Wednesday, August 29, 2007

quote of the day

I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses and land and machines and stocks and bonds. Nor is fame of any lasting benefit, I will consider my earthy existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me. Nothing else makes sense.
--Dr. James C. Dobson, president of Focus on the Family

Friday, August 24, 2007

what i'm reading now

This book, published in 1954, tells a story of a race of beings from a distant planet that arrive on earth to help usher in the next level of human development. This is a bit of prophetic fiction that is sometimes amazing. It makes you wonder how much the author knew about impending scientific developments.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

square feet

Grandma noticed that the shoes we bought Jenna were making marks on her feet, so she returned those and took her to a Stride Rite store and had her fitted with a pair that was perfect. The problem is that little twerp has square feet. The sales person said she wasn't the worse baby to fit for shoes, so that made Dorothy feel better. So here she is. This pair is pretty snazzy and not so clod-hopperish like the first pair.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I had to go to town this morning to run some errands for Dorothy. While I was out, I went to the walking track for a mile of exercise. The Kansas City Southern railroad tracks run right by the path and a set of locomotives pulling a long string of coal hoppers came by with air horns blasting away. I turned to wave at the engineer like I have since I was a kid, only to see a locomotive cab sealed up tight with tinted windows. If there was an engineer in there he was riding in air conditoned comfort. Just a day at the office.

I'm sure the engineers of fifty years ago suffered the heat of summmer and freezing winds of winter in those old open cabs, but, kids like me sure enjoyed being waved to by the engineeers and brakemen.

Monday, August 20, 2007

1st day of school

Today was Marley's first day of second grade.

Ready to start her class and wishing her parents were not taking her picture.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

getting to know you quiz

My niece, Kathy, who lives in Arizona, sent me one of those emails with a "get to know you" quiz. I usually answer the question, just for fun, and send it along. But this time I thought I would answer the questions on the blog and invite my readers to post their own answers in the comments section or email your answers to me. You can find my email address in my profile.

1. What time did you get up this morning? Since my retirement, my getting up time has gradually become later. I used to get up at 5:30 and now it's closer to 8:00am

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds are nothing but small chips of carbon whose value has been artificially set by merchandisers. Pearls are so fragile that great care must be exercised to protect the sheen. The best jewelry would be a piece of colored glass discovered in the sand along the beach and cut into brilliant facets and fashioned into a ring. A brown beer bottle would be ideal.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? – Live Free or Die Hard. These action films starring Bruce Willis really need to be seen on a big screen with surround sound to fully appreciate the special effects . There were plenty of explosions and stunts that stretched the limits of my credulity.

4. What is your favorite TV show? The King of Queens. This show satisfies all of my comedy needs. All the characters together: Doug, Carrie, Arthur, Spence. They never failed to produce a belly laugh. Too bad it was canceled.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? I have something different every morning. Sometimes it's a bagel and cream cheese, the next day it might be toast and peanut butter, then there's always a bowl of cereal, Wheat Chex, Cheerios, something like that. Then just for a change I might fry some bacon, eggs and toast or maybe some pancakes. You can never tell.

6. Favorite cuisine? - Mexican food is my favorite. Hot and spicy for me. At least, the Americanized version of Mexican food. We have a favorite south of the border style restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food, but when we talk with our authentic Mexican friends they tell us that it is not the typical food you find in Mexico. So maybe someday we might have to go down to Guadalajara and see what's cooking.

7. What is your middle name - There was a time when I would not answer this question. My middle name is Buford. That caused a fist fight on the first day of school when I was asked my name. After school that day, my mother told me to just tell them my first name. I didn't think of that. So I've spent most of my life trying to conceal my middle name. But, in recent years I've discovered my Scottish heritage and found out that my first name, Wallace, is a common one in my family and dates all the way back to the days of William Wallace the hero of the Highlands played by Mel Gibson in the movie Brave Heart. That's pretty cool. Buford is an English name and was very popular before 1950. Today it carries a sort of hayseed connotation thanks to the movies, but, you know what? I've matured a little over the years and I really don't care if you know that my middle name is Buford. Just don't spread it around.

8. What food do you dislike? – I'm omnivorous. I'll eat just about anything and I'll even try something exotic just so I can say I did. But, when brussel sprouts are on the plate I always think, "Wasn't there any broccoli at the store?"

9. What is your favorite CD at the moment? –I don't listen to CD's. In fact I haven't paid very much attention to music since Chuck Berry was a teenager.

10 . What kind of car do you drive? -I drive a 1995 Chevy S-10 pick up. It's a reliable old vehicle and I won't be driving anything else until this one bites the dust. The grand kids love it and prefer to ride in it over any other car, especially when we go to the creek and they can ride in the back.

11. Favorite sandwich? - That depends on the time of year and my location. In the summer I prefer a bacon and tomato sandwich made with thick sliced sugar cured bacon and tomatoes right out of the garden. If I'm in California I like the pastrami sandwich at The Hat restaurant. The Hogwild Pizzeria in Fayetteville, AR serves a delicious sandwich called the Chef's Assassin.

12. Favorite item(S) of clothing? –I don't think you can go wrong with jeans and a t-shirt unless it's summer and you can wear shorts. This ensemble is stylish and suitable for most social engagements, assuming you don't belong to a country club.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation? - Someday I would like to visit Scotland to see where my people came from. But in the mean time there is so much to see in America that I'll never get to see it all. Niagara Falls is high on the list. We like to vacation in North Carolina. It's a beautiful state from the Great Smokies to the Outer Banks.

14. What color is your bathroom? - Sort of a creamy beige buff wheat sand color.

15. Favorite brand of clothing? - Anything that has the brand name on a tag on the inside of the article and NOT on the outside. If some designer wants me to advertise his shirt he'll have to pay me.

16. Where would you retire to? – I retired right where I sit in Oklahoma. I can't think of a better place to be.

17. What was your most memorable birthday? - 33rd. We were living in Calimesa, California. Dorothy orchestrated the perfect surprise party without me suspecting a thing. There were people there from work and from our church. I was moved to see how many people cared for me. I think we all need a demonstration like this from time to time.

18. Favorite sport to watch? - I don't watch sports. When I see men gathered around a tv yelling and jumping up and down over a football game I just don't get it. There's so much in this life to get passionate about, but a game played by grown men? It's beyond me. I sometimes think that I'm missing a small part of my DNA that causes men to spend so much of their intellect and energy following professional and college sports and yet not play themselves.

19. Favorite saying? – Never make a decision when you're discouraged.

20. When is your birthday? – August 13th

21. Pets? I have no pets, although there is a dog that lives at my house. She belongs to the grand kids who could not have a pet where they live so she is temporarily staying at my house. She's been with us ten years now. The same with the cats that loiter around our house. The original two cats came to live with us for awhile. This is the fifth generation of cats that came from the first two. Over the years they wander off, disappear, or otherwise vacate the premises.

22. What did you want to be when you were little? - I always wanted to be a hobo. The life of a wanderer who rode trains around the country and slept under bridges appealed to me when I was a kid for some reason. Come to think of it, it still does. I only got a job because I wanted Dorothy. Now that I'm retired, I'm done with working.

23. How are you today? - I'm just fine, thank you. I'm working on this blog. I've been reading a new and interesting book. The sun is shining. I'm retired. Yippee!!

24. What would your name have been if you'd been born the opposite sex? I guess my parents weren't expecting a baby of the opposite sex. An alternative name was never mentioned. However, if I had been born female an appropriate name for me at this age would be Big Bertha. At twenty years old, though, Olive Oyle would have been a good name.

25. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? - On October 17 I will receive my first Social Security check.

26. What job would you hate to have, and why? – Accountant - crunching numbers all day would be drudgery for me.

27. What would you do if you suddenly came into a windfall?(But not enough to quit your day job) -
I would finish remodeling the house. It's been a long time and I would like for Dorothy to have a house she can be proud of before we die.

28 - What is something about you that most people don't know - I sometimes suspect that I am on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. They call it Asperger's Syndrome. That would explain my difficulty in fitting in; my social and physical ineptitude. I've never been diagnosed and probably won't be because if I'm not, I'll have no excuse for being unable to find a place for myself on this planet. Actually I do have a place with Dorothy, my children and grandchildren, but I'm very uncomfortable venturing beyond my own psychic territory. Now, I'm not saying that I'm mentally or emotionally disturbed, just odd. In fact, some famous people are suspected to be somewhere on the autistic scale, including Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, and Edison. All of them were considered a little odd by their peers.

29. How did you meet your spouse? – Dorothy was a friend of my sister back when we were teenagers, so naturally she spent a lot of time at our house. It wasn't long before she was coming to see me instead of my sister.

30.What is your dream job? – I've never had a dream job, because I've never really wanted to work..

shoes for school

School days are upon us and that means new shoes. Marley and Hunter got a pair each of those Heelie shoes. You know, the kind with wheels in the heels. They've agreed to leave the wheels at home when they go to school. Jenna won't go to school for a few more years, but she couldn't be left out.




Last Tuesday, I went went Kelly and her kids to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks (near Tulsa). We would have posed in front of the building but it was 105 degrees and we just paused long enough to take this picture and then into the air conditioning we went.
Marley, Jenna, and I watch as Hunter attempts to feed a stingray a piece of shrimp which he has on the end of a stick.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

what i'm reading now

This is a great story by the author of The Kite Runner. Here is a blurb from the dust jacket: A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years -- from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post - Taliban rebuilding -- that put the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives -- the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness--are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
This morning, Dorothy and I had our morning coffee out on the porch. I love how the sun peeks over the hills to the east of us and filters through our maple tree.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

river float

While Jack and his family were here they took a day with Kelly's family and Sami for a canoe and raft trip down the Illinois.

The kids pick out a life vest

Marley, Sean, Sarah, and Derek are ready to float

Sami retrieves a paddle

Jack, Sarah, and Dee

Hunter enjoys the trip

Marley clings to Sam

Thursday, August 02, 2007

quote of the day

Procrastinate long enough and many plants in your garden will die and leave you alone.
--Hallmark Magazine

(the above quote expresses my feelings at this time of summer when the mercury is inexorably rising toward 100 degrees and I'm suffering from battle fatigue in the war against bugs and disease and weeds)

visitors from california

Our nephew Jack and his wife Dee and the kids, Derek, Sean, and Sara are visiting from California. We had the family over Sunday for dinner and a few rounds of horse shoes
Burk and Jack wait patiently while Hunter has a go at it.

It's Derek's turn

Marley poses with Sarah, her cousing from California.
Derek, Burk, Hunter, Marley, and Sarah watch from the shade.
Bill takes his turn