Too Damp for That

Tonight was supposed to be a Movie in the Park.  I really enjoy those community activities, however it was a little too damp today.  The last thing I wanted to do is sit in the drizzle, in the park, on a Friday night watching a movie.  Now, take away the dampness, and I’d be there.

Instead we watched RED with Laura.  She had never seen it.  Of course, Nicholas is too young to sit and watch anything for more than about 30 seconds.

I do love the movie RED.  Mary Louise Parker is just great – especially her expressions.  Add to that, John Malkovitch, and you’ve got a really funny movie.  It will have you saying, “Awesome!” after watching it.


Family Values

I miss the days when you would see the “family” on TV.  There are not many shows on TV any more that feature a functional family.  Instead, you see people who are married-to-the-job, have dysfunctional relationships, and in many cases, don’t know who their daddy is.

Pretty sad.

In real life (i.e. not in a TV show), such people would be miserable, unhappy, unfulfilled individuals.  In real life, the type of life some of these TV characters lead doesn’t bring fame, money or happiness.  Instead, such behaviors bring shame, debt and misery.

Family values – what are they?

A mom and dad rearing their children and taking full responsibility to teach those children what’s wrong and what’s right
A family that prays together
A family that at a minimum, has dinner together
A family that goes to church weekly
Parents who love each other and show affection openly
Parents who are complete faithful to each other
Parents who love their children and show it
Parents who read to their children
Parents who play with their children
Parents who get involved in their children’s lives
Parents who have a moral code (typically derived from their religion’s teachings) and live by it
Parents who teach their children that every action has a consequence
Parents who teach their children that we can choose our actions, but we cannot choose our consequences
Parents who listen to their children, and teach their children through example how to listen

Those are just a few, but important ones.

I’m tired of seeing TV characters who go out for a drink with a co-worker and end up in the sack.  Or, a TV character who says to a grieving coworker, “You have us here at work.  We’re family.”  Or, a TV character who is always drinking, but never is identified as being an alcoholic.  I’m tired of seeing dysfunction characters being portrayed as role-models – they aren’t!  They are dysfunctional!!!

Some of the shows I remember as a kid were Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Her’s Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bonanza.  With the exception of the last one, all the others had a mom and dad who taught their kids and spent time with their family.  The latter, Bonanza, was a widower (not a divorced dad or a guy who knocked-up sever women and is now raising his illegitimate children) raising his sons on the frontier.

We’ve become too politically correct because of the media and TV shows.  We no longer refer to a child born out-of-wedlock as illegitimate (and forbid we call them a bastard child).  We call mothers of illegitimate children “single parents” (as though they had a virgin birth).  We pussy-foot around out of sensitivity.

Don’t get me wrong.  We should be empathetic towards people, but we should not minimize sin and its effects on the family and society.   But, I don’t see anything wrong with saying to a family member who announces they moved in with their boyfriend, “So, you’re shacking-up.”  And, if they come back with dislike for how you stated it, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “You know its wrong, and you were taught better than that.”

Every family in the real-world has its problems and issues.  To say, “nobody is perfect”, is a cop-out.  What makes a good family is how they deal with their problems and that they truly love each other (and are not simply co-dependent relatives living under the same roof.)  TV on the other had, seems to have gone to the extreme of not showing families with problems, but showing dysfunction people who appear to have no serious problems – only obstacles that get solved at some point during the series or show.


After spending a good 8 hours taking a training course on Internet load balancers (geek stuff, I know), my brain was turned to mush.  It’s really bad when you go to do the lab for the course and you can’t see straight because of information-overload.  You are never too old to learn, but it sure gets harder as you get older.

Upon getting home, Elizabethe took off to go to the temple to substitute for another worker in the office.  I made a bee-line to the kitchen to start dinner.

Nicholas was real excited to see me.  (Ah, the joys of being a grandpa.)  Laura volunteered him to help me make the corn bread.  I ended up having him run things like the butter wrapper to the trash, and dumping the ingredients in the bowl.  We managed to get the batter made, and in the pan without too much mess.

Since we had 25 minutes to wait for the cornbread, so I attempted to give Nicholas a haircut.  Wow!  Was that a challenge.  He’s lucky he’s got both ears.  (Just kidding, I was very careful, but he was very active.)

Next, I took Nicholas outside to run around.

Nicholas Playing Frog

He ran around for a while and then when I told him to run towards me so I could take a picture with my iPhone, he dropped to all fours and pretended he was a frog.  (Don’t you wish you could read the minds of little children?  Was it because he was wearing green?  How did he turn “run towards grandpa” into “I’m going to pretend I’m a frog” ?)

Returning to the house, we enjoyed leftover soup from yesterday and some fresh cornbread.  A nice close to a busy day.

Grape Juice

Elizabethe decided to make grape juice from four bushels of concord grapes… well, 3.  One of the turned out to be green grapes.

The old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen…”   Well, that was applicable tonight.    It wasn’t so much the heat, but the mess.  Grape juice everywhere.

I decided it was a good time to get the grocery shopping done.  So, I hopped in the car and went to Breen’s.


If you plan to come to see the fall colors, don’t wait any longer to make your reservations.  This is the busiest autumn season we’ve seen since being here.

I get asked about when is the best time.  The years I’ve been here, the colors have peaked around the 2nd week of October.  Late October rains typically knock the leaves down.  Colors are turning now, but things are still mostly green.  So, anytime between now and say… October 15th, is probably good.


It was back to work today after taking Friday and Monday off so I could organize my marketing materials.  The day was spent mostly in a training class.  Too much of that lately.

I’m leaving to go to the temple, and I’m in a rush.  As I’m walking on the flagstones my feet slipped out from underneath me and I came crashing down on the rocks that surround the flower bed.  Once I got up and brushed myself off, I noticed the flagstones are covered with a thin green coating of green algae.  The stuff is a slippery as snail slime.

So, if anyone has suggestions for keeping the flagstones from getting that way, let me know.  It’s an unseen hazard that should be fixed.  (Fortunately, I’m about the only person that walks that path.)

More Sad News

I got an e-mail that a friend died in his sleep this morning.  So, sad.  He was only about 5 years older than me.  He was one of our instructors in our high priest group, and I always enjoyed his lessons.  He spent a lot of time preparing his lessons.  Mark Volkers, we’ll miss you.

Nicholas Climbing the Railing

I broke out the camera this afternoon to take some photos of my grandson.  He is full of energy and hasn’t quite grasped the concept that you look into the lens when Grandpa asks you to do so.  So, I had to use distraction techniques – which only work once, and then you have to come up with new ones.  But, I’m used to that as a photographer.


Most of the day was spent gathering images for a printed catalog of my fine art work.  It will make it easier for people to order prints.

Breakfast for Dinner

It is Sunday so we are feeding the missionaries.  I’m fixing pancakes, bacon and sausage for dinner.  When the sisters arrived they were quite excited.  One of them commented, “We never get pancakes when we go to dinner appointments.”

Nicholas went to nursery at church.  He must have done well, they didn’t throw him out.  (He’s actually a well-behaved little boy.)

Autumn Already?

Yes, it is autumn already.  Time has been flying since I’ve lived here.  It seems like fall just ended (with a short winter, spring and summer in between).

I got up this morning disturbed by a dream that I should prepare more marketing materials for my business.  I spent the day tagging photos and copying them in preparation for doing this task.

About 3pm I took a break and drove to Seneca Falls, New York, and visited Sauder’s.  I took Nicholas with me.  As soon as we hit the thru-way, he was out like a light.  Sound asleep.

I ended up buying a bunch of snacks and some spices we needed.  Nicholas was all eyes in their candy aisle.  “Like a kid in a candy store.”

Bethe worked on canning salsa, squash and beans today.  I picked quite a lot.  I filled up the basket twice with green beans.  I also picked several tomatoes.

Painting With Light is Fun

After work, and after dinner, I looked all over for where I put my LED flash lights.  I finally found them and I attached one to each of Nicholas’ hands.  I then put my camera on the tripod and sent Nicholas running.

Nicholas' Light Painting

We spent a lot of time experimenting.

Door of Studio Painted with Light

If you don’t know what painting with light is, and how it works, or how to do it, let me know and I’ll hold a workshop.

That was last night…

Today I bought a chainsaw and cut up a bunch of wood.  We have so many trees we really need the chainsaw.  So, I cut up all the downed wood and Laura helped me stack it.


Music is a big part of my life.  I recently watched the opening act of The Sing-Off Season 3.  Whoa!  They actually put some of those groups on the show?

It was awesome to hear Vocal Point (from BYU).  But, after that Afro-Blue was off-key followed by a really off-key Fannin Family.  But, I guess it is really difficult to follow a class-act like Vocal Point.

So, I decided to watch (listen) to the rest of the show.  (I love a capella singing.)  I wanted to see if Afro-Blue and the Fannin Family redeemed themselves after nearly butchering Pink’s “Less Than Perfect”.  So, her’s my summary:

Yellow Jackets – University of Rochester (hmmm… wonder where that is?) – Really good.  I had never heard that number before, so I had no comparison. (Which is good – nothing to bias my comments.)  I think they could have picked a better song to perform, but it was good.

Fannin Family – I think it is cool that they are performing together as a family.  They were more on pitch on the number they performed, but they are too loose.  They need to work on tightening their timing.  Tightness matters in a capella.

Afro-Blue – They redeemed themselves.  They did were very much better than they did on that opening number.  They performed a Manhatten-Transfer-like number.  Their tightness kind of fell apart when they started dancing, but once they stopped dancing, the vocal tightness came back.

Delilah – Fantastic as long as you listen and don’t look at the hoochi wardrobe.  They could have used some more volume dynamics.  Their lead singer had it, but the rest of the group needs to support the dynamics.  But, so far in the show, they’ve been the best.

They then judged between these groups.  Yellow-Jackets got it.

Urban Method – After the opening act, I expected more from a group with some good voice.  Their number… well… sucked.  Too loose.  Too many off-key segments.   About 2/3rds through the number, I had to press fast-forward.

Cat’s Pajamas – TIGHT!  This guys seemed a bit too good for the show.  So far, the best of the night.

Kin-Folk 9 – Heard a lot of sylabance (way too loose), then they went way off-key.  Okay… maybe Urban Method didn’t blow it that much… Kin-Folk 9 did.  They need to work on their timing and pitch.  And, if they are going to be loose on the beat-box stuff, don’t use sounds with “ssss” in it.  When those “s” sounds hit at different times, it sounds really bad.

Vocal Point – They picked a really difficult number (Jump Jivin’).  It went loose a few times and then some off pitch right before it ended.  It’s going to be close between them and Cat’s Pajamas.

Now, when they judge between these groups, they sent Cat’s Pajamas packing.  I can’t believe they kept Kin-Folk 9 or Urban Method.  Oh, well.  Like I said, Cat’s Pajamas was too professional – perhaps that is what they did NOT want, and it was more of a disqualification than an elimination.

I probably won’t watch Sing-Off again.  Way too much talking (or yammering as Elizabethe calls it).

Laura and Nicholas

During my lunch break today, we went and picked up Laura and Nicholas from the Amtrak Station.  They will be staying with us for a while.

I had to return to work, while Elizabethe took the rest of the day off to help Laura get settled.  Elizabethe made some phone calls to ward members who responded immediately with some clothing items for little Nicholas and Laura.  (I am so grateful for the love and support members give each other in crisis.)

One friend came over with her 3 children and they played for about an hour with Nicholas while the grown-ups visited.  I had just finished work for the day when they pulled up.  Her little boy, upon seeing Nicholas stretched out his hand and handed him a small toy car and said something to the effect, “Here.  I like cars,” and handed it to Nicholas.  I’m sure at his age Nicholas does not understand or fully appreciate that gesture of kindness.

Nicholas and His New Friends

We enjoyed a nice dinner followed by ice cream.  A little later, Nicholas knocked on our bedroom door and he and Laura joined us for family prayer.