns

Our great nephews Stone and Breeze came over to spend the afternoon with us. I worked from home today and couldn't devote as much time with them as I like, but we had some moments.
Jilda picked them up just after noon and buckled them in the back seat of the Volvo and headed back to Empire. She made a side trip by her sister's house to pick up some gifts and to take the kids on a tour of the farm.
Her sister Nell, lives in Hull, near where the old mine tipple once stood. She has chickens and goats. Like us, Nell names all her critters and when the kids got out, they rode around the farm on the little four-wheeler truck. When they got to the goat pen, all the goats came running up to greet them. Some of the goats are as small as Ol' Buddy, but some are as big as a Toyota. The kids like the goats from afar, but apparently they freaked out when the furry critters got too close.
They wanted to gather the eggs, but Nell had already gathered them so they were a little disappointed.
When they arrived here, I was working, but it was time for a break. One of the first things they wanted to do was gather the eggs. I grabbed a small basket and headed out to the laying box. I was silently hoping the chickens had laid eggs today. When I looked in the box there were three eggs there. Breeze picked up one as gently as she would a small kitten. Stone gathered the other two and put them in the little basket. When we got to the back deck, Breeze and Stone both wanted to go in through the dogie door. "Have at it," I said. If they went in and out once, they went in and out a dozen times.
Jilda let them cut, design and bake Christmas cookies. The kitchen looked like the scene of a college food fight. Jilda also fixed deviled eggs which is a dish the kids love. I happen to love them too. Jilda fixed a dozen. I ate three, the kids at the rest.
When their dad came to pick them up, they had to show him the dogie door trick. He just howled. These are delightful kids and we both take particular care in spoiling them rotten.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Scuttles of Coal

The fireplace felt good this morning as we drank our coffee. It went down to 19 degrees in the night with stiff breeze out of the north which drove the wind chill down to single digits.
I know this sounds strange, but since I've been doing yoga, the cold doesn't bother me as much. If I can keep my hands and feet warm, I'm fine.
When I was a kid we had coal burning fireplaces in the camp house in Sloss. One of my chores was making sure we had plenty of coal on the concrete hearth. I wore blisters on my hands carrying those scuttles of coal. And later the blisters turned into my first calluses.
We would bank the fireplace at night (smother it down for the night) so that it would burn slowly giving off a little warmth and stay lit all night. In the morning we would take the soot-black poker and stoke the embers. Once it caught its second wind, we'd add some large lumps of anthracite coal that was as black as tar. Before you could say "well parch my bluejeans," it was toasty in that drafty old house.
The old Warm Morning coal stove in the kitchen, heated the front part of the house. On cold mornings, my mom would fire that puppy up and the stove pipe would get so hot it glowed the color of an orange. My mom didn't use that old heater for cooking, but she always kept a kettle of water on there for coffee or tea in case a neighbor dropped by mid-morning.
Our fireplace today is more efficient and much easier to keep burning. And, I don't miss that faint smell of sulfur that comes with burning bituminous fossil fuels, but on cold mornings, that old fireplace felt pretty dang good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Good Time Was Had By All

I'm not sure there is a more enjoyable way to pass some time than in the company of friends. This year, there was standing room only in our small kitchen. I'm not sure why people gravitate to the kitchen, but it is a fact of life. Had I know this when I was building my house, I would have made it all kitchen with a couple small bathrooms off to the side and a bedroom in a closet.
This year, the chili and hot apple cider were the hits. The sun came out today, but the wind out of the northwest would cut you in two so our buddies were ready for something to warm them up.
We just got through cleaning up the kitchen and storing the left-overs. I'll have enough stuff for lunch all week.
I'm whupped...and I'm on call starting at midnight so I'm signing off for tonight. Have a great Christmas week.
Publish Post

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Open House

I've been a little down today and I'm not sure why. It probably has something to do with the fact that I haven't seen the sun in almost a week. I can deal with winter, but sunlight deprivation does a number on me.
We have our open house tomorrow. It's an annual event that always falls on the last Sunday before Christmas Eve. We started in 1983, the year we moved into our house. The only time we skipped the party was a few years back when we had an ice storm.
Some years we have forty people show up and other years we may only have fifteen or twenty. Regardless, we always have a great time. My lovely spouse is a wonderful cook and I suspect that has a lot to do with people coming. I doubt it has anything to do with my wit and wisdom.
This year, two of our oldest and dearest friends won't be able to come. We will miss them, but they are involved with a noble cause that will keep them from attending.
We will play Christmas music on our guitars, drink eggnog and hot apple cider. We will enjoy the company of some of the most extraordinary people on the planet.
I know I will feel better tomorrow, because you can't be in the company of friends and NOT smile.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Drawing a Blank

I just read a quote that nails my current situation. "It has been said that writing comes more easily if you have something to say" ~ Sholem Asch. Truer words have never been spoken. Once I get a topic, I'm off to the races.
I'd rather have a rusty coat-hanger punched through my eye than try to write when I have nothing to say. Tonight I'm drawing a blank. Kick me, beat me, make me write bad check.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Da Weather

The fog was as thick as a milkshake when I got to Walker County tonight. Had I not been familiar with the road, I might have been off in a ditch.
It took me three hours to get to work this morning. Traffic was moving fine and I casually click on the traffic map on my iPhone. It showed a section that was solid red just ahead of me. I had just passed the last place where I could get off so I was hoping the slowdown was in the other lane. It wasn't. Seems an eighteen wheeler got in to it with a huge dump truck and about ten cars were part of the collateral damage. Not sure if there were injuries, but the interstate was a parking lot. I put some soothing music on my phone, turned the engine off and waited until it started moving again.
A rescue vehicle could not make it to the accident because some thoughtful drivers who were trying to get ahead in the traffic took the emergency lanes which also got clogged. Very nice.
Anyhow, I'm home now and I'm in my sweatpants and ready to relax for a while.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winding Down

It's a ghost town at work. I could have parked my truck in the lobby today. Jilda and I don't have kids so I usually work the week of Christmas so that my co-workers who do have kids can spend the time with their families.
It's usually not a bad time to work. It's quite, the phone rarely rings, and you can get caught up on all the year end stuff that needs to get done before the new year arrives.
I'll be review my goals from last year and there is one that is bothering me. I set a goal to lose 20 pounds. I committed to eat an anchovy (which I HATE) if I didn't lose the weight. Not only did I NOT lose 20 pounds, I gained 2.
So on New Year's Eve, I will eat an anchovy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slow Down

There's an old cold rain fallin' tonight. I received a note from the mall saying they were out of my books. I had to get out and make a delivery, which in my view is a good thing. It was misty when I left, but by the time I got to Jasper, raindrops as big as marbles began to fall.
Darkness fell, so Ol' Buddy and I drove slowly eastward toward home.
Just before I reached the Warrior River, a rescue vehicle blew by me and that NEVER is a good thing. I rounded a curve and came up on a really bad accident. The rescue squad had not come to a complete stop when I drove up. People who happened upon the wreck were in the median trying to help the injured. I drove on by and began flashing my headlights to warn oncoming traffic.
Drivers were flying past even with the road slick as freshly mopped floor. I said a prayer for those in the median and I hope no one else got hurt.
It's the holiday season folks, slow down...arrive safe. Don't become a sad, sad Christmas story.

Monday, December 15, 2008


There's a spider on my desk. He may be a Brown Recluse but I'm not sure. When I eased over to the edge of the desk to have a better look, he scooted out of sight.
I'm a live and let live kid of guy, but when it comes to spiders in the house, I draw the line....he's dead spider crawling.
I need to introduce him to my chameleon. Last year we had a young chameleon who wintered inside. Every now and then if you looked really close, you could see him lounging on the avocado tree or checking the lemon tree for aphids.
By spring, he was a good sized lizard and he was ready for some sunshine. Mr. Spider is a different story all together. I've been bitten by spiders before and I can tell you first hand, it's not fun. When I did installation & repair work for Ma Bell, I crawled under houses daily. It was not uncommon to swipe a Black Widow or a Recluse off my coveralls when I came out from under the house.
Goodbye Brownie.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looking Back

I met a lot of fun people today as I signed books at the mall in Jasper. Almost everyone of those folks said the reason they enjoy my columns is because I write about their lives.
I find that fascinating. I guess I thought my family was unique, but as it turns out, we were all in pretty much the same boat.
I have since learned that some people had more money, bigger houses, and better cars, but there were common threads that ran through many of our lives. Broken homes were rare. It was not uncommon to be disciplined by parents, teachers, neighbors and anyone else in authority. If you misbehaved, there was a better than even chance, you'd get busted and pay the price. We learned our manners, and we learned to work.
This environment was exactly what I needed and I thank the Good Lord every day that I had the opportunity to grow up here.
I guess I never realized that so many others who grew up in the south during the 40's, 50's held the same view.
I had a lot of people today ask me about writing the book. I told them to get in a habit of writing every day. I also told them that for the most part, writing is the easy part. Getting out and promoting it is the hard part. A book does no one any good if it doesn't sell.
Time to kick back this evening because tomorrow, it's back to the grind at work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cousin Micky

I talked to my mom a few minutes ago and she told me my cousin Micky has been diagnosed with brain cancer. I'm not sure how advanced or what the prognosis is. I'll get more information over the coming days.
Micky practically lived with us all through my childhood. He is a thread woven into the tapestry of my life. He was witness to many of the things I write about.
In later years we haven't see much of each other, but I think of him often He always makes me smile whenever he is around.
Please hold him in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Ain't Seen The Sun Shine........

I've felt like if been in Folsom Prison this week because "I ain't see the sunshine, since I don't know when". Today was different. By the time we had coffee and read the morning paper, the sun was filtering through the trees in our front yard. The rooster was basking in the sunlight like a dancer on stage.
The dogs get cabin fever so I put on sweat pants, a sweater and my new beret (I feel like I look goofy in it but I'm wearing it anyhow). As I slipped on my gloves, the dogs were ecstatic. When I open the door, it sounded like thunder. The deck was still slick from all the rain so they careened around like pinballs until they got in the yard.
It was still cold and I could see my breath as I walked toward the barn but it felt good to be outside and not under an umbrella.
When I got down to my meditation rock, I saw that the rains had revived the carpet of moss. The sun filtering down through the trees made the scene look ethereal.
My iPhone has a stop watch that I use to time my walks, but it also has a nifty little camera and I snapped this picture for you to see.
This picture does not do meditation rock justice.
After lunch, Jilda had to head off to work and I had errands to run. I ran by the high school and donated a copy of Thinking Big to the library. Sara York who is a friend we have known most of our lives is the librarian. I asked one of the girls who was there reading to shoot a picture.
I can tell you this - doing promotion work is a lot harder than writing. No wonder those folks make a killing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First TV Interview

I was a little nervous this evening. I had my first TV interview on the local channel. The uncertainty was making my stomach do cartwheels. Jilda is an old hand at interviewing because she's done it so much in the past. In the past, we've done work for charities, festivals, art events, educational initiatives and other causes. She's a natural and usually does the media work.
She had to work this evening and couldn't go with me. When I told her I was nervous, she said stop being such a whiny-baby, you're a big boy now. I felt much better after she explained the situation in those terms.
As it turns out, the interviewer was Tommy Combs, a guy that I grew up with. His family, like mine, didn't have a lot growing up, but he has done very well for himself. He made me feel comfortable during the session and hopefully I kept the gibberish to a minimum.
The show will air tomorrow morning so the test will be watching to see if I made a complete fool of myself. Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Snow

Jilda will have to wear Depends tomorrow because there is a chance of snow. I have never known anyone who gets more excited at the mention of the white stuff.
We rarely get snow here so when we do it's always an occasion for a celebration. She will whip up hot chocolate, hot cider, vegetable soup, cornbread, and snow ice cream. We play in the snow as if we were children.
Snowfall usually doesn't last here, so we have to pack a lot of fun in to a short amount of time. The weatherman is saying we could get up to three inches in Walker County, but on Friday it will probably be warm enough to go swimming. So it goes here in the strange and wacky part of the world.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

One Nut

Jilda and I were headed home today. She had some work done on her car and I drove her down to pick it up. We were on our way home and I was following too closely. I know this because a hickory nut fell and hit her car, bounced up into the air and then hit the windshield of my truck.
I looked over on the corner of my windshield and there was the tale-tale ding. Dang it! I exclaimed to myself.
When I got home, I asked if she realized the nut that hit her car, hit mine. She said that she didn't but when we looked in the corner of her windshield, there was a ding in hers too. What are the chances of that happening. One nut, two windshields.

Monday, December 08, 2008

First Day of Vacation

My first day of vacation didn't work out quite like I had planned. I had several things planned but one of my co-worker called early to tell me something interesting. It seems a water main (a big honkin' water pipe) in the street in front of one of our data centers (not at liberty to say which one) burst. One thing led to another and before we know it, parts of our electrical system were under water.
There is a note of caution on every hair dryer you buy that says DO NOT USE THIS UNIT WHILE IN THE BATH TUB. The reason for this warning is that electricity and water are not friends. They don't play well together and when the do get together a mess ensues. Well, that's what happened at our data center.
Thousands of computers worth billions of dollars were chugging along without complaint until the water came. Then they became big ol' boat anchors.
Getting all those computers back up is a slow tedious process. When I called the Outage Bridge to see what was going on, other members of my team were swamped (put intended).
I really didn't have much planned this week except to promote my book, so I joined in on the call and helped.
I just got off the call a few minutes ago....after twelve hours with a phone in my ear. Hopefully things will stay up for the rest of this week and I can have some home-time fun.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Tree

Today was a fun day. After coffee and the Sunday paper, we headed out to Pinehill Farms for a tree. The sky was practically cloudless and the sun felt warm on my face. I checked the temperature on my trusty iPhone and it said it was 47 degrees. When the wind blew out of the north, it made me glad I brought my jacket.
Pinehill was hoppin. I bet there were a hundred cars, trucks and SUV parked willy-nilly all over the farm.
Two gentle old horses stamped and snorted while they waited for the next wagon full of younguns to pile in. When the driver snapped the reigns, they eased off like a turtle on downers and pulled kids around the fifty acre farm. The grown ups hung out around the concession stand sipping hot apple cider.
We've been going to Pinehill for years so we knew the drill. We selected a tree close barn. That's where they tend to the trees that are dug up instead of cut down. We quickly picked out our tree and the lot man had two high school boys hustle over and dig the eight foot Leyland Cyprus.
I took the tag off the tree and went inside to pay while the kids dug. Five minutes later it was in the truck. I laid a five spot on each of the digger-kids and the lot man was waving me out the driveway. We were on our way home before most of the folks figured out what kind of tree they wanted.
I brought the tree in tonight and it always looks bigger inside than when it's outside in the ground. It's a pretty tree and we'll decorate it either Monday or Tuesday and I'll post another picture.
Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Came Up Short

My team came up short tonight. It was a great game and we played well but in the end, we didn't have the horsepower to stay on top.
In years past, I would have been crushed, but these days I tend to wax philosophical. It truly is just a game.
If the sun comes out tomorrow, we are going to get a Christmas tree. The holiday's are closing in and we still have a lot to do, but once we get the tree, the stuff will begin to fall into place.
Jilda still hasn't started painting the Christmas cards. Each year she tries to come up with a unique design, but this year's she's still trying to decide.
I'm guessing she will firm that up tomorrow and stark knocking them out early next week.
I'm calling it a night. Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 05, 2008

College Football

This has been an interesting week in college football. I have a lot of friends who are Auburn fans and I feel badly for them. There is a lot of turmoil down there and I have a feeling it will take a while to get them back on track. They have beat the Tide the last six year. This year was our year.
All the prognosticators say the Tide doesn't have a chance tomorrow in the SEC Championship game. They say the Florida quarterback is the best college football player of all time. I would not argue the fact that Tebow is a gifted athlete. Some say it will be a miracle if Alabama pulls it off.
The thing about it is, I'm worried about the game as I have been about all our games, but this Alabama team is remarkable too. One of the broadcasters said last week that the Alabama team is greater than the sum of its parts. I felt like that is a tremendous complement. Alabama has never had a Heisman Trophy winner, but we've won 12 national championships. The years were 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, and 1992.
Win or lose, I am so proud of our team. We've gone through a lot in the past ten or twelve years.
My gut has been wrong a time or two, but I feel in my gut that we have a shot at this one. You can bet I'll be watching with my mom and trying our best to pull them through.
Roll Tide

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Ol' Buddy is like a rock star at our local bank. Every time we turn into the drive-through to make a deposit Ol' Buddy gets beside himself. He starts wagging his tail and whining and by the time it's our turn at the window he's in your lap and heading for the retractable cash drawer.
Banking at that branch comes to a stand still as all the tellers come over to the window to howdy up with Ol' Buddy.
One of the tellers will say "here's Ol' Buddy" and all of a sudden all of the tellers are at our window. This is the time he puts on a show. When they say something to him through the tinny speakers, he will cock his head like the RCA Victor dog. When they complete our transaction and send the cash drawer back out to us, there is always a doggy treat in it.
Yesterday, Jilda ran by the bank that handles our business account. As she approached the window, Ol' Buddy became excited. Much to his dismay, there was not excitement from inside the bank and it appeared to him that they continued banking as usual. I'm sure the main thought running through his mind was "MONEY CHANGERS!!!!." When money drawer came back out, all that was in there was a receipt, which he promptly chewed up and left the damp pieces on the floor.
Jilda said that Ol' Buddy hopped into the back seat where he rode dejectedly all the way home. I need to have a talk with the banking team at that branch because there is one thing they need to understand - When Ol' Buddy ain't happy, I ain't happy. Either get right with the dog biscuits or we're taking our business elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nothing To Say

None of my standby tricks are working tonight. I took out an old photo album and flipped through it looking for inspiration but it was not there. So I clicked on my Stumble button and saw some really neat things, I wasted about twenty minutes - nada.
I clicked on my "writer" folder of music in iTunes but that wasn't happening either. So I reached for the old guitar. I came up with a catchy new melody, but I found no inspiration in the strings.
So tonight, is one of those nights when I have nothing to say.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Life 101

Tonight is the third anniversary of this Blog. I thought at first it would be an occasional missive but after the first few entries, I felt compelled to carry on.
Since December 2nd, 2005, I have written in some form or fashion every day. I know some days the entries were lame, but as I look back over my work, some are not bad.
It was this Blog, and the reaction of readers, that kept me going. Some time back, I had a co-worker go back and read selected entries and he told me that he learned a great deal about me. The fact is, this Blog contains the stories of my life. Obviously I left out some parts because this Blog is read by people of all ages and all walks of life so I do not wish to be accused to providing too much information. "Dang man, I wouldn't have told that!"
But there is a lot of stuff about the things I love, things I don't care for, my family, and my lovely spouse. I know I have written extensively about her, but I would never intentionally write anything to embarrass her. In fact, if there is ever anything questionable, I run it by her first before publishing. It is this kind of consideration that has kept her from slipping a packet of rat poison in my Tortellini Soup.
It was because of this Blog that I had the courage to approach The Daily Mountain Eagle about writing a weekly column. And it was those columns that are the basis of my first book. I am happy with the sales and I am grateful to all those who have purchased and/or plan to buy a copy of Remembering Big. I have started an outline for my new book with will be fiction. More on that later.
It is my intention to continue writing until I have nothing left to say. Thank you dear readers.

Monday, December 01, 2008

People of the Web

I was using "Stumble", a button on my FireFox Browser that goes out on the world wide web and grabs a website at random and serves it up on my computer. I use Stumble sometimes when I lack inspiration. More often than not, something will come across my screen that generates an idea for an entry. Tonight, I didn't really come up with an idea for an entry, but I did find a fascinating site that talks about seventeen people who did something remarkable on the Internet.
The obvious names were there, Bill Gates and Steven Jobs, but there are others with stories just as interesting.
Click here to see for yourself:

One of the people is the worlds youngest billionaire. I actually read the "Google Story" which is a very interesting book about the two young guys that started Google in a garage.
Most of us have witnessed this incredible journey. Enjoy.

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required