Monday, December 20, 2010

Road Daze

The town where I teach is 42 miles from my house. Normally, I ride the school bus as an bus monitor to get to school. One day a week, I drive. Today, the roads were closed between here and there, so I am sitting at home doing jobs that have been ignored (and some that just needed doing). I dug out our snowblower, and got it running to help clear the driveway. I like to shovel snow, but my drive is about thirty yards long, and the snow was heavy and wet. On days like this, I might have driven my Yukon to work, but Songbird, or oldest, borrowed it to move the rest of her things home on Tuesday, so I am left without a vehicle that could have made the drive. Over all, this really isn't a bad thing. Most of the teachers (including me) were just going to watch movies today.

Hopefully, I can get there tomorrow, weather permitting. For now, sign me, relaxed in RS. Stick.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Under Repair

By Stick

My body is in rebellion.
It¹s through no choice of mine.
If one more thing goes bad,
I think I¹ll lose my mind.
My back is not as strong
As it once used to be.
When I rise in the morning,
It complains with me.
My blood pressure has risen
So high that I should yell.
If it was a stock I owned
I would be yelling, ³Sell!²
My gall bladder says I must cut back
On rich and fatty food,
And my pancreatic system says
That sugar¹s bad and rude.
The acid in my stomach
Is boiling in reflux,
My eyes have begun to blur
--Was that a flock of ducks?
I guess I can¹t complain.
Others have got it worse.
Some are battling cancer,
Hitting deeply in their purse.
Just remember this one thing
When at the end of your rope.
My message is quite simple:
³Don¹t you give up hope!²

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Easy Italian Fritata

This is probably the easiest egg recipe I have found, and is very good.

Brown 1 lb. of sausage (I used a hot sausage that really went well with this, and wasn't too spicy for anyone)in a frying pan. While it is browning, add one medium, chopped onion, one chopped bell pepper (I used half of a red and half of a green), and 1 lb. of sliced, fresh mushrooms. Cook together untill the onions are translucent, and just starting to brown. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 pan. Put the sausage/vegetable mixture into the pan. I seasoned this mixture lightly with a Seasoned Salt. (Mine is actually a salt free Mrs. Dash) Crack and lightly beat 12-14 eggs. Pour the beaten eggs over the meat mixture, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean, and the eggs are set. Serve and enjoy. The only real work for this is chopping up vegetables, and browning everything. I topped mine the last few minutes with a handful of cheddar cheese. You can cut this recipe in half, and the cooking time drops to 15-20 minutes. The full recipe serves 10-12 as a side dish (pieces cut like cake), but fewer as the main.

Many Good Times Were had by All

Our church had a Christmas breakfast yesterday. They provided ham, sausage, and pancakes, and those who came brought their favorite egg dish, or breakfast side. I made an Italian Fritata that turned out pretty good. It was very easy to make. Recipe to follow. At 9, when it was to start, we only had 10 people there, but within 10 minutes, there were almost 100! (Mormon standard time)

Later, we went and did a little Christmas shopping, then went and watched the local Electric Light Christmas Parade, in a light drizzle of rain. All of the floats were decorated with lights and ornaments. It lasted a little over an hour, and we loved all of the floats. One came from the local Sports Bar. It was a stretch Station Wagon limo. It made it about 40 yards past our spot, and then died! :o) They had to quickly push it out of the line-up.

Finally, we hurried from there to the theater, where we watched Tangled. Really cute movie with fun 3D effects. I think my favorite scene is the chameleon giving him a wet willy to wake him up. :o)

All in all, it was a good day. I even got our basement put back together.

Enjoy the season, and remember the reason. Stick.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Remembering Christmas

I know I am jumping the gun on this a little, since Thanksgiving is this week, but, this is what was on my mind this morning. Christmas to me was (and is) a magical time of year. I can remember Christmases when I was 4 years old, and as a family we would drive out to look at Christmas lights. One area in particular went all out, and every year we looked forward to seeing all of the decorations.

My mother would paint a huge Christmas scene on our living room picture window, and I was always amazed as I watched it take shape. One year it would be Christmas ornaments, another year would be holly and the words "Merry Christmas!" Each scene to me was special.

Of course, the idea of presents and Santa Claus always thrilled me as well. I know I started trying to find presents my parents might have bought, so I could "preview" the upcoming celebration, but I only succeeded once, and then was let down when nobody in our family got that present that year. In later years, I asked my parents about that. I had seen a beautiful red fire engine hidden deep in a closet. It turned out to be a present hidden in our house by friends of the family for their kids. No Fair!

I also remember the year I decided to try to catch Santa in the act. I waited until the house was quiet, then I creeped out to our family room area where the tree was located. There, I hid behind our sectional couch, where a door opened towards the back of the curved part of the sectional. That's where I was when I awoke the next morning. The sly, old Elf had put me to sleep before he made his delivery.

I have tried to carry on many of these traditions in my family today. We carol every year to friends, as we take them Christmas goody plates. We decorate the entire house, inside and out (more inside than out lately). We go out and see the decorations, and enjoy the season.

In all of this, we do one more thing. We remember and honor the "Real" reason for the season. We thank our Father in Heaven for the gift His son gave to all of us. We remember Him. We thank Him. We honor Him.

Have a Merry Christmas this year. Stick.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awash in a Sea of Misery

So, we came from work and school Monday to find our basement flooded. I vacuumed water for two days until we could get a plumber to come and snake out our drain. He ran the snake out 75' and said he was pushing something from 60' on. Now, I just have to clean all the carpets, sanitize everything in the basement (I don't even like to think about what backed up out of the shower drain!), and do about 10 loads of laundry to wash everything that got wet. It never rains, but it pours ( or floods as the case may be).

Have a better (drier) day. Stick.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Relief, Retraction, Regret

The issue with my Professor has been resolved. It was based on a misunderstanding on my part. Originally, I wrote my projects using a chart from our text. Unfortunately, I read the numbers backwards, so received a lower grade than I had hoped for. The professor also told me that I was missing some information from my project. I had e-mailed the project in, and several of my graphs did not show up on his end. I immediately sent these by fax, and then set about re-working the projects. I discovered my error, and sent the two re-written projects back to the Professor. Five days later, I received one of the projects in the mail, with a higher grade, but a note that said the numbers were still backwards. This is what caused my confusion. What I did not understand at the time was that this paper was NOT one of my re-writes that he had graded, it was the original paper graded again with my faxed graphs included in the grade!

I just received my rewrite grades on Friday. Both projects are now exactly what he wanted, and received full points. I am relieved, because these two projects form the core of my final projects for both classes, and had to be correct for everything in the finals to be correct. Can so spell RELIEF?

Onward and upward. Stick.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mixed Signals

Recently, I wrote a couple of papers for my classes I am taking. The Doctor in charge of the classes returned them to me with several critiques, and asked me to rework the papers. As part of this, there were some facts and figures that he said I had backwards. I looked at them, and he was right. I reversed the numbers corrected the rest of the papers, and resubmitted.

I just got them back.

My grade was okay, but he says my numbers are still reversed! How!? He can't have it both ways. Either they were reversed originally, or they are reversed now. I am very confused. I will call him to find out what I am doing wrong, as these papers make the foundation for my final project in each class.

Sign me, confused in Wyoming. Stick.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Murder

They dragged him away
From his roots--his home,
And dropped him on
A huge slab of stone.

They topped off his head
With two quick cuts,
Then poked out his eyes
As they ripped out his guts.

With a poke in the nose,
And a few in the jaw,
They shoved a hot spark
Inside of his maw.

Now the fire glows
From inside of his head,
And poor Jack
Is dead, dead, dead.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bad Day

by Stick

It’s going to be a bad day.
I could tell it from the start.
I should have just gone back to bed,
But I wasn’t quite that smart.
It might have been the alarm going off
An hour before it should,
Or else it was the toast I ate
That tasted like burnt wood.

I hope that it gets better,
But I don’t have much hope.
I got ink on my hands,
And found we had no soap.
My grapefruit squirted right in my eye,
There were eggshells in my egg.
I knocked over my hot chocolate,
And it all ran down my leg.

There was something sticky in my left shoe.
The dog chewed up its mate.
I split my pants from stem to stern,
And dropped my bacon off my plate.
I stubbed my toe in the hallway,
Hit my head on the bathroom sink.
I pulled my white laundry from the dryer,
And found it all had turned bright pink.

I guess that I’ll get through it.
There’s nothing that can be done.
The morning’s quite half over,
Tho’ it hasn’t been real fun.
Now I have to hurry.
I’ve fallen way behind.
I’d stay a little longer,
But I’ve a briefcase I have to find.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Windy In Wyoming?

Not saying it's windy in Wyoming, but....
-The wind stopped for a minute, and five houses fell down.
-There is no such thing as a "Good Hair" day.
-The only people who don't complain about the wind are bald.
-You get ten miles per gallon better mileage when going East.

Now you give it a try! :o) Any posts that don't work will be deleted. I am the final judge.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pay Attention Now

Tonight was the start of our Parent/Teacher conferences. Because I have a Master's class that meets each Thursday night from 4 to about 6:30, I sent a letter to the parent's of each of my students informing them that I would only be available from 6:30 on for the rest of the night. After my class was over, I went to my School room to meet with whatever parents wanted to see me. I had ONE student who came during the time I had left. I went by the office, and found out I had had another student who came by before 6:30. They NEVER listen. I would have liked to speak with them. I want to work with them to help their child succeed, but work with me!

On a lighter note, when the conferences ended for the night, I walked out to my car to find 40-50 MPH winds with rain, sleet, and yes, SNOW! It didn't last long, but it did rain all the way home. It was one of those "Horizontal" rainstorms. With the wind it blew sideways probably three times as far as it fell vertically.

I go back tomorrow for three more hours. Want to bet on how many more parents I'll see?

Take care, and CARE. Stick.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is it time yet?

We made a trip to Ogden today to visit our oldest daughter, Songbird. We took her, along with her boyfriend, to lunch at Olive Garden. Delicious over all, but my wife had one dish that no one really liked. Lots of food, and we gave the leftovers to Songbird for her to put in her refrigerator. She should be able to eat for several meals on what we left. Afterwards, we went shopping and bought a nice new set of pans for our kitchen, and a new bedset for our room. The only problem, now we need to paint the bedroom. Can I take a nap?

Take care. Stick.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

St. George and the Dragon?

"It's a scorcher out today,"
The people all proclaim it,
So I'll just saty inside,
And let my AC tame it.

You could fry an egg outside
If you let it lay too long,
So I'll stay where it's cool
'Cause heat like that's just wrong.

The thermometer is rising.
It passed one-o-one right by.
My friends invite me out with them,
But my icy drink asks, "Why."

They tell me it's a dry heat,
But inside an oven's dry too.
It's so hot that ice cubes burn,
And can melt the soles right off your shoe.

So you can keep your blazing sun,
And your colorful desert views,
As long as I can stay inside
With a cooler that I can use.

Two Down, and Counting

I have FINALLY finished the first two projects for my classes. Even as I say that, I do still have to submit the second of those two. I spent three weeks working on the one still waiting to be submitted, and the Professor says that this is just a baby, warm-up assignment to the two that are coming, and that each assignment builds on the previous assignments. THEY ARE GOING TO GET HARDER! Word's of encouragement for sure. The problem has been that he keeps saying, "This information needs to be in this assignment, but we'll talk more about that next week." And then the next week he says the same thing! Frustrating. Ah, well, this too shall pass.

Hang in there. Stick.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gaining On It

For most of the last year I was working for a large Super store chain (W_ _ _ _ _ _).
One of the side benefits of this came from working many hours a day, and not having very much time to eat. I lost weight. Now, thanks to getting a full-time teaching job, I have been able to quit that position. Unfortunately, I have also started finding some of those lost pounds again. :O( I've started my campaign to stop this, I just hope it works). I don't want to end up right back where I was. Perhaps the stress of working on a Master's degree will help me lose some of it again. (Probably not, you eat more often when under stress).

Here's hoping to not get any larger. Stick.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Today we are going to Ft. Bridger to attend one of the biggest, and oldest Mountain man Rendezvous' in the United States. I have been to Rendezvous from Wyoming to Nevada, but have never been to this one. They say that there can be as many as 5000 lodges, and on any given day, upwards of 15,000 people attending. I am going as a "Flatlander". That is someone not dressed in period dress, and just coming to see the sights. I might even try to get someone to "teach" me how to throw a knife and tomahawk. :o) (For those who don't know me, I have been participating in competitions for over 20 years.) I am going to leave this post as a draft until I return later today, then I'll post my impressions. Until later. Stick
Well, after going to this Rendezvous, I can at least say I've been, but I probably won't go again without taking someone who hasn't been, but wants to go. There weren't 15,000 people there. There was 30,000, or more! (that number came from the gate people who were trying to keep count, and since it cost $4.00 a head for a flatlander to get in, they will know for sure.) It was just TOO big! Probably 300 traders, and more tin teepees (trailers and campers) and lodges (primitive teepees or tents) to count. We ate lunch there, and had to wait almost an hour just to get served. There were a lot of food vendors, but there were long lines at every place.
By the time we circled MOST of the traders, we were beat. I didn't even want to go find the knife and hawk area. We packed it in and went home. Give me the Spring Mountain Freetrappers, or the Anasazi Rendezvous' any day. I'm glad I saw it--once.

Deflated, but not defeated. Stick.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Road to Success

I have been very busy lately with preparations for school to start up. This week will end three straight weeks of trainings that I have gone through, and my second week of Master's classes. (Although I missed the first class of each of my three) :o) This is going to be a long road to finish, but will be good in the end.
My new school seems to be a very close-knit group, and I hope they let me fit in. I hoped to never have to commute this far to work and back again (42 miles), but here I am doing it. I hope I don't sound like I am complaining. I think I just need to write this here so I can see it in black and white to solidify what I have ahead of me. This too shall pass, the Lord willin', and if the river don't rise.

Hang in there. Stick.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday--the Final Frontier

Woke at 6:30 am. Got up and got ready, and went and cleaned the church. Supposed to be the H.P. quorum. Two of us showed up. Finished in under an hour, with one more volunteer showing 20 minutes before the end. Went to a back to school sale, then went garage saling. Fixed a lamp, did three loads of laundry, moved a bed, moved two TV's, moved a piano, helped clean the kitchen, and saw a movie.

Now need to write a talk and prepare a lesson for tomorrow. Can someone add a few more hours to the weekend?

Keep smiling. Stick.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Probed, Prodded, Squished and Squashed...but Okay

Recently my wife decided that she needed to have some check-ups done that she has been avoiding. This could be prompted in part by my mother's recent battle with cancer, but was definitely needed. She asked around town here, and everyone said go out of town to ave this done. Truthfully, they did tell her about one place in town, but after one phone call to them, she immediately decided to go elsewhere. That's another story. She asked a firend of hers for the name of the Doctor she goes to in SLC. With a phone call she found she could get an appointment the next day, so off she went.

Yesterday, they called to tell her their were some troublesome spots in her mammogram, and could she come in for a some follow-up diagnostic tests. SO off we went to SLC. Thankfully, after an hour of being squashed and probed, they discovered that the spots were only cysts, and she is fine. She doesn't have to do this again...until next year :o(.

Here's hoping all your parts are in the right place. Stick.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Self explanatory

By Stick

I woke up this morning early
And my head was a little stuffy
My nose was drip, drip, dripping,
And I really was quite snuffly.
I got up to blow my nose
In hopes of some relief
But no matter what I did
The results were very brief.
My drip, drip, dripping nose
Was determined not to stop
It was like a speeding car
Who ignored the traffic cop.
I know there is a cause for this,
I know there is a reason
I’m sure there is a flower out there
That is coming into season.
So while it blooms, I’ll suffer,
With a tissue in my hand,
But for now I’ll just wish
That that flower could be banned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation --part two

It has been a busy summer, and it is not over yet. My wife and I both taught summer school. She taught the 6th grade severe handicap class, and I taught 9th grade World geography. I also started a Master's degree program through the University of Wyoming. I need to log on and see what grade I got for my first class.:o) I will be teaching Special Education starting this fall, and I need the certification that this Master's degree will give me.

After school ended, we traveled a little, and then my boys and I went to Scout camp. We went to a camp in Idaho called Camp Bartlett. It is on the Idaho/Wyoming border near Montpelier. It was a very nice camp, set up alongside a beautiful little lake.

We have done several little projects over the summer, and I still have a couple to finish before we start school again in a week. I hope I get them all done. All in all, a great summer. The only thing that would have made it better would have been seeing more of our family. I missed all of the reunions this year.

Here's hoping you had a great summer too. Stick

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation. I got up...

Home again, Home again...oops off again!

We have been traveling quite a bit lately. From the time our summer school jobs ended, we have been gone out of town all but three days.

First we went to visit my parents, and various members of my family and kin who came while we were there. Then we went to visit one of my longest lifetime friends. It amazes us to see how much every one has changed and grown. Everyone except my great aunt, who never seems to change.

Yesterday, we went to Lagoon, taking with us my wife's brother and two of his kids, and her sister's son. I think everyone had fun, even though the rain moved in around six and drenched almost everyone. It stopped after a few minutes, and then only sprinkled occasionally the rest of the night. It was still fairly warm, so wasn't too bad. It had been a scorcher earlier, with high humidity, so the rain was a little relief from that. We got home at around 12:30 last night.

You would think that would be enough traveling, but no. Now, the boys and I have to pack today to leave in the morning to go to Scout camp. For the second year in a row, I (foolishly) :O)volunteered to go to camp as an adult chaperon. I have the time off, and no one else could go for the entire week. Not sure where we are even going. Somewhere in Idaho I think. We'll see how it goes before I decide if I'll do this again next year.

For now, I think I'll try to enjoy the few hours respite.

Take care, and have a great day! Stick.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rocky Ridge

Sitting in church on the Sunday following the 24th of July, and wrote this.

I paused to take a breath
As I pulled our humble cart.
I felt my legs both trembling,
Quite different than at the start.
The hill seemed never ending
That we had to surmount,
And the snow came down in layers
In inches too many to count.

My father lay in fever
Atop our worldly goods,
While my mother and my sister
Trudged alongside through the woods.
The last meal we had eaten
Was cold gruel and moldy bread,
But so far we had avoided
Being counted among the dead.

I once more started pulling
Stepping slowly to reach the top.
I felt that I could make five more
Before I had to stop.
But then, five had passed,
And five more beyond those,
I felt my burden lightened,
Though I could hardly feel my toes.

Each time that I looked forward
I'd think to myself in my mind,
"I can go only so much farther",
And then when I'd get there I'd find
That my feet seemed to carry me upward
In spite of my weakness and pain.
I felt my cart push ME onward
Maintaining our place in the train.

Then at last the peak was surmounted.
The ridge lay behind us to stay.
I fell to my knees in exhaustion,
And while there, I started to pray.
I thanked my Father in Heaven
For the succor that we did receive,
And asked him to bless all the others
Who had reason to grieve.

We felt that God must have sent angels
To help us to get to the top,
For without help from our Father,
I'm sure that I would have said stop.
But, we made it on into the haven
Where the rescuers awaited us all,
And in spite of all of our trials,
We're glad that we heeded the call.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A poem that I hope strikes chords:

I've got a little problem
That has been on my mind.
It really doesn't matter,
And I'm sure it'll be just fine.
But it keeps on nagging
At the edges of my brain,
And if I don't solve it,
I think I'll go insane.

It's just a little matter,
And I'm sure it'll be alright,
But it has kept me thinking
Through the day and through the night.
I spent one whole hour
Puzzling over this test of mine,
But I couldn't find the answer
In that entire time.

I'll have to let it go.
There's nothing else to do.
I'll have to be resolved
That my searching now is through.
I just don't know the answer,
And I'm sure that no one does.
You see I've got another problem,
I've forgotten what it was!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Decisions, Clarifications, and Other Miscellaneous Fluff

AFter much consideration, I decicded to apply for the Master's Degree program at the University of Wyoming. I feel that the benefits for this far outway the work invovled compared to the alternative.

I will also be able to ride the bus with the students to get to work. Just a side note here though. If I had decided to get an apartment in the town where I will be working, the school provides help. The town is so small, that there is very little housing there, so they have several houses kept just for school teachers, and they subsidize those as one of the perks for working in this school. The cost to me would have been minimal, or nothing.

We have also been working on house renovations. We have almost finished laying laminate flooring (Tacoma Oak) in our kitchen, living room, and hallway. We still have a little ways to go laying the floor, and then the trim work needed to finish it up. It is looking very nice, and we are looking forward to having it done.

Included in all of this remodel, is the repainting of trim work {and in some cases, the entire room--got the wrong can of paint for the touch-up work :o(}, and the replacment of some tile edges removed to make room for the new floor. We can't wait to be a construction free zone again.

We took our kids to a local amusement park (is 180 mile trip one way local?) on Friday. We spent the entire day there, and got home VERY tired at 1:30 am. We all had fun, the kids more so I think.

Yesterday, I spent part of the day cooking pulled pork roasts for an outing for our older men's church group, and their families. (High Priests Social) It turned out really well, and we had a good turnout. We had the dinner at a little park located about 10 miles out of town in a little subdivision. Very pretty little park. If any of you have seen pictures of my 2nd and 3rd daughters posted on their facebook, they took pictures at this park. It must be a popular place for pictures, because there was a wedding party there taking pictures when we got there. Great time, great place, good food, and good company. What more can you ask?

Hope all is well with you. Stick

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Patience for the Job

I have been looking for a new full-time teaching position for about a year now. After seeing how many Special Education jobs were open, and nothing else, and after a lot of prayer, I decided to apply for those jobs with the understanding that I would have to go back to school and certify in order to teach. I GOT THE JOB!

I will be teaching 6th through 12th grade Resource at a school in our district. We don't have to move, but I do have to commute about 40 miles. I have been told that I can ride the school bus up and back each day, but have not confirmed that yet. If I cannot ride the bus (will it be a SHORT bus?), I will look into an apartment there, and will come home weekends. I really don't want to do that, but the cost of driving 80+ miles a day would take away the benefit of the better paying job.

I am also currently enrolling at the state University here to take online courses to complete the certification that I need for this position. I have two choices here as well, and I am seeking advice. I can either take 30 credit hours and just certify, or I can take 36-39 credit hours and get a Masters. The pay difference is minimal, but the workload might be higher to be able to finish in the three years I have to certify. As it is, it will be 6 hours a semester to certify, or 7-9 hours a semester for the masters. I think I can finish the Masters later.

Any Thoughts? Stick.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Renovation Station

While I was at work Saturday, my wife had our boys start to rip the tile off of our dining room floor. We have been intending to do this, so that we can replace it with laminate floor. I didn't know they were going to start it, and would have waited. We are hosting some youth this Thursday night for our Stake Youth Conference. Now we are trying to finish the floor before them. Lots of work in a short amount of time. Wish us luck.

Take Care. Stick.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Diner

The chime at the door lightly rang as the old man entered in.
He strode on across the floor, and took a seat amidst the din.
He sat alone at the table there. The other diners did not know
Who this silent stranger was, so conversation began to flow.
“How’s your son?”, they asked, and, “What’s happening in your life?”
“What are you doing now?”, and, “I haven’t seen your wife.”
Then, in came a raucous crew full of vinegar and vim.
They spied the old man sitting there, and thought to have fun with him.
They thought themselves invincible in the power of their youth.
The idea of respect and manners had not touched them with its truth.
They bounced up to the table, and with a wicked grin,
The largest of their number sat down across from him.
“Make way old man! Give way! There’s more of us than you.
Even though you’ve barely touched your food, I can tell you’re through.
So saying, he reached right across to take the old man’s plate,
But that’s when things took a twist in the young giant’s fate.
The old man hardly moved at all as he grabbed his taunter’s arm.
“Son you don’t want to do that. I don’t want to cause you harm.”
He smiled as he continued, and his grip began to increase.
“You see I’m really quite hungry, and not finished in the least.
The youth was now confused, and in not a little pain.
He tried to retrieve his arm, but his efforts were in vain.
The old man’s sinews and muscles stood out in broad relief.
Hardened by years of farming chores, he said, “I’ll be brief.
Now son, you thought to bully me, a man unknown to you.”
He tightened up his grip once more as he took a moment to chew.
“You hadn’t thought what I could do If I took a mind to react.
You chose to try and intimidate, rather than try another tact.”
By now the lad wasn’t sure if he’d ever use his arm again.
He was sliding from seat to knees, breathless in his pain.
The old man continued eating ‘til his plate was wiped quite clean,
Then he let loose the boy, and gave him a look both bright and keen.
“I want to thank you son for keeping me company while I ate.
Now, I better be on my way, my wife hates it when I’m late.
From now on boy I expect that you’ll say, ‘Yes ma’am’, and ‘Yes sir’.
That you’ll give respect to those around, and your friends will all concur.
The next man you try to hassle may not be as nice as me.”
Then reaching down with that mighty hand, he lifted the boy off his knee.
He stood him up, and brushed him off, and chucked him lightly under the chin.
“Now be a good boy, or I’ll be back.”, then he spun away with a grin.
He paid his bill, and thanked the cook for the wonderful meal he’d had,
Then turned once more before he left saying, “Boy, don’t you feel bad.
There are men in this world of ours who’ve done just like you’ve done
Without a thought for the other man, or the battles that HE’S won.
Respect is earned when respect is given. From good manners we reap the same.
You can hold your head up high, and folks will praise your name.
A simple ‘Thank you’, and a ‘Please’ can go a long, long ways.
It might just save your life, and lengthen out your days.”
Then the old man turned and left. The boys just stood and stared.
Not one of them said a word. None of them even dared.
So learn this lesson in your youth. Be kind to those around.
For you never know who you’ll meet, when you try to put somebody down.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Snakes, toads, turtles, and other assorted collections

I recently had the occasion to think about some of our childhood collections. I recall bringing home a bucket full of Western Ring-necked snakes, a box full of frogs and toads, and bike baskets filled with box turtles. Mom made us return the snakes to the kind lady who let us gather them from her root cellar. The turtles, frogs, and toads all got turned loose in our big back yard from which they would occasionally emerge to be found again (sometimes, unfortunately, by the lawnmower--ewww).

We collected rocks, arrowheads (before it was illegal), stamps, and coins. We had friends who collected toy frogs, teddy bears, anything strawberry, geese, cows, and owls. We collected knives and swords, UFO memorabilia, seashells, and in our mother's case fabric for quilts. Grandma collected EVERYTHING else. Buttons, pins, shoes, clothes, old magazines, toys. It seemed like nothing was beyond the realm of possibility when looking around her house.

Today, I don't see that same fervor to collect. Is it the nature of our society now? We do tend towards the disposable, and the immediate. Maybe things don't last long enough to be collected, or perhaps we are more concerned with the instant, not the enduring. I think I would like to see us return to that time of saving things for the future. Something to show for our time here.

I wonder where I can find a few turtles?.....

Take care. Stick.

This is it

I thought I should blog today. I started to comment on the state of society and our country. It was too depressing. I thought about writing on work ethics--too boring. Perhaps I could have talked about our school system and what I perceive as the shortcomings therein--too preachy. So, sorry to say, I couldn't think of one thing to focus on. This is it.

Have a great day! Stick.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I have been thinking lately about manners and morals. In the classroom I subbed in this morning, they had a poster "All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten", by Robert Fulghum. I post it here in its entirety for your perusal.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:

* Share everything.
* Play fair.
* Don't hit people.
* Put things back where you found them.
* Clean up your own mess.
* Don't take things that aren't yours.
* Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
* Wash your hands before you eat.
* Flush.
* Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
* Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
* Take a nap every afternoon.
* When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
* Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
* Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
* And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

I also work at a major retail store in the evenings. My specific job includes helping customers in the toy and sporting goods section, and in keeping those areas neat and clean. My main difficulty in doing this comes from people who never learned those Kindergarten lessons, or for that matter, ANY lessons in basic manners. These people think that our section of the store is a babysitting service for them while they shop. One mother brought her three kids into the toy aisles saying, "Have fun, I'm going to go shop. I'll be back in a while." She left, and leaving left her three kids ages six and down, alone in the toys. They proceeded to destroy two hours worth of work by playing with, or just throwing on the floor, toys from every aisle there. Now lest you think only young kids do this, perhaps I should just mention the parents.

Many of these upstanding citizens, who probably consider themselves to be decent, upstanding people, feel no qualms about throwing something that they have decided not to buy on the nearest shelf, regardless of what it is, or where they are in the store. I have found melted ice cream, spoiled meat, gallons of warm milk, fresh vegetables, and many more thrown to the back of the shelves in random areas of the store. Then there are those who in spite of our low prices, think they cannot afford to pay for what they want, so we find empty packages also thrown to the back of those shelves. Some of these items only cost a dollar, or two. We have caught people trying to steal a five dollar item when their basket is filled with three hundred dollars of items they have already paid for.

I'll stop my rant, for now anyway. We need to teach more Kindergarten lessons, and more people need to learn them well.

Keep smiling. Stick.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For All the Pyromaniacs Out There

I watched a Mythbusters episode six times today. It included a section on a cannon made out of a log. In the episode, they made their own gun powder. For those of you who want to do this as well, here is the formula.

By volume, not weight, mix together:

75% Potassium nitrate, 15% Charcoal, 10% Sulphur
add enough water to make a paste, and mix well. Let the mixture air dry. Using a non-conductive mortar and pestil (made of brass, or hardwood for example), grind the dryed paste into a powder. Finer grains are better for some applications. For a cannon, larger chunks (possibly as big as the first joint on your finger) are fine. Store in a non-conductive media, preferrably somewhere outside your house. :o)

Please don't play around with this mixture. This stuff is volatile! A single spark can turn this from powder to explosion! However, that said, in the right hands this is a way to create a means to power a muzzleloading rifle, and obtain food.

I don't feel bad posting this, since most people could find this on the internet as easily as I did if they wished. I also researched how to make Potassium Nitrate and charcoal if anyone is interested. Finding the sulpur could be a little more difficult. :o)

Have a nice day, and work responsibly. Stick.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I started walking as a babe
A year just barely gone,
And have hardly stopped at all since then
With troops, or all alone.

I hiked a thousand miles
Just to see this land of ours.
I meandered through a thousand more
While whiling away the hours.

I paced the floor for hundreds more
As I was a-waitin’
Sometimes for the birth of kids,
Or else when they were a-datin’.

I’ve slogged through mud and snow
When I’d rather sit and rest,
And I’ve splashed my way down river beds
When on a private quest.

I’ve spent whole summers trekkin’
High in the mountaintops,
And have trudged along down city streets
Passing cars and traffic cops.

Yes, I have walked for miles and miles,
And I’ve run a step or two.
Now, having walked all that way
I would like to think I’m through.

I wish that I could skip this drudge,
It only makes me tired.
It brings me down to places
Where I only end up mired.

But though I trot out all my reasons,
For why I should be done,
None of them have set me free
From my pacing ‘neath the sun.

So I’ll continue my measured tread
Down street, or rocky way
Until I walk that last great path
Upon the judgement day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have been subbing for a variety of classes lately, everything from construction techniques to U.S. History. It amazes me what teachers expect (or should I say, don't expect) from a sub. I have watched more movies than I can count. I even talked to one teacher ahead of time, and told him that I was certified in Social Sciences/History, and he said he would make lesson plans where I could actually teach. He still had me show a video for two days, but he allowed me to comment on it as it played. :o( Students and aides in the classes that I sub for tell me that I do a better job than the teacher I am subbing for (not bragging here, just commenting). That is a sad commentary on how complacent some teachers get as they teach day after day. I hope I never get there.

Keep smiling. Have a great day! Stick.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We have been married for twenty-three years. We celebrated this weekend by going to SLC and spending two days. We ate too much, spent too much, slept too much, and in general had a great time! We cannot believe that 23 years have gone by. We just met a year, or two ago at school. We look at others we know, and are thankful for each other. Many are not even married anymore, and others wish they weren't. We have been very happy for our 23, and look forward to many more to come. To my wife--I love you, and I'm thankful you chose me! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
I have discovered a Black Hole. It exists right here in our High School. I can make assignment sheets for every student in a class, and give them each one. I even make extras. Within 24 hours, those assignment sheets have disappeared, including the memory of them in every students mind. I can give review sheets for tests, which include all the questions and answers necessary for them to pass the test with ease. Within 24 hours, the sheets are gone, and so are the answers and any memory of them in many of the students.

I had a student sit and goof off while we reviewed for the test. I told the students MANY times that if they studied the review sheet, they would do well on the test. MANY. TIMES. The test contained the EXACT questions from the review sheet, and I gave them the answers when we reviewed. The EXACT ANSWER! This student scored well below the passing score, and had the gall to ask if he could retake the test, because--ready for this--he didn't study. Students who didn't read the book all the way through; students who didn't study, but listened in class to the review both passed this test. Some had an almost perfect score. I think for those that didn't pass, the block hole drained the answers away. Now if we could only get it to work on those ozone depleting CFC's and the liberal press.

Take care. Watch out for those Black Holes. Stick.

Spring In Wyoming

The first official day of spring has come and gone. Wyoming is still confused about this season. Within in the two weeks following the first day of spring, it snowed more than it had all winter, and temperatures dropped down to single digits. Yesterday, it was warm and sunny, and today started out that way. This afternoon, the clouds rolled in with wind, and it has started to cool off again. Last year, we had six inches of snow on June sixth. I guess we just take each good day as it comes. (on a side note, we did see the sure SIGN that spring is really here--ROAD CONSTRUCTION AHEAD.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Memory

Thinking about my last post, I thought of so many other things that we loved to do when visiting our grandparents. Others have commented about a horse my grandfather used to own. We called him "Old Tony". He had been born to one of grandpa's other horses, and he was what grandpa called a "jughead". In horseman's terms that means the horse won't amount to much, and won't learn well. Grandpa wanted to put him down, but according to Lonehawk, our uncle, he talked his dad out of doing this.

That horse was trained, and turned out to be one of the best horses grandpa ever owned. He used to amaze people with the things he could do on voice command. He was part quarter horse, and part Morgan (I think), which meant that he was a very big horse. He stood over 17 hands (well over 6 feet), and would often be seen carrying 3 or 4 kids at once. He could climb into, and out of, a pickup without any loading ramp. When loaded with a deer, he could be told to go home, and he would take the deer back to the house without any rider.

We would often go to the field where grandpa grazed him, and call him to us for an impromptu bareback ride. He was in many parades, and even raced a couple of times in the holiday horse races.

He wasn't the only horse that I loved to ride though. My uncle Karl owned what was probably my favorite horse. It was a cream colored palamino looking horse called Flint. The summer I rode him the most, I was 16. I was tanned as brown as any Indian, and my hair was sun-bleached to almost blond. I would put on my moccasins, and a bandanna headband, and would ride all over town. I thought I was very cool. Probably not. Please let me keep my delusions though. :o)

Make some memories. Stick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Walking the Fence

Growing up, we used to love to go visit family in Southern Utah. There were people to see, horses to ride, rivers to swim and fish in, mountains and hills to walk and climb on, and many other things to do. Today, our children (nieces, nephews, etc.) will complain sometimes about nothing to do when we visit there. Have they lost the ability and imagination that we had, or is there really less to do than when we visited as youth.

One of my favorite things to do was walking Uncle Karl’s fence. It was like a right-of-passage to walk the entire length of his fence-line. You started with the white, log fence up near the house. It was the widest, but some of the logs could be loose and roll when you walked them. Then came the slat fence. It had board nailed flat on the inside that you walked on. This was easier to walk, but it swayed a little, so you still had to be careful. Then came the tall board fence where you had to walk the skinny side of the 2x4 nailed to the back. Finally came the barbed wire fence. This had a smaller log that ran on the inside that you walked on. I learned the hard way what could happen if you fell forward across the barbed wire on this fence. In spite of that, I remember the sense of accomplishment in walking the entire length.

We spent hours hiking in the hills, looking for arrowheads (before it was illegal), pine nuts, animals, or whatever we happened across. We hiked just to explore. We built forts and hide-aways, climbed mountains, and in general enjoyed being kids. If it was hot, we invariably ended up either in the irrigation ditch, or the river, and it didn’t matter if we had swimsuits, or not, usually we just went in clothes and all. The boys tended to fish more as we got older, but even that sometimes took a back seat to other activities.

Granted, today when we all gather, we like to sit and talk--probably not the most entertaining activity for younger kids. Maybe if we were more exciting, the kids wouldn’t complain as much. Tough. Make your own fun. We did.

Walk your own fence. Stick.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Something New Has Been Added

My second daughter, R, decided that she needed a car for when she goes to college next fall. She has been working this school year and saving her money. So......

She just bought a 2007 Dodge Caliber. It is a cute little front wheel drive SUV. It has four doors, and will seat Five (four comfortably), with a decent sized cargo area in back. It is supposed to get 30 MPG highway. It has a nice stereo that she can plug her MP3 directly into, and handles well. I will TRY to post a picture of what it looks like. :o)

I hope that she is happy with it, and that it gives her many years of service. I also hope she is able to continue making the payments, for my credit score sake. :o)

Hang in there. Drive safe. Stick.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where's My Spell and Grammar Check Button?

I have just started a long term subbing position at our High School. This position entails teaching freshman and junior Language classes. The teacher just went on leave to have a baby (which was born yesterday morning at 7:45 am. Mother and child are doing fine). She ladi out 8 weeks of lessons that she wants me to cover--no problem. She wants to check in periodically during her time off to see how things are going--no problem. I have to grade all the papers and work turned in while she is gone--PROBLEM! I hate grading English papers!

My wife teaches reading, writing, and math at the 6th grade level. She uses a computer program that tells the students what they have done wrong on their paper. It counts up spelling and grammar errors, and suggests changes that could be made. The students have the choice to leave their story as written, or make the changes. When they are done, the teacher can hit a submit button, and this porgram will check it for errors, and cross check it for plagiarism. All the teacher has to do is read through the error sheet and assign a grade. Unfortunately, I don't have access to that program for the High School.

Guess I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way.

Wish me luck. Have a great day. Stick.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pink, Heart-Shaped Pancakes

One of my favorite memories of growing up was my mom's pancakes. We didn't often have time for this kind of breakfast, but occasionally, and on special holidays, she would make a big breakfast for us, including pancakes. On those days, she would sometimes make different shapes of pancake. Trains, hearts, shamrocks, etc. depending on the day or occasion, or on our creative suggestions. Turtles and rabbits sprang to life on the griddle, all to be consumed with butter and jam, or syrup (usually made from brown sugar and water, rarely store bought).

I have taken this tradition forward into my family. Valentines day sees us eating pink heart-shaped pancakes. St. Patrick's day gets green shamrocks. Easter finds us eating egg, or bunny, shaped pancakes, and at Christmas we are consuming ornaments and stockings. I have even learned how to make a smily face pancake. See me for the secret. :o)

I hope that this tradition carries on to my children and grandchildren(Just not too soon!). I would hate to think that somewhere down the line, one of our prodgeny missed the opportunity to eat a pink, heart-shaped valentine pancake. Think of the memories they would miss out on.

Take care. Share. Stick.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Un-Spoken Word

Our oldest daughter inspired this poem. I'm not sure I like the ending yet, but here it is.

I should have said, “I love you,”
But I kept the words inside.
I should have said, “Good job,”
But I can’t say that I tried.
So many words unspoken
Too many non-replies
A simple “thank you” would have been fine,
And such a nice surprise.

How often have we passed
Without a single word,
When a thought, or two, of praise
Would not have seemed absurd.
Too many times we’ve chosen
To let the world pass us by
When we could become a part of it,
Instead of asking why?

Why do we let our friends and kin
Go on throughout each day,
Without telling them, “I love you,”
As if that’s so difficult to say.
There will come a time
When they won’t be around,
And then we’ll wish we’d said it twice,
If only for the sound.

Don’t let the moment slip on by,
Make every moment count.
You’ll increase the joy you have
By such a great amount.
Don’t wait another hour.
Don’t wait another day.
Let those around know how you feel,
It’s the greatest type of pay.

Take care. Stick.


You'll probably neve guess what inspired this one.

I lie awake and stare at the wall across the room.
I wonder what I’ve done to bring on this kind of doom.

My partner lies beside me, snoring away in solemn bliss.
Their sleep is yet untroubled as if nothing is amiss.

The minutes and the hours slip away into the night,
But my mind seems to think that something isn’t right.

I tried a glass of milk warmed gently for my cup.
I read a book, took a walk, and propped my head right up.

I counted all the sheep ever raised in county Glen,
And still could not drop off to sleep, so I took up my pen.

I thought that I could use the time to write to all my kin,
But found that my sleep-fogged brain had not a thought within.

And still I lay un-sleeping, while those around me are at rest.
If Morpheus would take me, I’d sleep right with the best.

The clock upon the wall takes no note of my distress,
And has slowed its working movement to half-rate--maybe less.

My tired eyes are burning, and I wish that they would close,
So that I could end my yearning, and slip into a calm repose.

The ticking of the clock on the wall beside my bed
Echoes like a tympani booming round inside my head.

One o’ clock, two o’ clock, then three slips slowly by.
I think if I see four, I’ll just break down and cry.

Then, suddenly it’s morning, and the bell is calling.
I think that this is by far the most appalling thing.

Have a great night. Stick.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A-Muse A-Miss

After my last post, I was thinking about Muses. What if they existed, and somebody DIDN'T have one, and still tried to write. That inspired this poem.

I tried to write a poem,
But the words just wouldn't come.
I know it sounds quite silly,
And even a little--stupid.

It seems no matter how I try
To make the lines all rhyme,
That they don't work out as they should,
Perhaps they will in--a while.

I had so many topics
To choose on which to write,
That I was sure my poem would flow,
And all in a single--evening.

I could write about love,
Or perhaps joy, or desire--
For these emotions burn within,
Like the embers of a--blaze.

Or maybe my poem should plumb the depths
Of anguish, or of pain,
But all these thoughts were washed away
Like dust in a summer--storm.

I think I wasn't meant to be
A poet, or a Bard.
Who would have thought that writing thus,
Would turn out to be so--difficult.

Have a great day. Stick

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Poetic Muse has Been Waxing Again

I don't know why, but my poetic musings seem to run in spurts. Sometimes it just seems that I want to write something, and then, for a while, I don't write anything. When I am in the poetic frame of mind, I can be very prolific. I'm not saying it's always earthshattering stuff, but at least I'm writing.

The last couple of weeks has been like that. I have not only written a couple of new poems, but I have been finishing a few that had been just sitting in my notebook. I recently posted one of these on the blog here, and I think I will post another. This one came from an inspiration given my my youngest son--Lightning.

Wind Wisdom
By Stick

I woke up this morning to a howlin¹
Round the eaves of my old shack.
It rocked the doors and windows
So I thought of an attack.

I could feel a breeze a creepin¹
Round the cracks and seams,
And hear the willows slappin¹
'Gainst the water in the stream.

Now I knew that the wind here
Could work up quite a blow,
And it could get quite bitter
If it took a mind to snow.

So, I slipped my tired old feet
Into each battered boot,
Then I paused before the door
To plan my working route.

I buttoned my old coat
Right to the very top.
I opened up the door,
And then I had to stop.

It wasn¹t that I didn¹t
Want to continue on outside,
But it took all my strength
To push the door open wide.

Once I got the door opened
Past the halfway mark,
It ripped itself out of my hands,
And flew off towards the park.

It was all that I could do
To keep standin¹ in the gap,
And I looked out in awe and wonder
As I held onto my cap.

I didn¹t have to guess
If the cow was in the shed,
For she went sailin¹ by
Hooves and tail up over head.

The shed was right behind her
Along with all the hay,
And where it ended up,
I just couldn¹t say.

Leaves, twigs, and sundry
Were all flyin¹ in the gale
Causin¹ such confusion and destruction
That a weaker man would quail.

I saw no sense in checkin¹
If my flocks were in the coop,
'Cause it was on its way to town
With all my little troop.

The trees up on the hillside,
Were all blown down and lyin¹ flat
And with a final glance around,
I sat down and took off my hat.

I braced the table in the frame
From where the door had fled,
Then I kicked off my boots,
And climbed back into my bed.

I said to myself, ³Don¹t worry
³Bout the cow, and coop, and shed.
The wind¹ll blow again tomorrow,
And you¹ll have yer neighbors stock instead.²

Have a Great Day. Stick.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Demolition Two-fer

The other night, our third daughter, A, needed to go to the store to pick up some items for her upcoming trips. She is in basketball, and has been nominated to go to State Choir. She wanted to take our Yukon to the store, so I gave her the keys. Two minutes later, they were back in the house crying. "I hit the van." Great. We quickly went outside, and the first thing I did was look at the Yukon. No damage. Then I looked at the van. The front left fender and driver's door were all dented in. Then they told me she hit it with my truck. What? She was driving the Yukon. It seems that the truck was parked behind the Yukon, and she was quickly moving it so they could leave. The back right tail light--gone. Tailgate dented so it won't open.

Luckily, a two pound hammer, a crowbar, and some tape (colored and clear) got both vehicles up and running again. It's not pretty, but it was cheaper than a body shop. We hope she learned something.

Keep on keeping on. Stick.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Greetings from the Frozen North

We have had a cold snap here the last few days. There is nothing unusual about that at this time of year, but it has been cold. We have had temps down to -19 below zero, and wind chills much colder. The reason I mention this is that the other problem with this has been our furnace. Generally, it works fine, but lately, especially in the middle of the night, it will shut off, and not start up again. I have awoken the last two, or three nights, in a row to a house that is at 60 degrees or lower. So far, we have been able to restart the furnace simply by turning it off and on again, but last night that took several attempts. I finally went back to bed, and the furnace came on a while later and warmed the house up. I think we have a faulty thermostat, but I'm not sure. I may have to break down and call a repairman. Maybe we'll just tough it out for the winter, and fix it for next winter. :o)

Stay warm, be safe. Stick.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thunder and LIghtning

Today, I have five teenagers, and a 20 year old college student. Five. Teenagers. Today is the birthday of my twin boys "Thunder" and "Lightning". They have been compared to the two weasels on "Ice Age: The Meltdown", Crash and Eddie. I always say that if these two survive each other, they will be ready for the UFC. Lightning got his name because he did everything first: crawl, walk, talk. Thunder got his name because when he learned to crawl, and later to walk, he did it like he was trying to pound his hands and feet through the floor.

When they were young, they would tag team destruction. One would hold the chair, and the other would climb to whatever they wanted. They would get out of bed in the night, while everyone was asleep, and get into the refrigerator. They would then proceed to break every egg available onto the floor, and open every stick of butter. For a while, we had to latch the fridge to keep them out, and food in.

Their greatest delight is to tease their sisters. Thunder considers himself a comedian (except he isn't that funny). :o) Lightining plays the trumpet, and enjoys being in the band. Both of them enjoy camping, and playing video games. My wife always said that if we had had twins first, we would not have had any more, so it's just as well they are the youngest.

Here's hoping thirteen is not an unlucky number for them.