Thursday, October 15, 2009

Funny Story?

The oldest grand daughter challenged me to tell a funny story on my blog. Well here goes.

Ever hear the term "Old Fart"? Well I think I have officially become one. It seems my body is producing a abundance of gas and it becomes apparent at all the wrong times. I work in an office with other people around all the time. For the past several days, I am almost afraid to leave my own office and walk to the copy machine or any place. "Toot... Toot... Toot" as I walk past other offices. Embarassing.

Oh well. You can now have a great day knowing you don't have that problem.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

On July 30, our President issued an Executive Memorandum on embryonic stem cell research. That Order says in part:

"The Guidelines are based on the principles that responsible research with human embryonic stem cells has the potential to improve our understanding of human biology and aid in the discovery of new ways to prevent and treat illness, and that individuals donating embryos for research purposes should do so freely, with voluntary and informed consent. These Guidelines will ensure that NIH-funded research adheres to the highest ethical standards."

Now all that sounds good, right? Phases like "responsible research," "discovery of new ways to prevent and treat illness," "donating... freely, with volunary and informed consent," and "highest ethical standards" all sound pretty noble and important.

This was not covered on any news I heard. With all the debate on "health care reform" and "cash for clunkers" no one was watching. Shame on us!

My only question is: Who speaks on behalf of the embryos? When is their free, voluntary and informed consent solicited and documented?

Besides all the moral problems, check out this article in Forbes:

Woe unto us when we call "evil" "good." Now that we have our foot in the door, what's the next step?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Comments on Health Care Bill

Dare to read, you might be surprised by my conclusions...

The wording in the current health care bill is a slap in the face of the “silent” or “greatest” generation – the generation that lived through the depression, fought in World War II, sacrificed so much during the war, raised the “baby boom” generation (the largest ever in history), and contributed to one of the greatest periods of economic growth in human history. They have been missionaries, evangelists and, ambassadors. Many have had to give up even more due to “rebounding” children – grown children who fail at jobs, marriage, life and return home to get a second start. Now the health care fix is being placed squarely on their backs and on the backs of their children. I noted the limitations of health care in England once you are 59 (the Baby Boomers are already entering the age of restrictions). The Baby Boomers are beginning to get the idea that we need to apologize for ever being born because we are going to cause so much trouble. We will be second in line to be denied by-pass or cancer surgery. In August many in Congress are holding "town meetings." When you check their websites, however, attendance is by invitation only. So they don't really want to know what we think unless they think we think like they think???

In spite of how bad the existing bill is, I think there is a bigger issue. The common denominator in all the discussions is the government: the government grants treatments, sets the rates, controls prices, sets the rules, denies treatments, etc. God establishes governments to protect its citizens. To the extent government fails to protect the citizens but instead causes harm (dictates who can live and who must die) then such a government is no longer “under God.” Those with health issues become slaves of the healthy and those who have unrestricted health care. Such a nation cannot long endure on the face of the earth. The founding fathers warned us this time would come if we let Congress pass bills that they were not subject to. Our Congress today continually passes bills that do not apply to themselves even though they apply to everyone else.

But there is yet still a bigger issue: Whether we have “universal health care” or not is not the biggest issue. The bigger issue is: Does this nation really “In God We Trust?” More and more it appears we are putting our trust in the government, Hollywood, famous personalities, rich people, money, anything or anyone but God. I note the Australians are becoming the dominant power in international sporting events and they have “universal health care” and are an overtly Christian nation. I think the biggest need in our nation is a national revival toward God. Until that happens, we will continue to have confused leaders and self-destructive national laws. The spirit of confusion on our leaders today comes directly from God as we drift farther from Him.

Look at the “Cash for Junkers” program. It has been called an overwhelming “success.” A billion $$’s were spent in just a few days. Now Congress is trying to add $2B more. But where did the money go. Much of it went to buyers who bought cars manufactured in other countries. So we transferred much of the first $1B to Japan, Germany, and Korea. Some car new inventories were reduced but this is not a sustainable approach to recovery of the American auto industry. Calling it a “success” is the same kind of confused evaluation we have seen to nearly everything the government is doing right now. The only industry that is getting a long term benefit is the car-loans companies. But maybe not: they will be getting payments and interest for 4 to 7 years from people who were driving junkers, possibly because that's all they could afford. Does this at all sound like the housing crisis that supposedly started the recession in the first place?

See you at the Town Meeting near you.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is This a Sign of Old Age?

Last night I drove to a small "international" airport north of Orlando to pickup Kathi. She was flying back from helping her parents in South Dakota. The trip broke my usual weeknight routine in several ways.
  • Worked much later than normal
  • Had trouble getting back into the office after some meetings due to security
  • Had to drive to Orlando
  • Ate a really terrible McDonald's Angus burger, ick!
  • Had to follow the Garmen GPS all the way, because I had no idea where the airport was, and it was dark, so I really didn't know were I was going except for the compass on the rear view mirror
  • Had to pay a lot of tolls because the GPS routed me over every toll road it could find. mmm...
  • Finally found Kathi, looking lovely as usual
  • Went back by following the signs to I-4 rather than the toll roads, a little farther but a whole lot cheaper
  • Kathi tried to update me about her whole trip, I may have remembered some of it
  • We got home at almost 1:00 a.m.
  • I unloaded Kathi's bags out of the car
  • Went to bed
  • Got up at 5:45 a.m.

Okay, except for the going to bed, everything else was pretty much not a normal weeknight activity. So why is all this significant? Well I'm glad you asked. When I got into the garage to go to work this moring, the car wouldn't start. After what seems like hours of investigation, I found I had left the tail gate open and the lights stayed on all night (about 6 hours) and drained the battery. Now I couldn't get to work, had to call and reschedule a meeting, etc. Fortunately, AAA was there in about 15 minutes, so I was only late for work by about 10 min. Usually I try to get there 30 minutes early just in case.

So here's the question? Does forgetfulness come from old age, fatigue or is that just who I am? You decide.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Was This a God Thing?

Last night I was working on a powerpoint presentation for a conference in Denver week after next. I was also watching TV in the background. My main prayer lately has been for family members who need new jobs. About midnight I turned off the TV and computer to go to bed. As I was waking up this morning, I began to pray for family members as I ususally do. For the first time my prayer was led pray for "sources of income" rather than just "jobs." Then as I was getting out of bed I heard noises coming from other part of the house. Turned out the cable was on, but not the TV so the sound was coming out of the surround sound system. When I checked it out it was a home Internet based business opportunity. Not sure why the cable was on. I know I turned it off too. Anyway, I listed to it and eventually called them to send the information. We'll see if this is an answer to prayer. When the Lord returns will he find any faith at all?

Love, Steve

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Presidential Priorities

Today, June 9th, President Obama declared National Summer Learning Day.

On June 4 he declared Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009.

Let's see... a day for continuing education of our children and a month celebrating the accomplishments of those living in open sin. Does anyone besides me see anything wrong with this picture?

I guess we know where a lot of his campaign contributions came from. Here's some lemon-aid for you: At least we know the President is loyal to those who bought him into office. Just like he used the Federal government to buy car companies so he could give them to the unions.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Well some of us are back from our trek to South Dakota and Minnesota. Kathi will fly back later this week. Those of us who drove got home about 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon after driving about 26 hours from Sioux Falls were we met up with Joel and Mary. I did the most driving but Mary and Joel took the overnight shift avoiding deer and successfully navigating the foggy mountains of Tennessee. I'm back at work today hoping the fatigue does not catch up with me before the day is over.

It was a great adventure.
  • I found a new first edition book at Needs Anonymous in Webster which I read and passed on to Michael.
  • Got to visit with Carissa and her family two times. (wow are the older three growing!). They are pretty settled in their home in MN and enjoying watching their garden grow and other projects around the house. We got to talk about their hopes for the future and about the Word of God, specifically some verses in Revelations.
  • Got to visit with Heather and her boy friend Charlie. Charlie's dog Bella is a clown, she waited outside the bathroom door then barked at me when I came out. Heather's dog Riley was as happy as ever.
  • Got to see Charlie's team win a soft ball game. Turns out they won the tournament, too. They are a good hitting team and have great defense, turning double plays often.
  • Got to visit with old friends Marc and Carole and Ann and Paul. Marc had a near death experience earlier this year when his heart stopped for a while. But he is doing great now.
  • Gas was about 20 cents cheaper in MN than it is in FL.

Every time I go to SD, I fantasize what it would be like to have a shop in Webster. Maybe a Christian book store, music store, coffee shop, place to discuss issues of the day. There is a store front for sale in downtown... hmmmm? I once had that same fantacy about Sequim, WA. Not long after someone else opened the exact same shop there.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Best Laid Plans...

Kathi is driving her parents to their summer home in South Dakota. They meant to get an early start this morning, but they didn't. It was raining really hard too so that slowed them. They they took the long way around Tampa. End result of all these delays, they hit Atlanta at rush hour and didn't get to their motel in Chattanooga until about 8:00 p.m. A long day. But they are doing well and their injured doggie is traveling well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Watch the Frogs

They say a frog will allow itself to be boiled to death if the temperature of the water is increased gradually. For this one thing I am thankful for the new President and Congress. They are turning the water to boil all at once, and the frogs are jumping out of the water. I only hope enough escape in time to make a difference!

The Irony of Iran

They held an election in Iran. The incumbant won, the loser is crying foul. People have been demonstrating in the streets and some have been killed.

So what is the issue: the existence and tactics of the paramilitary organization that enforces the dictates of the Islamic theocracy on the people.

It's not about their religion (90% have the same religion), it's not about the economy (40% are out of work), it's about who controls the power, who controls the internal "security" force.

So meanwhile, back in the USA, some in the democratic party have been talking about creating an internal "security" organization that would prevent "right wing extremists" from performing terrorist activities.

Who's a right-wing extremist? Anyone who calls good "good" and evil "evil" is labeled an extremist and would be subjected to surveillance and arrest or worse by this new "security" force. Anyone who speaks out against the dictates of the party or persons in power.

Does that not sound a little like what the people in Iran are struggling to stop? Is that not ironic, if not completely crazy? Could we descend any further from the founding principles of this great nation?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What every happened to good old American inginuity?

The news is extolling China's 60 mpg car: basically a tricycle with a top. Fooey. I once had a Ford Escort station wagon with a diesel engine. It sometimes got 50 mpg on the highway and it had doors, room for four and luggage. You could actually drive it on the highway.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Health Insurance Poll

This weekend I was polled about the need to reform health care in the United States. I rarely get polled, so it was kind of fun.

It goes without saying that everybody wants the best possible medical treatment to be available and affordable. You've heard the cry: "quality, affordable health insurance for everyone."

The questions were all double-edged or vague, however, so I had to answer "no" to most of them. The poll seemed to be trying to get me to say I was in favor of raising taxes on individuals and businesses and having the government control of medical insurance and services for everyone.

That's the same government that says it okay to kill unborn children, even children partially born, while on the other hand saying you can go to jail for disturbing a swallow's nest. Somehow, I just couldn't trust that kind of a government with medical decisions for my loved ones.

At the end they asked me if it would be okay to have someone from the "news media" interview me about my responses. Of course I said "no." Ummm, makes me wonder, am I on one of those "watch lists" because of my recent quips?

Why is it "health insurance" anyway. They are not insuring our health, are they? We are paying premiums so they will pay for our needed medical care. Shouldn't it be called "medical insurance?"

Movie Mania

We saw the Star Trek movie a couple weeks ago. They live in a utopian society where no one is paid an income, there is no poverty, there is no hunger. Sounds just like the dream of the LIberals! Someone decides your role in society, unless you are James Kirk and you take your role by force. So if you are not James Kirk, you get what they give you and of course you are motivated because of the utopian society to excell. Actually, nearly everybody in the movie was completely incompetent, except Kirk of course, which I suspect will be the real outcome of the utopian society envisioned by hollywood and the liberals.

Oh, I forgot in the movie, there are aliens trying to destroy our planet! No big problem, though, since everyone eats synthicized food, they can focus entirely on stopping the aliens. I know I always think better when I eat artificial food.

We saw Terminator Salvation last night. The savior of humanity is named John Connor. Note the initials. However, the real savior was someone else who gave his heart to save John Connor. This hero was a murderer who suddenly became a protector. They kept talking about second chances. But that's it though, no third chance!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quotes and Quips?

Our President's campaign promises are like a hot air balloon. Pretty and graceful on the outside, empty on the inside. I guess that makes him the ultimate politician.

Our President's campaign promises are like a mirage in the dessert. They look hopeful in the distance, but as you get near, they vanish. Maybe he should stop making promises.

Some think God in the Bible and Allah in the Koran are the same. God is the god of gods, king of kings, prince of peace. Allah is the god of the moon. I guess that's why our President thinks they are the same.

Companies like Boeing increase or decrease the number of employees as their plane sales increase or decrease. It is a normal part of their business. When a goverment's revenues decrease, you would think the world came to an end when they were forced into a staff reduction. They feel they are successful when they eliminate vacant positions, not real jobs. I guess that explains why our President and Congress are so determined to make more government jobs.

This morning as I was driving to work, my trip was delayed by a crash blocking the right lane: a small car was crushed under a jack-knifed truck. It made me cry out to God in tears for the person in the car. Then I realized our government wants us all to be driving in the tiniest possible cars. I only have a limited supply of tears and I definately don't want my kids driving in the smallest possible cars. One did, and it nearly killed her. Now she drives a Suburban. You go girl!

On a happier note, it is raining about an inch a day in Florida. Finally, the draught is not front page news. Some Floridians should spend some time in Arizona. They are delighted with an inch a month!.

Our Governor lost his approval rating with the "Green Folks" this week. He signed a bill making development easier in some Florida communities. That bill could create more jobs and more revenue so there is money to spend on Green Projects. The "Green Folks" should spend a few days in Haiti to see how "green" cities are when no one has a job.

Let me know if these amuse or abuse.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mike and Carissa,

You blog is so beautiful. What a wonderful family you have. Blessings in Jesus. Aunt Meg

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Afternoon on Ana Maria Island

Here is the whole gang.
A nice lady sitting near by
volunteered to take the picture.
We are on Ana Maria Island on the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are Tori and Sara jumping some waves.
The water temperature was prefect, it didn't feel warm or cold.

Tori is testing the water.
She really enjoyed her time at the beach.
She built a sand castle and found lots of sea shells

Kathi and Tori wave jumping.

Here Alan is having a little fun with my Mexican hat.
We did not do a Mexican Hat Dance though.

May all your days on the beach be warm and sunny!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fishing on the Gulf

Today Alan and I got to go fishing on the Gulf of Mexico out of the Cortex fishing dock. These are a couple of pelicans who greeted our return. Actually they were staring intently at the Captain who was cleaning the fish.

I only got sick twice.

Here I am catching a "big" shark. Actually, it was about 2 feet long. It put up a pretty good fight though. I caught a lot of little fish call red groupers that we had to through back because they were too small. Alan and also caught some Key West Snappers. They are also small fish, no pictures of them. Alan hooked two sharks, but didn't land any. You will have to ask him about the story.
Here I am holding up the shark and a king fish that I caught. The king fish we caught were really good fighters, a lot of fun to catch.

Here is Alan holding the two king fish he caught. If you click on the video clip below, you can see that Alan was a little disappointed with his catch. :-)

Here is Alan catching a really big one. He pulled and pulled, but it got away. Actually this happened a lot. We were hooking the coral reef or the little fish were pulling the lines into the coral. Eventually the line broke.

Here is Alan's Victory Dance!

May all your fishing adventures be full of success!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The wedding was a success! We had so much fun. I loved every minute of it. Joel wrote me the most beautiful song. I love him so much! Having all the family together was fun. Dad and I had an awesome dance to My Girl. There are quite a few pictures on facebook of the whole day. This is one of my favorites. The photgrapher was so amazing! I can't wait to see the rest. Also the video.

Steve's Weight .... Update

Can't really call it "weight lose" update this week. As is clearly visible, the moving average has actually risen by about 1/2 pound this week.
Can think of lots of excuses, but it is really that I haven't been exercising at all and only a little running. Calories in are exceeding calories burned, thus, weight is creeping up.
Hopefully, next week will be better. We are planning outings while Alan and family are here that will involve a lot of walking. Just need to make sure I don't overdo the calorie laden beverages.
Never give up! - Steve

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Florida Economy from Where I Sit

My Situation:

I work for a national consultant engineering firm. Over the past few years the firm has won some very large projects, many in excess of $5,000,000 per year in fees. I am working on one such project as a Project Manager for about 56 specific projects. I know that sounds like a lot but many of them are pretty small.

The Impacts of the Economy:

Over the past few months the client has learned that their revenue to pay for the program our firm is managing has declined significantly due to lower property, sales and gas taxes. They were planning to purchase bonds to build about $500M in new projects. Earlier this year they learned that their bond rating was lowered, increasing their interest rates, lowering the amount they can borrow. Now the county is considering a 25% reduction in county staff. They are also considering a major reduction to the program we are managing. So in addition to 25% staffing layoffs, the county may be terminating or scaling back our contract.

A neighboring County is considering similar program and staffing cuts.

The Grace of Our God:

While all this is happening, the client is also considering increasing the program budget and accelerating the projects I am managing. And the client has expressed desire to keep me working on the program even if the existing contract is terminated or cut back. All around me people are worried about their jobs. We had an emergency staff meeting a couple weeks ago and everyone was afraid there would an announcement about more staffing cuts. A similar meeting was held in February where 2 people from my office were let go. This meeting was about our color copying bill – it was too high! I, on the other hand, am wondering whether I will be able to keep up with the work I have and that appears to be coming my way.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rain, Rain DON'T Go Away

When we were kids growing up in Olympia, WA. It seemed to rain all the time. We were thankful for even a partially sunny day. Here in Florida, its the opposite. This is a tropical climate that depends on rain all year to flourish.

Up until this week, we had gone over 30 days without rain and all everybody could talk about was the drought. I know - 30 days doesn't seem like much, but we didn't even have any April showers.

This week, it started raining again. These are some pictures from my commute Thursday evening. This was the third straight raining homeward commute.

I missed taking pictures of the double rainbows Wednesday evening because the camera was in the back seat in the comptuer bag.

Last night the rain was not severe and there was sunshine beaming through the clouds. Also the wipers are almost new so there are very few streaks. Actually it didn't rain hard enough to get all the bugs off the window. You can also see from the pictures that the traffic is not too bad. That is because I was slightly ahead of the rush hour and because my commute is almost always free flowing, at least for the last 20 miles.

I am sure that was about as interesting as a cup of hot water instead of coffee... but that's a whole other story.

May your rain be the good kind that brings clean air, green grass and lots of blooming flowers.


Steve's Weight-Loss Update

Well with the wedding behind us, I decided to adjust the red goal line and start from where I am. That is why the red line splits and drops.
Weight was steady during the wedding and so far the week after. That's why the blue lline bumps to the right.
I need to keep up with the walking ... only did it a couple times this week. All the wedding food did not help! But it was good. And there are still mints and nuts left over.
Now we are looking forward to Alan, Sara and Tori's visit on Memorial Day week. This will be the first time they have been to Florida since we have been here. Alan wants to go fishing. Tori wants to go to Disney and a zoo.
Hope your week at head is full of promise and joy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mary & Joel Wedding Pictures

Some (or a lot) pictures from the wedding are now apparently posted to:

Mary and Joel have not seen them yet. They won't be back from their honeymoon cruise until Sunday morning. I doubt that they are paying for Internet access on the ship, but I may be wrong.

I have not seen them yet because Facebook is blocked out on our Internet at work.



Uncle John Cacavas

Hello! I wanted you all to see the picture of my mom and her Greek cousin (his dad and my mom's dad were brothers) who I had never met before this past Greek Easter. Don't they have some similar features! They call him chefas (which means outcast!) because he was considered an outcast from the Cacavas family. He told us the whole story which is fascinating. So that explains why I had never met him! They have lived in St. Pete Beach in a gorgeous home on the water for 45 years. He made his money by starting a pizza parlor in Ohio and selling it at its peak. He has multiple health problems and wasn't able to make the trip for the wedding. Their daughter would have had to bring them and had a conflict. I hope to have them over here sometime in the future.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Aaron Hall Wins Concerto Competition

Hall winner of Concerto Competition
SARAH ARNEY Marysville Globe Arts & Leisure May 05 2009, 2:07 PM · UPDATED

SEATTLE — An Oso farmer, Aaron Hall is one of six winners of the 2009 Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Concerto Competition and he will perform with the Philharmonia Northwest Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Saturday May 16 in Theodore Roethke Auditorium, Kane Hall at the University of Washington. Admission is $10.

The winner of the Senior Concerto Cello Division, Hall, 16, is homeschooled and lives on his family’s farm in Oso, east of Arlington.

He began private cello lessons at age 6 and piano lessons at age 8. He currently studies cello with Toby Saks. This year Hall was named first alternate in the 2008-’09 MTNA Washington State Senior String Competition. He performed the Boccherini Sonata for Violin and Cello with his sister in the 2009 Academy of Music Northwest Benefit Concert held at the Benaroya Nordstrom Hall, and for the 2008 Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference.

For the full article, check this link:

- Steve

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Mystery Revealed?

Many have asked what it is I do at work. Often I don't give a very satisfactory answer. But this Diagram is called the Systems Engineering Process "V" Diagram. It is used to guide development and delivery of technology related projects, in my case "intelligent transportation systems." I most often find my self assigned tasks in the upper left box called "Concept of Operations" or "ConOps" for short. This describes what the technology is supposed to do from the user's point of view.

Sometimes I have also been involved with development of requirements. What is a requirement? A good question. It relates to the ConOps. For example you have all seen traffic monitoring cameras along the freeway. An example requirement is that the camera image be viewed at the traffic management. Sounds simple, but a lot of other requirements must be met in order for that to happen.

Sometimes my role is actually developing these documents. Other times my role involves managing others who are doing them. For example for one County in Florida, I am managing work performed by a designer, an integrator (see on the right leg of the "V"), and a soils testing company (to make sure the poles don't fall down we need to know what the soils are). All the while working on contracting documents, cost estimates, meetings, etc. for the Client who is the County.

I am sure that generates more questions than it answers, but "You asked for it."


Steve's Weight Loss Update

This morning my weight, after the wedding was 203. That's a drop of 20# since January. This weekend, I decided to start a new graph with 203 as the starting point. New goal is to get down to about 170-175 by the end of the year. That is the weight I had when I was the most fit and probably a good weight to try to reach.

Since the graph only has one day on it, I decided not to put it on the Blog yet, maybe the actual weight curve (7-day moving average) will be visible by Friday.

May all your goal updates be full of promise!

- Steve

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mary & Joel's Wedding

These are the church decorations. Kathi and our friend Ann who flew in before wedding to help with all the preparations. The banners were made by Joels Mom.

We wanted to make the canopy over the stage higher, but could block the view of the screen. Joel's brother in law prepared a DVD of pictures of Mary and Joel growing up. It was very nice!

After the vows, Joel sang a song that he had written both the words and the music. It was very touching.

Here is the wedding cake. It was made by Mary's friend Becky. It looked and tasted good.

Almost 150 people attended the reception. Here are Mary and Joel dancing near the end. Dancing had been going on for almost 3 hours. By then. They went though a shower of sparklers to get to the limo when it was over.
You will have to wait for the professional photos to see all the details.
We dropped them off at the Port of Tampa this morning for their 7-day cruise in the Gulf of Mexico.
More soon, I'm Sure!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wedding Is Getting Close

Mary's wedding is going to start getting real for me today. I begin to get hyper-engaged this afternoon, picking up out of state travelers who will be arriving at the Tampa airport. Tomorrow I have to try on the tux and get a hair cut. I know tough duty. But there are some church decorations that I have to help with like sand bags to hold down the poles holding up the cloth trellis that will be on the platform.

Of course Kathi and Mary and others have been hyper engaged for the past few months. I have mainly been a cheer leader.

And you wouldn't believe the number of boxes that arrive daily. Some for Kathi for the wedding decorations. Some for mary for gifts for her bride's maids. And some for Mary and Joel for wedding gifts. I have tossed dozens of boxes over the past few weeks.

Mary's friend Kerry arrived a couple days ago so she has been helping Mary a lot and spending time at the beach. The beach on Anna Maria Island is very nice and not many people this time of the year.

Joel is busy at work, I guess they are making him get two week of work done so he can take off next week for the honeymoon.

Well, enough!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Face Book Experience

Last night I finally "reached out" with Face Book and now have a four whole "friends." Face Book is a little frustrating. I don't really know what I am doing yet, so I guess it will get easier.

Thanks to former boss and co-worker Duane who now lives in Arizona for being the tipping point to get me started.

I sent out a couple other friend invitations. Mainly to family but one to a former member of the Olympia High School band from the class of 1965.

Another thing I did was link the family blogs to the face book "wall." We're all tied together.

Well got to go.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another Talented Bahler

Tori is our grand daughter who lives in Washington. She is a very bubbly and delightful first grader. This weekend she competed in a dance contest. Her 3-girl team finished first.

She loves to dance. She loves to pose for pictures, too. She is bringing her parents to Florida in a few weeks. We plan to go to Disney World in Orlando and to take her dad fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. He really wants to catch a big fish or two.

Here is her trophy for the dance contest. She definately won't need that jacket when she gets to Florida. And she will definately need some sun screen!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Steve's Weight Loss Update

Another week, another pound lost. Just wanted to point out that during this adventure, I did not use any weight loss miracle pills, or herbs, or info-mercial exercise machines. I did use the Wii-Fit to help me get started. It has all been through eating a little less and exercising (mainly walking) a little more. The food I have been eating is what I always have eaten (except some of the food at the Greek Easter dinner was a little different!).

This week Kathi is starting us on a new belly bluge busting diet. It starts with drinking water mixed with cucumbers and some spices. Tastes kind of funny but its only for four days. If it helps reduce "gas" I will be happy.

Starting in a week or two, I will readjust the graph starting from where I am now and moving forward to reaching the ultimate goal of weighing about 175 or so.

May you accomplish all your glorious goals with gayety.


Friday, April 24, 2009

More Signal Box Art

Here are some more. The following are my favorite, I took pictures of several angles.

Do you see the signature and date of the artist?

They sure spruce up the neighborhood.

Maybe Sarah H has planned Vivaldi?

Have a great day!

Tampa Signal Box Art

We have all seen those big gray boxes at the corner of signalized intersections. Inside the boxes are all the equipment that keeps the signals running (for good or bad).
Not only are the boxes pretty unattractive, they can attract grafitti that can be a real eye sore. In order to combat that, the City of Tampa in one neighborhood and downtown have Signal Box Art.

Here are some examples from picures I took about a week ago when I first discoved these outdoor treasures.

The ones that look more like posters are in downtown Tampa. The ones that look like original works of art, are original works of art, signed and dated by the painters. These are in the Westshore area of Tampa.

Hope you enjoy! I will post some more in a future Post, the Blog site limits the file size.


Steve's Weekly Weight Loss Update

Well another week, another pound or so. Still doesn't' look like I will make 200 by the wedding. A slower than desirable week because I ate more that I usually do. Remember the Greek Easter? What I didn't tell you was that I went back for seconds on the dessert which I am sure was pretty full of sugar. And then I didn't exercise more to make up for it.

Last night I "watched" Mary and Joel excercise to the "mother of all workouts." I don't suppose I can burn caleries by ozmosis?

Tonight is Joel's "man shower." Sounds like it is going to be mainly eating! I am hoping I am over the cold enough to were I can get back to running a little.

Anyway, is that enough excuses for today? If not, I can probably think of some more.

May you overcome your excuses with a no matter what attitude.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Signs of the Times

Today at lunch, I took a little walk. The weather was fine. The sidewalks and the Franklin Street mall were busy but not by any means crowded. You know me, its hard to just walk unless I have a destination in mind. And this time was no exception.

I was headed to the shoe repair shop to see if they could re-attach the sole of one of my shoes (not the ones I'm wearing today thankfully). After I asked the Middle Eastern shop keeper if he could fix the shoe, I commented that it is not good to be soul-less. I am not sure he caught my pun. First he said the shoe would be ready tomorrow. After I paid the $10, he said they would be ready in 2 weeks! I guess he did have a sense of humor, at least I think he did. We'll see tomorrow.

As I walked to the shoe repair store, a person ahead of me stopped at a used book store display. It was like it just drew her in, like a huge magnet. On they way back I saw a jewelry store that said "sale" on the window. So I went in to see if there were any "on sale" wedding bands. The one Mary got Joel on E-Bay did not pass Joel's muster. They had some rings for 60% off! A couple of them might have been just was Joel wants. Anyway, I'll pass the information on to Mary for her consideration.

So I guess the moral is, peolple are looking to save money and I am not sure if my sense of humor works for Middle Eastern shop keepers. But who really knows if my sense of humor works for anyone or if they laugh just to be polite because I get this "did you get it" look on my face!

May all your deals be good deals! - Steve

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are Blogs the New American Media?

Many times I have been disappointed with news coverage on TV or newspapers. Sometimes I was personally involved in the news event and hardly recognized what was being reported. On the other had I have had many e-mails forwarded to me with claims regarding events and persons. When I check into these, I find that they are often untrue or biased as well. I had a friend who was a news reporter. I asked him if he was able to report what he observed without bias or without modification of facts from his editor. He said he was, but last time I heard, he was no longer a news journalist. There are just too many barriers to reporting facts and truth.

That brings us to Blogs and other personal web sites. Blogs, at least the Blogs I am following, are chronicaling the every day lives, trials, dreams and hopes of real peole. They are generally unfiltered by others with different "agendas." They are unfettered with political correctness or ideology. They offer a window into the lives of those around us.

Some websites such as Face Book have potential, but can become tools for those with agendas to try to influence others for good or bad. Blogs seem to be the "grass roots" media of the 21st Century. Look for truth where you find it and hold onto it with all your strength.

Thanks for listening.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Ed Freeman

Hello, my grandpa Blanchard sent this to us...I thought it was a cool story. Hope you like it!

Ed Freeman

You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day. Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.. He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times..... And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID......May God rest his soul.....

I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we sure were told a whole bunch about some Hip-Hop Coward beating the crap out of his "girlfriend."

Medal of Honor Winner Ed Freeman!

Shame on the American Media

2009 - The Year of Weight Loss

Yesterday we celebrated Greek Easter with some of Kathi's relatives in St. Pete Beach. They have a nice place on the Inner-Coastal Waterway. It was perfect weather. Except for Kathi's folks, neither Kathi or I had met any of these relatives, except Kathi had met Uncle John, the host. There were children to grand parents, it was a large gathering of maybe 40 people all together. As I got to know some of the people I learned that several of them had lost weight in 2009, a lot of weight. Two for sure had lost nearly 30 pounds a piece. Maybe people are always losing weight and I never noticed it before or 2009 really is the year of weight loss. Either way everyone seemed quite happy about the loss.

Greek Easter family celebrations are highlighted by continuous eating. We arrived at about 5:00 p.m. and left around 8:00 or so. We were eating the entire time. Which maybe explains why all the Greek relatives were tryng to lose weight!

Love, Steve

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I finally figured this out!!

Dad has written a quarterly report about the blogs and apparently he wants more people to post on here. I never did because I couldn't until now.

It is 21 days till the big Wedding day and I can't believe the time went by so fast. I got my dress altered last week and I think its going to look really nice. My mom is decorating as much right now as possible so she will have less to do the days leading up to the wedding. Its all coming together slowly. I even made up a dance for the father daughter dance at the reception that I taught dad.

Some people keep asking me if I'm getting stressed out yet? So far I'm not. There are things I'm wondering how its going to get done, but I'm trying to stay calm and not worry too much.

I'm also starting to pack my stuff and slowly move to Joel's condo. That is weird!

Thats all for now.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blog Quarterly Report

Last year it came to me that we should start a family blog. At the beginning of the year we were able to start this blog and now two others "Avials Much" and "Meleconomic Encouragment." After dozens of posts to these blogs, I thought I might share what going well and what has failed to meet my expectations.

Going Well:
  • The links allow us to jump to other family member blogs easily to read and provide comments;
  • The prayer requests on Avails Much have generally been answered to our great joy as God shows Himself to be true to His Word;
  • Some family members are reading the blogs regularly and even providing comments and encouragement;
  • Several business associates are reading Meleconomic Encouragement and encouraging me to continue;
  • Several others are providing posts, particularly for Meleconomic Encouragement;
  • The weekly weight loss reports have kept me focused on my goals there; and,
  • Appartently we have few (very small number) at this point of readers who stumbled onto the site without being invited, and one has provided a comment.

What has failed to meet my expections:

  • We are getting very few posts from familiy members. I had hoped this could become kind of a family blog to share what's happening with our family scattered as it is. But it is hard to compete with Face Book for that, I guess.
  • We have not yet started any "family projects" which I had envisioned would be creative multi-media works we could share on the Blog. The small exception to this are the several motivational posts on Meleconomic Encouragement.
  • It has not been as easy as it should be for my mom and some other family members to access the blogs regularly.

Well, I guess I need to make a "GRAM" and get going on a project or two myself. If you don't know what GRAM is, check Meleconomic Encouragement and scroll down through the historical posts until you find it. It is a quick read!


Steve's Weekly Weight Loss Update

This has been a better week, if you look at the the graph. Weight is again averaging down. I have been sick this week, battling a cold. Not fun. But it has dampened my appetite a little so the weight loss continues. Only exercises were a couple dance lessons (really pretty short) in preparation for Mary's wedding. There will be a father-daughter dance that Mary has choreographed. There will also be a father-mother dance which requires you to follow the beat one-two-three-pause with your feet and lots of twirling and stuff. This is proving to be very difficlut for me. It's the pause that gets me.

This morning the scale tipped at 204. It is exciting to realize that I am one pound from reaching the 20-pound milestone. It is also exciting to reallize that this morning, my belt went on two notches shorter and has been varying back and forth between one and two notches shorter for the past few weeks.

May you accomplish all your milestones on your journey from day to day.

Love, Steve

Friday, April 10, 2009

Steve's Weight Loss Update

This past week was somewhat discouraging. My weight has been hovering around 207 all week. The sideways drift to the line is clear. Remember the formula? Less calories eaten + more caleries burned through exercise = weight loss. This week there has been a lot of pre-Easter nuts, candy and cookies around the house. These have been hard for me to resist so calorie intake has increased. Also, I have been working longer at my job with the long commute means I am generally too tired to go for a run in the evening, so burning less calories. Ergo, weight loss has flat-lined. Got to pick it up again, still 4 weeks to go, but 200 # by the wedding seems a long shot now. Even 4 more #'s would be a blessing. Can you image carrying around 17 #'s of lard all the time? That's what I have lost since starting this jouney!

May we all pick it up as we head to the finish line.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring in South Dakota

Spring almost arrived in South Dakota
We can see the deer moving around.
Yep, won't be long now.

{Thanks to Daryl and Sandy our friends in Sioux Falls}

Friday, April 3, 2009

Steve's Weekly Weight Loss Update

It's Friday again so here is another graph of my weight loss progress. Hovering around 207 now, 16 pounds evaporated into thin air. Still about on schedule to get to 200 by the wedding. (That's the light blue line) Am well ahead of the original goal line (that's the purple line). The dashed line is a computer forecast if I continue at the overall historical pace. All that is probably more than you wanted to know.

Heather is in town for Mary's bridal shower this weekend. It will be at the house so I will hang out with Kathi's dad. Hopefully there will be some basketball games on or something. I guess baseball season is starting this weekend. Since those are all excuses for snacking, I will need to be careful that I don't over do it. Will try to run a ways again this weekend. Now I am trying to increase my speed as much as my distance. Seems these old legs won't move as fast as they used to without someone pushing them a little.

May you all finish your race with endurance.

Love, Steve

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Farmer's Boys Mom becomes Mrs. Taffy

At the left is a link to a new blog called "My Life on a Taffy Pull." It picks up where the "Little Farm House in the Woods" blog ended. Please read and enjoy.

Love, Steve

Friday, March 27, 2009

To the Music

You are on the bus when you suddenly realize… you need to fart.

The music is really loud, so you time your farts with the beat.

After a couple of songs, you start to feel better as you approach your stop.

As you are leaving the bus, people are really staring you down, and that’s when you remember:

you’ve been listening to your ipod.

Steve's Weekly Weight-Loss Update

We continue to make a little progress. The encouraging thing is that there has not been any side-ways movement in the graph for a few weeks. Also recently the moving average is slightly below the trend line. Could I make 200 by Mary and Joel's wedding? I added a new "goal" line to put some pressure on my self to do that. It will requiring losing a pound every 4-5 days.

There has been a lot of speculation if I am running a secret contest. The answer is "yes." But only with myself. Ultimately, I race against myself, not anyone else. The benefits of achieving the goals are very personal and have nothing to do with whether or not any one else exceeds their goals or not. If I can get down to a healthy weight and stay there, I will be adding quality years to my life and may be able to enjoy my wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for many years.
As you reach your goals, may the benefits far exceed your every hope!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Co-Dependence with Light

My niece Jeannette makes a point that we can be too dependent on light (Understand I am not talking about the "light of the world". That is a whole other light.) The light I am talking about are those things that clamor for our attention, seem important and even necessary to function. But when we get too focused on the visible we miss the invisible, the feel, the smell, our other senses are ignored. When we focus on the clearly audible sounds and voices around us, we neglect the subtle sounds and still quite voice within us telling us something new, different and wonderful (That's the real light). Thanks Jeannette.

Love, Steve

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Working in the Dark

This morning I got to work at about 6:20 a.m. The building where I work has automatic controls on some of the offices to make sure the lights are turned off at night. Our lights turn off at, well I don't know, I've never worked that late. They turn on about 7:00 a.m. Usually, however, I can over ride the computer that controls the lights by calling a special number, adding some codes and an earlier start time. When I did that today, the phone number was busy so I could not turn on the lights. There I was working in the dark (well mostly dark). There was some light from the computer screen and an emergency light outside my office.

Kathi had asked me for something via e-mail late last night that I did not get until this morning (I go to bed a lot earlier than she does normally). I had to work on it in the dark. I found that I was able to type-by-touch with no problem at all. Back in high school I taught myself how to type. Typing for me is kind of an automatic thing (if you can ingor the typos) that I can do in the light or dark. I sent her what she wanted just as the light came on!

It got me to thinking, what else can we do in the dark? By dark I mean when some input or information you normally have for a task is not available. What do we do "in the dark?" The Bible has some warnings about what some people do in the dark, I'm not necessarily talking about those things. How can we compensate when input is missing? In my typing example, I was able to compensate by years of practice and those little raised bumps on the "F" and "J" keys.

What if some "critical" piece of information is missing? or some person is needed? What do we do then? Do we sit and wait? Do we give up and do something else? Or do we push forward with what we know until the missing pieces come together? I suspect that the truly successful people "work in the dark" a lot. Maybe the light comes on after we start working, maybe it doesn't. But if we wait until every thing is perfect, will we ever accomplish anything worthy of our calling as Children of God?

May the Light of our Lord Jesus shine into our lives even when there is no other light at all!

Love, Steve