Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, to yooouuuuu...


weather is on the move this morning.  i woke to the sound of wind rushing past my window; on it's way to-- who knows where?  the sky is overcast in shades of gray, casting a pall, setting the tone for the day.

i'm looking past the gloom, searching for a ray of the joy which begins on thursday with the arrival of our daughter k. and continues through the holiday weekend.  it will be the first time in a very long while that all those closest to me will be together in one place; sharing the season, enjoying the greatest gift of all, the closeness, the love of family.

i wish you all a joyous holiday season. aio

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

and where is the justice in this...

have you been following the cliff lee debacle?  since the texas rangers won the world series, the question has been which team would win lee's arm for the 2011 season and beyond. would the rangers be able to tempt lee into staying with their team?  would the yankee's steal him away for only $150 million over seven years?  the answer to the question of the hour came today.  and the answer?  neither.  lee signed with the phillies, the team he pitched for in the 2009 world series.  his salary with the phillies?  $100 million-- or $50 million dollars less than he could have made if he signed with the yankees. go figure!

but , here is my question. where is the justice in this world? getting paid millions of dollar for working every 4th day or so during part of the year?  please. where is the justice in that?

why are people who do things that matter-- policemen, nurses, doctors, the men and women serving our country at home and abroad, construction workers... the list goes on ad infinitum; why are those people working in jobs that have some tangible benefit to society earning mere pennies?  it's not right.  why?

lee will be paid $47.56 (notice i didn't say earn) every minute of every day for the next 4 years.  most people i know don't earn $47.56 an hour in their 40 hours a week, making a contribution to the people's good, gotta pay those bills slog. 

the only answer i can see is this.  there is no justice in this world. aio

Sunday, December 12, 2010

holiday blahs...

my excitement builds with each passing day in anticipation of christmas time in austin and conroe.  i have ants in my pants thinking about seeing those closest to me.  i've often railed against the far flung places they've chosen to call home.  distance precludes visiting on anything like a regular basis, so-- as it is what is is, i savor all the more our upcoming get-together.

as for being in the mood for gifting, i plead guilty to being uninspired. not one bit.  surfing the many ads included in the sunday paper, nothing has jumped out at me saying, "that's the ticket".  hopefully something will occur to me in time.  i don't want to be the grinch.

as for me, no gift is needed.  being together with those i love is all i need.

as for all of you, i hope preparations are coming along.  i wish you all a very merry christmas and joy in the new year. aio    

Sunday, December 5, 2010

big boys and their toys...

the wife mentioned our next door neighbor, s, has a toro leaf blower that mulches as well.  as it happens a big portion of the leaves from our trees find their way into our neighbors yards and theirs into ours.  she's been after me to get them raked up. 

i hate to do a thing when i can see it is going to need doing again at some point.  that will likely be the case as the cotton woods still have a ton of leaves still hanging on.

for curiosity's sake i researched the cost of toro blowers.  the model i think s. bought runs about $85.00.  of course the local toro dealers are not open on sunday.  over a cup of coffee this morning i came up with a bright idea. why not see what sears had in their inventory.  what i found was a sears model with basically the same specs as the toro unit.  it was priced in the same ball park as the toro-- and sears is open on sunday.

so i took my bright idea right on over to the mall to pick up the sears version of the toro.  scanning the shelves for the sears model number i was seeking, wonder of wonders, what did i find?  not only the sears' version but much to my amazement, the very toro model i coveted. and the best part, the toro was on sale, priced $15.00 off.  that would also be $15.00 less than the sears model as well. i can't believe my luck.

i do love a bargain and it works like a charm with a 16:1 ratio.  that is, it mulches 16 bags of leaves down to the volume of 1 bag.  wowsers! aio    

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll.....

i hope every one's turkey day has been a safe and blessed one.  thanksgiving day has always been a favorite of mine, particularly in my youth.  the mc side of the family would gather at the grand's house for viewing macy's parade in the morning and watching the 'boys play in the afternoon.  somewhere in there was a meal fit for royalty, usually turkey and aunt lou's cornbread dressing, lots of things grown in the garden over the summer and a host of home made pies and cakes for dessert. good times, i say.

then there is this thanksgiving day.  table for two,  please.  it will not go down among my favorite thanksgiving memories.  with family on two coasts and 9 hours away at the closest, today was in a word-- lonely.

our daughter called early to wish us well and fill us in on her plans for the day. b. talked with the folks in cincy in the morning.

we chose not to cook, opting instead to try the cajun turkey on 'the big texan' turkey day buffet.  it was tasty, the rest of the meal not worth the hour we waited to be seated.  at least if you don't cook, you don't have to clean up afterwards and you don't have all those leftovers to deal with.

given the choice between convenience and having family around, give me family every time. 

thanksgiving day for two-- sucks. aio

Sunday, November 21, 2010

geodesic stars streaming...

an evening with amarillo's symphony is always a welcome respite from the everyday, hum drum life at 7420.  i've never claimed to know anything about classical music, i don't have an "ear" for it, yet an evening at the symphony can make inroads toward taming this savage beast.

last night's concert was titled "bravo broadway".  my favorite of the season is always the "pops' concert.  there's something about having a familiarity with the music that increases my listening pleasure.  it enhances the experience when, by knowing the "piece" being played, one can better appreciate the nuance, the touch exerted by the maestro and our symphony musicians.


last night featured three vocalists, all with experience on broadway in "leading roles".  talk about some "pipes", these folks can flat out "sang".  debbie gravitte got the evening off to a start,  (after the three had rendered a montage of songs from "gypsy") singing "don't rain on my parade from "funny girl".

Next up was doug labrecque. in something of an unexpected turn, singing "over the rainbow" from "the wizard of oz".  he, and his golden voice and limpid eyes, rendered a rendition fit to make one forget the song had ever been sung by "what was her name"?

after the rainbow was over, anne runolfsson sang "ding dong, the witch is dead", also of the wofoz fame.  later in the program she favored us with a tender "memory" from "cats". in a word, moving.

among the memorable performances after intermission-- a "mamma mia! medly from the trio, dl's "bring him home", "the phantom of the opera" from ar and dl, "music of the night" from dl and an a.l.webber "love trio' from "the trio".    

it has been rumored that maestro kimbo ishii-eto is not fond of  "pops" performances.   if true, he hides it well. with his extremely adept baton at the ready, he dipped and grooved, his famous hair on the fly, eliciting nothing short of broadway magic from the symphony musicians.

the music of the broadway stage, the scores, the lyrics, when separated from the story that surrounds them can still serve to move, to entertain immensely. this trio connected with the amarillo audience.  injecting bits of humor at the expense of one another and good natured jibes re: our texas accents, with a bit of nifty choreography thrown in, these three earned the standing "o" they received.  to their credit, all gave props to kimbo and the orchestra, whose performances were no less deserving of the standing "o" as well.

an added bonus for the evening was the mirror ball flashing stars across the geodesic expanse of the performing arts center as the symphony played the "jesus christ superstar" overture.  one could lose himself , the moment transfusing a sense of outer space and inner peace.  aio

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the bourgeoisie life...

don't i wish!  working the set shifts, every thursday, friday and saturday, i had forgotten the luxurious feel of sleeping late on a lazy saturday morning. on occasion my counter part at the first of the week needs, or wants, to be off on one of her set days, monday, tuesday or wednesday. such was the case this week so we traded her wednesday for my saturday.

one of the benefits of my set schedule-- for the wife-- is knowing she can schedule things on my work days without worry.  she had long ago made plans for this saturday morn. she left early to attend to them.

that left me here with the three cats, all sleeping into the late hours of the morning in delicious decadence.  i've nothing specific planned therefore i choose to do just that, nothing in particular.

the coffee and crosswords are done already.  now what?  i suppose i'll tune in the wtamu buffalo's playoff game. depending on how that goes i might go for a run. (i really should, the weather is not likely to be as nice for days in a row until spring comes back around.) we'll go out to dinner before this evenings symphony performance, "bravo broadway. " other than that this is a rare week-end day of lazy, guilt free leisure.

forgive me, if i cut this short.  all this typing is getting in the way of my doing absolutely nothing.  until, next time, have a cat nap.  that sounds like a great idea!  aio                                                                                          

Monday, November 15, 2010

here comes santa claus...

the prospect of the upcoming holiday season has me feeling sad.  living in little a-town seems to me like living on a deserted island.  it is neither an island, nor is it deserted, yet i can't help having a feeling of being stranded here, imagining loved ones as being stranded too, the gulf between our island and theirs too far.

the closest island to ours, austin, holds our son c. and his honey c. it's 500 miles away, 8 hours by car or 400+ dollars for the two of us by air. distance and/or dollars limit the frequency of our visiting them.  a visit to any of the rest of the family involves even more miles, more time on the road or dollars for air fare. there's just too much distance between here and where they are.

573 miles away on conroe island lives my only sister m. and her family; 888 miles away on the isle of new orleans lives our only daughter k. and husband k.  1358 miles away, the california island of concord, is home to our oldest son b. and his lady r.  a visit to any family, be it mine or b.'s,  involves long hours by car, sometimes an overnight stay or two along the way, or mucho mas dinero for plane fares.  distance is no friend of mine.

such is the state of our far flung and disparate lives.  the plan is, for all of mine/ours, to converge on austin at christmas time.  all we can do is to make the best of a less than ideal situation; that and to enjoy the hell out of the time we do have together. as sad as the distances between us all makes me, the prospect of being together again, although not soon enough to suit me, but soon enough still, is almost soon enough to make me smile. aio

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sunshine, on my shoulder...


at least some of the snow remains from friday morning's thunder-snow storm.  in shadowed places, on north facing lawns the sun has yet to do it's do. the good thing abut snow storms here on the high plains-- the storm never hangs around for long; when it moves into the area it's most always passing through toward someplace else.  outside the mountains of dirtied white stuff plowed into the far corners of the mall parking lots, in a few days time no trace of this early storm will remain.


traffic on the I-40 corridor passes to the east and west just a couple of blocks north of our house.  running north and south, one of little a-towns busiest streets, coulter avenue, is just a block to the east.  most of time passes without my being conscious of the thousands of cars and trucks passing by-- so close, and yet so far.

among my favorite things is waking in the morning after a night of falling snow.  the city, the neighborhood, our house, all wrapped in a white muffler. it's like waking in a sound proof room.  no hint of the interstate, the bustle of the city muted beyond perception. my world is perfect, at least for a moment.

if only every morning could start with the heightened sense of peace of an overnight snowfall.  on second thought, the peace of the snowfall yes-- the mess of cleaning up after-- not so much.     aio

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thunder Snow!!!

our part of the thirsty panhandle of texas got a much needed dousing of rain last night.  according to the agn, little a-town received 1.68 inches of rain between 8 p.m. and midnight. that set a new record for rainfall for the date 11-11.  the rain fell at a rate of 2-3 inches and hour.  not having a sewer system of course the underpasses flooded all along I-40 an I-27. there was even a "flash flood" warning for the city.  weather bug indicates we've received an additional 2.11 inches of moisture since midnight. at least some of that fell over the lake meredith watershed. sadly it still has about 60 feet to gain back to previous levels.

There was lots of lightning and thunder with the storm. the local weather guys had predicted some accumulation of snow in the northwest panhandle with perhaps a dusting of snow here in town. i kept hearing thunder and seeing flashes of lightning as i raised up throughout the night.  imagine my surprise when i woke this morning to the visions in these pictures taken around 6:30 a.m.



local weather celebrity "doppler dave" o. is always going on about "thunder snow".  apparently it is a fairly rare phenomenon.  i had know idea that, from about 4 o'clock on, what i  was hearing was not a thunderstorm but honest-to-goodness 'thunder snow".  it continued to snow all morning long, huge, heavy, wet flakes and not the dried up crap snow we usually get around here. the net agn indicated 1.5 inches of snow by "press time".  my guess is 4 to 6 inches. the weight of all that heavy snow resulted in the cottonwood out front losing several limbs. by report, such was the case with trees all over town.


it just goes to show, these weather guys don't know anything for sure. a weather forecast in nothing more than an educated guess and in my mind wrong as often as not. . mother nature very often is of a different bent and 100 times out of 100 she will exert her will no matter what "doppler dave" and the other weather gurus around town have to say.

this weather fan would add only this-- you go girl! aio                                                                                                                                                                      

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

waiting beyond the "next blog" button...


in my previous post i opined that any new visitor to "kidsdonegone" likely came to the site via the "next blog" route.  i'm ever curious re: what other people are wasting their time on, like i am, composing the next bit of drivel recorded for posterity on the ethernet.

the first site i was directed to today, when i clicked on "next blog"  today was a site entitled in short, "flying solo, traveling light" authored by Donna ??????.  donna, it would seem is something of a world traveler. her latest blog was posted from mineral de pozos, mexico.  apparently pozos is an abandoned mining/ghost town now being rehabited and becoming a tourist destination.  her pictures of pozos are quite beautiful.

the beauty of her pictures made me reflect on the world at large, most of which i have not an inkling.   certainly i'm aware there is a big blue marble suspended in the vastness of space but there is so much to this world, most of which i haven't the faintest idea.

donna is one lucky lady.  her blog site has a map above which sits an inscription "where in the world has donna been".  suffice to say she is well traveled but even that, when taken into consideration the vastness that is the earth, leaves so much more world for her to see.

it makes me sad when i consider how little of this united states i have any direct expereience with. that aside, it's mind blowing to me when i consider how little of the great state of texas i know first hand.  even places i've visited fairly often, austin, new orleans, the california wine country,  have volumes of interesting things about them i have yet to explore.

so where am i going with this meandering piece.  i don't know really.  visiting her blog has made me feel like a single grain of sand on the beach that is my world.  the tides wash me here and there but circumstance dictates the unlikeliness of my coming to rest on some foreign, more intriguing shore. 

until today i was blissfully unaware of  mineral de pozos' existence.  my loss perhaps, at least until today.  at the very least i now know of its being there.  thank you donna, thank you, for that.  perhaps sometime down the road i can visit there, to breath it's air, to take in it's ancient wonders, to record them in photos of my own.  you can visit www. to see her pics.

and if by some stroke of fate, someone in mineral de pozos happens to hit "next blog" and against all odds "kids done gone" should happen to be the "flying solo, traveling light" discovery for them-- little a-town and myself say, "come on up". there are things here of which you likely never knew; local wonders awaiting discovery like mineral de pozos was for me. aio

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

are you lost????


one might say it is beyond sad when the highlight of my day is to discover some lost soul has stumbled upon this internet way station.  rarely does that happen, but when it does i can't wait to get on the ip tracker site to see from where the hit originated. my guess is 99.99999% of new hits come from the "next blog" feature of the site.

however these new hits come about, i hope the accidental reader takes a minute to browse.  i'm not vain enough to think every entry here is a gem but, as they say, "even a blind pig can find an acorn now and again". 

the focus of the blog is family.  it would be presumptuous to assume a "stranger" might take something away from reading any of the posts here.  still, the sentiments recorded should resonate on some small scale with any who have loved ones far removed and seldom seen. 

friday will mark the 41st natal day of our oldest.  my how the years have flown and with the years have come a wealth of memories for which i can only say-- thanks.  i hope you have a great day! i wish we could be there-- oh, and one other thing--geaux saints!  aio

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Haunted 2010

there's a definite disadvantage in working a set schedule, (usually thur., fri., sat.) in that in interferes with some things i'd like to do.  however, there is the wonder called the gregorian calendar which allows for certain important dates to come up on my days off; usually sun., mon., tues., wed., and such was the case this year.

halloween 2010 came on sunday!  this fortunate happenstance allowed the wife and i to partake for the first time in our son, c's, halloween march. this year saw the fourth annual Krewe de Coeur Maudit Halloween March-- "Haunted 2010" along congress ave. and 6th street in austin, tx.  it was a phenomenal experience.  the video below was sent prior to this years event to familiarize marchers with a new component, one of a "second line" new orleans nature. the funeral celebration.  it has some neat pictures from past marches (not to mention the dulcet tones of ckm.).  acess link below!

i often scratch my head in wonder when considering the fascinating mind of ckm!  three years ago witnessed the first annual krewe de coeur maudit halloween march in austin. at last, it was my thrill, my honor to bear witness, to experience up close and personal the fruits of his amazing vision.  the theme for this year's march leaned heavily on the ghost and skeletal remains of spirits past.  taking center stage, three ghost puppets, carried high above the crowds, gathered under the s. 1st bridge before the march along congress avenue and sixth street.  carried behind the krewe dcm banner and drum corps, these ghostly puppets seemed to float thru the air.  flashing colors, breathing smoke and a beating heart kept time with the drum line. it proved to be nothing short of fantastical.

based loosely on the tradition this year's march added  another touch from the "mardi gras" e.g. doubloons inscribed with krewe dcm on one side and "elysium" (host bar for krewe dcm celebrants) on the other were given outs as favors from the krewe.

it is my hope the krewe can continue the march for years to come.  there is nothing like it being done in austin, (the city that put the W in weird).  a bing search revealed various other halloween marches across the country. i would wager there is none to rival the krewe's march in orginality and scope.

it is enough to boggle the mind, hearing the cheers, seeing the flash of hundreds of cameras, feeling the attention of a 6th street crowd riveted on the spectacle.

check out the links below for images of this year's march.  once the ghosts pass out of frame "krewe dcm "coverage" is finished for the particular video.

my recommendation-- if you ever have a hankering for a once in a life time experience-- take in a krewe dcm march.  as a participant, or spectator, it's one you will not soon forget.


Monday, October 25, 2010

and they call the wind mariah...

rare is the day, here in the texas panhandle, when there isn't something more than a gentle breeze ruffling things about.  scheduled over the past weekend was the annual "pirates of the canyon" hot air balloon fest.  this year's event never got off the ground.  why?  too much wind!


ideally the winds for a balloon launch and landing should be at 5-10 mph, depending on the skill level of the pilot.  an average day hereabout sees 10-15 mph winds with gusts somewhat higher. 

panhandle folks don't think much about winds in that range. early morning, or late afternoon, is the time for conditions ideal for launch. unfortunately, conditions less than ideal; winds above the optimal limits kept the balloons grounded.  festivities continued in spite of the inconvenient breezes.

then there are days like today with winds 35-40 with gusts above 60 mph.  had the balloons managed to launch today they might have ended up strewn across the canyon like the beans from coach b.'s locust trees.  the beans were blown across the street and two houses down.


today was not a good day for man, beans-- or balloons. aio

Saturday, October 23, 2010



another work week down, another three work days closer to going on the dole.  another bottle of barefoot moscato down the maw. 

yesterday marked our daughter k.'s, and husband k.'s, fifth anniversary.  congratulations to them.

tomorrow marks 34 years of marriage for the wife and me.  in those 34 years there has been way more good than bad, more happy than sad, all in all a grand adventure.  who woulda thunk the divine ms. b. could have turned this sow's ear into anything close to a silk purse.  for sure i've a ways to go on that front but any refinement i may have accrued over the years is a tribute to her blind faith and abiding spirit.

to the newlyweds mentioned above i say-- in order to make it to 34 years, or 6, 10, 15, 20, 25, or even 30 years, one must look past the warts, forgive the slights and believe deeply that tomorrow the sun will rise with the promise of a better day. with the dawn of each new day, vow to have your partner's back.  remember the promises you spoke in earnest on that day; they should remain as sincere, and as close to your hearts, today as they were on your wedding day. 

marriage is a contract signed by the two of you in front of God, family and friends. it is one of give and take.  for the smart man, it's more give than take but each should be considerate in all things. in short, a successful marriage is hard work. the load should not, cannot, be carried by one alone.  any load is lighter when shared. there is no "i" in a good marriage; no "me'.  what "i" cannot accomplish alone, neither can "me".  the key to the years is in the "we".   

will you just listen?  who am i, a marriage expert?  certainly not, but i do have 34 years in the trenches.  that is the platform from which i speak; or maybe it's the moscato talking. aio

p.s. to the divine ms. b., happy anniversary!  i love you babe!

Monday, October 18, 2010

family time...

i stole this picture of k. from her latest posting at "the monkey heart discourses".  it was taken by husband k. on our recent visit to oak alley.   it is the very image of wistful and captures my mood when i think of the rare times we get to be together.                      

the biggest problem for me with having my kids living in disparate, distant cities is the infrequency of our visits.  c. is our closest, living a mere 500+ miles away in austin.  you might think we get to see him all the time.  hardly, although in truth we do see him more frequently than our oldest, b., who lives in california or our daughter k. and husband k. who live in new orleans.  

still, i wouldn't call visiting c. 3 or 4 times a year, often; certainly not nearly often enough to suit my taste.
the bulk of our visits with any of them consists of us going to them except for the christmas visits that make up the bulk of their trips to the old homestead. part of the problem with us visiting them more often, or them us, is living here in little a. town.  you can't get there from here, or here from there, at least not for cheap.

in august, it was a week in california.  in september, a week in cincy visiting the in-laws.  two weeks ago it was a week in new orleans.

for halloween, i'm planning a trip to austin.  this halloween marks the 4th year c. has staged the krewe de coeur maudit march.  think mardi gras, on a much smaller scale, and with a halloween theme. c. has been kind enough to invite us to join the "march".  it should be fun. certainly it will be a first for us.

the austin visit won't be a week long though, after all we get to see c. and c. and the puppies "all the time".  leaving on sunday, coming back on wednesday; whirlwind, if you will. still it will be good to have some time, any time at all, with them.

the latest entry from k. at "the monkey heart discourses" is the trigger for this piece.  she commented as to how much she enjoyed our visit.  to that i would say, "right back at ya' kid".  we love every minute of our time with you guys.  any time we have with any of you, with all of you, or any combination of the above is time we treasure. that having be said, i cannot wait until the next time. let's make it sooner than later, shall we?  aio 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

5 years post katrina---


the scene along st. charles avenue is breathtaking, idyllic. canal street is a picture of recovery, wide and inviting, the pavement as smooth as bourbon street pool table.  rarely along these thoroughfares will you find any evidence of the storm that brought this city to it's knees.  'nawlins may have been brought low, but she is far from out for the count.


in the hours before dawn street cars rumble along st. charles avenue every few minutes. they carry the worker bees here and there, delivering them to signature restaurants and six table holes in the wall places that cater to natives and tourists alike. after morning prep, dishes that say "you're in the big easy" await. every sumptuous bite;  the crabs, the shrimp, the fishes all plentiful, surrendered up from the waters of the gulf,  there for the asking.

if st. charles and canal  street, the garden district and bourbon street are all you bother to see, it would be easy to forget that not all that long ago this city was a sea of flood water and people desperate to be plucked from roof tops and overpasses the city over. 

in travels throughout  the city one can see an occasional reminder of the storm.  even after five years an occasional house remains unclaimed. rare they are, but some are still left.



rare, that is, unless you bother to visit the ninth ward.  the scene in "the ward" is in stark contrast to the touristy parts of the city.  though five years have passed, the number of homes and businesses waiting to be reclaimed there is huge in comparison.  there is a good number of  homes newly constructed or reclaimed since the storm; raised on high in hopes of surviving the waters if there comes a next great storm.


i admire those who are bravely reclaiming the ninth.  i'm not sure i could make that decision were it mine to make.  the number of derelict homes appears to overwhelm new construction by a great margin.  fields of weeds occupy the lots where homes stood before the storm. time will witness how much more recovery will occur here.  overall the city is abuzz with the business of the day.  people go about their everyday lives, bringing the "easy" back to it's glory days, only better. trailing far behind is the 9th ward.  hopefully the game of catch up can be won in that part of new orleans as well.   aio


Monday, October 4, 2010

i see a smile in your eyes...

reading the post on the monkey heart discourses titled "the fog on cats feet" makes me wonder. reading that the "monkey heart" is feeling low makes me sad.   the words written by paul francis webster. the song is "the shadow of your smile"

the shadow of your smile
when you are gone
will color all my dreams
and light the dawn
look into my eyes , my
love, and see
all the lovely things you
are to me

a wistful little star
was far too high
a tear drop kissed your lips
and so did i

now when i remember spring
all the joy that love can bring
i will be remembering
the shadow of your smile.

so, to the monkey heart--  may tomorrow be filled with the promise of sunrise, a canvas waiting to be filled with beauty of your choosing.  fill it with love and the joy of a new day. 

mama's comin' babe.  she'll be there to hold you-- heart to heart. aio

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tech-- Tubervilled again...


oh my gawd!  how I miss mike leach!  the leach era red raiders might not have won every game they should have but at least you could count on an exciting 60 minutes of football on the way to the L.

i'm agonizing over a game i didn't see, fussing about a score that should have been reversed in tech's favor.  taylor potts threw for 5 TDs for pete's sake; tuberville still manages to lose?  so exactly where is this improved defense the tech faithful has been promised? for crying out loud, it's iowa state-- not the strongest team in the big 12.

of all the game balls, the football should be the easiest to hold on to;  it's tapered at both ends lending itself to a better grip.  it's when a player loses his grip on the ball and it hits the ground that problems begin.  because of it's shape the football can take some funny bounces.  it bounced in iowa's favor saturday night.
the chatter coming out of lubbock is distinctly bleak.  tech's next several games are on the road, leading one to fear that after the scene in iowa mean times are ahead for tech unless tuberville can find a tourniquet to stem the Ls the raiders are likely to bleed.

red raiders fans can only hope tuberville can get tech's act together before they take it on the road, and on the chin, again. is it too soon to get the rail ready? aio

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

yea, though i walk...

if one were to judge the world by the chaos reported on the nightly news, it would be easy to get the idea that evil and all it's minions are in charge. 

luckily, that is not the case.  the news is all about sensationalism.  the good things that happen around the world every day don't get reported because they aren't sufficiently sensational.

if reported at all, the single item of good news is the last in the broadcast.  i can only assume that's to leave us with a good taste in our mouths after hearing all that's wrong in the world on a particular day.

i choose to believe the good people of the world greatly out number the bad.  among the good are our  friends the l.s, who live in san antonio these days.  m. and j. practically raised our two younger kids, doing for them as if they were their own. we discussed making them guardians of c. and k. if ever an item of bad news on a particular night was about the wife and i being no longer among you. 

their goodness continues.  today, we received a delivery of flowers from m. j. and j.,  an expression of their constant caring. reading on this blog (i'm guessing) about me losing two aunties in two days triggered this latest token of their love. 

i thank them so much for their very kind remembrance of  two of the grand dames of the mc. clan.

as long as their are still people like the l. family around, the world will never succumb to darkness.  a world of light and goodness will ever prevail.  i truly believe that.  i hope you do too.  aio

Sunday, September 26, 2010

the circle of life...

i knew before we left for cincy that one my aunties, dad's sister l., had suffered a stroke and was not expected to live.  it was with something of  a heavy heart that we made the trip, planned months ago. while we were there we received a call informing us that l. had passed. not unexpected, but in that same call we learned that another of his sisters, c., had died the very next day. again not totally unexpected, as she had not been doing well of late. 

to receive the news of 2 dear aunties' passing, one day apart, takes one's breath away just a bit.  i'm 63, so you can figure that dad's sisters (all the brothers passed long ago)  are well up in years.  the same story is true for mom's side of the family.

none of us will make it out of this world alive.  still the prospect of losing those close to you is a sad one.

i can't say for sure if it is their generation, or if it is just my family, but my recollection of exchanging hugs and "i love yous", as i grew up are few.  that doesn't mean there wasn't affection, i just don't recall it being expressed  out loud and in so many words.

the prospect that these dear aunties, on both sides, may not be with us too much longer makes me sad.  with the passing of l. and c., i have promised myself i'd sit down with pen and paper with intention of sending them each a token of my affections and fondest memories. i have to do it now,  before i've waited too long.

it's true i could just pick up the phone, but not unlike many, speaking "i love yous" out loud is hard for me.  for me the written word allows me an eloquence i somehow lack when attempting to express my feelings aloud.

that, and the fact that once that phone call is ended, there is no trace of the words of affection outside what may well be a failing memory. 

on that note, i'll close,  i have 6 notes to aunties to write, and 3 to cousins who just lost their mom. aio

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

home again, home again...


i'm beginning to think the key to getting rain in these parts is for us to leave town.  while we were in california, little a-town had a nice rain, something like 2.5 inches.

we got back from cincy last night late.  this morning we find that the front yard is littered with leaves and limbs and in the back yard the cannas and the ever-grow has been shredded.  a search online reveals that on thursday a strong storm dumped 3.5 inches of rain around the southwest part of town, with generalized flooding. coulter street was closed, i-40 shut down due to flooding of the underpasses.  palo duro canyon received grapefruit sized hail.  yikes.

what an unusual summer it has been.  everything green, deep into august, as far south as austin and as far west as albuquerque.  my sister reported the cotton on our dry land farm south of lubbock "is waist high and heavy with bolls".

it's tri-state fair week.  historically it rains a lot during the fair.  tradition is holding true with the storm this past thursday and there's a 40% chance for rain again tomorrow. go figure.

it makes me wonder what might happen when we go out of town again in a few weeks.  i guess we'll have to wait and see.  aio

Sunday, September 19, 2010

texas downs the red raiders...

when texas went up 14-0, early in the first quarter, i was thinking, "this could be a very long night".  the raiders tied the game at 14 all just before half-time, and i had hope.

false hope, as it turns out.  texas has work still to do, i think, but i was fairly impressed by emerging tech defence.  i saw really good stuff from the d side of the ball. 

i do have one question for coach.  what the hell have you done to the tech offense. i get a balanced attack, i do.  in the tuberville version, i'm seeing a lack of offensive spark from years past.  is taylor potts the problem?  is it time to give sheffield a shot at qb?

texas won the game, a loss is a loss, but i choose to see good things down the road. with a new emphasis on the d side of the ball, my raiders will be fine.  that is if coach can be smart enough to find the spark for the o side again.  aio   

Friday, September 17, 2010

coming up to our trip, i had a picture in my mind of past summer visits to visit b.'s family. the temps can be uncomfortable because the humidity is typically high. running in such conditions is anything but enjoyable.  with the hills thrown in, a daily jog can be quite taxing.

so far on this trip the weather has been quite enjoyable.  yesterday was overcast with a bit of "panhandle like" wind thrown in.  in all, a great day for running, but the hills are still there to make for a quite a challenge for this flatland slogger.

in the backyard here on mallard drive stands a couple of river birch trees.  their limbs remind me some of the weeping willow.  the leaves are round, not long, narrow and thin like the willow. yesterday, saw some storms about. in the afternoon i went upstairs for a bit.  outside the window i could see the wind worrying the birch trees, their lithesome limbs flailing away in protest. thankfully, i got my run in before the wind took a page from it's panhandle cousin.

it's been a very relaxing visit.  i'm grateful to be welcomed into m. and p.'s home.  it's always a good time when i can bring the wife back here to cincinnatti, to reconnect with family and friends. cincy feels like home to me too. aio

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


oh, the marvel of modern travel.  today finds us in ohio, here to visit with the wife's kin folk.  a trip, which by car would take us the better part of three days, accomplished in a matter of hours.

you've heard me comment here on the lack of rain in little a'town.  it seems the texas panhandle is not the only part of the country that could use a healthy sprinkling from time to time. around these parts, the trees are dropping leaves and the color is changing, three or four weeks early by report.  there's a different look here.  there's trees.  so many trees, it's necessary to cut them down to make space for houses and farms.  what a novel concept.  but when i'm here i often comment "you can't see anything for the trees".  i miss our beautiful sunsets, when i'm here.  

there's a feel of fall in the air. this morning is cool, the humidity is not too bad today.  i think i'll go for a run.  up hill and down dale, that's another thing different about ohio. aio  

Monday, September 13, 2010

dallas' fading star


superbowl XLV will be played in the new cowboys stadium.  jerry jones' dream is for his team, "america's team, the dallas cowboys to play in the superbowl, in the new cowboys palace.

two words for you jerry baby. "ain't happenin'!" it's a nice enough dream, it might even be my dream, but what i've seen from the 'boys so far makes me worry they might not win another game this season. 

they will of course, at least i hope so.

there is one major problem with the cowboys.  what is that you ask?  "jerry jones", i say!  in my mind he needs to take a step back, he needs to stop being so omnipresent.  his hovering is stifling his team.  he's blocking their sun and without sun and a bit of breathing room, a team, coaches and players cannot grow.

of course, jerry jones will never read this and even if he did he would likely dismiss it without a thought.  that's because the cowboys for him is a platform made to order for promoting, what else-- jerry jones.  sure he wants his team to win but obviously not enough to do what, at least in my mind, in necessary to make that happen.

nope, jerry jones  is not gonna take a step away from the team's day to day coaching and practicing, not even it if is the best thing for our cowboys-- and that makes me sad. 

cowboys 2010-11 record-- 8-8, if they get their act together. if not.... aio

Sunday, September 12, 2010

keep your guns up...

as expected, my red raiders prevailed against new mexico, on saturday.  the score, tech 52  new mexico 17, if considered alone, might indicate a rout.

the box score paints another picture altogether and is the source of my concern as the raiders enter the big 12 schedule starting saturday against texas.  the number of first downs for each team? t-24 nm- 23.  tech had 152 rushing yards on 36 carries-- average 4.22 per carry.  up from last week against smu but... nm- 97 yards on 27 totes-- 3.59 yds/ carry.  i don't know whether to gather hope from tech's gains on the ground or wring my hands over their soft defence against a "weaker" opponent.

tech's total passing yards 310, down some but temper that with the increase in ground yards. the lobos, 336 yards through the air. taylor potts 22-34-0  for 293 yards, sheffield 2-7-0 for 17 yards. for the lobos holbrook 30-50-2-323 and sustine 2-2-0 for 13.

return yards for tech, 93, lobos 0. punts avg.  2-47.5 new mexico 7-30.9  fumbles lost  tech 4-2, nm 3-1  penalty yards tech 6-69 nm 16-145  not unexpected time of possession t 26:19 nm 33:41

the headline in today's agn reads "tech wallops new mexico" and if you just look at the final score you would tend to say that, i guess.  the story of the box score says something totally different.  the tale of the tape tells me that although the defence is improved it is still allowing teams to run and pass up and down the field only to stiffen some once the opponent gets deep into tech's territory. that's what worries me with the big 12 schedule ahead of us.

i like taylor potts, but i'm a bigger fan of steven sheffield, or i was.  there's another thing the box score revealed to me.  coach tuberville is a seer. he chose the right guy to lead the raiders into big 12 battle.

on, saturday tech's tuberville litmus test kicks off as the big 12 campaign begins aginst the UT longhorns.   tech -- make sure your guns are loaded, with extra ammo close to hand. eat your wheaties!

better yet, have a side of gunpowder for dessert. aio

Thursday, September 9, 2010

o beautiful, for spacious skies...


last week i received a request from my aunt l. asking for information about my dad's army service in WWII.  you gotta love small town america. she wants the info so that it can be placed in the o'donnell museum.

 For whatever reason, dad never talked about his time in the army, at least not with me. that left me thinking i was not going to be of much help.  enter the pack rat, aka my darling wife, who recalled exactly where his papers have been safely stashed away since his death in 1983. among them was his discharge papers,     WD AGO Form 53-55,  which revealed to me so much that i never knew about his service to our country. He attained the rank of technician fourth grade and was assigned to the 3227th ordnance dept company; his training--automotive mechanic. he entered the army on 1 march, 1941 at ft. bliss in el paso.  he mustered out at bliss on 10 january, 1946.  length of service 4 years 10 months and 9 days of active duty, most of that overseas.  he served in northern france and central europe.  his service earned various ribbons and medals, among them the victory medal.

a piece of paper can reveal very little. contained within that form was none of the nitty-gritty of almost five years in a war zone.  he had his reasons, i'm sure, for not relating anything of his time in service.  left to my imagination, i can understand why.  his service and his discharge was honorable.

the "honor flights" you hear about these days had not made the scene when he passed in '83.  unfortunate,in that they came too late,or he died too soon but had circumstance been different, i would have proudly sponsored a ride for him to the nations capitol in order that he might have seen the tangible evidence of a nation's gratitude for his sacrifice.   

as that cannot be,  it is with great pride that i comply with my aunt l.'s request from a grateful community that has chosen to honor its' hometown heroes.  o'donnell's homage to my dad's service to our country might be on a smaller scale than the granite memorials in d.c., but it is no less sincere and just as deserved. thanks dad, to you and to so many others who have answered our nations call, swearing to protect her in times of war and times of peace,  against all enemies foreign and domestic. aio

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

hermine, hermine, wherefore art thou hermine...

hurrican hermine, now a tropical dpression , has for the most part ignored these parts.  down south, around houston and san antone, she saw fit to dump some significant amounts of rain and places in oklahoma are predicted to recieve up to 10 inches as she spins and spends herself toward the heartland.

as for here, i saw what looked like a lone outer band on radar, pinwheeling its' way toward us.  during my noon run with the guys the hypnotic smell of b-b-q from the c.o.c. cook-off wafted our way and we were favored with a gentle sprinkle.  not enough to make us turn around for "home", it did manage to wet the streets.

downtown is 5 miles east of 7420, give or take, and we have seen nothing even close to that gentle sprinkle here.   

weather has always fascinated me.  that interest was spawned during summer days on the dry land cotton farm that monopolized my youth.  weather prediction is no precise science, even today, more like an educated guess i would say.  back in those days, a farmer kept an eye to the sky, monitoring the horizon for any emerging hint of rain to come. 

it seemed to me that our farm was at the bottom of the list to get rain and at the top of the list of farms to get hail.  herbicides were just coming onto the farm scene back then.  of course herbicides cost money, of which we never had enough.  cheap labor was the way to go, cheap labor in the form of us kids, that is. lots of years the weed crop bested by far, the cotton crop. where was "better living through chemistry", when i needed it most?

it is not for me to know why the weather patterns develop as they do.  what i do know is that even in these times of mostly accurate weather prognostication, it never hurts to keep an eye on the horizon. a change in the weather is coming!  the question is, as it has always been-- when? aio


Monday, September 6, 2010

TT 35, SMU 27...


the tommy tuberville era at texas tech is off and running, if you could call it that-- 31 rushes for  a total of 72 yards is less than impressive.  that kind of yardage might have come from a mike leach coached game, with way fewer attempts.

as for the new emphasis on defense.  the score at the end of the third quarter was 35-17.  the raiders did provide a huge degree of excitement in the fourth.  not the good kind however.  smu scored 10 points  and had the ball driving for another score when the tech defense at last bowed its' back.

and exactly where was the raider offense in the fourth?  missing in action-- that's where.  points scored in the fourth to help the raider cause?  0-- nada-- zilch.  that is to say-- nuttin' honey.

the smu mustangs are a cusa (conference usa) team.  this debut of the tuberville era leaves me more than a little concerned for when the raiders face the texas longhorns and the rest of the big 12 (now 10) teams in the coming weeks.

something key was just not there for my raiders in this sunday afternoon, college, football game.  for one, they must have left the shredder in the locker room.  the leach type run and gun excitement is gone.  TT announced that TP (taylor potts) is the best man to lead the raiders into the tt era. he was good, completing 34 of  53 attempts for 349 yards with no interceptions. still, he left me wanting more.

so, just what was missing on this fine sunday afternoon on the south plains.  a priates' swagger for one; that  rare ability to inspire those around to bigger and better things. 

zero points scored by tech in the fourth quarter. unbelievable! and as i said, the much improved defense was  "in absentia"  for most of the fourth until at last it stopped the driving mustangs on fourth and long with just over a minute left in the game.

my eaky leaky heart is not up to such drama.

so it looks like  TT  and TT have their work cut out for them.  i'm thinking that after yesterday the rest of the big 12?/10 teams are licking their chops at the  prospect of having the TT red raiders for dinner.

the solution?  i'm no coach and i ain't no seer, but i'd like to see what steven sheffield can bring to the dinner table! aio

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the tuberville era...

get your guns up! today is a new beginning for my texas tech red raiders football program.   mike leach is done. good, bad, or indifferent his time as coach of the raiders was an exciting one and time will decide how best to judge the mike leach era.

today marks the debut of  tommy tuberville as the new head coach of the red raiders football program.  college football on a sunday!  who woulda' thunk it?

putting that oddity aside, it is with keen anticipation that i await the kickoff of the tommy tuberville era of texas tech red raiders football.  i can't wait to see what changes he may have wrought. his idea that there is two sides to a football team in not new, but it is a concept largely missing over the last ten years.  the raiders have scored a lot of points over those years.  without limiting ones opponents' scoring, putting up big numbers doesn't gurantee a win. one couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for the raiders' defensemen.  under leach, defense was even less than an afterthought.  it wasn't thought of at all. at least it seemed that way.

tuberville has promised change on that front AND he has vowed that tech's prolific passing game will remain, balanced by an effective running game. with a renewed emphasis on the defensive side, bring it on. we'll just have to wait to see what we will see. t-minus 75 minutes and counting until kickoff. 

Tommy Tuberville--TT.  Texas Tech--TT.  i am beside myself in anticipation of what the sum of TT+TT will be.

this afternoon begins the solving of  that equation.  i'm hoping it is a formula for huge success--  for many years to come. get your guns up, raiders' fans!   aio

Thursday, September 2, 2010

america's music...

country music is my thing.  watching the CMA music festival last night, i couldn't help wishing c. could find a similar affection for my fave, or at the very least, he could see the value of lyrics being the focus of his songs.  it worked for the beatles and for so any other groups, pop and rock,  in the 60's, 70's, 80's and into the 90's.   watching the myriad of country acts, i could understand every word sung, no matter the artist.

parental pride aside, imho, though those acts are great and as talented as they are, i question if they have more talent than c.  i don't think so.

taylor swift said her five years of phenomenal success is due to "one fantastic stroke of luck".  so it is my great hope, with the beginnings of two new, more main stream bands,  a phenomenal stroke of luck is on it's way to at least one of his new bands front door. aio

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

at last...

with apologies to ella:

at laaaaast. a new band has come along
the darker days are over
the sounds, more like a song
oh yeah, at last.....

i've not shed any tears over the demise of c.'s previous bands, pretty pretty and isaac the blind.  when i learned the name of one of his latest ventures, the town hall devils, i was prepared to not like them too based solely on the name. i'd not heard a note played, not heard a word sung,  had nothing more to base an opinion on other than the name. that is, until last night.

last night i received an e-mail from c. informing me that a video, of tthd playing at the reclaim outdoor shebang on the 14th, is available on their facebook page. the song in that video is stolen cars .  also there is a demo of everybody's watching you up on their myspace page for your listening pleasure.

i am intrigued.  i think i can learn to like this new group a lot. i've played e'swy several times and am liking the sound of it more and more.  as for sc, i prefer to reserve judgement until i can here the studio, or live, version.  i'm fairly sure the video doesn't do the song justice.

it does my soul good to see c. and k.w. moving away from the heavier stuff they've done with previous groups.

the other band he's hooking up with is called acid beach.  he tells me this bunch is an instrumental surf band.  now that's different, and something i'm very curious to hear. i feel i may like them as well.

the important thing he is happy doing what he loves and that makes me happy.  it's all good. aio

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

when you come home...

b., c., and k., this is for the three of you.  the message is in the chorus. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

torn between three lovers...

it's a tossup for me, which of the three cities i like best.  is it austin, home of c. and c. and the dogs, live music capitol of the world? or is it new orleans, city of mystery and history, home of k. and k. and the  home of the infamous alice and oliver-- as hep as any cats i've ever seen. or might it be san francisco.  okay, b. and r. and their merry band of felines don't actually live in san fran, living instead in the slightly less than cool city of concord. it's odd to me but i've noticed many who don't actually live in san fran proper still list it as their city of residence on facebook and such.

first, let me consider austin.  the draws for me, outside it being the city that stole c. away from hearth and home, are many. it is the capitol of my lone star state, home of bluebonnets, longhorns, lone star and pearl, the world's best barbecue and the prettiest girls on planet earth. forget that texas is where i was born, where i married my loving bride and where i adopted b. as my own (at least in my heart) and where c. and k. were born. austin is unique. austin is weird. austin is awesome.

new orleans, aka the big easy, is home to the saints, the superdome, jackson square, bourbon street, jazz and the garden district.  the city whose siren call has tempted, first b. and j., and now k. and k. to sample it's many wonders, is a study in southern charm.  a haven for cockroaches the size of mice, of mice the size of rats, rats the size of nutria and mosquitos the size of... okay, enough of the texas-sizing of local varmints.  the big easy is-- easy on the eyes, easy on the mind, a balm to soothe a texan tortured by too much heat and a severe lack of moisture in the air. happiness is new orleans on my mind.

san francisco, california is home to the golden gate, china town, cable cars, pier 31, the forty-niners, the giants and earthquakes.  hills, hills and more hills the sides of some graced by the painted ladies. so much to see, so much to do, so much it's hard to choose what our next adventure might be.  not far away is concord, city of residence for b. and r. and the gang and jumping off point for frisco, the wine country and so much more. san francisco, ca is as smooth as a  chilled glass of  barefoot moscato.

given the distinct charms and temptations of the three, how could one be expected to choose a favorite.  as each is home to one of our chilluns, to choose one city over the others is akin to choosing one kid over the other-- impossible.   so i will choose not to choose.  my favorite du jour will be whichever of the three i happen to be visiting at the time.  beyond that, they will remain forever frozen in a three way tie, so sue me. aio  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the sun'll come up...

on the five year anniversary of hurricane katrina, the networks have flooded the airwaves with images of a submerged, battered and beaten new orleans and gulf coast region taken in the days after the storm.

seeing those images again, the tension and uneasiness of those days leading up to katrina making landfall have resurfaced.

one might question why someone ensconced in the middle of the texas panhandle would have cause to worry about a storm 900 miles away.  ordinarily one might only have a general concern for people unknown. that concern expanded exponentially with loved ones living at the center of katrina's bulls eye.

the good thing about hurricanes is that the storm track can be monitored over days, even weeks coming up to landfall.  that's also the bad thing about hurricanes in that the storm track can be monitored giving time for  concern and unease to build as a storm's aim places loved ones in it's sights.

even here in little a-town we were touched in a major way by the beast that was katrina, having family living in the big easy then.  fortunately they had the opportunity, and good sense, to evacuate ahead of the storms' making landfall.  they were safe.

still the life they had spent years cultivating was changed.  though the second story apartment in the house on olga street was not flooded, the waters came up into the first floor structure and the roof was compromised by the wind allowing the flooding rains entry into what was "home" before the storm. "home" was no longer habitable.  the apartment on prytannia escaped major damage.

as the flood waters claimed the city and as they receded again the face of new orleans, outside bourbon street and the garden district, was the picture of devastation.  the vibe of the city took a hit.  as time passed,  thousands of those evacuated ahead of the storm, and after, didn't return.  it was not because they didn't want to but because in many cases the "home" left behind was no more.

time, circumstance and different opportunities eventually drew ours away from new orleans.  the lure was the same, the city was not.  secretly i celebrated having all gone from hurricane's way.

in time new orleans and the gulf began to heal.  the ruin that remained after the storm was cleaned up, repaired or rebuilt.  the draw that remained grew stronger as healing progressed.

b. relocated to california.  he did his all to become one with the big easy.  he was saddened by his leaving and vowed to return.  when he moved to the big easy he immersed himself in the mystique of it all. the mystery that is new orleans still pulls at him, he's still missing the city. nevertheless, he has taken a page from past experience and is immersing himself in the different vibe that is wine country.  living smack dab in the middle of the napa/sonoma valley wine country, he is well on his way to becoming a certifiable wine he grew to love new orleans, he is finding himself liking san francisco.  vastly different, but still good.   

i find a certain irony in his trading tornado country for hurricane country and the latter for earthquake country.  perhaps he simply enjoys living in "the danger zone."

j., his now ex-, returned to "home" to little a-town for a time after katrina. l.j. soon followed her here.  the lure of "home" for her proved weaker than the call of life in the big easy for the two of them.  she and l.j. were drawn back to louisiana by a pull as strong as a mother's love.  again, they live in hurricane way.

k. brought k. moved here from mckinney for a time. we were blessed having family near us.  last year ennui and the pull that is the big easy drew the two of them to hurricane way.

hurricane season is traditionally july 1st- october 31st. from that "season" comes concern for me.  k. and k., j. and l.j. living in harm's way has boosted my hurricane watch interest.  when each new system forms off the coast of africa, my hurricane antennae go up and they stay up until i see the threat to the big easy and the gulf has passed. hurry up, november!

and they're singing- ala keith urban                                                 
someday baby//     you and i are gonna be the ones//    good luck's gonna shine//    someday baby//          you and i are gonna be the ones//    so hold on//    we're headed for a better life

to them all, i say-- in my heart of hearts, i truly hope it's so.

to all the hurricanes yet to form, i para a phrase borrowed by horace greely. "go east young storms, go east".  aio