Friday, July 31, 2009


Carole and I had a fabulous trip to Kansas. Her brother, Joe, might as well be my real brother. We agree about so much in life, we're both taller than 6'4", and we both look out for Carole. Meanwhile, Carole and her sister-in-law, Laura, might as well be sisters. Toss in their 4 year-old twin boys and it's a recipe for fun.

Speaking of recipes, Laura trotted out a peanut butter sheet cake after lunch. My taste buds went crazy. I hurried through every meal Laura served just so I could explore the riches of that cake.

Joe and I had a great Saturday. First off, we babysat the twins in the morning while Carole and Laura went shopping. The boys are great kids with enormous loves insects, one loves marine life. They both like to sit next to me and watch train videos on my laptop. They are prone to spontaneously popping up with "I love you, Uncle Tim" statements that me want to kidnap them.

In the afternoon, Joe and I hurried over to the downtown Kansas City airport to visit the Airline History Museum. It's not in a normal brick building, but rather resides in an old hangar, and features three aircraft that are pretty much out of the skies now. One is a Super Constellation, a four-propeller plane that TWA featured.

We toured the inside of the plane (in stiffling heat, I might add) and noticed the difference in seat comfort then as opposed to now. Here's a mannequin occupying a seat in coach...notice that seats were a little wider back then:

From there, Joe and I went to the Rangers/Royals game. The Royals are terrible, one of the worst teams I've ever seen. But that means nothing, because they drubbed Texas badly. Joe left the stadium happy while I dragged my feet a bit.

All in all, a lovely trip. We enjoy these folks so much that a trip for next summer is already in the works. This time, Carole and I plan to drive rather than fly...and we plan to join the Robertsons for a 2-3 trip to see Mt. Rushmore. I've always wanted to see that place, particularly since I'm sure there are Americans who want to etch Obama's mug into that mountain before much longer. Uh, over my dead body.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off to Overland Park

It's nice to have a diversion in the middle of the summer. Carole and I will fly to Kansas City tomorrow for a weekend stay with her brother, Joe, and his family.

So for 3 days, I won't be moving water hoses, mowing grass, or pulling weeds. That is, unless Joe makes me work for my keep. He and I will also go to the Rangers/Royals game on Saturday night, an occasion that could produce fireworks since Joe has Benedict Arnold'ed and become a Royals fan. How could he? Hopefully after the Rangers skewer KC, he'll repent.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I guess I've "shot" more AA aircraft than any other. They are very conducive to photography - simple lines and a whole lot of silver. Nobody asked, but of the thousands of American Airlines photos I've taken, here are my favorite 10:

Okay, I cheated. One of them was an American Eagle, but hey, it's a close cousin of the others.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Where to plop down...

I'm an ardent believer in naps. I'm always thrilled when I see doctors endorse them as part of a healthy lifestyle. I've blogged before about I've perfected the fine art of sleeping on my school bus (not while driving, of course). But there is always a debate that occurs when the topic of naps pops up. Where to plop down?

There are two camps: one side that returns to the piece of furniture designed for sleep, the bed, and the other group that would never slip under the covers for a nap but instead always seeks out a couch or a recliner. Group 1 always brings up the comfort factor and the familiarity factor - once in the bed, your body automatically knows what to do and sleep comes naturally. Group 2 sez that is the best way to ruin a nap...for by making your body comfortable, you open yourself up for a 2-hour nap, a guaranteed ticket for waking up miserable and ruining the prospects for good sleep that particular night.

I've tried it both ways...if it's in the 20's outside and if it's a dark, cloudy Sunday afternoon, the bed is way more seductive than the couch. But generally, I fall into Group 2 and curl up on the couch. There I'm assured that something will go bang or the phone will ring, or UPS will throw a box against the door and the nap has no chance of getting out of control and going 2 hours. I've found that I can nod off to sleep on the couch with the TV on and even with a grandchild in the room, something that would be unthinkable if occurring at bedtime.

I'm sure there's more to say about this conundrum, like how 45 minutes is the magic nap duration, but my eyes are growing heavy...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Can't Beat Sundays

I think we Christians were created to praise our Creator. God must have wanted to kick back and listen to his followers lift Him up with joyous, cathartic singing and praying.

Carole and I are blessed to be able to attend Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas. If you ever are in our area on a Sunday, you must come see (and hear) it for yourself.

We've always had excellent preaching and I don't want to minimize in any way the influence these guys have had on my life. But it's the singing that moves me and leaves a bounce in my step for the next seven days. I also don't want dismiss the real reason we're there every remember our Savior's sacrifice. That's what gives the motivation to live for Him for that next week. But communion, due to the anguish Christ suffered on the cross, is more of meditative and reflective experience where one pulls inward. But I love the chance to have an outlet for all the joy I have as a follower of Him.

And I double-dog-dare you to keep your right foot still while singing "Blessed Be the Name".

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


The world is so messed up. I didn't catch any of the M. Jackson stuff today and didn't want to. It seems that if one can sing well enough or dance well enough or throw a football through a tire 30 yards away, we dismiss whatever nefarious garbage is on their resume.

Steve McNair is rather dead today. By all accounts, he had been a good family man and a charitable fellow. But he decided somewhere along the way that doing what was right was getting boring and tiresome, and he ventured into a relationship and failed to count the cost ahead of time. Think he'd like a do-over if given another chance?

Jesus said it very simply. "I am the way." Satan is so adept at tossing out alternative ways that entice us. We must commit every morning before our feet hit the floor to follow "the way" and not be persuaded to check for tempting detours. If we follow the tracks left by Savior, we might miss the adulation that Messrs. McNair and Jackson have garnered but we will have the satisfaction of hearing the most heart-melting words that will ever be spoken: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Saturday, July 04, 2009

My Favorite Spot

Earlier this week, I built a small, wooden platform whose purpose was to assist my 90 year-old mom-in-law in the process of stepping up into our new pickup. We had done a dry run just after getting the truck to see if it were possible for her to comfortably step in and have a seat. Well, she needed another inch or two to pull this off, hence, I built the platform. Then, I tossed it into the back of the truck and pretty much forgot about it.

Then on Friday afternoon, at long last, I grabbed my camera gear and headed to DFW Airport for some photography. I had been out there just once in the past 9 months or so...mainly because of the necessity of dealing with Mom and then the selling of her house. In times past, I would drive out there twice a week to feed my passion for aviation photography. So I eagerly headed west and upon arrival at the airport, immediately went to my favorite spot to "shoot" planes.

This is a perfectly legal place located at the end of a public road. There's a concrete platform I stand on that covers a sewer of some kind. When I'm perched there using my 6'4" height, there's just enough visual clearance over the barbed-wire to get a clean look at landing aircraft on runway 17L. But when I arrived yesterday, I found that the authorities had installed razor-wire around the barbed-wire at the top of the perimeter fence. This added about six inches to the height of the fence and meant that my shots there would now feature fuzzy wire at the bottom of each picture.

What to do. I found a small concrete block and tried standing on it, but it wobbled and I tossed it aside. Meanwhile, my scanner crackled with the sound of air traffic control clearing an American Airlines flight to land on 17L. Suddenly I remembered Nana, and the platform in the bed of the truck. I immediately limped off to retrieve it...uh, I don't run much anymore. I returned to my spot, set up the platform, and stepped up. Bingo! Just the right amount of clearance to shoot these birds from a favorable angle. The AA plane touched down (from St. Louis), turned off the runway, and taxiied right toward me. It was a 757, which is to many the most photogenic aircraft this side of the Concorde.

I squeezed the shutter and got the shot you see above. And I couldn't have done it without Nana's help. And I can't believe you've read this much of one man's boring blog.