Monday, June 29, 2009

Day dawns...

looking out over one of the rose beds finished this weekend...

Here's a longer view from a different aspect showing more of the recently poured patio areas. It gives some sense of what a nice area it is for entertaining large groups.

I tucked a pumpkin plant into the center of that bed on the way out the door this morning. That should be fun to watch grow. Also put a bell pepper into the smaller rose bed at the west end of the patio (off screen to the left). Hope to run drip emitters after work today from the risers I have ready to go in both beds.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

lite blogging...

Wife and girls came home from working the week at Girls Bible camp. End of the batching it for me and the Son&Heir. Had to get house back together, find the cat/make sure it was still alive, clean the cat box, pickup the house, yadda yadda.

Managed to finish getting the new rose beds prepped: all in all turned in over 10 cu ft of compost in those two beds. Then finally got the new roses planted.

On top of that been doing sermon prep for tomorrow. It's a topical message. Topical doesn't come as naturally to me as expositional teaching. /grunt

This message surveys the work of the Holy Spirit through the ages -- Genesis through to today in the indwelling of the believer's. Yeah. Small topic. Keep it under 30 minutes. /heh

Oh yeah, gotta make that strong personal application preaching point connect with the congregation. /riiiggght

Yeah well, thank goodness it's "Not by might or by power but by my Spirit saith the Lord." "When we (I) am weak, He is strong."

It's the final setup message before getting into a summer series of sermons addressing more practical questions and applications for the believer and Church.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Got the final inspection sign off on the pool today. Yee-HAH! It's been open since September. The signoff included closing out an improperly handled permit from way back in 2000 for when we replaced our main power panel. That old issue's been a real thorn. Kept coming up and getting "closed out" then showing up again. I think we finally nailed.

Now to finish all the remaining pool details. Sealing the expansion joint. Planting, irrigation in planters, topping out fence for grape arbor, another 60+ ft of smaller retaining wall to control erosion below the lower pool fence, touch up metal fence paint, patio furniture build, pool side power and walk lighting. The list goes on ad nauseum.

It's been a week for finishing projects started last fall. Such as...

...the Son&Heir's AR build. Just set up with iron sights for now. We'll scope it later after getting some time with "real" sights. :-) Now to clean, lube and get some range time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Morning blooms

First off, a pic of what should be the last of my epi blooms this year.

Here's a few of the roses I picked out to put in planters on the newly poured patio out front. This is "Perfume Delight."

It's perfume is indeed a delight. I don't have room for all the roses I'd like to have planted. I'm sucker for a scent so this was an easy choice.

Now this is "Tropicana." Not the best smelling rose but like you might expect to find at THE Tropicana, it is a voluptuous rose.

Sort of the Jessica Rabbit of this garden. The type of gal you'd expect to be wearing very expensive lipstick but still managing to look just a bit cheap. /heh

The kind of dame Guy Noir would associate with.
"So I called the only woman with bright lipstick and a coarse laugh I know, my ex-girlfriend Sugar, and she told me to get lost and why - it was a vicious message and she'd left it on her answering machine. I was devastated."

Now this one was tagged as "Paradise." However, the bloom opened up more since the weekend and I honestly can't tell it from "Tropicana." Checking pix online I'd expect Paradise to be more of a Mauve than this Orange. Maybe I'll see if I can sense a difference in fragrance.

In any case, this is at the opposite end of the patio from Jessica Rabbit.
The two of them will make nice bookends. Sitting, as it were, at opposite ends of the bar.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Talked with my Dad, 1200 miles north briefly today.

Spent a quiet afternoon around the house with the Son&Heir. We're batching this week it while all the women folk are away working at girls church camp.

Later in the day we sat down at the dining room table and pieced together the HS grad gift he unwrapped last Sunday.

Got the lower complete. Just need to torque the recoil tube and secure the buttstock for real. Then we'll see about hanging the upper on it.

An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.

*Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

*Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor..

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the success of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every morning.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience... and a
lot of that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

* Live simply, love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

* Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just shoot you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

False calm?

Last day of 7th grade for daughter #3. I'm marking my calender. She grunted and hugged me (the invisible man, he who shall be acknowledged) on the way out the door this morning.

Does this mean darkest days of puberty are past? Or is it just the eye of the storm? /heh

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Butterfly kisses


Well then, would ya believe butterfly bushes?

The wife and significant other has recently taken quite a shine to "Buddleia davidii." aka Butterfly bushes. It's easy to see why.

It is reported that they root easily from cuttings -- even without any special care.
So here we go.

She brought home a baggie full of cuttings. I rustled up some leftover potting soil, picked up some rooting hormone at my toy store , dipped clipped and dipped roots and set them up in pots in a nice warm spot.

This is a new thing for me. Gotta wonder what my batting average will be and how long till I know either way.

Golleee Sgt Carter!

Look what I woke up to this morning! I wasn't paying much attention to Epiphyllum buds with all the work going on with concrete on the other side of the house. MY other plants are done blooming a bit earlier in the year. LINK This is the first bloom ever for this plant. I planted it as a cutting several years ago.

Look at that color! That's a nice addition to my red and ivory blooming plants. I'm trying to figure a way to organize them all better on this back patio. Maybe there's some attractive way to hang them between shade sail poles I've been setting up.

The cutting was a gift from an older gentleman at church. He had lost his wife of 50 plus years and was clearing out his house and the last of his Epi collection (had almost 150 at one time) before moving to an elder care facility. He was the prototypical "Tender Warrior."

A plankowner in the 10th Mountain Division, he fought his way through Italy, was at Monte Casino and then went on to father two fine sons, and had a distinguished career as a marine biologist and Elder in our church. He was a Tuna expert professionally and a lover of God, people and flowers (esp. Epi's) personally.

But for his encouragement and example of temperate gracious manliness I wouldn't have become the man I am.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Read all the verses

crossposting my comment on this thread at The Gun Counter.

The thread got hijacked and turned into the perennially favorite discussion about "Why is the Star Spangled Banner appropriate as our National Anthem? Why not America, Hail Columbia, or America the Beautiful?"

Just for sake of review read all the verses of the song below and then tell me if you don't "get it."

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

fwiw, I say it envokes the Spirit of '76. The Spirit of the Revolution.

We're not just living in a beautiful land. We live in a land where the tree of liberty has been watered with the blood of patriots.

A good read is Isaac Asimov on All Four Stanzas LINK

Monday, June 15, 2009


Now to patch the flagstone walk. As part of prep for the new patio it had to be cut to lay drain lines and rerun water lines.

Last week I filled the bulk of the hole with a couple sacks of readi-mix before we poured the slab.

Tonight I cut and fit stones to match in the gap.

I really have no idea what I'm doing. Maybe in a month or two I'll work up the nerve to mix some mortar and set them. I'll just enjoy looking at 'em sitting there all cut nice to fit in the meantime.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Don't wanna make it look too easy or quick -- wouldn't be prudent to get my wife's expectations for performance on projects like this all inflated and such. /heh

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eye of the storm /heh

Sunday starts out quiet and gray. Up and outside early. Nursing morning coffee carried down low around belt line in a Chief's finger crook. Puttering on the new patio, chipping clear the openings to set covers in a couple irrigation valve boxes cast into the new deck. Clearing drain covers of masking tape and concrete slag. Testing and treating the pool. Hosing down the new concrete.

The calm before the... Well you know.

It'll build to a crescendo as the day goes on.

First things first. Off to church in the morning. Then back home for final cleanup and setup. There's big doings here later in the afternoon. Family and friends are coming over to celebrate the Son&Heir's graduation. The spousal wife unit tells me about 70 have responded in the affirmative.

Batten down the hatches, secure all weather decks for heavy seas. Stow all loose gear and lash down all over heads. Standby for heavy rolls.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance: Change Happens

"Pomp and Circumstance" always makes me tear up. Got me again yesterday at the Son&Heir's high school graduation.

That song playing means someone is leaving the nest and once again life has changed to never be the same again.

I was the youngest of six. Our home was blessed, peaceful, fun loving and just plain full of loving. Beaver Cleaver didn't have it as good as I did. But as the youngest I watched 5 older brothers and sisters walk down the aisle at Centralia High School to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance. They went out the door of that High School and on to the four corners of the world. Bolivia, Laos, Guatemala, Ecuador, Arabia. I was left to live in the empty(ing) home, daily reminded of what once had been, yet was no more; while they set out to follow their callings.

They were my heroes and I'm still proud to be their brother. The family I grew up with still defines who I am. What they would do or think of me is the measure of what I do when no one is looking. Maybe not so strange than that even at my age I get stung by a wee bit of melancholy when I recollect what was -- and what will never be again. Well, at least not this side of glory. I'm confident the circle will not be broken in the "sweet by and by."

That's the melancholy part. The more sanguine part is that I learned that "change happens" and to get on with living in the present and planning for the future. I purposed early on to reboot the cycle of family and have a family of my own. Now that cycle starts to wind into another phase again as we watch the Son&Heir graduate with plans to leave for college and the military after.

We made the most of the occasion and went out with friends for a heart attack burger and O'rings at Hodads.

Yeah man. That's high living.

Poured. Pooped.

Day dawned nice and overcast for flatwork. Concrete almost on time -- showed up a bit before 0730.

Are you ready to RUMBLE?!!! Hose is up the hill and over the fence. Waiting for pressure...

... and we're off to the races!

The also serve who stand and wait. Lot of hose to keep arranged and moving. Not a trivial bit of morning PT. Especially, when it came time to move it full of mud to the lower level and across the lot. Then back up half that elevation to the overflow pour area I'd prepped to use the last of the concrete load.

The Son&Heir graduated high school yesterday and was out late with friends. Well he was up and at 'em and making 'em a hand today. Like the preacher said yesterday at graduation, "Today (really) is the first stay of the rest of your life."

The heavy work was done and breaking down by 0830. That left just the 2 finishers working(and me to clean up & knock down some forms that needed pulled. They're putting the broom finish on as I write this.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Drink up!

An Amish farmer walking through his field notices a man drinking from his pond, with his hand.
The Amish man shouts: "Trinken Sie nicht das Wasser, die Kuhe und die Schweine haben in ihm geschissen!"

The man shouts back: "I am a Muslim. I don't understand, nor do I care to understand your gibberish. Speak English, Infidel!"

The Amish man shouts back in English: "Use two hands, you'll get more!"

Moral(s) of the story?
Proverbs 18:13
He who gives an answer before he hears,It is folly and shame to him.

Proverbs 15:23
A man has joy in an apt answer,And how delightful is a timely word!

Proverbs 15:28
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath,But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 23:9
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

Proverbs 26:4
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,Or you will also be like him.
Proverbs 26:5
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,That he not be wise in his own eyes.

Proverbs 26:12
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:9
When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not much

Not much blogging energy or time lately because of prepping for this concrete pour. To look at these photos it looks like "not much" too.

Grass removed. Yards and yards of dirt dug, wheelbarrowed and trailered to the lower lot. Lot of drainworks under that. Heavy granite wall cored to exit the 4" drain. Forms set. Gravel loaded on trailer, offloaded, wheeled in and sloped to grade. Steel picked up at local yard (good trick w/out a proper truck anymore).

Laying steel last night was almost a celebration. Sort of like seeing the drywall go on a building after all the slowdown to run wiring, plumbing and mechanical.

Looks can be deceiving. /heh

Concrete truck schedule for 0700 Saturday.

Son & Heir's graduation party Sunday afternoon. No pressure. /double heh

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Compare and Contrast...

similarity between God & Obama: neither One has a birth certificate

difference between God & Obama: God doesn't think He's Obama

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear Mr. President


By Lou Pritchett (at American Family Association)

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 6, 65 years later

I'm beneath the task of adding to all that's been written today.

Simple day of working on house/yard projects.
Got up, ran the flag up out front. Was a few too many minutes after 0800 so I passed on blowing colors this morning.

Posted a wakeup txt message to the Son&Heir reminding him of the date (he was away overnighting closer to the beach with a buddy for morning dawn patrol surf).

Here's a couple posts that set me to fighting with dust in my eye.

This is a note from a French LtC to the 82nd, serving together with them in Afghanistan currently. LINK

h/t MajorZ

Most Omaha Beach first wave stories ended before they began. Yet a few flames survived to flicker and then flame to life and liberty. LINK

h/t Lex

Friday, June 5, 2009

R.I.P. (?)

Uncle Tommie's post of the day:
Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29

Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2...1

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican s won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Now if Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegals and they vote,...

And yet, "We grieve not at those without hope..."

Maybe the South WILL rise again. /heh

Down that old dirt road

A few pix from the trip I took with the Son&Heir out to the old family farm in Iowa last month. Might be repeating a couple from an earlier post. I haven't figured out the online album thing.

It's all left me a bit reflective (and writing less) the past couple weeks. Thinking about foundations I s'pose.

"Lord teach us to number our days."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Once more with feeling -- Uncle Ted

This video has been widely circulated but in case you missed it...

Even if you've seen it before it bears repeating.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Moving along...

Inspite of all the drama yesterday in the wonderful world of electrical interconnects...

Got back to (successfully) finding another sponsor for a beta build today. We should be able to get this through reflow oven without them disassembling themselves. Our failure analysis was conclusive and the fix straight forward to implemente. We actually got a couple fabs authorized by program managers/engineer leads today and moving on a couple fronts. Inspite yesterday's grief folks are pretty excited about the fab technology's ability to reduce leadtime. Sorry to disappoint all the chicken littles. (snark)

The problem now is going to be managing expectations (and loading of the process) until it's more fully proven and cap exp released to expand to full production capacity.

The process is still only and R&D scale process, so, daily capacity for new process circuit layers is really low. At least we've got line operators running it now (though still under R&D supervision). Practically the means we're halfway to releasing control to production. I expect the production level doc' to be the long pull.

In other news relating to real life and why we work to live...

Daughter #3 has an ensemble part in local production of Mulan.
Opening is this week so much excitement with tech and dress rehearsals and such...

Monday, June 1, 2009

There I was...

...just minding my business, getting 'er done at work, reporting to working group back at the office via e-mail on a very full day on the road with a supplier. Summarizing what was accomplished in terms of failure analysis, corrective action, brainstroming quality improvements, moving new product and technology qual's forward when...


In comes the e-mail from a collegue taking personal offense at learning curve problems with a revolutionary, proprietary PWB fab process and presuming himself to speak for a whole cross functional group of us who've been working an R&D project for about 4 years (himself only recently and peripherally involved). Implying things about the character of our supplier who has participated as a partner at great risk and expense in a project with unknown payoff likelihood. I'll just chill tonight, count to 10. Then count to 1000. It wouldn't be prudent respond to here in public. All I've got to say about that is...

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!