My 2014

December 30, 2014

The older I get the faster time goes by. 2014 blurred by at the speed of light! Is the the clock going faster or am I less able to cope with change? Or is my life busier? Regardless, 2014 did have it’s higlights. Here they are in no particular order.

  • Danube river cruise – We take a BIG vacation every other year. This year was a Danube River Cruise with extended stays in Frankfurt and Budapest. We enjoyed every second and definitely plan on taking another river cruise. Its a simply marvelous way to tour an area. For more detail: European Vacation
  • 50th high school reunion – Seems like 1964 was just yesterday. 39 of us graduated in May 1964. 27 are still with us and all but 4 were able to make it to the reunion. The venue was old Alexis High Gymn which brought back many memories. I had a wonderful time catching up on the last 50 years with a bucnh of really good people.
  • Austin born December 29 – Our 5th grandchild born December 29. A healthy boy weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Mother and baby are doing well,  Dad is recovering. I’m sure he will grow up to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.
  • Big brothers visit – My older brother and his wife visited us this year. My youngest brother and his wife live in the area. I really enjoyed spending time with them. Made me realize how precious famiies are.
  • Remodeled house – It all started out when I mentioned I’d like to tear out the shower and replace it with a walk in shower. Before I realized what was happening we remodeled the bathroom, kitchen, pantry, patio, and replaced all the carpet with wood floors. I glad we did it but would not want to live through is again.
  • Old Crow concert – We saw the Old Crow Medicine Show at the Dallas House of Blues. I don’t go to many live music concerts but can’t imagine any being more amazing than this group.
  • Nashville trip with son’s family – We and our son’s family packed our bags and headed out on a road trip to Heber Springs Arkansas, Memphis, and Nashville this past Summer. Ate great barbecue, ate great breakfasts, attended The Grand Ole Opry, and generally had a wonderful week. For more detail: Nashville Vacation
  • Cub game on the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field – On our way to my 50th high school reunion we watched a Cub game in their 100th year at Wrigley Field.
  • WineThirty – My oldest daughter and her husband opened WineThirty, a wine bar in Murphy Texas, this year. We really enjoyed our weekly trips there to enjoy a glass of fine red wine and even finer conversation.
  • The road to Master Gardener – I became a certified Master Gardener this year. The journey encompassed most of the year. It involved taking classes, manning the help desk, pulling weeds, spreading mulch, planting, taking measurements at the research garden, and enjoying the company of a group of really fine people.

My rules writing this post were:

  1. Write down the 1st 10 things that pop into my mind.
  2. Don’t change any of the items after the thought popped into my head.
  3. Write only one of two sentences for each item.

My 2013

January 2, 2014

Executive Summary for people that only read the 1st line of emails: I retired. We took numerous trips trying to make up for lost time. We spent a lot of time with our grandchildren.

Lessons learned:

  • There is no privacy on the Internet
  • Backup everything on your computers several times

What Happened

For everyone else, another year has come and gone. Every year seems to flash by faster than the year before.  This year  was no exception.  Here’s what went down:

  • January: The year started out with Gwen staying with Sara and Mike to help take care of our newest grandson Paxson who was born on December 19, 2102.

    Paxson's 1st birthday

    Paxson’s 1st birthday

  • January 22-25: mini-Vacation to San Francisco.
  • February 16: Gwen’s laptop died. This was a very traumatic experience for two reasons. First, I had not backed up her Outlook “pst” file and quickly discovered it contained all her important data. It’s now December and has taken most of the year to recover. Secondly, we bought a Samsung ultrabook laptop.  Its a really good computer but the OS is Windows 8.  Microsoft really made a big mistake here by putting the Windows phone interface on computers!
  • March 15-22: Rangers Spring training trip in Sunrise.  Stayed in Sedona.  One day trip to the Grand Canyon which never ceases to leave me breathless at the first site. Also, hiked around Sedona quite a bit and dined at some great and not so great restaurants. Our two favorite’s were Beckett’s Table in Phoenix and Elote in Sedona.
  • March 28: Retired after 39 years at E-Systems
  • April 29: Took a nice long bicycle ride but half way through the ride a rammed a parked pickup doing 15 mph.  My ribs took the full impact of the collision. I did not break any ribs. However, I bruised the bones in my sternum and sprained the ligaments. The end result is breathing hurt for three weeks. I could not sleep laying down for a month, read sleeping in a chair. And my ribs were sore for 4 months.  Don’t ask me how it all happened because I don’t know. I saw the pickup and thought I was clear of it but apparently not.
  • June 1-14: Baseball and visit family vacation to St. Louis, Monmouth, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The new Busch Stadium is a great place to watch baseball. It’s downtown and within walking distance of many hotels and restaurants.  The downside to Busch Stadium is the food concessions there are dark and boring. Wrigley Field is an icon and a must see for any baseball fan. The Red’s park was easily the best of the lot. The stadium is downtown with a great view of the Ohio river. The concessions are outstanding also.

    Reds ballpark

    Reds ballpark

  • July 3-5: mini-Vacation to Ft. Worth with Andy, Kara, and Averi Grace to see the Stockyards, Museum of Modern Art, and the Symphony perform at the Botanical Gardens.
  • July 11-19: Vacation in Colorado. Started out in Pagosa Springs.  Spent a few hours at the hot springs and developed a great sunburn.  Dined at a couple of good restaurants.  Then drove up the spine of Colorado to Steamboat Springs stopping at Leadville for lunch on the way. This is a very spectacular drive. I’d recommend it to anyone.  Outside of Chicago, The High Mountain Pies in Leadville has the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. This was our first time at Steamboat Springs.  We loved it and plan to go back.  More to do here than Pagosa Springs including restaurants.

    Clear blue Colorado Mountain Lake

    Clear blue Colorado Mountain Lake

  • September-November: I signed up and attended the Colin County Master Gardener classes this fall. I am now officially a Master Gardener Intern.
  • September 27 – October 3: Vacation to Great Smoky Mountains and Arkansas Ozarks with our firends Vicky and Paul to see the Fall color. Unfortunately the Fall color came after we left but we did purchase a really neat kitchen table.
  • October-December: Gwen went back to work for two months. She really enjoyed the work but neither of us liked getting up a 5:30AM.
  • December 05: the Mother of all Ice Storms slams through Dallas
  • December 28: Claudia and Chris opened WineThirty in Murphy at the end of the year.
  • On the downside some good friends passed away including Rick Trimble. He was always a joy to be around and never met a person he did not like. On the famous side we lost Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, and Peter O’Toole, and Lou Reed.  Not so famous was  Doug Engelbar who invented the computer mouse.

Bests of the year:

  • Best musical performance: Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s “Pines of Rome.”
  • Best book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman
  • Best song: “Beggar in the Morning” by the Barr Brothers
  • Best day: March 28 – the day I retired
  • Best movie: I only saw two at the theater but the best was “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.”
  • Best Experience: Playing with the grandchildren


  • Retire: retired March 28
  • Lose 20 pounds – lost 4.5. Not good but better than gaining weight
  • Vacations: visit at least one new destination and visit family in Midwest – Vacation to Great Smoky Mountains and visited family in June
  • Ride HHH – did not ride this year
  • Become a Master Gardener – took the class and am now a Colin County Master Gardener Intern
  • Digitize photos and slides – very little progress
  • Setup my own web site and landing page – done

First music I remember

November 7, 2010

What are the first 3 songs that come to mind when you think of your childhood – younger than Junior High?

For me it is:
  • Peter and the Wolf – parents had it on 45s and played it for at least me a lot.  I happened to hear a snippet of it a while back and all the memories came flooding back.: East house, funny carpet on the living room floor, taking a bath on Saturday night in the portable tub in the Dining room because we did not get an inside bathroom until I was in 6th grade, the party phone on the wall with a different ring for each of the 13 subscribers, Uncle Julius, the old black 47 Plymouth.   I just listened to Peter and the Wolf this afternoon and it is as good as ever.
  • Ghost Riders in the Sky – Laying on the floor of the East house listening to it – Vaughn Monroe I think.  Don’t know why I remember this one but it popped into my head.
  • You are my Sunshine – my mother sang it all the time.  I don’t know who she was singing about? I remember her singing it while making soap our of pig lard at the East house.

What are yours?