Tag Archives: Dad

Thirteen Below

Anchorage this Morning
Anchorage this Morning at -13

I opened my browser minutes ago and my home page opened up.  It’s the Borealis Webcam Multiview of their web cams scattered about Anchorage, Alaska.  The current temperature at 3:53 a.m. local time just happened to be -13 F, which is also the coldest temperature I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

Enjoy?  Well sure.  I was a teenager and it was a great adventure.  You may disagree if you have lived where it’s regularly colder.  Especially if you’ve had to endure plugging in your car to keep the oil a semi liquid, or shoveling snow for an hour just so you can get out of the driveway only to have the snowplow come by and block your drive again.  That does sound frustrating.

But my story is different.  I was 16 years old and we took a Winter road trip to Grandpa Jones’ ranch in John Day, Oregon.  Shoveling snow was not part of my life.  We were visiting from the Willamette Valley were the rare snow doesn’t stick around long and temperatures rarely fall below the teens above zero.

It was already cold when we left Canby.  In the 20s maybe and so my brothers and sisters and I were dressed warmly as we piled into the van.  It was an evening/night drive to eastern Oregon.  My first clue that this trip was going to be different was when we got into the mountains and ice started forming on the inside of the van windows!  Yes, Dad had the heat on, but it was near zero outside.  We stopped to go to the bathroom in the woods (you can do that in Oregon.  Lots of trees :-) and the wind blew through my jeans like I wasn’t wearing any!  First lesson.  Wear thermals when it’s nothing degrees outside.

We arrived in John Day and went to bed.  The next morning it was get out of bed and feed the cows.  No shower or breakfast first.  The cows get fed at daybreak, which also happens to be the coldest time of the day, even in John Day.  It was perfectly calm and clear and thermometer read -13 F.  A personal best for me that stands to this day.

I bundled up the best I could and I was made to wear a handkerchief over my mouth and nose so I wouldn’t “frost my lungs.”  I doubted then (and now) that that was a real danger at that temperature, but I don’t remember arguing.  Maybe I rolled my eyes.  You know how teenagers are.

I stepped outside into the squeaky snow and man it was cold!  I just gotten up, so there was not much blood circulating in my body yet.  Thankfully it was perfectly still so the wind chill was also -13 (unless you started walking fast).

We got to work.  We loaded the trailer with hay and Grandpa drove the tractor while we peeled flakes off for the cows to enjoy.  The cold was making my nose run and as I inhaled my snot (sorry about the visual) froze in my nose!  It’s like someone crammed cardboard up there!  The condensation from my breath turned the handkerchief into ice.  It was also forcing moisture to exit near my eyes and one of my eyes actually froze shut!  I had to take off a glove and melt the ice off of my eyelashes so I could open my eye again.  (I knew that handkerchief was a silly idea)  Crazy.

We were done before I knew it.  The cows were fed and we went inside to warm up and have a hearty breakfast our own selves.  That afternoon it got up to a toasty 10 degrees.  With sunshine icicles were growing and we went sledding and sliding into, and through, one of the frozen ditches.  FUN!  The whole visit was fun.  Later that Winter I got to return and my Uncle and I hiked up into the John Day Mountains and surprised a bunch of deer.  We also almost got lost in a snow squall, but that’s another story.

I love cold and snow.  Always have.  It’s beautiful and fun.  Of course, I’ve never had to plug in my car or shovel my way to work either…

April Foolin’

In general I’m not big into April Fool’s Day.  Those that know me pretty well are usually surprised to hear that.  I tend to be a fun-loving guy who likes to laugh a lot.  I guess it can be surprising when I say that I have a tough time coming up with April Fool’s pranks, or jokes, that are good.

Sure, stoopid April Fool’s jokes are a dime a dozen.  Usually it’s based on a lie that isn’t hard to detect as a lie.  Everyone has an uncomfortable laugh and then gets on with the day.  Worse yet is a made up tragic story that causes wailing and sobbing only to be replaced by fists flying when the truth is revealed.

However, I do have one story of a joke that I actually planned out and pulled off that wasn’t half bad.  This is that story.

It was years ago in Roswell, New Mexico.  I was the main Weather Anchor on the 6:00 and 10:00 news on KBIM-TV.  I brought my son and daughter to work with me on April Fool’s Eve along with the suit and tie that I was going to wear the next night.  I used a photog to shoot the video.  By the 6:00 o’clock news on April Fool’s night, I was ready.  I instructed my director to mess with the clipping on the weather wall shortly after I started my weather and then roll tape once I walked off camera.  It worked brilliantly.  Here’s what the viewer saw that night in 1993:

We came out of the commercial and I got 10 or 15 seconds into the weathercast when I started to fade in and out on the air.  I turned to the camera said, “something’s not right, I’m gonna go check this out.”  I then walked off camera and out the studio door with the camera following behind.  I walked into the control room and up to the “director” and it was my 4 year old son and 10 year old daughter.  My son had the headsets on and my daughter was at the controls of the switcher.  I looked at ’em and said, “I know it’s your first time directing and all, but can you please try and get it right?”  They said in unison, “OK Dad.  NOT!”

I then walked back into the studio shaking my head and went on with the weather.

Fun times!  Great team work between a news photog, director, tape op and my kids.  My only regret is I didn’t save a copy.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother Chris!  Seriously.

Self Discipline

I was in Yuma this past weekend visiting my sister Martina.  She lives in Oregon.  Oregon City to be more exact.  She and her husband and her two kids drove 21 hours straight to visit my Dad in Yuma for Spring Break.  This is a very cool arrangement.  My brothers and sisters travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to see Dad and I drive 225 miles to visit them all.  Everybody wins, especially me!  Well, especially Dad, but me too :-)

My sister Tina has a GREAT sense of humor!  How do I know this?  Well, she gets me.  And I get her.  Every time we are together we laugh and it’s fun.  We were looking at some of my videos and she asked me to play the one you see below.  She thinks it’s the funniest thing!  That’s because she gets it.  I’m hoping you do too, but judging from what some of my other friends have said, it could go either way.

Yuma Trip July 25-27, 2008

Anna & Nicholas Yuma Hike

I just got back from Yuma a few hours ago. What a great visit with my sister and her sons and daughter. Not to mention my Dad and Mom too! We had ice cream, swam in the pool, hiked while looking for road runners, played games, went to a baseball game, and just hung out. Did I mention we went for ice cream? :-) Thanx for all the fun you guys!

Click on the pic for more pics on my web site!



I’m back from an incredibly wonderful visit to Texas!  It’ll take more time than I have to recap it all here, but I will try in the coming days.

One thing I have noticed lately that is really bugging me is my vision.  Most of the time it’s great.  I have 20-10 and can see both near and far very very well.  I try not to take it for granted.  It’s a gift from God that I really do appreciate and enjoy.  I should probably quit showing off like I do occasionally by reading someone’s e-mail off of their computer screen from half way across the room.  “You can read that from there?”  Yeah.  It’s annoying, I’m sure.

I started noticing this three weeks ago driving back from Yuma after visiting Dad.  It was getting dark and I was still on the highway.  I took off my sunglasses and everything had a slight blur to it.  I could still see OK, but everything was just slightly out of whack.  I thought maybe it was the glasses since they are kinda scratched up.  So, before the return trip from Texas yesterday I bought a brand new pair.  That ought ta fix it!

Not so much  :-(  Same thing last night.  It was getting dark, I took off the glasses and there was the blur again.  I guess it’s time to get my eyes checked, although the rest of the time I seem to have my usual excellent vision.

It’s not likely to last forever.  Dad had great vision and ended up getting cataract surgery.  Aunt Lora V. had awesome vision too, but now is going blind from macular degeneration.  Mamaw had that too.  I think I’ll enjoy what I have while I have it and try to keep my attitude of gratitude!

My advice to you young people;  Don’t get old!

State of Cantelope

Florida Outline

I’m over at Dad’s having a nice visit.  We are just sitting around this morning with Dad reading the paper and I am reading the internet and we have FOX News on.

So I was having half a cantelope for breakfast and scooping it with a spoon.  I dragged my spoon through the cantelope and what do you know?  I pulled out a piece of cantelope that looked a lot like the State of Florida!  I ate it, but then realized my missed opportunity.  A piece of cantelope in the shape of Florida could have garnered big bucks on ebay!

Next time I am snacking on melon I will pay more attention.  You never know when it’ll pay of!

Tea para Me

Cup of Tea

The English are on to something.  It’s the second day in a row that I’ve been enjoying a spot of tea!  I like the Earl Grey (cause I like to taste my tea!) but it’s also Green Tea (anti-oxidants baby!).  Earl Grey Green Tea. I found it at Safeway.  For all of their high prices they have a couple of things I like.  Good produce and good tea assortment.

Which reminds me.  My Dad worked at Safeway in California.  The story I remember is that he was the youngest assistant manager in the state at 19!  Way to go Dad!  I also remember hearing that he would bring home the slightly expired milk.  Good savings!  Of course, it stunted my growth :-)

So, back to the tea.  It’s nice to sip some tea and ramble about whatever for a few minutes with friends or on your blog.  I like mine with a spoonful of honey.  I’m heading out to a dentist appointment and then to the store.  I’m out of the 100% pure unfiltered unheated honey that I get from Sprouts.  I just recently learned that most store honey is heated so that it is in that semi-liquid state.  That apparently kills a lot of the good micro-organisms in the honey that are good for you!  The good stuff has bits of pollen (and bits of bees) and is much better for you.

There. I got off subject again.  Tea.  Yes, the English have it figured out.  Take a break in the afternoon.  Relax for a bit.  Get a shot of some caffeine and you’re ready for the rest of the day!  For me that’s go to the Dentist and get my new bridge installed.  Hit a couple of grocery stores for some supplies.  Then either hike up Pusch Peak like yesterday, or do the bike ride up to the Pima Canyon Trailhead.  I have a long ways to go to lose this weight, but if I keep eating right and exercising, it’s just a matter of time.

Man, this tea is good :-)

Constructive Criticism


So, I’m driving home from a wonderful weekend visit with my Dad in Yuma. I was coming home late because we watched the NY Giants beat the Packers in OT in the NFC Championship Game. Bummer, and who would have thought that Green Bay would LOSE the third coldest game in NFL history at home? But I digress.

I got on the road around 8:40 p.m. and it’s a 3 hour drive, so I knew I was going to be sleepy both when I got home, and when I got up for work this morning. I didn’t realize that construction would add almost an hour to my drive!!! ADOT is doing some work just north of Marana. They have the southbound lanes of I-10 merging into one lane. That caused a back-up almost to Picacho Peak! It was stop (literally) and go (10 mph max) for miles. I got home at 12:35 a.m. instead of 11:40 p.m.

I wonder if there is a better way for them to do the construction, but I can’t think of it. That spot on I-10 is pretty much unavoidable for anyone traveling to El Paso, or New Mexico, or even just from Phoenix to Tucson. I couldn’t imagine trying to be in Las Cruces by early AM and running into that construction!

OK. I’m not going to complain to ADOT. Just wanted to vent. Thanx for listening :-)

Favorie Christmas’ – Comet


It was in the ’70’s, I know that. It was a really cold Christmas morning. We lived on Seven Oaks Lane, about four miles outside of Canby. I’m not sure of the year, but I do remember that they were building more houses and extending the street. I was probably in 5th or 6th grade since I was really interested in astronomy by then.

I’m think I might have got a telescope that Christmas. What I do remember most was the neat time I spent with Dad.

There was a comet that was supposed to be visible in the west. I don’t remember the name, but if you hang on a second, I’ll Google it. Hang on…

I can’t find it. I remember it started with a K. It was some long Russian word, I think. Hang on. I’m gonna Google some more…

I found it! Comet Kohoutek. Visible Christmas of 1973. That would make this story the second year we lived on Seven Oaks Lane. (That puts me in 5th grade) Glad we got that settled! What did we do before the Internets?!

So, Dad and I went outside Christmas morning before the Sun came up to see if we can see this comet. (we never did) We were on the west side of what would later be Edna’s house. We were on the west side to see if we could spot the comet, plus there was a bitter east wind blowing! It was cold :-)

But the best thing about the whole thing? Was spending the time with Dad. I don’t remember what we were talking about. Astronomy maybe. I just remember hanging out with him on the west side of a house under construction on a cold Christmas morning. It was the best! Thanx Dad!

Favorite Christmas’ – Sizzlers!

Fat Track
Not exactly what we got, but close. This is on auction on eBay! How tempting is that?!

I think it was 1971. We had just moved to Oregon and lived in a rental home in the West Hills of Portland. Comus Street. A street with HUGE potholes! The place was way cool! Mostly because of the trees and the creek that ran through, or near, the back yard. We used to play army in the mud. It was AWESOME!Anyway, we moved there in November, I think. So, Christmas was coming. The hottest thing was Sizzlers! Chris and I already had Hot Wheels and had been playing with those for years. Most of my life, probably! After all, I was only 8 :-)

Sizzlers were Hot Wheels that you charged up for a minute and a half and they raced around a “Fat Track” for 5 minutes, or so. Way cool! It was all Chris and I wanted for Christmas.

So, Christmas morning we got up way early (of course).  It was at least 5am, maybe earlier. At 8, who knew it was your Mom and Dad who stayed up late to set up that stuff! So, I remember walking quietly on the hard wood floors. Chris was behind me as we peered around the corner into the living room. There it was. All set up. SIZZLERS FAT TRACK!!! Awesome!

I don’t remember if we got everyone up then or waited. But it wasn’t long before we were charging up our new cars and racing them around the track. Way too cool. Then, our “cousins” came down from Washington and they brought the Fat Track they got for Christmas! We combined ’em for this elaborate course and raced and raced and raced. Cousin Tony got a great car. His seemed to run an extra two or three minutes after ours would give out. It was probably the best Christmas as far as getting exactly what I wanted. I realize now how much joy that must have given my Dad.

Luke 11:13
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Matthew 7:11
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!