Saturday, February 28, 2009

I would like to thank the academy ..

Actually .. I would like to thank Sarah for an award and honor she bestowed on me.


She left no instructions as to what I was supposed to do as far as passing it along to others. Give me time and I will figure out what exactly to do with it (other than a silly grin and an ounce or two of pride.) Thank you Sarah.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

uncommon commonality

Octamom posted some pics of her morning stroll with the twins to depict the beauty that surrounds us daily, that we often take in and eventually take for granted. I try to always have a camera nearby to catch the uncommon commonality of our beautiful world.

Here are some shots I have taken. Some were with my handy digital. Some were with my trusty Canon AE-1 35mm old school film camera. It is over 20 years old and still captures the beauty wonderfully.

Taken on a side road between Lexington and Winchester .. 'Whispering Giants" (Canon)
Sitting at a gas station on Georgetown Road (digital)
On US 60 between Lexington and Winchester (Canon)
In Berry KY .. following an ice storm (Canon)
On Yorkshire in Lexington (digital)

We are surrounded by such wonderful works of the hand of God. Enjoy his canvas today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mount St Drama is erupting again

After laying dormant for a while, Mount St Drama has once again spewed, filling our day with smoke and ash. Here are the juicy details:

Saturday, we took N (daughters fiance') to town to catch his bus back to base to catch his plane to Korea. We dropped him off about 15 minuted before his bus was to arrive and said our good-byes. We then turned the big red truck toward home. The snow was such that we didn't want to delay our action any longer than necessary.

Sunday morning, I am up and downstairs, when I hear Lacey (a batwing eared mini doxie) digging around in the back room. This is the room where S (daughter) and C (granddaughter) are staying. I quietly step back into the room to retrieve the little pest and notice that the lumps under the covers of the bed seem to be much more than S and C could make. I, very carefully, pull the covers back a bit and there is N.

It seems that his bus broke down after arriving in Lexington. He was going to stay at the bus terminal until the following morning to catch the next bus, but, it seems that, the bus terminal closes at 11PM. He was asked to vacate. He hitched a ride back to our town.

His orders were to report to Korea by March 5. His commander informed him that, as long as he was back by Thursday this week, he was fine.

S called N's mother and left her a message saying he had missed his bus. He was NOT AWOL. He was not going back that night. Apparently what she got out of the message was: He missed his bus. He is AWOL. He is not going back.

So, today, while we are resting comfortably, there begins this shouting outside the windows. TJ checks out the window and sees a car in the driveway. Before we can get out the sitting room door, C (other daughter) comes up yelling for help. It seems that N's mom has shown up and is out on the porch slapping him, while S is calling 911.

We go downstairs. TJ breaks up the melee. She ushers the combatants off the porch. N's mom and aunt are yelling. We begin to explain, after sending N into the house. Aunt keeps butting in. TJ tells her to let the mom's handle this. She is running her mouth. TJ tells her to get back in her car or get off the property. She starts calling TJ a 'whore' and is using that 'F' word. We tell her she needs to go. She tells me that I "aint nobody." I told her what I was, was a property owner and I had told her to get off of my property and if she didn't the police could handle it. "Bring 'em on," she says, "I'm not afraid of them."

Police come about that time.

They take N's mom to the side to speak to her. Aunt stays in car with mouth shut. They ask mom is she hit N. She says yes. Handcuffs. Back of the patrol car. They speak to N. He never struck back. They explain to the now very quiet aunt that N's mom is being arrested for domestic violence and she can get her out after she is processed. they take statements from N and S.

In KY, N does not have the option to not press charges. They asked her if she hit him. she said she did. The police press the charges.

I am ready for the quiet life. I am ready for psycho relatives of the kids relationships to go away. I am ready for the drama to be over and done. I think this one will be down for a while. N leaves tomorrow. He will be in Korea for one year. Mom and Aunt have no reason to be in my town. I am ready for my cabin in the deep woods accessible only by TANK. TJ says accessible by jeep won't work as too many people have jeeps.

Monday, February 23, 2009

haircut day !!

I am a bit funny about the hair thing.

I am not so worried about what folks think of me mostly. I do like to present a a good image, but not to the point of putting on airs. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, but do wear suits when I feel there is a need. I am comfortable in either as long as they are well fit. I am not much for uncomfortable fancy shoes. I do prefer a good sturdy well fit shoe.

One of the things I am somewhat vain about is my hair. I don't need to to be perfectly in place when I go out, but I do require a good haircut. A messed up good cut is much better than a well combed bad cut.

I found a great barber. She scissor cuts my hair and usually does it to near perfection. She is as picky about the job she does as I am about the job I receive. She had been working at a local salon, but is no longer there. I have her cell number so I can find her when I need a cut. Unfortunately, she has been out of contact lately.

My last cut, I went to the salon where she previously worked and let one of the other stylists cut my hair. It was not good. Leaving the shop it looked fine. Within a few days, it started to be obvious it was not a good job. My haircut is not difficult. Cut the sides to about an inch. Cut the top to about one and half inches, so it will still lay down. Easy. The girl that cut it assured me she could cut it as well as my regular cutter, but faster. Well ... she was faster.

After a week or so, the right side began to stick straight out from my head. About the only way that could happen is if she thinned it close to the scalp to get it to lie down. I specifically asked that this not be done for this very reason. When it is cut like that, the shorter growing hairs push the longer hair out. Also, around my ears were parts uncut. Most of it was about an inch, but there were several parts that were over two inches long. Shabby. It is hard to fix a bad cut like that.

Today, I sent a text to my regular barber. She called and came over and cut my hair. It looks great. I am happy happy happy.

I may look like a country boy in my jeans and t-shirt, but I look like one with a good haircut.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

it's back !!

Took these shots Saturday evening as we were preparing to drive to Lexington.

This was looking up.
This was looking up.
This was looking out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

did Friday finally arrive?

Looks like Friday is finally here.

As I looked back over the week to see what I accomplished or didn't, it was an interesting read.

This will require some of you to think back to the day. Did you ever have, or remember visiting someone with a large floor model TV that had a smaller portable TV sitting on top of it? The floor model developed a problem and time was still on the cusp of the times when we fixed broken things and when we threw them away because it was almost as cheap to buy new. So, we would get a portable and sit in on the floor model until we had time to get it fixed. Eventually, we forgot about fixing the old one and that arrangement became permanent. Well, until the annual spring or fall 'throw out all the junk' cleaning.

OK, we have 5 cars and/or trucks here at the house. We have the big red truck. It is our old faithful ride. Well, not all that old as it is the newest vehicle out there. It is a 2003.

Then, there is the '95 Camaro I bought for TJ. It is sweet. BUT, it overheats. We have had it fixed several times but several mechanics but it still overheats. So, it is sitting in the driveway at the entrance to the furniture stocked garage. It is not being driven. Transmission, body, and interior are great.

Then, there is the '99 Caddy. It was TJ's ride. She was driving it one day, when out of the blue, the 'check transmission' light came on. Fifty yards more and no more transmission. We parked it with the intent to fix or sell it. I have actually sold it several times to people that never show up with the money or never call again. Body, engine, and interior are good.

Then, there is the '92 Mustang. That was a car I got for one of the daughters. I did some electric work for EX and she and hubby gave me the car as payment. It had a transmission leak, but was fine as long as we kept adding fluid occasionally. Now the forward clutches are out. It is sitting awaiting fixing or selling. Engine is great, body and interior are good.

Then, there is the '94 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. It is TJ's ride. The brakes went out. This week, we replaced the master cylinder. When we (oh yeah, we is 'S' fiance .. mechanic in from army on leave) went to bleed brakes and the bleeder valve was broken off on one side and stripped out on the other. It was going to be about $30 to have a machine shop get the valves out and $12 for new valves. New calipers with bleeder valves were about $23 each. We went with new calipers. we got them installed and bled the front brakes. This car has disc brakes all around. When "N" went to bleed the back, yep, stripped valves. No biggie. Should be fine even without bleeding rear. NOPE. No brakes. There must be air in the system somewhere. There are no leaks that we can find.

So, at my house, there are 4 non driving vehicles and one driving one. It is kind of like the portable TV sitting on the old floor models. I think I might just have a clearance sale.

Other than that, the week has been good. There have been small victories along the way. Sunday I sang a solo in church. Wednesday, I published my poetry book. I spent 7 of the last 7 days still breathing.

Not a bad week, overall.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

something strange .. in the neighborhood ..

who you gonna call ?
There is something funny going on in my blogsphere. My hits counter on my blog shows one thing and the site shows something else. My blog list alternates between showing only blog titles and then showing posts. Some show up and some don't. Weird happenings in the blog sphere.

What's happening in your sphere?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ta-Dah !

A compilation of p...
By Ron Simpson, Jr.

the return

The winter chill is back in the air. Last night, the rain returned for a bit. Today calls for more of the same, a dreary rainy day. Then, on Thursday, according to our astute weathermen, the magical combination of temperature, moisture, and upper atmospheric conditions will collide and bring us more, you guessed it, snow.

Now, it isn't expected to be any major winter storm. The snow will come and go over the next several days through Monday of next week. It is a good thing that I love Winter.

I have spent the last few days working on proofreading. I have compiled part of my poems into a 200 page, 5" x 8" book. It is comprised of 132 of over 200 that I have. The funny thing is how I proofread. Since these are poems I wrote, it is easy to read over a mistake because I know what it is supposed to say. To prevent this, I read it backwards. I know the Chinese read bottom of page to top and right to left, but they write that was too. I wrote it one way and now am reading it the other.

Regardless, here is a poem included in the book. I hope you enjoy.

Alone

"Alone," I cried,

The very word resonated in its own emptiness
"Alone," it echoed back as I screamed it out

The sound returning realization hit me suddenly,
Bouncing back from something, that did not yield
Rather echoed back softer than my pain and sorrow
something there, hard and unmoving

"Alone," it replied
Almost as a question
Moving to the returning sound
I found Him
Not hard or unmoving
Reaching out to me
"Alone?" He asked

"Why do I feel so alone?"
Because your friends have gone
Because you are afraid to ask loved ones for help
because you are looking outside,
And I am waiting ... inside
I am waiting to hold you
I am waiting to lift you
I am waiting to love you

"Why are you waiting?" I asked

I am waiting for you
To stop being alone

So.. I stopped
And my problems didn't disappear
And my friends didn't return
And my loved ones still could not help
But, it was better
Because I wasn't alone

"Love," I screamed
And love replied
"Peace," I yelled
And peace returned
"Together," I called
And we walked on ..
Together

October 14, 2001

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hi, my name is Abby

TJ was watching 'Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein' yesterday as I was in the sitting room working on my book. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) had just reanimated the monster (Peter Boyle) and it was obvious something was amiss. He asked Igor (Marty Feldman) about the brain he had retrieved. He said it was from someone named 'Abby'. Yes, Abby Normal.

Somewhere in this mess stowed in drawers, boxes, and closets, is a sticker which says, "Normal People Scare Me."

The more I read blogs, the more I realize that the Abby's are taking over the world. I am sure, somewhere, right now, there is a twelve step program for us. Someone is at this very moment standing in front of a crowded room saying, "Hi, my name is Ron and I am an Abby."

Welcome to the World Weird Web. Here, we clean out our closets publicly. We air our laundry for the world to see. We show our bumps and lumps. We talk about our mental surgery scars. We talk about our kids problems. We expose our secrets. We, proudly show off our Abby-ness.

Hey, you there .. you look like an Abby to me.

Relish your Abby-ness. Embrace it. Extoll it. Laud it.

Hi, My name is Abby.

This post is in no way intended to make light of any other 12 step program or belittle anyone involved in such a program. (So, CHILL !!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

failure

TJ's oldest daughter, "S" asked me, as we were driving to the singing audition, if I were nervous. I answered her quite honestly, that I was not. I sing as well as I sing. I cannot make myself sing with a different voice. This is the voice I was given and it has served me in my singing for over 40 years. I started publicly singing solos at 8 years old in church. So, 43 years of singing solos. You do the math.

Now, in my opinion, the National Anthem is one of the harder songs to sing. It requires some range. As I have watched the auditions over the years, I have found the mistake most auditioneers make is starting too high. In the middle when the song jumps and octave or 7, it is hard to reach high if you start too high. I prefer to start lower so that i am assured to have the power at the end. The finish is what will stick in their minds. This is my 4th audition in as many years. I have sang the anthem at a ball game the last three years in a row. Again, it is a blast.

I did start thinking, after the question, about success and failure. here is my quick take on failure:

The success of failure:

To never fail is to never try, which is a failure, in and of itself. To fail is to try to do something you cannot do. To fail a second time is to not give up too easily. To fail for a lifetime is to show a determination rarely found. It is in our trying and failing that we learn the most about ourselves. We live in a society that is largely based on success. The success that our culture is seeking is based on monetary gratification. What will it profit me? That is the question of the day.

While it is possible to measure the success of an individual using that system, it is impossible to track the success of a failure with it. We succeed in failure when we walk away more knowing. Thomas Edison unsuccessfully tried to invent a light bulb some two thousand times. He said, “I did not fail. I merely learned two thousand ways not to make a light bulb.”
How many inventions would never come to fruition if the inventor stood on the precipice of failure and turned away?

What life lesson would you discard if you walked away after one failed attempt?

How much more do we learn from our failures than our successes?

Believe me, I have had my share of failed attempts. I have even given up on some things in my life. Some were wise decisions. Some are ‘jury is still out’ decisions.

Then there are these two questions that give me a headache:

If I set out to fail, and succeed, did I fail?

If I set out to fail and fail, did I succeed?

Oh yeah, and there was a 'butterfly' moment just before I took the stage to sing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Audition

video

Here is the audition. It was held in the center of an aisle in the wing of the busiest mall in Lexington. It was a blast as usual. The cold tried to get me but I hung in there. TJ will not allow me to post her audition, even tho she did well.

Warning: Throwing tomatoes at the screen during this video will not affect the video, but will make a mess of your desk.

it's that V day thing again

We have been quite busy this week.

The week was capped by a grand visit with my daughter Chasity and grandkids, Ian and Abby. They were in town to attend a car auction to buy a second vehicle. While hubby was at the auction, TJ and I took C and the kids out for some supper. Then they came to the house. We visited for nearly 2 hours. I had a great time with them. Abby was scared of me last time we saw them, a few weeks ago. This visit, she talked to her 'big papaw' and even sat on the couch and brushed my hair. When it came time to leave, she ran to me and gave me kisses and hugs.

Today is Valentines day. (Thought I might let you know, just in case the floral or chocolate industry hadn't done enough to remind you.) Following is a poem I wrote for TJ early in our relationship. It still bears true today. She is my heart. We married just over 5 years ago (Oct 2003) after dating for about 18 months. I still love lying beside her at night and waking with her in the morning. We are still continuing our, thus far, nearly 7 year conversation.

Become

From whence,
From where,
How did you come,
To be standing there;

Was it from my mind,
That you were torn,
Or was it my heart,
From which you were born;

Did my fingers beg you into being,
To feel your softness beneath,
Did my eyes create you,
For the smiles you bequeath;

Did my lips beget you,
To feed this hunger old,
To pass gently across,
To press, ardently and bold;

Did my heart,
Beat you into existence,
Did you simply appear,
Full of yesterday and today’s presence;

Did I breathe you,
Born of winters mist,
Filled with warmth and sun,
By summers season kissed;

Did you become,
For me
Or did I become,
For thee?

Ron Simpson, Jr.
August 31, 2002


Thursday, February 12, 2009

TJ's DR visit

TJ had her follow-up visit today, following her surgery on December 26.

The hematoma is nothing to worry about, according to DR Harry. He assures her it will go down and be gone within six months. He says her back is in terrible shape for her age. He added that her back was in terrible shape for an 80 year old woman. He told her to apply for disability (which she has already done) and to have her worker call him personally. (gotta love a DR like that.)

He told her to take it easy walking. She is allowed to walk for 15 minutes of each hour (walk 15/rest 45.) That also applies to sitting upright. Trips should be done in 15 minute increments. It does not require the 45 minute down time though. That just requires her to get out and move around every 15 minutes.

I did not mean to wear her out when I got her. Honest!

The only good news in the visit was when the DR told her she was tough.

He told her that he knew men that couldn't tolerate the pain that she does. He also complimented her on her sense of humor in the whole situation. She told him that laughing was better than crying.

She hasn't felt like posting lately, so that is why I am updating y'all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Influences

I was reading Debbie's blog this morning. she was explaining some of her quirks. Most of them, she could explain in a general way by simply saying she was 'southern'. Here in the south, we tend to do things differently (like saying 'Be careful" to a panel of judges that just booted us out of an audition with 4 'nos'.) We tend to be overly nice until it is time not to be nice at all.

It got me thinking about influences in my life. It made me think about the things I do and why I do them.

I am one of six children. My oldest sister is 5 years older than me and my youngest sister is 5 years younger than me. I also have one other older sister, one other younger sister, and a younger brother. Dad worked a good job and was a non-payed pastor of a small church while I was growing up. He worked, payed the bills, saved money, bought land, invested, and took care of his family. We never had an abundance, but we always had. Dad had painting and writing skills. I am a lot like him in many ways.

One of the things he ingrained in me as I grew, was about humility and credit. He always said 'we' instead of 'I'. He was very slow to take credit, but very quick to take blame. He taught me that, if it was my fault, fess up. If it is not my fault, never let someone pin it on me. However, there are times when you apologize even when you have done nothing wrong.

He taught me to see my talents as just what they are, gifts from God. These gifts are to be shared. I freely share my words. I freely share my drawings. I freely share my singing. TJ fusses at me, not for sharing my talents, but for not accepting praise for them. I have trouble with that. Debbie says it is a southern thing to deflect praise. It might be. I can remember Dad and Mom doing it many times. I know dad is a southern man, born and raised in Kentucky. Mom was born and raised in Germany. It might have been in the southern part of Germany, I don't know for sure. She was about 20 miles from Munich.

Dad was afraid no one would remember him. He was an only child, raised by his aunt and uncle. He feared being forgettable. He died almost 2 years ago. Thousands came to his visitation and funeral. I was in Wal-mart in Winchester KY yesterday, and someone asked me about dad. He was quite literally unforgettable.

I share dad's fear. The odd thing is that I was surrounded by siblings. I was raised by parents that loved me and I never doubted that love. Everywhere I go, I meet people that know me. When we were talking to 'Sparky' yesterday, a kid walked past that was a former student. We spoke briefly. He is in the army now. Then Sparky and I continued our catching up. TJ said about me to Sparky, "He knows everyone." He agreed.

TJ says I am crazy. She says there is no way anyone could forget me. Seems Dad's influence reaches far.

Lest anyone think I am neglecting the influence of a stubborn, little German woman, think again. I have a lot of her in me as well. TJ says I have her bullheadedness, stubbornness, and her generosity. Dad was generous, but practical. Mom is generous to a fault. It is a good fault, though.

Mom sings like an angel. Dad could not carry a tune in a pickup truck.

I think we are all influenced by things around us, whether that be location or heredity. I know we can rise above bad influences. I know we can overcome good influences as well. We must embrace the positive influences in our lives and fight the good fight agaisnts the bad influences.

Still ... there are influences.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I think I am winning the fight

that is .. the fight with the cold. I have been taking the Contact-D semi-regularly (as often as I remember it .. even with the times written in the packets.) There are still some sniffles, but I did manage to sing the entire National Anthem today without one sniffle. Auditions are Saturday at 2:02 PM. If you aren't doing anything, and you happen to be in Lexington, Kentucky, come on over to Fayette Mall. I'll be one of the 400 trying out. TJ will be trying at 2:04 PM.

In other news, Kyle is fever-less tonight. The DR said he had a touch of the flu and some stomach flu issues as well. It appears he will be attending school tomorrow.

I will be singing a few practices each day, working myself up to Saturday.

"Oh, say can you see ...."

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A good day

It has been a good day.

Church was good.

I had asked a young couple to bring me a pic of their 2-yr-old son so I could sketch him. They did. When we got home from church, I worked on his drawing. When I finished, I took it to them (they live about 25 miles from us.) We had a great visit. While there I picked up a picture of their 5-yr-old daughter. I drew it when I got home.

Before church, I had some time, so I drew a fellow blogger's son.

Here are the pics. First: blogger's son, Second: 2-yr-old, and Third: 5-yr-old









Saturday, February 07, 2009

at last

The final child is drawn .. I found some (77) old pics of the kids and this is Chas at 10 .. we hate her .. she looks just the same .. she is 25 now and still looks like her kid pics ..

Friday, February 06, 2009

What a difference a day makes

The temperature is 47°. The snow is disappearing. We are fighting the cold. School is back in session, although, Kyle missed it today since he has a fever of 101°.

I am taking Contact D. Yes, that is it in the picture. Yes, I do write the times I am taking it on the package so I don't forget when I took it or when to take it. I am bright like that.
This is today's dosage marked at 1PM, 5PM, and 9PM. I hope to be in bed asleep for the 1AM dosage, but I doubt it.

Anyway, the day is brighter, literally. The sun is shining. I took my honey out for lunch. It has been a good day. Let's see if we can keep it that way.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

is that a temperature ?

We woke this morning to 2° F or -17° C. I realize it has been colder. I realize it is colder in other places this morning. However, not one piece of that information makes my feet any warmer. It is just cold. It is days like today that almost make me want to rethink my 'winter is my favorite season' stand. Almost. It is just after 2PM here in KY and the temperature is all the way up to 19° F or -7° C. The weatherman has alluded to temperatures above 60° by Monday of next week. It will be raining, but it will be warmer.

Chella has brought the plague into the house. She insisted on going to see her BF when he was sick. This, of course, gave her the plague, which she immediately brought home to the rest of us. There is sniffling, sneezing, coughing, nose running, congestion. She decides to bring this to us less than two weeks before TJ and I will be auditioning to sing the National Anthem at Lexington Legends baseball games next season. The auditions will be held on Valentines day in the center of the walkway, in the wing of the busiest mall in Lexington. Every year over 400 audition and the Legends chose approximately 70 to sing at home games. This is my fourth time auditioning. I have sang the Anthem at a game for the past three years. It is a blast. Long time readers of my blog will remember a post in July of 2008 which included a video of last years performance.

Last night I sniffled my way through a practice. TJ said it would have been better without the sniffling. I told her that I had to breath. I just had too. We are medicating. I have a terrible time with colds and other respitory ailments. They seem to linger forever. This one will probably be lingering when I audition. Therefore, I better learn to sing it with the cold, rather than without. Just in case.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

All I want is a couple days off ..

Heuy Lewis and the News

Well, Kyle is getting his couple days off. There was no school today. They have had school 2 days out of the last 7 school days. Back when I was teaching, while working for the state, I loved these days. We were required to be at works since we were not employed by the district. If the Governor declared a state snow day, where state offices would be closed, we didn't have to go to work. Otherwise, it was a work day. Since we didn't have students, we could 'flex' our schedule a bit and come in early or late, as long as we got our 7.5 hours. Now, I have to put up with a 13 yr old all day. (update: School just called .. no school tomorrow due to inclement weather.) Oh, the huge manatee.
Oh yeah, TJ is doing something that I cannot tell you about. So, bug her about it so she will blog it, lol. Ut-oh .. she is in here reading over my shoulder. Now she is kissing my neck. Gotta go!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

white again and finally a kyle drawing

The snow is falling. School will dismiss early. We are expecting 2 to 3 inches. No ice.

Kyle has patiently waited for his drawing. He is not the last one of the kids to be drawn. Chasity has yet to be drawn. When you have seven kids betwixt you, it does take a little time to get them all done. So .. without further ado .. KYLE ! ! !

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tuesday Fiona

For some time

I will not speak
Of cancer
Of living
Of dying

I will not be involved in conversation
About hope
About faith
About healing

I will not read any of the best books
About moving on
About accepting
About providence

For some time

I will wallow
Shamelessly
I will cry
Uncontrollably
I will refuse
To be comforted

It could be long or short
Until you come to me
On the wings
Of an unbroken bird
Bringing memories
Of smiles
Of touches
Of life

You will visit
My dreams
My waking
My thoughts

There
You will minister
You will carry
You will comfort

For some time

Ron Simpson, Jr.
January 30, 2009