Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trip to the dentist

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. Not a great big deal, but I still remember the cold I had last month that started with a sore throat. Plus today I had to go to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned.

I felt pretty horrible when I got to work. I'm sure my co-workers thought I was a totally sad and pathetic individual. So I did my first graphic job on the computer. I had to get a graphic file off another artist's computer who is on vacation and then took it back to my computer. I put it on a CD. I didn't want to take the chance to e-mail it to myself as there was so much junk in his e-mail.

While I worked I thought about my dental appointment. I kept looking at the phone. Finally I called the dentist. "I'd like to re-schedule my appointment." I said. "We usually want 48 hours notice." was the response. "I have a sore throat". I said. "the next opening I have is next Tuesday at 3:40." "Cool I'll take it." I said, and hung up the phone. Then I started to think. I had been taking cough dropps all monrning. And as the day went on, my throat started to feel better. So after lunch I called back and asked, "have you filled my spot yet" "No." "Ok, if you don't mind my sore throat then I'll come in." And so I did.

I have a love hate relationship with my dentist. He has come to know me and he knows how cheap I am. So I think I have him to the point that he is only doing work that is needed. Plus I'm such a wuss when it comes to the dentist. And my hygienist is also cool. She knows me even though we only see eachother every six months. I think dentists want to do something so they can make bucks.

The last time I was in I thought it would make a good photo for my blog. Looking up at the dentist. But I forgot even though I had my cameras out in my car. But next time I get my teeth cleaned I'm taking my camera. I'm going back in July.

No cavities by the way.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New link

I've added a new link to my side bar. THE WORDPECKER Check it out. She's pretty cool even though she doesn't like country music or banjo. What the heck. (I love country music and own two banjos!)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A lady on the sidewalk

I decided to take my camera and go for a walk before Christmas dinner. All of that sitting around in the house for a couple of days was taking a tole on me. I got sick of Christmas shows on TV. I started to read a book about Hitler and Eva Braun surviving the war. I read the the local paper including the crime report,.. people breaking in and stealing things here and there around town, and they had a map of where the things were taken. CDs taken from car (13) And then you find 13 on the map and thats were the CDs were taken. Sometimes they had descriptions of people.

The rain had melted what snow had been on the ground, and it had been freezing making the sidewalks very slick, but I went for a walk in my old neighborhood anyway just to get out of the house.

While I was walking along and taking photos, I was counting all of the people I had spoken to since I left Washington. There was the girl at the gas station when I first left. The guy in the auto parts store where I bought new wiper blades. The guy at the grocery store. My mom. The usher at church. Two random people at church and some lady my mom introduced me to. Mr. and Mrs. C. My friend, his wife, and her brother. And the guy at the grocery store.

There was an old lady throwing de-icer down on the sidewalk. She wasn't really old, she just looked old in her long blue dress, overcoat and hat. "I don't like to put this down." she said. "The squirrels." "Oh!" I said. I stopped as she threw the white stuff down towards me. I noticed an old dinette on the porch so I turned on the camera and framed it. "Do I get a royalty?" She asked, as her tone changed to a little serious. I coughed a phoney laugh out,.. a Robert Duvall phoney laugh. "heh, heh, heh,.. Oh I never get any money for this." Had to think quick for something else to say as I composed my shot, as I did want to get it, and I was standing in her way. She waited while I took a shot. "That's a cool dinette." I said. "Looks nice up there." "They'll sell it." she said. "Really, how much?" "I think they'd take a hundred and fifty." "Hmm." And I went up and took a look.

I didn't really want the table but I was interested in the chairs. I noticed some large stains on the top of the table. I had to convince myself I didn't need it as I'm such a sucker for things like this. Plus I had no way to get it home. "Well I don't really need one." I said. "Merry Christmas." "Merry Christmas to you too." she said as I walked away. Then I started to think, what if someone took the dinette that night? She'd think I took it! She'd give my description to the police, and I'd be in the crime report! Dinette taken from porch by man with baseball cap, and camera (13). The next morning I drove by just to make sure it was still there.

Oh,.. and I spoke to a lady on the sidewalk, and another girl at a gas station on my way back home.

I should have offered her fifty...

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas story

I hit the snooze bar on my alarm this morning. It's kind of like going in debt. You have to work really hard to catch back up. I went into the bathroom and looked at the nature of my hair. I'd like to do a study on bed head some time. Just take a photo of how wierd and different I look each morning, but I don't think the world is ready for that.

I needed to wrap the present I got for that employee from Vietnam for our gift exchange at work. The only sharp object I could find to cut the wrapping paper with was my hunting knife. It gave a whole new meaning to cut and wrap.

I drank some Folgers Coffee that I made in my bottom of the line Mr. Coffee machine. I thought to myself that brown would be a much better color for a coffee maker than white. At least for people like me.

It was snowing on my way to work, and I remembered driving to Spokane from Bozeman to spend Christmas at my sisters house with my family when I was in school. We had all agreed to meet there. The house was colder than Bozeman. My brother-in-law was trying to save on the gas bill. On Christmas morning he had a fire in the fire place, but he closed the glass doors explaining how it heated the house better. When he closed the doors the fire became just a vision of heat.

We then started to open gifts. I guess my mom and dad had been in some art store and my mom had seen an oil painting done by one of her friends. It was a painting of a mountian lake. Mom had said that she liked that painting but I think only because she knew the lady who painted it. Without her knowing, my dad had purchased the painting. When she opened up the package she was surprised. Not exactly what she had expected. She thanked him and then she stood it up agaisnt the end table next to the sofa.

The end table had a really sharp point on the corner and it tore right throught the center of the canvas. Then my mom started to cry.

We all tried to console her and dad said he would get her another but nothing helped. Our hearts sank.

"My friend will come over and she will see!" It was horrible. We all felt so bad.

"I can fix it" I said. "I know an artist who restores paintings and we will fix it. Don't worry mom." Well I did know an artist who restored paintings but I doubted he would disclose his secrets to me without just paying him to do it. But I explained the situation and he told me how to repair it. Then I did have to re-paint the torn section but in all honestly you couldn't tell it had ever been torn.

Eventually the woman who did the painting came over to visit my mom and looked right the painting and didn't say anything. I doubt very seriously that she would ever be able to tell and you wouldn't even look if you didn't know it had been torn. The tear was about 4 inches long and I had to fill a large area and then repaint. Her style and pallet was actually really easy to emulate. She didn't use any glazes or anything. So it all woked out in the end.

A happy ending to my Christmas story. Now the painting has special meaning to us. I guess the guy from Vietnam liked the flashlight I gave him. It's a Maglite so I don't think he can break it. If he does, I'll get him another one. They are only $10.

Merry Christmas.

The tear in the painting goes horizontally through the sky and mountains. It isn't where you think it is looking at this photo. Click on it to enlarge.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On the lift (Dave)

"That's a nice hat!" I said after we came off of the ground on the chairlift. I made a little small talk knowing I had to get a photo. "My name's Don, what's your name?" "Dave, mmm." Dave would speak and then make this "mmm" sound. It was unusual. "That looks like a warm hat." I said. "Yes, mmm, mmm." Dave said. "Do you mind if I take a photo for my blog?" "No! mm.... mm." Who knows what he really looks like. He's going to Reno for Christmas. Dave was a good sport, and happy to have his photo taken in his warm hat.

Road trip

A road trip can do wonders for your mood. I've lost my bad attitude! Nothing like a cold winter night in the cabin with the fire going to warm your heart. I kept the fire going all night long. We have this wood from some big old elm trees that we cut down and it burns like coal. It isn't the crackling good smelling comfort fire that Douglas Fir makes, but it burns forever.

This morning I saw that it was getting light out so I jumped out of bed and went outside to watch the sunrise and take some snaps. There were a whole bunch of Canadian Geese floating around by the shore and as I walked down to photograph it pushed them out into the lake. (I realize they look like ducks in the photo, but they are geese.)

It was really cold as I went out onto the pier. My ears got cold. Here is a photo of what it looked like. (If you click on it, I left it bigger so you can see more what it looked like.)

Then I returned home and stopped at Lookout Pass on the border of Idaho and Montana to ski for a few hours. Here is a link to all of the ski areas in Montana. You can click on Lookout. I ski at Blacktail, Big Mountain, Snowbowl and Lookout.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I have an attitude

My neighbor drinks Busch Beer. How do I know? All of his beer cans got blown into my yard last night during the high wind storm. You can tell alot about your neighbor from what kind of beer he drinks. And you would think he wouldn't put his trash out at night knowing a wind storm was coming. I live in a windy area anyway. And the wind always comes from the west when it blows. So I hate it when it's windy on Thursdays. I always end up with their trash. And do you think they would come and clean it up? Fat chance. They do have to look at my yard however. So they can just look it it full of their beer cans for a while.

So I've been a little negative and have an attitude. It's time to license my cat. Here is her ID. She has an attitude too. If you don't license your cat they can fine you $200.
Wen I came home for lunch my neighbors had picked up all of the beer cans except two of them. I honestly can't believe it. They never have cleaned up before and it happens all the time. Perhaps they are reading my blog. I can't believe some of the food they eat, the worst kind of boxed junk you can buy. I'm embarrassed to have the packaging blown into my yard. It really shouldn't be legal to sell the "food" that they eat, and feed their kids. And shame on the companies that make this junk.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Human nature

It's amazing how our viewpoints can change over time, and it's funny how simplistifc people can view the world. I don't think you have to travel far to understand human nature. I could be wrong. I've never really gone anywhere.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New old guitar

I stayed up way too late last night. I was making smoked jerky in a lilttle smoker on my deck. And it just takes the time it takes. There is no rushing it, and I got it done at 1:00 am. Anyway I'm pleased with the way it turned out. So tonight I'm having some jerky and some cheese that I smoked and a Lager beer from Holland. (Hollande) The whole combination is outstanding..

Last night I watched the movie Deliverance of all things. And guess what, I do own a banjo. It used to be my dad's. When we went to the cabin we didn't have a TV or anything so we would play music to entertain ourselves. He'd play the banjo and I'd play the guitar. Old time western music. I did play the violin in orchestra before I learned to play the guitar.

My sister had a guitar that has been in our family. She played a little but mostly I would play it. I got my own guitar but I always liked the one she had. When she grew up and moved out she took that guitar with her. I felt a sense of loss. I always wanted it and she never played it. I had bonded with it. Every so often I'd borrow it and re-string it play it for a while and then return it.

Last year her home got robbed while they were away on a vacation. They took just about everything including her wedding dress, but not the guitar. I was relieved when I saw it there in the mess.

She was downsizing and having a garage sale recently so I got the guitar. She said she would give it to me but I gave her some money for it. Not enough as I see what these go for when they come up on e-bay. Here is a photo of my new old guitar. It is a 1970 Garcia classical guitar. I love it. It is made out of wood from all over the world. The inlays are from Iran. I realize it is just an object, but it is a very nice one. All guitars are not created equal, and it isn't about the money. This was the first guitar I ever played. I hope to keep it the rest of my life now that I have it back. If my sister wants to borrow it, she can. I doubt she ever will as she got rid of her piano and she plays the piano pretty well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


For some reason people have a need to decorate. They decorate their bodies with tattoos. They decorate their houses inside, and outside at Christmas, and they decorate their workstations or cubes at work. This post isn't intended to be about work except that I just got moved into a new office. I admit that I did have a framed poster and some photos in my old office.

I've come to think that people really over-do this workspace decoration as they do with their tattoos. It ends up being just clutter. Photos of everyone they know. All of their pets. Cartoons and photos out of the paper. Stuffed animals. Statement items. On and on and on.

I've been guilty of it. I used to have a small photo of Tonya Harding out of the paper up. Statement item. Don't know what the statement was. I don't like Tonya Harding. I don't support her. Don't really want to even think about her. It was like,.. Tonya Harding. Deal with it. If you come into my space I want you to think about Tonya Harding! What the heck?

I think part of it is a territorial thing. I can sort of understand that, but not really. All of that decoration is just clutter for the most part. If you want to clutter up your house then fine. But leave it at home.

So now I have this new office cubicle with a really big window. I'm going to keep it as free from clutter as possible. I have one very small class photo of Lizzie up on it. And that is it. It is so small on my cubicle wall that it becomes a statement item.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Life and death

She looked like a very young and beautiful Laura Bush. And I looked like Brad Pitt. (Just kidding!) But she actually did look like what I imagine Laura Bush must have looked like when she was in Highschool. She was very cute.

I had it all planned out. I asked her to go with me to the drive-in movie. I had just gotten my driver's license. Dad had agreed to let me take her out with the Oldsmobile. She went to my church and our parents were friends. The Oldsmobile had Electric Seats that would recline way back!

So we went to this movie. I don't remember anything about it. They only played old beach movies and stuff like that. It wasn't about the movie. It was about rolling that electric seat all the way back and making out. And that's exactly what we did. It was so much fun! The best thing about it was how well my plan had worked out. No alcohol or drugs, we were just high on life.

We kind of went our seperate ways in the following years. She went to a different school and such. Then her dad died unexpectedly. So I waited a few days and called her. I hadn't talked to her for a long time. Just said I felt bad about her loss. I don't remember exactly what I said.

Then after I was out of college and dating Samantha, my dad died. So Samantha and I returned to Montana for the funeral. Samantha wore this dress that was black and white on a diagonal. Kind of symbolic for life and death I guess, or perhaps life after death. It may have meant nothing knowing Samantha, and I might have just been reading something into it.
I have no idea where she came up with that dress. She did look great in it however.

When the funeral was over, I stood outside of the church with Samantha as the rest of the people came out, and there she was, the girl who I had made out with at the drive-in. She made the effort to be there and came up to see me. She looked at me and we shared something without saying anything. I found out later that I was the only one of her friends who called her when her dad died.

I don't know how to resolve this post, other than to say that Samantha left me not long after that. The girl from the drive-in got married and teaches special education kids.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm so darn cheap

I'm so darn cheap, it costs me. Paper towels. I buy the cheapest paper towels you can get. And then I make sure I totally run out before I buy more and then try to go without for as long as possible. Then when I get my next roll it is like a luxury.

"You need a new truck!" Jane said. (Jane was my girlfriend after Samantha.) "No I don't!" I said. "Yes you do Don! You can afford it!" "There's nothing wrong with my truck, plus I don't owe anything on it and know how to fix it." "It's old!" "No it isn't, It's cool." (1979 Ford F250) "This here's a real truck! do you know what a new truck like this would cost?" I asked.

Lovely as she was, Jane had no sense when it came to money, and clearly didn't know a good truck when she saw one. She was from Montana but I think she had spent too much time in California. I think she just didn't like yellow.

Some people just don't understand when it comes to trucks. Scott had been a sergeant in desert storm, and worked for us for a while. He was from New Jersey. One night I helped him work on his Jeep Cherokee which was broken down. I don't think he had much respect for me until I helped him fix his rig. He wasn't much of a mechanic. We took my truck to the parts store.

"What the heck is this!?" he asked. "It's a cowboy hat holder." I repsonded. "Haven't you ever seen one?" He couldn't stop laughing. "You've got to be kidding me!" Weren't his exact words.

I guess they don't have cowboy hat holders in New Jersey.
It's spring loaded. You put your hat in it upside down.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

We need stuff

I walk fast. I walk faster than most people. My perception of it is that everyone else walks painfully slow. I don't try to walk fast I just do. When I try and walk fast, I walk really fast. It's almost impossible for me to walk slow. When I go to the store I walk fast. I'm on a mission. I know exactly what I want.

I drive slow. Well, I drive the speed limit. I'm the only one. What I don't understand is how everyone can drive so fast and then get out and walk so slow. I don't get it, other than they drive while sitting down and they have to actually stand up to walk.

Today I went to Wal Mart. I prepared myself for what I would have to deal with. When I went through the door my eyes were scanning left and right for possibile paths through the maze of slow walkers.

The first obstacle was a woman bending over with her forearms resting on her shopping cart moving from right to left and blocking the whole isle. It must have been too much of an effort to stand up and push the cart. She was moving at a very slow pace, less than 1/8 mile per hour, and taking up a lot of space. So I rolled around behind her and got past. I was tempted to slap her on the butt when I went by. "Get a move on!" I wanted to say.

Then an older couple was creeping in the same direction as I was. They had no motivation and no direction. It was as if they had no idea why they were there. They were overwhelmed and confused by the products around them. They appeared to be totally lost and they had just entered the store. My wake threw them out of balance as I went between them.

Then a younger woman in grey sweat pants was with her mother. They were swerving left and right in a slow serpentine ~ motion as if they were intoxicated by shopping. One thing would catch their attention and then another. They would stop and go and then something else would grab their attention. Finally the daughter saw I was trying to get past and she let me by.

It was like Day of the Dead. Zombies just wandering around with their arms out "aaaaah...aaaaah... we need stuff,,,we need stuff. ". I imagined just pushing them out of the way. They would stagger a few steps and then resume their aimless pilgrimage.

At the checkout line I stood behind a wife nagging her husband. "We need this! And we need that!" No planning whatsoever. I stood there breathing in the second hand nagging, and feeling sorry for her husband who had a hair cut that was a cross between Las Vegas Elvis and Fred Flinstone.

Finally I made my way out of the store turning left and right to go around shoppers as if I was on skis trying to get to the finish of the race course as fast as possible. I wonder if that old couple ever made it out? I hope they told someone where they were going before they left home.

I got back in my car and locked the doors. There were many zombies returning to life as they got back in their cars.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Snow trees

Here is the photo I cut Miss December cyber tree out of. I shrank the image size down, but I didn't alter anything else. Sometimes I do. Hey, I'm a graphic artist. (Artistic License) It was just a beautiful morning and I didn't need to in this case. This one is straight off of the camera. (except for image size, I took the photo with the camera set on 3 megapixel and then shrank it down to about 80k to post it. Of course it looks better at the larger size.) I used my little Nikon Cool Pix 5600. It is a 5 megapixel camera but I hardly ever use that setting. Mostly I use it on 3 megapixel unless I know I'm going to just e-mail then I choke it down to less than 1 megapixel. Now and then I push it up to over 5. But not very often. Now I see that all of the little snaps are 7 and 8 megapixel. It's kind of over kill for most people, especially if there isn't a good way to shrink the photos for things like a blog or e-mail.

Leg swingers

I like riding the chair lift with people I don't know because it is kind of like on Forest Gump, you never know who you're going to get. You have 15 minutes to get to know a person. I've met people who I really liked and wished I could spend more time with and other people I can't wait to get away from.

But there's one kind of person I don't like riding the chair with. Leg swingers. They swing their legs back and forth while next to you on the chair lift.

I have two problems with them. First of all, it forces your legs to swing if you don't fight the motion. So you have to fight the motion and that puts stress on your knees when you want to relax. My knees get enough stress just skiing. Second, and the worst thing is that it risks goofing up the edges of the skis if they make contact. I take great care of the edges on my skis and the worst thing you can do is make contact with another ski edge like this. It is called scissoring them if you let the edges slide together. So the whole time I'm riding the chair lift with a leg swinger I have to fight it.

I realize that leg swingers have a medical condition. Restless Leg Syndrome. They need medical help.


I try very hard not to offend anyone on bicycle log. And I want people to know that I value anyone who takes the time read my nonsense. I greatly value anyone who makes a comment. Honest.

I got this comment about my Leg swingers post:

Anonymous said...

Actually "restless legs syndrome" is a real condition in which people are unable to sleep due to the need to move their legs -- it has nothing to do with swinging legs. You can find more information at

So I've been giving this some thought. Do I bring down my comment as if I never said it? Do I make a public apology and meet with people who have RLS? Is my career as a blogger over?

So I decide to talk it over with my media consultant. He knows what a smarty pants I can be. Plus he knows more TV trivia than anyone I have ever met. (He doesn't have HBO however) and he didn't know that when your car license tabs expire it isn't always at the end of the month. Whatever.

And he also didn't know that an upside down horseshoe was bad luck. Ok... And I could go on and on...

He said that he heard on Paul Harvey that when they came up with the medication for RLS they were actually working on a diabetes medication and realized it stopped legs from moving. So they created a term for that condition and called it RLS. So they could sell this drug. So the story he fed me went.

And I said to him that there must have been a demand for this drug, so the condition must be real. I know that leg swingers are real. And then he tells me that HE is a leg swinger! Crap!

I have no problem with people who have RLS. My problem is with leg swingers!

My apologies anonymous. Thanks for stopping in! Still not sure I want to ride the chair with you. Just kidding! :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

State song

This is how it looked on the ski hill early Sunday morning. It's not a great photo but gives you an idea. That is the north end of Pend Oreille Lake in north Idaho looking east. In the distance is Montana.

And here is the first verse to the Montana state song. (might not be exaclty right)

Montana Montana,
Glory of the west.
From north to south from coast to coast,
You're easily the best.

Montana Montana,
Where skies are always blue.
M, O, N, T, A, N, A.
Montana I love you.

Ok... Now that I have that out of my system... (The skies are usually blue.)

I had a much better day today. My arm is ok, so I must not have torn my rotator cuff. Thank goodness. My hand is a little goofed up however but nothing serious. I was such a spaz to jump like that. Thankfully it didn't end my season on the first day or scratch up my skis. I feel pretty good about my shape. Other than my shoulder and hand, I'm not even sore. So that tells me that all of my cycling has payed off. Usually after the first day of skiing people are sore and can barely walk. I'm not even sore on my boot tops and I skied hard for two days. So cool. I'm starting to find center on my skis again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December cyber tree

Here is December's cyber tree. I realize that it is early to decide who will wear the crown. But there is so much snow that we need to celebrate a winner. The sky was deep blue above in the morning and riding the chair was like going into space. This photo is at about 6500 feet. If only the chair went a little higher.

After I got used to my skis again I decided to go to the back to checking out all of my favorite runs and see how the coverage is and such. I line up on one big jump and launch myself. No problem I float through the air and come down. Then when I land there is another little lip that I can't see below. When I get to the edge I see that there are rocks blow but it is too late. I push off to clear them and I get way more air than I wanted. I make it over the rocks but when I land both of my skis come off and I crash face forward. As I'm sliding to a stop, I take an inventory of my body and realize that my legs are ok. But I've hurt my left shoulder and hand. I have full range of motion in my arm so I'm probably ok.

I checked my camera to make sure it was still working. It was in my front chest pocket and the crash was pertty bad. What a great little camera. Bicycle log endorses the Nikon Cool Pix 5600. It takes a licking and keeps on clicking.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Under the clouds

There's a cloud hanging over me... And the rest of the city. It's a low cloud, like a big hand pushing down on all of us. It blocks out the sun and warmth. I need to break free of it's oppressive grip, but I'm the one who likes winter.

The smokers all huddle in the cold outside so many feet away from the door as prescribed by law. I'd like to go over there and stand around with them, but I don't feel welcome in their company. As if I was the one who wrote this law. I only voted for it. They look like prisoners out in the yard, dark silhouettes under the grey sky. How they must hate the non-smokers. And come to think of it, I don't think they were far enough away from the door.

A bell ringer squatted outside the grocery store in the snow yesterday. He was whistling a Christmas carol. My gosh, where does he find the will? I hurried past to get inside the warmth of the store. Bananas, $.48 lb. Or was it $1.48? I don't remember. I wonder if the green paper stuff on the table is supposed to make it look like a banana tree? I've never seen a banana tree. I think back to the Pines Road exit where I've seen the same homeless girl holding a cardboard sign twice. This time she had a white and brown puppy dog tied to a street sign. It was making her smile as it played in the snow. She's beautiful when she smiles.

There's a cop in a Crown Victoria parked outside just waiting for someone to go over 35 mph. He's always there. Every other day. I've seen him swoop down on people like a hawk on a field mouse. If he pulls me over I'm going to complain.