Sunday, November 26, 2006

I hope you had a good thanksgiving. We did. Dianne, the dogs, and I took a drive for most of the day, returning home for dinner.

In the morning we drove turning on highway 126 that goes through Deckers. The first stop was at the Pine Valley Ranch. This is the park that we went to with Daria and Summer (before Baxter was born).

We have not been in this area since the big fire of 2002. Though Pine Valley Ranch did not burn, most of the area we drove through was burnt. We turned off towards Cheesman Lake in the heart of the burn area. I found the area still beautiful.
We continued to drive through Deckers and on towards Woodland Park. The next picture is after we left the burn area.

From Woodland Park we drove towards Colorado Springs, turning off on a dirt road. Our plan was to have a picnic, then continue on the dirt road towards home.

Dianne had prepared the lunch. We found a beautiful spot and stopped.
Dianne brought shrimp, grapes, crackers, and chips. We sat on a blacket looking out at this view. We saved the last two shrimp for the dogs, but found out that they do not like them.

When we got home Dianne finished the dinner she had planned. The table was elegant with silver and china. We had cornish game hens, salad, rolls, and olives. For desert we had pumpkin pudding. The picture below was taken with available light. I hope you can see how Dianne prepared the meal.
It was very sweet of Dianne to do Thanksgiving with very little help from me. I will be doing Christmas planning and dinner.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

We got back from Houston a week ago, and I have all the pictures from the trip ready to post. And
at the end I want to tell you about a "practical joke" that has been being played on me for over a long period of time.

We arrived Saturday, and on Sunday we went to the beach in Galveston. We all had a good time. Jon, Charlie and Dianne played in the water while Josie and I stayed dry.

After playing in the water we relaxed and played in the sand.

On Tuesday we got to go to Jon's Daycare in the morning, and a half hour in his Special Ed class in the afternoon. This was a great opportunity to see him interact with other kids his own age, and his development. In the morning they were having a Halloween party. When things got busy Dianne jumped in to help.
As Jon's family I want you to know how he is doing. If I overstep my bounds here, I am sorry.

All Jon's teachers are great, both in daycare and school. They are working with Jon to get him to speak above a whisper, on his developmental skills, and on his social skills. We learned that in Texas teachers are restricted as to the advise they can give parents.

Jon can count to 30 in both English and Spanish, knows the calender, and eager to learn. In the room the other kids treat him special, and help him. While we were there we saw Jon poke, hit, and kick other kids. When they went out to play Jon spent the whole time on a tricycle.

The afternoon class has two teachers and five students. He participated in the class activities, and did well on the knowledge. They are working on his writing his name and his ability to color. The teacher said that he was not socializing with the other kids.

That night we took Jon trick-or-treating.
On Wednesday we went to the wild animal park. The animals come up to the car for food (sold by the park). Jon felt the zebra whiskers.

All the animals can be quite demanding. The baby zebra in this picture was biting the car door handle.

It is not very clear, but the marks on the door handle are from the baby zebra's teeth.
After driving through the park we had a picnic.
The park has a petting zoo.
On Friday we went to a park. Dianne made a new friend.
On Saturday we went to the renaissance fair. They had a few rides such as this merry-go-round. This is a very large venue with permanent structures, several stages, vendors selling goods or foods from many parts of the world.
Jon kissed a fairy and got a magic stone.
Jon and I rode an elephant.
There were several gardens each with a theme such as a water garden a rose garden etc.
At the top I said that I would end with the practical joke someone at work played. One day I went to work and there was an old Bell Systems label off something. No one claimed responsibility. There would be periods with nothing, and then a few more small items. But, they got bigger. It got to the point I would tense up when I walked into my cube, not knowing if something would be there, or why someone was leaving me things.

It's hard to express the feeling of getting things you like, but not knowing who is giving them to you or why. It is a combination of looking forwards to what is next, and dreading finding more things.

Then one day I found a piece of test equipment in a beautiful wooden box. I searched the Internet to find out about it, and found one like it for sale for about $250. I went to my Director, and he told me "not to worry about it" unless I thought they were from a vendor. Here are some of the items.

Sorry that this first one is not in focus. There is an old volt/amp meter, two different bell system labels, a princes phone bracelet charm, a "loop back" plug for old cord switches (a hint of what was to come), and a cord for an old cord switch (another hint).
This is the piece of test equipment along with an ear and mouth piece for an old phone, a cannon ball, and a discus.
This is a clamp-on light with a 24 volt and a 48 volt bulb, standard voltages for telephone equipment.
These all are engraved with "Bell Systems". They appeared one at a time.
When I got back from Huston I turned into my cube and it was filled with an old cord switchboard. This is the same model Lily Tomlin sat in front of when she did her skits. Once I pushed it to one side it still took up half of my chair space.
In front of the dial is a ballpoint pen with a swivel ball on the back. This was used by the receptionist so that she didn't break her nails. The book is the operating manual.

It turns out that just before I left on vacation a co-worker asked my Director when I would be gone. When he found out he said "good. I have a switch for him." The whole week I was gone pieces of the switch were being brought in, and on the Friday before I returned my Director help unload the welded steel frame, and helped assemble the switch. It is now in my home office partially assembled.

It turns out that a co-worker salvaged these items that were being thrown away about 30 years ago. He learned that I liked old telephone stuff, and none of his kids wanted them. He wanted to give them to someone who would appreciate them.