Monday, February 23, 2015
My husband spent the entire weekend working on painting projects around the house. I am very thankful that his projects are done and am ever so glad with the results but I am thankful he is done. He loves to listen to loud music while he works. He would have every radio in the house on and even jbl monitors if he could. I, on the other hand, do not love music to the same degree. Loud music wears on my nerves and by the end of this weekend I was longing for silence. I am grateful for today. If was quiet and mind mind feels rested once again. I love him dearly but I am a person who needs quiet every now and then.
Posted by LJN at 2:22:00 PM
I can't believe that the last time I posted was in October. I am really sorry that I have neglected to write anything here. It feels weird to be blogging again but I really enjoy it despite my long absence. In the months to come I hope to add interesting content and a fresh persprective after my long hiatus. If it takes me a while to find my writing groove again I hope that you will stick by me in the meantime. I will be trying to stick to a regular writing scheudle if life allows me to do so.
Posted by LJN at 2:19:00 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I have mentioned before that our neighbor gives music lessons out of his home. This is how he earns a living. Over the years we have become accustomed to hearing guitar music coming from their home at all hours of the day and night. We are also used to listening to him practice on his fender 60th anniversary telecaster in between guitar lessons. There are days when I just wish I could take a nap without it being interrupted by guitar music. I love music as much as the next person but there are times when I really appreciate silence and a good long nap.
Posted by LJN at 1:35:00 PM
I know there are people who don't like to prepare for anything and simply take each day as it comes. I am not that type of person and neither is my wife. We like to be as prepared as we can for what may come our way. One of the things we like to do is have food on hand should something happens and we can't get to the store. Our children see this as simply the way people live. In fact, they think it is funny when people don't have supplies on hand. I like that they are growing up with a sense of the importance of preparing for the future. We don't preach this to them or even really talk about it but simple make it a part of our daily lives and hope they will in the future as well.
Posted by LJN at 1:28:00 PM
Over the weekend we had company for a couple of days. Some friends of ours who had moved away came back into town for a visit. At first it was nice getting together but after a day it started to get awkward. Our friends are very into music and are professional musicians. What they don't realize is that not everyone is as interested in music as they are. I don't know what Red Interfaces are or why someone would need one. I found myself nodding and smiling a great deal over the weekend as they detailed ever possible musical device they own or want to buy. I have to say I was glad to see them leave because my brain was tired by the end of the weekend. I guess they may have felt a need to fill the silence with something since we don't seem to have much in common since they moved away.
Posted by LJN at 1:21:00 PM
I stopped running several months ago because I was having pain in my ankle. I decided this week to give running a try once again because I really need to be more physically active. My wife has been getting on me for my lack of physical activity. We agreed we would work out several times each week and I haven't held up my end of the deal. So, I am now back to running and so far my ankle hasn't been giving me much grief. I am hoping that this continues. I have pins in my ankle and since they were put there have found it hard to be as active as I was before the injury to my ankle.
Posted by LJN at 1:14:00 PM
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
There is just something about this summer that is leaving my children with a very bad case of cabin fever. Between the rain and the humidity they have been inside a great deal more than I would like them to be. I debated earlier in the year signing them up for music camp but elected not to. Now I wish I had even though it would mean spending more money. At least I would not being hearing how bored they are all day. They might even have met some new people like fellow students or a guest musicians friends. Instead, they have been stuck inside driving themselves just a little bit stir crazy. Maybe it won't rain tomorrow and I can send them outdoors.
I am not someone who likes to talk on the phone. In fact, I despise talking on the phone. When I call I like to say what I need to say and be done. I don't want to answer twenty questions or babble about the weather. Basically, I only use the phone when I have to do so. I prefer to talk to people in person. It always surprises me how some people just love to talk on the phone and will call over any and everything. What really drives me nuts would be when people call and leave vague messages. If you call say why you are calling and some information. Don't just call and say "call me as soon as you can". That to me is just being dramatic.
Posted by LJN at 7:12:00 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
My brother-in-law stopped by for a visit over the weekend. He has not been to see us for quite a while. It was interesting to see what has been going on in his life since our last visit. He has recently been thinking about selling his house and moving across the country to where his girlfriend lives. They would love to buy a large piece of property together and have been considering looking for homeowners coverage in burlington nc. She has always wanted to live on a farm and have a huge garden. Right now it seems like the only thing stopping them is logistics and planning. They want to carefully prepare for the next phase of their lives together. I am excited for them and what the future might hold.
Last week we were on spring break from cyber school. We spent just about every day doing something outside. The weather was finally warm and sunny and we took full advantage of it. I never considered that the weather was warm enough for ticks to be out and about because it seemed as though the snow had just finally melted. Two nights ago I was drying my youngest son off after a shower and found a tick embedded in his arm. I promptly called the doctor first thing in the morning and my son is now on antibiotics for 10 days as a precaution. Our area is ripe with ticks that carry Lyme disease. My hope is now that this medicine works and we have no further need to worry.
Posted by LJN at 5:15:00 PM
Thursday, March 13, 2014
We are expecting company this weekend wich is a bit unusual for us. We tend to be the people who do the visiting rather than vice versa. We are very much looking forward to seeing some friends that we haven't seen in a long time. The last time we saw them was right before a concert they were performing in at our local theater. Our friends are very gifted musicians. One of them place the oboe and the other the violin. If you ever wanted to know why or why not to buy they are definitely the people to ask. I have to be honest that I love visiting with them but sometimes wish music wasn't the only thing they talked about. I suppose it is their life and their passion and I do love how excited they are about it. They probably feel the same way about me and my love of golf.
Posted by LJN at 4:12:00 PM
Now that March is here it finally feels like spring might actually be coming our way. I am now in the mindset that I can actually begin counting the days until fishing season starts. I took the entire first week of trout season off this year which is a first. I intend to spend as much time as possible hit the streams and rivers in my area. Our winter has been so incredibly long that it will feel good to be outdoors once again. Hopefully my fishing skills are up to par and we are able to put some fish in the freezer this year.
Posted by LJN at 4:08:00 PM
Sunday, March 02, 2014
After dinner tonight I intend to sit down on the couch and relax. I may not move for several hours. I fully intend to make a nice not cup of coffee and put my feet up and read a good book. I likely will put a record on that features some . Nothing relaxes me quite as much as sitting on the couch while listening to a really good record. Most people love their MP3s or CDs but not me. Give me a vintage record player and a good collection of records and I am a truly happy man. I might even fall asleep while listening to my music which would make it a truly perfect way to end a really long weekend.
Posted by LJN at 5:31:00 PM
I cannot believe how cold and snowy this winter has been. Even though we always read the Farmer's Almanac to get an idea of what winter might be like before it comes we are always surprised. Here it is the beginning of March and I don't feel like spring is going to come any time soon. I just came inside from shoveling snow and my wife reported that another snow storm is headed our way. The one thing I keep telling myself is that this is good for our fruit trees and that it just might lessen the mosquito population this summer. Spring will come it just feels like it is taking forever this year.
I like getting to know new people. This weekend I had the perfect opportunity while away on a camping trip. I supervised our scout troop with a few other adults for the weekend. The kids distracted themselves with snowball fights and fort building which left us adults with a great deal of time to talk. As it turned out several of us are into music. A couple of the parents play instruments and know all all about stuff like . Given that I don't play and instrument I had no idea what they were talking about. What I do love is listening to people talk about stuff they are passionate about. It was nice to talk with other adults about something besides our children and our jobs. I came home with a couple of new acquaintances and a better appreciation for those who make music.
I cannot tell you how glad I am to be home. This morning I returned from a two day camping trip with my son's scout troop. The weather was bitterly cold. Thankfully, we were in a cabin and kept fairly warm. The children played in the snow most of the weeked which made the time go by quickly for them. For the adults it passed much more slowly especially at night. We had to take turns getting up to keep the wood stove going. This meant I barely slept for the last two days. Tonight I will sleep in my own bed under our electric blanket and it will be divine!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Last night I kept hearing what sounded like a moving truck being loaded. It was dark, and I couldn't really tell where the noise was coming from. This morning I looked down the street, and there was a moving truck in the drive at a house two doors away. This is the home of the music teacher I had posted about. I am sad to see them moving because they have been fun neighbors. I learned all about things like the claude lakey ligature at WWBW while visiting with them. We were often treated to impromptu backyard musical performances on warm summer nights. After having had bad neighbors when living in a different state I have come to appreciate what makes good neighbors all the more. Hopefully, whoever lives next to them in the future loves their music as much as we did.
Posted by LJN at 6:15:00 PM
Last August my wife and I gave up eating grains. Most people don't realize just what this involves. Just about everything imaginable that is a manufactured food contains some form of a grain. You have to read labels very carefully to determine what is okay to eat and what is not. We have been very good about our diet with the exception of holiday dinners. Today my wife baked bread for the first time in many months. We didn't have any in the house for the kids and since they do eat grains she decided to bake some. It came out of the oven just as I got home from work. We decided to each eat one slice, and I have to say it was heavenly. I really can say that only having something on a very rare occasion really makes you appreciate it more. We won't be having any more bread in the near future but it is nice to bend the rules once in a while.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
It is not secret that I work in an office that strives to help people become employed or employable. I love my job and meet interesting people every day. Today I had someone in the office who has a music background. He astounded me with his knowledge of everything from something he called to various composers throughout history. It is always a struggle when I meet someone like this because we live in a very small town. There just isn't a big market to place people in a music related profession in our area. What is even harder to understand is when they have relocated to our area with a goal of finding a job in this type of profession. Personally I would move to a big city if I wanted to work in music as opposed to a small town on the east coast.
Posted by LJN at 6:45:00 PM
I have decided I am going to pursue hunting with a vengeance this year. I have been reading everything I can on the topic in order to learn the tricks and techniques the experts suggest for a successful hunt. I realize that being a skilled hunter is more than just reading a book. I am also practicing my shooting skills. Soon I will be building a portable hunting blind to use for deer hunting and turkey hunting. What I am finding ming boggling is the cost of hunting gear! Hunting clothing is very expensive. I hope to find a deal in the very near future when stores start offering end of season sales. I am also watching for some used gear at garage sales over the summer.
I consider myself to be quite a fan of music. What makes me different from most people who love music is that my preferred method of listening to music is not using modern technology. I don't have a need for a fancy sound system or something like. All I need is a vintage record player and a stack of great albums. I love the imperfect sound that this method of listening affords. It just seems to take me back to a simpler time and place. It might be that I grew up listening to music this way when I was a child, and those were very happy times.
Posted by LJN at 6:28:00 PM
In early November my wife and I started a running program. It was a 9 week program that we finished around the second week of January. We have since continued running every other day of the week. It has been really nice to find something that we can do together. For now we are running on the treadmill so we aren't technically running together, but the plan is to transition to running outside once the weather warms up. I saw a women running yesterday in our -9 degree weather, and I couldn't believe it. It takes a certain type of dedication to run through a foot of snow in weather that cold. We will wait for warm weather to hit the streets. It simply isn't work getting hurt just to say we ran in the snow.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
This week our oldest son turned 14 years old. It seems like just yesterday that he was starting kindergarten. I was going through my closet this week and found a practice book from his public school violin class. I remember buying him a cheap violin shoulder rest at Musicians Friend to fit the violin we rented. He was such a little guy at the time. I can't believe it has been 9 years since then. He has long since given up playing the violin and is now taller than me. I wish he has stuck with the violin, but I have to let him make his own choices. Who knows what new interests he might develop in the next nine years.
Santa definitely visited our house this year. We have spent the day cleaning up from the holiday festivities, and it has been a big job. Our children ended up spoiled beyond compare by their extended family. I didn't really think I was going to get that much this year but ended up with tons of tools and supplies that I really needed. My father was her over Thanksgiving helping me with a project. During that visit he seemed unimpressed with my tool collection and decided to add to it. I am really thankful for everything I was given as I am sure to use all of it.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My family is hooked on watching animal shows on television. It is amazing to me the things that they come up with to make a television show out of. One thing is has embedded in my mind is a few things I need to add to my real estate agent checklist for the next time I am home shopping. I will definitely ask if there are animal hoarders in the neighborhood. I can't imagine living next to someone how hoards animals or keeps exotic animals. Another thing I will want to know is if anyone in the neighborhood has been hurt by a neighbor's animal. We once lived in an area where a home owner was constantly being cited for not keeping his dogs on a leash and just letting them run the neighborhood. I never want to be in that situation again.
I am in charge of recycling projects for my older son's scout troop. This is a huge project that our troop does throughout the year. We have cans donated to us by our local state hospital and county fair. We are talking about thousands of cans and it is a big and nasty project. What is frustrating me this year is that our troop voted to take on this project, but I am having a hard time getting them to help. Thus far only a couple of scouts have shown up to sort aside from my son and I. My hope is that this is just because we are close to the holiday season and not because everyone is having second thoughts about helping. It will take us forever to get them all sorted at this rate.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
This year we are not exchanging gifts with my wife's family. It simply seemed easier this year to just have a meal together. Typically we exchange hand crafted gifts but decided against it this year. Everyone in her family is amazingly talented and can make everything such as wood crafter wood crafts and such. At this point we all seem to have so many things lying around our houses that it seemed like taking a break from gift giving would be a good idea. Maybe next year we will get back to exchanging gifts but for now we are just going to enjoy one another's company. It is actually nice not to have to worry about coming up with an idea for something to make for someone.
The final phase of our kitchen remodel is in now in progress. Yesterday we installed our new sink. Actually the sink is not new but is a vintage cast iron sink complete with drainboard. My wife has been planning our kitchen with a vintage kitchen look in mind. When we found this sink in the woods near an abandoned camp she knew that it was perfect for our kitchen. She has a knack for seeing the potential in things. Cleaning up the sink took a bit of elbow grease but the end product is amazing. With the sink and faucet installed the only thing left to do is the concrete skim coat on the countertops. It is finally all coming together.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I can't believe it is the time of year once again where we have to start thinking about Christmas shopping. It always seems to sneak up on me before I even realize it. My wife does the majority of the shopping for our family. I do however have to find her a gift. She is a pretty simple person to shop for and doesn't ask for things like gifts from the . She has hinted that she would like a new toaster oven which is an easy gift to shop for. The hardest person that I have to buy for is my father. He has very high end tastes and has no want for things that are within my shopping budget. We usually end up buying him a gift card or something along those lines.
Posted by LJN at 2:13:00 PM
We are finally getting around to finishing our kitchen remodel. It has been a long time since we started the renovation process. The last phase to be completed is installing a vintage sink and new countertops. The type of countertops we are installing are concrete. Actually what we are using is concrete overlay product. The biggest job of the entire project has been installing the vintage sink. It is a cast iron sink that weighs a couple hundred pounds. It required me to reinforce our existing cabinets to accommodate the weight of the sink. I am nearly done with the sink and will begin the concrete overlay very soon. It will be great to have a functional kitchen once again.
Posted by LJN at 2:09:00 PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I read an interesting article in our local newspaper this week. The article was about one of our local private schools doing a school project that involved them making instruments. They are in the process of making a violin, dulcimer, and a ukelele from kits. I think this is a really awesome school project. I know the instruments are likely not the quality of a , but I am sure they are adequate for the needs of a school music program. I kind of wish we were a more musical family because I would try to incorporate the same project into our home school program. Maybe making an instrument would motivate them to try to learn to play one.
Posted by LJN at 5:47:00 PM
In addition to canning venison this weekend we also canned about 20 quarts of apple sauce. We were given a couple of bushels of apples by a lady I work with. The apples weren't in the greatest of shape which meant there was a lot of work to do to get them to the stage of becoming apple sauce. It took a very long time to process the apples due to the condition they were in. We almost stopped in the middle and called it a draw. In the end we trudged on and ended of with quite a bit more apple sauce than we thought we would get. The value of this apple sauce at the store would be about $45-50.00 given that they were organic apples. Knowing that made all the work worth the effort.
Posted by LJN at 5:41:00 PM
We home school our children which affords us some leniency with their schedule. My wife tries to motivate the children to do extra work Monday through Thursday in order to allow them to take Fridays off. This works really well for our youngest son, but our older son it is a little more difficult. He gets sidetracked doing everything under the sun. My wife is constantly telling him to stop looking at websites like http://www.reidsupply.com and to stop reading magazines. I don't think he understands that all he has to do is one extra lesson a day, and he could avoid doing school on Friday.
Posted by LJN at 5:33:00 PM
This weekend my father-in-law went hunting during the senior hunt in our state. To our great surprise he bagged a deer. We received a call at about 6 pm to come help him with the deer. I have never participated in the skinning or processing of any animal. All of my meat has come from the store. I really wasn't sure I could help him with the process but as it turned out I was absolutely fine. We skinned an quartered the deer, and I brought it home for final processing at home. As it turns out I was able to process the rest of the deer myself without an issue. We then canned the venison with beef broth and it tastes amazing. My family couldn't tell the difference between it an deer meat.
Posted by LJN at 5:26:00 PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
My brother-in-law loves bluegrass music. He recently shared a picture of a dulcimer that he bought and is trying to use. His girlfriend also just shared a photo of a ukulele that she purchased. I have to say I wouldn't be surprised if either of them post a status update indicating they are looking for the best ibanez artcore guitar case at m123. They both seem pretty intent on learning to play instruments and think it is something they could do together. I have to admire that about that. I don't think I would take on learning an instrument at this stage of my life. I really think this is something that would just be easier to pick up as a child as opposed to be a middle aged adult.
Posted by LJN at 4:59:00 PM
We have a peach tree in our backyard that was planted just three short years ago. When we planted it I had serious doubts that it would live or ever bare fruit. It was just a stick and nothing more. I have to say that after this year's harvest I won't doubt the potential harvest of anything we plant in the future. This young tree was able to produce over 80 pounds of fruit for my family. This is wonderful because peaches in our area are about sixty dollars a bushel. That means that this little tree produced fruit with a market value of around ninety dollars which is incredible. I know as the tree gets older it will bare even more fruit which is wonderful.
Posted by LJN at 4:55:00 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2013
We went to visit my in-laws today for a few hours. We typically see them once or twice a week. The last time I saw my father-in-law he was getting around fine. Today he looked absolutely awful and seemed to be in a great deal of pain. He said that his back was killing him. My mother-in-law mentioned he used one of the stair lifts at the Veteran's Club this week. This is a sign to me that he is in a great deal of pain. I am really hoping he is well soon. This time last year he was barely able to walk and had been undergoing cancer treatment. At the time we really considered installing a stair lift in there home to give him better mobility in the house. He had to use a walker and a wheelchair for quite a period of time. Somehow he made a dramatic turn around after his cancer treatments concluded and has been very good for a long time. I am really hoping this is just a temporary setback and that his feeling better soon. The several months, of him feeling well and being able to walk with ease, have been a real blessing. We will do whatever it takes to keep him at home even if that means making accommodations to the home life a wheelchair ramp or a stair lift. We will be back to visit them in a few days and should be able to get a better picture of what is going on.
Posted by LJN at 6:52:00 PM
I went this week for an appointment with my endocronologist. In the course of my appointment I asked the doctor about the variety of issues I seem to be dealing with and how I could best approach them. One thing he mentioned is my diet. Although I am a fit guy and eat well in general I now have an autoimmune disease that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. He mentioned that most health problem can be addressed in some way by diet and suggested I try the Paleo/Primal diet. He was surprised to know that we had tried this diet for about a year and a half and somehow had gotten away from it. We are now 5 days into clean eating and forgoing grains of all types and sugar. It is rough but I am really going to give it my best effort to stick with this plan of eating.
Saturday, July 06, 2013
My wife is a creature of habit. Every weekend she has a set list of things she likes to accomplish each Saturday and Sunday morning. One thing she does is to go out and buy the Sunday paper. She doesn't care if the entire paper is about a bankruptcy free consultation because she doesn't really read the paper. The only thing she cares about is the inserts and coupons that come in the paper. Each weekend morning she also goes to various stores and does he weekly shopping. She likes to be out before the stores get crowded. The final stop on her list is to buy a cup of coffee. Like clockwork she is always back home by 9:30 AM. She is predictable, and I love that about her.
Posted by LJN at 6:34:00 PM
Going out and doing things by myself is not something I do very frequently. Besides going to work I prefer to do things with my family. Tonight is an exception. I am going to be attending my twenty-fifth high school reunion. My wife said that she would prefer not to attend because she doesn't really know anyone and basically spends the night sitting and looking bored. I thought about trying to sway her opinion but decided that going on my own might be fun. I checked with a couple of buddies and learned they would be attending alone. It should be fun to catch up with them since we haven't seen each other in ten years or so.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
This afternoon I am heading off to spend a couple of day at Boy Scout camp with my son. The camp is highly dependent on parent volunteers to get thing done. I am looking forward to seeing my son interact with other boys at camp. It is nice to have an inside point of view about how the camp is organized. As much I want to trust the people in charge of my child to put together a quality program I will never fully know without being a part of it. I will be back in a couple of days with a full report as to the camp experience from an adult point of view.
Posted by LJN at 12:16:00 PM
I was just spending a bit of time online trying to catch up with some people I haven't spoke with in a while. One friend I was talking with had just started a music career the last time we spoke. I have always thought he had am amazing amount of talent and expertise in the area of music. He can not only play just about every instrument but also can tell you all about stuff like and what are the best products on the market. Since we last spoke his music career seems to have taken off. He sent me a link to a recent radio interview he participated in about his music and band. It is really neat to see someone really living out their dream.
Posted by LJN at 12:13:00 PM
Our oldest son has been away at camp for about 6 days. He has a miniature schnauzer named "Sammy". She loves her owner endlessly and gets very upset when he is out of sight. Since his departure I swear the dog has become depressed. She has been lying next to the door almost all day as if she expects him to walk through it any minute. He will be home tomorrow night and I am quite sure that this little dog is going to be beyond excited. Every time she hears a voice outside she is beside herself with anticipation. Whoever believes animals don't have feelings has obviously never owned a pet.
Posted by LJN at 12:09:00 PM
Monday, June 24, 2013
The school our children attend is sending us new computers in the next couple of weeks. Because of this we are trying to remove all the files we want to save from their computers before sending them back. It is really fun to look through what our youngest son has saved to his computer. He has a number of files he labeled with random letters and numbers such as mvwb850yw. For a six year old he is really tech savvy and I am impressed that he even knows how to save a file and give it a name. Saving files from their computers has been a bit of a walk down memory lane since they have had the same computers for several years.
Posted by LJN at 6:44:00 PM
We started getting an error message on our computer today. The computer that is getting the message is less than one year old. The message is telling us that there is a hard drive problem. I honestly believe the problem might really be a virus. My wife is in the midst of checking the entire system out and scanning for malware or viruses. I really hope we can figure out the problem and that they computer isn't failing us already. We are having a run of things breaking lately and this would be just one more thing we have to deal with.
Posted by LJN at 6:41:00 PM
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Last week I had the opportunity to golf with some really nice guys. They were businessmen in our area from out of town. This was a bit of a different experience from my typical golfing group which consists of some people from work. I am not used to golfing with really professional people who discuss things like getting a new humidor or what types of wine they keep in their wine cellars. This isn't to say I didn't enjoy their company although I did feel a bit out of my element. My life is centered around spending time with my family doing things like camping and fishing. I don't know a great deal about wine and cigars, but it was a nice change of pace to learn something new.
Posted by LJN at 7:56:00 PM
We spent the entire day working on our camp. Slowly but surely we are making progress on it. We have put on a new roof and gutted the interior. My project for today was to remove the old porch in preparation for installing a new one. After we get a new porch on it we should be able to get to work on the interior. The walls of the camp are in good shape as are the floor and ceiling. Where we are going to have to do some work is on the woodstove. The building has settled which has left a gap around the stovepipe and the chimney. We are going to have to figure out how to fix the gaps and raise the woodstove to meet the chimney. Either way we are making progress and it feels like we are inching closer to being able to move our stuff in.
Posted by LJN at 7:49:00 PM
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A couple of months ago we started renovating an old camp on my in-laws property. It was in need of a new roof. It was filled ceiling to floor with stuff that they had acquired over the years. The first thing we had to do was empty the interior to assess the water damage inside. Once it was empty we were able to take down the ceiling and found the roof to be pretty sound. We added a new layer of roofing paper, and the camp immediately dried out. Now we will be focusing on cleaning the interior and painting it. I also need to build a new porch for the camp as the old one is rotted. Once all that is done we will move in some stuff and begin to use the camp. I feel that over time we can work slowly to make it just how we want it to be. It will be really nice to know we have structurally sound place to stay if we had to in an emergency and also just for fun.
Posted by LJN at 5:51:00 PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
We recently discovered that a number of pictures we took of our oldest son as a baby are not in the best of shape. He was born before the advent of all of the technologies we have today. I am in the process of scanning these photos and saving them to my computer. I need to check into some sort of cd replication services so that I can send these photos to his grandparents. They aren't really tech savvy, and if I put the photos on a CD I am confident they would figure out how to view them. It seems like a really nice way to share memories with those who would truly appreciate them.
It has been a very long time since I took time for myself to pursue my own interests. I typically spend most of my time with my wife and kids doing things we all enjoy. I decided this spring that I was going to play golf on a league. I really enjoy golf but have only gotten to play a handful of times over the last few years. There is a part of me that feels guilty about taking the time to play golf each week and the cost of it all, but I feel like I need to do this. Doing something that has nothing to do with being a husband or a father is a nice change of pace every so often.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
We took our truck for an inspection this week and it did not pass. The shop said it needs new rear rotors, rear brakes, a front right wheel bearing, and a front right shock. We have ordered the parts and are waiting for them to arrive. It irks me that the truck has needed so much work since we bought it. It seems like I am working on it every single weekend. At least the weather is warming up and I might not be working on it in the snow for much longer. My hope is that the repairs start to slow down here very soon because it seems like I have replaced just about everything imaginable on it.
Posted by LJN at 9:14:00 AM
I just returned from a quick trip to the store. The store was absolutely filled with Easter plants and flowers. Since that visit I cannot stop sneezing. I am quite sure the pollen from the flowers is to blame. Everyone in my family is suffering from allergies right now and I have almost considered a hepa home filter. My hope is that things will improve and our sneezing and congestion will subside very soon. Spring has just begun and as much as I love it I do dread continued allergy suffering. At least with snow we don't have to deal with allergies.
Posted by LJN at 9:03:00 AM
Last week a person from our community disappeared. This person was very involved with several of the programs that our children are involved in. I would give more details, but I really prefer to stay anonymous and more details than this would say more than I want to about children and our lives. The person who disappeared is not someone who would do anything to themselves and didn't have an enemy in the world. Trying to explain his absence to our children has been so difficult. As we continue to wait for answers we are simply praying for a miracle. That he would come home and be okay.
Posted by LJN at 9:00:00 AM
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
My youngest son started Cub Scouts last fall. He has absolutely love going to each meeting. I swear they could just get together and color pictures and he would be happy. It is so cute to see how a bunch of 6 year old boys relate to one another. Given that my son is home schooled I don't get to see him with other kids very often in an organized group Almost every night of the week he asks if he has a meeting. It is nice to see him enthusiastic about something that doesn't include video games or Legos.
Dinner is one of my wife's least favorite meals to cook. If she could she would have breakfast for dinner every night of the week.I really don't want to eat breakfast for dinner. In my head dinner consists of meat, carbohydrate, and a vegetable. My Mom cooked dinner every night of the week and alwasy made it a special time. There is a part of me that wants my wife to feel the same way about dinner. I try to remind myself that my Mom didn't have all the things on her plate that my wife does. Dinner was a huge part of my Mom's schedule whereas my wife has about 15 other things that come before dinner.
Friday, January 25, 2013
This has been a week for making things in our house. My wife got a notion to get a bunch of projects done inside since the weather was so nasty outside. We made about 14 pounds of soap, some homemade deodorant, aftershave, toothpaste, and over 20 pounds of frozen french fries. It was a busy but fun way to spend some time together. I also like that we saved a ton of money by making this stuff ourselves. We know exactly what is in the things we made and we are avoiding a bunch chemicals by making them ourselves.
Posted by LJN at 6:05:00 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2013
This evening we spent time learning how to say our ham radio call signs in the phonetic alphabet. If you are unfamiliar with ham radio and the rules by which is operates practicing this probably doesn't make much sense. When you talk in the phonetic alphabet you are spelling out letters using whole words. For examply is I was saying the letters "T,D, and M" this might sound confusing to some people. Instead I would say something like triangle direct media. People familiar with the phonetic alphabet would know to use the first letter of each of these words to arrive at what letters I was saying. Ham radio call signs are a combination of letters and numbers and understanding them over the radio can be difficult at times. Saying your call sign is mandatory by law and must be said so many times during a certain time frame. We hope to soon be comfortable saying our call signs phonetically and to spend a bit more time on the air.
Posted by LJN at 6:32:00 PM
Tonight my son made his first contact on his ham radio. He was extremely happy and nervous to be talking to someone. The one thing we realize is that we have to listen in to what he is talking about and to who. He is not really sure of what is okay to say and what is not. For now we are trying to get him to listen and learn and not focus so much on talking.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
We have had our truck for about 4 months. In that time I have noticed that the left front tire seems to perpetually be a bit soft. Luckily I have air compressors in my garage and can fill the tire up as needed. I am thinking that this spring I will need to take the truck somewhere to have the tire serviced. I don't really want to deal with it right now in snowy weather and would like to wait until spring if at all possible. It likely has a slow leak somewhere in it that needs patching. Hopefully I don't need a new set of tires already.
Santa very was very good to me this year. I did not anticipate very much in the way of gifts this year. My wife and I typically do not buy very much for each other. This year we decided to spend a bit of money on things that each of us really needed. Although we didn't stretch our budget beyond what we could afford it was nice to find a little something extra under the tree this year. Instead of entirely lavishing our children with presents we got gifts that the entire family could enjoy. The children end up being spoiled by their grandparents anyways and didn't really notice that we didn't buy as much specifically for them.
Friday, December 14, 2012
My wife is an avid bargain shopper. She also loves to keep a well stocked pantry. One thing she does is to watch for markdowns on various food products that store well. Recently she bought a bunch of gatorade powder that was marked down. The power is nice because it will keep for a very long time. She also either freezes or dehydrates anything perishable that she finds on sale. It is nice to know that we could not have to leave our house for quite a while in an emergency and that we would be well fed.
Posted by LJN at 12:36:00 PM
I went this week for an arginine stimulation test at a nearby "big city" hospital. The test was done there because they are supposed to know what they are doing. When we arrived the nurse promptly offered me a menu to order food. This should have been a sign because my orders said I was not to eat or drink. I informed them of the mistake and they checked my orders. The test required blood draws every thirty minutes for several hours. They were prompt for the first two draws and then missed the third even after we alerted them to the lab being late for the draw. The result was that I have to have this test again which really sucks because it should have been done properly. I get to worry for a couple weeks longer and then have to wait for results.
The idea that I will be changing jobs in a couple of weeks has made me happier than nothing else has for a very long time. I really feel like if I get nothing else for Christmas that this new job is more than enough. Whether I find coal in my stocking or a stack of gifts does not matter. Honestly, I would take a job making custom shirts in northern va if it meant having a stable and well paying job doing something else. I am very thankful for the job that I have had for the last 5 years but it is a very hard job and I am glad to be moving on.
Posted by LJN at 12:29:00 PM
I interviewed for a position with another department, of the agency that I work for, about six weeks ago. I had all but given up on hearing back from them given the length of time since the interview. This morning I received a call from the director of this department offering me the position. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am. The job I currently hold is a thankless and miserable job where we are never caught up on our caseload and are always pressed to do more. I honestly believe that no other position could be as miserable as mine and anything will be a move forward. The job is a lateral move but a move nonetheless.
Posted by LJN at 12:26:00 PM
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Once again it is time for us to be finishing up our Christmas shopping. Every year we sit for hours trying to decide what to buy my father for Christmas. He isn't the type of guy that you could buy a sterling silver cuff or something like that. He has everything he needs and wants for nothing. The thing is that he expects us to find him a gift every year and isn't happy with a gift card. It makes shopping nearly impossible and drives us crazy. I am thinking about donating to a charity in his honor just to see how that type of present goes over with him.
Posted by LJN at 5:08:00 PM
My doctor referred me for a test/procedure in early November. I have been trying since that time to get this test scheduled. For whatever reason my local hospital kept screwing around and telling me one thing after another as to why it was taking so long to schedule. Finally I called my doctor's office and requested the procedure be scheduled elsewhere. I was scheduled almost immediately for the test.Within an hour of scheduling at a different hospital my local hospital called to set an appointment for me. I told them I would stick with the other hospital because I have to wonder if they really know what they are doing.
Posted by LJN at 5:05:00 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2012
My brother-in-law is here for a few days with his dog. His dog is a very large chocolate lab mix and is generally well behaved. The problem is that his dog is not used to smaller children and tries to push our son over all the time. My brother-in-law doesn't try to correct the dog at all which drives us crazy. The dog also barks constantly which is completely annoying. What kills me is that the dog is trained to do all sorts of tricks and to listen to commands. My brother-in-law considers the barking and pushing normal dog behavior. I think that if he is going to spend all that time training the dog in other ways that he could work on the barking and pushing.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Tonight my parents are going to stop by for a bit. We haven't seen my father in a while because he lives several hunded miles away from us. Although my parents are divorced they are amicable enough that when he comes to town he stays with my mom. My wife always tries to look with busy with some project like looking for bell planters when he is here. His attitude rubs her the wrong way and she finds it easier to look like she is in the midst of a project than to listen to him. They are polar opposites when it comes to their view of the world and my father tries to start a conversation about his viewpoint whenever he is here. She is smart enough to realize nothing she says will change him and therefore doesn't try. I don't even think he realizes that she doesn't agree with him. I do think he thinks that is always working on some project or another no matter what time of year it is.
Posted by LJN at 6:47:00 PM
Today my wife celebrates her forty-second birthday. This means that we have both officially been married half our lives. In June we were married twenty-one years. When you consider how young we were when we got married it feels like a milestone to have had such a successful marriage. So many people we know that got married around the time that we did are now on their second or third marriage. It has been such a good ride I only hope the future holds as much happiness for us.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
This week I interviewed for a position within another agency of the state that I currently work for. This would be a lateral move for me but I would be working in a different capacity and with a different population of clientele. The interview went well as far as I was concerned. The next day someone from the office called me requesting that I fill out tax information and document that certain local taxes had been deducted from my paycheck this year. The next morning the same woman called me requesting that I bring a voided check to the office for direct deposit of my paycheck. Mind you they have not offered me the job yet. I find it really weird that they would ask for all of this if they weren't going to offer me the job... Why else would they be asking for this?
Posted by LJN at 4:28:00 PM
Friday, November 02, 2012
A couple of days ago I traveled about 80 miles to see a specialist I had been referred to. I anticipated that the visit would not be worth my time and would be a quick in and out type thing. I am pleased to report that the visit was entirely worth my time and that we were there over 3 hours. The doctor was extremely complete in his evaluation of my records and explaining how he would approach my treatment. He also referred me to another specialist for evaluation of some results that they found. I feel like I am finally in good hands and being treated comprehensively.
Posted by LJN at 1:11:00 PM
Friday, October 12, 2012
Last night we took the children out to do a bit of foraging. On the ground of the place where I work there are several chestnut trees. My older son has desperately wanted to roast some chestnuts and so we decided to take him foraging. As it turns out we waited a bit too long in the season to get them. We looked for an hour or so an managed to find about a pound and a half of nuts. It wasn't as much as we had hoped for but at least there were some. If we like them we will know better next year and go looking earlier in the year.
Posted by LJN at 5:46:00 PM
Sunday, September 30, 2012
We arrived at my in-laws house today to do a bit of work and noticed that one of our truck lights had been broken. They recently put tar and chips on the highway instead of repairing it properly. I am quite convinced that the chips are the reason our light is broken. It irks me to know that this is going to cost me quite a bit to replace. It is isn't like patching a leather seat and doing a bit of research on leather repair kits info. In all likelihood I am going to have go to a junk yard and buy a new light cover. Had they repaired the road properly I am sure there would be fewer dented and dinged vehicles on the road.
Posted by LJN at 6:26:00 PM
We have reached that time of the year when it is time to put the garden to bed. We have a large garden at my in-laws and it requires quite a bit of clean up given the way we have it set up. It was a huge job to get all of the old plants pulled up and carried off. In addition to all the plants we had a ton of rotten tomatoes to carry off. All I can say is that I am very glad it is done for the year. It took several hours to pull everything up and carry it off and it is finally done for another year.
Posted by LJN at 6:19:00 PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Since we moved to our house five years ago we have had a high speed internet connection that has been trouble free until this week. For some reason our internet has gone in and out for the last several days. At first I thought it might be something to do with my computer and tried to do a Windows cleanup but that didn't make any different. After trying a bunch of different things I finally figured that the problem had to be with our internet provided. The must either be working on the lines or something has happened to them. Hopefully things settle down and we will once again have the same reliable service we have always had.
Posted by LJN at 3:07:00 PM
Our youngest son has been anxiously awaiting the time when he would be old enough to join Cub Scouts. He has watched his older brother attend scouts for so many year that I am sure he felt like he would never get his turn. Last week he, at long last, attended his first Tiger Scout meeting. He couldn't have been any prouder of himself. It was absolutely adorable to see him sitting so patiently and trying to imitate what he saw the other scouts doing. Given that this is his first experience with an organized group I didn't know what to expect out of him. Thankfully he fit right in and enjoyed the experience very much.
Posted by LJN at 3:04:00 PM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I have been at my current position for about 5 years. The job that I do is very stressful but comes with a number of great benefits. Because of the benefits I would like to stay with my employer but possibly move to a different department. I have been applying for jobs in other departments for a while. The nice thing about this is I avoid the pre-employment screening process. We are a seniority based organization. This means that when I apply for a job consideration is always given to my rank within the organization. Essentially I just have to keep applying for jobs until I am the applicant with the most seniority. It is weird how qualifications do not matter as much as the time you have worked for the organization.
Posted by LJN at 2:08:00 PM
About a year ago I started feeling really crappy. I finally went to the doctor and it turned out that I have low testosterone. This is weird because I am only 42. My levels were around that of a 100 year old man. I started hormone therapy and my levels went up. My most recent test was this week and once again my levels are in the toilet. I have to increase my dose and retest in two months. I wish I knew what the heck was going on because all of this sucks.
Posted by LJN at 1:54:00 PM
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
My older son is always coming up with one plan after another to build various things. Most recently he wanted to build a catapult. You might find the idea of building a catapult boring and be more interested in having me type about yoga clothes here instead. We constructed a small catapult and have been trying to get it to launch things like footballs. So far it only launches the football about 6 feet which is far shorter than we had hoped for. It has been a fun project to work on with him and I think it is a great way to learn about science in a very hands on way. I know my neighbors must get a charge out of watching us trying to launch things in the back yard.
Posted by LJN at 1:26:00 PM
What is it that seems to make electronics fail for no apparent reason and often in pairs or multiples. This weekend we wanted to watch a DVD only to find out that our DVD player had failed. Nothing we did made it work. Yesterday we went to use our Roku and found out that the remote had decided to no longer work. Luckily my wife found an extension on Google Chrome that allowed us to operate the Roku. In the meantime we have ordered a new remote and will buy a new DVD player at some point in the future.
Posted by LJN at 1:17:00 PM
Friday, August 24, 2012
My wife can find anything online. It is actually pretty amazing what she is able to track down. There was a time when her ability to find appliance parts online surprised me but she has gone way beyond that now. She can take a little piece of information about a person and use that to track down so much more. Most of the time she reads something about someone in the news and is then able to put pieces together to create a much fuller story than was originally presented. The other day she found out that several of our previous relatives had criminal records and that a couple of them were about to have their parole revoked. It would be great if she could turn her research abilities into some sort of profession but right now she just does it for fun.
I posted a few weeks ago about all the work I have been doing on my truck. The truck we bought is about ten years old and has very few miles on it. I have been putting money and time into upgrading many of the parts on it that are just worn out from sitting. So far I have replaced the upper control arms in the front, the shocks, both oxygen sensors, and the airbag clock spring. Tonight I am working on replacing a flange that goes around the exhaust system and starting to prepare it for new undercoating. My hope is that by replacing many of these things the vehicle will last us well into the future.
Posted by LJN at 6:18:00 PM
Thursday, August 09, 2012
We are in the middle of a much needed rain storm that came out of nowhere. One minute the sun is shining and the next minute the skies open up and it is raining and hailing. Our power has blinked out a couple of times. Right now the television is acting up and the program I was watching is playing without any audio. The characters are moving their mouths but no sound is coming out. What is funny is that you can see sunshine in the midst of all the rain. I bet if we look hard enough there will be a rainbow somewhere. It doesn't matter either way because we are just so glad to have the rain given the drought this country is enduring.
Posted by LJN at 5:14:00 PM
I just got back from sorting recycling with my son's Boy Scout troop. It is kind of funny to spend time with a bunch of twelve year old boys. Listening to the things that are important to them now makes me try to imagine them as adults. I can almost imagine them as grown men standing around talking about the new cigar store at the mall or the set of golf clubs they are thinking about buying. Right now the things that matter to them right now are what video games are coming out or what cell phones they want to get. Life right now is simple for them and in some respects it will remain that way as they grow older. We might get older but we still interact with one another in much the same way.
Posted by LJN at 4:50:00 PM
I have just one more repair I need to make to our truck before I consider it to be in good shape. Thus far I have replaced the airbag clockspring, shocks, and upper control arms. The truck error code system says that it needs the downstream oxygen sensor replaced. I have the sensor and just need to find the time to replace. My hope is that the gas mileage improves once I do this. It is a pretty easy fix I just need the truck to be cool underneath before I do the repair.
Posted by LJN at 4:33:00 PM
Friday, August 03, 2012
In May of this year my father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Shortly thereafter he started 9 weeks of radiation treatments. Over that time his health declined but now seems to be improving. I am so glad to see that he now has just two days of radiation left. I feel like we should be looking for gift ideas for seniors to celebrate this milestone. My hope is that the treatment was successful and that his health continues to improve. It has been really hard on both of my in-laws because of his failing health and the distance they have had to travel for treatment. I don't really know what comes next in his treatment but it is nice to see them this close to the end of this stage.
Posted by LJN at 6:53:00 PM
Our youngest son is totally and completely enthralled with Lego's. He even has been talking about them in his sleep. It fascinates us to see him play with toys like this because his older brother never did. When he asks if he can watch something on the television the first thing he does is go to YouTube. He loves to watch videos of people building various Lego kits. Right now he is completely fascinated with watching people build the sets that center around Marvel or DC Comic book super heroes. I have to laugh to watch him just sit and stare at some of these soundless videos of just someone building with Lego's.
Posted by LJN at 6:48:00 PM
My brother-in-law is one of those guys who is always there when you need him and never asks for anything in return. This week I called him to see if he had a certain set of tools I needed for my auto repair project. He is the type of guy who has every tool imaginable. It wouldn't surprise me if he had an industrial milling machine lying around somewhere. It really is nice to be able to borrow tools that I don't anticipate needing to use on a regular basis. I just wish there were a way that I could once in a while help him out with something that he needs done. He told me that last weekend he was helping a friend dig out and replace his French drains. Seriously, he is the type of guy that does that type of stuff just because he can.
Since we bought our truck last week I have made a list of things I want to replace or fix on it. Mind you this truck is in very good shape but there are things with any older truck that are just worth fixing before they break. Given our rough winters I would rather replace things I know are going to go now that have to do it in a snow storm. Thus far I have put on a new airbag clockspring, a new shock, and a new upper control arm. I am going to the the other shock and control arm in the morning. The owner of this truck took good care of it but it sat a great deal and wasn't driven much. This means there are things that rusty and dry rotten. While they might be usable now I don't know how they will hold up to consistent driving. I believe in prevention versus treatment once a problem arises.
Posted by LJN at 6:31:00 PM
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A friend of ours is getting married for the first time this weekend. We aren't going to be able to go to the wedding but have been trying to find just the right gift. Given that our friend is in her 40's and has had her own home for a long time there isn't much that she really needs. We have considered a gift from somewhere like Shari's berries.com gift baskets and also looked at gift cards. Since they will be combining two home into one I don't want to give them more stuff that will just sit around or be a duplicate of something they already have. I think am thinking that the right gift will be something that they can choose themselves. Hopefully, we will narrow down an exact gift in the next couple of day and get it in the mail to them.
Posted by LJN at 3:01:00 PM
I have been going to the same barber shop for over ten years. It isn't that my barber is anything special. My wife is quite convinced that she could cut my hair as well as my barber. Although it would save us some money if she did cut my hair I refuse to let her. It really comes down to the fact that I love my barber shop. It is in the basement of a historic part of town. Stepping into the shop is like stepping back in history. I like the experience of going to the shop and how it makes me feel like for a moment I am back to a time when life was simpler. We all should get to step away like that every once in a while.
Posted by LJN at 2:49:00 PM
This weekend we will be traveling to Ohio for a family reunion. I haven't seen most of my extended family in quite some time. We have been trying to get everyone together for a long time and this is the first time it has worked out. My Uncle will be hosting the gathering. He has a huge home with a great big yard. We will be able to let the kids run around and play while the adults gather under the gazebos that are scattered on his land. Hopefully the weather won't be terribly hot and everyone has a great time. Our family is scattered across the country which makes this reunion a very rare event. I really hope it goes off without a hitch.
Posted by LJN at 2:36:00 PM
We have been battling colds in our house for the last two weeks. I don't know why but we can't seem to shake it. Just when one of us seems to get over it another one gets it and so on. This is our second bought with the same symptoms. It is really getting old. We have disinfected every surface and washed everything possible. I would almost think we were all having a collective allergic reaction to something but allergies don't typically cause a fever.
Posted by LJN at 2:30:00 PM
My father-in-law is currently going through radiation treatment for cancer. He is dealing with some other serious health problems at the same time and his health is failing. One of the major problems is that he won't listen to the recommendations of his doctor. He thinks he knows more than his doctor and tries to treat things in his own way. Recently he got a nasty infection in his legs because of his improper care of himself. We really don't want to plan a funeral and wish he would listen to his healthcare provider. It is so frustrating to see someone just throw their health away because of they are stubborn. My hope is that his doctor will be able to talk some sense into him before he gets any worse.
Posted by LJN at 2:23:00 PM
I am at long last taking some vacation time! Taking time off at my office is a huge hassle. It isn't that we can't take vacation but it makes keeping up with our work load nearly impossible. We are given daily progress reports and reviews as to where we stand in dealing with our case loads. If we aren't making progress we are notified by our supervisors. These evaluations do not take into account whether we have recently taken vacation or not. I have known people to cancel their vacations rather than deal with getting behind. It is easier to just go to work rather than with the frustration of being behind.
Posted by LJN at 2:17:00 PM
We have had the same laptop computer for over six years. It has slowly been showing signs of age over the last year. Every so often it shuts down spontaneously. Prior to doing this the screen often turns blue and nothing can be done with the computer. We decided that it was time to replace it before it died for good. After looking at a number of websites offering everything from ritz camera coupons to free shipping codes we found a deal on a laptop. The new laptop arrived today and we couldn't be happier. Although not the fanciest computer on the market it is a huge improvement over our old one. Setting it up was hassle free and it operates so much quicker. It would have been nice not to have to spend the money on a new computer but it is nice to have a new device.
Posted by LJN at 2:12:00 PM
We ditched cable about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. We have a Roku system and watch Netflix on it. This gives us enough programming options to keep everyone in the family happy. Today I got a message about a two month trial available for HuluPlus. I don't think we will keep Hulu for the long term but it will be nice to try it out for a couple of months to see if it has any advantages over Netflix. We tried Hulu a few years ago but it really didn't offer enough at the time to warrant keeping it for the long term. Will keep you posted on what the ruling is once the two month trial is nearly over.
Posted by LJN at 2:05:00 PM
Friday, June 22, 2012
My father-in-law is going through treatment right now for prostate cancer. He is having a pretty rough time of it and has us all worried. He already had so many health problems that having cancer is like the icing on the cake. The poor guy has diabetes and other problems that make him need to wear something like activa compression stockings. He is now walking with a cane and has trouble navigating without pain. I wish there were something we could do to improve one aspect of his life but it just seems to all be beyond the scope of what anyone can do.
Posted by LJN at 8:53:00 AM
We sent our son to an overnight camp for the first time this week. Last night we picked him and asked him how things went... he replied the kids here are very mean. As it turns out our son was picked on almost the entire time he was there. The group leader even drew us aside and told us that our son was picked on an suggested we enroll him in karate to build his self esteem. What kills me is that rather than take the parents of the kids doing the picking on aside it is us who are supposed to change our son. Why on earth is our world this way? It makes it sound as if he is the reason these kids are cruel...
Posted by LJN at 8:50:00 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Tonight I am going to go out and do a bit of shopping by myself. In a couple of weeks we will celebrate 21 years of marriage. I need to find my wife a great anniversary gift and have no idea what to get her. I keep thinking I should look for a new laptop because ours is dying. My wife spends a ton of time working on the computer and is the best website creator I know. We have been putting off replacing our computer and have been looking at what options are out there. I would love to give her something more romantic than a computer but she is a practical woman and would not appreciate a diamond ring or other piece of jewelry. She love stuff that shows I really know her. The other thing she has really been wanting is a wheelbarrow. How do you wrap a wheelbarrow?
My mother took our children for a couple days. It has been awesome to have quiet time in our house. Our children have only been away from us a handful of times in the twelve years we have been parents. Last night we went to Walmart and actually walked through the place without looking at a single toy. I really, really love my children but it is nice to have time to ourselves once in a great while. Last night we ate ice cream in bed and didn't feel guilty at all. Tonight we might even stay up past midnight!
Posted by LJN at 5:53:00 PM
Friday, June 01, 2012
My parent's have always been fairly reserved when it comes to spending money. They have never wanted to money because they have always been conservative with their finances. For some reason now that they are retired they have decided to spend money much more freely. My father seems to buy anything that is on sale. It doesn't matter if it is honda seat covers or binoculars he buys it if the price is right. This weekend he brought us three pair of binoculars that he bought on sale. I have never had the need to use three pairs at once but I graciously accepted his gift. I just find it funny that they are now so free with their money after years of being so frugal.
Posted by LJN at 12:37:00 PM
This season I have built and complete three gardens! It has been a ton of work but I feel it is entirely worth it. We extended the garden in our back yard and put a fence around it. We also put in a very large fenced garden at my in-laws house that we will be sharing with them. I then put in and fence a small garden at my mother's house in the hopes that she will do something besides sit around and watch television. I am not hoping that my garden building work is done for the future and that all we will need to do is plant things and grow them. The big work is now behind me which is a really good feeling.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Last fall we started a very big gardening project. This consisted of clearing a plot of land at my in-laws house and creating a garden from scratch. The area we cleared was heavily vegetated with burdock and other invasive plants. Initially we cut each plant down by hand and then started the processing of working the soil. Since that time we have had to till the soil multiple times to clear the land. Last week we installed fence around 3/4 of the garden. This weekend we will install the final part of the fence as well as some electric fence. Their property is in a rural location which means we will be battling deer and other critters. Hopefully all the work will pan out and we will get a decent harvest this year.
Posted by LJN at 1:58:00 PM
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Yesterday my in-laws stopped by for a few hours. My father-in-law doesn't visit very often because his health has not been very good lately. I noticed yesterday that he is having a difficult time walking. I doubt that it will be very long before he considers getting a roll about scooter. I really hate to see his health fail in the way that it has. There isn't much any of us can do to change the situation other than encourage him to take the best care possible of himself and to stay active. His inclination is to stay home and sit around which doesn't do him any good. Getting out and doing things will keep him healthier and improve his outlook on life. Right now he is so focused on what he isn't able to do that he doesn't see what he is still able to participate in.
Posted by LJN at 8:27:00 AM
Today I will be finishing my Mother's Day gift to my wife. We started putting in a large garden at my in-laws property last fall. The land has to be cleared of brush which was a big project. Now that the soil is ready we need to build a fence around the garden. They have a number of dear and bear that wander their property which means we will constantly be trying to keep them out of the garden. Once the fence is up we will also electrify it. Hopefully this will keep critters out and allow us to actually grow some food. My wife doesn't want jewelry or flowers for Mother's Day. All she wants is space to grow without limit. I am going to give that to her today.
Posted by LJN at 8:22:00 AM
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
For the last couple of months my older son and I have been studying to take the test to obtain our ham radio licenses. I went into the process assuming that it would be a fairly easy process. As it turns out the amount of information covered is amazing. We are 65% through the information after a couple of months of studying. I know that we will complete studying in the next month or so but it seems daunting at times. The actual test is only 35 questions but those questions come from a pool of 300 or more potential questions.
Posted by LJN at 5:30:00 PM
This week cannot pass by soon enough for my taste. I know it is only Tuesday but I seriously need for Friday to get here. Yesterday my wife took our oldest son for an MRI of his right hip and thigh. He had previously had an x-ray of the area that came back with non-specific abnormal findings. His doctor referred him for an MRI to narrow down what might be going on with his leg. We should have the results by Friday which will allow us to know what we are or aren't dealing with. My hope is that the abnormal findings were a fluke and that he is absolutely fine.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
We are toying with idea of creating an outdoor room in our backyard. Our gardens are finally finished and we are able to focus on other areas of home and property. I think it would be nice to have a outdoor kitchen where we could do our canning and cooking during the summer. I have a great deal of research to do before we start any kind of project. I am sure I would have to consider our environment when building and make sure I use products specifically for outdoor rooms like wet rated outdoor ceiling fans and equipment. My family loves to be outdoors as much as possible and I think that an outdoor room would give us just one more reason to be outside rather than tucked away indoors when the weather is nice.
Posted by LJN at 1:42:00 PM
When the weather sucks like it does today I like to make use of my time by organizing. I know this sounds goofy but I like and organized home. It is nice to know exactly where everything is when I need it and not have to rifle through tons of things to find what I am looking for. I don't know how people who hang onto everything function. We have some people in our family who are very close to being considered hoarders and yet seem to care less about the clutter. Surprisingly these people can tell you right where to find something when it is needed despite piles of stuff surrounding it. I guess everyone has a system but for me minimal clutter is key to a functioning household.
Posted by LJN at 1:38:00 PM
Two days ago we took our youngest son for his first eye exam. Over the last few months we have noticed that he seems to be working really hard to see things. His examination revealed that he is quite near sighted for his age which surprised me a bit. I thought he would need glasses but had no idea that he was as near sighted as he is. I can't wait to see how he looks in his new glasses. Surely he will look older once he puts them on. It seems like only yesterday we were pushing him around in one of those stroller travel systems and now he is losing teeth and wearing glasses. I only hope we can teach him to be careful with them and treat them well. He is a bit wilder than our older son and much more active. Thankfully, the glasses come with a good warranty because I am sure he will make use of it over the next year.
Posted by LJN at 1:31:00 PM
Just when we think spring is finally here the weather seems to throw us a curve ball. We have had warm weather for most of the week but the next few days are going to look like winter again. Starting this afternoon we are supposed to get a heavy winter storm with the likelihood of about a foot of snow accumulation. This is a real bummer considering that we have plants in the garden. We covered them up as best we could by I seriously doubt that they will survive 12 inches of snow resting on them. Hopefully this is the last storm we have and the temperatures start to stabilize for good.
Posted by LJN at 1:27:00 PM
Monday, April 02, 2012
Now that spring is here we are able to once again enjoy in one of our favorite family hobbies. During warm and sunny weather we love to go geocaching. We don't exactly have the best gps but we are still able find a great number of caches. My children like to think of our excursions as a treasure hunt. For them the fun is not so much in what we find but the process of finding it. We simply enjoy the time out together in the great outdoors. Finding the cache is just icing on the cake. This year we might spend some time making our own caches for other people to find. It only seems fair if other people take the time to hide them for us that we should return the favor.
Posted by LJN at 8:20:00 PM
You might have guessed by my posts that we are keenly interested in homesteading. It seems as if there is always some new skill that we want to learn or master. This week we decided to try to make a rocket stove out of discarded cans. Using a #10 can and four soup cans it is pretty easy to construct a functioning rocket stove. We used our stove in our fireplace to roast hot dogs. What we didn't realize is that these cans were coated with some sort of crap that burnt off and created a horrible smell. I can only imagine what this stuff was and how much of it we ate. So, the moral of the story is don't make a rocket stove out of cans coated with crap.
Posted by LJN at 8:04:00 PM
We live in a very small town and it doesn't take much to make something newsworthy in our town. The big news right now is the plan by the school board to consolidate a couple of our schools next year. We have been having a series of public meetings that have gotten quite crazy because of all the people in attendance. It wouldn't surprise me to see crowd control rope stanchions at the next meeting. People here feel very strongly about keeping certain schools open no matter how much enrollment declines or how stressed the budget becomes. I am a practical person and believe that we have to do what needs to be done to give our children the best opportunities possible within our budget. If that means consolidating schools then that is what we need to do.
Have you ever known someone who wanted to be helpless at everything? We are in a situation where we frequently have to interact with a family member who is like this. It is so weird to me to listen to her talk because she apparently works very hard at being unable to do anything. What makes her troubling is the fact that she is in fact an able bodied person and is not ailing, old, or frail. She however wants people to think her inept at anything she attempts and even those things that she doesn't. She doesn't drive, cook, do laundry, lift things, work, or well the list is endless. I cannot imagine living with someone who took no responsibility for anything in our home or marriage. It is mind boggling. My wife is such an independent person that I fail to see what a man would see in a women who was literally dependent on them for everything.
Posted by LJN at 6:36:00 PM
Some friends of ours recently became the parents of twins. They already had two children prior to the birth of the twins. Their older children are both under the age of five which means they have their hands very full. I ran into them on the street this week and was amazed at how effortless they made managing all those little people seem. One of them was pushing a City Mini GT double stroller and the other was holding the two older children by the hands. No one seemed stressed in the slightest. I remember trying to get one baby out the door and it always seemed like a circus act. I really believe that some people are meant to be the parents of a bunch of kids and then there are those of us who do best with just one or two at a time.
Have you ever wanted to meet people with similar interests who live in your area? I read about Meetup and thought that it would be a really great thing. We never seem to find people who are into the same things we are in our town. So, I decided to look on Meetup... Guess what? No one in my town seems to be interested in anything. There is literally one group within 50 miles of my area and that group has one member. As you might guess this would be a great resource for someone who lived in a major city but for those of us in the middle of nowhere it might as well not exist.
Posted by LJN at 6:25:00 PM
In our area of the country many people heat their homes with wood. Buying wood can be a pricey thing if you need a great deal of it. Right now it goes for about $50 a face cord. We have a fireplace that we use periodically throughout the winter but it is not our primary heat source. We have only had to buy a couple of cords of wood in the time that we have lived in our home. Our wood supply has reached the point that we have to buy more wood for next winter. My in-laws recently had a dead tree fall down on their property and have offered us the wood. The tree was pretty large which means we will have a supply of wood for the next couple of years for free. I like having wood on hand in case our furnace were to fail and for camping. It will take some work to get the wood home but it is worth it for free wood.
Posted by LJN at 5:55:00 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
For some reason my older son has suddenly taken an interest in golf. He is almost thirteen and has never shown an interest in any sport. Last week he took an old set of golf clubs we had been given out of the garage and has not put them down since. He doesn't care that the golf bag is bright green and in serious need of leather restoration or that the clubs needs a good cleaning. All he cares about is standing in the back yard and hitting golf balls. What is really interesting is that he seems to really want to learn as much as he can about the sport. I told him that this weekend we could go to a driving range where he could really test out his swing. In the yard he has to restrain himself because there are so many houses around us.
Posted by LJN at 2:50:00 PM
Spring is always a fun time in our house. All of the members of my family suffer from seasonal allergies. Usually we have another month or so before we have to break out the Claritan but not this year. There are already leaves about to pop on our trees and my allergies are taking the cue. My head is stuffy and I feel like I am about to start sneezing any minute. The upside to having an early spring is that we aren't dealing with snow and all the hassles that accompany it. I guess you can't have everything. Hopefully spring is as gentle to us as winter was.
Posted by LJN at 2:46:00 PM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
We have been eating a Paleo diet for over four months. In that time my wife has lost over 20 pounds and looks great. It is so nice not to have her on the latest fad diet. I can't tell you how many times I have worried about apidexin side effects or some other diet pill. Eating well and exercising has been the only diet she needed. Essentially we gave up grains, sugar, and dairy. There has been no calorie counting involved. Our goals are to work out 3-6 times a week for thirty minutes. At this point I don't see what we are doing as a diet but rather a sustainable lifestyle choice. So many people say they could never give up grains but it isn't that hard if you really think about it. Just eat meats, vegetables, and fruit.
My wife has been trying since November to get her students loans with Sallie Mae placed under their income based repayment program. Each time she applies her application is denied. What is mind boggling is the fact that every time she calls she to confirm receipt of her application and that it is complete she is told that it is. She specifically asks if any further information is needed and is told that it is not. Then a couple of weeks later she receives a letter denying her application and telling her that some other information is needed and that she will have to reapply. It is CRAZY!!!! I am now convinced that they are purposely messing with her to prevent her loan from being processed into the program.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Our office has several fund raisers during the year to buy equipment we might want or need above and beyond what is supplied by our employer. To raise this money we have several luncheons during the year and we each pay to eat the meals provided. Last year we use our funds to buy a new oven for the break room and a couple of bunn coffee makers. This weeks my boss sent around a list asking us to indicate what we would like to see on a "wish list" for this year's fund raising money to be directed towards. I would love to see our office buy some signs asking people to limit their perfume use but I don't have the nerve to write that down. I work with 25 women and our office just stinks from the assortment of perfumes and lotions everyone uses. My allergies go crazy every single day. I decided to pass on writing anything down on the list because I can't think of anything that would end up being purchased.
My big winter project is almost done. My wife requested that I help he in remodeling the kitchen to make it more functional for our needs. Our needs are such that we need to be able to access our kitchen in an efficient way for cooking, canning, and baking. We preserves tons of fresh produce during the summer and fall. Having a kitchen that is modern and non-functional is less important to us than a streamlined kitchen that makes work easier. We removed all of our upper cabinetry in the kitchen and replaced it with sturdy shelves. This makes everything visible and within reach at all times. Our old double oven and drop in cook top were replaced with a single standing oven. This gave us a ton of extra space and the kitchen feel much larger. I have just a couple of things left to do and this project will be done.
Posted by LJN at 5:43:00 PM
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Over the past couple of years we have dramatically simplified our lives. We no longer have cable television service and have gotten rid of many of our electrical convenience items. This isn't to say that we are joining the Amish or anything. Although we love simple things around the home like amish dining room furniture, we are by no means ready to separate ourselves from the grid. Simple living to us means doing things for ourselves and relying on our skills as much as possible. Growing and preserving what food we can and doing things the old fashioned way. Many people think that simple living means going through the drive-through but not in our opinion. Simple living means going back to the way things were done before the complication of modern technology got in the way.
Posted by LJN at 8:17:00 PM
This weekend my son's Boy Scout troop went on a camping trip. Because I am fairly active in his troop I went along to help with the kids. My son decided that this would be the weekend that he passed some of his requirements for obtaining his first and second class status. He could not have picked a more miserable weekend to try to achieve these goals. The weather was a verifiable blizzard with weather advisories. He was undaunted by the conditions and managed to not only build and start a fire in very strong wind and snow but also to cook his own breakfast over the fire. I could not be prouder of him but I will admit that I am very glad to be home where it is warm and dry.
Posted by LJN at 8:11:00 PM
Friday, February 17, 2012
This year we celebrated Valentine's Day in a very low key manner. My wife took me to the hardware store and asked me to pick out something I wanted or needed. I have to say this was nice because typically I end up receiving clothing or chocolate. For her gift I thought about looking into something like residential maid service durham nc but decided against it. Instead I spent time working on finishing the remodeling of our kitchen. I knew that she would much rather have a functional kitchen over any other gift I might surprise her with. As it turns out this was exactly what she wanted and was thrilled to see the progress I made on the project. There are times when surprises are nice but this was one of those occasions where practicality was perfect.
Posted by LJN at 2:58:00 PM
We have been eating a Paleo diet for almost 4 months. The difference this has made in how both my wife and I feel is incredible. No longer are we plagued with the aches and pains of being 40ish. I have to say that is wasn't until the last couple of weeks that I really began to see the differences in our physiques. Now it seems like things are changing rapidly for both of us in a very positive way. My wife has lost about 22 pounds and has also gained quite a bit of muscle. I lost a bit of weight but have definitely toned my body and added muscle mass. She works out daily by doing either cardio and weight lifting or cardio alone. I usually do a combination of strength training and a bit of cardio. I will admit that going into this diet I was skeptical but I am now completely sold on forgoing grains, dairy, and sugar.
Posted by LJN at 2:54:00 PM
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Today we filed our federal tax return. It is a relief to have them done. Typically we wait until the last minute to file because it seems so daunting. This year the plan was to get them done early and get our return early. Most people we know get their tax returns and use them on something like a trip to . We will not be doing that. Instead we hope to put some money towards paying down our mortgage and save Hawaii. The only thing we do intend to spend the money on is a set of shelves for our kitchen, some lights for the basement, and a couple of toys for the kids. There was a time when we would have spent every dime but our priorities are very different now. It feels good to know that we will have a cushion in the bank should we need it.
Posted by LJN at 6:10:00 PM
My son has been working on a number of merit badges for Boy Scouts over the course of the year. The thing is that he is working on so many that he has yet to complete one. Last night he completed his first merit badge and had it signed off by his counselor. The badge he earned was the "inventing" merit badge. What he invented was a new type of apple picker. His invention is actually pretty ingenious. I would love to see him keep working on it and improve upon the design as he grows older. Even if he doesn't I am just glad to see him see something through till the end. Finishing what you start is a characteristic we have been trying to instill in him.
Posted by LJN at 5:58:00 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Our son is trying to decide on a topic for a research paper he has been assigned to write. The topic he proposed this morning was to research the upcoming presidential election. He didn't understand why I suggested that he choose another topic that is more narrowly focused. To his young mind the topics of politics is pretty cut and dry. He is more likely to have his opinion swayed by cheap campaign signs right now than by facts. Understanding politics is hard for an adult to do let alone someone with 12 years on this earth. I also pointed out to him that it is very early in the campaign process and there are not clear candidates to research. As it stands his paper would not be focused narrowly enough to fit the scope of the assignment. I would like to read what he would have to say on the topic but given the time frame he has to write the paper he needs to choose something more clear cut to research.
Posted by LJN at 7:42:00 PM
I don't take much interest in kitchen gadgets but my wife loves them. She doesn't buy them for the sake of buying them and researches everything before making a purchase. For years she has drooled over Vitamix blenders. This Christmas I gave her the go ahead to buy one if she could get in on a payment plan. We don't like using credit and prefer to pay cash. The plan she found allowed us to make cash payments over time for the blender. I had my doubts that this expensive gadget would live up to the hype but I have to say it does. This morning I made my usual protein powder shake in the Vitamix and there was no comparing it to what I had been making in our knockoff Magic bullet. Everything my wife has made in this blender has been amazing. The warranty makes it well worth the price and the fact that it is made in the USA is even better!
Posted by LJN at 7:37:00 PM
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A few weeks ago I reconnected with my best friend from high school. It has been about 10 years since we last spent any time together. At that point in our lives neither of us had children and we were free to live it up whenever we got together. The last time we went out on the town the night involved playing pool and smoking cao cigars until all hours of the night. This time when we got together the evening involved coffee and a discussion of our families. I realized that I didn't miss being out on the town half as much as I missed spending time with my friend. It is actually nice to be at a different stage in life and still be able to have something in common.
Posted by LJN at 4:36:00 PM
I haven't really been feeling that great for quite a while. I have been passing this off as simply a reaction to all the stress I am under at work. Finally, I relented to pressure from my wife to go to the doctor's. As it turns out the doctor ran a bunch of labs on me and it seems that something is actually amiss in my body. I go back to the doctor's in a couple of days to discuss a course of treatment. Given the vagueness of the information from my doctor's office I have no idea what to expect when I am seen. I really wish the doctor's office would just say what is going on so that I can have questions ready when I am seen.
Posted by LJN at 4:27:00 PM
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Our youngest son has never known a day in his life where his mother left home to go to a job. It is interesting to observe his view of what the roles of men and women are as opposed to that of his older brother. When our oldest son was little his mother worked outside the home. He often went to work with her and was able to see her caring for patients and also doing routine tasks like ordering business supplies. When our youngest son was born my wife decided to find work that she could do from home. Although she still works and earns money our youngest son is oblivious to this. The other day he pointed out to us that men leave the house and go to work. When we asked what women do he replied that something to the effect that a woman's job is to stay home and cook. My wife found this quite humorous and wasn't the least be offended. One day our little guy will realize that his mother has had quite a full plate over the years and that cooking was the least of her responsibilities.
Posted by LJN at 2:48:00 PM
There was a time when I thought I would never say that I had eaten too much meat or protein. After a month of Paleo/Primal eating I can honestly say that there are times when I can't face another meal of meat. I don't really mind eating this way for the most part but I do miss certain things. Eating eggs for breakfast every single morning gets a bit old. I am looking forward to making some smoothies as soon as we get a new order of protein powder. We are eating tons of great grass-fed meat but seven days a week of it makes me want a big bowl of pasta....
Posted by LJN at 2:41:00 PM
Our oldest son is in the gifted program at his cyber school. As part of being in this program he is eligible to take several different courses that are only offered to students in the gifted program. Right now he is taking two different types of computer programming courses. He is completely enthralled with what he is learning and I am convinced that computer programming will be in his future. Obviously he isn't quite ready to start working for someplace like Houston web design but he is getting pretty good at various skills. This weekend he created an animated Christmas program to share with his classmates. It is really neat to see him be able to pursue things that interest him like this right from the comfort of our home.
Posted by LJN at 2:38:00 PM
This year I am aiming to give the important people in my life useful gifts rather than the latest trendy item. My older son and I have designed two different styles of birdhouses that we will be making for everyone near and dear to us. All of the people in our family love nature and the outdoors. Not all of them own birdhouses but they definitely will enjoy them. We are making unique designs and my children will help paint and assemble them. I think this is a great way for us to bond over a project and to impress upon my children the fact that not all presents need to come from a store to be appreciated. Thus far we have 14 houses cut out and ready for assembly this weekend.
Posted by LJN at 2:34:00 PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
One thing I am thankful for this holiday weekend is time away from work. I am looking forward to an exceptionally long holiday weekend and intend to make full use of my vacation time. Now that our fall projects are complete I find myself with time on my hands. This is the time of year when I turn my attention to my hobbies like learning how to play guitar and woodworking. I am generally not content to sit around all winter twiddling my thumbs and like to have a few irons in the fire. This weekend I intend to bust out the guitar we bought our older son last year and start figuring out how to play it. It seems a shame to let the guitar just continue to collect dust since my son is focused on other things right now. Maybe if he seems me playing with it he will take an interest once again and we can learn together.
Posted by LJN at 9:05:00 PM