Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Morro Bay Day 1

I've been off the blogosphere grid for several days. I did schedule a few posts in advance, but I haven't had any Internet access at all until yesterday.  We've been gone since early last Friday. We (me, buymebarbies, her sis, and bro in law) hit the road at 5:00 A.M. and headed up the coast. We stopped at Pismo Beach for breakfast (much too foggy for any photos). We then headed for Morro Bay where we stayed for three days. In case you've never heard of it, Morro Bay is a small fishing town that just happens to have a gigantic rock in its small harbor.

By the time we got to Morro Bay, the fog was burning off a bit, but it was still very overcast. Those of you who take a lot of photos know that bad light means poor pics. This one is no exception. The Morro "rock" is actually what is left of an ancient volcano.  The colors stand out a lot better in sunlight.  Once you get there you can:

Rent colorful kayaks and paddle around the little harbor.

Walk around the obligatory tourist shops (and buy a fresh baked dog bone for your mutt).

Check out the local fishing fleet.

Hold your breath as you walk by abandoned sail boats.

Check out the local Coast Guard Station

Hang ten

But above all...
You'd better beware of the giant seagulls....


Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Can't Afford to Ever Have a Yard Sale

In our area, local real estate agents occasionally organize neighborhood garage and yard sales. There is one of them taking place on our street this weekend. I won't be taking part...

The first and last time I held a yard sale, I had all my worthless junk "gently used" items arranged in my driveway, in front of my open garage. I threw the crap on the ground went to a lot of trouble sorting it all out and marking prices.

I had no idea what I was doing was relatively new at this and a few things became very clear to me.

1. People will steal things when you're not looking.
2. People don't want to pay a penny they don't have to.
3. People are more interested in what's NOT for sale.

I sold very little of the yard sale items.  What I didn't sell, I gave to Goodwill.  I did however, pretty much empty out my garage.

I sold:
An old poker table that a friend left at my house, for $20. A little new felt and it was probably worth $50. I should have gotten at least $30.

A non-working 25" television set for $5. I learned later that most of them can be "fixed" for less than $20, if you know what you are doing. I should have gotten at least $25 for it.

An old tandem surfboard for $20. I found out later that they were rare and I should have gotten at least $100 for one that old.

Sold all my old scuba gear (that I thought I'd never use again) for $100. I saw what I think was the whole set-up in the next week's PennySaver for $200.

Sold a bunch of rusty old worthless Craftsman tools for practically nothing. I found out later that you can take ANY old Craftsman tool back to Sears and they will replace it with a brand new one for no charge.

Last but not least, I sold my old crusty and rusty old bike for 5 dollars. I forgot that I had an "emergency" 20 dollar bill hidden under the seat. So, I actually ended up paying the guy 15 dollars to take it!
The obvious label choices for this post are many...

Blockhead, dolt, donkey, dope, dunce, fool, imbecile, nitwit, numbskull, simpleton, twit, addlebrain, blunderer, bonehead, botcher, bumbler, butcher, clod, clumsy oaf, duffer, dunce, featherbrain, fool, foul-up, fumbler, goof off, goofball, harebrain, idiot, ignoramus, incompetent, klutz, mismanager, muddler, muffer, screw up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sequoia 02

importing yet again

Yeah, we were a little bit crazy climbing out onto that rock. It wasn't very slippery, but there was nowhere soft to land.  We were on an established high country trail, but we couldn't see it because of the snow.  We also hadn't seen another human in quite a while. I was just a tiny bit worried.  It wasn't supposed to snow at all and we really didn't have the gear for it.

I entered this photo in a contest and I must admit, I was a little surprised when it didn't win. I'd love to find Christmas cards with this on it.  If  you enlarge it, the frozen fog and trees in the background are pretty amazing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day of School

A few of the blogs I follow have had recent posts relating to the first day of school this year for their children.  As many of you are well aware, I don't have many fond memories relating to my own childhood.

The first day of a new school year is no exception.

I was 7 in this photo. It's the only photo of me that exists between the ages of 3 and 11.

On the first day of school at our house, there was no fanfare, no nice new clothes, no hearty breakfast, and no fancy packed lunch with a note inside.

My mom usually sent us on our way with a threat "you better get your ass out of this house! If you're late on the first day, there's gonna be hell to pay when you get home!"  Of course she could only threaten us, if she was actually there to say it.  On more than one occasion, she wasn't. First day of school and mom is missing in action.

So I'd leave the house with my county welfare supplied "lunch ticket" safely tucked into my "new" jeans.  They weren't usually exactly new, but they were new to me. They usually came from the thrift store, or from some generous local family.  Of course these jeans, "had better last all year," so my mom sewed double patches into the inside of the knees. 

I know most kids have a lot of questions and what-ifs before the first day. My "what-ifs" were usually a little bit different than most kids. Mine consisted of things like "what if someone makes fun of my clothes?" "What if someone comments on my "welfare lunch?" "What if someone makes fun of how poor my family is?" "What if someone calls me white trash?"

It wasn't really a matter of "what if," it was a matter of who and when.  My quandary was usually related to whether I would try to kick their ass during school, after school, or wait until I saw them away from school?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sequoia National Park 01

importing from defunct photography blog

enlarge for best viewing
There wasn't supposed to be any snow when we got here, but there was an unexpected snow storm in the middle of the night. I was so happy to see that no one had touched the snow on top of this fence. Whoever came next wouldn't be so lucky, because I took a big bite out of the snow on the top rail...

This would have been a choice photo if the junk in the lower right hand corner wasn't there.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I'm sure this subject has just about been beaten to death on various blogs.

I love Costco!
There I've said it...

  • I've gone to Costco several times for no other reason, besides eating for free.
  • I've totally gotten over my shyness about "repeat" sampling.
  • Sometimes I take more than one at a time.
  • The best time to go is about 3:00 P.M. on a weekday.
  • If I can't get full on samples, a polish sausage and a "bottomless" drink for $1.50 can take care of the rest.
  • I've entered famished and left needing nothing but a nap.

I live in the only zip code in the United States that has more than one Costco. We live between them. It's about 5 minutes in either direction.

You know what? I'm going today! I sure hope they are giving out samples of all the different flavored sausages.

Is it just me?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Say No

Just another rant...

Our free time is getting shorter and shorter
So why do many folks still think it's a perk
When their boss gives them a PDA
Or a Blackberry
Or worse, a laptop
They just gave you the ability to
Check your messages at home
And to answer them
Take a company laptop home
And you start working without pay
Unless your boss also gave you a raise
I thought not
So when your boss or company offers you
A phone, PDA, or a laptop
They want to use and abuse you
Just say no...

Or is it just me?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Texting is Evil

This is not a poem, I'm venting...

Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter  
I believe cell phones are one of the primary causes
"Back in the day," you had to find a phone to call someone
Or you spoke to them in person
Now a phone is always as close as purse or pocket
Even the phone "call" is becoming passe
It's being replaced by "texting"
When will we stop calling them "phones?"
Texting has already turned email into the new "snail mail"
Texting while watching a movie?
Don't even get me started on this disgrace
Manners are dead
Must people have access to each other during every waking moment?
They fire messages back and forth at high speed
Where is the thought process in that?
The car in front of you is going under the speed limit
When you pass, you see that they are busy texting
Don't you want to smash your car into them?
Or lay on your horn?
Or force them off the road
To punch them in the ear
Yesterday, this happened to us, the idiot just happened to be
A highway patrolman
I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to capture it
I think he saw me and lowered his phone. 
Hypocritical Bastard...

Or is it just me?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach is on the central California coastline.  There aren't any other cliffs this white on the entire west coast. Some people say they are reminded of cliffs they've seen on the Mediterranean. Pismo isn't known at all for these cliffs, in fact most tourists never see them. The main tourist area at Pismo starts about a mile south of here; a pier, sand dunes, a world class beach, camping, and a clam digger's heaven. 

enlarge for best viewing

still importing from photography blog

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tay At Five

A pensive Tay at Seaport Village in San Diego

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sometimes I Can Hide Behind My Hands

To retain my sanity
To be this lonely
Face to face
Eye to eye
With my feelings
I surround myself with
Too busy to think
I surround myself with
Too busy to feel
I surround myself with
Safe and secure
Within my blanket
Of chaos
I’m naked without it
Sometimes I can hide behind my hands

Thanks to my good friend Melanie Gottlieb for the original art work.
This poem does not relate to my current life at all, umkay?


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tay 003

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma, San Diego.  My granddaughter at the grave of my wife's dad. She's not as upset as she looks.  We were kind of upset though! This is a National Cemetery and as you can see to the left there were weeds growing everywhere. If you are ever in the San Diego area, a trip to Point Loma (not for the cemetery) is well worth the time.  It juts well out into the Pacific Ocean and offers a great view of downtown San Diego.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Point Loma and The Road to Sequoia

still importing

The road to Sequoia National Park from the town of Three Rivers, California. School had not yet let out for summer vacation and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  A freak late May snowstorm made it even more so.

This is Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma in San Diego. My wife's dad is buried here. It's a very beautiful place with awesome views of the Pacific Ocean.

Monday, August 16, 2010


importing from my old blog

you should click to enlarge this one

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pismo Area

enlarge for best viewing

Still importing from my old blog

Friday, August 13, 2010

Silver Blue

Full moon shining
Through scattered clouds
Bathing your angel face
In silver blue

Soft eyes glowing
Innocent smile
Last night I saw you as a woman
I saw you as a little girl


Thursday, August 12, 2010


another import from my old blog

blue jay

another import from my old blog

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

animal in pool

importing from my old blog
Not sure exactly what it is, but I only took the picture because of the look of the water.  It's probably a pest to most folks, but it looked so miserable and cold in the water, that I had to rescue it.

animal in pool 2

importing from my old blog
warming up after being fished out of the water

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Q and A 002 Women's Clothing

Question 002
From Powdered Toast Man

Have you ever worn woman's clothing that didn't involve it being Halloween?

Of course not! Well, actually I have…

Many years ago, I knew some folks that hosted a costume party 4 times a year. None of them involved Halloween. Written invitations were sent out via mail. In addition to the normal items included, there was also information relating to the theme of the party. If you did not dress appropriate to the announced theme, you did not get in the door. No matter how good a friend you were, you weren’t getting in. I had been to a couple of their parties; they were fun, but a lot of work.

My girlfriend at the time (not the one that almost got me killed) came running in from the mailbox shrieking with happiness. She told me that we got an invitation to one of the costume parties. She was beside herself with glee. I asked her what the theme of the party was.

“Pimps and whores” she told me.
“What’s so funny about that” I asked her.
“The guys have to be the whores!” she screamed while collapsing to the floor with laughter.
“I’m not going!
“Yes you are, because if you don’t, I’m going by myself!

I wasn’t at all happy about this. I finally rationalized that it wouldn’t be all that bad, because every guy there would be dressed like a prostitute, not just me. My girlfriend rented her costume; platform shoes, velvet suit, big hat with feathers in it, walking stick, etc.

The night of the party, I walked out of the house in a mini-skirt, fishnet stockings, heels, wig, full on make-up, fake nails, and knockers out to there. At the time, I wasn’t overweight at all, but I’m a big person. You can imagine how I looked.

The party was really good. Somebody took a bunch of photographs, had I gotten any of them, I'd attach one to this post.   YEAH RIGHT! It was hilarious to see the women trying to act “cool” and the guys trying to act “cheap.” I only knew that my spike heels were killing me. I eventually sprained my ankle and ditched them. A good time was had by all.

The party ended and we left. I threw the wig in the back seat of my VW and started home. We had gone about a mile when my throttle cable broke. Of course it was on a very busy and well lit street.  Don’t envision this happening in today’s world. Think about it happening in a world of no cell phones…

Picture me bending over the rear end of my bug, in my mini-skirt. On second thought don’t! I did have my own underwear on, but still, don't do it.  By the time I realized I couldn’t fix it myself, I had already been honked at several times.

We needed to get to a phone, in a big hurry! There were a couple of brightly lit stores that were pretty close by. They both had public phones, but I insisted that we just pass right by them and walk into the residential area. I stopped at the first house that had lights on. We called a tow truck and went back to the car and waited. Of course the tow truck driver couldn’t stop smiling while he hooked up my car. I explained the “rules” of the party to him, but he just shook his head and kept smiling. I’ve never gone out in public dressed in women’s clothing again. Wait, I mean I’ve never dressed in women’s clothing again.

Well Jamie, I hope that answers your question…

I'm adding this after the fact...
Joe Cap mentioned something about whether or not this was worse than another incident where a girlfriend of mine almost got me shot. I forgot to mention that these two fine young ladies grew up together and were best friends.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Early California Mission Project

Most kids attending fourth grade in California schools are required to make a model of any one of the the 21 early California Spanish Catholic Missions.  Bossy Betty recently posted a blog entry about the subject. I left her a comment, but saved most of the pain for my own blog.  Here it is...

I recall with terror fondly remember my own mission project in the fourth grade. I chose Mission San Juan Capistrano because my mother said she'd have one of her drunken friends someone take me down there to see it, before I started making it. Of course that never happened, so I used a photo I found in a book. My primary building materials were sugar cubes, model glue, paint, and cardboard. I obtained all the items from Cole's Market and Jigg's hobby shop. 

I shoplifted purchased the sugar cubes from Cole's and found the cardboard in their dumpster. I pocketed bought the other items from Jigg's.  I knew it wasn't the right thing to do, but I had no other way of getting the materials I needed. Besides, I was already pretty good at what we called "kyping" from stores.  If you "newer readers" dive into some of my older childhood posts, you'll understand why this skill was important in my family.

My project turned out pretty good considering nobody helped me with it at all. I finished it the night before it was due.  I would have loved a ride to school the next morning, but there was no way that was going to happen, as my mom never came home the night before. 

It was very awkward carrying it the entire mile to school.  I might have made it without too much damage, if it hadn't started pouring about half way there. The cardboard roof wasn't protecting my mission at all.  My only choice was to take off my jacket and use it to protect the mission instead.  When I finally made it to school the mission was still in pretty good shape, but I was soaked to the bone...

Whatever good feelings I had about my work died a quick death as I saw all the other kids walking into the multi-purpose room with their parents carrying their damn missions. I was shocked at how nice they all were (thanks to their parents) and how crappy mine was. I was humiliated and once again reminded of just exactly who I was.

I picked my Mission San Juan Capistrano model up off of the table, dumped it in the nearest trash can, and walked back home in the rain. If I remember correctly, and I do I had to beat up a smart ass named Norman Chambers a couple of days later, because he was stupid enough to remind me how much my mission sucked.

As fate would have it, I now live only a few miles from that very same mission. EVERY time I drive by there, I think of Norman Chamber's face, as I was punching him for making fun of me...


Sunday, August 8, 2010


importing from my other blog

Humming Bird 01

importing from my other blog

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Taco on a Bun


I assume that most of you have eaten at Taco Bell sometime in your life.  Some of you may have eaten there MANY times in your life. Currently, one of their catch phrases is "Think Outside the Bun!" I find this to be a very odd thing,  because their absolute best menu item ever, did in fact, come on a bun...

It was called the Bell Beefer...

The Bell Beefer was a taco served on a very fresh hamburger bun, instead of in a taco shell. I loved those things!  Even today, when we are having tacos at home, I sometimes make mine on a bun, or two pieces of bread. IT IS NOT A SLOPPY JOE! It doesn't taste like a sloppy joe at all. It's a taco on a bun and it's great...

best photo I could find

upper right menu, fourth item down, "bell beefer"

Does anybody out there remember these things?


Friday, August 6, 2010

Q and 001 Buymebarbies

A few questions have been submitted via the above “ask anything” button.
Just one answer on this post.

Question 001     From anonymous
"How long have you been married to buymebarbies, is she your first and only wife, how did you meet and how did she get her name (buymebarbies)? Maybe that's a subject for some more stories!"

Although I do have plans for posts related to these subjects, I might as well dive right in now.  Buymebarbies (Paula is her real name) and I have been married for less than six years. However, we’ve been together for over 17 years. Between us we have five children.

At Sea World, many moons ago

Some of you know the girl on the far right.

The last time we were all together for group photo

Paula is not my first wife, but she is most certainly my last. We met at work when she was 19 years old. I thought she was pretty cute and she thought I was crazy and not her type. I thought I was everybody’s type. Hmmm, maybe that’s why she didn't like me very much. She was right; I was a mess in those days.  Although her soon to be husband was someone I knew, we never really became friends.

Age 20

Age 25 (yup, I'm a bit older)

Fast forward 15 years. We eventually married other people, had kids, and became divorced. We still worked at the same place, but our paths didn’t cross that much. I remember telling my friend that out of the 1000 or so people that worked in our plant, I thought she was the best looking. She never believes I really said that, but it’s true. The photo below was taken soon after we got together.

I know better than to insert her age

During that time period I was the Labor Relations Specialist for our plant.  One day she asked if I would come to her unit and help her with some union issues. I did so and there was clearly some chemistry during our meetings. The first outright flirting salvo was fired by me, a couple of days later. 

Paula was escorting an attractive (female) contractor to our maintenance department. The two of them were walking through a door just as I was about to walk out of it. Later Paula said “I saw you checking that lady out.” I responded with, “What makes you think she was the one I was checking out?” I then walked away. Darn slick, right?

It wasn’t long before we were dating and falling head over heels in love. I still am…

We both agreed that the “Brady Bunch” was pure fantasy and that raising a blended family together, seemed like a minefield. So we kept our own houses and raised our kids together, but lived separately. The seven of us went to all functions together, vacationed together, and spent a great deal of time together. We had a lot of fun on our trips, with the seven of us in one vehicle and hotel room. We agreed years earlier that when the youngest kid graduated from high school we’d get married and that’s what we did.

I’ve never known a couple that has so much fun, just being together as we do. In many ways we are not alike and we don’t always think the same way, but it doesn’t matter to us. We are now retired and loving it.

Paula got the nickname Buymebarbies because that is what she does. She has bought and sold tons of the stuff. I’m not into it at all, but I do have to admit that the vintage stuff is pretty cool. She needs to start selling a lot more of it, because it takes up a lot of space…

Vintage stuff

Designer and vintage stuff

In addition to these full cabinets, she has a large closet and several large plastic tubs full of the stuff.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Started - Kazuko Ikegami

Kazuko and her older brother about 1935

After looking at the comments relating to my Kazuko Ikegami post, I figured I’d prime the pump a little better than I did yesterday.

Kazuko Ikegami was born on March 29, 1929, in Tokyo, Japan. She was the oldest of four sisters. In Japanese culture, the oldest daughter was supposed to give up her own adult life, to care for her parents until they died.

When the war was over, Kazuko got a job in the Ginza Post Exchange. While working there, she was swept off her feet by an American Soldier. Not only did she break with tradition when she married this man, she brought shame to her family and herself, when she followed him to America.

Kazuko is the mother of my wife. I’ve spent many hours over the last several years, interviewing her about her experiences before, during, and after the war. She told me things about the war that I’d never read about, or seen in movies. There is clearly a book or movie somewhere in this story. Whether or not, I can make that happen, remains to be seen.

My blog posts about the subject are not going to be presented as chapters of a book, but rather as short narratives relating to events that I believe you will find interesting. I can’t promise you when I’ll start posting, or how often I will do so…

Kazuko 80th birthday (2009)


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kazuko Ikegami and Ask Me

There are two new buttons just below my header photo.

One of them is titled "Kazuko Ikegami." If you click that button it will take you to a page that contains the following words.  "After the war with Japan ended, Kazuko Ikegami was lured to America. This is her true story. 
Under that statement is an "under construction" logo." I hope to remove that logo very soon.

The other button is titled "Ask Anything."
If you have something you want to ask me, please hit that button, it leads to a question box. I will pretty much answer any question on any subject.
If it's interesting, I'll post the question and answer.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Acrid Taste of Bluing

A bit of elation
A moment of clarity
The serenity of finality
The freedom that can only come
From accepting your own fate
The acrid taste of bluing

Bluing: Commonly used by gun manufacturers to improve the cosmetic appearance and provide resistance against rust on firearms.
If you don't already know the story behind this poem please go to the following three links, in order.

Slowly Turning Out the Lights
Follow Up to Yesterday
Cheap Silverware


Monday, August 2, 2010


This is a follow up to yesterday's entry about my GD finding my long lost wedding ring in a large flower bed in our front yard.

Jack Ass At The Jewelry Store

You already know that my wedding ring had been lost for so long,that I finally bought a replacement.  The nice young man at Zales was very sympathetic about me losing my ring and was more than happy to help me find a suitable replacement.  He couldn't have been nicer or more supportive.

Several days after the purchase, Taylor found my old ring. I was so happy to have it back! I was also happy when my wife discovered that we could take the "new" ring back for a full refund.  We wasted no time going back to the Zales in our local mall.  The same nice young man who was overjoyed to "help" me replace my original ring was there to help us once again.

Except this time he wasn't so nice. When I told him what had happened he turned absolutely sullen. First he tried to talk us into taking a store credit instead of cash. When I told him I wanted the full refund, he turned his back on us and made a phone call.  Once that was over, he said no more than five words while he was doing the paperwork and completing the transaction.  Obviously, we are never going to buy anything from Zales again.

The guy just lost his commission, so I understand why he would be unhappy, but is there any reason at all to be a total jackass?

Am I the only one who thinks inside sales people should not work on commission?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Ring and the Little Detective

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on the patio, when my seven year old granddaughter Taylor, walked out of the house with my magnifying glass and her Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, Volume 1. She told me she was available to solve any mystery I might be having. I thought for a while and asked her if she could find my lost wedding ring. After she interviewed me for about 10 minutes with pencil and paper, she was off to solve her mystery.

About two months ago I lost my wedding ring. It either flew off my hand while I was throwing salt in our swimming pool, or came off my hand while I was cleaning out a large flower bed in our front yard. I did them both on the same day.

She hunted all around the pool area with her magnifying glass and finally declared it wasn’t in the back yard. She asked me which flower bed I had been working on two months before and if she could use a tablespoon to dig through it. I told her she could use the spoon and wished her luck, because I’d already torn that flower bed apart and dumped out the green trash can looking for it myself.

About 45 minutes later, she walked up to me with her nana (buymebarbies) and said she couldn’t find it. I told her thanks for looking and trying to solve the mystery. After a few seconds, they both started laughing and Taylor pulled my old ring out of her pocket! Using the tablespoon and magnifying glass she went through the flowerbed with a fine tooth comb (or spoon).

Last week, I’d finally given up all hope of finding my original wedding ring and bought a new one. I was so happy to get my old beat-up, misshapen, and tarnished ring back. I hope the jewelry store will let me return the new one.

I really owe my little detective for finding my ring. I think I’ll be buying her the rest of the Nancy Drew books. There are more mysteries out there just waiting for her to solve…