Archive for December, 2007

2007 . . . . 2008

December 31, 2007

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. I consider a successful New Year’s Eve one when I’m asleep way before the new year arrives.

Traditionally, New Year’s is a time some make New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a big fan of those either. The way I think, if you need to resolve something, do it right away–don’t wait until January 1st.

However, in light of the common practice of resolutions, I suppose it’s appropriate to think about changes. Do you have a new leaf to turn over this year? Is there something special that you want to achieve? What changes are you ready to make in the new year?

Whatever changes you are planning, I wish you success.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2007

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

A Snowy Christmas Eve

December 24, 2007

After a day of shopping, we finished at Wal-Mart. The weather was nice when we went in, but a blizzard was brewing when we left. The temperature dropped more than 10 degrees and the snow was blowing horizontally. It was a good storm. It’s the first really “White Christmas” that I’ve had.

The picture above was what the car looked like when we got home.

May your Christmas be merry!

Winter Solstice

December 22, 2007

Last night was the longest night of the year. The winter solstice occurred at 06:08 UTC. Since I’m in Utah with Julie’s family, solstice for us was last night just after 11:00 p.m., appropriately while we slept. In Los Angeles, the day was only 9 hours 53 minutes.

I enjoy the daylight. I’m a morning person. I prefer awaking early and going to bed early. I’m not sure if I’m healthy and wise because of it and I’m sure that I’m not wealthy, but I’ve never had a problem with the morning. I’m glad that the daylight hours will now be lengthening. I like having daylight after work. So bring on the sunshine!

Flashlight Day, Kind of

December 21, 2007

Joshua Lionel Cowen, the creator of Lionel Trains, invented the flashlight. In 1898, Cowen attached small canisters containing batteries and light bulbs to a flower pot for the purpose of illuminating the plant. The invention was a flop and Cowen gave the invention to Conrad Hubert. Hubert got rid of the flower pot, kept the lights, and called it the Eveready Flashlight. It made Hubert a multi-millionaire. Eveready is now Energizer.

Do we have ideas that we might consider to be flops that only need a little bit of reworking to lead to success?

Do we have parts of our lives that with only a little simplification will illuminate us, bring clarity to what we should do and who we can become?

Goodbye, Journeyman

December 20, 2007

Last night, NBC aired the last episode of Journeyman, a series about a man (Dan) who travels back in time to help change people’s lives for the better. Dan has no control over when or where he goes or when he returns to his life in the present. When he journeys back in time, he needs to figure out what he needs to do. Typically, he journeys into several times of the person’s life, fine-tuning the changes.

This has been an excellent, thought-provoking show. Each episode was well done and always left me wanting to come back for more. It’s too bad that NBC wasn’t more patient with this series.

I wrote earlier about how small, seemingly insignificant decisions might have large consequences in our lives. Journeyman used this idea and showed the impact of changing one or two small things would change the future.

We don’t have the ability to journey through time to change things for the better.  That is the realm of fiction.  However, perhaps we need to more closely consider our present actions and how they will effect the future.  Will what we do today lead to what we want tomorrow?  Are we living our lives only like actors or are we actively writing the script for our futures?  We can’t change the past, but we will change the future by what we do today.

Wright Brothers Day

December 17, 2007

By Act of Congress, today is Wright Brothers Day, the anniversary of the first flight of a heavier-than-air craft. The Wright Brothers flew the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The flight only lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet, just a few feet farther than the wing span of a 737.

Before the Wright Brothers’ achievement, many thought that mechanically powered flight was impossible. Like in the wake of so many other firsts, once the initial event takes place, progress accelerates. The initial flight was followed by other inventor/pilots achievements and the world became a much smaller place.

Goodnight Moon

December 14, 2007

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the last time men were on the Moon. The Apollo 17 mission was launched on December 7, 1972, landed on the Moon on December 11th, and left the Moon December 14th, after 75 hours on the Moon’s surface. The crew returned to Earth on December 19th. Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt collected 111 kilograms of rock samples while Ronald Evans orbited overhead. The 111 kilograms comprised about 30 percent of all the Moon rocks returned by all the Apollo missions.

While almost anyone can tell you that Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon, few know that Gene Cernan was the last.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

December 14, 2007

Here is our Christmas tree for 2007. It’s a nice tree, but has a little bit of a back story.

 

We have had a family tradition of going to the rail yard in Los Angeles to the Christmas tree auction for our annual Christmas trees. We haven’t done it every year, but more often than not, that is where we get our trees. Wendy and I decided to make a date of it for Tuesday–a visit to the Griffith Observatory, a nice dinner, and then the auction. At lunchtime, I drove to the lot where the auction was last year, just to be sure that it was in the same place. Nope, no trees. I called Wendy and asked her to check the Internet for the new location. No location. After 40 years in business, no auction this year. So it was Plan B: Target was the first stop and we brought the first tree we saw. And since this year it is only Wendy and me at home, the tree just happens to be the largest tree we may have ever had. It’s at least 7 feet tall and about 6 feet wide across the bottom. And it’s heavy.  And a lot wider than the photo would indicate.

Story 2.  When we got the tree home, I could get the stand on straight.  Whatever I did, the tree was leaning too far one way or the other.  When, while I was working on the floor, under the tree, I got hit with a sudden, massive dizzy spell.  I had to stop and go to bed.  When I tried the next night, the same thing happened.  I have no idea why.  I’ve never had a reaction to trees before and I hope that I never do.  I took the tree outside and hosed it off.

Story 3.  When trying to set the tree up, the spike in the bottom of the stand broke off in the tree.  I really like the stand; it’s big, wide and heavy.  And it has a big water holder.  But without a spike, the tree was just pivoting inside the stand.  That’s one reason why I couldn’t get it to stand straight.  I did figure a good work around.  I screwed 4 lag bolt/screws into the base of the tree.  Now it can’t wobble.

And Story 4.  The main reason I couldn’t get the stand on straight is because the  tree’s trunk isn’t straight.  About 2 feet up, the trunk cruves and bends.  So the stand was straight on the bottom, but not on the rest of the tree.

So the long story is—we have a very nice, large tree in the living room.  And it is almost standing straight.

 

 

Poinsettia Day

December 12, 2007

Today is National Poinsettia Day.

While serving as the first U. S. Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett saw the bright red blooms of the flowers in southern Mexico. He sent some plants to his home in South Carolina, where he had greenhouses. He began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens. The flower probably picked up its common name by 1836. Poinsett also served as a Congressman.  He died on December 12, 1851, so Poinsett and his poinsettia are honored today by an act of Congress.

We decorate for Christmas with several poinsettias and enjoy them. I do have some anti-poinsettia memories, however. When we lived in Los Angeles, we had an ancient poinsettia stump on the south side of the house. Every year, it would send up tall shoots, higher than the roof line. While the flowers looked nice, when the winds blew, the shoots would bang against the rain gutters and make a lot of racket. So every year, I would have to cut and fill several trash barrels’ full of poinsettia shoots. It was a lot of work.