Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cuisson des beignets . . .

. . . sans pantalon.

Well, I wasn't, of course.

It just looks that way because I'm wearing shorts.

Long shorts - but not as long as the apron.

For fathers' day, Lisa sent me a very nice card and a beignet kit from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. I visited Cafe Du Monde the first time with my parents when I was 15 years old. In the six or seven times we've been back since then, Mrs. B and I never fail to stop in at least once.

Think of the lightest, sweetest, tastiest doughnut you've ever had. Beignets are better than that.

If you're ever in New Orleans, do not - repeat, do not - leave without going to the Cafe Du Monde.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The next time I graduate . . .

. . . from ANYTHING

I want this guy to play the march.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nibbled to death . . .

. . . by ducks.

Every year, we have several nesting pairs of Mallard ducks that wander around the neighborhood looking for handouts.

This year, mama ducky showed up with nine ducklings.

They waddled up on Friday evening, as usual, so I took some bread crumbs outside to feed them.

They have absolutely no fear of humans . . . or me, for that matter. The more I fed, the closer they came.

Closer . . .
. . . and closer . . .

. . . and closer . . .

. . . then the one in the middle nibbled my toe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I been workin' . . .

. . . on the railroad . . .

Well, a very small railroad, that is.

After all, I AM a ferroequinologist.

I received my first model train set when I was seven or eight years old. I set it up in the basement, built it, re-built it, wired it, re-wired it and kept it going until I went to college.

Then there we a few non-railroading years during college and early family life.

When our two sons reached model train age, I built a layout for them. They lost interest, but I never did.

I continued to build on that railroad for many years. I built railcars and buildings in excruciatingly precise detail. Then, we moved yet again and I had to tear it down. It was painful, but necessary. It was just too large to move. I took many of the structures and donated them to the Greater Omaha Model Railroad club, and I guess they're still there today. Sadly, most of my photos of that railroad are lost - other than these. Oh, and did I tell you that I'm a published magazine article writer?

So now, another great pause of almost 20 years, and I'm doing it again. It's much smaller (only 12' x 4', but I built it in for separate pieces that lock together. When I'm no longer held prisoner here in Hampton Roads, the railroad is going to Texas. Permanently.

Pardon the mess. The construction crew (me) is still on duty.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

06 JUN 1944 . . .

. . . Normandy, France

Previously posted . . .

. . . on Gemmak's blog.

Over a period of about a month, I wrote this as a surprise for my daughter. Gemmak was looking for guest bloggers, so I sent it to her, as that was the last place Lisa would expect it. Kind of like the Spanish Inquisition . . . nobody expects it.

Pardon the repitition, but I'm capturing on my blog because - well, because I can.

The Little Girl . . .

. . . the first years and selected vignettes.

The Little Girl was a surprise. Not unwelcome, mind you. Never a fleeting thought of that.

Not that there wasn’t some concern. Daddy had finished his third year at university, and Mommy was working. With scholarships, Daddy’s summer job, Mommy’s work, and some student loans, they were getting by – but just barely.

The concern ended at the first heartbeat. But . . . PARENTS! How does one become a parent? Where’s the book? Where can one take a course? Is panic appropriate? We’re only kids ourselves.

Mommy and Daddy lived in a second-floor walk-up flat with hand-me-down furniture, no air-conditioning, and a bunch of critters that ran for cover in the kitchen when the lights were switched on.

This would not do. Not for The Little Girl. Daddy and Mommy cornered the landlady. Either evict the critters, or find new tenants. The critters were gone within a week. The Little Girl was not to learn “Bug on ME!” for a while. Then, Daddy made his first-ever credit purchase – a Sears window air conditioner, back when it was still Sears, Roebuck & Co.

The Little Girl made her appearance in mid-summer. Good timing that, because university was not in session and Daddy was able to continue summer work to save up for the fall semester. The Little Girl was born at 7:11 a.m. She was destined either to be very lucky – or to manage a convenience store. Daddy hoped for the former.

Vignette: In those days, fathers were not allowed in the delivery room, so Daddy waited. When the nurse told him it was a little girl, he rushed to the nursery. With his hands and nose pressed against the glass, he saw Her. Daddy cried. Of happiness, of course. First born. A Little Girl. THE Little Girl.

The Little Girl was a happy baby. Tow-headed, giggly, and with a smile that would melt a heart at forty paces. That fall, Daddy switched to mostly night classes so he could be with The Little Girl during the day, and Mommy could bring home something of a paycheck. Balancing the checkbook. Loans. Struggles. More than a few worries. But, with one wrinkly-nosed grin from The Little Girl . . . the worries didn’t matter. And, by the next summer, The Little Girl was zooming around like she owned the place.

Vignette: Mommy and Daddy took The Little Girl outside and set her in the middle of a blanket. To the little hand touching the grass it was barbed wire, and her world was an eight-foot square. She didn’t seem to mind. Neither did her blue bunny.

The Little Girl didn’t notice, but Mommy had a little surprise planned. In the fall, something called “A Little Brother” showed up. The Little Girl didn’t know what to think of A Little Brother, but within a year, she was The Big Sister, and proud of it. She still is.

Vignette: See Mommy carrying A Little Brother into the house, See Daddy carrying The Little Girl. See Daddy slip and fall in the mud in the front yard. See The Little Girl covered in mud with a puzzled look. See Daddy laugh. See The Little Girl laugh.

Two years later, Daddy graduated. He had a real job. Mommy and Daddy threw all their broken-down furniture over the balcony to be hauled off, packed up a couple of beds, a crib, a TV, The Little Girl and A Little Brother and moved. Omaha. Gateway to the west. Where The Little Girl still lives. With a Little Girl of her own.

Later, Mommy and Daddy moved. The Little Girl was older, and on her own. Then came summer and The Little Girl's birthday. It was a Wednesday. Walking through the garage at work, it was the first time they were separated on her birthday. Daddy cried . . .

Little Girls make you do that, but you wouldn't trade them for the world.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Vacation . . .

. . . more than usual.

I generally don't take more than a week at a time, but this year, I made an exception. Counting weekends, I arranged to have seventeen consecutive days off. And, I still have four to go.

Seven of those days were spent visiting #1 son in Texas. The balance hanging around home.

While in Texas, I did this:

. . . and this.

Of course, that's not all. Mrs. B and I did family stuff too. Mostly hang out, wander around the Dallas area, and have a good time with the hundreds of grandkids.

Well, maybe it wasn't hundreds.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nothing to see here . . .

. . . move along, move along.

That's because I'm on vacation. Doing absolutely nothing, except hanging out in Texas with Son #1 & family.

Besides, I'm still seriously bummed about the untimely death of my friend Charles Heath - or, as we called him, "The Chawls."

Maybe later . . . maybe not.