Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Away Down the River

Recently the Missus and I were shocked and stunned by the unexpected deaths of two people.

The first, the husband of one of the Missus' former co-workers died of a heart attack while is wife was at work.  She came home to find him.

The second was the wife of a former co-worker of the Grouch,  She passed away two weeks after her illness was discovered.

We were saddened by both losses and grieve for the surviving spouse.

I was reminded of this song by all of this.

Time heals the heart but never erases the sweet memories of a lost partner. 

Shop Like You Mean It!

So, once a week I accompany the Missus to the local Ralph's for our supply run.  My job is to fetch items from the list that the Missus controls (only those items I'm not likely to muck up by picking the wrong brand/size/color/texture) and beeline back to the shopping cart for my next item or two.  Kind of like those hunting dogs that race out to retrieve the fallen bird that the hunter just downed.

So as you might guess, I'm pretty goal oriented when doing this job.  Find the box of crackers, bottle of shampoo, and the favorite cookies and RTB (return to base).   I just wish everyone else was in the store.

Listen folks, when you are shopping pretend you are driving a car in a busy neighborhood and navigate accordingly.  The people pushing carts around aimlessly are driving me crazy.

Between the people doing the Walmart shuffle (lean your body on the pushbar of the cart and shuffle your feet to propel you and the cart at a snail's pace), those who are wondering just why they are at the grocery store and are planted in the aisle blocking the flow, the women who apparently haven't seen each other since maybe yesterday and are parked side to side at the end of the aisle blocking the traffic in all directions as they recount the minutia of the day, and the new age parents who are letting their offspring do gymnastics next to them again plugging all traffic from moving...all of you: shop like you mean it!

The only classes of shoppers that I will give a pass to are the men who have been sent to the store with a cryptic note from the wife and are standing there vainly attempting to discern the true intent of the list, and the codgers who are shopping like they mean it but their flat out pace has slowed.  Being an impending codger myself I must give them a pass.

So, when you next go to the grocery store pause before you enter and take a deep breath and review your checklist one more time: multi-use grocery bags? Check. Shopping list with pen to check off items? Check.  Funds to pay for the items? Check.  If everything is a go, hit that sliding door and shop like you mean it!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I'm back!

So I had to take some time off recently due to surgery and recovery but I am back.  Luck you!

I'll start off easy with this post and revert to my inner grouch.

The 'change oil' light came on for my Jeep Wrangler the other day.  I used to change it myself but decided that paying the dealership $10 more to do it for me was a wise way to go.

I stopped at the dealer yesterday to avail myself of the 'express oil' lane (oil changes only!) figuring to kill an hour there which I could pass reading a book or maybe walking up and down auto row looking at the shiny new cars.  the nice young man told me that sadly 6 cars were ahead of me and I was looking at a 2.5 hour wait.  I was a bit stunned.  So much for express oil changes.  I was considering leaving the Jeep and coming back for it later and I commented that I could just do it myself.

the young man smiled somewhat condescendingly and said 'we don't need to be rolling under Jeeps to change oil anymore'.   The 'we' got me.   I'll do it myself I declared, bought the supplies headed home and within an hour and with only a couple pints of oil spilled, the oil and filer was changed as was the air filter and the wiper blades too.

So there Mr. young service writer, 'we' may not need to roll under Jeeps anymore but 'we' can certainly do it when called on!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Camarillo CAF Museum

Yesterday, Young Daughter, Young Son, and I visited the Commemorative Air Force museum in Camarillo CA.   It is located at a former airbase that was active from WW2 to 1970 and has an active runway and great facilities.   I've driven past the airfield many times over the years but never stopped to visit until this weekend.

Last year on my birthday the family got together to buy me a ride in the museum's P51 Mustang two seat fighter.  Unfortunately the engine failed and has been being rebuilt ever since then.  It is supposed to be back in the plane in March.  I figured I might as well check out the P51 to see what it looked like!

The P51 that is at the museum was used in the film "Battle Hymn" starring Rock Hudson.  At the time the plane was assigned to the Texas Air National Guard.  The museum's P51 is painted to resemble the fighter flown by the person the movie was made about.

Sadly the plane does indeed seem to be missing its engine so no flight for me in the near future!

Young Son and I sitting in the museum's C-46 Commando cargo plane.  It is the largest 2 engine plane ever made and was used extensively for flying over the Himalaya mountains (the Hump) between India and China.

Another of the museum's aircraft, a late model Supermarine Spitfire.

The airfield is very active and a privately owned P-51 was doing touch and go landings while we were there.  The sound of a Packard Merlin engine is something to hear!

The P-51 is the sliver aircraft on the runway.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Some Pink Martini for New Year's eve

Once again the Missus and I visited the Disney concert hall in downtown Los Angeles on New Year's eve to see the stellar eclectic music group Pink Martini perform.

They were excellent as always and had a wide variety of guest performers but the surprise for us was the presence of Rita Moreno of West Side Story fame.  She is 85 years old and performed like she wasn't a day over 50!

It was a great show and thanks to someone in the audience who ignored the stern warning at the beginning of the show not to record the performance, I bring to you, Rita Moreno and Pink Martini!

"You Can Never Go Home Again"

I've gotten sucked into the black hole of Facebook which in turn has bounced me into parallel universes in which I'm still young, virile, and the event horizon extends to infinity.   I'm talking about revisiting my high school and my active army days via Facebook groups.

Nostalgia is fun and all but I realized today that the words of the immortal Thomas Wolfe are even more true than ever:  

 "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."

I'm vowing right here to not become one of those old guys who talks endlessly of the world as it was when I was young.  I've caught myself doing just that recently.  

All that said, I did come across this picture of me as a young guy, 35 or so years ago.  I had no idea then of the adventures, the joy, and the sorrow that was waiting for me up the line.  

So, did I tell you about the time that I.......

Friday, December 23, 2016

Office Christmas Party afloat!

Many people get to attend a Christmas office party.  Not so many people have their holiday party on board a cruise ship!

The Missus and I were invited to board the Ruby Princess, moored at San Pedro last Saturday to join her co-workers for a really great treat. 

After boarding the ship we were treated to carolers and a tasty snack in one of the ship's buffet rooms, then we had time to tour part of the ship.

Next came a prime beef lunch (which was more like dinner and way more than we could finish), then a speech by the company president, some gifts were raffled (the Missus didn't win anything sadly) and then we got another treat: a floor show with singing, dancing, and magic, done very well I must say.

Time for a bit more ship touring and back on the dock and on our way home.

My office parties were never like this!

The carolers who sang for us at the pre-lunch snack and again at lunch.

With the Missus' co-worker and husband

I bet that pool feels good in the summer!
"Pictures or it didn't happen"

The U.S.S. Iowa moored nearby

Entertainment in the atrium - these guys were enthusiastic and good.


This should be called "death by chocolate"  It was good.