Saturday, June 30, 2012

Part Two- Ancedotes

Last weekend we went to visit Smacks Of Old Fart author, Pat, and his better half, Jennifer, in Tyler.

We were their special guests. That is not their bear. That bear belongs to the Berkshire family and is in the Berkshire museum in Tyler.

As Old Farts do, we visited, ate, and played games.

Although it was not Rose Festival season, we went by the Rose Gardens. The roses were not looking their best, (yes, I know this is not a rose)

 but there was a darling group of kids at a Quincinera. 

While we were there, I missed the opportunity to take a photo of Pat and Barry to put on their Wednesday blog. Duh!

After Tyler, I headed to Houston, for a visit.  
First thing, Ava needed to play with my iPad. Her mom has the same games on her iPad, but they are more fun on mine. 

Lucy had her baby doll. She loves to carry it everywhere.

Ava planted a seed at vacation bible school. She just knew that it would grow really fast. 

But after a while she looked a little worried.

Lucy loves her dog Shorty. She always wants to know where he is, which is funny, because he is always near her. 

After a too short visit, I had to head home. However, the girls and I needed to wash my car before I could leave. Ava was in charge of the water. 

Lucy was in charge of the soap.

All was going well until Ava decided to turn the water on everyone. (Big Surprise)

Did they think this was supposed to be fun or something? "Back to work, you two!"

Good job, girls. You can wash my car anytime.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Part One of Rambling Anecdotes

The only consistencies with Inside the BrierPatch have been the Old Farts, Pat and Barry. They haven’t missed their posts, and I am very proud of them. Me? Not so much. 
There was not a Tech Tuesday this week. Due to the fact that I am having a few technical difficulties of my own, I didn’t feel I should give out unsolicited advice this week.  

And, although it has passed, Father’s Day is just now making it to the blog. Two of Barry’s three children were in other places, so Michelle took the bull by the horns, and devised a Father’s Day activity. It was a group connected by, what else? Their children and grandchildren! 

Dave Appleton was working, but his daughter joined him for his special day. 

He took us to the owner's circle to view the horses. 

Then, it was down to the track to watch the race.

As the jockeys and the horses went to clean up,

we headed back inside.

Some youngsters gave their dads advice on a horse that they liked.

Some granddads just tried to pick the winning horse on their own. 

One method was as good as the other. After all, it's a horse race.
A fun time was had by all. Good planning, Michelle.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Smacks Of Old Fart Wednesday-Weather

You know what Smacks OF Old Fart? Weather watching. Or more specifically watching and believing the weather reports on TV. The local media’s weather reports remind me of the Chicken Little story, “The Sky is Falling”. How many times have you seen the schools and some businesses close just because of the threat of ice, or hail, or tornados, etc. Then,ut oh, mistake, the forecast fizzled and the weather was beautiful. Me, I use a “weather rock” to get my weather. More on that later.

As I get older I have noticed that many of my friends and especially my retired friends watch, believe and act based on the local forecasts. One of my retired buddies actually moves his car to a covered carport at his mom’s house any time the forecast calls for even a hint of hail or high winds. He gets the reactionary city hotline warnings too. Reacting to those alone is a full time job. Many old farts will not leave the house or drive if it is just raining, too cold, too hot, too windy, etc. Maybe all this is really smart but I long for the days when it was no big deal if a storm was imminent. When everyone just took a look outside and decided for themselves if it was safe to venture out.

Okay, I know this is boring. So I plan to give you, the vast blog reading public, the answer to forecasting the weather for yourself. The “Weather Rock”! Yes, I’m not going to patent it. You have my permission to copy and build one yourself. Actually most boy scouts already know how to build one. You will need three strong sticks about 2-3 feet long; some leather strips (or just some rope if you don’t want to get fancy); and a rock. Preferably a large rock. You then lash the sticks together teepee style. Hang the rock from the top about half way down. Set your “Weather Rock” in your yard.
When you want to know the weather go check the “Weather Rock”. If the rock is swaying, the wind is blowing. If the rock is hot it is hot. If the rock is cold it is cold. If the rock is wet it is raining. You get the idea. Simple and you do not have to waste 15 minutes watching the TV and all those commercials. Throw those almanacs away. You are the next Howard Taft. Now if you know who H.T. is you are definitely an old fart.

I’ve got to go now. I’m worried I might miss the weather on the 10 o’clock news. And,I’ve got to go finish building my storm shelter.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Media Monday-Shall We Dance?


One of my favorite summer shows is beginning its season right now- So You Think You Can Dance
This show is a contest between actual dancers. They may be contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, etc., but they can all dance. The catch is once they make the show, they must dance all kinds of genre, work with different choreographers and partners each week. The costumes and choreography are amazing.

The show airs on Fox, Wednesdays at seven o'clock. They are just selecting the contestants, so it is the perfect time to begin watching.

You won't be seeing this dancer on the show yet.

But, let me tell you, she does the cutest little tap dance to "I Want to Be Like Youuuu". She would be a paw in, I mean shoe in, I am sure.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bird Day and Birthdays

Yesterday was my little boy's birthday. He is thirty-four. However, when I close my eyes, this is what I see:

But, now he is a grown man with a family of his own. We are very proud of him. 

I love him.

And his family loves him. Shannon cooked a wonderful venison fried steak meal for Brett. 

(Scarlett loves him so much she let him wear her necklace!)
Happy Birthday, Brett.

Where do the birds come in, you might be asking yourself? (But probably not)

Well, it just so happens that yesterday we received a call from Chris, my brother. He had been riding his bike and was attacked by a Mississippi Kite. It swooped at him four times and hit him on the head twice. He did say he needed a hair cut and maybe the bird needed nesting material, but I think it was just being way over protective of its nest or young. 

Then, our friends the Bergers sent us photos of hummingbirds in Colorado. I believe it was Kathy that took the photos with her cell phone, which I totally do no appreciate. She should have to carry a camera and change lenses, all the while trying to get a good shot while Barry is telling her how to do it. (I mean, lovingly offering advice on how to get a good shot).

 Then, to add insult to injury, they took a photo of a moose and her baby!

Not to be outdone. I stood inside my window and took photos of the bluebirds with their babies from their second brood. Two babies show up a lot, and a third will make an appearance every once in a while. 

Father Bluebird with babies

Mother Bluebird watching the babies eat.

She looks proud, doesn't she? 

In this photograph, I think she is explaining to them that she loves them, but it is time for them to  become more independent. She has laid more eggs and is now expecting her third brood this year! 

June seems to be full of birthdays. It was also my great niece, Sidney's birthday yesterday.

And Prince William's. But we don't count William's, because he is just trying to fit into our family, and he does not. 

So happy Birthday to all, and happy birdwatching to all- and to all a good weekend. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SOOF Wednesday-Car Technology

ONCE UPON A TIME, not so terribly long ago, we bought a new car.  We got a really good deal on the car.  At least I think we did.  You see our son-in-law's half brother, who is a car dealer, contacted the dealership where we bought the new car and told them not to take advantage of these two old farts who were semi-distant family members.  I'm pretty sure that made all the difference...but, I'm getting a little off subject.  I'm not going to talk about "the deal."  I'll save that for another time.
Anyway, the car was fully loaded...ALL the bells and whistles...I'm talking, really tricked out.  Power moon roof; rain sensing windshield wipers; satellite radio, USB port with iPod connectivity, and hands free phone capability; 60/40 split reclining rear seats (wish I'd had that when I was a teenager); voice-activated touch-screen DVD Navigation System with integrated back-up camera; dual auto zone climate control system with heated and cooled seats; smart key system with push button start; etc., etc., etc.  Surely you've got the picture by now.  So, start thinking...old dogs/new tricks.
The old saying that two heads are better than one is absolutely true, especially when you have two old farts trying to operate one new car with a lot of "techno geek gizmos."  
However, we've just about been able to master everything except the "Smart Key System with Push Button Start."  If you're not familiar with this system, it means you don't have any door locks to put a key into, nor do you have an ignition switch in which to put a key.  But you do need to have the "key device" in your pocket or purse when you want to get in the car or start the motor.  
The car salesman made it sound so simple.  When you approach your locked car and come within a foot or two, the interior lights come on and you can open the door.  When you want to start the car, all you do is put your foot on the brake and push this little button that is located where the ignition switch used to be.  Sounds pretty simple doesn't it.  
Well, not long after we got the car, we went to visit our daughter (Erin) and her family in Rockwall, TX.  After we had been there for a short amount of time, our 9 year old granddaughter (Jenna) told her Grammie (aka Jennifer, my sweet, loving and endearing wife), that she wanted to go shopping at a specific store.  So, Jennifer, Erin, and Jenna piled into the new car and headed to the mall.
Once they got there, Jennifer started looking for the perfect parking space.  You know, one that's so far away from other cars that there's no way to get a ding or paint chip on the new car.  Such a spot was found in a remote and desolate part of the parking lot.
After the girls had been shopping for about an hour they started out on the hike back to the car.  Jenna, as kids do, got way ahead of her mother and Grammie.  From this point the conversation went something like this:
Grammie:  "Did Jenna just get in the car?  How could that be?  I'm not close enough for my 'key device' to unlock the door."
Jenna:  "Grammie, your car is really great!  The seats are still warm!"
Erin:  "Mother, the motor is still running!!"
Jennifer:  "#%&%#@&
Jenna:  "Grammie, your language!"
Car thieves in the Metroplex missed out on a golden opportunity.
About two weeks later, and after a lot of harassment (all of which was good natured), Jennifer and I took her car to the movies in Tyler.  I drove, parked in a remote spot, turned the motor off, pushed the door lock button, and we walked to the theater.  After the movie we went back to the car.  Jennifer got there before I did.  The conversation went something like this:
Pat:  "Jennifer, how did you get the door open?  I'm not close enough yet."
Jennifer:  "I don't know.  You either didn't lock the door or left your 'key device' in the car."
Pat:  "No!  I'm sure I locked the door, and here is my key! Where is your purse?"
Jennifer:  "On the floor of the front seat."
Pat:  "Where is your 'key device'?"
Jennifer (after a short pause):  "#%&%@# in my purse"
Car thieves in East Texas missed out on a golden opportunity.
About a week or so after this, Jennifer took her car to a Jazzercise class at one of Tyler's local churches.  About the time the class was supposed to be over I got a call.  The conversation went something like this:
Jennifer:  "Pat, I can't get in the car."
Pat:  "I don't understand."
Jennifer:  "The doors are locked and I can't get in."
Pat:  "Where is your 'key device'?"
Jennifer:  "In my purse."
Pat:  "OK.  Where is your purse?"
Jennifer:  "Well, I didn't want to take my purse into class, and I felt like the car was secure, being in a church parking lot and all.  But, I didn't want to leave my purse in plain sight, so I put it in the trunk.  Now the doors won't open."
Pat:  " I'm pretty sure the trunk is more than a foot or two from the car door.  I'm on my way."
Jennifer (after a short pause):  "#%&@#&"
I'm seriously considering sending a letter to the car maker recommending a WARNING statement on cars such as these:  "WARNING:  Not intended for use by those who may Smack of Old Fart!"      
disclaimer from Jennifer: I really don't speak in %@#&% very often!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tech Tuesday:Windows That Won't Close

As we are all aware with any upgrade or introduction of new software, features change. One of these, of course, was the zoom feature on the iPhone. With Lion, a feature that has been driving me nuts is that the last window you use in a program,  opens up when you open that program. This is particularly irritating with the Internet browser windows. My home page was no longer the first page to open up. Usually, it was some page that immediately got me off-task (can you say Facebook?)
I was at the Apple store a couple of weeks ago and two geniuses did not know what to do about this change, even though they found it irritating also.

Well, Thanks to Stever Robbins, there is an easy fix. The only hard part, is at this moment, I can't direct you to the podcast where I heard it. Why? Well, I listen to podcast as I am going to sleep, and I don't know which one it was.

Since I guess that doesn't really matter (except that I believe there were tips for Windows 7 users that were experiencing a similar problem), here is the Lion fix.

If you choose Restart or Shut Down, you will see this window. At the bottom where it says
Reopen windows when logging back in, uncheck the box.

Secondly, you can go into your System Preferences 

Go under General

Under Number of recent items, you will see another check box that says Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps. Uncheck that box and those pesky windows will quit opening and distracting you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Media Monday-The Get It Done Guy*

With a self diagnosis that my left brain- right brain fights among itself,

I am devoting this Media Monday to a podcast and book by Stever Robbins. Robbins is a productivity specialist and since I drank some really curdled milk this morning, (don't trust those best by dates!) I feel the need to be more productive in my daily life. To quote his about me on his website,  Robbins is "Host of the #1 iTunes business Get-It-Done-Guy podcast(*), which has received more than 14 million downloads on iTunes, Stever Robbins is uniquely positioned to talk about how to turn productivity into a better life. His book Get-It-Done-Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More is available from St. Martin’s Press."


His podcast are short and pertain to being organized and productive in life and business. 
I am sure most employees would love for their bosses to listen to them because he is really against holding meetings unless they are productive. While this has nothing to do with me at this point of my life, I do like someone who has the same opinion as me.

I don't really remember how I came upon Robbin's podcast almost four years ago, but I have learned a lot from him. For example, he taught me how to bundle wrap my clothes when I pack so that I don't have wrinkles. (This was just in Real Simple this month, too. Four years behind Stever! -but I am using their site for the visual)  He has taught me several tech tips. One of those I will share tomorrow. What I am trying to say here is that his advice works for individuals in their daily life as well as in business.

Plus, he has taught me that while sometimes he uses a silly scenario to make a point, it is so much better than just being boring. I attended a presentation by an organizational speaker (she wrote Organizing for Dummies) at a veterinarian conference. She was so dry and boring, it made you want to just mess stuff up to get a reaction out of her.

Much of Robbins' book is taken from his free podcast, but I have read the book and gathered much information from it also. Obviously, I need a lot of organizational and productivity reinforcement. Also, after looking over that photo about the brain, I feel my brother, Chris, uses both sides of his brain very well. How does he do that? Oops, have I wandered away from my topic and productivity?
Of course!

*Yes, I have mentioned Stever Robbin's book before in a post. But, I am going with the philosophy that you need to hear something three times to own it. You may be going with the theory that I just don't know what I am doing. Either way, I am not rewriting today's post. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Rangers Are in A Slump..

... and so am I. Here is a pretty sunset and a Father's Day wish.

Here's to a good weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.