Thursday, May 31, 2007


We have received in excess of 6" of rain in the last five days. Today is Thursday, but my yard needed mowing last Saturday. I couldn't get out there and do it because the grass was either wet or under water. This morning I could take it no more. It was starting to look like some sort of experimental project, trying to determine which kind of grass grows the highest.

I was able to mow most of the front yard. The rest of it is still pretty much under water. We sit on 1.7 acres, and the front yard is just a small section of what I have to mow. I will have to wait for peripheral areas to dry before I hit it with my lawn tractor.

We had been praying for rain, yea even heavy rain. The Lord provided.

Great weekend coming. We will get to see ALL of our grandkids. Brett and Jenny are coming up from San Antonio for a Ft. Worth wedding and we'll keep Zach and Ethan for them through Sunday.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

10 Things You May Not Have Known About Me

Taking a cue from Lynn Leeming, I'll scour my brain for stumpers.

1. My parents came real close to naming me "Kenneth". Had they done so, Carole would not have married me, given her hatred of the name.

2. I got caught cheating on a test in the sixth grade. My good buddy (smarter than I) was helping me along. I wrote him a note that said, "I'm going to deliberately miss the last two questions so our scores will be different." Well, he stupidly left the note on the floor and Mrs. Manning found it. The next day, she called my buddy and me out into the hall. Her first question to me was (remember, this was 1959), "Tim, do you go to church?" You couldn't have cut me to the quick more with any other question.

3. As a kid, I was hiking along White Rock Creek when I picked up a broken bottle. It sliced my right palm open just under the middle finger. Since no one had told me about first aid, I rubbed dirt in the cut to stanch the blood flow. Not the brightest of moves. The palm got infected (surprise) and my family doctor said we got real close to amputating the middle finger.

4. I had only two dates in high school. So painfully shy. I was so self-conscious about my skinniness.

5. I did not sleep in an air-conditioned bedroom (other than in a motel) until 1970.

6. I've played golf twice in my life. Combined score? 284.

7. In college, I was deeply in love with Claudine Longet, wife of Andy Williams. Uh, she later murdered her boyfriend after leaving Andy. That has not changed my feelings for her in the least. Just kiddin'.

8. When in my 20's, I was into marathoning. I would get up at 4:15 some mornings and run completely around White Rock Lake. Saw a lot of weird stuff, including a guy standing next to the jogging trail...dressed in a tux with a top hat and a cane. He looked like Mr. Peanut on the Planters' jar.

9. The hardest thing for me to overcome during my 36 years of teaching was my nerves. I constantly got nervous before the first bell rang, repeatedly wondering if I were good enough to teach. This went on even through my final year. The nights before opening days of the school year were the worst. I would lie awake and wonder if it were possible to change professions at a moment's notice.

10. During the rock 'n roll years of the '50's, I enjoyed all the hits. But I also got into my father's music; Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kaye, Tommy Dorsey. I don't think anything I did brought Dad more pleasure than the time we spent listening to those old LP's on the record player.

Friday, May 25, 2007

End of (School) Year Reflections

This day last year, I walked out of my school for the final time. Other than a quick visit to the office, I haven't returned. The ectasy I was experiencing was almost beyond belief.

This year, I'm still ending a school year, but only in the role of a school bus driver. I always have an element of fear about the very last bus ride with middle schoolers on board. It's a real tenderbox. You don't know if they're gonna plan something crazy or if they're so glad to be rid of school that they go home meekly.

One thing that has helped is that over the past 15 years or so, Hood Middle School has dismissed at 10:30 on the last day. Since some 13 year-olds don't even wake up by that time, it's a real asset. There's not a lot of time to let some plan hatch into something ugly. Yesterday, there wasn't even the hint of trouble. Several of the guys (I carry only males on my bus) even shook my hand as they stepped off the bus. Now that was shocking!

Plans for the summer: work on the yard, take a couple of airport photography trips, and get some rest. My yard has been a disaster ever since I decided to go organic about five years ago. What had been a pretty good carpet of bermuda degraded to a pretty good patch of weeds. Much as I didn't want to, I'm using chemicals again to regain control.

It's raining! Got 3/4" yesterday and over an inch today. When it's this warm and this wet, keeping up with the grass growth becomes a full-time job.

Enjoy Memorial Day. Don't forget why we celebrate it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Movies and TV

People think I'm weird - for a number of reasons. I don't eat tomatoes, lettuce, squash, or Mexican food. If given a free night, I'd rather sit at home in a quiet room with my wife than go out to eat or mingle with friends. But part of my alleged weirdness has to do with my attitudes about the big screen and the smaller one.

I am convinced that Hollywood is evil. And, it has suckered in a lot of Christians. Think about the things church folks say when recommending a movie that has "questionable" parts: "It only has a little bit of nudity and it fits the plot"; "It's really violent, but it'll have you screaming for more"; and "Of course the language is rough, but it's not anything you don't hear in the office everyday". See how Satan has eroded values?

Answer this: suppose you had friends over for an evening at your house and suddenly a couple begins stripping off their clothes in front of everyone as a precursor to lovemaking. Wouldn't your sensibilities be offended to the max? Suppose one of your guests began cavalierly speaking in the most "sailorly" way, using the crudest language available. Wouldn't you usher the offender to the door and say, "Not in my house!"?

You see the obvious parallelism I'm suggesting. I'm amazed at our younger generation of preachers and how they frequently reference movies in their sermons. Sometimes, they'll even talk about the great truths presented by a certain flick. And the flick isn't "G" rated. It's PG or worse. And somewhere Satan is laughing.

Even more insidious is the fare being offered on television. Steamy shower scenes, simulated sex scenes, and gutter language are the norm, from what I understand. I stick to science stuff and sports and documentaries and choose not sample the junk. The reason it's more insidious is because small kids are pulverized by this filth on a daily basis - no need to purchase a ticket, you see.

I don't want to come off as spiritually superior. But I'm so convinced I'm right about this that I'll take that chance.

We wouldn't walk a tightrope over a chasm because of the danger to our bodies. Why would we then risk our souls over stuff like this?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What's Been Goin' On

Since blog readers (and I am one) are fascinated by how others live, here's a boring glimpse at what's gone on in my life this week.

Tuesday: Went to the orthopedic to get results of MRI on right knee, the knee I injured trying to tap-dance on the top of a misplaced edger. No scope necessary since no cartilege was torn, but the miniscus has a severe contusion. Should heal within six weeks of the injury. The edger is doing fine.

Tuesday evening: Carole and I had been going full-bore for many days in a row and it finally caught up to us. Too many hours doing yard work, too many hours getting ready for the Mothers' Day gathering at our house, too many hours taking care of our grand-daughters...and we hit the sack at 8 PM. Now there have been times we've retired early only to lay awake and finally doze off at our usual 10:30 or so. But we both immediately went to sleep and stayed konked out until the alarm went off at 6 Wednesday morning. Told you we were tired.

Wednesday: Carole's Aunt Betty had died on Monday in Mt. Pleasant. She was 90 and passed peacefully in her sleep. She was an amazing woman. She and her late husband had raised two sons; one a medical doctor who is chief of staff at his hospital, and the other the mayor of Mt. Pleasant for the past 18 years. In fact, he had been re-elected on Saturday. We drove there Wednesday morning for Betty's funeral, a service that featured few tears since she was a marvelous Christian who had lived such a full life.

Today: Such a gorgeous day. Unseasonably cool, radiant sunshine, little wind. Maybe our 2 year-old grand-daughter, Maddie, wanted to enjoy the weather because she asked to be put in her stroller and taken for a walk. So, Maddie, her stuffed dog, and her favorite doll got to ride as I pushed them for about a 30-minute stroll down the country road adjacent to our house. (This time last year, I was trying to keep middle-schoolers interested in Texas government...this is MUCH more fun.) Maddie wanted to look for "cows, horses, pigs, and penguins". Well, we saw none of those but did see sheep. Once, I stopped and let her just listen to nature...birds were chirping and frogs were making frog noises...I hope she learns to love the outdoors and God's amazing creation. I think the four of us had a blast even though no penguins crossed our path.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Full Circle

It's been a wonderful, albeit exhausting Mothers' Day. Carole and I are barely standing...I, because I did too much yard work this week...and Carole, because she somehow cleaned house, cooked a big meal, and kept our grand-daughters for over 24 hours straight Friday AM through Saturday AM.

But we loved the time spent together with our moms...and our kids...and their kids. I certainly don't verbalize this while it's happening, but I sure get reflective on occasions like this. My mother-in-law is 88; my mom is 85. They are widows now. They were teenagers during the Depression. They've witnessed Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini. But in the same room are children who weren't even alive for 9-11. And there sits Brooke with one on the way.

One day, if God allows time to go on, those kids will sit around a room and talk about how wonderful their moms were and what a legacy they left. And how wonderful it is that they've gone on to their reward...and what a reward it is.

I would get downright melancholy just thinking about the cycle of life with those whose company we enjoyed today were it not for one thing...God never intended for this earth to be our permanent dwelling place. It is full of trouble, worry, and imperfection. When we all gather together in our REAL home, there won't be anything remotely melancholy about it. It'll be unrestrained joy, incredible glory, and total praise-giving to our King.

What an unimaginable feast of happiness awaits us!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Explaining Probabilities

The National Weather Service has been toying with us this week, throwing out percentages and probabilities that the next flash flood will hit your back yard. Because of this, I have deemed it time to repeat a blog entry from last year that explains, for instance, exactly what a "40%" chance of rain is. Here we go:

Let's break down the numbers and what to really expect. Remember now, this is groundbreaking stuff. I could have kept this kind of breakthrough material under wraps. But I'm first and foremost a public servant. Even though I could sell these secrets for many millions, I choose to stay humble and not mercenary.

10% chance: Rarely used and seen only in forecasts put out on the NWS's website. It indicates a total lack of confidence in rain chances and is used when a few cumulus clouds will interrupt a clear sky. Furthermore, I contend it shall not ever rain with a 10% chance.

20% chance: This is a cover-your-bases percent used by the NWS that unnecessarily gives hope to the masses. It should be discarded and never used. It mainly is used in August when the NWS knows that out of the 7500 cumulus clouds, two are going to produce rain. So they string along the public much like a 2 AM infomercial.

30% chance: I consider a 30% chance really half that. The NWS nerds use it when some over-estimated factor has grabbed their imagination...usually in the summer as they bow to public pressure to DO SOMETHING!

40% chance: This is a good percentage. It rains 62% of the time when there's a 40% chance. There is no explanation for this other than NWS incompetence.

50% chance: Not so good. Part of the problem is with the fact that "5" is an odd number. Odd numbers are not good. September 11, 2001 is really a combination of three odd numbers...9,11, and 2001. Crazy Chrissy Columbus "discovered" America in 1492, an even number. I was born on 10-12-48, three even numbers. I've made my point. My studies show that with a 50% chance, actual chances are really 31.3%, an odd number.

60% chance: Prepare for a good, soaking rain. My data says it'll rain 82.24% of the time.

70% chance: The public gets all excited with such a high number. They cancel picnics and outdoor weddings. They storm the hardware stores (so to speak) for rain gauges. Surprisingly, this is one guess that the NWS scores on. Personally, I think it's just God taking care of people less smart than I.

80% chance: Bingo! This is the one you pray for. It's an even number. And my research shows it's a sure thing. Not an 80% thing, a SURE thing. Need proof? I went through microfilm libraries around the world and discovered (amazingly) that there was an 80% chance of rain for these well-known events:a. the Johnstown floodb. Noah's flood (an unprecedented 40 straight days and nights of 80% chances)c. Katrina

90% chance: This is a little creepy. It is rarely used and the great unwashed public (get it?) hardly knows what to make of it. They wonder, "If it's almost a certainty, what is it lacking?" Doubt clouds (get it?) their minds and gives way to unabashed hand-wringing (get it?). And with good reason. This odd number percentage has produced rain exactly 47.313% of the time since statistics have been kept. (Statistics have been kept since Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and Potiphar was given the first annual Troy Dungan award).

100% chance: Amazingly, this is the 2nd biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public. An Oak Ridge Boys tour is number one. This percentage is the kiss of death. It never rains when the NWS is suckered into this "sure thing". There are no sure things, except an 80% chance of rain, or Richard Sterban showing us his chest hair (singular).

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Babies Having Babies

No, this isn't a treatise on morality. Rather, it concerns OUR baby, our 3rd of three kids and only daughter, Brooke. She is pregnant! The parents to-be are ecstatic. So are we. A lot of parents consider their last child to be the "baby". Brooke has been a joy to us all of her life. She's the finest Christian I know. Even though she's gorgeous (looks like Carole) and could've found a mate with no problem, she stubbornly held out until the perfect Christian was brought into her life - Michael.

So this is special. Should be born about a week before Christmas. Brooke will be blessed by the advice and experience Carole will provide. Right now, their phone calls are mainly about morning sickness - which seems to be an all-day affair with Brooke.

Please pray for her and Michael and the new child - that He will protect them from all harm and that the baby will be healthy. Given the spirituality of the parents, he/she will be a blessed baby from the beginning.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Random Thoughts

Phooey. In an act of unprecedented clumsiness the other night, I stumbled over my edger on the driveway pad. Ended up on the grassy slope next to the pad, landing hard on my bad shoulder. It somehow survived intact, but my right foot got caught under the silly edger and I torqued the knee badly. I felt tearing. And this is my "good" knee.

I made an appointment the next day with my orthopedic, but when the knee improved somewhat last weekend, I cancelled it. But now it's pounding again. I'm going to try and make it to the end of school and anticipate that it'll need to be scoped. All I know is that with two bad knees, I'm very old man-ish. Hurts to walk, really hurts to do stairs.

I have yet to watch a single second of the Mavs-Warriors series. The games start too late plus I don't want to commit emotionally to the Mavs until they get to the next series. I've been watching Ranger games instead, hoping they'll win something - an activity that has less chance for success than finding the Northwest Passage.

If you happen by a Borders store or maybe Barnes and Noble and have six or seven bucks available, go to the magazine section and look for Airports of the World magazine. The current issue used 15 of my photos in an article on Southwest Airlines and their dominance of Love Field. I will probably never get this lucky again or ever get a paycheck this big for my hobby.

Thanks for reading. Three and a half weeks until summer!