Dreams, Goals and Heroes

Evaporated are the dreams
I may have had when young.
No fame or fortune did I reach;
no stars were I among.

When I was just a toddler
my world was family.
Nothing mattered but the things
that were in front of me.

Of course I had no dreams or goals
nor knew what such things meant.
My world was very, very small,
and I was quite content.

My parents were my heroes first;
they clothed and cared for me.
They kept me fed and safe from harm;
No better could they be.

Like any boy of age
I idolized my dad,
so he was probably the first
real hero that I had.

He was a mechanic then
but to my bright, young eyes
he was the greatest one of all--
So talented and wise.

Like most young boys I watched TV
and loved the heroes there.
When Superman was on I'd sit
and glassy-eyed would stare.

The Lone Ranger was another
of my heroes of those years.
I loved those men that wore those masks
that hid them from their fears.

I think my hero worship
during teens was put away.
Hormonal issues took the lead
of thoughts I had each day.

In my twenties I would sometimes sit
and at myself be pissed.
I'd reflect on time I wasted--
Opportunities I missed.

If only I had studied hard
and set some goals instead.
I'd probably be much better off--
Financially ahead.

When I finally settled down
and married with a home,
I seldom pondered things I missed
or where I yearned to roam.

But then I found myself again
with heroes on the mind,
but this time it was more along
the philanthropic kind.

I love the feel of giving
and wish there was no end
to the needy people I could help
or how much I could spend.

Occasionally I still have thoughts
of how cool that it would be
to be so good at something
that the world would worship me.

Looking back at all I've done
and dreams that I have had
notable accomplishments are few
except that I'm a dad.

Rick Williams

The Last Weekend In July

Yes it was--Already!  It's kind of acting like we finally got our summer weather here too.  This has been one of the longest waits I can remember for summer to actually get started.

Suzie already blogged our Saturday adventure and she did a good job of it.  I'll just touch on a bit of it here and there.

We had been talking about a little road trip to the top of Chinook Pass for a little while, and for one reason or another it never got going.  The whole idea was to take Mark's family up to proudly show them part of our most beautiful scenery: The Cascade Mountains, featuring Mount Rainier.  Our timing had to do with the arrival of the plethora of wild flowers that hits the summit every year.  As Suz noted in her blog, we were too early.  All there were to see were buds just sprouting here and there like in the picture.  The weird weather we've had lately even screwed up the arrival of the "spring flowers" on top of the mountains.

We opted to take them in our two cars so there was no financial burden (aka gas) on them.  My car held myself, Mark and Markie.  All the girls rode in Suzie's car.  As much talking as me and Mark did in our car, I can only imagine how much jibber-jabber was going on in the girls' car.  Our day of driving lasted a lot longer than we thought it would and we got to learn a lot about each other.  It was a very good visit.

We should have just turned around after our visit at the summit (which was excellent, wildflowers or not) and gone home.  Instead we opted to drive down and around and come home a different way.  The episode we had in Packwood where we got separated from each other was outlined very well in Suzie's blog post, but I'll just add a little extra from my perspective.  Let me just say that it was weird, frustrating, and scary.  At one point they were behind us (a couple cars back) and then POOF they were gone.  We immediately turned around to find them and couldn't. We backtracked, zigzagged, and even stopped a couple times to see if they would find us.  Nothing.  How could someone disappear like that?  And why?  This whole thing was compounded by having our cellphones with us--The cells that all said NO SERVICE.  My mind was running all kinds of frantic scenarios.  It was good to have Mark with me to collaborate with, but neither of us could figure it out.  When we finally did decide to press on it was with trepidation.  After all, if we drive 50 miles and finally get cell service then find out there was some sort of emergency, it would have effectively cost us 100 miles with the backtrack, and add the time involved as well.  As you know, it all worked out.  When we did finally get our cell service back and found out that they weren't all that far ahead of us, that's when I made my costly mistake:  I decided to detour down to the Orting valley to see if I could pick up speed.  That cost me $124 for going 45mph in a 35 zone.  My frustration was just compounded by that.  It was totally deserved though--I go 10 over almost everywhere I go and have for quite a while.  I'm not mad about the $124 (okay, maybe a little), but rather, the fact that it erased my one-ticket "buffer" that the insurance companies let you slide with.  Now I can't get another ticket for 3 years. Dang.  I'm going to have to force myself to slow down, and that's going to be tough.  Funny thing too--I had just finished my AARP online driver's safety course last week too.  At least I got it finished and was able to truthfully answer "no" to whether I had any tickets.

I had a good day at home yesterday.  I got the frame for our new driveway gate all put together.  Well, almost.  Because I put the corner joints all together with glue and screws I wanted to give them an overnight to dry thoroughly before putting the diagonal braces in.  I also got some sunning in the yard worked into the day too.

Back to work this morning.  Yawn.


I've come to appreciate a lot of things as I've gotten older.  I don't think they're new discoveries really, but rather I think I've just noticed that I appreciate them.

Like recycling for example.  I hate it when I see someone ignoring a recycling possibility.  First of all, I'm not a Greenpeace fanatic or a holistic wearer of Birkenstock sandals and hand-woven wool socks--All my friends know that.  However, I like to think that, given the chance, I will always tend to be conscious of where I'm tossing something or whether I need to toss it at all.  I don't confront someone with bad choices, but I may cluck my tongue or wrinkle my lips in disapproval when I see someone making a bad choice.  I will, however, say something when someone throws something on the ground instead of in the trash.  I go, "Hey!" and when they look, I point.  Most of the time they pick it up.  I don't care if they mutter under their breath--The desired result was achieved.  Obviously, I'm going to use judgment and not say anything if I think my life would be in danger for opening my big mouth.  The bottom like is that I appreciate anyone recycling anything.  I guess that's why I'd rather fix things than replace them.

I like to sit outside in our hot tub on a cold mornings and watch the birds enjoying our provided feast of suet, seeds, and dried corn.  I never knew that before.  There is something very, very peaceful about it.  I have come to be aware of lots of different bird varieties, and have reasonable success at identifying them.  I'm even okay with the squirrels.  I know many people aren't.  They are, after all, rodents.  They're not even native to us here (they're Eastern Gray Squirrels) but they have pretty much established themselves as natives.  Until such time as I catch one doing damage to the house, I will enjoy watching them too.

Although I don't get much of a chance to, I really enjoy sitting somewhere and enjoying a vista.  Sunrises and sunsets are especially good, however fleeting they may be.  A nice view of a valley, a mountain, a forest, a river or lake--I don't care.  If it's a beautiful setting I could sit there and admire it for a long time.  Although I'm not a religious person, I guess that's my brush with spirituality.  Maybe that's why I like traveling to places so much.  A hundred lifetimes wouldn't be enough for me to see and appreciate all this planet has to offer the senses.  What is it about watching a fire or ocean waves that makes us "zone out" and get lost in thought?

Sue always makes fun of the fact that I can't pass up an animal without petting it (within reason of course).  I think I've always been that way but I've never really thought that much about it.  I guess I like the fact that an animal trusts me enough to let me into its personal space.  I like to experience their reaction to a touch, pet, or scratch.  Sure, sometimes I feel like I should wash my hands right away on occasion, but I guess I like to put myself into their skin:  If I were this animal and didn't have fingers that could touch or scratch, where and how would I like that scratch administered?  I would like to see all the zoos closed down.  Why should we jail the animals just so we can stare at them?  We have internet now--We can see, hear, and research anything we'd ever want to know about any animal in the world.  I think animal jails are a very sad thing.  For every one that "survives captivity" there are probably scores that don't.

I have a huge appreciation for smells.  I marvel at how smells work.  How can there be such a huge array of scents in our world--Each one different and easily identifiable from the other?  I like to smell flowers.  I feel that their bright displays are reaching out and doing salesmanship on me and urging me to smell them.  Sometimes an intriguing scent wafts across my receptors and I go on the hunt until I find it.  Great smells are one of my favorite pleasures.

Sorry if this has been part rant, but I just wanted to offer a little taste of my appreciation for things.  I don't know what brought it on--Just roll with it.  Better yet, add your own favorite thing in a comment below!

The Week in Review

I would say it's been an action-packed two weeks since my last blog post, but technically that wouldn't be accurate because I posted a poem a few days ago.  It's not the same as a real blog post though, so that's what I'm here to do.

I can't really think about anything significant that happened last weekend.  Sue was out at one of the best JW assembly meetings they have in the Tacoma Dome both Saturday and Sunday so I was really just hanging around.

One thing that did happen was a little garage sale browsing with Sarah on Saturday.  Her mom was out of town visiting her friend over on the Spokane side.  (I remember how I used to treasure those weeks when I was still married to her--They were like a vacation to me back then!)  Anyway, we both made a pretty good score at the first one we stopped at.  She's on a perpetual hunt for anything from The Babysitters Club.  She has a pretty extensive collection going already and carries a list of books that she still needs with her all the time "just in case".  These people had two large dolls (18" tall?) of characters from The Babysitters Club series still in the box.  While they weren't totally complete, they were in pretty good shape.  She got them both for $11.

I bought two wheelbarrow wheels.  I know--Big woo huh?  Thing is, they were brand spanking new airless urethane wheels with grease fittings and the works.  I paid them $5 each for them.  I found them online at $65 each!  This was perfect because we have two wheelbarrows--One has a tire that refuses to hold air for long, and the other one has a totally worn-out axle hole in the wheel.  Neither of them had a provision to grease them like the new ones do either.  Hey, it's a guy thing.

Tuesday was a wood-gathering day.  I responded to a guy on Craigslist that was giving away used cedar shingles.  What he was really doing was shrewdly-coordinating a cleanup at a job site.  Basically, we showed up at a spot and followed him back to a house he and his employees were re-roofing.  The shingles were basically all over the ground.  With Keith helping, we filled the whole pickup in no time.  I think it's safe to say that we are pretty well set for kindling now. But that's not all--We also stopped in at my folks' house a little earlier and filled the whole truck with used 5/4 cedar decking.  We did it mainly for our fire pit out back, but a lot of it is actually pretty decent and reusable (with some trimming of course).  Two truckloads of wood in one day.  It's safe to say we did a lot of work in a pretty short time loading all that up.

Thursday wasn't a good day for Suz--She backed her Scion into my truck.  She didn't hurt it too bad.  I won't go into much detail because she already covered it in her blog.  My truck needs a new tail light bucket now though.  She must have hit it just right, or it was ready to break anyway.  It's funny the lens didn't break--It just broke all four of the mounting holes off of the "bucket" it screws into.

It's a whole different neighborhood we have going here now.  So much activity!  Kevin and his boys (and now Shirley too) had already moved in across the street from Denny, but since the DeBellings have arrived the activity between the three houses is really high.  It's not very safe from this standpoint:  Now the front yards are the playgrounds.  There are bikes and toys everywhere all the time.  Now nothing ever seems to happen in the back yards.  I swear--When I drive by their house at 5:30am to go to work, it looks more like I'm driving through someones back yard.  There are also kids darting into the street all the time.  Sue has tried and tried to get the message through to them all (the parents mostly) that the street is not ours, nor is it a driveway or safe zone.  There have already reportedly been a close call or two...

Today will be a stay-home chore day.  Apparently I have a past-due item on my honey-do list...

Rhyme Time, Baby!

What is it that makes me like
to tell a tale this way--
To format it in rhyming lines
when I have words to say?

It's a style of story-telling
that's hard, without a doubt.
To make the flow and syllables
sound right when sounded out.

I guess I like the challenge;
to see if I can tell
an interesting story
that's fun to say as well.

Sometimes when I start them
they don't go anywhere.
No matter how or what I try
I sit and blankly stare.

After trying many things
that never quite work out,
I use the mental garbage can
then try another route.

Sometimes even I'm surprised
when words seem to cascade.
Instead of simply killing time
a masterpiece is made.

I've dabbled with many varieties
of poetry and verse.
Some were mediocre tries,
and some were even worse.

The difficulty of a poem
can vary with its style,
but struggle followed by success
can make it all worthwhile.

They come in many flavors
these poems that I build--
Some are very hard to rhyme--
Some leave me unfulfilled.

But limericks are my favorites;
they're whimsical and fun!
Although they're harder to complete
they please me when they're done.

If you've tried a poem yourself
but failed each time you tried,
try yet again--Don't quit just yet;
Success will bring you pride!

This one took me weeks to make
but now that it is done;
Who knows--I may just clear my head
and start another one.

Blogger Comments Frustration

I have two blogs hosted on Blogger.com.  I have this one and my 365 Photo blog.  While I'm not anywhere near as active as some bloggers, I consider myself fairly active and consistent.

Which brings me to my frustration.

The folks at Google run this blog site, and like almost everything else "Google", we (the public) are their beta-testers.  Every time they roll out a change in one of their multitudes of applications, it just happens.  No fanfare, no input from us, no warning, no nothing.

Recently, they incorporated a better WYSIWYG entry system for their blog posting.  Yeah, it does have some better features, but it's also a lot more "buggy" than the old way is.  The cursor tends to show in one spot while you actually start typing somewhere else.  Inputting a picture is a whole 'nother nightmare.  Sure, you can drag them where you want them to go, but only if where you want them to go is all over hell.  Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes of frustration just to get 4 pictures to stop and behave in the right place.

The latest?  Comments.

Comments is a huge thing for bloggers big and small alike.  We like to see that something we wrote or posted gets a thumbs up or thumbs down from a reader.  We see that we have comments and we like to see who it was and what they had to say.  Likewise, when we choose to take the time to comment on someone else's blog, we are taking time out of whatever we were doing to make that comment post.  It means the post touched us in some way and we wanted to share it with the blog owner.

Now all of a sudden (this week) blog comments are all screwed up.

Comments we post don't show up.  They show up when we post them but are missing the next day.  The comment counter under the post shows that we have comments, but when we click on it we find that it's empty.

Come on Google... Give us a break.  We know you're the only truly free blog game in town, but that doesn't mean you can use us like lab rats.

Does it?

An Washington State Photo Experience

We had a most awesome weekend!  We went on a long, long drive around the north-central part of Washington State.  We had fantastic weather, hardly any traffic (good route choices), and took tons of pictures.

For those of you that are familiar with Washington State, we went over Snoqualmie Pass and turned north at Cle Elum.  We followed highway 97 all the way to the Canadian border going through such little towns as Omak and Tonasket.  We detoured off the beaten path here and there trying to find things that looked promising (based on internet blurbs) but didn't find much of anything.  We did find some interesting driving and a mildly-interesting antique store when we detoured off at the town of Riverside though.  When it became time for us to start looking for a place to spend the night we were at the border town of Oroville.  The problem was the only thing we could find was one nasty-looking rundown motel in the center of town, and a hoity-toity resort on the edge of Lake Osoyoos--Nothing in between.  That resort had a 3-night minimum, but sported such cool things as music that played from loudspeakers (at least around the office area), tons of Adirondack chairs painted in various pastel shades, and a gate that was locked at 11pm.  It was a huge cluster of matching bungalow-type buildings right on shore of the lake.  I didn't even get to the point of finding out how much it would have cost.  We opted instead to cross into Canada and look around in the city of Osoyoos.  We finally found "motel row" but by then there weren't a whole lot of vacancies (after all, it was the 4th of July weekend).  We found a "so-so" motel in a great location, right on a beach of the lake. (Lake Osoyoos is a long lake, half in the US and half in Canada.)  We hoped to get our pictures of the day posted from there but our internet pretty much fizzled out before we were able to.  Our first day was marked with disappointment as far as our quest for photographic opportunities, but we still got a lot of nice shots here and there.

Yesterday was different.

We hit such a wide variety of places.  A great outdoor museum in Molson that held a ton of very interesting equipment, implements, and artifacts from a century ago.  Just up the road (still in Molson) was a great school/museum that was by two sweet old ladies, one of which was quite a character.  We're sorry we didn't get a picture of them.  They had both went to school there!  We stopped into the little bitty town of Chesaw (only two blocks long?) and enjoyed a couple hours at their 68th annual rodeo.  That was a lot of fun.  We also hit such places as the "ghost town" of Bodie, the town of Nespelem, and the Grand Coulee Dam.

As the day grew older we pondered where we were going to stop for the night.  We discussed it for a while and we decided that we had finished up our "list" of places that we wanted to see.  Instead of having to spend money on another motel for the night, we decided to go ahead and drive home.  We got home at 1am, but that's okay--We got to wake up in our own bed, have the whole day here for us to catch up on things, and we got to avoid the undoubtedly heavy traffic that always happens on a 3-day holiday weekend.

We spent almost the whole weekend on lesser-used two-lane roads, many of which had fantastic scenery.  On some of them we hardly ever saw another car.  There were a couple times when we were on dirt roads for several miles, and not only were they nice, smooth roads but they were also some of the best scenery we saw.

It was a great time!

Here are some facts from the weekend excursion:

Total miles driven:  750
Pictures taken: Rick = 560+ / Sue = 1100
Best quality highways: Ferry County
Most unique "thing" we found:  The Gehrke Whirligig park in Electric City (near the Coulee Dam)
The best slice of Americana: The Chesaw Rodeo
From the Molson school museum we could have walked into Canada (it was visible at the top of the ridge above us.)