Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Chosen Vows

I Steven, in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, take thee Norma Jean, to my hand, my heart, my spirit, to be my chosen one.

I promise to Love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond.

I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways, as I respect myself.

{Thus as of yesterday, after living together for a number of years, Gi Gi and I are now legal.} X.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Greta Garbo

About three and a half years ago I had a mishap on my motorcycle. Broke my left leg and dislocated my ankle pretty bad. Had to have a steel plate put in my leg. So, I was looking at probably two to three weeks off work.

We had been discussing getting a dog since her german shepard and my chesapeke bay retreiver, both had to be put down because of old age and sickness. We were looking at getting an english bulldog. But that breed is prone to several problems. So, we started checking into the boxer breed. I had a friend who had one and he convinced me that they made good house pets.

Since I knew that I would be off for a while we decided to go ahead and buy a boxer pup. I would be able to spend time with it while it got adjusted to living with us. Went to a breeder and checked out his dogs. I decided on getting a female, that way we could raise one or two litters of our own. I am partial to the brindle color pattern so that's what we ended up with, a brindle female. Her tale had already been bobbed but her ears were natural. We decided to leave them natural and not have them cropped as is the style for many boxers, especailly show dogs. I personally like the natural look better.

I had always thought Greta Garbo was a beautiful lady, even though she was before my time. So, that's what I named our new housemate. I spent the first week pretty much couch bound and about half doped up with pain meds. There I was laid out on the couch and Greta was laid out right on top of me. I think she thought I was her litter mate. And still acts that way at times.

She has been a great companion but can be a nuisance at times. Especailly when she wakes us at three or four a.m. wanting to go out and take care of business. Her and Reba are good buddies and seem to communicate with one another. Reba will see someone pull in our drive and make a sound that only Greta understands. Greta becomes instant guard dog. She is protective but very managable. I would reccommend this breed to any one who wants a house dog. They are very smart and easily trained. X.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The men who fought in Vietnam have been maligned in many ways. The people who were opposed to the war were adept at making up falsehoods to degrade and try and bring shame to some of americas finest young men. I have stood up for myself and my brothers whenever I had the opportunity. That is the purpose of this post. To voice my opinion about one of those wrongs. I will discuss other issues in later posts.

One of the falsehoods was that the american soldiers committed many atrocities against the Vietnamese civilian population. Granted, there were a few isolated cases. But, the majority of the time the american soldier treated the people with respect. If anything it was the viet cong who were committing the atrocities. They were ruthless in there attempts to get the civilian population to bend to thier will. And would stop at nothing to achieve thier goals.

My unit became familiar with, and friends of, the people in the small villages we would pass thru on our daily patrols. On several occasions we would mourn the loss of some of these people who were butchered by the viet cong because they befriended us.

I would like to relate one story that is not as horrific but heart wrenching nontheless. We had to guard one of the bridges near one of these villages and would check the people who traveled over it. One day a young boy showed up and hung around our post. He wore a glove that was tied on his right arm, where his hand should be. You could tell that he didn't have a hand as the glove was limp. His name was Trang and he was friendly and outgoing. He became our little buddy and we would make sure he was supplied with chocolate bars and c-rations. One of the guys even gave him one of his marine corps hats. Trang was proud of that hat. We never asked him about the hand,we just treated him like he was a normal kid. After a week we were replaced by another squad and went back to patroling the areas villages. Back at the basecamp I questioned our vietnamese interpreter about Trang. He said that before we had moved into that area, the viet cong had gained control of the village. Trang's father was the village cheif, and he had stood up to the viet cong and told them to leave. They drug Trang out in front of his father and the other villagers and took an ax and shopped his hand off. They threatened to do the same to the child of everyone in the village if they didn't support them and give them whatever they wanted.

I still have a lot of respect for Trang and the way he tried to be a normal person. It took courage for him to befriend us. He was specail. Knowing him and what he had been thru made us better soldiers.

I would like to know why the picture above, of a marine corpsman giving aid to a vietnamese child didn't see any air time while some of the other negative stuff wound up on americas tv screens. X.

Global warming, my ass!

Usually, when it is my turn to take Greta out to do her business, she likes to dilly- dally. She has to sniff the air for who knows what, or search for Mr. Cat or Missy Rabbitt so she can give them a run for thier life. This morning there was no dallying or dillying. Greta just did her business and headed for the back door.

We have an accumulated foot of snow on the ground right now. The top inch of that is as hard as concrete. I can walk on it without breaking thru. Makes me wonder how the wildlife is doing. It can't be easy for them.

As I looked at the outside thermometer when i walked by it said -5 degrees. When the average low for this area is about 20 degrees it causes me to wonder. They can't even predict the weather right a week ahead of time. How can they say we are having global warming? I don't think global warming has made it to Northern Missouri quite yet. I'm from Missouri, you have to Show-Me. So until you can Show-Me tomatoe plants growing in those tomatoe cages above during this time of year, we aint havin no global warming.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Squash, anyone?

While in the shop yesterday snapping photos of some of my lures I also took this photo. It's whats left of my squash harvest from last summer. There is at least 40-50piled up here on my desk. We must have had 140-150 all together. We have eaten squash till we are almost tired of them, if that's possible. I really like the butternut variety. Have given them away to family and friends to the point that they are leary of us. I've got some new varieties to plant this year, always looking for something different.

If only it was possible to e-mail these rascals, I think could probably thin that pile down some ;^)> X.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Winter Hobbie

About a year ago I started making fishing lures. At first it was just to help pass the time during the winter, and has become one of my hobbies. I enjoy it. I bought a wire bender and a number of molds to make the different spinner baits and jigs. I do the whole 9 yards, make the lures from scratch. Have to buy hooks, wire, powder paint, skirt material etc.

Have thought about making a small business of it, but that might take away some of the enjoyment I get out of doing it. Even made up a logo and packaged a few up. X.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


We have been having a minor blizzard here this evening. It's about to wind itself down. Kept us close to home tonight.

So, Gi Gi and I went out to the local theatre tonight to watch Avatar. I'm sure most have seen it by now. We're out in the sticks so we're a little behind. Beforehand I just knew it was a sci-fi picture. Discovered it is a very good movie. Great specail effects. Didn't realize it was going to be a love story. But that's what makes it work. Sort of sucks you in and has you rooting for the aliens. They are much like our ancient people who were more in touch with nature and thier surroundings. Oh, and it has bows and arrows, another plus.

If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it. I don't buy many movies, but this one I will. X.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sun Dogs

There were Sun Dogs in the western sky this afternoon as I drove to the neighboring town to visit with my dad. There are a number of myths about Sun Dogs. Native American lore has it that the Sun Dogs naw at the moon every month and that is what causes the crescent shaped moon. X.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another 2

This was my last tattoo. I will probably add some more to him in the near future. Probably a wolfhound standing behind him and some scenery. He is a Celtic Warrior from the La Tenne era. They were fierce warriors and were said to have taken the heads of thier enemies as trophies. But I wonder if it didn't have some spiritual meaning as well, since they believed that the spirit dwelled in the head. Much like the native americans who scalped thier enemy. They thought that by doing that, it kept thier enemy from going to the after life.

Each of my tattoos have certain meaning to me. Thousands of years ago it was a common practice. Over the years it came to be a bad thing, even tabboo. But in recent history it has started to flourish again. People get them for lots of different reasons. For me it is part of my spiritual journey, my connection to my past. X.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rototiller Archeologists

Years ago, I lived in south Missouri near the town of Hermitage. We had a garden out behind an old shed on the side of a hill. The dirt in that area was sort of a reddish brown color with lots of rock mixed in. You wouldn't think it would raise very good crops by looking at it. But it did, some of my most productive gardens were in that soil.

One spring I was tilling up the dirt, when all of a sudden the tiller locked up and killed the motor. I saw a big rock bound up in the tines and dug it out. I tossed it at the shed and as it bounced off and hit the ground I noticed it had a small hole in it. Curious, I walked over and picked it up to examine it a little closer. I could see there was more dirt inside so I took a stick and removed the rest of the dirt. I realized I was holding an Indian pipe bowl made from sandstone. I had often found full and broken arrowheads in the garden, but this was a specail find.

The house place was on a ridge that was near where a small stream ran into the Pomme de Terre River. My guess is that in the past the Indians that lived in that area must of had a campsite along that ridge. X.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gatherin' Eggs

I spent a lot of time on my grandparents farm as a kid growing up. There was always things to do. And if we got bored grandma would find a chore or two for us. One I wasn't real crazy about was getting the eggs from the chicken house. There always seemed to be one or two hens that just didn't cotton to someone sticking thier hand into the nestbox with them. Some could get pretty wicked with thier beaks.

You wouldn't think such a little critter could get the best of you. But there was a few that I would give up on after my hand starting getting bloody. I'm not real proud of that fact. I guess it's a male ego thing. In the end them awnry ones got eaten eventually. I guess I can take some satisfaction in that fact.

Picture is of grandma Buck with her chickens. X.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Forks In The Road

When I was a young man growing up in Missouri I had several crossroads in my life. One in particular was a decision on whether I would become a Catholic Priest. As I think back on it now I'm not real sure if I wanted to be a preist or I was just guided in that direction by family members. Anyway, the plans were laid for me to start into the seminary during my 7th year in school.

I've mentioned my Uncle Sam in several previous posts. He was one year older than me and more like a brother than an uncle. We had made two previous trips to visit my aunt in Kingfisher Oklahoma during our summer vacations from school. And so we were headed that direction once more during the summer break prior to my going into the seminary. We boarded a train at Laplata Missouri and headed for Kingfisher just as we had done the two previous times. I might add, you wouldn't put two twelve year olds by theirselves on a long train trip in this day and age. But no one thought twice about it back then.

We arrived at my aunts and she managed to keep us busy and intertained. She knew I loved horses and made plans for us to visit the farm of one of her friends so I could ride some horses. Just so happens they had a daughter my age. Her name was Betty Wolf, and I was immediatly attracted to her. We became close friends in the short time I spent at my aunts.

I had a lot of things on my mind on my train ride back to Missouri. I thought about the fact that priests don't marry and I thought about Betty. Matter of fact, I thought a 'lot' about Betty. I came to the realization that I would not be able fufill that desire to be close with the opposite sex if I became a priest. So, on that ride home I made a decision that I would have to face my family and tell them I just couldn't go into the seminary that fall.

Telling them that was a difficult thing to do. It took courage on my part, because I knew how much some of my family members were counting on me. It was a decision I have no regrets about today.

This time I think I made the right choice at the fork. Other times the paths have been hurled at me so fast it was hard to make a good decision or I lacked the courage. Still others seem to have been decided by fate. I haven't seen Betty Wolf since. But I have always wanted to thank her for changing my life in a positive way.

Picture is of me. Age 12. Taken in the fall of my 7th year in school. The smile says a lot more than people realize. X.

Monday, February 8, 2010


This is a dog my brother, Chuck, had several years back. He was a Great Pyrenees breed. Can't remember where Chuck got him. The picture was taken in my back yard shortly after I rescued him from the city pound which was one of many times Cruiser spent there. He just could not or would not take to being kept in a pen. Which is where Chuck would leave him during the day while he was at work. He traveled far and wide. After about a year a lot of people knew about Cruiser. Many would return him to my brothers, others who didn't know where he belonged would turn him into city pound.

Cruiser was very friendly and made himself at home where ever he felt like it. A dog his size has a way of getting what he wants. His travels were not limited to the city limits, so he spent time in the surrounding county and made it as far as a few of the neighboring towns. But would always wind up back at Chuck's.

By the way, that is how he came by the name of Cruiser. He was very unique and at times almost seemed to be human, perhaps he was in another life. X

Friday, February 5, 2010

More Blankety Blank Snow......

We didn't eat our groundhog sammiches quick enough!!! :(

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Crossing Paths/Paths Crossing!

I was into geneology before the movie "Braveheart" came out. But after it did I dug into some of the history on William Wallace to find out how much of that movie was just Hollywood mumbo jumbo and how much was fact. For starters in physical appearance Mel Gibson is a midget compared to the size of Wallace. Wallace was 6' 7" tall. A big man even in our time, but in those days he was close to a giant in stature. They got some of the main points correct but other than that a lot of Hollywood went into that movie. What it did though, was to revive an interest in that time in Scottish history when the Scotsman fought for his freedom from English rule.

Now, imagine how surprised I was last year as I was tracing back my Maternal line, when I discovered that I have a direct line back to William Wallace's younger brother John. It starts with my mother and goes back through Jarboe, Greenwell, Taylor, Campbell then to Wallace. That in itself seemed amazing to me. But, then this past week I was researching some of my fathers ancesters and found that On my paternal side I am directly related to Robert De Bruce, who fought with Wallace in that quest for freedom. It goes back through my father to his mothers family the Hickeys to Mitchell, White, Shelton then to Robert de Bruces sister Margaret. These two lines crossed 800 years later to procduce me. There may have been other times that they crossed paths, but this is the time that I have appreciation for, else I wouldn't be here.

Above is an image of Robert de Bruce and a statue of William Wallace. X.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fitting In

Have you ever had an uneasy feeling about a given situation or group of people who you were associated with? I can only remember a few times in my life when I felt uncomfortable. During most of the time that I was a Conservation Agent. People don't treat you the same when you wear a uniform. I felt ok with myself, I could just sense the difference in how people related to me. I learned that it took time before they would treat me like one of the guys. And even then it wasn't everyone, just a few.

I think time is sometimes the key to a given situation. And other times I realize the reason I feel uncomfortable is that my inner self just knows that I don't belong where ever I am trying to be. As I've gotten older I have learned to listen more carefully to that inner voice.

The picture above reminded me of this. Not sure where I picked it up. Probably one of the many e-mails people have sent over the years. As I look at the picture I wonder if that cat in the middle is as comfortable as he looks. Or, perhaps he just doesn't know the difference. X

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Layn

My middle grandson was born on this day. His Mother was born while I was in Nam on the Ides of March. X.







Top photo is of Layn, his mom Tanya on the left and my other daughter Trisha holding Layn.

Dancing With a Princess

As you can see,the things going on in the picture above are as far away from dancing with a princess as you can get. This picture was taken from one of the hills in the Duc Pho area of Vietnam. The Phantom jet is moving from left to right, towards an area where me and my company are engaged in close combat with the enemy. We were on a search and destroy operation called 'Desoto'. It was the worst combat that I was involved in while in Nam.

Two weeks later I was plucked from this hell and on my way to Taipei Taiwan for a week of what they called R&R. I spent the first four days pretty much wasted, trying to blot out where I had just come from. As I came to on the fifth morning I was resolved to see part of the beautiful country that I was visiting.

I hired a guide at the hotel I was staying in and we were off to see some sights. One of the places we went, was up in the mountains to a popular tourist attraction for the Taiwanesse people. There was a tribe of aborigianal people who lived there and they would perform for the tourists. They had some beautiful stone 'castles' built into the hillsides. We entered one in which some of thier royalty were performing ancient dances. They wanted someone from the audience to come on stage and dance with the Princess. Since I stuck out like a sore thumb (I was the only caucasion) they pointed to me and asked me to come on stage. And I did, reluctantly as my guide urged me on. It was quite an experience, one I will never forget.

Unbeknownst to me my guide had picked up my video camera, (which I had just purchased that morning)and he video taped the whole thing. And then decided not to tell me what he had done. I was to mezmerized while on stage to notice what he was doing.

Fast forward to one year later. I am at home with my family and friends. I have borrowed an 8mm film projector and am in the process of showing my video to everyone. Guess who shows up on the screen. I was more shocked than anyone. I didn't realize that the Princess and I had been taped.

I would love to share a picture of that unusual event, but the video was destroyed in a house fire that I lived through. And that can be the subject of another blog posting. X.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award

Mary over at Moontides sent me this award. along with these rules.
1 Thank the person who gives the award
2 Copy button of award
3 Place link to the person who gives the award
4 List 7 things about yourself that most don't know
5 Nominate 7 people for the award
6 Place a link to these people
7 Notify the people you nominate

Mary has a number of blogs that I follow. I really don't know how she finds the time to keep them going. She normally posts everyday to all of her blogs. She is a very interesting lady and her blogs are special. Thank's Mary, I am flattered that you nominated me.

The Award button is at the top of this post

The Moontides button is at the top right side

7 Things about Me

1 I once danced with an Aboriginy Princess on stage (In the mountains of Taiwan, while on R&R from Vietnam)

2 I am a cancer survivor

3 I cannot sing, but wish I could. I do love all kinds of music

4 I have conversed with spirits

5 I have a soft spot for freckles

6 Sometimes I feel like the cat who had 9 lives. This has double meaning. It concerns past lives and this life by itself.

7 My sense of humor is dry and almost macabre at times

I am to new at blogging to nominate 7 people, however I have two in mind that I think should be checked out.

"One Witch's Story" Sydnii has a neat blog. She has a way with words that I envy. Check her out. ( Button on the right)

"My Secrets For Happiness" Great pictures and an interesting prespective on things.
( Button on the right)