Thursday, September 28, 2006

Let's Clear the Air

Last Saturday we went up to Dallas to attend the wedding of my cousin's daughter. It was a great time and was very nice to get to see everyone and to visit for several hours. Wish we could get together like that more often.

The reason for this post has nothing to do with the wedding, and I hope this does not spiral into a full blown rant but, to be honest, it might. After the wedding was over, it was still early, about 10:30 PM. Peggy and I decided to go over to the Cowboy's Nightclub in Arlington to dance for a few hours. Drove about 20 miles to get there, paid the $14 cover charge to get in, stayed 20 minutes and left. Why did we leave, because of the foul air from all the smoking! By the time we got out our throats were scratchy and our eyes were burning.

With the medical knowledge available today, everyone knows smoking kills and most have sense enough not to do it. In fact, millions have given up smoking all together, and GOOD FOR YOU! The very act of smoking puts you at the same risk of dying as someone who has already suffered one heart attack or someone who already suffers from diabetes. Second hand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking yourself so, how can you possibly justify exposing the rest of us then claim it is "your right!"

Those who do not have this addiction have no idea how great it is to live in a city that does not allow smoking in public places. In the twenty minutes we spent at Cowboy's I witnessed two smokers flick a lit cigarette onto the carpeted floor and not even bother to step on it. Something like this is way beyond rude and, at that point, becomes just plain anti-social behavior. Why would someone do that?

If you live in a city that still allows smoking in public, try coming to Austin for a weekend of clubbing and see for yourself how great it is to be able to take a clean breath of air inside a bar or nightclub. Banning smoking in public is a trend that is gaining traction and will eventually work it's way across the US. Until then, demand that your city councils represent the majority of citizens. If you do not smoke, you are in the majority. Use that position to implement change.

I think I managed to stay calm and not turn this into a rant, didn't I? Serenity Now!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Perfect Granddaughters

Allow me to introduce you to my Granddaughter, Noel. I wonder how many people can honestly say they have known someone who, from birth through adulthood, has never done anything wrong? This is no joke! Believe it or not, I was there for the birth, and next month will celebrate the 21st birthday of this perfect Granddaughter who has never done one single, solitary thing wrong in her entire life.

Now, when I say perfect there is no exaggeration, I MEAN perfect! Of course, it goes without saying that as a teenager she did not go out drinking, smoking dope, dating losers, or skipping class. But, it is also a fact that she never even talked back to her Mother, always made straight A's in school, always behaved as a perfect angel, and made her Grandparents proud at all times. This is someone who by age 10 fully understood the value of money and, as an adult has continued her conservative financial ways. Today she knows how to live on a budget, and is a good money manager. Now, very close to graduating from Sam Houston University, this hard working young lady has maintained a good GPA while working as many as two jobs at a time. What more can you say, she is perfect in every way.

I have three other Granddaughters who, at this point, are perfect as well but, we will just have to wait and see if they can go 21 years without doing one single thing wrong, as Noel has done. The fact is, I have only had the privilege of observing two of them for 4 years and one of them for 3 however, I have to say, they are off to really good starts. All they have to do is make it through the next 16 or 17 years without a single slip up ... piece of cake.

The parents and other family members can help these three Granddaughters in the same way Noel's parents and family members have helped her achieve her lofty standing; everyone needs to work at keeping Grandpa in a comfortable state of blissful ignorance. A few years ago one of the Aunts, Cindy to be exact, started telling us something when, I think, she noticed I was about to dive out of the moving car. She paused and said, "You don't want to hear this, do you?" I don't know what gave it away? Maybe it was the fingers stuck in my ears up to the second knuckle while singing, "NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA." Listen folks, Grandpa intends to stay in his "happy place" where all his Granddaughters are perfect little angels.

Now, don't get me wrong, you girls can talk to your Grandparents about absolutely anything. Just be sure you talk to Grandma first so she can tell Grandpa just what he needs to know. I have one request for the parents. As soon as the little ones are old enough to fully understand mushroom cultivation, please explain to them that dealing with Grandpa is exactly like raising mushrooms.

This post is about the Granddaughters but, I have not forgotten about the two Grandsons. But, come on guys, it's 21 years without a screw up. You know you can't do it and I know you can't do it, because I have been there. If you make it through one day, you are doing good! Besides, you are boys, just relax and have a good time.

Amber & Noel - Robin & Allysa with Grandma on right. Woo! Woo! Grandma

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ACL Weekend

This is a huge weekend in Austin with the Austin City Limits Music Festival going on. This will be the fifth year for the festival. I suppose every hotel room in Austin is booked this weekend. As I sit here in our RV looking out at Barton Springs Road I see a steady procession of music fans walking toward Zilker Park. Later tonight, after the show, that will turn into a full blown mob moving the other way away from Zilker.

Construction for the event has been going on in Zilker Park for the last two weeks. The entire park has been fenced, 8 stages have been built, and all the temporary buildings and tents have been put up. They sell 65,000 tickets each night for the show and, I would guess, another 65,000 set up outside the fence to listen. There will be over 130 bands performing. Last night, one of the big events was Willie and tonight will be Tom Petty.

I wanted to take some photos but, you just can not do justice to that large a crowd with a camera. I was pretty impressed with the bicycle racks, so I took this shot and was able to get in possibly 1/4 of the bikes parked at the show. Most folks are riding the bus in or walking.

Now, if you have lived in Austin for a while, here is a guy that requires no introduction at all. But, for those that have not had the pleasure, meet Leslie. For as long as I can remember, Leslie has been a fixture in the downtown area. He stopped by the trailer today to get some water, on his way down to the show and was good enough to pose for a few photos. Some were a little to graphic for this site and, no way was I about to publish the one he dedicated to me. Yikes! In case you can't tell in the photo that is Tweety hanging from the band of his thong.

Just keeping it weird.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Kid in the Mud

Our youngest grand daughter, Robin is here today. Here she is "helping" Grandma plant something in the yard. Of course, it had to be throughly watered and then, the fun really starts.

Robin, is Art and Cindy's daughter, who live in Mississippi. They are here for a few days because Cindy's brother was having some very serious surgery. However, it had an unexpectedly positive outcome. He had a large, 20cm tumor, in his upper abdomine which everyone was sure was going to be cancer. Well, the surgery to remove it went very well and the tests on the tumor, just today, confirmed that it was not cancerous and would not cause him any more problems. We are all very relieved about that.

We were sure glad for the opportunity to see the kids and be able to keep Robin for a few days although, we wish it had been under other circumstances. She has now been throughly hosed off by Grandma and I see the two of them outside washing the car as I write. They are now on pavement so there is no more mud for Robin to roll in.

I think they will all be heading back to Mississippi in just a few days so, I don't know when we will get to see them again. Maybe in November, when we head down to Florida. We are planning on driving to Florida, then flying to St. Croix to help ferry a sail boat from St. Croix to Miami.