Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day Info and Horoscopes.

February 29th. Won't happen again until 2012.

Tradition was introduced many centuries ago to allow women to propose to men during a leap year. This privilege of proposing was restricted to leap day in some areas. Leap day was sometimes known as “Bachelors’ Day”. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage offer from a woman.The tradition’s origin stemmed from an old Irish tale referring to St Bridget striking a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. This old custom was probably made to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how the leap day balances the calendar.It was also considered to be unlucky for someone to be born on a leap day in Scotland and for couples to marry on a leap year, including on a leap day, in Greece.

Juluis Caesar was the first to proclaim the last day of February Leap year but when he did so February was the last month of the year.

The odds are are 1,506 to 1 that a person will be born on Leap Day.

Superman was born on Leap Day.

A Leap Year cocktail is 1.5 ounces gin and .5 ounces of both Grand Marnier and sweet vermouth with a squeeze lemon (shaken with crushed ice).

Leap Day Love Horoscopes

Aries - put the whip away and don't show anyone that you are controlling until the third date.

Taurus - Don't be stubborn share the love. Don't stop asking until you get a yes.

Gemini - One day every four years you can show all your personalities but wait until your intended says yes to your proposal.

Cancer - Usually determined to do things your own way before you ask for their hand fool them into thinking they are leading. Let them bring the lavender scented chocolate and just enjoy the ride.

Leo - Roar quietly today. Show only four or five of your three thousand moods until after you have gotten the right answer from them.

Virgo - It is best to follow your intended into the rest room to make sure they wash their hands before you ask for their hand in matrimony.

Libra - Once your find your intended you are loyal to fault and defend your love to anyone. If you were in love with Jeffrey Dahmer you would have convinced your family and friends that he just had a little eating disorder. Ask and they will say yes but wait until after the ceremoney to introduce them to relatives.

Scorpi0- You are wired for wildness. Best to meet your intended at an R rated film festival where clothes are optional.

Sagittarious - You have Maverick Emotions so communication is the key. See if Verizon or AT & T are holding a singles swap meet in your area today.

Capricorn - Often inspirational you can inspire your love to say yes by telling them your thoughts and dreams. Of course those dreams of Ashley Judd or Daniel Craig should be kept secret until the answer is yes.

Aquarius - You will play when the cat is away but keep this secret until the schackles are in place and you have gotten the answer you want.

Pisces - You like to cook and use your own original recipes, find a lover that likes to eat and you two will go through life eating together.

May this be a special day for all of you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

From The Serious To The Funny And An Invitation.

First, the invitation. For those out there that don't have a blog, don't want to start a blog, but want to be a blogger for a day let me know by email at and I will set you up as a guest blogger for a day. An important event in your life that you want to share? Feeling the stress dealing with elderly parents? Have a romantic breakup that is troubling you? Want to review a movie that you have recently seen? Need advise or support? I am open to any subject except hate filled tirades against any gender, political party, or group of people. You can talk politics if you want just do it in a way that doesn't include bashing.

Second, the serious. I took Mom to the emergency room last night. She had an infection that was growing. Like any infection it was causing a fever and spells. We lucked out and our favorite emergency room doctor was on last night, a woman doctor, Dr. Moore. I just love her. She is just so kind in the way she deals with my Mom. They took a bunch of tests, determined what the infection was, gave her the appropriate drugs and sent her home. I called Mom already this morning and she seems to be doing well.

The eerie thing about this is that if you read yesterday's blog entry you know that I was having dreams about Mom suffering. I just knew something was going to happen. It did happen just not on the grand scale of the dreams. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, I can't predict the future and I am certainly not pyschic. However, sometimes I just get these strong feelings of things that are to be and they happen. I also sometimes feel strong connections to people that I meet for the first time and sometimes have never met. It happens often enough that my friends and family pay attention if I say something about it. I've also learned to listen to my inner conscience. I'm also sometimes frightened by it.

Third, the funny. In today's Oregonian's Edge Column they gave the results of a Washington Post contest where the Post asked readers to supply new definitions of words beginning from A to H. Here are my favorites:

Airstrip - pretending to take your clothes off.

Algebra - Lingerie worn by mermaids.

Bandicoots - The Rolling Stones.

Bumbling - Butt cheeks piercings.

Eggs Benedict - The Pope's edict on fertility treatments.

Farenheit - Moderately tall.

Hope this day will be full of wonderful surprises and that you enjoy every minute of it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mom Update

Really not an update just more of the same. There have been a few changes but they are small. My sister was here last week to relieve me for a few days. Of course when sis is here we are pretty close so it doesn't really end up as a lot of alone time for me because we end up doing something almost every day. She does shelter me from Mom's emotions which seem to be getting more prevalent. One of the changes with Mom this time is that her and my sister got along better than they ever have. Usually the two of them battle a bit when sister is here and my duties change from caregiver to referee. If anyone thinks being a referee at a sports event is difficult I would be more than happy to change places with them. However, this time they did amazingly well. Sis left Saturday and when I visited Mom on Sunday Mom told me that for the first time she really missed my sister. I had Mom call sis and tell her that. Good for her for doing so. The good thing about Mom missing my sister is that Mom is starting the process of emotionally distancing herself from me and that is a really good thing. That will make it easier for Mom when she does finally make the move to a retirement home.

One small change that is progressively moving into a larger change is that Mom is sick more often and her memory is getting a little worse. Usually the spells would come once a week and last a short period, now the spells are coming every day and lasting sometimes two days at a time. When I combine that with some dreams I've been having about Mom it scares me that maybe the end is near. I was having the same type of dreams about my dad the month before he died. I do have to be ready to emotionally face the possibility and I am getting there but it is taking more time than I thought it would. I'm just to emotional sometimes.

The good news is mom is still reading one book a week, playing bridge once a week, and doing all the puzzles in the daily paper. As long is she keeps doing all three she may be all right.

Hope those of you that are dealing with elderly parent issues are taking care of yourself. May this be a special day for all of you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Love You To Pieces

I've waited all my life for a woman to tell me they love me with an endearing phrase and now I have two women telling me "they love me to pieces" and I find it bothersome. Is it a girl friend, a fiance, or a wife using this endearing phrase? Nope, just my freaking luck it is my sister and my Mom. I kind of cringe every time my sister and my mom tell me that they love me to pieces. I'm glad to be loved but is that really a term a sister or a mother should be using with a son or a brother? Isn't that a term that should really be reserved for a boyfriend or a husband?

Besides just exactly what does I love you to pieces mean? I know I am a tad eccentric but am I in pieces? I've been fine with my entire family referring to me all my life as being offcenter. That just shows they appreciate that I am a little different than they are. So my dollar bills are in descending order by denomination in my wallet, I will never post the thirteenth comment on a blog or a message board, and in a restaurant I won't eat the vegetables unless there are an even number on my plate. Yes I count how many string beans there are. That just means I'm a little compulsive (OK a lot compulsive) but does it mean I am in pieces? And if it does mean that I am in pieces just exactly how many pieces am I in and just exactly how many pieces do they love? Can't they love me those times when I am whole and not in pieces?

I need some advise here. Do I 1.) Tell my sister and Mom how much it bothers when they tell me they love me to pieces? 2) Make a joke out of it? or 3) Do what I have been doing. Bite me tongue and don't risk hurting their feelings?

If you can give me some advise on this matter I will love you to pieces.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscar Summary

My Oscar notes -

My TV is safe - what a great performance from Once by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova when they sang the great song Falling Slowly.

Gary Busey is an embarassment to men every where. He was drunk and kissed the married Jennifer Garner and told her that he was madly in love with her. He needs to go to rehab immediately.

Jon Stewart is a class act. When Marketa Irglova didn't get to give her thank you speach he called her back on stage and let her give it. Never been done before. Thank you Jon Stewart for giving Marketa Irglova her chance to shine that she so deserved.

If I read the body movements right Glen Hansard is madly in love with Marketa Irglova.

The Academy loves the Coen Brothers and I don't.

Daniel Day Lewis is a loving father. What a great guy.

Amy Ryan was stunning and can sing.

Julie Christie looks great.

All the women looked stunning to me. I'm fickle I think they were all beautiful. If any of them want me, I'm theirs.

The men dressed nice. Nothing out of place. I do wish a lot of them would get their hair cut.

George Clooney looked very much in love with his girl friend.

Joey Fatone is a no talent sexist pig and his red carpet co-hostess Lisa Rinna tries to hard to be funny and succeeds only at trying to hard. I can think of a lot of better folks to host the red carpet at awards show. What was the TV Guide channel thinking?

My picking results

Best Supporting Actor - Did win - Javier Bardem - No Country For Old Men
My will win - Hal Holbrook - Into The Wild . 0-1

Best Supporting Actress - Did Win - Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton
My Will Win - Saorise Ronan - Atonement. 0-2

Best Actress - Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
My Will Win - Julie Christie - Away From Her 0-3

Best Song - Falling Slowly from Once
My Will Win- Falling Slowly from Once 1-3

Best Cinematography - There Will Be Blood
My Will Win - There Will Be Blood 2-3

Best Actor - Daniel Day Lewis
My Will Win - Daniel Day Lewis 3-3

Best Director - The Coen Brothers - No Country For Old Men
My Will Win - The Coen Brothers - No Country For Old Men 4-3

Best Movie - No Country For Old Men
My Will Win - No Country For Old Men 5-3

Oscar Day

The Super Bowl of Movies is today. While I am not a big TV watcher there are certain things on TV I just won't miss. Top Chef, Dancing With The Stars, Friday Night Lights, Award Shows, The Super Bowl, March Madness, Boston Legal and The Oscars.

I thought I would update my Oscar picks today.

Best Movie - nominees; There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement, No Country For Old Men, and Michael Clayton.

I want to win: Atonement

Don't Want to Win: No Country For Old Men.

Should Win: Atonement

Will Win: No Country For Old Men.

Best Director - Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly), Jason Reitman (Juno),
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), The Coen Brothers (No Country For Old Men), Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)

I want to Win - Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly was an amazing movie about stroke victims. Rent it.

Don't Want To Win - Coen Brothers. I am probably the only person on the planet that doesn't like the Coen Brothers. I didn't get Fargo. I think I got No Country For Old Men but won't really know for a few years.

Should Win - Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton.

Will Win - The Coen Brothers.

Best Actor - George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Toodd), Tommy Lee Jones (In The Valley of Elah), Virgo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Want to Win - Daniel Day Lewis

Don't Want To Win - Johnny Depp

Should Win - Daniel Day Lewis

Will Win - Daniel Day Lewis.

Best Actress - Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth - The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away From Her), Marion Cotillard (I La Vie en Rose), Laura Linney (The Savages), Ellen Page (Juno)

Want to Win - Julie Christie. She was the female version of my dad the three years before he died.

Don't Want To Win - Cate Blanchett

Should Win - Julie Christie

Will Win - Julie Christie

Best Supporting Actor - Casey Affleck (The Assasination of Jesse James), Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into The Wild), Tom Wilkerson (Michael Clayton)

Want to Win - Hal Holbrook. Loved him since Mark Twain.

Don't Want To Win - Javier Bardem. Good role but it wasn't a supporting role it was a lead role. He was on the screen more than any actor in the movie. Should have been nominated for lead role not supporting role. My sense of justice says it isn't fair to put him into the same catergory as a Tom Wilkerson or a Hal Holbrook whom had true supporting roles.

Should Win - Hal Holbrook.

Will Win - in an upset Hal Holbrook.

Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There), Ruby Dee (Amercan Gangster), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Want to win - Ruby Dee, I'm just fond of older actors and actresses. Let them go out of this world being appreciated.

Don't Want To Win - doesn't matter I like all these ladies.

Should Win - Amy Ryan

Will Win - Saoirse Ronan

Best Song - Falling Slowly (Once), Raise It Up (August Rush), all from Enchanted (Happy Working Song, So Close, That's How You Know)

Want to Win - Falling Slowly (Once)

Don't Want To Win - anything from Enchanted.

Should Win - Falling Slowly (Once)

Will Win - Falling Slowly (Once). If this doesn't win look for news reports of a man going insane and destroying his new HDTV.

Last but not least Cinematography- The Assasination of Jesse James, Atonement, There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly.

Want to Win - I am really partial to The Diving Bell & The Butterfly. My dad had a stroke, I once donated my time to help with stroke victims. This is real.

Don't Want To Win - The Assasination of Jesse James.

Should Win - Atonement

Will Win - There Will Be Blood.

May your family and friends appreciate you today and give you awards for being there for them!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Some Of My Garage Photo Finds

This is my mom and dad's wedding picture. They couldn't afford a big wedding or a wedding dress. There were five people at their wedding, best man, bridesmaid, minister, and the two love birds. Two months later they bought a hotel and restaurant for ten bucks. They operated the hotel and restaurant for a year when dad became a district manager for a national hardware chain.

A few years later their third child and second son was born. This is I at a very young age.

When Bill got a little older he became quite disturbed that he was the only one in the family with red hair. He thought he was adopted and would hop on his horse, Dolly, and run away from home. He didn't go far, just to his grandma's house.

In the late eighties ater a separation of a few years the brothers reunited at the older brother's home in Lake Oswego, Oregon. One got the looks, the other got the brains. You have to guess which one is which. You also have to guess which one had the perm and which one has naturally curly hair. We don't have the dos now, we both have short hair.

A couple of years later one of the brothers wrote a book about fantasy football, the other brother edited it. The author really didn't excel that much as the network that he appeared on went broke and off the air the day after his appearance.

Hope this will be an outstanding day for all of you!!

I've Been In Mourning

I've been in mourning since Wednesday when I lost my good friend Jill. While I've had a hard time shedding a tear over her loss it has been difficult. I've had a difficult time getting to my blog, unable to write in my blog, couldn't read my email, go to the message boards or web pages I normally go to. She was someone that while she may not offer you a compliment she never once criticized me. I knew I could share my most intimate writings with her and never be judged.

This is so male and so shallow but I quit mourning Jill when a younger and faster model came into my life. Ashley and I spent yesterday getting to know each other and are now ready to face the world together.

My old computer, Jill crashed on Wednesday. Ashley, my new computer came into my life on Friday. I hope you won't hold how fast I replaced Jill with Ashley against her and welcome Ashley into the world of blogging.

My blog will be up and running again tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Letter From My Dad

Was cleaning out the garage today. I am lately a little obsessed with cleanliness and order. The garage needs both so I started the process early this morning. I found a scrapbook my mom had made for me a few years back. In it as was a letter my dad had written to me while I was in college after the car accident. I thought I would share that with you now.

Dear Bill

We miss you here at home but are proud that you are in college. My greatest disappointment in life is that I had to drop out of college after two years to care for my sisters.

Hope you are doing well and are doing better than your Dodgers. Mom and I are working hard in the store but love our customers.

Thought I would share with you the prayer that your Mom and I say every morning:

"So far today. I've done all right;

I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I'm very thankful for that.

But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of this bed and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help." Amen.

We will be looking for your visit after the spring term is complete. The doctor says you have to have one more surgery this summer. Please know our hearts are always with you. We will be there when the surgery is scheduled. We know it has been tough for you but you are strong and we are sure you will pull through like a champ.

Mom wants to send one a prayer for you. Written by John Hall.


Is anybody happier because you passed their way?

Does anyone rememer that you spoke to them today?

The day is over and toiling time is through.

Will anyone now utter a kindly word about you?

Can you say a single soul that passed your way?

Is a heart rejoicing over what you did or said?

Did you waste the day or spend it well?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

Will the world be better for the day you lived?

Well, take care Bill, we love all three of you children.



Now you know why I miss my dad so much and always will.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dancing With The Stars - Season 6 Lineup

Because I have several business meetings tomorrow and will be away from the computer most of the day I am doing tomorrows post tonight. Most of my old clients are requesting me to be there for their first meeting with the guys that bought my business. It is nice to see the clients and I get paid for watching the other guys work. Life is good.

Dancing With The Stars begins March 17th. The cast was announced tonight on Dance Wars.

Sorry, Pat. Kristi McNichol was a rumor and isn't in the cast but there are some pretty well known folks this time.

The Women:

Marlee Matlin - The Oscar winning deaf actress. The was also in west wing.

Pricella Presley - Elvis's ex. At 62 the oldest woman to perform to date.

Marissa Jaret Winoker – Broadway actress who has won a Tony Award for her performance in “Hairspray.”

Kristi Yamaguchi – Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater and world champion.

Monica Seles – World No. 1 tennis player.

Shannon Elizabeth – an actress named Maxim’s Hottest Woman in the World.

I know of all of the women except Shannon Elizabeth and Winoker.

The Men:

Penn Jillette – Hulky magician of Penn & Teller fame.

Adam Carolla – Comedian, radio personality, and Co-Host of The Man Show.

Cristian de la Fuente – Latin heartthrob who can be summed up in one word: “Purrrrr…”

Mario – R&B singer whose song “Let Me Love You” spent 9 weeks at number one.

Steve Guttenberg – Experienced actor

Jason Taylor – NFL All-Star of the Miami Dolphins

I only know of three. Jason Taylor, Steve Guttenberg, and Penn Jillette.

The professional partners will be announced at a later date.

Passing The Trash

Once in a while there is a story in the paper that not only makes me cringe but touches my sense of justice in a way that it makes me extremely angry.

This morning's paper had one of those stories. It was about teachers accused of sexually abusing their students then signing confidentiality agreements with their school district that requires the teachers to resign from the district but also requires the school district not to make public any charges against the teacher or go after the teacher's license. The teacher can go to another district or state and still teach. The procedure is called "Passing The Trash."

While the article focused mostly on Oregon it mentioned that "Passing The Trash" was common throughout the country. California's problems with the secret agreements led the state Supreme Court to rule that districts that sign such pacts can be sued. In 1997, the California court ruled that a student sexually molested by a middle school vice principal in the Livingston Union School District could sue the three previous school districts that employed the vice principal for fraud and negilgence. Mary Jo McGrath, a school law attorney and sexual abuse expert in Santa Barbara, California was quoted in the article as saying "The secret deals are one of the main things that keep the wheels greased on the machinery that keeps passing around the molesters."

Let me be clear on this, I love and respect teachers. Ninety-nine per cent of teachers are underappreciated, underpaid, hard working folks that have their students' interests at heart. It is that one percent that make it hard for the good ones to gain the respect they deserve. The number of teachers that have complaints filed against them is a just a fraction of the total number of teachers but they get the publicity.

The lead story in the article is about Kenneth Cushing. He was accused of clutching the students' waists, touching their buttocks, and massaging their shoulders. To get him away from the school district he was working in and the eight middle school girls he was accused of touching would take months. To get him out of the district immediately the school district signed an agreement with him. If he would resign immediately they would attribute his departure to "personal reasons" and make no reference to the agreement. Even though Cushing eventually had his license revoked by the Oregon State Teacher Standards and Practice Commission he went on to teach at a charter school in Arizona and a private all boys school in New Hampshire.

During the past five years NEARLY HALF of Oregon teachers disciplined for sexual misconduct with a child left the school district with confidentiality agreements. Some were promised health insurance, cash settlements, AND letters of recommendations as incentives for resigning.

The Oregonian, through public records requests, uncovered two confidential agreements in which the state commission on teacher responsibility agreed not to discipline the accused teachers if they agreed not to teach in Oregon. One of the agreements was with an elementary school teacher who befriended a fourth grader in his class. When the girl turned 16 and the teacher was 32 he started having sex with her. The teacher was charged with nineteen counts of sexual abuse. A judge acquitted him of all charges. He admitted to having sex with the girl but only after she turned 18. He signed an agreement not to teach in Oregon. He appeared again as a teacher in Montana.

Not outraged enough? A music teacher surrendered his license in 1997 after admitting to soliciting sex from a student. He was ordered to get counseling. After the counseling his license was reinstated two years later and he is now teaching in three schools.

I feel dirty, time for me to go take a shower.

Read the entire article at

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oscar Nominated Songs

I admit it, I am a movie and awards show geek. I'm extremely excited that the writers' strike is settled and The Oscars are going on next Sunday as scheduled.

One of my favorite parts of the Oscar show are the performances of the nominated songs. My favorite song this year is Falling Slowly from the Irish indie film Once. Oscar night Falling Slowing is going to be performed by the stars of Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. My guess is after their Oscar performance the sales of the soundtrack from Once will increase dramatically.

Amy Adams will sing Happy Working Song from Enchanted. That's How You Know also from Enchanted will be sung by Kristin Chenoworth and Marion Saunders. Another song from Enchanted So Close will be performed by Jon McLaughlin.

The last nominated song, Raise It Up from August Rush, will be performed by Jamie Simone Nash accompanied by the IMPACT Repertory Theatre of Harlem.

I haven't decided what I am going to do Sunday Night for the Oscars. Usually I watch the show from the safety of my home. This year I am giving serious consideration to going to one of the Oscar parties they have in Portland. The On Deck Sports Bar in Northwest Portland is putting on an Oscar extravaganza complete with red carpet. It might be a really fun way to meet people with common interests. Besides, men don't usually go to Oscar parties and if I'm the only man there that signicantly increases my chances to meet someone.

That is it for the day. May your day be filled with love and laughter.

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Update On My Writing Project

I usually consider my writing projects fairly private so this is a big step to talk about it today.

I've reviewed my two thousand pages of research. Reviewed some of the chapters that I've already written. Now I am looking for a software program written for writers. As soon as I find the right software then I am going to set aside two hours early every morning to just write on the project.

The project started not because I wanted to write a novel but because I wanted to find out want happened to my brother. Now it has developed into a form for me to get in touch with my creativity and as a way to heal some family wounds. I am writing the project in novel form but not for publication. I'm really aware that the chance for a first time writer to get published is slim or none. I'm just doing it for fun not profit.

My brother was a pretty well known lawyer in the Portland area who specialized in wrongful death, civil rights, medical malpractice, and personal injury. In the early 90's he took on a wrongful death case against a local police department where an unarmed was shot to death while he was on the ground. The case went all the way to court and the judgment went against my brother. After the case my brother became really depressed and decided to leave both Portland and the law profession. He moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to become an outfitter and rancher. He wouldn't talk about the case, the mere thought of it would send him into deep silence. Being very curious about what in that case lead my brother to make such drastic changes I did what a loving brother would do. I investigated the case on my own. What I found was frightening.

Searching for Justice is based on that case. It is being done as a factional novel, a genre that is a fictional novel based on a true event. In investigating my brother's case I found a link between gangs, drugs, and the increase in the number of instances of deadly force used by police departments. Not only in Portland, but in San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Cleveland and so forth. When investigating my brother's case I tried to talk to witnesses but couldn't because they had disappeared. Not just moved, fell off of the face of the earth. I found instances where my brother was followed and had his phone lines taped.

There you have the basics of my writing project.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

One rumor has it that Valentine's Day originated to commemorate the anniversary of the death of St. Valentine, a Roman clergyman who was executed in 270A.D., for secretly marrying couples in defiance of the emperor. Since I like this story we will run with it.

Valentine's Day is also the State of Oregon's birthday. Today is Oregon's 149th birthday having been founded in 1859. Oregon is also the only state that was founded on Valentine's Day.

Some statistics that relate to Valentine's Day.

According to the American Kennel Club 34% of women claim that if their dog was a man they would want him as their boyfriend.

85% of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased by women while 73% of all flowers are purchased by men.

Profits from chocolate candy sales for the day of love exceed one billion dollars.

15% of American Men and Women send cards and gifts to themeselves on the love day.

65 % of households celebrate the day with greeting cards, 44% celebrate with a date night, 38% with flowers, and 32% with candy.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm back

Sorry I have been away from the blog for a couple of days. The caregiver at Mom's was ill so I filled in for two days. It really went pretty well and I'm not as tired as I usually am after a couple of days there. Mom also has decided on a place she likes but doesn't really want to move until her house sells which actually makes sense. The place she now likes is the first one we looked at in the city next to me, Newberg. She has finally come to terms with the idea that people in retirement homes are going to be "old".

Right now she is happy with her choice but I am sure her mind will change many times before she actually makes the leap.

On to other things. I was glad to see the writers' strike end. Now there will be an Oscar show!

Obama seems to have picked up a lot of momentum. We don't vote here in Oregon until May 20th and I haven't decided who I am going to vote for. I keep going back and forth between Hilliary and Obama. I think we are lucky to have two really great candidates. Right now even though I think the time for a woman president is long overdue I am leaning towards Obama. My reason? Hilliary will energize the Democratic base but she will also energize the opponents' base against her. Obama will energize the Democratic base without energizing the opponents' base.

That is it for the day. Hope you all have a great evening filled with laughter and love.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Pig In Cinderella

One of my favorite authors is Robert Fulgham. I love his simplistic approach to life. He is the one that wrote "Everything I Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten." The book has so many stories in it that make me laugh. A few years ago Fulgham was giving a lecture at a local church that I was able to attend. He also allowed me to record the lecture. Just yesterday I found the tape of the lecture and listened to it again. I thought today I would share one of the stories that he told during the lecture. The story of Norman the pig in Cinderella.

The story begins at a convention of kindergarten and first grade teachers in Seattle. They had asked a teacher that was a drama specialist to put on a production with kindergarten students for the teachers in attendance. The drama specialist was so good at her trade that she had on previous occasions done Wagner with the young students. She went to her students and asked the students what they would like to do. The kids voted on performing Cinderella.

All of the students were assigned parts. At least they thought everyone was assigned a part until the teacher looked over in the corner and there was Norman. Norman wasn't really strange, he was just different and was the thinker. He sort of lived on the fringes of kindergarten society. He just wasn't a group kind of guy. After the teacher saw Norman standing there she went over to him. "Norman all the parts are assigned, all the costumes are made wouldn't you like to be in Cinderella?" Norman said sure and the really cool teacher then asked Norman "What part would you like to play?" Norman responds "I want to be the pig." The Teacher "Norman there is no Pig in Cinderella." Norman "Well, there is now." Now this teacher got to thinking she could leave Norman on the sidelines or she could include Norman. She thought, well nobody knows what the pig does, nobody else wants to be the pig, so she said "Norman, you be the pig. You figure it out."

Norman not only figured it out but he created one of the finest walk on parts in kindergarten drama history. Norman decided he was Cinderella's personal pig. Where she went, he went. Didn't say anything, he had no lines. He wore pink long underwear and a dixie cup on his nose. Then he just sat next to Cinderella as he looked out at the audience. Norman reflected on his face what was happening in the story. As I am sure you remember the start of the story is really pretty grim. Cinderella didn't get to go the the ball. The step sisters did a number on her. As this was unfolding Norman had such a look of concern and angst on his face that the audience that knew the story well began to doubt that just maybe the story wasn't going to work out the same way this time. They were watching Cinderella through fresh eyes.

At the end of the story when the Prince came and put Cinderella's glass shoes on, Cinderella and the Prince rode of into the sunset to live happily ever after. When the shoes fit Cinderella Norman broke his silence. He jumped to his feet to dance aroound barking like a dog. Woof! Woof! Woof Woof! It brought the house down. There had never been such joy in Cinderella before.

When the play was over and all the childen came of to take their bows, Norman came out on all fours and received a standing ovation. Remember these were teachers in the audience, they knew that the real Cinderella in this story wasn't the pretty little girl with the button nose and the blonde hair but it was Norman. Norman the barking dancing pig. The story is about transformation. Finding your place in the scheme of things no matter who you are. The teachers in the audience also knew the real Fairy God Mother was the teacher. The drama specialist standing off the the side of the stage weeping because she had witnessed the transformation.

Don't you love this story? It really isn't a children's story but it is an adult story. Haven't we all at one time been Norman? Why can't I be in the drama of life and still be me? I want to be me and I want to be in theatre of life. Haven't we also at one time been where that teacher was? Haven't we been the person with the power to say, "come on we have room for a dancing barking pig." You can be you and you can be included. Don't we kind of play both roles recurrently during our life? My goal from now on is the play those roles as well as Norman played the dancing barking pig and use the power the teacher had to include others in the scheme of life.

May this day be a day of happiness, joy and love for you all.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Clara Is Back

It has now been over three weeks since the uninsured, unlicensed driver ran a red light and disabled my car. Finally, just yesterday I got the car back. It took longer than expected because they found more damage and had to get additional approval from the insurance company to pay for the additional damage. Then yesterday when I went to pick the car up it was ready except that the doofuses forgot to put the antenna back on. They took almost a half of an hour to find my antenna. The car does look gerat and I am just glad to be able to drive Clara again.

I named my car after my Aunt Clara. When Aunt Clara died in 2004 she left me an annuity that was just enough to buy a new car. I was totally shocked that she thought that much of me because we really hadn't been in contact for a while. Bless her heart.

My dad had five sisters. From oldest to youngest, Nola, Augusta, Emilla, Clara, and Ella. Emilla and Augusta married brothers. Nola married young but was widowed at an early age. Clara and Ella both married but never had children. I knew all of them very well except Nola. I was to young when Nola was in my life to really remember her. Augusta's husband, Bob, always took me to Dodger games when I visited them in L.A. They lived in Glendale. Our family usually spent thanksgiving at Bill and Emilla's in Longmont, Colorado. We often visited Clara and Ella in San Francisco. They would take us to Fisherman's wharf and various places around San Francisco. Clara was my guiding light to become a CPA. Ella was my idol because of where she lived, Nob Hill in a absolutely beautiful house. A house that I always wanted. All five sisters have passed on now. Clara and Ella were the last. Clara in 2004 and Ella last year. Both were living in Sun City, California at the time of their deaths. After Dad died and then Clara passed away I felt a real need to reconnect with Aunt Ella. I begin emailing her and writing her snail mail letters. What I found was an amazingly bright 88 year-old woman that was having her writings published in the local newspaper. When my cousin was cleaning out her house she found some amazing writings of Aunt Ella and we are considering having them published. I'm hoping I have Aunt Ella's writing genes.

I don't know what is making me think of my aunts on my dad's side. Probably because the car is such a close connection to Aunt Clara. Clara and Ella were very close. When I have my car, Clara, I feel really close to them. The last three weeks I not only missed my car but missed the connection to Aunts Clara and Ella. I'm glad that connection is back.

Today Mom and I are taking Clara for a drive to McMinville, Oregon to look at a retirement home. McMinville is about an hour from where I live but I pre-screened the retirement home and think Mom would like it. Wish me luck everyone.

May this be an outstanding day for all of you. Laugh a little, love a lot.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Around The Dial

Things I heard on the radio this morning driving out to my annual eye appointment.

Tom Jones the English singer recently insured his chest hair for seven million dollars. When I got home I checked the mirror and I think there is a good chance I could insure my chest hair for $1.99.

According to an online survey 25% of men and a third of women are jealous. They didn't say what age groups but I would think the older you get the less jealous you become.

According to you can make money by starting a business to clean up murder sites. When I got home I went to their web page and if you want some unusual business tips here is the link:

According to one report on the radio there is a huge trend in bloggers posing as celebrities. Hmm, I wonder if I could get away posing as Eli Manning. I hear he is in style right now. Seriously, do the bloggers really think they will get away with it for the long term?

In a hurry to get of the house to be on time for a meeting and you are completely out of shoe polish? Use a banana to shine your shoes. They said it would work. I might be in trouble though because I try not to buy shoes that need potassium.

According to an online survey the greatest fear taxpayers have is of being audited. It is generally an unrealistic fear since only 1% of all returns get audited. The IRS is, however, good at generating fear. Watch for stories to come out the next couple of months that tell horror stories that taxpayers went through because they did one little thing wrong. Those stories are usually IRS plants to encourage compliance.

That is it for the day. Good luck to you all for a happy and productive day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Where The Candidates Stand

Super Tuesday is behind us, now we will move on to more primaries and eventually the general election in November. Yesterday The Oregonian did a nice summary of where the candidates stand on certain issues. I thought it would be a great idea to restate some of that article in today's post. I do think The Oregonian missed out on a couple of important issues: 1. The decline of the value of dollar. When in your lifetime has the Canadian dollar been worth more than the American Dollar? Well, it is now folks. 2. The reduction in the budget for the care of the elderly. I am going to give you all an assignment. Visit the closest nursing home in your area and make that visit at night. Then tell me we are treating our seniors with dignity and respect. Due to federal cuts most states only require that nursing homes have one nurse for twenty-five patients at night. That poor nurse and those poor patients. Think that is adequate care? Think that is fair to the nurse? 3. The national debt. The interest on the national debt alone would cover the entire defense budget, the social security budget, and give health care to anyone in the U.S. Just the interest on the debt.

The issues The Oregonian did cover:


Clinton - Supports the woman's right to choose.

Obama - Same as Clinton.

Huckabee - Favors banning abortion.

McCain - Overturn Roe vs. Wade

Romney - Opposes abortion rights but would leave it up to the states. Previously supported abortion rights.


Clinton - $10 billion for universal preschool. Originally supported No Child Left Behind now would replace it. Proposes $10,000 higher-education scholarships for those who engage in national service for full time for one year.

Obama - $18 billion for preschool, higher teacher pay, $4,000 college tax credit for community service. Supports teacher monitoring programs.

Huckabee - Give the control of education to the states.

McCain - Urges vouchers for school choice and community college aid.

Romney - Supports both better pay for teachers and No Child Left Behind.


Clinton - Raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000 and keep the estate tax for those with estates of over three million.

Obama - Raise income taxes on the wealthiest and tax capital gains and dividends at higher rates than they are now. Would raise corporate taxes.
Proposes 80 billion in tax breaks mainly for the elderly and the poor workers.

Huckabee - Replaces the current income tax system with a national sales tax.

McCain - Twice opposed Bush tax cuts now would make them permanent.
Romney - Tax breaks for those making less than $200,000, would eliminate capital gains tax and tax on interest and dividends. Would cut the top corporate tax to 20% from 46%.


Clinton - Originally supported the war will not commit to a time table for withdrawal. Opposed troop increase.

Obama - Wants combat troops home within 16 months. Opposed troop increase.

Huckabee - Faults President Bush for not sending enough troops at the start of the war, supported troop increase.

McCain - Early critic of how the war was fought, supported troop increase, opposes time table for withdrawal.

Romney - Supported both troop increase and the prosecution of the war.


Clinton - Noncommittal on raising the cap on the wages social security is taxed at. Proposes a federal match of $1,000 to help set up 401-K plans.

Obama - Would raise the cap on the wages social securty is taxed at.

Huckabee - Higher benefits for those that wait until 70 to take benefits.

McCain - Would consider almost anything to save social security.

Romney - Raising taxes is the wrong way to go.


Clinton - Proposes 110 billion a year for mandatory universal coverage. Raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it.

Obama - Plan calls only for universal coverage of children. Would raise taxes on wealthy.

Huckabee - Favors market solution and state innovation.

McCain - $2,500 tax credit per taxpayer to help pay for health insurance.

Romney - Proposes to give states incentives to expand affordable coverage. As governor, signed law aimed at ensuring universal coverage.

Now that you know where the candidates stand, did you vote for the right one based on your beliefs?

May this be a rewarding and wonderful day for all of you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Sunday, Reflection Monday

It was a great game yesterday. Most Super Bowls are blowouts but yesterday's game went down to the final seconds. Sorry, Lisa, but I was glad that the Giants won, 17-14.

One of the heroes of the game was wide receiver David Tyree. Tyree didn't even catch his first pass of the year until December. All through the regular season he had a total of three catches and forty yards. No catches in the playoffs until yesterday. Tyree's Mom died of a heart attack in December and Tyree dedicated the Super Bowl to his Mom. No doubt she was watching over him. Yesterday Tyree made three catches for forty-three yards. One of the catches was a touchdown. However, the catch of the game was in the fourth quarter on a third down play. Eli Manning, the quarterback, went back to pass. He was almost sacked twice, he scrambled away from the pile and then just threw the football. Tyree made a leaping catch with two defenders on him, the ball hit his head and he had the concentration to hold on to it with one hand. All three players hit the ground and Tyree hung on to the ball. This play will be replayed for years as it was probably one of the most amazing plays in Super Bowl history.

The commercials? I only liked two. My favorite was a Budweister commercial where when a Clydesdale failed to be chosen for the first team a Dalmation trained the Clydesdale. The next year the Clydesdale made the team, the ad ends with the Clydesdale and the Dalmation high fiving each other. I am kind of embarassed to admit to the second commercial I liked but it made me laugh. It was an Amp Up commercial. A man jumps a battery of a car of a nice looking lady by hooking the jumper cables up to his own nipples. Sorry but I laughed.

Away from the Super Bowl, there was a personal ad in the Oregonian this morning that just made me smile. Here is the ad:

"Did they eighty year-old man forget the phone number of the eighty year-old woman that he met last week? We talked about opera and sailing."

The woman then put her phone number in the ad.

I'd love that woman, she has spirit. I hope the guy calls and takes her sailing and then to the opera.

May this be a peaceful fun loving day for you all.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My Response to Pat

I was going to do a new post today but after reading my response to Pat I thought that would be a good post to open up some discussion about how to deal with elderly relatives.

Pat has been a friend for a long time. She had the same issues with her mom. Her mom is now in an assisted living center. She has gone through a lot of the same emotions that I have in finding a place for my Mom. Right now Pat can't visit her mom because Pat is recovering from a broken ankle.

In her post Pat suggested that I limit my visits to three of four days a week. I actually agree with her but it is going to be very difficult for me to do that.

Here is my response to Pat:

Hi Pat

Sorry you are having so much trouble posting here. I always love to hear your opinion. On this subject I know you know better than anyone what I am dealing with. I know you are right that I should cut down my visits to three or four times a week but I am battling several things that make it difficult for me to let go myself:

Mom's memory is declining. It would be great if she would make a list of everything she needs done and the groceries she needs then I could do it all in one day. However, she always leaves something critical off of the list. I try to be patient and just go the next day to get what she left off. Sometimes I do lose my patience.

Mom's background. She has taken care of someone since she was 12. Her dad was bed ridden so her mom had to work outside the home. My mom took care of her dad for six years before he died. That is what you did back then. Then she took care of me for eight years during my recovery from the accident. Then it was dad until he died. I kind of think that mom is of the frame of mind that she should be taken care of by her family. My brother and sister get a pass because they are married and don't live near. I don't get either pass.

My own guilt feelings. I've been a damn good son the last eight years. However, there was a time in my life when I left a lot of damage in my wake. I am not proud of that damage and the hurt that I caused. I feel a strong need to work to be forgiven for some of my not so loving actions.

The guilt feelings, combined with Mom's emotion, and her controlling personality often puts me in a position of having to decide to go or to stay. One of the days I visited last week when I got ready to go she started to cry. Was it an honest emotion? Or was she crying to keep me there? If it was the first then staying was probably a good idea, if it was the later then leaving was probably the better option. I chose to stay a while. Better safe than sorry.

Those guilt feelings also come to the front when I go there and all she is doing is sitting in her chair staring out the window. It just breaks my heart that that is what her life has come to. Sitting and staring. How boring that must be. Because of that picture that stays in my mind I feel it becomes my responsibility to get her to do things. Since she can't drive it becomes me that has to take her out into the world.

A retirement home would really be the best for Mom, she just can't see it yet. At least there would be people there to talk to and activities to get involved in. I'm hoping that I can eventually get her to understand what will be better for both of us.

It might just come to the place where I say enough is enough and do like you suggested, limit my visits to three days or four days a week. I kind of need to get there myself. I got there with the nightly stays, it only took eight years. My guess is won't take me as long this time. Maybe eight days.

Comments would be appreciated.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Emotion of The Day

An update on where I am with Mom and finding a retirement home for Mom. We haven't found just the right retirement home for Mom yet. Mom is really having a hard time letting go of her house. She has been letting go of me. She hired a second caregiver to take over the nights that I used to stay there. This has helped me tremendously. When I woke up this morning I realized for the first time in eight years that I wasn't tired. I haven't stayed over night at Mom's house for just two weeks now and it has just taken a big lift off of my shoulders. Just two weeks of staying in my own house and sleeping in my own bed has reinvigorated me.

It isn't like I don't still have a lot to do to help Mom it is just that I don't have to pack and unpack every week and sleep on a couch. This is an example of what I've done to help mom the last few days:

Friday the 26th - Took her to the heart doctor

Saturday the 27th - Changed the batteries in the smoke alarms at her house and changed the batteries in all of her cordless phones. Also set up a non-cordless phone so if she loses power she can still call out.

Sunday the 28th - Took her to Baja Fresh for lunch and to check out a retirement home.

Monday the 29th - Had to be there at 8 a.m. in the morning because the cable company was coming to program her remote controls.

Tuesday the 30th - Took her to lunch. I try to get her out at least three days a week. It is good for her to interact with people.

Wednesday the 31st - Went over and fixed her and the new caregiver dinner.

Thursday the 1st - Took her to dinner and to her bridge club .

Friday the 2nd - Took her shopping and to a quick bite at Wendy's.

Today I will be there most of the morning to do her books and fix some things around her house.

On top of the above I have my own house that always needs something done, a job, walking, and so forth. As you can see the new caregiver has helped but the burden is still there for me. The burden isn't as large as it was two weeks ago but it is still there. I've got a new list of retirement homes to check out this week. Maybe one of them will be the right one for my sometimes not so easy to please lovely Mom.

However, the emotion of the day that I am going to remember is that I am not tired. I'm going to have to adjust to not being tired and maybe now I can stay up past nine without falling to sleep!

May this be a rewarding and fun day for everyone.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Walking The Mall

The last two days I had breakfast meetings so I didn't get my early walk in, however, both meetings were near a mall so I walked the mall after breakfast. One of the malls was Washington Square in Tigard, the other was Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas.

The last two days I learned a lot about mall walking and thought I would share some of that knowledge today.

Women that walk the mall range in age from 18 to 94. Yes 94. I stopped and talked to the lady and she told me her age. Sure she was using a walker, sure she was walking a bit slow but bless her heart she was out there trying and not sitting at home looking out the window.

Men that walk the mall range in age from 150 to 200. Seriously probably in the mid-70s. I was the youngest man walking the mall by at least twenty years.

Each mall has the same type of people, so much so that you may even forget what mall you are in:

The greeter. Usually a man. Says hi and nice to see you to every living soul at the mall. Introduces himself to every new person there.

Then there is the speed demon. Walks faster than someone running the three minute mile. He barely lasts a lap. Then it is coffee and a sausage biscuit at McDonalds.

The nonconformist. Walks exactly the opposite direction that everyone else is walking.

Finally, there is the senior social club. About twenty people sitting around tables at either McDonalds or Starbucks. As soon as the walk is over they come together to talk over the politics of the day, their aches and pains, relatives, and sports. It is amazing what a man can learn if you sit outside the group and listen.

I also learned there are some dangers in walking the mall. The dangers fall into one of three catergories; mild, serious, or extreme danger.

The mild danger is only if you are the youngest man walking the mall and if sometimes when you walk one of your shoelaces works it way untied. With so many woman that are mom's it is a real danger that one of them will drop down and tie your shoe for you. I kind of went with the flow and thanked her. I might have been upset if she had asked me when my daily feeding was.

The serious danger comes from the new moms's stroller club. About twenty of them meet at each mall and try to work back in shape. However, if you are walking the mall at the same time they are watch out for the new moms and their strollers. If you see them coming get out of the way fast otherwise the first one will knock you over and the last one will reach down to test you pulse to make sure they didn't kill you. Then you can get up, brush yourself off, and continue your walk.

The extreme danger is the Cinnabon at the end of the walk. Fighting temptation has never been my strong suit.

That is for the day may peace and prosperity be with you all.