Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Vacation

I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought I lost it when I navigated away from my New Post page. I didn't realize it was saved as a draft. Idiot

So here it is finally ...

If you didn't know already, we try to keep a sense of humor around our house. Sometimes it's a sick sense of humor, but all the same, there is usually something to laugh at (or someone usually). Whether it be on tv or the computer or just someone in our daily lives, we are typically laughing at some point.

During the holidays (and you have to admit it) there is a certain amount of stress that we all have to deal with. There is shopping and gifts and parties and concerts and dinners and family and kids and old people and ... well, you get my drift.

But then you can have the quiet times too. You know those times when just you and your immediate family get to hang out. Maybe with the lights down low and just the tree shining in all its glory. We will always do this at least once during the season and we will always watch "Christmas Vacation" at least once. It gives us more chances to laugh at someone who definitely has it worse than us, but it also shows us that even with the stress of the holidays, the true meaning always come out in the end.

Here are a couple of clips that are my favorites. Enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Have you ever had one of those days when you find yourself thinking about some random food that you haven't eaten since like before you had a choice of what to eat?
(Did that make any sense at all?)

Anyway, today, for some reason, I started thinking about a big ol' pot of navy beans like my mom used to cook when I was a kid. She would have some ham bone or just chunks of country ham in a big pot full with beans and all of it just cooked to death. We would always add vinegar to our big bowls sitting at the supper table. I can smell it right now!

It was sounding so good to me, I had to tell BHE ...

She said, "Doesn't that sound special".

Sorry honey, I forgot.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

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.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Like my buddy Snoopy over here, I am doing the happy dance now that my shopping experience (or should I say mission) is finally over. My technique this year left a little to be desired, none the less it's finished.

I had this great idea the other day to get BHE and Snow White gift certificates to this day spa that advertises on tv. It is located on the other side of the world from me, but hey I've got mapquest and the internet to lead me there. The only bad thing is that it is somewhere near the newest mall around ... and this place is ginormous. I'm not used to the area and this place is as big as Atlantis.

Long story short, it took me 25 minutes to drive there, 25 minutes to drive around to try to find the place, and 25 minutes to drive back ... all during my lunch hour. Here's the kicker, I never could find it amongst the 15 million people and cars and stores and more urbania (I don't think that is a word, but I kind of like it) than I can stand anymore. I got so pissed off I just finally left.**Sigh**

Everything went much better this morning. I headed to Kroger first to pick up some lobster tails and some crab meat for our dinner tonight after our church candlelight service. BHE's mother and father and their respective spouses (they all get along after all these years) are coming and Snow White will be there too. She is singing Ave Maria at the service tonight and I have several scripture readings to perform for the service.

I found BHE a couple of things for her stocking (we're only doing stuffers this year) and I also picked up something that I hope will make her blogging and online experience a bit better. Snow White should benefit too, so I guess it is our family gift this year.

We are looking forward to a great Christmas Eve celebrating this wonderful season with good friends and family. I hope you all do the same.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crunch Time

Ok, here we go. It's Monday, three days before Christmas.

I still have to shop.

I have three projects at work that must be done before the end of the year.

Will we ever decorate the tree?

Why is it so damn cold here today?

I still have to shop (and I don't know what I will be shopping for).

I have clients calling me about these three projects that are due before the end of the year.

Why am I blogging when I have shopping and work and decorating and work and shopping to do?

Man, I need a smoke. Even Santa needed one around this time of year (at least sometime in the past based on this old ad I found).

No, I''m just kidding. Yes, I do have to do all these things, but hey, that's what I do. I love to procrastinate as much as possible for some reason. Then it's like I kick into overdrive and get 'er done. It's almost as if I need the adrenaline rush or something ... almost like a mission. It's amazing what manuevers have to be employed to make it happen, especially the shopping part. And it's really not shopping. It is buying. I usually make up mind at the last minute and then I will make the mad dash to the mall or something.

Arrive at mall. (with 2,000,564,838 other men)

Park at earliest convenience (lot is full, doesn't matter can walk faster without wife)

Make eye contact with no one, walk briskly and directly to store, avoiding any vendors at kiosks trying to give you free samples or demonstrations (although one time this really cute little girl caught me and put some stuff on my finger nail that made it smooth and shiny, I think Snow White was with me that time.)

Go in store through eye-watering and sinus attack- inducing perfume area. (Why is this? I gag every time. How can you stand all that stuff? What are trying to ...? Well, never mind.)

Immediatley thereafter, find gift.


Reverse track

Go back to work.

Total time: 15 minutes (at warp speed)

Maybe one more smoke.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Seventies Man

Way back before the dawn of time for some of you, I was an adolescent preteen growing up in a small mill town in Eastern Va. At the time, this place was the center of my universe. Anywhere else was just somewhere you just didn't want to be. That really has nothing to do with my post here, but that was the mentalilty when I lived there. It may still be that mentality for those who never left.

Little did I know how much of a different world was out there. Thank goodness for tv. It brought all of the beauty of the outside world to our little neck of the woods even if there were only three channels to choose from. At least there was something to watch back then.

At that age it was important to decorate your room with posters of heros or sports players or black light posters and everything else psychodelic held onto from a few years earlier.

However, being the male preteen that I was, along with just about every other boy I knew, there came the time to redecorate those posters with ones that, well , lets just say, ones that looked more toward a positive future. We were in lust and we didn't even know it. Like I said, thank goodness for tv. If there were none, I would never have been exposed (I almost typed sexposed) to these worldly beauties.

Here are the ones I had in my room.

NO! I don't still have them, but somehow found them on line.

Some you may remember them. Ahhh, the memories.

A friend of mine gave me the ever immortal poster of Farrah in the swimsuit. I think my mom bought the other two for me. What a great mom?

What posters did you have?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Lesson for the Kids

I know all you mothers will like this. (Did that sound wrong?)

Don't mess with mama.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two Seconds of Fame

I know some of you have requested seeing the film of our church Christmas concert. In lieu of that, I am providing this little tidbit, which is of much better quality.

Here is a brief history.

Snow white was contacted for an audition for a commercial. They were looking for NASCAR fans and members of a pit crew. Hey, I like racing and I have helped out a couple of guys at the local track in the past. Maybe I could go too. We asked the agent and she said "Why not?"

To make a long story short, I tried out for this commercial (my first by the way) and got cast as a principal actor. Snow white also got cast as an extra so we got to do something together, just as father and daughter. It was a great day. They fed us and I got to hang out with some others who were like real actor types. I got to meet Tony Stewart too.

You may have seen this, but I'm sure you didn't know it me you were looking at. I show up at the 0:24 mark, as Tony Stewart is lifting the barbell. I am directly behind him throwing my fists in the air.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Show Time

Here it is Monday afternoon already. Well, I say already, but actually the day is dragging by. It is like 73 degrees outside and these walls are closing in ever so slightly.

I wasn't sure whether or not to post about our concert last night, but since I put it out there, I figure I better follow up. I noticed BHE left me a comment on my post "Practice", requesting that the video be shown. I believe there were also prior requests that it be made available for public viewing. I'm not sure how to do it yet, so it may take awhile, if I think I can do it at all.

Today, I made a huge mistake. I brought the video camera into work to check out the show in third person. What was I thinking? I don't like seeing pictures of myself much less standing on a stage talking and trying to sing in front of people. I remember as a kid how weird my voice sounded to me on a tape recorder. It is even worse on video! Who the heck is that? Do I really sound that way? Why am I standing sideways? Why am I am I wearing a path in the floor as I walk from side to side? When did I get that fat and why am I wearing my pants like an old geezer? Do I really have that accent where it sounds like I am trying to cover up my accent?

Am I the only one who thinks this way or is it my own insecurity?

Prior to the performance, everyone was pretty pumped up and nervous, but in a great mood and excited about getting started. Overall, I think it went well and the choir sounded good and strong. Of course, there were a few miscues, but hey, we're not professionals here.

We had fun. That's the most important thing.

(But we're kinda glad it's over too.)

Friday, December 12, 2008


I know that I have mentioned that our Christmas concert at our little church in the country is coming up soon. In fact, it is this coming Sunday night. Boy, did that sneak up on us fast, just as Christmas will, and New Year's, then my birthday, then Snow Whites Birthday, then ... well you get it by now.

Where does the time go, and why does it go at what seems like warp speed the older I get. Maybe thats why old (I should say elderly since I am old to a vast majority anymore) people can't remember things as well. By the time you are that age, time is flying by so fast, you just can't keep up with it.

Ok, what was I talking about? Funny how I can get sidetracked as I type ... hands not keeping up brain.

Anyway, last night was our final practice for the overall show. I have to sing a solo in the opening choir song and have been working on it sporatically for a couple of weeks. I probably went through it maybe 15 times yesterday afternoon, making sure I had the timing down and could remember the lyrics without having to think about it. I was feeling pretty good.

I went to church about an hour or so prior to practice to finish setting up decorations, lights and such. Everything looks nice and it works well with the different songs and skits that we are doing. We have set up what we tried to make look like an outdoor scene with several Christmas trees. It looks pretty good for the limited space that we have.

Ok. Everythings ready. Music. Lights. Choir ... check.

Lets get started. The music begins. It's starts softly ... slowly it progresses in a tranquil stream of notes that make you feel as if you are part of the beautiful scene in front of you. I stand, centered in the middle, at the top of the pulpit, acting as if I am stringing lights on Christmas trees. The music slows and I turn to the audience to begin. I sing a couple of lines and then BOOM! My brain explodes and I forgot what day it is, where I am, and most certainly any words that were supposed to be coming out of my mouth in some unison with this music that seems to be foreign to me. I completley lost it. What the ...? How could this have happened? Man, what a loser.

At least I had my book with me so I could pick it back up. I don't have a recording of the debacle, but this gives you somewhat of a comparison:

The second time we went through it, we did much better. I have really believe that if we had warmed up or something, I wouldn't have screwed the pooch the first time. Well, at least that's what I'm saying.

Sunday? We'll see ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Boat Building

Some of you probably don't know that I have two identities. In the blog world I am known as "Cool Breeze", keeper of all that was ever cool and will ever be cool. In the real world, I am known as "The Surveyor", at least that is what BHE calls me anyway.

I wanted to share a little bit of what I do with the world and I couldn't think of a project to share with you until this one came to mind. This particular job lasted a good while for us and is probably one of the bigger ones we have worked on in our business tenure of the last 13 years.

The picture really doesn't do it justice. From the air, this building is shaped like a football. Both sides are curved and it is six stories high. There is also a building adjacent to this that was much too big to include in the picture. The James River is located behind the new building.

Below is a portion of an article that I found online describing the new building:

by Peter Galuszka

Rising just behind the World War I-era Victory Arch on the historic waterfront of Newport News, the building has a dramatic presence. Its curved, glass-enclosed angles mimic the lines of a very large ship. When the $58 million Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center (VASCIC) opens in July, nautical themes will truly come into play.

Advanced nautical themes, that is. Navy personnel, engineers from nearby Newport News Shipbuilding and researchers from 11 Virginia universities will get to work developing a complex system of radars and other electronics for the (CVN-X), the next generation of nuclear aircraft carrier whose construction is expected within a few years. The system will guide carrier strike aircraft to target, coordinate with other ships and identify airborne, surface and underwater threats. “The warfare system will be the future of all warfare systems for the next class of carrier,” says Irwin F. Edenzon, vice president for Technology Development & Carrier Fleet Support at Newport News Shipbuilding.

What did I do on the job you ask? We provide all the layout for building construction: Wall locations along with steel support columns and all foundation locations, all new site improvements, curbs and parking areas and storm water management facilities.The site covered approximately 6 acres with a tolerance level of 1/4 inch.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Ride Home

Ok, so we went to church Sunday morning as usual. It's a nice time to be with our church family during this Advent Season. Our little country church is decorated with wreaths and bows and it is the one place that is beginning to get me into the spirit of the holiday. We enjoy going each and every week and always feel more at peace just for being there that short time on Sunday morning.

We had to hang out a bit longer than usual in order to help move everything out of the pulpit area to decorate for the Chistmas show. It's one of the things I have to do. Remember it's a small church where everyone pitches in to get things done. It doesn't bother me. I like to help where I can.

Snow White drove separately this particular morning so she could go to the big city that afternoon for a vocal performance concert. So it was just me and BHE.

We only live less than ten minutes from church so it's typically a nice, relaxing ride home. We'll talk about the service, or the choir, or usually what's for lunch. This day was a bit different.

I'm driving about 58 in a 55 which should not be a problem for anyone on Sunday at 12:30, but I had this car ride right up on my bumper. I mean close Jack. She had to be less than 10 feet from me. I could hardly see her hood in the rear view mirror and she was close enough that I could clearly see that she was a woman and that there was a man in the passenger seat. I think he was wearing some oversized coat and a knit stocking cap. (I know this doesn't have anything to do with the story other than I told you they were close).

It bothered me a bit, but I knew I would be turning in about a mile or so. But she kept pressing it, so I finally blurted out, "I've got some a**hole riding my tail". To which BHE says "Oh, just like you do?"

What do think happened to Cool Breeze's blood pressure upon hearing this comment? But, I kept my cool. I said "Well not as close as her!"

BHE responds with "Yea right", (in that way that says "You dumb ass. Don't you know how many years I've been riding with you?").

I remained calm. I mean I kept my cool without saying anything in response to her comment that made my blood boil, but in the back of my mind, I knew was correct.

So I finally make the turn, hoping harmony on the ride home will return without this prick riding my tail anymore. But NO!! She turns too!!

I can't take it anymore.

To quote Clark Griswold, "I'm gonna burn a little dust here! Eat my rubber!". I punch it, quickly leaving the pursuer, flying around the next two tight turns on this little country road, tires squalling, testosterone flowing!!!

Then I hear, "COOL BREEZE!!! WHY DO YOU DO THAT?!?!?" At this point I am so pumped up, all I could get out was, "WHY DO YOU ... DO ... ANYTHING ... THAT ... YOU ... EVER ...?" It was all that I could muster without acting or looking like even more of a jerk.

The remaining mile home was silent and at the speed limit.

Why do I act like that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Big Weekend?

I hope everyone has a big weekend. If you decide to drink, don't let this happen to you.

It's Friday. Do you know what the kids are doing tonight?

Ahh, the memories.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Stuff

If you didn't know, I only blog at work. Is that bad? Whatever. I am the boss and I can do anything I want right? Well, at least that is what others seem to think anyway. The truth is that with the down turn in the economy, I seem to have extra time on my hands these days. My tasks now focus on making sure that the employees have chargeable hours and can get their forty.

Since I can now do whatever I want, I am leaving early today to go home and clean some deer meat and practice my songs before choir practice tonight.

Hence, the short post.

Good stuff coming tomorrow.

Til then ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

In case you didn't already know this, I am a huge fan of Charlie Brown. I should also say that I am therefore also a huge fan of Vince Guaraldi. He is the musician who wrote the songs for Charlie Brown. The "theme" song is called "Linus and Lucy".

In "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown", the show starts with a song called "Christmas Time is Here", which is sung by the kids in the show. For some reason, this song has always been the epitome of Christmas for me. When I hear it, all of my childhood Christmas memories come back to me.

I sing, along with my daughter Snow White, in our choir in our little country church in rural Virginia. We have been doing so for the last several years and it is great for some daddy/daughter time since we both have a passion for music; though she is the much better singer of the two of us.

Our church Christmas program has developed into more of a show and concert the last two years rather than a traditional cantata or play. Last year I sang "The Christmas Song" (you know, 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ...'). I was able (somehow with a miracle from God) to make it through to the end without falling on may face.

This year I have volunteered to sing "Christmas Time is Here". Man I hope I can pull it off.

Here is a clip from the show. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Coonass - Part 1

Coonass, or Coon-ass, is an epithet used in reference to a person of Cajun ethnicity.

Although some Cajuns use the word in regard to themselves, other Cajuns view the term as an ethnic slur against the Cajun people, especially when used by non-Cajuns. Socioeconomic factors appear to influence how Cajuns are likely to view the term: working-class Cajuns tend to regard the word "coonass" as a badge of ethnic pride; whereas middle- and upper-class Cajuns are more likely to regard the term as insulting or degrading, even when used by fellow Cajuns in reference to themselves.[1] (In Sociolinguistics, this type of behavior is termed covert prestige.)

Despite an effort by Cajun activists to stamp out the term, it can be found on T-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers throughout Acadiana, the 22-parish Cajun homeland in south Louisiana.[1]

Way back in 1984, I was attending NC State while BHE was at JMU, a mere 5 hours away in my Cutlass with no heat other than the bottle of Jack Daniels laying in the seat next to me. My cousin also attended JMU that year and it was nice to be able to see her when I got to visit. My brother had attended the University several years earlier and I had another cousin there before, so I was familiar with the campus.

During spring break that year my cousin opted for Va Beach where she met some dude in the navy who was stationed in Norfolk at the time. We couldn't believe that she would ever fall for some guy in the Navy, who had a motorcycle and whom no one had ever seen before. But she did anyway. BHE said he was a good guy and that we would get along great. I was skeptical about this guy. Apparently, he had spend quite a bit of time in the brig while in the service. What kind of loser was he going to be?

I met him some weeks later on one of my treks to Harrisonburg. He looked normal. Then I heard him say something. "WTF?" Then he said something to me. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights because I had no idea what he said. I think I came out with something clever like "Huh?"

That's when I found out this illiterate sounding freak was from Louisiana. He said he was a Coonass. "What the hell does that mean?", I said.

We've been friends ever since.

He and my cousin ended up getting married a few years later and I had to film the wedding. It was a time in my life when I was always asked to film weddings for some reason. I'm not sure why and I think I did like 8 one year, but I digress.

We've done a lot together through the years from concerts to vacations to hunting and to racing. In Part 2, I'll hit on some highlights about different times and some different people and the trip I finally took to Cajun country this past spring.

Til then ...

Monday, December 1, 2008


Have you ever had one of those days when there were so many things that you wanted to write about and just can't seem to get them down? This is that day for me. I'm new to this whole blogger thing and now that I am starting to write down some of my thoughts, they are starting to pile up in my brain. Maybe it's good to let some thoughts out, maybe it will make room for new material. Who knows?

Our weekend was great and I would love to write about it, but how do you condense 4 days into a few words? Well, maybe I can: food, family, food, football, hunting, nap.
That's close enough.

The phone is ringing at work today, and that is a good thing this time of year (not to mention having it ring at all these days is a good thing). Hopefully, we can weather this storm as long as it may last. We are thankful for the year we have had because I know many who have not had such a great one.

I look forward to putting down some real thoughts and memories pretty soon. I've got some people in my life and some old stories that really need to described and archived for posterity. Here are some things that I will writing about in the future:

The Coon Ass

Painting the water tower

The Camaro



College Days (if I can remember those foggy days)

Oh, and how could I forget about Christmas. (More Charlie Brown memories and Rudolph of course)

Til then ...