January 27, 2008

Not A Creature Was Stirring

After 11am and I'm the only one at home awake. The dog just wandered out after checking on me, no doubt he's headed back to the warmth and comfort of the bed, cuddled up against Liz, who's sleeping soundly. Even the rabbits are all dozing. I had quietly gone in a short bit ago, thinking that I'd get their morning feeding/cage tidying done, but all was quiet and still, so I crept back out and pulled the door to.

Our son was out very late. I have no idea what time he got home, because he beat us by a few hours at least. Yesterday, on a whim, I told Liz that if she let me nap from 6pm until 8 or so, I'd take her across the state line and she could spend some time playing the slots in West Virginia. We left the house around nine-ish and had dinner at an excellent 24-hour diner across from the Charlestown race track. The kind of place where the menu is about 15 pages of indecision-inducing variety including a full two pages of specials. It didn't hurt that our waitress was cute as a button and had that West Virginia country drawl. She also didn't hesitate to recommend that I stay away from the chili, since "I don't know who made it today, but it doesn't look good at all". It was busy, we had to wait a few minutes for a table, and when dinner arrived it came with an apology because there were nothing better than butter knives available. That last turned out not to be a problem because my pork chops (breaded with cracker meal) were fork tender and Liz's chicken parmesan was the same. We topped off our late dinner by sharing an enormous slice of heavenly cheesecake, easily big enough for two. A few weeks ago at some upscale eatery, Liz paid almost seven bucks for a slice of the same. This was half the price, twice the size and easily twice the quality.

Fat, dumb (me) and happy (Liz), we made the short run to the parking garage at the casino. Midnight on a Saturday is still prime gambling hours, but we found a space right next to the front entrance. Turned out to be the best luck of the night. I had brought a good book, and I settled in at the food court with a tall cuppa while Liz headed out to defy the odds.

A few hours later she pulled up in her power chair to check up on me. I'd gotten up a time or two for a quick stroll to stretch my legs, but mostly I'd been lost in my book. Neither of us had realized that it was after 3am, but Liz was ready to call it a night. The odds won as usual, but that's ok since she had fun and that was the main idea. Winning is gravy as far as I'm concerned.

Right down the street from the track was 24-hour super WalMart, and we had a short list of things we needed. We were going to have to go in the next few days anyways, so we made a quick shopping stop. Sharing the store with basically no one else except the stockers is different, dodging and weaving through the pallets and boxes stacked everywhere in organized chaos. The bunnies needed food, and the produce guy was kind enough to bring out the morning's freshest offerings early when he saw me picking through what was already out. After dealing with the surly drones at our local-est store, it was a little weird to have employees go out of their way to actually be, you know, helpful. I could get used to that.

Car loaded up again, we headed for home. Made one stop so I could get out and stretch and let the cold, cold morning air clear my sleepy head. I half expected a local cop to pull up to find out why we were parked in the darkened parking lot of a small-town strip mall. Got home about 6am, and Liz headed upstairs while I unloaded the groceries and got things put away. I whipped up a light breakfast and we were both asleep by 7:30.

The dog woke me up an hour ago to go out, and I just stayed up so my sleep cycle isn't completely out of whack. While typing this he came back and is curled up beside me, sharing the blanket I've got over my legs. It's Sunday noon now, and I've still got half a day left of a so-far excellent weekend. Hope yours was the same.

Posted by Ted at 12:04 PM | Comments (632) | TrackBack

October 29, 2007

October, You Can Stop Kicking My Ass Now

Wow, what a month.

I cried all over again today about Sam. I've already sent the animal hospital a thank you card because their compassion and professionalism made that difficult time a little more bearable. This wasn't the regular vet, this was another local one who could fit us in when we needed an appointment. So today we got mail from the animal hospital. Inside there was a sympathy card signed by the vet. No advertising, no handy fridge magnet with their phone number, just a very nice card.

Last Friday evening we got a phone call letting us know that my dad is in the hospital. He's got pneumonia and they put him in ICU because of some pretty serious complications. I started to make plans to fly out to Arizona to see him, but he's a fighter and responded well enough to treatment that he'll be going home in another day or two. We've gotten daily updates from his girlfriend but haven't been able to talk to him directly. It seems like we dodged one there.

Lastly, today I got some resolution about something that's been hanging over my head for a while now. Three weeks ago I had a biopsy done on my thyroid gland because they found a "nodule". Today the results came back (FINALLY!!!) and it's fine, normal, benign, whatever you want to call it. I'll be going back in a few months for another ultrasound, just to make sure it's not doing something scary. All the doctors were reassuring me that it looked harmless and wasn't frighteningly rare, but they still wanted all the tests done.

I think I mentioned that at my physical a year and a half ago, the doc put me on meds because my thyroid has slowed way down. This year, there were other indications that something wasn't quite right, so many tests were ordered. That's when they found it.

I went to the hospital for the "ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration". That's what the medical profession calls it. I called it "getting stabbed in the neck". What that means is that an ultrasound tech crushes your windpipe so the radiologist can aim reasonably well as he pokes you with a needle to get a core sample from the ol' carcass. It took them four tries, about an inch and a half deep into my throat, wiggling around inside to get 'em pointed where they wanted, with no anesthetic. The last two hurt like a mother. Afterwards, the adrenaline kicked in and I laughed like a madman (and it *hurt* to laugh) as Mookie led me through the hospital and to the car. I could've driven, but she was sweet enough to go with, so I let her drive. It hurt to talk for a couple of days and I couldn't shave for the rest of the week (boo hoo), and I worried myself sick over the results because they took so long to come back (what are they double and triple checking?!?!?!?). That, and I'm a damned baby.

So that explains the light posting lately. Dog dead, Dad sick, medical results pending... my life has been a freakin' country and western song.

C'mon November!

Posted by Ted at 05:31 PM | Comments (158) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

Thunder Will Never Scare You Again, Sam

We had to put our dog, Sam, to sleep today.
We got Sam ten years ago from an animal rescue. He was four years old at the time. Our daughter Robyn has allergies, so her and I went looking for a dog that she could tolerate being around. Sam jumped up and bit her in the butt, and that's when I fell in love with him. We took him home with us.

His spirit was still strong, but his old body failed him. He's buried now in the backyard, where he loved to be.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 PM | Comments (67) | TrackBack

September 03, 2007

Bachelor Dad - redux

Got back a little bit ago from dropping Liz off at the airport. She's headed to Vegas for the week.

Why does it freak people out when they find out that she's off on her own? The whole idea of a powered wheelchair is that you *gain* some independence! Sheesh.

Posted by Ted at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 03, 2007

A Pause for the Cause

Liz and I are headed to Charlottesville this morning to visit Mookie. Tonight we'll attend La Boheme. I'll be back tomorrow, in the meantime check out The Dangerous Blog (link on the post above this one).

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (103) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Special Day

Today is our 26th Anniversary.

Never My Love
by Don and Dick Addrisi

You ask me if there'll come a time
when I grow tired of you;
never my love, never my love.

You wonder if this heart of mine
will lose its desire for you;
never my love,
never my love.

What makes you think love will end
when you know that my whole life
depends on you?

You say you fear I'll change my mind
I won't require you,
Never my love,
never my love.

How can you think love will end
when I've asked you to spend your
whole life with me?

I love this song as performed by The 5th Dimension. I feel this song every day for my wife.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

Captain, There Be Mookie Here!

I drove down to Staunton, Virginia today to pick up Rachael for her Christmas break. It'll be nice to have her around for a while.

Posted by Ted at 09:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 05, 2006

I suppose I should also mention

I've told you before that oldest daughter Robyn is engaged to be married. The special date has been moved quite often as family commitments and schedules change (her fiancee and future brother-in-law are both military). On Friday, I got a call informing me that the date had changed once again.

Next month.

The reasoning is that since most everyone from both sides of the family will be here for Christmas, that they'll just a have a simple ceremony then. Later they can do something big and churchy if the mood strikes.

These two seem to have their act together, together. Their priorities are: 1. Robyn finishes school (next December graduation), 1. Henry gets promoted (studying hard for the testing), and 3. Have kids, in a few years.

My wife asked if my suit still fit. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

Posted by Ted at 09:01 AM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2006

A Gift for Gift Giving

Of the members of our family, I am, without a doubt, the worst gift-giver. It's not that I don't try or don't care, I just don't seem to have the knack for picking presents that make the recipient go "wow".

Mookie, on the other hand, approaches genius when it comes to giving gifts, at least when it comes to presents for papa.

For my birthday two years ago she bought me a much coveted hybrid rocket motor.

When Mookie went to London this spring, she brought back little presents for everyone, and mine was The British Museum "Little Book of Erotica". It's a digest sized look at naughtyness through history, from the first acknowleged sculpture of "doing it" (11,000BC!) up to Chinese pottery from the 19th century. An excellent gift, and it had the added bonus of shocking her friends when they found out she bought it for dad.

Also from London, she found a man who researched family crests. With some family history to help the search (a Commodore Phipps in the British Navy from the days of sail), they were able to track down which crest belonged to my particular branch of the Phipps family. Then she had a plaque made with the crest on it for Father's Day. It's still in the box, waiting for renovations to complete before being hung on the wall (click for bigger).


For my birthday this year, a small box arrived. When I opened it, this is what I saw:


I knew this was going to be good! You gotta love a company that can put a little whimsy into a surprise. Here's a close up of that little beastie:


And what kind of coolness did Rachael manage this time? Check it out.


It's a pen. It's a rocket. It's a rocket pen. And it launches from the pad. Too cool!

I'd suggest that y'all be very very nice to Mookie from now on, just in case she has occasion to buy you a present.

Posted by Ted at 05:53 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 31, 2006

Happenings around the ol' homestead

Health and well-being:
Thanks to everyone for the good thoughts and prayers. Things are slowly getting better. My boss was kind enough to give me the entire week off from work to take care of Liz while she recovers.

This next bit gets filed under "Me. Me. Meeee!": Two years ago I had a physical and everything was fine. A couple of weeks ago I went in for another and once again things were good. My cholesterol levels went down, which made me happy since they're near the upper limit of acceptable, but for the first time ever my doctor told me to lose weight. Up to this point, I've been getting by on good genes. My health is still excellent, but I'm middle-aged and have to start taking care of myself.

I've also been prescribed medication for my thyroid. Even as a kid in the Air Force my thyroid level was at the lower boundry of normal. Now my turtle-like metabolism has slowed to that of a rock, so I get to take this stuff for six weeks and get tested again to see if it's helping.

New Kitchen:
One nice thing about the company that we're working with on our kitchen remodel is that everything was done at our house. They would come to us rather than us having to travel to their 'showroom' whenever something needed to be taken care of. Yesterday we signed the contract after approving the finalized plans. Cabinets have been ordered, appliances paid for, and painfully large numbers have been written on checks. Demolition starts in about three weeks.

Free time?
Assuming Ernesto doesn't completely puss out and delivers some storm-like weather around here, I hope to be doing a batch of movie watching. If so, look for some movie reviews in the near future.

Blog stuff:
Derek asked if I'd ever listened to his Son of Cheese Half-Hour Power Hour, and I have to admit that I haven't. To be honest, I don't listen to any of the podcasts from my regular reads such as Wizbang!, QandO or Silent Running. The last podcast I heard was the Ken & Squip Show, and that was quite a while back. So there's your answer Derek. I'm pond scum.

I'm tired of that banner above. Look for something new as soon as I get around to it.

Posted by Ted at 08:16 PM | Comments (331) | TrackBack

August 29, 2006

Bitte. Danke.

Long-time readers know that my wife has some health issues. Life threw us a wicked curve last weekend. It's not life threatening, but we both need to be concentrating on her at the moment. If the cautious, initial diagnosis is correct, then things will be back to normal rather quickly. Otherwise, to paraphrase the Grateful Dead, "what a long, strange trip it'll be".

Good thoughts or prayers would be appreciated.

Posted by Ted at 08:35 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 15, 2006

Happy 18th Mookie!

All together now:

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Rachael,
Don't you dare get tattooed!

Posted by Ted at 03:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 15, 2006

An exellent day, although no rockets were involved

Yesterday was my wife's birthday. Liz and I both took the day off and we spent the day together.

There are three things that Liz loves to do: travel, gamble and shop. Me, not so much, but since it was her day that was the plan.

After sleeping in, we headed north a couple of hours to Dover, Delaware, home of Dover Downs racetrack and slot machine casino. We made a couple of stops before gettting there to check out a craft store on the way (Liz bought a couple of small items) and an Atlantic Books Warehouse (I think that's what it was called). Liz was excited to find it, says they're not very common in our area but have excellent prices. We browsed there for quite a while and I scored a couple of computer reference books (tax deductable, yay!) for half price.

After a very nice late lunch, we pulled into the casino parking lot and found a parking spot right in front. Would that be the extent of our luck? Or just a precursor to a run of good fortune?

As a gambler, Liz plays for entertainment. She's happiest on the penny and nickel slots, because her money goes farther and she can play longer. She has a set amount she's willing to lose, and the longer it lasts, the better. Personally, in my life I've probably dropped less than fifty bucks into slot machines, maybe not that much on casino gambling of any kind. Mostly, I wander around and people watch, or stand there and watch Liz play. I enjoy that.

I saw two things worth noting. First, there is a slot machine called "Winning for Dummies", with the standard yellow and black motif and graphics. Pretty funny. Secondly, there was one small area partitioned that contained the high-value slots. In there, I watched a guy drop at least $1500 into a machine at $50.00 a pull. It took him about 20 minutes to blow through that, although when he walked away he didn't seem upset. I guess he's a gambler.

Anyway, back to Liz. She was having a good day. What I did was every time she'd get way ahead, I'd make her cash out and start with a fresh twenty while I would go to the cashier and put away her winnings for "birthday" money. I did that four times, and when we left that evening, she was up over $130.00, playing nickel slots!!!

Next stop, the mall. Liz isn't used to buying for herself, she'd rather spend her money on the kids and I, but this time I was insistant, and she bought some things she's been wanting but couldn't bring herself to spend the money on before.

Traffic behaved on the way home, and for much of the ride we were treated to an amazing light show as a line of thunderstorms was slowly rolling towards us from the Southwest. We started seeing the lightning a long long way off and for a good hour our conversation was punctuated by frequent "oooooooh, that was cool" comments.

One last thing (I won't pretend that this was at all interesting to anyone), one of our local radio stations changed formats (last week?). Big 100 is now playing music that sounds like they're picking from my personal collection, with 60's and 70's rock. The most interesting part is that they've gotten rid of all their DJ's. You get canned commercial breaks and station identification segments, but other than that, it's all music. Considering some of the annoying nitwits that're on the air in this area, that's a very good change.

Happy Birthday, my love. Here's to many many more together.

Posted by Ted at 06:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

We're doing the whole Family Christmas thing today, because the girls both have to work tomorrow.* Our son can't make it home either because of work, both today and tomorrow.

To all my friends, have a wonderful Christmas. May you have peace and joy, and may we all have health, good fortune and prosperity in 2006.

Click this to see a Christmas carol that I wrote years ago.

I sent out "Merry Christmas" emails to a bunch of people, if you didn't get one, check your old email accounts or leave a comment. :)

*Robyn and Rachael both work at a local answering service whenever they're home from college, and no student should pass up a chance for eight hours at holiday double time.

Posted by Ted at 09:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

Happy Birthday!!!!

Oldest daughter Robyn turns 21 today! Yay!

Don't do anything stupid.

Posted by Ted at 02:49 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

Busy stretch (Updated)

Today is my daughter Robyn's surgery. We're headed out in about an hour to run a couple of errands and then to the hospital.

Tomorrow is Mookie's party. So far the RSVP list is 35, with more casual commitments on top of that. By one of those happy accidents of scheduling, tomorrow is supposed to be the nicest day we've had in a long time after a long run of 90+ days with high humidity.

Saturday is putz around the house day. Specifically, Mookie and I will be adding insulation batts to the attic. That's pretty much the end of the energy conservation upgrade we've put into the house over the last few years. New A/C, new attic fan, new windows, new doors, and now the attic. Short of pulling down outside walls, th-th-th-that's all folks!

In further Mookie-related news, an in-state college has been recruiting her rather persistently, to the point of actually calling the house. Now you may recall that Mookie hasn't graduated yet, she'll be a high school senior next year. The college has waived the application fee and offered her the chance to enroll beginning in the fall with a program designed to let her get her high school diploma at the same time she completes her freshman year. They do that by using the general studies requirements (needed for any degree) to do double duty by also fulfilling her required coursework for high school graduation.

There's no obligation, so she's applied. We're all discussing this right now. I'm leaning against it, for the simple fact that her class schedule next year is full of solid classes that will challenge her and she'll be able to use in life. If she were taking 3 study halls and an aide block before leaving early for work I'd feel different, but right now I don't see any need to rush things.

So that's what's going on in my world for the next short while. If I'm quiet, you know why.

(Update) Robyn came out of surgery just fine. She's doped to the gills right now and sleeping. Except for one particular nurse, everyone at the hospital was amazingly helpful and kind. The food in the cafeteria sucked though. Who'da thought?

Posted by Ted at 07:51 AM | Comments (8)

May 24, 2005

Mookie News

She hasn't posted for a while, but she's still very much alive and kicking. In the county we live in, high school juniors must complete a research paper in order to graduate. They're given the entire year to work on it, and a lot of kids just barely squeak by on it (you may have met one this morning when you got your Egg McMuffin).

If there's one thing Rachael (aka Mookie) doesn't need, it's motivation to do well in school, so usually we just get updates on how things are going.

The other night, my wife Liz and I and Rachael went out. Over dinner I asked Rachael how her paper was going. Liz and I sat there stunned as she spoke for 20 minutes on her chosen topic: The National Theater Project, which was part of FDR's "New Deal". Without hesitation, she rattled off names, dates and places, and even tied it in with other similar programs of the day. The conversation went on for quite a while after dinner, even as we walked through a department store looking for something or other she needed (jeans maybe? I forget).

So between that, another huge research paper on the Canadian military in WWII, plus stage managing a show that the school chorus is putting on, she's been a busy busy bee. Yesterday I took her over to the Community College to get a library card and another reference book.

Hopefully, in a month things will settle down for her when school ends. Or maybe she'll just sleep for 36 straight hours and then charge right back into life.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (2)

April 15, 2005

Proud Papa

We got word today that Mookie was selected to attend Governor's School. She's one of only 200 kids from the state to be selected for the Humanities program.

She's bouncing off the walls at the moment, and even the thought of spending all of July in school and away from home doesn't faze her.

Posted by Ted at 09:34 PM | Comments (6)

November 16, 2004

Snippet of conversation

Son: "I've been drinking that crap coffee they sell by the Metro. Why didn't you tell me there was a Starbucks down the street?"

Me: "You live at home. You can't afford Starbucks."

Posted by Ted at 06:35 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004

Hoser no more!

I'm pleased to announce that my oldest daughter, currently attending school in Michigan, has been accepted into Old Dominion University here in Virginia. I'll be heading to the Great White North in early December to help her pack up all her crap and haul it back down here.

Closer to home and in-state tuition rates. Yesssssssss!

Posted by Ted at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2004

Getting older is a bad rap

I said "Yo,"
I said "Yo,"
I said "Yo, yo, yo!"
You be getting' older -
Who be gettin' older?
YOU be getting' older!
That was on the front of my birthday card from my oldest daughter, and the title of this post was what was on the inside.

Even though she's back in Michigan at school, she's grounded.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (6)

August 09, 2004

Safe and sound

Wife and Mookie arrived safely home last night after their whirlwind tour of the great white north - Minnesota and Michigan plus all those states driven through to and from.

Mookie found some old horror movies on DVD in a used book store and got them for me. :D

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004

To Mookie

Sweetie, I hope you don't think I was mad at you last night. I am seriously pissed off, and this afternoon we're going to go take care of it, but I am NOT upset with you.

I really, really, really hate it when something disappoints you like that. We'll make it right and consider it a lesson learned. Ok?

PS. Call me at work.

Posted by Ted at 06:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2004

Just to annoy Robyn

I'll be having lunch today at a local Mexican eatery, and it ain't Taco Bell. MmmmMmmm Yum!

Update: Sweetie, it's just as good, if not better, than El Charro!

Posted by Ted at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2004

Unlike Frankenstein, the green stops at my thumbs

I'm not bragging, I'm just good at non-vegetable gardening. There are a few pictures of this year's work (so far - it's early yet) in the extended entry.

This is a little area I've been putting together for a few years. The clematis is two years old and finally starting to really take off as it climbs the pole and iron bird feeder, You can see the big blue flowers on the clematis, they're spectacular when they really get going. Flanking the clamatis are a pair of dahlias, one pink and one yellow, and the hanging basket has pink petunias that'll grow and spill over. The big orange-liquid feeder is for orioles, not hummingbirds. I got Liz a nice glass hummingbird feeder for Christmas, but she wants to put that in the backyard because she's afraid some kid will break it out front.
These two hostas were transplanted from another bed less than a month ago when they first started surfacing. They're three years old now, and I've moved them each spring looking for the perfect spot.
Here's my holding bed in the backyard where I keep extra hostas of various kinds. Over the last few years I've stashed sedums, hostas, black-eyed susans, shasta daisies, heather, dusty millers and lavender in this bed while I relocated some beds in the front yard. I may as well just put a border around this one and incorporate it into the landscape.

Posted by Ted at 05:21 AM | Comments (6)

May 07, 2004


I caught this exchange between Mookie and my wife.

Mookie: "What is dad's problem? He just chewed me out for nothing."

Mom: "He's grouchy. Hockey playoffs are on, so he'll be short of sleep for a couple of months."

Posted by Ted at 07:51 AM | Comments (6)

May 04, 2004

Blogging will be insufferably upbeat for the rest of the day

I interviewed for a new position Wednesday last, and have been waiting on pins and needles for word.

Yay Me!

No real details yet other than that I'll be staying with my current company, but working in another location.

And I need to do some digging and learn about Web Services. This is going to be serious fun.

Thanks for all the support, my friends. You people rock!

Posted by Ted at 11:35 AM | Comments (6)

April 30, 2004

Worth every penny

They finished up the work on our house Wednesday. I had predicted two full days worth to complete everything, and they spent all day Saturday, Tuesday afternoon and then Wednesday morning to finish up.

It looks gooooood.

We had 9 brand new windows installed, and the frames and sills were completely covered with vinyl - no more painting. Ever. A new sliding-glass door to the backyard, all the soffits were redone with the same vinyl wrap, as were the fascia, roof rakes and some trimwork. We had a minor disagreement about exactly what we contracted for, but after talking to the salesman who originally took the order, they not only did everything that I thought we should be getting, but also did a couple of extra things at no charge. Now that's customer service.

Besides looking great, it'll be much more energy efficient and maybe best of all, I can probably now paint the entire outside of my house in about 3 hours.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2004

Conversation Snippet

Walking through a shopping mall yesterday with my wife, we passed a store called “The Bible Outlet”. I wondered aloud who would buy an ‘outlet’ Bible. Liz said it would be the equivalent of buying “dollar store douche” and that they probably contained the "gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and Justin".

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2004

Happy Birthday to My Love

Today is her birthday. Every day I give thanks for finding her.

Always Be Together

Pablo Cruise

When I look back on our early years
And how we spent so much time in tears
It's a wonder that we're face to face tonight
But something saw us through all those times
Something stronger than you or I
Here we are, and now it sure feels right

Oh I have seen
What your love has done for me
And I could stay with you forever
Oh I, I know
Love like this can't help but grow
That's why, we will always be together

When you left me all alone
I could have made it on my own
But part of me was missing
And when we had so much to say
All the words got in the way
Until we took the time to listen

Oh I have seen
What your love has done for me
And I could stay with you forever
Oh I, I know
Love like this can't help but grow
That's why, we will always be together

When I look back on our early years
And how we spent so much time in tears
It's a wonder that we're face to face tonight
But something saw us through all those times
Something stronger than you or I
And here we are, and now it sure feels right

Oh I have seen
What your love has done for me
And I could stay with you forever
Oh I, I know
Love like this can't help but grow
That's why, we will always be together

Always be together

(repeat and fade)

Posted by Ted at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

Happy Birthday to My Love

Another favorite song lyric that touches on my feelings for my wife.

God Only Knows

Beach Boys

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I’d be without you

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Well life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows

(repeat and fade)

Happy Birthday, Liz.

Posted by Ted at 05:57 AM | Comments (2)

April 12, 2004

Happy Birthday to My Love

It's my wife's birthday this week, and Munuviana just happens to share the 14th with her. She was born on Easter day, so the meticulously nosy could figure out how old she is.

This is a song that's special to us both.

She & I


She and I live in our own little world
Don't worry about the world outside
She and I agree
She and I lead a perfectly normal life

Ah but just because we aren't often seen socially
People think we've got something to hide.
But all our friends know we're just a little old fashioned
She and I


Oh ain't that great
Aint it fine
To have a love someone that others can't find
Aint it wonderful to know all we ever need is just the two of us
She and I
So wonderful
She and I

She and I share with every body else
The same wants, needs and desires
She and I save
She and I pay on everything we acquire

Ah but just because we aren't often seen separately
People think we live one life.
Its hard for them to see how anyone could be as close as
She and I

repeat chorus

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (5)

March 26, 2004

I surrender

I've been fighting the flu all week, and I'd have stayed home a couple of days except that I've had important stuff to do at work.

It's friday, it's beautiful, and I've had it. I'm going home. Look for more this evening, after a long nyquil-induced nap.

Don't forget that Rocket Jones is hosting the symphony next week, so keep the submissions coming. Scroll down for details, I mentioned it somewhere. Blah.

(heh heh, I said "submission")

Posted by Ted at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2004

Long Night

We got home last night after 1am, thanks to a 7 hour stretch at the ER. Everyone's home, everyone's fine. Everyone's still asleep, except for yours truly, who has to hit the pharmacy when it opens in about 45 minutes.

It's going to be a long zombie-like day. Maybe I can get a nap this afternoon.

Beal. It's what's for dinner.

Update: I've slept for a few hours, and Mookie and I are still going to a rocket launch tomorrow. :D Thanks for all the kind words and well-wishes.

Short version: Wife Liz has had a headache on the left side of her head since Saturday last, and it got bad enough yesterday to see the doctor (she doesn't suffer from migraines). Doc found a suspicious mass at the back of Liz's head and sent her to the ER for a CT scan.

Wait. Wait. Wait. See doctor, get CT scan. Wait. Liz has sinus infection on left side (all 4 - my dear overachiever), and the mass is a bundle of muscle that's spasming from the ensuing headache pain. IV with painkillers, then with antibiotic, and handful of prescription slips to take home. And that's the key, she got to go home. Most of the time a trip to the ER for her means automatic admission.

She's doing ok, not great, but ok. The doctor said it'll be a few days before she starts to feel better. With the Fibromyalgia that Liz has, the pain is not an uncommon thing, just the cause is different this time. I've said it before, if it's bad enough that she's complaining about pain, I know it's bad enough that I'd be on my knees begging to die.

Once again, thanks my friends, for your good thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Ted at 08:15 AM | Comments (9)

March 16, 2004

Sam = Karl

Our dog Sam has always been a grunter rather than a barker. But as he gets older, his voice is getting deeper, to the point that now he sounds like Karl, played by Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade.

"I'd like me some of those french fried potatoes. Mm-Hmmm."

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2004

Haircut Day

Not for me (though I certainly need one), but for the dogs. A few times during the warm months, Liz and one of the daughters gets down on the floor and shaves Sam and Trix. It's a two-person job, and I only get involved towards the end when the dog has had enough and starts to really squirm.

The dogs do appreciate the results, but at best only tolerate the process. If Liz didn't do it, I'd probably just schlep them down to PetSmart or something and pay to have someone else deal with it. Liz soothes and talks and plays quiet music while she does it, whereas I'm the "Sit. Stay." kinda barber. She's also a lot more particular about results. To me, short is good enough, I'm not gonna worry about making a dog beautiful.

Sam is first today, and Trix (the younger) is clinging to my side, fretting and having mini-nervous breakdowns every time Sam whines or yelps. If I sit down, Trix the empath wants up in my lap and snuggles in, worried to death.

Liz just hollered down the stairs that we now have three dogs, the pile of hair removed from Sam being large enough to have it's own name. The birds are gonna love it when we put the fur out for nest building.

To compensate for not helping with haircut day, I take care of the crappy little chores that nobody gets around to around the house. This morning I've cleaned the aquarium, dealt with the houseplants and overwintered outside plants in the basement and might run to the grocery store later.

Liz calls it "guilt putzing".

Posted by Ted at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2004

Sometimes I feel like changing my name to Gomez

Mookie posted her report on Arsenic.

I chose Arsenic because it seemed to me to be the most sinister, and fun, of all 115 elements.


Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (5)

March 06, 2004

Smithsonian Trip

Every time I visit the Smithsonian Museums, I am awed at the national treasures available for all to see.

These are rightly described as treasures, and they aren't hidden behind massive vault doors. It's emphasized often in each museum that the contents belong to the entire American people. You get the sense that you're not being allowed to see the items so much as that the caretakers are making sure that everyone gets the best view possible.

To say I don't like the city of Washington DC is an understatement. I believe that if they were to give Uncle Sam an enema, the nozzle would be inserted in DC. But I also think that everyone should spend a couple of weeks visiting Washington, because there is just so much history to see. I hate DC, but I also sincerely recommend it as a vacation destination for all.

We started our trip by driving to the nearest Metro station and parking there. The DC Metro system is excellent, it's much easier than trying to find a parking spot in DC, plus the metro fare is less than parking in the city. Plus, the metro took us to within a block of the National Museum of American History, our choice for the day.

We had a 5 minute wait to get in, standing in line as everyone went through security checks. When it was my turn, I handed over my car keys and pocket watch, walked through the metal detector, and buzzed it. Stepping back through, I realized that I was still holding my umbrella. I handed it to the guard and set off the detector again. Hmmmm... doing a quick pat of my pockets, I realized that I was carrying (as always) my Swiss Army knife. Wondering what kind of reaction I'd get, I pulled it out and put it on the table, then walked through the detector again. No problem this time, and the guard handed me my things without a second glance at the knife.

So let's get to the treasures, eh? We started on the third floor and worked our way down. First up were the music exhibits, including two really nice features on Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

A display case full of Star Trek stuff caught my eye, and when I wandered over to look I saw the really cool stuff. There were three more displays in a nook: one had the original ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz, another had one of Dizzy Gillespie's trumpets. The third case held (get this), Muhammed Ali's boxing gloves, Sonja Heine's ice skates, a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, a Michael Jordan Bulls jersey, a sweater from the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Olympic hockey team, and tennis racquets from Arthur Ashe and Chris Evert.

I'm going to quickly mention a few other nifty items, and then get to the real 'wow' stuff. There was a very impressive exhibit about the First Ladies. Money, clocks, transportation (many restored vehicles, I'd love to see what's stored in their warehouses). Archie Bunker's chair. The key to the padlock of rod 21, which is the one removed to start the chain reaction on the worlds first nuclear pile.

It takes more than "stuff" to make a museum come to life, and the Smithsonians are world-class. They use innovative displays and lots of hands-on, you don't just look at the exhibits. They use sound and touch as well, and it's consistantly impressive.

Ok, the 'wow' things:

The top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln on the night he was assasinated.

Everyone has seen that picture of the workers unfurling the American flag from the roof of the Pentagon when they began making repairs. That flag is now hanging in the second floor rotunda, and you don't appreciate just how huge it really is until you stand in front of it and look up and up and up.

The space suit worn by Alan Shepard on board Freedom 7, making him the first American to go into space.

The Star Spangled Banner. Not the song, but the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry that inspired our National Anthem. It's being restored, and just the glass walled room showing the restoration equipment is pretty amazing. Without a doubt, this was the highlight for me.

We just skimmed the museum today. Realistically, there is just so much to see and absorb that each building of the Smithsonian is a two-day visit. You really should make the trek at least once, you won't regret it.

Posted by Ted at 09:38 PM | Comments (3)


Wife is working today and our oldest daughter heads back to college in thawed Michigan tomorrow, so the girls and I decided to head into DC this rainy Saturday and visit the Smithsonians. I wanted to see something artsy, Mookie preferred something sciencey, and Robyn wasn't around to throw in her two cents so that's just too darn bad for her, eh? We compromised on the National Museum of American History.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm kinda sick of the Air & Space Museum and Natural History Museum. All out-of-town guests want to go see these two, and I was right across the street from Air & Space when I was working at the Department of Education. So I'm very familiar with it. Too familiar. On the other hand, it's been awhile since I've been to the American History building, so I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by Ted at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2004

Mookie-free weekend

Mookie is at her best friend's house for the weekend, a couple of counties south of here. They're going to a Junior ROTC Military Ball, and she won't be home until Sunday. Not that that leaves us child-free, because oldest daughter Robyn made it home from Michigan yesterday afternoon.

We've raised a couple of chatterboxes. Sheesh.

I've been sitting here thinking about this house we live in. Fourteen years now. It's the only house Mookie remembers.

Tonight we signed the contract to have new windows and back door installed. I have no doubt that they'll pay for themselves in a year or two, but still, it's a lot of money. We heard from a neighbor that a house down the street sold for an obscene price, which I love to hear. The slumlord has been fixing up the house next door and supposedly he's selling too. Good deal, if it's true.

It's after midnight, the ladies are long in bed, and Freddy vs. Jason just finished on the DVD. No review coming for this one because I'm not a big gore fan. A friend lent it to me so I'm watching it. It's not a bad movie for the slasher genre, but it's not something I'd normally watch.

I also have the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre to watch this weekend (much more to my taste). Expect a review of this along with a comparison with the recent remake when it's released in the near future.

Posted by Ted at 12:43 AM | Comments (2)

February 27, 2004

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo

Oldest daughter is coming home from college for a week. Dad's doing a happy dance. Lansing might be closer, but that city never had a song nearly as fun written about it.

Posted by Ted at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2004

It's a conspiracy!

Last week Mookie tried to kill me in the shower. This morning Sam the dog tried to finish the job. I walked downstairs into the basement, and right at the foot of the stairs he left a puddle, invisible on the linoleum. There was nothing graceful about the crash this time, and luckily nothing beyond my dignity was bruised. Sam did have the decency to stand at the top of the steps and look mildly concerned, but I suspect he was worried I wouldn't be able to make the walk into the pantry for his morning treat.

All of this brings up a question for all you pet owners and animal lovers. I'll see if I can make sense of it and post it at lunch. I'll be interested to hear your opinions.

Posted by Ted at 06:36 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2004


Ladies, when you use your potions in the shower or bath, please Please PLEASE rinse the tub out completely when you're done.

Guys are easy, I have soap, and I have yellow shampoo to wash my hair. Once in a while, for a change Liz gets me the blue shampoo. Simple, eh?

The ladies seem to need fourteen bottles and jars of every shape and color and scent, which is ok. Really, as long as you rinse the tub.

This morning, I turn on the water, step into the shower, and immediately careen the length of the tub like Sonja Henie on crack until I crash into the far wall. The judges loved the originality, but deducted style points for the cursing.

You're going to kill us with crap like this! And if you're trying for that, we don't want to know. For myself, I'm going to stop at Home Depot on the way home and pick up the biggest damn sheets of wet-sand paper I can find, and epoxy them to the floor of the tub.

And WD-40 the toilet seats.

Posted by Ted at 05:43 AM | Comments (8)

January 06, 2004

Good news

Just heard from oldest daughter Robyn, who's back in school up in tropical Michigan. She's been working with the admin folks to see if she would get credits for her high school International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.

Thanks to the IB courses and the community college classes she took, after one semester she's now officially a sophomore.

(proud papa mode on) She's majoring in math, with a minor in education, and talking about going on for her Master's at Michigan State so as to teach at college level. (screw it, I'm proud and it's staying on for awhile)

Posted by Ted at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2003

Musical tastes

Oldest daughter forgot one of her CD's when she went away to college. I threw it in my case so it didn't get scratched up, and it's been sitting there for a couple of months now. Today at work I popped it into my little boom box.

Robyn, I mean this in the most loving way possible: you have rotten taste in music.

Posted by Ted at 08:06 AM | Comments (3)

October 14, 2003

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Today is my daughter Robyn's 19th Birthday. Have a great one kiddo, and remember what Dad told you; sex is really really painful until you're 30 years old.

Posted by Ted at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

To Robyn

Care package is on the way. Sweaters and sweatshirts and cookies. Stay warm sweetie.


Posted by Ted at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)

September 08, 2003

Thanks to my family and friends

It's been a very good day, and I'd like to say thank you for all of the special wishes and good things sent my way.

My blog-friends, you've all become very special to me in a very short time, and the only way I could feel more affection for you would be if you provided sexual favors and/or cash (to be negotiated separately from each of you).

On the family front, I heard from both kids who have already fled the nest, had a very good dinner waiting for me tonight, and after my favorite cake (spice w/ vanilla frosting, decorated with skulls & crossbones in black icing - I've been told that that's very cool), I was presented with a Sears gift card, DVD's of Animal House and Monty Python's Meaning of Life. Then my wife topped it all off by letting me know that she had made a substantial contribution to Ted's Big Honkin' Rocket Motor Fund. As Mookie would say: Woot!

Posted by Ted at 09:28 PM | Comments (4)
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