Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

Hearing The Train A'Coming

A couple of pics from the Amtrak train ride through southern Colorado and into New Mexico. It was very scenic.

I've had personal laptop issues and just got the Santa Fe trip pics out of the camera and onto a CD. I hope to post a pic or two over the next several days. Don't want to bombard you, though. I'll try to connect pics to some world-changing comments. Or just something that made me smile with hopes that it will stir the same for you.

Television Finales

Meant to post this weeks ago as the television season came to end. Sorry that I'm just now getting around to it.

I was pleased to tune in to the season finale of "Ugly Betty" and see Oklahoma-native Kristin Chenoweth. She's a favorite of mine. She grew up in the Tulsa area. Many years ago I saw her compete in the Miss Oklahoma pageant when she was still a student at Oklahoma City University. She didn't win but placed in the top five. She was a preliminary talent winner.

She's great in comedic roles. I hope they bring her back this fall. At least for a few episodes. Except that she has her own show, "Pushing Daisies," that debuts this fall. On "Betty" she played an orthodontic technician who loves romantic comedies. She kept quoting various moments from movies and finally encouraged Betty to chase after Henry. The interaction between the two of them was fun. Further, overall it was a very good finale. One to make you wonder all summer what's going to happen.

I didn't get immersed into much television this year. The lustre seemed a little dull to me on most shows I used to enjoy. Betty was the exception. It's a great show. Vanessa Williams and other cast mates are really awesome. I hope it's sophomore season stays strong.

Steamy Weather

Went on a quick work trip to Phoenix this week. Only my second time there -- outside of the airport.

Nothing against anyone living there, I have a cousin there, but Phoenix is not among my most favorite cities. It's nice, scenic and there's much to do. But, I'm not a golfer nor do I enjoy hot weather day after day after day after day. I like summer and all, but to everything there is a season. A good 10-inch snowstorm is always welcome. As long as I'm not on my way somewhere and it melts off the road the next day.

Hopped downtown to the Hard Rock Cafe. Ate a very good "Rock Chop," which is new to the menu. Also picked up two guitar pins and a beanie cap. It, the Hard Rock, is directly across the street from the basketball arena and very near the city's baseball park.

I hate that Hard Rocks have lost some of their allure. The bartender at the Phoenix location told me the one in Dallas closed. Officially, it is moving. That news crushed me. I have many fond memories of fun times at the Dallas Hard Rock. If only I could live in the 1980s forever.

Phoenix is nice and clean, but few people were walking around. I was told that's the norm when summer settles in for the season. It was 102 degrees at 10 p.m. and hit 111 the next day. I was fascinated by the spray misters for outdoor dining and under hotel porticos. Maybe I'll have to plan a trip back in January.

In Kansas City this week we're having our share of the rain that has been blasting Texas and Oklahoma. We're on the north side of the front. Interestingly, as those two states have had 16 or more days of rain, I heard that Phoenix has gone around 70 days with no rain.

I'm proud to report that my lawn is green, the weeds are at a minimum, the flowers are blooming, and my pear tree is slowly recovering.

Presidential Change

Received my first Presidential dollar coins. Stopped at the post office one evening and all I had was a five-dollar bill to purchase stamps from the machine. My 2-something in change included a George Washington.

Last week, a co-worker brought me two George Washingtons and two John Admas. Score! I think these coins are stellar looking. I look forward to collecting them.

By the way, there's also a series of First Spouse coins. These coins are gold and valued at $10.

The sites linked above include pictures and other details about the coins. The sites also detail the release dates. Happy coin collecting!

With A Heavy Heart

It feels like there's a big bulls-eye over Kansas City.

About two years ago, a Good Samaritan named Jonathan tried to stop a purse snatcher. Jonathan was injured as he held on to the purse and was dragged by the thief's car as he tried to escape. Several days later Jonathan died. The incident occurred in a Target parking lot in Overland Park, Kansas.

A few months ago, a guy drove up to a shopping area and a Target in South Kansas City. He opened fire, killing two people. It was a shocking incident. MegMacB and I often visited this Target. As a matter of fact, I was there Sunday.

Very recently on a Saturday, an 18-year-old girl walked out of a Target, Kelsey Smith. Again in Overland Park. Security cameras show her walking out of the store. Just minutes later, she was abducted in the parking lot. She never made it home. Through cell phone technology, a few days later her body was found.

Violence to others is something I can't comprehend. As the news about the incidents above unfolded, my heart would fill with sadness. None of it makes sense. Then, tonight while watching the evening news, there's updates on the pregnant lady in Ohio. Jessie Davis. That story is horribly sad.

The news also included an update about Vonzall Temple Jr. The 17-year-old was shot and killed just one week after his graduation from high schoo. Police are still seeking leads that will break the case.

Dinner's Ready!

Attention outdoor cookers, my preference is that you don't fire up until I am done mowing and am inside the home. Especially if I haven't had dinner. Thanks.

Bloody Gory Mess

When I first saw the swords, I anticipated a massacre. It stirred a mad dash to the bar to grab several additional glasses of champagne. If they came at me, my plan was to throw it in their eyes. If the aim wasn't me, I'd just drink away and watch as the blood hit the floor and splattered the walls.

I thought military dudes were only fighters. Evidently they are also lovers.

It was the beautiful and very nice wedding of Sexy Lady and Army Boy. They told (warned) me about an "Arch of Swords." Until I actually saw the weapons of choice, I still wasn't quite prepared. Researching the ritual post-wedding, I read that the sword fighters are supposed to give the bride a swat as she passes them. I didn't see this part of the tradition performed. Maybe I just missed it.

Anyway. It really was a special touch to their perfect day.

This Cowboy had the honor of speaking. Recapping the couple's journey was the task (they met on eHarmony). At a few points the crowd was rolling in laughter. At other times I saw a tear or two. Grading myself, it was a B effort. My timing was slightly off. Regardless, it was a thrill to share their wedding day and to have a part in the ceremony.

I also did a halfway decent job designing their wedding programs. I enjoyed that. As a thank you, the newlyweds surprised me with a shiny and spiffy bracelet. It's manly looking, I promise. Stainless steel and cool.

A special item of note, both sets of parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversaries this summer. That's amazing! Of course, SL and AB will have to live until they're almost 80 to accomplish the same feat. :) My prediction is that they will make wonderful music together for many years to come!

Skaters Unite!

Growing up I was a roller-skating fool. I loved going to that skate place in Owasso and it was a real treat when one of the local churches took a bus load of us to Tulsa for an after-school skate party.

Skating backward was on my list of skills. It meant getting to hold a girl's hands while skating backward and admiringly smiling at each other. All that while listening to Olivia Newton John or "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb.

I bet the ultra-conservatives have banned many songs at those church skates now. Back then there were churches that made boys sit on one side of the bus and girls the other, while a different church allowed a free for all. In any case, skaters like me knew the date of every church's skate party. We were skating hos.

Mom purchased a set of skates for me at a garage sale. They weren't in great shape, but I liked them. I'm sure people often had something to say about the kid skating about the neighborhood. I never had any friends skating with me. However, I never was sad about it. I was having too much fun.

About 29, I became an avid Rollerblader, um, inline skater. Kansas City's Downtown Airport was my regular route. I'd skate around it three or four times. After signs went up banning skating, the river front park or the Liberty Memorial drive became my skating routes of choice. Flat, safe, enjoyable. Eventually skating or any kind of exercising became a non-priority.

Not too long ago took the skates to work and decided to go for a spin on our long office drive. Mostly glided as there are many inclines and declines. Couldn't stop and smashed into the security gate. The force generated by my mass in motion left the gate ajar. Maintenance had to be called to fix it. Maybe I'll try skating again in a few more years.

While in Lincoln not too long ago I snapped a pic of the USA Roller Skating Confederation. It is the home of the Roller Skating Museum. I must plan a return visit to Lincoln just to check out the place.

Who's Your Daddy

Did a Succotash run with the MegMcB Saturday morning. The McPhats joined us. Although it was my first time to meet them, it felt like I had known them for years. Lots of fun.

We discussed vacation in Santa Fe, Omaha, chamber of commerce leadership programs, pimples on dogs butts, Ashley, Sara cubed, overly sweaty bodies, bikers wearing biker pants in public, downloading photos, tile shopping, and a variety of other topics. All this while enjoying cake and a smile, a kitchen sink and a banana bread french toast breakfast plates. Very nice.

After breakfast McB and I walked the "Avenue of the Arts" exhibit. We took many pics. Our second year for this outing, now in its 8th year. I hope we can make it again a date in 2008. More the merrier, if you want to join us.

Next thing I knew, I was at Home Depot and well on my way of doing the home things that normally consume a Saturday. I did nab a chain saw. Although a simple $60 version, it was perfect to chop up those tree limbs in the yard. I got it almost all done last night.

Meg was in town mostly to see me, and I guess a few others too. She also planned to visit with her pops today since it is Father's Day and she happened to be in town. This is my first year that I didn't send a single Father's Day card. Usually I will at least send some to some key individuals. Just didn't happen this year. I did receive a very nice "Hi Uncle on Father's Day" card from O and M. Made my day.

Blown Away

My Bradford Pear tree is in shambles. A wind storm swept through Kansas City on June 7 and ripped the tree apart. Only about a third of it is left standing.

Mom saw it and insisted it had to have been hit by lightning. What does she know, though? I'm sure it was wind. Those Bradfords grow limbs so interweaved and tight. From what I understand, strong winds just can't blow through them.

My neighbor across the street is of Asian descent. He doesn't speak English well, if at all. He tells me his name is Jimmy. While getting mail or working on lawns we wave and smile. Last summer I noticed the small cherry-like tree in his front yard was missing. I asked "What happed to your tree?" He responded, "Tornado!"

Maybe I'll adopt his story as my own.

Still Kicking

Sorry for the absence. The last two weeks are a blur, but I promise to update over the next few days. I have a list of subjects for potential posts. Stay tuned.

In No. 47

Hopped an Amtrak train recently and am now in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here with the Mom, visiting the Oldest Sister and family. The Older Sis from North Carolina is here too.

Having a great time. Plans for Friday include visiting downtown Santa Fe, art museums, the National Cemetery, and likely lots of eating, laughing and visiting. I've taken a gazillion pics already and am certain many, many more photo ops are lurking.

And after day 2, the OSU golf team was sixth on the leader board. Coastal Carolina University was on top, with Stanford next in line.

Just a quick update for now.

p.s. Shout out to newlyweds Sexy Lady and Army Boy. Sorry that the draft post hasn't made it to the published site yet. I promise to get it done when I get home with access to pics.