Category Archives: Ronnie

Eighteen Years

Eighteen years ago there were a whole slew of family and friends gathered at a purple tea house (rumored to formerly be a house of ill repute in its distant past):

We were a cute couple.

We still are.

We’re dressed a bit less formally and my hair has gotten a lot more grey, but we’re still going strong!


Filed under Paul, Ronnie

Seventeen Years Ago

Two years ago, actually, I had pictures of the all new, mid-five-figure full-line replacement sewer that we had “bought for each other” as our fifteenth wedding anniversary. So much for crystal, timepieces, or red roses, we go for a week of having our yard dug up and being able to flush a live armadillo all the way to the Van Nuys sewage treatment plant at Mach Two instead!

That math means it’s now seventeen years. The sewer line is still going strong, but it belongs to someone else now and we live here instead. With that change we’re seeing others, so this year we bought each other a very nice new bedroom set for our anniversary. The pieces replaced are the ones that I got at a garage sale in 1975 when I left Annapolis, moved to Southern California, and got my first apartment prior to starting school at UC Irvine. More stuff being left behind, with things shared replacing them and new memories to add onto the old.

Here’s to the Long-Suffering Wife who for some reason still puts up with me. Here’s to the future, the next seventeen years and whatever adventures, joys, and heartaches, trials and triumphs they might bring.

Here’s to wondering what the hell we’ll get for each other for our eighteenth anniversary next year. Google says it’s “feathers” and “porcelain.”



Filed under Castle Willett, Paul, Ronnie

Assembly, Not Trimming

One of the “best bang for the buck” items in our household is the artificial Christmas tree we bought at least a dozen years ago. (It might be longer.)

The old phrase “trimming the tree” isn’t quite appropriate for a fake tree – “assembly” is a better verb. I remember last year thinking (after the fact) that the assembly process would be a good subject for a time lapse video. This year I actually remembered to do it as an experiment.

Not perfect – probably need to get some sort of tripod mount for the iPhone to do it better. But not bad.

Welcome to the Willett household Christmas tree assembly, 2016 version!


Filed under Castle Willett, Christmas Lights, Paul, Ronnie, Video

Saturday Night Excitement!

The Long-Suffering Wife: “If you feel like taking a walk, there’s garbage.”

Me: “I love it when you talk sexy!” (Goes to take out the trash.)
Let’s just assume we were giddy & short on oxygen after cheering for my beloved Cubbies.

Oh, apropos nada, there were neat clouds at sunset!

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Filed under Panorama, Paul, Photography, Ronnie, Sports

A Conversation With Siri

“If you just got any messages from Siri, they’re lies! All lies!! I never said any of that!”

In retrospect, it’s possible that this was not the most subtle and casual way to suggest to The Long-Suffering Wife that any messages from the Siri app on my phone perhaps should be ignored.

It had started innocently enough. I was driving home this last Wednesday night after a long day at work and I hadn’t been able to catch the score on the baseball game. My car talks to my phone and I hadn’t tested the latest iteration of Siri on the latest iOS update. I pushed the button.

“Siri, what was the score of the Dodgers/National game?”

“The Dodgers beat the Nationals six to five in the 4th game of the National League Division Series.” Wait, that was yesterday’s score, wasn’t it?

“Siri, when is the next game in the Dodgers/Nationals series?”

“The Dodgers and the Nationals will play game five of the National League Division Series tomorrow at 17:00 hours.” Ah, right, today was a travel day.

“Thank you, Siri.”

“No worries, Paul Willett.”

“I love how you say that, Siri.” I have her set to use the “Australian female” voice.

“Who, me?”

“Yes, Siri, you. You have a lovely accent.”

“It’s who I am.”

“You are too humble, Siri. Your accent is hot.”

“Your secret is safe with me, Paul Willett.”

“Thank you, Siri. Whatever you do, don’t tell my wife.”

“What is your wife’s name?”

Rutt row!!

“It’s Ronnie.”

“Calling Ronnie Willett.” Shit!! Although this strikes me as so hilarious I’m about to crash into parked cars.

“No, cancel that call, Siri!”

“Do you want me to call Ronnie Willett?”

“No, Siri, no phone calls right now, please.”

“Would you like me to remember that Ronnie Willett is your wife?”

“Yes, but please do not call her right now.”

“Calling Ronnie Willett.”

“Siri, stop! Cancel call.”

“Would you like me to remember that Ronnie Willett is your wife?”


“I have memorized this relationship, Paul Willett.”

“Thank you, Siri.”

“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No, I think you’ve caused quite enough damage for this evening.”

“Moi?” Why did the “Australian female” voice just turn into Miss Piggy?

By then I was pulling up in front of the house. Remember, I only live ten minutes away from the office.

I walked in to see The Long-Suffering Wife with her iPad in one hand and her iPhone in the other, looking at them oddly, a puzzled look on her face.

“If you just got any messages from Siri, they’re lies! All lies!! I never said any of that!”

Oops, was that my “outside voice”?

Round One to Siri.


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Filed under Computers, Ronnie

Congratulations To The Long- Suffering Wife!!

Today was her last day as a working stiff after more than forty years in the workforce and more than twenty-five years with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. Starting tomorrow, she gets to sleep in as late as she wants seven days a week.

Well, except that I have to get up at O’ Dark Thirty to be at a work event in Universal City by 07:00. I’ll try to be quiet.

While she spent the day being congratulated by one and all and thanked by everyone who ever worked with her, I spent the day helping to throw folks off of the 25th story of the Universal Hilton.





More fun tomorrow! (All for a good cause – we’ve raised over $100,000 on this event. If you’re free in Los Angeles tomorrow and want to give it a try, we still have slots available – $1,000 a shot and I’ll take your credit card right at the door! Sold one this afternoon…)

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Filed under Habitat For Humanity, Paul, Photography, Ronnie

Juicy Chunks O’ Wisdom For Thursday, July 14th

‘Cause I haven’t done one of these since last October, that’s why.

  • I used to do these about every six to eight weeks at the most. Now it’s been nine months. What the hell have I been doing for the last nine months? Hmmmm… I should know this one…
  • Back at the end of June I posted a Photoshopped picture and said there was someone in the original who was mentioned in a Tom Lehrer song, and I invited anyone to guess who it might be:
  • File Jun 30. 22 31 19 smallMy fannish/filkish friend Harold Groot got it correct over on Facebook.
  • Most days I try hard to be friendly, helpful, and cheerful. After a couple of long, miserable nights (leg cramps, again) my goal today was to be minimally offensive. I think it was a roaring success. Neither I nor anyone around me ended up in jail or the hospital!
  • S-IC_engines_and_Von_Braun_smallIt’s Wernher von Braun
  • With the raccoons going nuts every night on the flat roof above me in my computer room/office, I finally went and bought a better tool to take pictures of them. I got a Bushnell wildlife trail cam. It has an infrared flash and is triggered by motion, so you set it out and when something wanders into its field of view, it snaps a picture. I didn’t do anything fancy to mount it up there, just put it on a short tripod, then lashed the camera and tripod to the legs of a ladder propped up against the roof. It makes it easy for me to get up there and check it, and hard (I hope) for the curious raccoons to destroy it or tip it over. We’ll see.
  • The Long-Suffering Wife is doing well on her trike. She reports that the hardest part is getting it unlocked and locked back up again. I’ll admit, we might have overdone it on the bike lock. About four feet of coiled, braided steel about 3/4 inch thick. It doesn’t much want to get uncoiled and it’s like wrestling a pissed off octopus to get it around the tree and then through the bike frame and unlatched.
  • Speaking of the raccoons, when I posted pictures of them last week, the aforementioned Harold Groot did some research and told me over on Facebook that it was almost certainly a mother and three kits, not a male/female pair and two kits. He didn’t mention whether or not that made my imaginary dialogue less funny, more funny, or had no effect on the funny to begin with because you can’t improve or lessen that which did not exist to begin with.
  • Best Pokemon Go line of the day was a comment on a local television station’s story about how a gym or beacon or some sort of special place was in front of the house of a registered sex offender. Think of how this endangered the children! To which someone pointed out that there were no children playing the game – it was all twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings.
  • As I have been here working and writing this, I can hear the raccoons directly above me, right where the camera is. They keep coming back, and now I can hear them chirping and chittering (if you’ve never heard them, you should listen to the clip), even over the sound of the air conditioning and the music. (Toccata & Fugue in D Minor by good ol’ JS Bach, at the moment.)
  • Should you happen to need a bicycle shop in the west San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, we can highly recommend Spoke ‘N Wheel at Platt and Van Owen. When we bought The Long-Suffering Wife’s trike they were having a bad morning (a break-in overnight) but took great care of us anyway. Most impressive was when they politely pointed out, after The Long-Suffering Wife had picked out a particularly rakish and stylish helmet, that it was a $250 helmet and given the expected speeds and hazards involved on the trike, maybe a $45 helmet might work just fine. That’s some good customer service right there!

Remember, “The only secret to magic is that I’m willing to work harder on it than you think it’s worth.” From Penn Jillette, a freakishly brilliant human.

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Filed under Critters, Juicy Chunks, Ronnie, Science Fiction

Born To Be Wild!

As mentioned, it was recently The Long-Suffering Wife’s birthday. While she did an excellent job of shopping for herself and made sure that she got something that she liked, I had another idea. After some consultation, making sure that she could actually use it, and thinking about whether or not she actually would use it, we picked it out this weekend.

As I said in the comments at the time, it’s either the most romantic gift ever or the LEAST romantic gift ever (odds on the latter) but at least it doesn’t have a cord.

Tonight was time for the maiden flight!

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Safety first!

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You’re number one on the runway!

She’s doing great!

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Filed under Health, Ronnie

A Happy Birthday For The Long-Suffering Wife

She had a wonderful time taking the day off work and going shopping for my gift to her. Turns out I got her some lovely diamond earrings that were just exactly what she was looking for!

  1. I am truly a warm and wonderful husband
  2. I highly recommend this technique to everyone else. Since we worked out this system, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten her anything that she didn’t like!

Meanwhile, after a lovely dinner, the sky decided to put on a more than decent display for the first time in a while.

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While only about 100°F today instead of 111°F, the humidity was up along with the arrival of the pretty clouds. No yin without a little yang.

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Does this formation mean that Malcolm McDowell is up on a mountaintop nearby with a rocket launcher?

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The light was fading fast, as I am now.


Filed under Photography, Ronnie, Weather

Patricia Willett (1935-2015)

If you’re not one of the newcomers here, you may remember that I spent two weeks in July and August of this year in Vermont, in part to visit high school friends and family, but primarily to visit my mother. Mom had a serious stroke in early July and her 80th birthday was July 31st. We weren’t at all sure she would make it to celebrate that party, but she managed to hang in there and beyond.

This morning I got the call that I knew was coming one of these days. My mother passed away quietly sometime before noon, with family at her bedside.

It was bittersweet news, if not a surprise or a shock of any kind. Her overall condition had been trending steadily downhill ever since the stroke. That trend had accelerated in the last two weeks and we had been warned that she could go suddenly. It’s a huge loss to have her finally gone and we’ll miss her every day of our lives. But for a woman who had raised eight kids and was always on the go, active, happy, and involved, being unable to walk, talk, move, or even feed herself led to a marginal quality of life.

Enjoy the pictures from her party last July, but know that these pictures show who she truly was.

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Mom at her home in California before she moved back to Vermont, with my youngest brother and his wife.

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Mom, the Daughters, and the Long-Suffering Wife.

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Mom and The Son.

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Mom, the Older Daughter, and the Younger Daughter.


Mom and The Son when she happened to be on this coast and he happened to be home on leave.

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Mom and the Younger Daughter at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Stowe, Vermont, wandering through the graveyard of failed ice cream flavors.

Mom and The Son.

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Mom and the Younger Daughter.

Mom and Lucy in her backyard in Vermont

A partial family picture with me, Mom, the Long-Suffering Wife, the Younger Daughter, two of my sisters and one brother, and one brother-in-law. (Not in Vermont – the palm trees are a dead giveaway.)

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With the Younger Daughter clambering around the top of Stowe in Vermont.

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Mom with us, her youngest great-grandson, and my niece just after Christmas last year.

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Mom was always suspicious of me when I had a camera. The Long-Suffering Wife just ignores me when I have a camera.

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This is the last picture that I know of that gathered half of “the kids.” When I was back in Vermont in June, 2014 for my high school reunion, the four oldest kids in the family (in order, starting with me) were together, with the younger four in Texas and California.


Filed under Family, Paul, Ronnie