Tuesday, September 29, 2015


If you haven’t heard, I finished up my 20 on Halloween of 2014, retired and was rehired as a GS working at the same desk. The bride and I loved the northwest so much that we bought a fixer upper house, that’s the short version.

The longer version is the 4 months prior to my retirement, we were living in housing and searching for the proper house, good location, good price per square foot and something that we would both enjoy. That search took a while and we finally set our eyes on a house that was about to go into default and paid 50 thousand less than the prior owner. It did need some work but it held out the water, the location was great and it had a nice fenced back yard which the dogs have enjoyed greatly. 

There was a 3 month wait while the house closed and during that time, we made good use out of the Tardis camper and the A-frame that I picked up at an auction a year earlier for $450, word of advice, neither are suited for long term camping during a rainy winter in the northwest, they did keep us dry (mostly) but with the extreme humidity and warm bodies occupying them, they did get moldy and musty. Now both need extensive remodels with much of the wood in the A-frame replaced. The Tardis was actually okay because I had already replaced everything but the Tacoma it lives on has a blown head gasket. 

I applied for the job at the local naval hospital in August and didn’t hear back till mid-October which caused a bit of stress because I had also applied for other jobs all over and had no idea where we were going to end up. So, I settled on the familiar and didn’t go after an exciting career starting something new. At the hospital, I took over many of the duties that have always caused the department problems, retiring of medical records, supply and being a continual presence in records.

Ten months into my retirement, the bride is working at the local library and says it’s the best job she’s ever had. I have finally got a handle of everything at work, doing supply properly is no joke, it would be much easier if they had an Amazon time of system and supply clerks didn’t have to fight for every dollar spent but I think I’ve finally reached a nice balance. My mom sold her restaurant and finally retired and in that process, she bought me and the bride an Alaskan cruise and right now, during which time I wrote this post and am now getting around to posting.

Yes, I’m slacking on my writing, inspiration is hard to come by when life is treating you alright. Life is amazingly good, have a house we love, still married to the girl of my dreams and all of the bills are getting paid, you can’t ask for much more.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird

Till earlier this week, unlike most of you who started out there reading career with this book in high school or junior high, I came at it from the other side. After reading thousands of books then going back and reading what some people consider their favorite novel. Then I went on immediately to read, Go Set a Watchman (stop here if you don’t want spoilers). Both are novels of their time with many of the same characters, one told through the eyes of an intelligent observant little girl over the period of a couple of years, a coming of age story. The other over a period of a couple of days of the same girl, 26 and a bit jaded who comes home to visit after living years in New York. In Mockingbird, Atticus through her eyes is an almost supernatural being of good whom always has the most ethical response to any given issue and young impressionable Scout takes that into herself. The novel was richly worded with descriptions that made you think of hot summers spent on the porch, how children viewed the world around them. In Watchman, Scout comes home and her illusions are torn away, the civil rights movement is just starting and people in her hometown are taking sides which are divided along color lines. Scout is way ahead of her time, she was raised by Atticus and tends to see people as people, not color but in that time and place, color and social status are everything. While I enjoyed Watchman, it seems like Harper Lee didn’t write it for our enjoyment, she wrote it to document a portion of her life. It’s not as polished and for fans who hold To Kill a Mockingbird in their hearts, portions of it are painful and raw, Scout has grown up, she’s not much of a lady but she carried the values that were taught to her as a little girl into adulthood and now she’s seeing her small southern town with eyes that have seen the world and is not a happy camper. She is the moral compass of this story and at the end, you don’t know where she is going in life. The case against Tom Robinson is mentioned but it says it’s an acquittal in Watchman. Jem, who is such a pivotal character in Mockingbird has died young, Dill is off in some foreign land and Boo didn’t make the cut. This fills in the story but I’m not sure if it offers actual answers. Mockingbird rings with Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life and Watchman reminds me of all of the times I went home and that life had continued on without me, people growing up and changing and living their own lives, not the snapshot I carried of that place I grew up in my head.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Joad trip to Glacier National Park

Finally a month after our trip to Glacier National Park, here’s the story of the adventure.

Day One
A couple of months ago, soon after the Tardis camper remodel, the bride started talking about wanting to make a trip to Glacier National Park.  So I got Neal the truck ready, being named so after the Astronaut for going to the moon, my truck is on the return trip at 274 thousand miles.  So after a few smaller shakedown camping trips, we took off on a Sunday morning drove 30 miles stopped to get some ice and came back to the truck and the engine had seized up. 
You see, a while back ago on another adventure, one of my hoses had popped off and the truck overheated blowing the head gasket and I had not got around to fixing it.  Well, the final straw was tossed on Neal’s back and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.  So I called a tow truck and right when the tow truck arrived, I turned the key and he started up.  I paid the tow guy for his trip and drove home.   Guess the engine is at such a stage that it seizes when it’s hot.  Sigh.
We decided, well, I am on leave for a week, let’s just pack up the car with the tent and supplies and head out.  So, 2 hours later, after a very quick packing job because we had to cut down on what we were bringing.  We hit the road much later than expected and decided that Louise Erdrich’s, The Plague of Doves would be a good road tripping book.  It set the tone well for the first part of the trip.
Sunset behind us over my moonroof
11 that night, we were tired, I was grumpy because one of my cars was mortally wounded and we decided to stay at a Super 8 in Spokane.  One thing about owning dogs that you can’t expect to stay in a really nice place but Super 8’s are always accommodating to pets and give a military discount.  Sometime in the life of this particular Super 8, it looked like it had hosted regularly graduation parties and biker parties.  I’m okay with that.
Day 2

Next morning, bring shiny after a good night’s rest, we hit the road again and broke our fast at Dawn of the Donut, a zombie themed donut in Spokane.  

By the next afternoon after driving through some beautiful country in Idaho and Montana with a stop for Bear repellent we arrived at Glacier National Park only to find that there were only 2 campgrounds open after Labor Day due to the government sequester.  Apgar was full and the other, Many Glaciers was only taking hard shell campers and mine was still sitting at home hanging his hood in shame. 

When we planned the trip, we planned it for camper.   We kept driving because on our map, there were some campsites in this particular direction and the wife indicated a dirt road which we abandoned early on, deciding that it was too rough after a mile for the Fusion.  Instead, we turned around and drove down a different road, on which there was supposed to be another campground.  However we missed an important right turn at Polebridge village in the dark and ended up randomly wandering down some dirt road for over an hour, every once in a while passing a closed campground.  Until we saw the a campground symbol with an arrow pointing down a small one lane dirt road with a 10 underneath it.   So we drove those 10 miles slowly in the dark. 

Consider at this point, we had spent 3 hours of just driving in one direction on a dirt road and had not seen another car.  I had scary movie themes running in my head, considering how many Wrong Turns it took to get here and that we were totally cut off from cell service, it was to be expected.  Finally after a very long and slow 10 miles we were at this mystery campground, which wasn’t a mystery anymore.  It was called Tuchuck and it was just miles away from the Canadian border and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was free, had 7 very large, clean camp sites and we were totally alone.  Added bonus, there was a stream singing merrily right behind the campsite we chose.  I could have kissed the ground but didn’t.
Picture of the campground sign in the daylight

Many people are horrified about having to set up tents in the dark.  To me, those people don’t practice enough, we were veteran campers and had the Montana 8 tent up in less than 10 minutes and started the queen sized air mattress inflating.  Okay, even though we were totally caught by surprise having to switch out of a camper with no notice.  We were used to tent camping more than anything else and it wasn’t that big of a shift to us. 

I made steaks that night with corn and home fires, and we enjoyed the fire and the music of the wind through the trees and water in the back ground.  This is life.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Road tripping to Glacier National Park

The bride has been talking about wanting to go to Glacier National Park for years and now that we live in Washington, it's just a hop, skip and a jump.  Taking a week of leave, checking out the sights and taking a bunch of pictures.  Also get a chance to test out the Tardis camper, hopefully Neal (my Toyota Tacoma with 274 thousand miles) can handle the trip and we don't get eaten by bears getting ready for winter.

I'm also testing out my EC tech bluetooth keyboard that I picked up off Amazon for 13 bucks with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with Evernote.  Blogging light.  Too bad I can't use this to upload my pictures from my camera but I do like the Photoshop touch, which does work on the Kindle.  You upload the pictures up to Adobe and from there you can edit them on the Kindle.

Enough with geek speak, I'm still here and alive.  Have a year of left of this canoe club and then need to find out what I'm going to do when I grow up.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Camping in Sasquatch Country

Wednesday, the bride texts me and says, “I want to go to Canada this weekend.”  And for half of the day at work, I kept getting texts about places that she wants to go in Victoria and how much the ferry is going to be and what time we have to be there.  Realizing that there was one ferry going there in the morning and one coming back in the afternoon, I was a bit skittish and said, how about going camping on the mainland side?  And she picked a place called Sasquatch Provincial Park which is the actual place where the Native American’s or in the case of Canada, they are called the First Nation people; came up with the name Sasq’uts which means hairy man and of course the English speaking people changed it to Sasquatch. 

Anyhow, according to the oral traditions of the local First Nation people, they believed the Sasq’uts to be a spiritual being that could vanish into the spirit world at will and there have been centuries of sightings in these parts.  Camping out here, with the mountains that seem to reach into sky and undergrowth that seems so thick that it looks like jungle, it’s easy to believe that a giant could walk a couple of feet off the road and totally cease to exist.  (Now, I look around the dark woods with no fellow campers about and strange sounding birds crying out in the dark, hmm, it is a bit spooky out here)

Sasquatch Provincial Park is located a next to Harrison Lake which is 60 km long and is home to 5 kinds of salmon and 14 foot long sturgeon.  The closest town is called Harrison Hot Springs which has a bunch of touristy type shops and there is a public pool where you can relax in the hot spring water for 9 bucks a head.  When you’re dirty and camping, it’s a pretty good deal, rinse off in the hot showers then head out to the 4 foot deep pool and just lay and relax soaking up the warmth and peaceful vibes, when you leave, you’ll feel like a new person.  If you’re hungry, there are all sorts of small restaurants, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Schnitzel and a scattering of burger joints, from elegant to bars, the grub seems pretty good.

Camping works like this, check the board and pick a slot that hasn’t been reserved and start setting up, before too long, a ranger will come by and take your money and offer you wood.  At this point, I have to mention, the rangers who took our money the first night were the most attractive rangers I have ever seen which is total truth, the bride thought so too.  We picked a place in the Bench Campground, vault type toilets, a bit primitive but we’re an old hand at the camping racket.

Tomorrow, I’m making pancakes with some real Canadian maple syrup.  So far, our first take of Canada has been good.  Roads are smooth, locals friendly and food isn’t too bad, an added bonus, all of the trails are dog friendly.  Maybe next time, I’ll see how my fishing luck holds out.

Here are some pictures, more over at Facebook for you Facebookers located here.

 our campsite
 A water park that you have to take a boat too
 usual suspects
 checking out the fine day
 ride on doggie
 mushrooms by our campsite
 That's a glacier off in the distance
 Hanging out with the locals
Bridal Falls

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sarah Lynn Rouette, April 21st, 1974 to January 7th, 2013

I can’t believe you’re gone, a month ago, you had a close call and by the time I got to your side, you were already bulling people around about the proper texture of your coconut jello and the feng shui of the Christmas decorations in your living room, 6 months ago, you were risking your life on that damn mountain bike of yours flying down steep mountain slopes and 2 years, 9 months and 21 days ago you went into see a doctor for a excisional biopsy on her right breast and woke to a world that had cancer in it. But this blog post isn’t about that disgusting disease, it’s a selfish post about me and her and choices we made in life.

 Sarah was younger, other than her shoe collection, she was a minimalist. She was a stubborn, smart, pig headed, fun and had great dreams, she would focus on a goal and it was hers. She made life look easy. She saved up her money, lived in a shack and took huge elaborate trips to far distant lands with a pack on her back but she always came back to Prescott to roost. Me, I ran away like I was being chased by wild dogs and then spent the next 2 decades coming back for sips from that well. I became a Gypsy, joined a band of roaming sailors who pulled into home port on rare occasions and somehow in the middle of that wildness I had got married and had a kid. Sarah being Sarah and never one to beat around a bush, called me a breeder (with great distain) and that I was making a foolish mistake, alright, I admit, she did call that one sort of right.

Years go by, me traveling the world and wearing out my soles while she stayed in Prescott and gathered a community around her.

She did finally settle down and had two beautiful children that she could call her own and somehow became a super momma involved in all sort of outlandish mommy activities. Most of the mom’s I see are military wives or military members and she out momma’ed most of them. For those of you who do not know Sarah, it’s hard to explain the gaggle of momma friends she had around. These girls were her life and she was theirs in ways that I can’t pretend to understand.

If my sister and I have one thing in common, we can pull people together when we put a mind to it. By this time, I had gathered my own community of nerds and oddballs that was connected by electrons and ether and scattered across vast gulfs.

The point I’m getting to is that even though I’m torn up and weepy right now and even though I’m her brother. It’s been two decades since I’ve made a real impact on Sarah’s life and even then, I don’t’ think I shifted it an inch out of the path she made, over the last few years, she’s formed this commune of friends that have been her strength and armor, she was a part of Prescott, not meaning that she lived in it or that she was a Prescott girl. She was as much of the town as Whiskey Row. I’ve only touched her life briefly, a dab here and a dab there, dumb little things like setting up her blog and attempting to pull her out of the dark ages because even though she had a huge brain, she was still at heart, a total Luddite and thought of technology as a passing fad that the rest of us would get over.

We were always off on our own private holy mission that seemed so important at that moment.  If there is anything in life that I regret, I regret that we did not have a proper brother/sister relationship, I regret rushing off those moments when I could have taken more time to take in her amazing life that she had built like a castle around herself and I regret not being there for you when you needed me. This armor of hers, it’s just not hers, it’s the people she’s drawn to herself and right now, it’s torn asunder and I’m sorry, I’m just a dumb boy and don’t have a clue on how to mend it.

My heart aches, I love you sis and miss you terribly.

Her blog is called Drink Water and Breathe

Saturday, September 29, 2012

When Social Media goes Wrong

This is the story I've seen wondering around friends walls this morning, my sleep addled mind read it and thought, this sort of sucks and I went back to bed.... 

Yesterday, my 17 year old niece, who attends Lancaster High School, was beaten by a football player, named Kyle, on school grounds, for being gay. After receiving over a dozen blows to her jaw, eye and head, all he received was a 5 day suspension by the Lancaster School District. She suffered from a fractured jaw and multiple concussions to the head and the Deputy Sheriff advised her mother to re-think her wanting to file charges against the football player because her daughter pushed him back. The school ended up documenting "assault" charges on my nieces file, NOT the football players! To make things worse, the Deputy Sheriff on site warned my niece, by saying,"Just so you know, if you file charges against him, I'm taking his side." Oh, and the icing on the cake was when the football player came up to my niece after school and said, "Sorry, but you had it coming!" We're attempting to raise awareness and bring this story to light because Lancaster High School is trying to sweep this "Hate Crime" under the rug! Like if you care and please forward to everyone you know

Then I woke up a bit more and thought, hey, this has all of the hooks of a net myth, must research this more and here’s the link to what Snopes has to say.  

The reason that I’m even posting about this is because it’s happening now, not some recycled story.  Here’s the facts, a 14 year old boy was pushed by a 17 year old girl because he complained about another 17 year old girl cutting in line in front of him at lunch, he fought back against the girl who pushed him who he thought was a guy (Justin Bieber haircut?).  The girl got a cut on her lip, they both got suspended should be end of story.  40 witnesses agree with that story.  But someone embellished that story and the story had such a grab that it's passing around the world, causing people to gasp, "that's so wrong!".  No what's wrong is that you believe that story before looking.  In some ways, this is the same as Muslim video that's causing all of the protests in the middle east, do a moment of research before you repost stuff on your wall. This boy’s parents have pulled him out of school, he’s received death threats along with the principle of the school, he didn't belong to the football team but the football team did have someone who's name sounded like his, he's received death threats too.  Dumb asses are protesting outside of the school.  

Here are the stories from the AV News, my old stomping grounds when I was stationed at Edwards AFB.  Search around Antelope Valley News, they'll probably keep updating it.  Hope no one gets hurt. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 years have passed..

The wife and I are glued to the History Channel as the events of that day are played through from hundreds of different angles and viewpoints and even now, more than a decade later how unreal it seems, we are watching that unfurl on TV.  I’m not going to rehash what I was doing back then, those memories have already seen the light of day and are living in my archives.  I’m going to look at what has happened since then.  At that time I was a mechanic at the low end of the pay scale, single, struggling and then, in the space of a smoky morning, I had direction and goals.  On a terrible day, my life took a turn for the better, I found my calling back in skills that I had shelved and in pursuing that new life, I found that I liked taking pictures, writing and eventually, the strange girl of my dream.  Now, 11 years down the road, I’m 2 years out from a retirement, I have friends all over the world. 

So instead of mourning this year, which is hard watching what we are watching, I’m going to celebrate and be thankful for what I have now.   My wife, my friends and my family and the fact that we all made it to the other side.   I haven’t forgotten but do believe we’ve punished those who were responsible, chasing them all over the globe and when they poked their head out from under a rock, squashed them like a bug and now the biggest bug is dead.  Now it’s time to heal and close some of those wounds and go back to being the land of the free.  Get back to being healthy and happy, I don’t know about you, I’m a bit weary about being a nation suffering from PTSD and I’m sure winning hearts and minds only lasts for so long. 

Crap, this blog post is hard to write while I’m watching people jump out of buildings and people screaming.  Anyway, I’m glad we got the main asshat responsible for this.  I’ll never forget but I was raised by a bunch of forgivers, I have no problem forgiving the dead.

Monday, September 03, 2012

My two cents on the book “No Easy Day”

First, you cannot compare it to Wikileaks, that was done by a disgruntled asshat who grabbed as much secret stuff he could and sent gave it to someone to share with the world which probably caused a lot of people to die and he somehow expected not to get into trouble.  If anything, that guy deserves the Darwin Award just for being a dumbass, he purposely wanted to do as much damage as he could.
No Easy Day on the other hand is a story that I bet a fair percentage of the population dreamed about for the last 11 years.  The boogieman was finally caught, I rejoined the military to see this guy taken out and I, for one wouldn’t mind hearing the story.  This is the tallest of tall tales, what we have spent trillions of dollars to accomplish and as me being Joe Public, would like to hear about the end result, unedited and uncut.  Hopefully the truth as told by a highly motivated decorated warrior. 
Some secrets are too big to keep and I’m glad this one is getting aired to the world and I’m looking forward to drinking a cold beer while reading about it.  I’m just wondering about who got the reward and if someone did, did we set him up nice.  That story and Roswell, then I’ll be a happy camper.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor

I've settled in here over the last few months and now heading the local physical exam's department and I like it.  They have a good system here where there are lots of checks and balances in doing paperwork which in my line of work is a good thing.  While sometimes a pain because it takes a little longer, I don't mind in the slightest coming from places where the system isn't working and trying to get a system in place.

Outside of work, I'm enjoying fishing,  crabbing and clamming and making interesting comic book furniture.  Now you ask, what's comic book furniture?  This...

and this

Life is good, love the new house and I'm working with a good bunch of people who don't rub me the wrong way.  Hopefully one of these days, I'll find my muse here but until then you can catch me in smaller blurbs over on Facebook.  Peace.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Social Networking

The reality of Facebook/Blogging/Social Networking is that you only get a snapshot of someones life, a few seconds of someones day out of thousands. No matter how much I post here, there are thousands of other things going on in my life that the interwebs has no clue about. There is a full world going on in my point of view and a moment here and there might be dropped onto this medium. We invented the real world of 1984 because it became part of the easiest path to take, the only big difference is that we don't follow the orders that come out of a faceless machine. While the book was sort of a horror story about the future, it's amazing that we can pull much of the same tech out and come up with a vision that is so different and brighter. I put my thoughts here and they can be seen around the world instantly, will they be remembered? Now that is the question.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Independence Day

One of my favorite Independence Day memories was being stationed at MCAS El Toro back in the 90's and being at the local movie theater which was half filled with Marines watching Independence Day on opening night when the General tell's Wil Smith, "El Toro has been completely destroyed." and the entire theater breaks out in cheers.  He flew with VMFA-314.