Category Archives: Family

Driving Lady Lilli

It’s always nice to see family – it’s especially nice when said family has a gorgeous old Model A that they let me drive!

(Photo by Melanie Kordis)

My dad had a 1929 Model A – this is (I think) a 1931 Deluxe Model A. The long-suffering-sister-in-law was kind enough to let me take it out for a while with her and she didn’t have a nervous breakdown or raise her voice or nothing!

(Photo by Melanie Kordis)

She did at one point very calmly and politely point out that we were passing the local courthouse and that coincidentally this is where the local speed limit was 25 mph and she had managed to not yet ever get a speeding ticket there despite the fact that it was heavily enforced… It seemed an odd point at first, but then again, I’ve often been accused of being a slow learner. (I slowed down, we did not get a ticket.)

Driving the Model A requires a delicate touch, even for those who are used to driving a stick shift. After doing my best to take 20,000 miles off the life of the transmission, I was catching on much better at the end. It was fun!

Thanks, Melanie!!

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Filed under Family, Paul, Photography, Travel

Noisy Visitor

My usual Saturday out at the CAF SoCal hangar in Camarillo. We had a somewhat rare and unusual visitor on the ramp.

A great-great-grandchild of sorts to our PT-19 trainer and the SNJ trainer that followed, the T-45 trainer is used today to teach naval aviators how to fly jets.

It says “Navy” on this side and “Marines” on the other – same difference to a certain extent, both are “naval aviators” and trained to take off and land from aircraft carriers. Note the launch hook sticking out from the front of the nose wheel, and the retracted tailhook at the rear. The T-45 is what today’s naval aviator is flying when he or she does his or her first carrier landings.

This would be a fun ride! I wouldn’t even need to be in the front seat!

There’s a whole bunch of “remove before flight” flags while it’s parked.

Not just for show, eventually they had to leave to go back to El Centro where they’re based.

Up close and personal, it’s really, really loud! (Video tomorrow if I get a few minutes to clean it up and edit a bit.)



Filed under CAF, Family, Photography

Goodbye, March – Don’t Let The Door Hit You In The Ass

In what was a pretty high stress inducing, low stress relief, royal pain in the ass month, there were at the other extreme some pretty good times. There wasn’t a lot of middle ground it seems.

Without whining and bitching, let’s just say that this time of year, being in charge of two different accounting departments, both for non-profits that are living up to that descriptor, has been…”challenging.” There have been a lot of hours and a lot of wondering, “Okay, how do I solve THIS one?”

Yet here I am, still (more or less) on my feet.

Meanwhile, there were two very lovely weeks where it was great to see my son home on leave. He’s in the US Air Force and was finishing a couple of years there and heading towards a couple of years over in this other part of the world, so it was great to see him again. To their credit, my boss and co-workers did a great job of kicking my ass out of the office to go to hockey games and baseball games and conventions with him. (To be quite clear, while the job has its good days and its bad, the people I work with are wonderful.)

The hockey was nice, even if my beloved Kings are hanging onto their playoff hopes by a thread with a week to go. But baseball starts on Sunday and hope springs eternal, even if my hockey team is checking out tee times.

The convention I went to last week was a ton of fun. I saw lots of good friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, in some cases in a long while. I could stand to do that more often.

We made plans, plane tickets, hotel, and car rental for our trip in August to see the total solar eclipse. More on that later, I’m sure!

And despite it all, I have managed to make some progress in the last few days on a number of long-range issues. There’s some satisfaction there, despite the two-steps forward and one-step back nature of it sometimes.

While I can itemize many good things that happened, over it all hangs a pair of clouds – I’m so freakin’ tired all the time, and I dread turning on the news or looking at what’s happening in politics. Both of those things are such a constant drain.

Yet we carry on.

Now we waltz into April. And the jokes are already filling up Twitter and FaceBook. Let’s hope there are some good ones. I could use them. We all could.


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Filed under Family, Habitat For Humanity, LA Angels, LA Kings

Home Alone

We’ve lived in this house for over twenty-six years. There have always been kids, wives (not multiple ones at the same time, smartass!), dogs, cats, etc.

Tonight I’m home alone for what I think is only the third or fourth day in that entire span. It’s a little odd.

For one thing it’s quiet. Like, really quiet. While I’ve been watching the World Baseball Classic on television (let’s hear it for the USA!!) I’ve found it easier to watch with the sound off. Fewer annoying ads that way, and no need to keep turning the sound off and on as the ads come and go.

Then the noises started.

Okay, so I’m not entirely alone. It sounds like Rocky and/or Raquel and the brood are up on the roof. I’m used to that, although it’s surprisingly loud when I’m not hearing it over music or the television.

Once they left, I started hearing a chirping every minute or so. Today, of all days, a smoke alarm started getting low on its battery.

Once I killed that, I was startled by some fairly loud gurgling and watery sounds. I honestly didn’t know what it was and was starting to fear the worst when I got up to investigate. It turns out my short-term memory also sucks – the sounds came from the dish washer I had started a while ago.

(Which is also weird. I’m proud of my “dish washer Tetris” skills but had to start it when it was less than half full. With just me and my visiting son here for a few days, we used paper plates but ran out of silverware. I thought it better to run a half-empty dishwasher rather than going out and buying more silverware.)

Then the music started. I was in the living room but I could hear music from my office. I came in here to find some great tunes playing from my usual Sirius-XM station. The only thing is that there’s apparently no browser open, and it’s not playing a recording from an earlier broadcast, so I have no clue why it started suddenly or how it’s playing.

At least my poltergeists share my taste in music! (Or they can’t change the channel.)

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Filed under Castle Willett, Computers, Critters, Family, Music

No New Dog Today

I think today was the first non-holiday weekday where I haven’t worked since we went to New York City in August. That means that the errands and chores had built up for all of the places that aren’t open on Sundays. (I am, of course, either at a Saturday work event or at the CAF hangar every Saturday.)

I had replaced the battery on the van over the weekend to get it mobile again. With that accomplished, first thing this morning I had it loaded up with aluminum cans and plastic bottles for the recycling center.

Once I was done at the recycling center I realized that the back of the van still had two or three boxes of dog food, treats, bones, and various dishes and dog toys. I had gathered them up for donation somewhere but hadn’t ever gotten around to it. But the recycling center is only two blocks from the LA County Animal Shelter, the same one where twenty years ago (HOLY GUACAMOLE, BATMAN, TWENTY FREAKIN’ YEARS??!!) we got the legendary “Lucky Puppy.”

They were more than happy to take the donation. When I walked back out to the van to start bringing the boxes in, a pickup truck had pulled up next to my van. The driver had gone in but in the truck bed was a gorgeous yellow lab.

He was friendly, wanted attention, a good dog. He seemed healthy, not too old, maybe five or six years, and was just a vision of the typical “I just want to be friends with everyone and everything – do you have a ball?!” yellow lab.

And this was the place where people drop off animals that they found wandering around lost or the ones that they can’t keep any more.


Now, mind you, I had absolutely zero factual reasons to believe that was going to happen. I had zero facts at all other than that this friendly dog was there sitting in the pickup truck outside of the shelter. This was not an intellectual decision of any sort at all. Pure emotion, pure gut feeling.

See, this whole election kerfuffle has us all just a bit off balance emotionally. I blame Trump! (That’s my new mantra for the next four years, by the way.)

I know that The Long-Suffering Wife and I had agreed that there wouldn’t be any more dogs for a while. We have changes in our housing situation coming up and a dog would be a serious complication. We have plans for travel and other activities now that we’re empty nesters and a dog would be a serious complication. I need a break from scooping dog poop from all over the yard and a dog would be a serious complication.

But I would have figured out something and I’m sure TLSW would have gone along with it.

Fortunately for our plans, the driver came out at that point with another dog, causing the yellow lab to go nuts with joy, as only a lab can. It seems that the other dog in the house was an escape artist (been there, done that, with both Lucky and Jessie) and had gotten picked up and turned in again.

A happy ending for all. But there’s no new dog here today.

Which is a good thing. A very good thing.

Yeah, that’s it – a very good thing. (Repeat as necessary.)


Filed under Castle Willett, Dogs, Family

Stolen Joy

My son, who was in Chicago when my beloved Cubbies won the World Series, sent copies of the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times from the morning after they had won, as well as a “W” flag and a World Series Cubbies hat.

Do I have a great son, or what?

Looking at them tonight, it occurs to me that it’s yet another reason to absolutely despise what’s happening politically in this country.

As much joy as I had with my beloved Cubbies winning, that joy has been tainted, tarnished, and diminished by the fact that I’m so full of angst and anger.

I just hope we have an opening day next spring so that the Cubbies can get their rings and have that celebration. I really, really hope that the existential crisis that we’re in has passed, or at least let up, to the point where we can enjoy that celebration and rite of spring.

I don’t know that I would bet on it right now. I’ll be so, so happy next April if I can look back on this and laugh at how wrong I was.

I hope. Still.


Filed under Family, Politics, Sports

Opening Day

It’s opening day for my two favorite baseball teams – the bad news is that they were playing each other. I guess the good news is that I had to be at least half happy with the result.

Baseball has a special place in my heart, having played the game as a kid and having coached my kids in it as an adult. I have many happy memories from my childhood of games seen in Kansas City’s old Municipal Stadium. The A’s weren’t very good, but it was always fun, and there were a lot of weekend double headers.

As an adult, I’ve had a lot of fun going to games in Anaheim (and occasionally in Chavez Ravine) with wives, kids, family, and friends. We still do – do a search for the “LA Angels” tag and you can find plenty of posts. When we travel we try to hit major and minor league parks for a game, and if the Angels are playing against the locals, so much the better. Fenway, Comisky, Safeco – we’ve followed them from one side of the country to the other.

If we need some background noise while working on something, there’s nothing better than a baseball game. There’s a rhythm, a cadence to a baseball broadcast, something that also harkens back to childhood. In the early 1960’s we didn’t have every game on television like we do today. We were lucky to get one game a week, and it rarely was our team. There was no such thing as a local broadcast station or network. If you weren’t there, you listened on the radio. I did a LOT of listening on the radio.

Even now, on a long cross-country trip in the summer, there’s nothing better at night than to pull in some far away broadcast on a clear-channel station. On a good night in the desert you can hear games from San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, Houston. When my family first moved to Vermont and I was missing my friends, my music, and my Cubbies, on a good night I could pull in the broadcast for a few minutes before it faded out.

Not every game’s a gem. It truly is a long season. But that’s part of it all.

I grew up with the game and my kids did as well. I may have screwed up a few things as a parent, but that wouldn’t be one of them. The Youngest Daughter was at opening night in Anaheim tonight with her boyfriend. We’ve been to a lot of home openers, but it was not to be for me tonight. But it’s great to have spring training over, the games counting, and hope springing eternal.

Losing 9-0 in the bottom of the ninth? We’ve got ’em right where we want ’em! It’s hero time!

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Filed under Family, LA Angels, Sports