Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Another complaint I hear is that "they" (choose your minority) are coming to America uninvited and illegally. Really? That is your arguement? How about this: Inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is a bronze tablet that is inscribed with the following poem by Emma Lazarus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your toried pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homelss, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The idea that any one of us is somehow better than another because we were born on US soil seems a bit strange to me. At some point in the history of nearly every person in the United States, there is an ancestor that came here from another place. Even native american ancestors migrated here at some point in the past. So to say you are better than someone that migrated here weeks or months ago is just rediculous.
On the flip side of this coin I do see another somewhat rediculous thing happening though. Our government is giving benefits to the illegal alien as well as their families. This is the part of the story that is wrong to me. Let me explain my point of view on this.
The United States is in an economic shortfall to say the least. We are in trouble for our future generations financially as well as the current generation. And yet we are giving away money in the billions to welfare recipients that are illegally in this country. People that have no intention of becoming legalized citizens in this country, and that pay nothing into the system through taxes or otherwise, should not be given access to any Government Financial aid of any kind.
If the US government really wants to fix the immigration issues, they should probably look first at how much money they are giving out to keep people coming into America illegally. When you take the profit away, the problem will resolve itself. Or so it makes sense.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Okay, so now that we've established that I'm a couch potato, lets move on to what's been going on since I last posted.
First, the bad. I am once again a smoker. Well... kind of. I fell off the wagon when drinking on several occasions over the past two months or so. I finally admitted it to myself a week or so ago and bought a pack of cigarettes. To date though, I have only smoked a few and it's only been when I was drinking with friends on the weekends. I know, that's how it starts and I am as disappointed as I'm sure some of you are. But hey, life will go on... until I die a horrible death from lung cancer or other smoking related issues. On the other hand, to date I really haven't wanted to smoke during the week. So maybe I'll just stop drinking on the weekends and... ah who am I kidding. :-)
The new puppy... err MOOSE is doing great. He still chews things up occasionally if you leave them down. Oh and you can add the satellite remote to the list of casualties. Although it still works, it's missing some of my favorite buttons. :-) He joins me at work a few times a week which is giving him a change of scenery and some much needed exercise as we go for a walk on my lunch break. It's also getting me off my lazy and expanding rear end for some much needed exercise. The other people in my office love him and he is quickly becoming a loved member of the office staff. When I don't bring him (if I have errands to run on my lunch break or something) everyone stops by my area of the office to see where he's at. Here's a photo of him at Christmas. He's so agreeable he would have kept the bow on all day if it would have stuck.
He's up to around 75 pounds and he is very curious about everything that moves. That being said, it was Solo that was sprayed by the skunk last night. Our house is still filled with the fragrant reminder of Solo's curiosity... or stupidity since it's the 4th or 5th time. Good thing he has such short thin single coated hair.
Ok, so Jack is great.... what else has been taking up time? Oh, we went wheeling again. Went up to our friends cabin for New Years.
In town as we were leaving a freezing rain storm was blowing in. A few miles up the mountain where this picture was taken, the wind was blowing to beat hell, drifts were growing, our tracks were filling before the tires had left them and it was snowing. As you can see by the look on my face it was a little chilly. We stopped here to loaf (let air out) our tires to get better traction. That trusty old Jeep from last year made it all the way to the property without incedent... then I drove it. In a little more than 400 yards with me behind the wheel, the slave cylinder for the clutch exploded in the bell housing. For those of you that don't know much about mechanics, that's bad. Basically it means that when you push the clutch pedal, there is nothing. Driving down the next day was even more interesting. Put it in 1st, and turn the key. The Jeep crawls forward as the engine turns over and then it fires up and you lurch forward. To go faster you time it just right and shift. If you miss a gear, turn the engine off, put it in first and try again.
Other than that minor little issue, the trip was fun. We hung out with some great friends and were surrounded by nothing but trees, 4x4's and a seemingly endless supply of food and drink. Needless to say I wasn't feeling so great the next morning. I didn't have a rig to drive around the mountain so I compensated with a beer can. Oh, and I recently began making Liquid Apple Pie. If you've never had it, you're missing out. Tastes just like Apple Pie only it's made with 190 proof Everclear. We had some of that up there that night too. :-)
Shortly after my last post, Dena and I went to Seattle for the funeral service for my Grandma Stephens. I've been to... too many funerals over the years. They are usually somber, quiet and rightfully depressing. Most of the funerals I've been to have also been on my mothers side of the family and to put things mildly, there is a lot of depression on that side of the family anyway. So with that expectation in mind, I was not really looking forward to this type of family reunion.
Thankfully, I underestimated the Stephens family. I would like to extend a very warm thank you to all of you who attended. Especially Kim, Aaron, Andy and Doug who traveled quite a distance to be there. It was not depressing, or sad, or... a funeral really. Sure, there was a church, but Bob was swearing in it and didn't burst into flames or get struck by lightning... so it's all good. I love my family a great deal. One of my Grandma's fears is that once she died, we wouldn't all get together like we have for as far back as I can remember. If her funeral was any indication of whats to come... I'd have to say the opposite will happen. I think it brought the family closer together. I was happy to see family I hadn't seen in a long time, and more happy to see family I'm not sure I ever had seen. If everyone had a family like mine, the world would be a better place. Left to right: Adam, Doug, Kim, Me, Chris, Andy, Michele, Aaron. There were several cousins missing from this picture, but we did get to see most of them at the funeral service. We need to do a once a year cousin get together... I'll even host if anyone is interested. I live in northeast Oregon just south of Walla Walla, WA. Between local hotels, our house, our property, Chris' house... we'd easily be able to accomodate everyone. If anyone is interested let me know and I'll take charge and get something planned.
Until next time loyal followers, I bid you farewell. Stay healthy, stay happy, and enjoy every minute life gives you. I love you all.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
two books (one of which I wasn't finished reading yet)
my favorite slippers
stuffed animals (too many to count anymore)
and the big item is the bedroom carpet.
Now, to his benefit, the carpet was my fault. I locked him in the bedroom without Dena's dog Solo, so he scratched at the door and the carpet flipped up. Well, the rest is history.
This destruction happened over the course of three days. We went out this last weekend and bought hard bones, rawhide, and a few other chew toys for him and so far so good. He does still have the taste for newspaper, but it's all crap anyway so it may as well end up that way... right?
It's been a very long time since I've had a puppy to deal with so this is a learning curve. It's amazing how quickly he is learning though. things that he couldn't do a couple of days ago he now does without objection. You know, things like "Lay down" and "sit". Things that you take for granted when you haven't had a puppy to train for a while. Oh, and how to walk on a leash or more importantly how NOT to walk on a leash.
Yep, it's all falling into place quite nicely. He's a great dog with a wonderful disposition. He's very loving and enjoys the kids too. It was touch and go when he ate the carpet, but I think we'll keep him... :-)
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
My Dad doesn't call me. Not on Christmas, or my birthday or Father's day, or any other day unless there is bad news, or they are coming for a visit. Visiting season is gone. So I took a deep breath and I answered the phone fully knowing what was about to be said.
Dad called to let me know that my Grandma had passed away. It was peaceful, and to be completely honest was expected. She has been going down hill for quite some time and we've all be preparing for this day since around August (if memory serves). She is not suffering any longer and that was enough to put the world into perspective.
My Grandma was an amazing woman. She gave birth and raised 12 productive and self sustaining children. How they all lived I have no idea, but just for that one accomplishment (or 12 if you will) she should be made a Saint. She loved everyone like there would be no tomorrow, nor was there a yesterday. She understood even when she didn't understand. She was everything that we should all strive to be. The world is a little worse off without her. I'm glad for her that she is no longer suffering in any way. And I'm glad that her and my Grandfather (died in 1975) are together again. Most of all, I'm glad for the time that I had with her, and the ways in which she touched my life.
I am sad for the loss that we all feel because we will not see her for some time. As we all learn early in life, that's the way it goes. We love you Grandma. We'll meet again. Until then, thank you for pulling me out of my bad mood last Friday.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here is what it looked like when it left our house 4 years ago: A little beat up, and in need of some immediate engine work, but it was a running and driving car. It's a 1973 Plymouth Duster with a small block V8 and an automatic transmission. I got it from the original owners son in trade for my old 78 Ford 4x4. Here's the story as I remember it.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I made the mistake halfway through my vacation of checking my work email. It was a mistake because I found that one of my techs decided to quit without leaving the customary 2 weeks notice. To her defense, she did leave almost a week... kind of. However she had told me two weeks prior that if she decides to leave she will give 2 weeks notice... whatever... water under the bridge. Just makes my return a little more stressful. Especially since the one tech I have left was cut to very part time a while back and has planned things up for the next 2 weeks. So basically it's me for the next two weeks. I have a little help from my network administrator but due to him not doing this job on a day to day basis he doesn't know that he needs to follow a few areas to keep on top of things. It's a constant battle of catch up from open tickets to voicemail and so on. He's doing better than previous times he has needed to help out though. And his help is VERY APPRECIATED!!! Thank you Mike!
My vacation did start out on the right foot though. We went camping over Labor Day weekend. It gave us a chance to take the new Jeep into the mountains and test it out on some light off roading. :-) I did go through a ditch or two. And my little Jeep did excellent! I did put a very minor ding in the windshield frame that I'm not convinced wasn't there before hand. It also came home with twice the weight in dirt and dust. :-) But it was fun, and that's really all that matters. :-)
On Labor Day my friend Erik and I were getting a load of firewood for his house. My foot slid out from under me and before I could get to the chain break, the chain saw and bounced off my leg. As you can see in the picture below, it's not a big deal. Just a minor flesh wound:
That is my index finger to give you a point of reference as to the size of the "scrape". Just enough to make me remember to check my footing before I start a cut, or finish a cut in this case. I got very lucky and I know it.
The remainder of my vacation went fairly smooth. My brother Adam and his girlfriend Kellie came to visit us from Wednesday through Sunday. It was great to see them and we had lots of time to visit. Saturday we had a rather large BBQ even by our standards. I think when I counted there were (including kids) 27 people there. Judging by the "beer mote" (a ring around the fire pit where everyone throws their beer cans to keep the yard clean) we had more than that there though. It's full. Yes, still. I was tired yesterday and didn't want to clean the yard. I'll get to it tonight.
Well, that should pretty well update everyone. I hope all is well with everyone.