Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wii Like It!

My family got a Wii Sports for Christmas. Within an hour of getting back from Grandma and Grandpa A's house, we had it set up and playing. Needless to say, since the kids are out for Christmas break, they have been playing this constantly since then (at least when they are awake, and maybe in their sleep). I have to confess that I have been having fun with it as well. They say that if you do it right, it is proven to help you lose weight and get in shape. Here's hoping.

Get out there and get fit! Stick.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Driving me Crazy

We just returned from a trip to my parents home where we went for Christmas. This is a 7+ hour drive that in winter can be especially challenging. We were grateful this year to be making this drive in a nice vehicle, capable of handling winter roads, but it is still a long drive with a car load of kids. BY the time we got home, we had driven almost 1500 miles (including a side trip to St. George), and we were more than ready to get here and sleep in our own beds.

No offense to anyone, but I don't think we will do this again any Christmas soon. We have decided to just be stick in the muds and stay home for a while. We have already been staying here for Thanksgiving (inviting others to join us here so we don't have to travel :o)). Maybe this is a sign that we are getting older, or wiser, or lazier (take your pick), but it is always such a hassle to pack up all the presents, kids, clothes, and assorted items that we just don't feel like doing it again. At least not for a while. Maybe our minds will change over time. Seems like we said this last year too.

For now, Have a Happy New Year (without us), and we look forward to seeing you all soon, When are you coming?

Drive safe. Stick.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Taking the Plunge

As many of you who read my blog know, I am an aspiring author. I have one completed book, and another underway. I recently finished the first proofreading of the original text, so, yesterday I sent the first contact to a literary agent in SLC. The agent is associated with Harcourt publishing, and they accept writer’s submissions. They did say that it could be a couple of months before I heard anything, but it is a step in the right direction.

Keep your fingers crossed. Stick.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Naughty List is Getting Longer

My school had gone the entire school year without any kids fighting during school hours. This week, we had 5 different fights break out, two of them within 3 minutes of each other. It's not just the boys either. We're just not sure what is going on. Full Moon? Just found out they were already getting coal in their stocking? I just hope it settles down soon.

Take care. Stick.

Christmas Memories

Nene just blogged about her Christmas Memories, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. My first memories of Christmas come in the Omaha house. I can remember how hard it was to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, and once we did finally fall asleep, it didn’t last long. We’d wake up wondering if it was morning yet. We’d laugh and talk, whispering in the dark about what we hoped Santa would bring. Finally, we would get up to sneak downstairs, usually only to find my dad there telling us it was only 12:30, and to go back to bed. Invariably, we would be up again and ready to open presents by about 4:30 or 5:00, and then we would line up, and rush out to see the presents.

I remember the year that someone got the rocking horse, I believe it was Nene, but it might have been Twist, though I really don't remember now. I just knew it was for me, and we did play for hours on that old pony before it finally gave up the ghost.

Probably the most memorable gift was my ten-speed bike, which I got along with a pair of leather gloves when I was maybe 14. That bike made me free. I rode it for miles. I bought a speedometer/odometer, and would ride up to 25-50 miles a day. I always wanted to ride it from Texas to Utah, but was never allowed.

The last major memory I had of Christmas came while I was at BYU. I went home that year for Christmas, driving down to Hatch, and meeting Inklings and her family. We then caravanned from there to Texas, with grandma. We had family come from everywhere to be there that Christmas, and you could hardly see the tree behind all of the presents. They were stacked almost 3 feet high, in a circle that came out almost that far from the tree, and once we added the Santa presents, it was difficult to even walk around in the room.

I have had many more wonderful Christmases since then with my own family, but none that were any more magical than these.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Stick.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I think I'm Channeling Scrooge

I have always enjoyed Christmas. I love decorating, putting up lights, hanging tinsel, putting up the tree, everything. I enjoy singng Christmas carols. I have a good time looking for just the right gift for the people I give gifts to. Usually.

This year, I can't seem to get into any of this. No one can see our house from the road, so why decorate? We've been practicing carols for two months, so the blush of excitement there is gone. I need a shot of Christmas spirit, but I don't know where it is going to come from. I guess I just need to remember the real reason for the season. I hope so, and I hope it works soon.

Have a Merry Christmas regardless. Take Care. Stick.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Inklings posted about the twenty things she is thankful for. I thought I would add my twenty before anyone else.
1. Someone else who cooks
2. Coming home to a clean house (rare)
3. Sunny days in the middle of winter
4. Three bathrooms when two are full :o)
5. WWW.anything..... the internet, which gives us access to the world
6. My comfort zone
7. People who push me out of my comfort zone to try new things
8. That a president only serves a 4 year term
9. Mountain meadows filled with wild flowers (Hey, I'm in touch with my feelings)
10.That I have six great kids (not seven)
11. Precooked, ready to eat, just heat, anything (even though I like to cook)
12. Creative people who invent things to make our life better
13. Other creative people who write, paint, compose for us to enjoy
14. Modern medicine
15. The moment when the rain stops, and I get to smell the freshly scrubbed air filled with the scent of pine and sage
16. Being able to be inside, warm and dry, while it is raining, or snowing
17. That I don't have to rely on my hunting skills to have food on the table (those who saw my last deer will understand)
18. Hot chocolate, with mini-marshmallows
19. Cell phones
20. That I have someone who has put up with me for almost 22 years

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seven Things About Me

My sisters all borrowed this blog, so why not me.

1. When I was a kid, I was accident prone. I fell off a stage and broke my foot in four places. I fell off a storage ledge, almost a story high, and landed on my chin, breaking up teeth. I got hit in the head with a hammer, and I fell over a barbed wire fence, cutting my ankle to the bone. (I’m sure there are many more, but that’s the highlight edition. This also explains a lot of why I am like I am. :o))

2. I couldn’t skip when I was in kindergarten, and thought I was going to fail that grade.

3. I was a DJ on a High School Radio station.

4. I have been a rodeo clown for a small town rodeo.

5. I hiked almost 2500 miles in 5 summers, 250 of that pulling a handcart.

6. I am very good with primitive weapons. I throw knife, tomahawk, and lance, and also shoot an Indian bow, and have won competitions with these.

7. As a hunter, I killed my first deer with my hunting knife. (long story, not pretty)

Have a great day. Stick.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not Purple Rain--Purple Pain

We recently remodeled our master bedroom suite to add a shower to our half bath. Aside from being very happy with the results, we also needed to paint the new resulting larger bathroom. We took paint chip cards and scattered them all over the new tile to see what we liked the best. Our tile has shades of gray and brown (sounds weird-looks great), and we chose Dover Gray as the new wall color. As soon as we started painting, my wife called me in the bathroom (I was doing a couple of other projects while she was painting). I walked in to see what would have made my mother very happy, a light lavendar bathroom.

After living with it for a week or so, we have decided to repaint, so we are now looking for a new wall color again. Wish us luck.

Take care. Stick.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A New Look

I decided to change the look of my Blog. Hope you like it.

Apathy, disrespect, and derision

For those who may not know, I am a teacher. Recently, a group of my friends and associates have been discussing education and its failings, and we have come to a sort of consensus. Although there do exist some poor teachers in our society, generally we believe that the problem lies in the attitudes of those being taught. Whether the attitudes are learned from peers, parents, or developed on their own, the tendency in students who are not succeeding in school seems to be apathy and disrespect.

Many of these students think the world either owes them something, or is going to hand them something, so they don't need to worry about school. This leads them to believe that they don't need the education being offered to them. The other side of that coin tends to be disrespect towards any authority figure, including teachers. They believe they can do, and/or say, anything they want, and nothing can be done to them. I am not supporting corporal punishment, but I know even the threat of that was enough to keep me toeing the line all through my school years. There is no accountability for these students, and they are right, there really is no way we can make them do anything. All we can do is try our best, hope for the best, and hope that somewhere down the road they finally get it.

Take care, and keep trying. Stick.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quotable Quotes

We just recently listened to a talk. We were encouraged not to give up on those who have strayed, no matter how far they may be off the path. We were to encourage them to return, and that it is never too late However, this quote was within the content.
"Repentance will bring forgiveness, but it may not restore what might have been, or
what could be."
It gave me cause to wonder what those who stray could have done had they never strayed. It makes me a little sad to think of all the great things that might have ocuurred if not for choices made.
Take care, and stay close to the Lord. Stick.

There's a light at the end of this tunnel

We just recently remodeled our master bathroom. A's sister, who runs a Handy-Jill business in Denver area, had agreed to do the work. We had a half bath in place, but no shower, or tub, for the master. Just outside that half bath, we had a small storage area near the back door. We walled that off, and installed a double shower. We wanted to have a light in the shower, and planned to power it up with the old light switch from that side of the bathroom. The only problem came when we switched it on. The light in the shower came on, but not the old bathroom ceiling lights. We could not figure it out. In the middle of all of this, we went to a wedding in SL. A's older brother was there, and he is a contractor. He agreed to stop in here on the way back to where they live and help us out. Two hours after he got here, we finally had the power all straightened out. Thank goodness for great relatives who are willing to help. We hope to soon have a nice, working, 3/4 bath!

Take Care. Stay clean. :o) Stick.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How Harry met Sally (the names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Several people have been writing in their blogs about how they and their spouses met. To do that here, I have to give some background.

I am the brother in my family who everyone thought would end up the old, unmarried brother, who rambled around being strange and unmarried well into his forties. I was in my late 20’s when I met my wife. Before I met her, she had already met my younger sister, my mother, my Aunts, and my grandmother. Most of them (especially my mother and sister) thought they should introduce her to me, but didn’t for fear I would never go out with someone they had recommended (Not true however). My sister had lived in the same area as my wife-to-be, and had been friends with her. While visiting my sister, I met all of her roommates, who also knew my wife. When I finally moved back to the area, I found and apartment that happened to be near where those old roommates lived, and my wife was now rooming with them. One of those roommates knew that I had a car, and came over to ask if she and her roommate (my wife) could get a ride to a campus activity. My roommate and I decided that we were going anyway, so why not give them a ride. This is where I first met my wife (Lone Hawk, she was wearing a blue and black, print sweater dress). After this event, this apartment full of girls, who didn’t have a TV in their apartment, would come to our place to watch different shows, in particular, MASH. After a semester of them hanging around, my wife went home for Christmas, along with many of the other students. I was working, so didn’t go anywhere. Over the Christmas break, I began to realize that I really missed having my wife around. By the time she came back, I had decided to ask her out on a date, and had pretty much decided to ask her to marry me. We went on one date, and then two weeks later, I asked her to marry me. We were married 3 months later, and have now been together almost 22 years.

Fine`, Compleat, Todo, Done!

After almost 10 months of writing, I have finished my book. Now my wife and I will proofread and edit before trying to find someone to publish it. I have already begun outlining book two, so I hope someone picks this one up, and wants the next one too!

Wish me luck, and have a great day! Stick

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mechanical Genius?

I spent last winter without a heater. For some reason my fan quit. Nothing I did would make it work. So, I finally broke down and bought a repair manual for my truck. I went out, checked all the fuses, all the relays, eevrything I could think of--and it still didn't work. In disgust, I hit the fan motor with my pliers. It works now.

Continuing with my new found streak of mechanical know-how, my oldest daughter J called us from Green River last night. Her car had broken down. When we arrived, we found a large hole in her radiator hose. All of the part stores in town were closed, so using all of my mechanical abilities, I got out my roll of duct tape, and wrapped about five layers around the hole. It held until she got home where we could replace the broken hose.

Maybe I'll open a shop...maybe not.

Take care. Stick.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lazy Daze

Today and tomorrow are a holidays for my school district in Wyoming. It is not nationally recognized, but a holiday none the less. This is Fall Break, but in Wyoming, it is more commonly called, Deer Hunters Holiday. Most of my students will hunt, or have a parent hunt, and all will know someone who hunts. I am going to go this year as well.

Since I have the day off, I should get to sleep in, right? Not a chance. First of all, with our five school age kids to get out of the house, it gets very noisy around here very early. Secondly, (and most importantly) my brain says, "Its time to get up. Get out of bed NOW!"

So naturally, I got up, but its vacation, so I can lay around and do nothing all day--right? Fat chance. I have chores that have to be done while I'm off, because there is no time to do them otherwise. The garage needs cleaning so we can get a vehicle in there for the winter (this is almost done, but needs finishing). We have tomatoes that need bottling. I don't know why, but this has fallen to me this year. I need to do some laundry (yes, it is my turn, my wife has done more than her share lately).

I'm sure I'll find more, but that is enough to start with. Maybe if I work hard enough today, I can sleep in tomorrow. Yeah, right.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Finish Line

I just finished writing my 27th chapter for my book. I now have three left to wrap everything up, introduce my last plot twist, and set the scene for book number two--the sequel. Then comes the hard part--getting it published. Twist Tales, my brother, finished his book a while ago, and has been struggling to get it published since. Idon't know if mine will ever make it, but I felt like I needed to write it. They say that everyone has a book in them waiting to get out, but what they don't tell you is that you need a crowbar to get it out, and a bigger one to get it published. I hope to have it done before Christmas. Now you know what to get me--a big crowbar. I guess we'll see.

Take care. Start that book now. Stick.

Grandpa WHO!?

My daughter S came home from school and said, "I'm having a baby this weekend. His name is Courtin Ray."

She is taking a parenting class required for all teenage girls and boys here in our school district. The "baby" is an animatronic doll that has batteries and a timer. It wants to be fed at least every three hours for 15 minutes, then burped for 15 minutes, and has to have its diaper changed regularly. It cries when it is hungry, cries differently when it is tired, has another cry for a diaper change. If you drop it, it has sensors that record the blow, and it can die

As a teacher, I can appreciate what they want these girls to learn, but I HATE THESE DOLLS! The girls bring them into my class, and all work stops. The boys want the girls to fail, so are constantly trying to bang up the doll. The girls all want to play with it, hold it, whatever, and then, just as you are in the middle of teaching some concept, the thing starts crying and disrupts things all over again. Want can't they echo real life, and make the girls pay for a day care during school hours. How much more real can it get? (Just kidding)

She turns hers back in tomorrow at noon, then someone else gets it. Goodbye, and Good riddance. You can visit with the rest of the kids at Christmas.

Take care. Stick.

Snow Fair!

October 10th--Woke up to 3 inches of snow on the ground. Freeways still okay, so no problem.
October 11th--Woke up to 3 new inches of snow on the ground, snowing on and off all day. Enough snow has melted so that it still only looks like 3 inches. Roads still okay.
October 12th--Woke up to 3 new inches of snow on the ground, snowing on and off all day. Roads are slick and iced over this morning. Glad I have a four wheel drive this morning. Enough snow has melted that the roads are clear by the end of the day.
October 13th-- MORE snow predicted. I still have yard projects to do--or did.

(I know Inklings, you had it worse in Montana. I still don't have to like it. :o))

Take care. Stay warm. Stick.

Mom Too!

My sister J just posted about our mom. I wanted to make a few additions.

Mom told us that when she met Dad, she was actually dating a sailor, but dad was nicer, and persistent, so she went out with him, and dumped the other guy.

She also said that she worked at a lunch counter just outside of Lockheed. The men would pre-order their lunches on a little card, and the time their shift got out for lunch. They would have the entire place reserved for ten minutes a seat, and as soon as the man came in they put his pre-ordered food down in front of him. He would eat , then leave. I can't remember how many men she said they would feed in a one hour lunch, but I do remember that it was a lot.

Mom liked to dance when she younger (still does, but you know...). She was also very limber. She could bend over backwards, and pick up a scarf with her teeth, from between her feet, on the floor.

The only time I can ever remember mom working outside the home was when we were living in Texas. Mom took a part time job working for the U.S. Census. She recounted many stories of having to check out the migrant worker shacks on some of the farms. She said you could hear people when you walked up, but they would not answer the door. They were afraid she was with immigration.

For years while they lived in Texas, Mom and Dad were in a bowling league. They would bowl every weekend while the league was running. I liked to surprise them while they were gone, and would often clean the kitchen, or re-arrange the cupboards while they were gone, and on cold nights I would make them a cup of postum when they came home. I'm SURE that Mom really appreciated this. I think she usually spent the next week putting things back where she could find them.

Mom is a saver, just like her mother, and probably had more fabric squares for quilt tops at one time than she had clothes in her closet.

I know I speak for all of the kids when I say that WE LOVE YOU MOM!

Take care. Stick.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sported Out

This has been a really hectic time around our place. Our second daughter is playing tennis on both the Junior Varsity and the Varsity teams. She usually has one or two matches a week, and this week goes for the two day regionals, with the three day State tournament next week. Number three daughter plays on the Junior varsity and sophmore volleyball teams, again usually with two matches a week, and she has regionals coming up in two weeks. Number four is playing volleyball, but luckily usually only plays once a week. The two youngest boys are playing soccer, with a game every Saturday.

Between the games and all of the practices, I've just about had it. I can't wait for the season end, except then they all start basketball. How many days until schools out?

Take care. Stay sane. Stick.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hand cartin'

My wife and I have recently been asked to represent out church group in an activity to re-inact the handcart pioneers. This required us to go to Martin's Cove in Wyoming and train over this last weekend. We hiked a little over 7 miles for this training--something that was no problem for me, but turned out to be a bit of a challenge for my wife. I did end up a little stiff the next day, but worked out the kinks fairly quickly. My sweetie had a little more trouble. She had acquired a few blisters, and sore feet, so was moving a little slow the next day. We both realized that we will need to really work to be ready for this trip.

I won't go into the details here of our training, but it was very good. I worked for a program like this for youth when I was in college, so this training brought back many memories--things that I never wrote down anywhere. It has really inspired me to go back and work on my journal. I want to write down as many of those stories as I can remember.

I also met one of the other trainees who had also been a staff member with the same youth program that I had been invovled with. He and I talked for some time, reminiscing over those events.

Take care. Write it down if you want to remember it, Stick.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Woes of the first week of School

I teach a middle school class designed to help students who are below grade level in reading or math, bring those skill levels up to where they should be. These recovery programs are designed for students who are not special populations, but still need help. They are all based on computer learning where the student works at his, or her, own speed and level. We develop a plan of lessons for each student after giving them an assessment to find out where the deficits in there learning are located. All of this is done on the computer.

Unfortunately, my computers have been down all week. I have not been able to do the assessments. I cannot get my students working on the programs needed to help them. I have no lesson plans outside my computer programs. The teacher who has administrative access to add my students into the computer porgram is out of the office. In other words, I have been winging it all week. The first day we introduced ourselves and the class. The next day, we discussed class rules. Then we played a trivia game. Today I copied some worksheets out of an old textbook. I hope that by Monday My computers are all working. If not, my stress level may go up.

Take care and stay calm under pressure. Stick.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

And the hits just keep on coming!

They say that bad news comes in threes. I mentioned that My PDA bit the dust, and it is dead. My wife's PDA was replaced with a brand new unit so she's okay. Friday, I took my boys and went to a scout camp. Headed up the hill, my truck died. I still don't know what is wrong. I had to coast and tow it 20 miles back to town. I hope that I can get it repaired quickly. (Yes, I know Inklings--SEE you do need that van! If you do, you can still get it.)

Last week, we had to go to a funeral. My wife's aunt from SLC passed away. We have always tried to stop and see this aunt anytime we were in town, and in fact had seen her only a couple of weeks earlier. She fell and broke a leg, which evidently caused complications and a stroke. Why is it that we get together to see family at sad events like this, but not any other time in some families?

I had to finally go back to work this last week after almost 12 weeks off. Students come back tuesday after the holiday. We had a great keynote speaker though. The teacher from "Freedom Writer's" came along with two of her former students.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Triple Catastrophe!

This is probably the saddest blog I have ever had to write. Within one week we have had three major catastrophes.

The first happened while we were going to garage sales. We had purchased drinks, and had them in cup holders around in the van. I had also taken my PDA to read while the women looked at the junk--um--I mean treasures that I wasn't interested in. When we got ready to depart to our next destination, I set my PDA down on the console between the front seats, instead of putting it in my pocket as I usually do. I stopped at a stop sign, and then it happened. My PDA slid forward into our friend's soda. It effectively killed my PDA for which I had just purchased a memory stick. I don't think it is a recoverable accident.

Next, only a few days later, my wife and I were at Girl's camp, where she was the assistant camp leader, and I had been drafted as the camp cook. Since my PDA was dead, she had loaned her Palm TX to me to read a book. I had been storing it in a side pocket on my pants when I wasn't reading it. I'm not sure how, and I'm not sure when, but when I took it from my pocket one time, the screen had gotten cracked, effectively killing her PALM. We still don't know what will happen with it. We're not sure if it can be repaired, or if we will be buying a new one, as this one was issued by the school district to her. We will find out soon.

The last event took place last Tuesday, and was probably the most devastating. I turned 50! I still can't believe it. I'm sure someone miscounted somewhere down the road. My girls have not let me forget this incident, and in fact had black ballons and a grave stone at camp for me. They also painted on the windows of our vehicles--"Honk, I'm 50 and an OLD man".

The first two incidents I think we can overcome, but the last one--I guess I'll just have to live with.

Take care. Watch out for those B-days, they sneak up on you. Stick.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All together now can be too close for comfort!

We just returned from a family vacation where we went and joined my brothers and sisters and their families (as many as could come) for a family reunion at my parents home. One dinner we counted between 25 and 30 people present. Now, our parents have a small, two bedroom, 1 1/4 bath home that is all of about 1000 sqaure feet or so. Needless to say, personal space was at a premium. The kids favorite saying was, "Move your feet, you lose your seat!"

We had a table and chairs set up in the front yard, five tents scattered around the perimeter, and at night it looked like Nightmare on Elm Street, with bodies lying everywhere in the front room. To add to our claustrophobic dilemna, there were several days when it rained--hard--most of the day, keeping us all inside.

We survived. We even had fun doing it. We talked, played games, watched old (and some new) movies, and caught up on what we had been doing with ourselves for the previous year.

We'll all do it again next year, and in fact look forward to it. We like making our parents happy twice--once when we come, and once when we leave.

Take care. Luv yer guts! Stick.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Twisted Up

Our hallway bathroom sink has a problem with water pressure in the hot water line. We thought it was a bad valve, that wouldn't turn on right. SO I bought the valve, turned off the water to the house, took off the old valve (with many an exclamation and contortion to get to it under the sink), found out I bought the wrong replacement valve, went and got the right replacement valve, vcame home and put it on (with an equal number of contortions and twisting of my body under the sink into positions that a body my shape does not wish to be twisted into)--still no water pressure.

We called my father-in-law, who is a plumber (among other things), he thinks we may have a flattened pipe, or something blocking the pipe. He says it could be anywhere in the line. Terrific.

We'll deal with the low water pressure.

Take care. Stick.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleepless in ....

Every so often lately, and I'm not sure if it is allergies or what it is, I have trouble breathing at night, and I wake myself up constantly. This doesn't happen every night, but often enough that it is a pain. SO here I am again, 5 am. in the morning, and wide awake, and have been since 3:30.

I have found that when this happens, I can usually go to the basement, and lie down on the couch and fall asleep again. I'm not sure if it is the harder surface of the couch, the cooler temperature of the basement, or just a mental thing, but it usually works. Not tonight.

So, I'm lying on the couch, eyes at half mast, 4:00 am., and my youngest son's alarm clock goes off, and off, and off. Realizing that he is not going to wake up and turn it off, I get up and go into his room to do it myself. However, in the dark, I hit the wrong button, and switch his clock from alarm to radio. Loud, static filled radio. This wakes him. He and I fight in the dark to turn off the radio, and finally succeed. He is back to sleep in 2 minutes. Me, still awake an hour later. There is no justice.

Take care. Get some sleep. Stick.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Joy

I wrote that my youngest son had an intestinal flu the other day. Since then, his brother got it. My wife got it. My youngets daughter got it, and now, I have it.

The only bright spot in this is that it moves fast. After 24-48 hours, it's gone. In the meantime, suffer in silence, and don't get too far from the bathroom.

Take care. Stick.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Key to Success

My three youngest daughters went to a friend's house tonight to roast marshmallows and play games. They went out to get in our van to go. Two minutes later, they came running back inside telling me that something was wrong with the brakes in the van.

My immediate thought was, Great, another repair that we don't need right now. I went out to see if I could find out what was happening. I got into the driver's seat, took one look, and reached down and turned the key to start the van. I said, "It helps if the motor is running."

Keep smiling. Take care. Stick.

Under the Knife...Again Hop-a-long

My third daughter under went her second surgery yesterday. This was to correct the Haglan's deformity on her other ankle. Everything went well, and the Doctor is happy with the way the first surgery is healing.

The problems come because she now thinks she is an old hand at this. She doesn't want to stay down with her foot elevated. She hasn't been keeping the ice pack on it the way she is supposed to. She hates the boots, so she keeps leaving them off. In other words, she is ignoring the Doctor's post op instructions that helped her heal so quickly on foot number one! We keep telling her that she is going to be sorry if she doesn't do what she needs to do, and we are constantly nagging her to either put the ice back on, or the splint.

Only time will tell if she listens and what will happen if she doesn't. I'll keep nagging.

Take care. Stick.

Joyful! Joyful!...Awful!

I tend to be a creature of habit, at least up to a point. Every morning when I get up, I go downstairs and get on the computer to post and write. I check my e-mail, read blogs, etc.

As I walked down the stairs this morning, it smelled like an open sewer. I thought, Oh great the toilet is backed up, or the drain is clogged. It was worse. My youngest son had caught a case of either stomach flu, or food poisoning. He had tossed his cookies no less than four times in four different places. This was not the worst part. Every time that happened, he also lost it on the other end. I found him laying on the floor wrapped in a blanket. Thank goodness for carpet cleaners and washing machines. After a half an hour cleaning, things are better, but he's not. I can only hope that he will make it to the bathroom if he has another spell, and that he gets better fast.

Take care. Stick.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Slip of the Lip

Last night at the dinner table, my wife was questioning the kids about the whereabouts of her manicure/pedicure set. My youngest son piped up saying that he had seen his older twin brother with it earlier, to which the older boy began to deny immediately and repeatedly. This is usually a sign that he is guilty, so we questioned him about it.

Me- "If you didn't have it, where didn't you have it at?"

Him- "It would be on the fouton downstairs if I didn't have it."

So much for denial.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Origin Of Pick Up Sticks

I have had people ask me why my blog is called "Pick up Sticks". If you look at the actual IP address, it is wordcarvin.blogspot.

When I was growing up, one of the people that I admired was an "Uncle" who carved wooden chains and other things. I was always amazed at what he could create with a pocket knife and a piece of wood. When I got to college, I became invovled in an outdoor youth program, for which I worked as a counselor for four years. During this time, I began to whittle, trying to create some of the things that I had seen my "Uncle" create. I think the first thing I ever carved was a wooden spoon, which I used while out in the mountains on this outdoor program. I carved a new spoon each week, and they gradually began to get more elaborate. I even carved one for my director's new born son that had a ball in a cage in the handle. Before long, I had started trying other things, including the wooden chains that I so admired. My initial creations were quite rough, but I was as proud of my first five link chain as of anything I had ever done.

The program I was working for required a great deal of hiking, and in fact I added up the mileage that I covered during that time to somewhere around 2400 miles in my association with the program. Naturally when hiking that many miles, and liking to carve and whittle, I started carving walking sticks. Again, my initial efforts were just basic sticks, functional, but not much to them. It became a tradition for me to burn this stick in the middle of the last campfire of each week. Then, one week, my co-counselor for the week (we were paired up as "ma" and "pa" to a group of participants) aksed if she could keep the stick rather than have me burn it, and I agreed. The next thing I knew, every counselor in camp was asking for the next stick. So as not to disappoint anyone, I agreed to carve walking sticks for anyone who wanted one as long as they found a good serviceable stick, and told me what they wanted it to look like. This tradition continued over the next four and half years and beyond. I have carved over 300 sticks. Some more elaborate than others. Some just had the person's name. Others had eagles, bears, and fish.

I don't carve as much as I used to now, I just don't seem to have the time, but I still watch for a good sound walking stick whenever I am out in the mountains, and I still carve for people who are special to me. SO remember the rules: Find a good sound stick (I prefer to carve aspen); decide what you want the stick to look like; give me the stick with your description.

I don't guarantee a work of art, just a work of heart.

Take care. Stick.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Under the Knife

My number three daughter just had minor surgery on her left foot to correct something called "Haglan's Deformity". This is a protuberance of the heel bone with cartilidge that builds up around it to form a large bump on the heel. This has been a source of irritation to her as she runs and participates in sports, so we decided to have the surgery done. SHe will have the other foot done in about two weeks.

Now, for those of you who know her, she HATES needles. When she goes for innoculations, she starts crying before they even stick her. The Dr. said he would give her a valium before he took her back to numb the area for surgery. Twenty minutes after taking the Valium, they came out to get her, and she was still as alert as she had been before. He offered her another Valium, but told her it would delay the surgery another twenty minutes. She reluctantly agreed to just let him numb her ankle area for the surgery. I would have offered her a bullet to bite on if I had had one. As it was, I thought about joking around right before he brought out the hypodermic. I was going to shout, "Man! Look at the size of that needle!" Luckily, I restrained myself, so we did not have to pull her off the ceiling to continue.

We are now hoping everything heals the way the Dr. wants it to, and that she has no further problems. Time will tell.

Take care. Stick.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Word Tag

1. Where is your cell phone? daughter
2. Your significant other? beautiful
3. Your hair? speckled
4. Your mother? amazing
5. Your best friend? Kelly
6. Your favorite thing? food (see 15)
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your favorite drink? chocomilk
9. Your dream/goal? author
10. The room you're in? den
11. Your children? argumentative
12. Your fear? drowning
13. Where do you want to be in 10 years? wealthy :o)
14. Where were you last night? dinner
15. What you're not? skinny
16. Muffins? corn
17. One of your wish list items? shed
18. Where you grew up? Texas
19. What you read last? mine
20. What are you wearing? shorts
21. Your TV? Burn
22. Your pets? none
23. Your computer? Dell
24. Your life? hectic
25. Your mood? relaxed
26. Missing someone? no
27. Your car? Yukon
28. Something you're not wearing? hat
29. Favorite Store? Cabellas
30. Your summer? relaxing
31. Like someone? yes
32. Your favorite color? Green
33. Last time you laughed? today
34. Last time you cried? sometime
35. Your favorite thing? outside

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Out With The Old--In With The New!

Thursday, we made a trip out of town to take my oldest daughter to a Doctor for her tonsils. Yes, we went out of town for this. EVERYBODY told her not to let the local guy do this. We went to an ENT we used before we moved where we currently live. He took one look at her tonsils, and said that they needed to come out right away, and he wanted to schedule the surgery for the next day. We agreed to get a motel room, then found out that the surgery center where he operates would not accept our insurance. We had to go to one of his associates, who operates at the local hospital there, that does accept our insurance. He looked at her tonsils, and agreed that they needed to come out, but also informed her that he thought she had MONO which had brought on the state her tonsils were in. (She did)

Meanwhile, we knew we would be in this town, so had looked on the Internet for a new vehicle. We had specific things we were looking for, and hadn't been able to find anything locally. We found just what we wanted advertised at a dealership in this town, so went to look at it. It was JUST what we wanted! We decided to wait, and come back later to see if we could qualify, because....

Meanwhile, our house was closing that same day, and we did not know if it was off our credit rating yet.

The results-- We came home with one less home, two less HUMONGOUS tonsils, and a year old car.

We are happy with all the results! (Or will be once the oldest daughter recuperates)

Take care. Stick.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wrong Number

It's 5:18 am. and the phone rings. I wake from a sound sleep and answer it. BEEP....10 seconds...BEEP. It is a computer calling. I hang up in disgust.

Twenty minutes later, it calls back again. My automated voice caller ID tells me, "Call from West Virginia." I answer and hang up again.

REPEAT every day for the last ten days.

The phone company cannot identify the company calling. I cannot call them back to tell them to stop calling. The call block feature only works on local numbers.

I called the annoyance division, and they (computer voice) tell me that calls between certain hours are legal, and I cannot do anything about them.

One helpful operator finally tells me that for a fee ($1.25 per incident) I can trace the call, and after it has been traced successfully three times (with no gurantee of success on any given try), the police can then pursue harassment charges against whatever company they find at fault.

Anybody know a good computer Hacker?

Take care. Stick.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Home away from Home

Well, after nearly 9 months of trying, we are finally selling our house in Idaho.

The realtor gets close to $9000. The people buying get $350 of their rent back. The guy who fixed the foundation leak gets about $1000. The state tax commission gets all of their blood money, close to $1000.

We are getting no money out of the deal, and in fact will probably have to come up with some money to close the deal, but at least it will be sold.

Somewhere along the way, I thought this was a good deal. Maybe not. I hope it will be in the end.

Take care. Stick

Friday, May 30, 2008

Illegal or Not?

Recently, we have been discussing teenagers, crime, and punishment in my classes at the High School. Almost every student in those classes made the comment during our discussion that nothing is illegal if you don’t get caught. Many of them also said that the cops couldn’t catch them anyway, because they were too fast.

Somewhere down the road, I hope they learn how wrong this attitude is, and that we all have responsibility for our actions. They don’t see how their actions now will affect their future lives, and don’t understand personal morals and self-discipline. Their motto is, If it feels good, do it, illegal or not. They say that everyone does drugs and has sex. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with it.

I have told many students that within five years their view could possibly change, and then what will they do about their actions now. They cannot seem to comprehend a time when they might regret their current lifestyle choice.

This morning, two of these students are in jail. I’m not sure what the actual charges are, but I can’t help but wonder if this will be the thing that changes their attitudes, or will they still maintain that anything goes. Hard to say.

Take care. Stick.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just for Fun!“

“There was a blacksmith by the name of John
Who had one leg, for the other was gone.
There was only one eye in his balding head,
But he said it didn’t matter, for he’d soon be dead.
He said it didn’t matter for he’d soon be dead

He had a dog, that he called True Blue,
That sat in the door in full plain view.
It matched its master with a hind leg gone,
And gnawed on the bone when it was alone.
It gnawed on the bone when it was alone.

Now the two of them made quite a pair,
As they worked and lay in that Smithy there,
But when it came of a Saturday night,
They went to the bar to get drunk and fight.
They went to the bar to get drunk and fight.

Then one night they met their match,
A lady named Sue and a cat called Scratch.
Nary a punch did either side throw,
But Sue left with John in tow.
Yes, Sue left with John in tow.

Now they live all together above John’s shop,
And of the alcohol they haven’t touched a drop.
Sue says they’re happy, and John nods his head,
He says it doesn’t matter, for he’ll soon be dead.
He says it doesn’t matter, for he’ll soon be dead.”

Have a great Day. Stick.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This is not the dump!

In my job, I run a special classroom for academically challenged students who do not qualify for Special Education. I was told that this classroom was not being set up to handle behavior problems, but to help those students who needed help in coming up to grade level in different subjects. These students have lower level reading, math, or language scores, and are placed in my classroom to help them recover skills needed to succeed in their regular classroom.

This was the original concept. The reality came as they developed the classes. The students we acquired ended up being whatever discipline problem the teachers did not want in their class. Even when some of these students demonstrated that they had reached the program goals, and were ready to return to the normal classroom, the teacher would not take them back.

The latest addition to our little group is a young lady who has not been suiting out for PE, and as a result, she is failing that class. She can no longer pass PE regardless of what she does, so they are putting her into one of the sections. She is to “…work on established curriculum homework, or read an approved book…” She takes an “F” for her original class, but we must keep her working for the remainder of the school year. Great incentive.

They want to add another young man to one of my other section because, “He and the current teacher cannot seem to get along together.”

Boy, am I glad we’re not a dumping ground for discipline problems.

Take care. Stick.

Tagged for Epitaph

Here's my 6 word epitaph:

Mountain Man Born Out Of Time

Tagged for 161!

I got tagged by Nene for posting page 161 of a book I’m reading. I thought I would post two. The first is the book I’m reading. It is Tehanu by Ursula K. LeGuin.

“When I first saw you, I thought you were my son. You’re nothing alike, only in being tall, and thin, and young.”

The second is from the book that I am writing, Westar Rising.

The voice was followed by a small wiry man riding out of the forest on a sway-backed, crow-bit horse that surely must have been years beyond its time of useful service to anyone, in spite of the fact that the small man was riding it. How it had carried him this far was beyond Anthos’ comprehension. He rode with the barest of tack—a riding pad whose padding was coming out in numerous places, and a rope halter patched together from several different pieces of rope and string. The man himself was clothed in a similarly poor outfit. His shirt was the roughest of homespun, with patches dotting the elbows and elsewhere. What buttons were left on the shirt were mismatched, and seemed to hold on to the front with simple determination rather than the strength left in the thread that stretched between button and fabric. His pants had legs of different lengths due to the left cuff having been torn at some time from its accustomed home, and his shoes would have given nightmares to any cobbler. A rag of a hat topped off his ensemble, with its ragged edges shading his eyes and face just enough so that his features were concealed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

White Winter Blues

Another poem for the heck of it.

The leaves have flown with nature's green,
And the warmth of summer is nowhere seen,
When the first bright flakes come floating down,
Crystal gems made to cover Earth's brown.
Glittering, glistening--hiding every flaw
With hidden potential waiting for the thaw.
Then the winter begins to settle in.
The days get shorter, patience starts to thin.
The snow no longer glistens quite as bright,
But stabs at the viewer with daggers of white.
The cold, wet wind blows in more mounds of slush,
Freezing even bird song into a silent hush.
And just when all think that they can bear no more,
And a path round the room is worn into the floor.
Just when we think the icicles cannot grow another inch,
And to move the snow and ice we'll need a crane or a winch.
That's when the sun shines on an ending to our pain,
Until the clouds roll in, and it starts to snow again!
Spring is coming. Tale care. Stick.

Hard Boiled

My oldest son came into my room tonight carrying a lone hard boiled egg left over from Easter. It had been boiled, dyed, decorated, and somehow got overlooked in the refrigerator. He wanted to know if it was still good to eat.

Let's see....three and a half weeks in the fridge....left out in the Easter basket all night before that....probably not.

He then said, "Can't you spin it to see if its still hard boiled."

Keep smilin'. Stick

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just because...

Now I have to preface this post by stating that I am in no way prejudiced, but this was too funny (at least at the time)

I teach a very diverse group of students (racially), and have several who are Hispanic, though they are born in the US, many of their parents were not. They are always making jokes about their own racial stereotypes.

Today, we got to talking about cars at the end of the hour, and they were joking about low riders. One girl said, "Do you know why Hispanics put their last names in the back windows of their cars."

I said , "No."

Before she could give me her answer, another Hispanic boy piped up and said, "Yeah, it's so you don't steal from family!"

Look at the funny side of things. Keep smilin'. Stick.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gettin' Older...

My oldest son can talk your ear off. Sometimes I think he talks just to hear himself talk. However, because he talks so much, he has a tendency to say things that are just hilarious, but usually not intentionally. A week or so ago, he spouted one of his gems of wisdom, and my wife and I both laughed ans said, "That needs to be a blog!"

It still does. I didn't write anything down, and now I can't remember what he said. I know it was funny, but for the life of me, I can't remember and neither can my wife. I guess we grow old together.

Take care. Take ginkgo (I think that's how you spell that :o)). Stick.

First sign of Spring...

Now I know that even though it is snowing this morning as I write this, Spring is truly on the way. I saw the first signs just the other day. They said, "Left Lane Ends" and "Road Construction Ahead."

Take care, and have a great day. Stick.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Let your light so shine...

I crawled into the attic Friday to install a light in our living room ceiling. When I say "crawled", I mean I literally crawled, and in some cases, I even slithered to get back to where I needed to go. I had to hammer nails at arms length without even being able to see the nails themselves. Then, I had to turn myself around, and squeeze back through the attic to get out, by which time I was hot, sweaty, covered with insulation and dust, and my nose was running like crazy. I couldn't bring myself to go back into the attic again that day, so it wasn't until Saturday morning that I went back up to finish the wiring, but we finally have a light where there was none before.

Having finished this project, I moved to the basement where we want to install a light in our shower. I had already begun this project by chipping away the ceiling tile in the shower stall. I started to cut out the sheetrock, only to find that my selected spot included a stud right through the middle of the opening. This too shall be overcome, but it seems like every project brings on one more challenge. I can't wait until we put in the door to the garage.

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Deep Purple Daydream--Let there be light

When we moved into our current home, we had one bedroom that was not quite finished--it was missing a ceiling. So, with a little sheet rock and some moderate labor, we closed it up, textured it and painted it. My second daughter, "R", has claimed this room as her own, and wanted to choose a paint color for the walls, which we allowed. She chose a color called "Harebell", which looked on the sample to be a light lavender color. However, once it was on the walls, it doesn't look quite so light anymore. She is now sleeping in the "purple pit". She says she likes it, but if we ever decide to sell this house, I know we will have to re-paint, including a primer coat to cover those walls.

In addition to painting, we have been doing other fix ups around this home--small things. We do not have a light fixture in the ceiling in our living room. The only lights present are plugged into a switched outlet, so we wanted to add a light. We found a really nice fixture on sale, and purchased it along with the accoutrement's needed to install it. We had planned to run a wire to one of the existing switches and tie this light in to them. Yesterday, I crawled (literally) into our attic to start the process. The rafters are so low that it is impossible to stand up, or even 'duck walk' in the attic. After working my way halfway through--to where I thought the wire I had pushed up through the junction box should be, I found that the builders of this home had sealed the top of the walls, and I could not fish the wire through. Now I have a hole in the middle of my living room ceiling, and I don't know how I'm going to get any power to my light. Maybe I'll just have to run an extension cord from an outlet up through the attic (just kidding). We'll figure it out. Until then, maybe we'll put a nice plant there to cover the hole. No one will notice a rhododendron sprouting from the ceiling.

Hoping for light. Take care. Stick.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

That four letter "S" word

The last week or so, the weather has been hinting that spring might be coming. We have had a beautiful week, with temperatures into the 40's, and one day almost 60. It didn't last. The clouds rolled in, and that white stuff is falling from the sky again. It had been so nice that I was even putting together the basketball standard that we got the kids for Christmas, and my driveway was almost clear of ice. Oh well, this too shall pass.

On a side note, and talking about small towns again. Now I know that our town is not the smallest town around, and not even the smallest we have lived in, but I need to tell one more story. We go ocasionally to a Chinese Restaurant here in town (I know Inside Stories is saying, "See, how can you say you live in a small town when you HAVE a Chinese Restaurant."). When you walk in, they ask what you want to drink--normally. When we walk in now, they immediately say, "Diet, right?", and last time in, as we paid our bill, they said, "See you next week, okay."

Nice to be known. Nicer if there was no S_ _ _! Take care. Stick. :o)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Not so small at all...

Ever since I posted my two blogs on small town living, I have been expecting a rebuttal from Inklings. I know she has lived in towns much smaller than where we currently live. However, my first response came from my wife. She reminded me that the town that we live in is currently one of the LARGER towns in Wyoming. We got to talking about it, and finally came to the conclusion that this town just has a small town mentality. I'm not sure yet if that is good or bad, but it does change the way you do things around here.

-----You don't need to leave for any appointment too early, because everything in town is only ten minutes at the most from your front door, and that's counting the time needed to stop and get a soda on the way.

-----Rush hour traffic here consists of two Semi-trucks and a pickup at the same light at one time.

-----The only place you experience any problems is at Wal-mart check out, because they don't have enough cashiers to handle ten people at once.

I hope that clears that up. Take care. Stick.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another way you can tell you live in a SMALL town…

We just moved to a smaller town in Wyoming, but I didn’t realize HOW small until the other night. My wife has a cousin that also lives in this town, and we have been getting reacquainted with her and her husband. Friday night they called us to invite us to go to dinner with them. They assured us that this was one of the best places to eat in the area, and that we would really enjoy the meal, which was all-you-can-eat catfish. Now, first you should know that the food was very good, in spite of the fact that they ran out of catfish. When we asked where we should meet them, they told us…(ready for it)… Cruel Jack’s Truck Stop.

Says something about a lot of things..not sure what.

Take care. Stick.

You know you live in a small town when…

…You are driving up to your house in the middle of town, and you have to wait while the herd of deer that is wintering here crosses the road.

Take care. Stick.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Five things I hate--five things I love

I was tagged by Goin' Bowlin' to write a list of five things I hate, and five things I love, so here goes.


1. Cigarette smoke in places that I can't get away from.

2. Slick, black ice roads!

3. People who lie to me.

4. Being sick at any time.

5. Having someone I love being hurt by someone.


1. My Family.

2. Hot chocolate and a warm fire on a cold day.

3. Finding a new book to read.

4. Being with friends, and nothing we really have to do.

5. Learning how to do something new.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Justice is Served!

The Dare officer of my boy's school actually took the time to read the stories written by the two boys. The second officer, from another school, is the only one who had originally read them. After reading the stories, he came and apologized for saying they had cheated. He said he could tell that they had written the stories individually, and wanted to bring the boys in and officially apologize, reinstate them as graduates of the program, and invite them to the graduation. It's nice to see someone this considerate, adn we are feeling much better now about the whole situation, but still a little peeved at the other officer.

Take another deep breath. Take care. Stick.

Read at your own Risk! Chapters 1-3


Anthos can hear the noise coming from the Inn, before he even opens the door.
The Inn is noisy tonight. They’ll hardly care what, or if, I play. Still…
A look around the room confirms what he has already heard. The normal group is gathered in the common area, which is composed of groups of tables and chairs, or barrels, or in some cases even wooden rounds cut from a log. Many of the local patrons can be identified from the manure from their stock still on their boots, and their rugged clothes showing bare at the elbows and knees. Some off duty soldiers are near the bar, their weapons and armor stored somewhere for the night, their raucous laughter and horseplay showing that no ranking officer is anywhere in the vicinity. Several small groups of travelers are scattered at the tables, two or three together with their heads close for private conversation. There are even a few dwarves off by themselves in the darkest corner, their long plaited beards, and sturdy, round steel helmets showing in the light of the fire. Nothing out of the ordinary, but each of them is caught up in their own discussions and problems. The smell of wood smoke is drifting from the huge fireplace, and the delicious aroma of something roasting, along with the clanging of a few pots and pans, are coming from the direction of the kitchen. Over the top of that, is the smell of unwashed bodies, leather, oil, and several forms of alcohol.
The individual making this assessment is slightly outside the norm himself. As he steps out into the room, he moves towards an open chair near the fire, a few of those present look his way, wondering.
The image he presents is one to wonder at. You can tell by his features that he is human…almost. His ears and fair skin, however, give him away for what he is—a half-elf. He’s too tall, being 5’ 8”, and much too broad across the shoulders for an elf, but much too fair to look at for a human. His collar length hair is blonde, almost white, and his leaf green eyes show the intelligence that lies behind them. He is dressed quite well compared to the homespun of many of the patrons. His doublet and pants are forest green with brown piping, black boots rising almost to his knees. A white frilled shirt peaks from beneath, with a silver chain disappearing beneath its collar, evidently attached to some sort of medallion lying against his chest.
As he seats himself, he swings an eight course lute, meaning one with fifteen strings -- battered but well cared for—around from its perch on his back, and slides a worn leather pack to a spot under his chair at his feet. His long green cloak joins the pack, along with an intricately carved walking staff, made from some dark, hard wood. He adjusts the cloak slightly, but not before those taking the most interest in his actions sees the handle of a sword peeking from beneath its folds.
He does not play immediately, but gives the room an appraising glance once again. Then, his fingers begin to move, picking and strumming the lute, drawing forth a light melody that is evidently well known in the area judging from the toes that begin to tap, and the heads that begin to nod in rhythm to his playing.
Almost like a conjuror, a small leather pouch appears open at his feet as he finishes the first song, and he hardly misses a beat as he moves into a slightly more lively tune, his fingers moving quickly across the face of the lute. As he watches the crowd, he sees a few begin to mouth the words to one version of this song, and so with the beginning of the next verse, he begins to sing.
His voice is as much a surprise as the rest of him, flowing out in a rich baritone. The words are not perhaps exactly those sung commonly in this little township, but they are close enough for those in the Inn. Soon the makeshift audience is paying more attention to the music, and less to the conversation around them. Now, with their attention, he begins to play more intricate numbers, his fingers seeming to blur over the strings, and as each number is finished, some within the room begin to call out favorites for him to play. Each request is met and answered, each favorite played, with the musician scarcely pausing to acknowledge those who made the request.
Finally, after more than an hour of almost non-stop music, he sits back and draws a flask from his pack, and drinks deeply from its contents. Cheers and whistles come from the group that has been united under his musical tutelage, and coins begin to fall into the leather pouch at his feet. Most of them are copper, but enough silver shine from the pile to let him know that he has earned his keep and then some for several nights to come. A few soldiers near the bar call for just one more song, but he waves them off with an evidently false protest, waving his fingers as if they are on fire. He gathers his pouch, and moving to the bar, takes a tithe of the earnings, and places them on the bar, pushing them to the Innkeeper, a large, red-faced, good-natured man, whose leather apron has overspent its years in this service. He smiles a yellow-toothed smile, with far too many missing for eating conveniently, and gathers in the coins.
“My thanks for the accommodations friend,” Anthos bounces his coin pouch in his hand a moment, and then with the addition of a few more of the copper coins, “Now, if I could also have a bowl of that wonderfully smelling stew, a piece of bread, and a place for the night, I would be most grateful.”
He takes the offered bowl, and moves back to the chair where he had previously been seated and blowing over the spoonfuls, begins to eat. His mind wanders over the meal, thinking back to what has brought him to this point in his life. It seems like only yesterday….
“Anthos, come on boy! The others are ready to leave, and we still have packing left to do.”
“I’m coming mother. I was just watching this beetle.” With a glance back at the beetle, and only a moment’s reluctant hesitation, the young boy turns and runs towards the small, gaily painted wagon across the clearing from where he was playing. He looks to be only five or six years old, but will proudly proclaim that he is eight.
“Where are we going mother?”
“The troupe is off to Dinsford. Old Thomas thinks we will do better there, as Lord Cowen is supposed to be touring that area, and his retainers are always looking for entertainment while he is busy elsewhere. Now come along. I need your help to finish up. I’ve not been feeling well the last few days, and we have much to do before we leave.”
“All right mother.”
The lad begins to move the last few small crates from their places around the wagon, to their places within. One watching would perhaps be amazed that a boy so small could lift, let alone load, these boxes, but he goes about his work with the ease of long practice, and the energy of youth. As he works, he looks at his mother. Through his eight year old eyes, she is the most beautiful woman he knows. Her hair, unlike his, is long and black, and she wears it unbound and flowing down her back. She is tall and straight, and her dark brown eyes show love and concern every time they look at him. Her dress is the one she always seems to wear, faded blue, patched, and with a pattern that you can almost see if you look close enough. Today, she is slightly flushed in the cheeks, yet pale all the same. In no time he places the last bundle in place behind the wagon seat.
“All set mother. How soon till we leave?”
“Not long. Do you think you can drive the wagon?”
“Of course I can. You know Dilly and Dolly. Those two mules know this business better than we do. As soon as the master calls for the wagons to move out, they’ll take our place in line with or without us!”
“Too true!”
She chuckles with the boy for a moment, her laugh tailing off to a slight cough. “I believe I’ll lie down in the back then. There is a poke of bread, and an apple beneath the seat. I’m not feeling very hungry. You eat what’s there, and wake me when we arrive in Dinsford. I think rest is what I need more than anything. Thank you Anthos, you’re a good boy.”
He ducks to avoid the kiss she tries to plant on his forehead. “Don’t worry mother. I’m the man of the family. I’ll take care of everything.”
The man Anthos shakes his head at the memory. He hadn’t been able to take care of everything. When he tried to wake his mother on arriving in town, he found her burning up with fever. He’d gone to the Troupe master, Old Thomas, and his wives had all got together to try and help, but there was nothing that they could do. All of their herbs, all of the wet cloths, nothing had seemed to help. And then she was gone, and he was alone, or would have been without the Troupe. The Troupe. The thought sends him off again into his memories.
“I think you’ve got it now Anthos. Now let’s try it one more time to be sure.”
The young man takes up the juggling pins again, and begins to go through an intricate routine with his taller friend, one of skill mixed with comedy and spoof. At one point he bobbles a little on one of the passes, but not enough to break the rhythm of the routine.
“I’m sorry John. That pass always seems to catch me unaware. I’m more comfortable with my lute.”
“I know Anthos, but we really need a fourth for the show and with Young Thomas laid up with that wrist sprain, you’re the next best choice. You’ll do fine. Even if you drop everything, the people will just think its part of the comedy of the show. You don’t think we always catch every pass do you? After all, when there’s a buxom wench leaning on the front of the stage, you can’t be expected to see every throw being made in your direction, can you?”
The tall young man laughs at his own joke, and Anthos joins in.
“Thanks for that John. Hey! I think I smell fresh bread! If it’s coming from Martha’s oven, we don’t want to miss out. Let’s go see.”
The two lay down their pins, and run together in a makeshift foot race towards a wagon on the outside edge of the circle. The smell of wood smoke blends pleasantly with that of fresh baked bread, both coming from a wagon painted yellow and red, and whose door is standing slightly ajar. The smaller Anthos easily reaches the wagon first.
“John, when are you going to learn to pick up your feet when you run?”
“Come on Anthos, you know you can run circles around the horses, let alone me. I’m sure it’s because you’re some kind of freak. Now if we could only figure out what kind…?” He laughs again, and throws a half-hearted punch at the slim youth.
Later, as they walk away licking the last drips of butter and jam from their fingers, Anthos turns to his friend.
“John, where do you think Old Thomas will have us winter this year? I know he wasn’t happy with the taxes Lord Cowen charged us last winter. Do you think he will try to find a new patron Lord this year?”
“I don’t know Anthos. We’re not the only troupe working the roads you know, although we are the best. Most of the good wintering places are already taken. Unless we strike off for the North Reaches, where most don’t want to winter, we don’t have a lot of choices. Don’t worry too much about it. Old Thomas has been doing this a long time. He knows all the best spots, and he won’t lead us wrong.”
“I know you’re right John, but I still wonder.”
“You wonder about everything. I’ve never seen anyone else who wanted to learn about things the way you do. Already you know the lines for every part in our plays. You can tumble, sing, juggle, and act. You’ve learned to hunt, track, and even sew and cook. What drives you I’ll never understand.”
“I just want to help out. Old Thomas took me in when my mother died. He trusted me to become useful. I just wouldn’t want to let him down. Besides, I like learning new things. Did I tell you that Eshla, the new fortune teller, is teaching me to speak Elvish? She says anyone who looks like me should know how to speak like what they are.”
“You want to learn to speak like a moron?” With another laugh and a push, John runs on towards the river down from camp, only hesitating long enough to pick up a pine cone and throw it back at Anthos.
As he rouses himself from his reverie, the bard shakes his head again, a smile crossing his face. That was five years ago. A lot of miles had passed beneath his feet since that time. When Old Thomas died, two years back, Anthos had decided to strike out on his own. It was hard at first. He had to learn the “rules” of the game. Most he knew from watching Old Thomas. Some he had to learn the hard way, like tipping a share of your earnings to the Innkeeper, so that next time through he doesn’t throw you out on your ear. And then there were times when he had to make do for meals on what he could scavenge, or hunt on his own. Boiled satchel and herbs was at least filling, if not very tasty. Lately though, things had been going very well. His ear for picking up the latest song, his memory for those songs favored in certain areas, had all helped him to develop his reputation. He even slipped songs of his own making in every now and then, and had heard them repeated by others at places down the road. He didn’t begrudge them the use. He had done the same himself. It was actually a compliment to hear your own music coming from another player—as long as they didn’t claim authorship, or change it too much.
Eating the last crust of his bread, he rose, and gathering up his things, he slipped upstairs to the common sleeping room, and claimed one of the pallets as his own for the night. He slides a dagger out of a hidden sheath in his boot, and places it under his rolled cloak which he is using to pillow his head, another lesson learned along the road. Then, covering himself with his blanket, he settles in for the night. Hopefully, the bed bugs and fleas will leave him alone for the night, but he doesn’t hold out much hope.


Sunrise the next morning finds him dressed and preparing to leave. He walked quietly down the stairs, discovering that the Innkeeper’s cook had beaten him by more than an hour, and was just taking dozens of small loaves from the brick oven. Dropping a coin on the bar, and with a little bow, he lifts one carefully from a basket on the counter, shifting it from hand to hand to keep from being burned, and saunters out the front door of the Inn.
“Now to hope that the stable boy is an early riser as well.”
Thankfully he was, in part he complained because the rooster liked to roost near to his bed in the back. With only minimal delay, the lad brought out Anthos’ closest friend—Moonshadow. His horse didn’t appear to be anything special, but they had grown to know each other quite well over the two years of their acquaintance, and he had learned to trust and rely on him. A dapple gray the color of cold smoke, or morning fog, and whose hooves blended to black in the shade, he knew that Moonshadow could carry him all day, and keep going when other horses would be lagging.
“Did you give him an extra bait of corn like I asked?” Anthos looks questioningly at the lad.
“Yes sir. And I rubbed him down with a nice gunny sack. He really took to that.” The stable boy’s grin shows the truth of his statement.
“Ah! You’ll have him spoiled and expecting it of me every night. Thank you kindly for your care.” More coins appeared from his pouch, and were transferred to the boy’s hand. Then stowing his gear to various straps and strings dangling from the saddle, Anthos mounted and rode away, out of town, and into the surrounding forest.
Three days later, Anthos was working his way up and over the lowest saddle of the encroaching mountain range. Here, the air is crisp and the sun almost too bright. The pines are trying to decide if this is high enough or not, and the first snow is still playing hide and seek with the fall sunlight. He reaches down and pats the neck of his horse.
“Let’s stop here for a breather my friend. It’s been a long haul to reach this point; we might as well enjoy the view.” He reaches down to pat Moonshadow’s neck as he steps down from the horse.
“Do you often talk to your horse like that?”
He whirls, taken by surprise, to find and old man astride an even older looking mule, sitting in the shadows of a large pine. There are no weapons in sight, and he relaxes as he sees who spoke. “Quite often he is the only one around to talk to, and more intelligent than many I’ve met. How do you do this fine day?”
“As well as can be expected—better than some, and worse than others. What’s your friend’s name?”
“This is Moonshadow. Most call me Anthos, and you?”
“This is Jaspar, and my official name is Terril Sims Westar, but most just call me Sims. I couldn’t help but notice the direction you were heading,” then nodding at the lute on his back, “and the fact that you carry your own music with you. Mind if I ride along? Company tends to suit me when I’m in these mountains, and I like music.”
“I don’t mind at all. Can either of you cook?”
“I can’t speak for Jaspar, as he’s never shown an inclination to try, but as for myself, I don’t starve.”
“Well, let’s keep an eye peeled for something edible, and we’ll see if together we can’t make something that we can choke down for supper.”
By late afternoon, they are seated around a fire, a brace of rabbits brought down with a sling toasting on a spit, and a pot of roots and herbs boiling away on a nearby rock.
“Watch that pot. It’s got a small crack on the bottom near the handle. I’ve sealed it with pitch, but for some reason it likes to tip in just that direction when it starts to boil hard.”
“We can’t have that. It’ll spoil our gourmet meal.” So saying, the old man puts his hands up alongside the pot, and sings lightly under his breath. The crack in the side of the pot glows briefly, and then disappears. The pot now looks almost like new. With an exclamation and a small oath, Anthos stands quickly, and looks at the pot.
“How did you do that?”
“That? That was nothing. Just a little mending spell. Comes in handy now and again.” A humorous, yet sly look crosses his face. “I could teach it to you—maybe.”
“I believe I would like that. I’ve seen magic before of course, but never so up close, and never the real article. Most of what I have seen is more in the realm of sleight of hand and misdirection. I can even do a little of that myself, but I’ve heard stories and tales in Inn’s around the country about real magic, without ever seeing any.”
He looks at his new acquaintance with renewed interest. This man calling himself Sims doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. His clothing is that of an experienced traveler, much of it made from well tanned and dyed leather, or tightly woven wool. His saddle and accompanying saddle bags are sturdy and well cared for, but unusually for this area, there is not a weapon in sight. His hair, though there is not much of it left, is short and white, but his face is relatively unlined for someone who has seen as many winters as he evidently has. His hands are long fingered and strong, and Anthos can just see the calluses across the palms and fingertips.
Sims begins to talk. “I find myself, at this time in my life, contemplating my mortality. More and more, as I travel around, I find my old friends, my acquaintances, even just people I have met and known, gone. They are all dying on me. I don’t feel like I’m that old, but as I rise on a cold morning after sleeping on the ground, it does take me longer to get going than it used to. Because of all of this, I decided that I wanted to pass on some of what I know, like that little mending spell you just saw. I suppose I should be honest with you, I didn’t meet you up here by chance.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“I mean I looked for you, and found you. You may not know it, but your reputation has been growing lately. Every Inn along the way, every Noble’s keep I have stopped at, even other performers I have met, all have talked about you.”
The young bard, blushing to the roots of his face, shuffles his feet a little. “There are many more talented than I on the road, I’ve heard them.”
“Perhaps that was true when you first struck out on your own, but not anymore. I’ve heard you play myself.”
“I have a good memory for faces, but I don’t remember you from anywhere.”
With a gesture down at himself, “I don’t always look like this. It’s another one of those little skills I’ve acquired. That’s one more thing I can teach you, and I do want to teach you. Let me give you a little sample of what I have to offer, and then you can decide what you want to do.” Without moving, he begins to sing softly again, almost to himself, and though Anthos listens carefully, he cannot understand anything that he hears. Suddenly the old man begins to emit a glow from all over his body, and then his outline seems to blur, and he is gone. In his place sits an imposing figure. Dark hair, heavy eyebrows, broad shoulders and muscles, and dressed all in black. The figure, still singing, reaches into empty air behind his back, and produces a lute, but not just any lute. Anthos can tell that this instrument is probably the finest of its kind he has ever seen. Made from a deep, rich, red wood, with ebony inlay around the rosette in the center, and what appears to be gold tuning keys, the 13 course lute, or 24 strings, almost glowed in the firelight, and then Sims began to play. From the first note, Anthos could tell he was in the presence of a master, and the sound coming from the lute was mellow and smooth, and so entrancing…..
The next instance, or so it seemed, Sims was once again standing before him, reaching behind his back to put the lute back into…nothingness. Anthos was left with the feeling that he had just experienced the greatest performance he had ever seen, but he didn’t quite remember anything specific about it.
“What…what just happened?”
“I told you I wanted to give you a sample of what I had to offer. The changeling spell I’ve already mentioned. That’s the one that made me look like someone you wouldn’t want to make angry. It’s very useful when there are rowdies in the audience, or when you want to leave town unannounced. The summoning spell is what brings my lute to me, and returns it to safe keeping when I don’t need it, but the charm spell which I played is what you are feeling the after effects of at the moment. Now, I offered you no suggestions during that spell, but if I had, more than likely you would have gone along with whatever I suggested. It doesn’t work on everyone, but most. It helps to bring people to your point of view, at least for a short time. It’s great for hostile crowds, and irate husbands.” He smiles to show he is mostly joking. “Now if you think this is something you would like to learn, the position as my apprentice is open. It won’t be easy, but it should be fun, or at the very least interesting. What do you say?”
Anthos is looking at the older man like a shipwrecked man looks at land. “I don’t care the cost. I don’t care how much work. If you can teach me to do what you just did, then I’m in. Your playing alone would have brought me to you, but the thought that I can do magic—that excites me more than anything in my life.”
“Then it’s settled. Let us say that as of tomorrow morning you are officially my apprentice, unless the night’s rest brings about a change of heart. For now, do you mind playing that second song from your performance a few days ago? I don’t think I’ve ever heard the third verse sung that way before.”
The next several hours pass away with the two musicians passing Anthos’ lute back and forth, first one, then the other playing song’s and teaching lyrics, until by mutual consent, they both made their way to their bedrolls and sleep.


Someone was kicking at Anthos’ feet. “Wake up apprentice! It’s time to get started.”
Slowly the events of the previous night made their way to the front of his sleepy brain. Then with renewed excitement as he recalls what had transpired, he quickly climbs to his feet. “I’m sorry. What time is it?” He asks as he realizes it is still dark.
“Time to get moving, the sun should be up soon, and we have much to do. Get the fire going, and let’s break our fast, then we’ll be on our way.”
As Anthos puts sticks together, and begins to blow last night’s coals in to a flame, he looks again at the old man. “Where are we going in such a hurry?”
“I have a place not too many days away. We’re headed there. We have an important job to finish before we can really get started with your training. You need an instrument.”
“I have a lute. We played it last night.”
“That lute we will give to the first farm boy we see who looks like he has the least inkling of intelligence. You need a real instrument. That is why we’re going to my shop, and that is why we need to hurry.”
“But I like my lute. I’ve had it for most of my life. I’m used to it.”
“Are you my apprentice, or not? If you are, then there is no more argument. You will do as I say, because I tell you that you need to do it. If not, then we can say our goodbyes, and I will wish you well in the rest of your life. What is it to be?”
Anthos brings his lute around to the front of his body, lovingly moving his hands along its surface. Then with a deep bow, he hands it to Sims. “I am your apprentice, and we will do as you say.”
“Good. Then let’s get ready to go.” He takes the lute, and wraps it in a leather case which he pulls from amongst his gear, and settles it with his saddlebags awaiting final packing. “Let’s eat.”
The rising sun finds them already on the trail, working their way down the mountain. “The first thing you need to learn is wood.”
“Wood, what has that to do with magic and music?”
“For us--everything. To make real magic and real music you need a real instrument, like I was telling you last night, and you need to learn how to make such an instrument. To do so, you have to understand wood. You cannot make an instrument of power—such as we are seeking—with just any wood. Each wood has its own resonance, its own characteristics, and its own life. And not every wood will work for every musician. The two must be paired. The wood that I might choose may not be the wood that would be the best for you, or for someone else. Some woods are just of no use for this purpose. Yellow pine, for example, does not lend itself well to making either music or magic. Some woods lend too harsh a sound to the music, and so are not sought after for that reason, woods like iron wood. Other woods are too soft spoken for an instrument of power, woods like willow or ash. So we must find which wood is best suited for you, and then we can begin.”
“For now, as we ride, I will begin to teach you a few of the words of power that will enable you to make magic. You can use these words without your lute, but they will never have the same power without it, and your spells will not last as long. Now, each word is a combination of tone, inflection, and pronunciation. Try to get by without any one of these, and the spell simply won’t work. This is why we sing our spells. They come out like a song, and we remember them in the same way. I will also teach you many nonsense words that you will encircle about these words of power. They will not interfere with the magic, as your mind will direct what you intend, but they will keep others from attempting to use these words for their own purpose. Remember that you must intend to create magic for magic to happen. You could say these words till the sun stopped shining, and no magic would happen if you do not focus properly on what you want to have happen.”
“There is a third element to this as well and sometimes even a fourth. Some spells can simply be sung properly, and with the proper intent, and the magic will occur. Other spells, more powerful spells, require a gesture made at the proper time in the incantation, and still more powerful spells often require an ingredient, or several, along with a gesture, to complete the spell action. All of this you will learn, and more.”
“You admired the mending spell that you first saw me use. I think that that is a good place for us to begin. I will sing the word, and then you will echo it.”
The rest of the day, and most of the next was taken up with the learning of these words of power. By the end of the second day, as they sat around the fire, Anthos was able to have his first successful spell. He had been concentrating over a frayed harness, and attempting the mending spell, when suddenly the harness leather began to glow, and the leather became as new.
“I did it! I mended the harness! I MADE MAGIC!”
Sims laughed from where he was seated against an aspen tree. “Don’t sound so surprised Anthos. I wouldn’t have chosen you if I hadn’t seen your potential. That particular spell took me a week to master, and it was also my first. You have the ability boy. You’ll do fine. Now try it again. Until you can do it five to six times in a row without it failing, you’ll need to keep working on it.”
The next morning, as they are sitting together over the last of breakfast, Sims gives a huge sigh. “We should be home today, probably in time for lunch. Then we can really get started on your education.”
“Will we start making my lute right away?”
“Yes. We’ll do that and other things. You’ll see.”
As they ride along, Anthos murmurs under his breath the words he has learned, careful not to think of making magic that he does not intend, but trying to imprint the words in his mind. He’s always had a knack for memorizing, and could usually repeat a song on just one repetition, but these words seem to have a slippery feel about them, that make them hard to remember. Sims had told him that he would only be able to perform a certain amount of magic each day, less at the start, and more as he became accustomed to the use of the words of power. “Think of this as like lifting weights. As a child, you can only lift a small amount, but as you grow, and continue to work and lift, you can lift greater and greater weights. Making magic is similar. You have to build up your ‘magical muscles’, get them used to the work, before you can do greater magic. More complex spells require even more magical ability, and are harder to cast. To sing a great spell, with ingredients and gestures, requires great concentration and ability. I could tell you the words to use, the motions to make, and the ingredients necessary, and you could not perform the magic today. You need to work up to that ability. Either nothing would happen, or you might end up causing yourself an injury. It’s unpredictable, but the magic still probably wouldn’t happen. You will get there though, of that I have no doubt.”
When Sims’ home came into view, Anthos was a little surprised. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but this wasn’t it. There was an outbuilding that looked like a barn, but the main living space was a cave. Sims had built a wall, window, and door right across the opening into a huge cavern. The window had shutters inside, that when closed, made a formidable defense for the home. A small corral and a lean-to had been constructed nearby for the stock.
“I came across this area one time during my travels, and saw the potential right away. There is an underground spring in the cavern for water, and even room to bring the animals in if needed. I’ve had some dwarven friends of mine explore for me, and they could find no other access other than along the front of these cliffs. I had them build me an escape hole out the back, but it is well hidden and locked from the inside, and I’ve never had to use it. I have stocked it over the years with enough food to last me several weeks, and it’s really quite a pleasant place to live. Let’s take care of the animals, and go see the inside.”
They stripped the saddles and blankets from their respective mounts, made sure their friends had hay, oats, and clean water, and then proceeded to the front door. “My lock to keep out the curious is another word of power, this one is for moving things, and I use it to lift the two bars from the inside of the door.” His voice rose in the curious singsong that Anthos had come to recognize as magic, and then with a push, the door opened before them.
The inside was just as amazing as the outside. Anthos was not sure they had not somehow been transported to another location. The inside no longer resembled a cave in any description. The rough logs of the exterior wall had been planed down and polished, the caulking between them seamless, and almost undistinguishable from the wood. The dirt from the cave mouth outside, here inside gave way to smooth stone, worked and polished to look almost like marble from some mansion. The stone wall of the cave had also been worked, with shelves and niches cut in here and there for convenience. The stalagmite and stalactite columns had been carved as statuary, and candelabra. Anthos had not seen a finer, more beautiful room in all his travels. The furniture placed around the room was solid oak, with pillows and blankets draped for convenience. Further in, the young bard saw an intricately carved table with several chairs around. In a side chamber Anthos sees a wood burning kitchen stove, and tables for preparing meals.
Seeing the direction Anthos is looking, Sims explains further. “The smoke from my fire is channeled out through several openings in the cliff face, and through the branches of a tall cottonwood, and in winter, the heat from that stove alone keeps the inside here quite comfortable. As you can see my dwarf friends did a little more than just explore for me. They were well paid for their work, and their silence. All this didn’t happen overnight, of course. You should have seen what it looked like when I first came here. I’m sure I un-homed several animals when I walled up the front. Over the years, however, I have added to it little by little. I don’t often have guests, but I do have a comfortable room set aside for when I do. That will be your room. It is just down this side passage to the left. My room is down the other side on the right. Why don’t you settle in, and I’ll see what the mice have left us in the way of fresh food.”
Anthos moved down the passage indicated to find a very comfortable room. A large four posted bed stands near the far wall, and there are shelves cut into the wall here too, along with an open empty trunk. He suddenly realizes that he can see in this underground chamber, yet he has lit no torch or lantern. He looks for the source of light, and discovers that several of the candelabra-like carved stones are glowing with a soft yellow light. He can also see that there is a shutter device over each area of light that can be closed for sleeping. More evidence of the magic of his new mentor and the skill of the dwarven craftsmen who helped him to build this place.
Anthos stored his clothing and gear, and returned to the dining area, just as Sims comes from the kitchen carrying a tray of dried fruit, bread, and cheese, and a large jug of some drink. Now that they are actually in his home, all of the urgency Sims had displayed on the mountain seems to have fallen away. They sit casually at the table in a comfortable silence, eating cheese and bread, and drinking from the jug of cold water.
“I find myself tired after our journey, as I have no right to be. Tomorrow will be soon enough to begin on your lute. Take the rest of the day to explore our home, and the surrounding forest, and we will begin in earnest in the morning. If you get hungry, the larder is just through the kitchen, as is the access to the spring. I believe I will turn in early, but never fear tomorrow will be action as normal.” With a smile and a wave of his hand he walks slowly down the passage to his room, shutting the door there with a soft click of sound.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Technology Bytes

I mentioned that I am writing a book. I wanted to put the first chapter or two on the blog to let everyone see it, but I have a problem. Somehow, with six kids using my laptop, the plug and play driver option has been deleted. I cannot get the computer to recognize the USB flash drives that I have backing up my book, so I can't download the book to this computer. I have tried to find compatible drivers on the internet, but so far no luck. For now, I guess everyone will have to stay in the dark until I can fix this problem. As I wrote that, I came up with a solution. I will e-mail the chapters to my computer here, and then copy to my blog.

Hoping to have reading material soon. Take care. Stick.

All steamed up, and blowing some off!

My two boys have been invovled in a DARE program through their school. For part of this program, they were supposed to write an essay about staying off of drugs. My wife, who is a school teacher, sat them down in her room, and answered some of the questions they had as to what to write about. They wrote down notes of things she said, and then spent several days typing their essays on the computer. Today, the DARE officers came back and said that the boys copied each other, and so were not going to be allowed to go to the DARE graduation party. So far, they won't listen to my wife or I telling them that the boy's wrote seperate papers using the same source information. They did not help each other, or copy each other. I told them it was like two students being given an assignment to write on Abraham Lincoln, and both students using the World Book Encyclopedia as their source. Quotes are going to be alike, but the papers are different. The boys used similar quotes, but wrote comletely different papers. I'm not sure how this will play out, but in my opinion these two DARE officers are creating a situation where my two boys will say, "Why should we do something like this ever again, and why should we trust a police officer?" I hope that doesn't happen, but it seems silly to me.

Take care. Settle down and relax. Stick.