“Where’s Pop”

Julie and I usually spend an hour or so of our Sunday evenings talking with our 4 grandchildren (ages 9, 7, 5, and 3), who live some 300 miles away. They usually call Nana and Pop around 7 pm. One at a time, they get on the phone and tell us whatever is on their mind, from what they want for Christmas, to what home improvement project they’re “helping” Dad with, to how many fish survived the week. They don’t always have a lot to say, and sometimes we have to pry, but we enjoy hearing from them and I now have reasonable proof that they would miss our little conversations. My daughter-in-law lost her mother about 6 months ago. That set of grandparents live abou 45 minutes away, so they see each other much more often. So our little weekly “tweets” are “treats” for all of us.

Last night I was attending an organ recital when they called. By the time I arrived home late in the evening, I’m sure the kids were in bed. Julie told me the kids had called. She said the first thing each of them said was “Where’s Pop?”. Evidently they were mostly satisfied with Julie’s explanation that “Pop went to an organ concert”. After all 4 kids were done, my son got on the phone and told his mother “Thomas wants to talk to you again. He has a concern.” So Thomas (5 years old) got back on the phone. “Nana,” he said. “Where is Pop?? ” with an urgency that seemed to demand a very detailed answer. “Thomas, Pop went to listen to a student play an organ.” She assured him that Pop would be home just about the time he got into bed. Julie was quick to pick up on the fact that Thomas was feeling the loss of his grandmother, probably asking his Mom, Dad, and Grandpa “Where’s Grandma? “.

I’m sure it’s very difficult for any of those kids to accept the reality that Grandma is no longer here in this world, but is in Heaven, with God. Hey! It’s difficult to accept that at ANY age. And it brings to my own mind that at some point they’ll be asking “Where’s Pop?” and “Where’s Nana?”

I think I’m going to call Thomas tonight and let him know I’m home. We’ll both sleep better tonight.


Attached to the back of the house, near the center, is a double flood light fixture. The fixture hangs about 12′ above the ground, roughly equivalent to the area between the first and second floors. One of the bulbs burned out over 30 years ago. The other bulb lasted over 30 years. It finally burned out last week.

I can no longer lean the old extension ladder against the side of the house for fear of denting the new vinyl siding. And my 6′ step ladder isn’t quite long enough to reach the bulb without risking my life. So it’s off to Home Depot to buy an 8′ step ladder, which works perfectly. I remove both dead bulbs, note the wattage (which at 75 watts each seemed a bit much, and the probable cause for the initial failure). Back to Home Depot for  2 new bulbs – lesser wattage (don’s ask me how, but today 15 watts = 65!), more efficient, long-lasting, and about $10 each. Only one problem – the new techie bulbs have a thicker base, and will not fit into the fixture, which I don’t realize until I bring them home and try them. So, back to Home Depot for the third time. Found 2 bulbs that will fit, each one 55 watts but costing $30 each. BUT, guaranteed to last 4 years. Sounds fair until you consider that the one die-hard bulb that burned out last week had been there for OVER THIRTY years.

Our back yard is now properly illuminated, just in time for daylight savings time to end. And at the cost of only $90 for the new ladder, and $60 for the bulbs and about $20 in gas. Hopefully at least one of the bulbs will last for at least 4 years, at which time I may be able to retire and move to Alaska.

Early this year, Yahoo applied for  the largest set of tax breaks the state of Nebraska would allow in order to set up operations in the town of La Vista. It will invest over 100 million dollars in this operation, create approx. 50 jobs for the state with an average salary of almost $70,000.

How the hell can they do that? They just announced plans to lay off 1500 employees from their California site, trim $400 million in expenses, and CLOSE several sites around the US.

The only rationale for this is the TAX BREAK! If Nebraska gives a larger break than say Ohio, well let’s move there. Something is very wrong with this philosophy. I can’t afford to sell my home and move to a town or state which has lower taxes. It’s not even cost-effective for me to trade my gas-guzzling SUV for something more economical.

Sorry, but I think that’s just plain wrong. I’d like to see a country chock full of SMALL businesses – people working for THEMSELVES, not the government. I’d LOVE to start a small business of my own. But I’d need at least $250 million in capitol to start it.

Abbott Y Costello in 2009

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’ might have turned out something like this:

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No , the name’s Lou .

ABBOTT : Your computer?

COSTELLO : I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou .

ABBOTT : What about Windows?

COSTELLO : Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT : Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO : I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT : Wallpaper.

COSTELLO : Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT : Software for Windows?

COSTELLO : No, On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT : I just did.

COSTELLO : You just did what?

ABBOTT : Recommend something.

COSTELLO : You recommended something ?


COSTELLO For my office?


COSTELLO : OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT : Office.

COSTELLO : Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT : I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO : I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT : Word.

COSTELLO : What word?

ABBOTT : Word in Office.

COSTELLO : The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT : The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO : Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT : The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.

COSTELLO : I’m going to click your blue ‘w’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO : That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT : Money.

COSTELLO : I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT : It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO : What’s bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT : Money.


Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT : Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO : I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT : One copy.

COSTELLO : Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT : Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.


They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT : Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO : How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT : Click on ‘START’………….


How to Be Thankful in Tough Times
by Rick Warren

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

*** *** *** ***

1. Don’t worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. There’s no such thing as born worriers; worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned. Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).

2. Pray about everything. Use the time you’ve spent worrying for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. Some people think God only cares about religious things, such as how many people I invite to church or my tithing. Is God interested in car payments? Yes. He’s interested in every detail of your life. That means you can take any problem you face to God.

3. Thank God in all things. Whenever you pray, you should always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities; it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything, it reduces stress in your life.

4. Think about the right things. If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you must change the way you think. The way you think determines how you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act. So if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.

This involves a deliberate, conscious choice where you change the channels. You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s Word. Why? Because the root cause of stress is the way you choose to think.

When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything, when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the apostle Paul tells us the result is, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NLT).

So much has happened in just the last 2 months of this year. The collapse of the US economy being in the forefront of the news every single day has made it very difficult to keep a positive attitude. Seems very easy to follow the state of the world into the same depths of depression that the world is sinking into. I find myself NOT wanting to read/hear/watch the news anymore. I’m searching for GOOD news – not more bad news.

I’ve been subscribing to Pastor Afolaranmi is a Nigerian Baptist ordained minister who hosts an online ministry, http://www.thewordthruthenet.org. I’d like to save some of Pastor Afolaranmi’s daily quotes here so I can refer to them as needed. I will update this blog whenever I come accross something I’d like to save either from the “spritual digest”, or other source.

Happiness keeps you Sweet, Trials keep you Strong, Sorrow keeps you
Human, Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing, but only
Faith & Attitude Keeps you going. – Benedict Olaleye 12/16/08 spritual digest.

You can spend the remaining days of this year asking God for what He has not done. But you can choose a better option thanking Him for all He has done for you this year. You do not have to wait until December 31 before you thank Him for the year.  12/17/08

Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

Holiday Eating Tips

1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday

buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit.  In fact,

if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door,

where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly.   It’s rare..  You

cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it

has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an

eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it.  Have one for me.

Have two.  It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy.

Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your ma

shed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole

milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an

automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your

eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other

people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s.

You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is

the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table

while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted

Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them

and don’t budge. Have asmany as you can before becoming the center of

attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind,

you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each.

Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three.

When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory

celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get

up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start

over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Have a great holiday season.