Categories
Family

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all of the dads out there. It was a very quiet day around here. Son was here and daughter had a horse riding competition. Daughter did well. This was her first time riding two different horses in two different categories. She took first in both. Conversely, son stayed here inside, playing some computer games. Not sure if he took first or what game he played. Whatever he played, it kept him busy all afternoon. That was good because I really wasn’t feeling well.

Just as we do on Mothers Day, the kids had cards for me. They usually have something like “from your favorite son, or your best daughter” written somewhere on either the envelope or inside the card. Some years they make them. This year, like most, they are store bought cards. Nothing fancy. No singing cat or dog. It’s the thought that counts.

The act of giving cards is another activity that I find missing in today’s technology driven world. A hand written note conveys far more emotion than an electronic card, e-mail or text. The fact that time was taken to actually get a card, to sit down and write something, anything, makes it a message from the heart.

I, as many of my friends on Facebook, posted images of their kids or themselves with their dads today. I did the same. My photo had son and daughter together, outside the stables with the horse. I take a great many pictures of myself with the kids, or the kids by themselves or together. These are my pictures of our family. Conversely, I don’t have photos of myself, or my sister, or the two of us with our father. Let’s just say that my father and I were estranged over these past 40-plus years, even up to his passing a few years ago. That action was the product of family divorce, and I definitely do not want to make the same mistakes as he did. It’s tough, sometimes I don’t get it right, but I keep trying.

Until tomorrow.

Categories
ramblings of a madman

Ramble On

I was thinking that today I could sleep in and have a relaxing weekend. Did not happen. Awake at my usual time. Start today off early and right. Ain’t going to happen. Son is sound asleep. Dog is typical crazy… ”where is my morning walk”? Daughter has a riding competition today and as usual, up late rushing to prepare, now tired and grumpy. “Do you have my show shirt”? “It was in my dirty clothes basket”. “ The white one that is stained and dirtied”? On and on. Ding goes the phone as she texts me from her mothers house.

Yesterday was flag day. I didn’t hang my flag. Why? Too busy running around? Work, school camp for son, old age, tired? Realized that yesterday was the first day in four weeks that I did not write. Not because I forgot, or didn’t have anything to write about. I guess it was the understanding that only one person visited my blog yesterday. Should I worry that only one person visited? Subjects boring? Maybe. Slow day? Better things on line to read? Probably. Not really advertising that it is out there, bearing my sole for all to read, to laugh, to comment on. Dammit I paid money for this site and the experience, and have made the commitment to see where it takes us.

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do
Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams...

from Ramble On by Led Zeppelin as determined from a Google search. It is important to acknowledge the words and ideas of others. In the internet age, I am not sure how this is best accomplished. Probably not as simple as a reference in a journal article. Add that to my list of things I need to learn to keep me out of trouble.

Yet as I sit here and type away, sounds of Led Zeppelin ‘s “Ramble On” are running through my head. Literally and figuratively. Maybe my blog is more of a journal and I am trying to capture my life’s experiences in it. The past, the present, the future? Something for posterity when I’m gone and my young kids have something to remember me by? Earlier this week in the morning coffee cabal, we were in fact talking about “here today, gone tomorrow”. However the subject included former managers at work, one hit wonders in the music industry, and other things. Including our own immortality, which quickly transitioned into “why are we here, what mark will we leave on the next generation of employees that we have hired”? Are we renaissance men or renegades? Probably more like geeks.

Sorry. Took a break to get clothes out of the washing machine. Wow! How many pants does my daughter need for riding? Why is the dog going crazy? Yes, I am composing this on real time, on the fly. Sun is up, dog still wants walk. Now going through my head is that image of putting the needle of a record player on a record, no not Led Zeppelin II, and the screech of the needle just going across the record. That sound of I just ruined the vinyl album.

Subject, subject, subject… for now, this is a blog. As time progresses, I expect it to morph into a website with a blog at its center. But that, I am sure is farther down the road. Opinion, commentary, the daily story, things rambling on in my head? Life as a single dad? Retirement? Investing? Hobbies? Kinda rehashing similar topics in my earlier post “My story, or is it?”.

I have given some thought about writing the Sunday post as a weekly wrap up of the past weeks writings, or a summary of what happened the past week. Could go on for hours about politics, news, world and local events. However, I think those topics turn most people off. I enjoy them and like talking about them. Like I could go on and on about the twenty four libtards running for President, or our current President who certainly has broken the mold but is really unpresidential in his behavior, and actions, and such. Government is suppose to help us solve our problems, not be the problem. Unfortunately, both sides of the aisle are the problem. The spirit of compromise that is necessary for democracy is dead. Is democracy dead in America?

Son bellows out his breakfast wishes. Dog wants in. The dog wants out. That’s my queue to end it here, edit and post. Until next time, “ramble on”.

Categories
life

Tired

It’s about a quarter past nine as I sit and write this. Trying to write something every day. Kinda like Chemistry in graduate school. Equally important that I ran one experiment a day. Whether it was the necessary synthesis for starting materials, kinetics of chemical reactions, spectroscopic evaluations, or even modeling on the computer, I felt it necessary to do one reaction a day. So it is true with this new adventure. Just took son back to his mothers place; talked to daughter earlier as she is at Goose Downs working and riding in preparation for this weekends event.

I have been awake now for about 18 hours. A typical day. Never get much sleep on the weekdays. Three to five hours is the norm. Eight is sleeping in on the weekend. I usually start the day between 3 and 4 am. Hot tea or coffee, read, shower, take the dog for a walk. This morning we walked a little longer than normal and managed to come across 4 deer feeding in the yards around the place where we live. Got to work by 5:45 am. Usual day in terms of status and schedule meeting. Addressed questions about some equipment, worked with the quality assurance engineers on a new certificate of analysis for product specifications. Meeting on implementation of some new process monitoring to make us more efficient.

Left work after 4 pm to pick up son from summer camp. He didn’t want to go but I think he is actually have fun. It is tiring him out, a good thing. Cooked dinner, had to get dog food at the grocery store. Dropped him off at his mothers. Strangely, I too find myself very tired, having eye trouble. Looking at the dog who picks her head up from the sofa at the sound of the hospital lifeflight helicopter flying overhead.

That about does it it for me. It is hot this evening, not much of a breeze. Will make sleeping difficult. Until tomorrow.

Categories
Family

Pony Club

If you spend time with horses, you eventually get introduced to the United States Pony Club. They aim to teach young and old riders the proper rules for taking care of a horse, as well as riding and eventing.

In preparation for my daughter’s next event, she has a mounted pony club meeting today. The have regional and location-specific clubs throughout the country. My daughter rides as a member of the Santa Fe Pony Club, which is one of the clubs in the Southwest Region.

So I dutifully took her to the place where they ride, which is south of Santa Fe. Santa Fe has several places in the area that offer riding and host events, including polo. Just past Lamy, on the way to Galisteo is Goose Downs Farm. This is the place where my daughter rides and trains often.

They offer training for dressage, show jumping and cross country for all ages. Indoor and outdoor. As you know, the weather in New Mexico is nice for most of the year. Today was sunny and low 70’s. I just love the blue sky. You can rent a horse or bring your own. Today my daughter road Wyatt, which is not her horse. We will transport Ruby down later in the week. I like to tell Ruby that she is going to the spa for the week.

Sadly, she was ill prepared for the mounted lesson today because she forgot her equipment, but practiced the dressage course for her ranking in preparation for next week.

Goose Downs has a riding event coming up next weekend (http://www.goosedownsfarm.com). You can board your horse there for a fee, and they even have a bunkhouse where you can stay if your coming from afar.

So while she practiced today, I helped groom the place in preparation for the dressage events this weekend. Thus I managed to get several miles in while pushing the mower.

Categories
life

Pizza night

Typically, Thursday night is pizza night for the kids and I. Tonight we had Papa Murphy’s. Cheese and black olives for daughter; cheese, pineapple and ham for son. I have some of each. With Papa Murphy’s they make it fresh and you bring it home to cook. Simple, fresh and whatever you want.

We alternate between Dominos, Time Out ( a local place) and Papa Murphy’s. The local grocery store also makes pizza and of course there is frozen. We like Jacks Frozen Pizza the best.

Pizza is simple, easy to have, and somewhat healthy with the right ingredients. Lots of cheese, the kind that forms long strings. Rich tomato sauce with spices, and your favorite toppings. My toppings are usually pepperoni or sausage with green chile. It’s a New Mexico thing.

Of course, growing up back home in Lewistown, Pennsylvania meant that you could get square pizza from Gus’s. It’s still there and it still makes great pizza. For me growing up, I remember that it was the rare occasion that we got pizza, and while it has been a few years since I have had a slice, I remember that it’s still good.

The great thing about pizza is that there is usually leftovers. And I was reading that it’s not just for lunch or dinner anymore. Wonder how it goes with coffee.

Categories
Family

Ruby

When the kids were younger, we would often go to the local stables and slowly drive the roads and look at the animals. Chickens, goats, a couple of cows, a llama and some turkeys. The main residents at the stables are horses. All different sizes and colors. A coworker of mine had a stable and several horses and on one of our trips, he and his wife were there. We stopped. Big mistake. Shortly thereafter, daughter was sitting on the back of a horse. A big grin across her face, she was immediately hooked. At that time she was three.

Eleven years have passed, as has several loaner horses, two rented horses, the local US Pony Club horse. Today she has a horse, a stable, and rides regularly and in competitions. Her horse is named Ruby, and she has become another family pet, much like the dog.

Here she is, greeting us for her evening feeding. She gets fed twice a day, and depending upon daughter, ridden every day. Daily practices are often in preparation for dressage, show jumping and cross country. My daughter competes in all three at the beginner novice level.

She enjoys it. It keeps her and her friends out of trouble. Yet, when I see her with Ruby, she still has that big grin across her face.

Categories
life

Reading is Fundamental

Today starts the final week of the school year for my son and daughter. Every year the schools send out information about summer reading programs, books to read, things to try to get the kids to read during the summer months. It’s a great idea and I try to do my best to get my children to read over the summer. There are two approaches that I take to accomplish this.

The first approach is pure capitalism. They get to choose the book and if it meets with my approval, then they read it. For every book that they read, I will pay them twenty dollars. The book has to meet with my approval, otherwise, the legal minds that are my children will argue over what constitutes a book. There is no prescribed number of pages, it cannot be a short story or a comic book. A collection of short stories is fine, but they have to read all of it. There is no quiz, or essay. I just need to see them reading. They are not speed readers, so devouring 100 pages in a day will cause me to question the actual reading. But it is the honor system, which I try to impress upon them is as important as being able to communicate well. The art of communication is dying in our society, between texts and tweets and emoji’s. It is certainly something that I struggle with and try my best to get it right. But I will let you be the judge based upon my blog posts.

The second approach is to lead by example. By that I mean if they see me reading, perhaps they will also read. I cannot ask them to do something that I then will not also do. I’m not going to pay myself twenty dollars, but I am going to read. One reason will be to generate ideas for future blog postings.

For the start of my summer reading, I have chosen a book that has constantly gotten the better of me. On a Facebook post once, I commented in the category of things people may not know about me is that I have managed to read the Bible twice, cover to cover. Odd as I am not a religious person, but we can explore that in some future blog. No my challenge for the summer will be my fourth attempt to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Why? First is that being a Rush fan, their songs were influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand. Yes, I have seen the movies but the story is as important today as when it was written. Every time I start reading a book, I put the date and where I am at the time I am reading it. For this start, I wrote “here is hoping that the 4th time I will finish”. My copy is worn, having been purchased in the summer of 2011. I think I bought it as part of a trip to go see Rush in concert.

I’ll keep you informed of the summer reading challenge for both me and my kids. I’ll have more words tomorrow as I explore this new world of blogging and work to improve my own communication skills.

Categories
ramblings of a madman

Zombie Apocalypse

It’s Saturday and it is my weekend with the kids. The custody arrangement has me, as a divorced single parent with two kids, keeping them every other weekend. This starts Thursday night and ends Monday morning. An ok arrangement most weekends, but this weekend is different. Daughter has a weekend of riding planned between a horse clinic and working for free at a local stable. I don’t have a suitable truck or trailer to haul, so it’s up to mother to get daughter and horse to the desired location. Local in New Mexico is something within a hundred miles from where you live.

The zombie apocalypse is not the horse riding, but it is the fact that daughter spent all last night multitasking between her cell phone and her iPad. Preparation for today was part of the plan but never implemented. Both of my kids spend too many hours on their iPads and iPhones to the point where they are in a zone, unable to be bothered with their immediate surroundings, work to do, angry if you interrupt them. You ask them a question and it’s either a monosyllabic response, or the sound of silence. They are truly zombies in that regard. It is apocalyptic if you interrupt them when they get into that state trying to make eye contact. They have that relentless drive, much like the zombie attacking a non-zombie as depicted in TV and movies. They watch smart mouthed YouTube millionaires do truly stupid things and find it funny. Granted, some of the pet things can be funny, but really… Much of it is ridiculous. They become millionaires doing what? For me, YouTube is where I get to listen to my favorite musicians aside from an Apple tunes download.

Needless to say, we spent Saturday morning frantically trying to get daughter ready for the trip and horse riding clinic today. Of course, daughter was glued to her iPhone watching some videos and listening to music. To take it away would be withdrawal, much like some drugs. It was clear that the zombie state was starting to kick in. It’s easier to text then to try to speak.