Chuck's  2005 Ramblings...

Current  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000
Colo Vacation 11    Colo Adventure 04/05    Our Cruise 03    Myrtle Beach 02   Egypt 02

  spider Jagow's Astronomy Page spider

10:18:08 0001Failed to execute script: Http Status Code = 502


Guess I better just plain update this page and not worry about my lazy ass excuses...

Halloween found Cameron being dressed up like a Ninja, as in Ninja Turtles.  I wonder if Michael remembers playing with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  All I know is that their little damn weapons accessories still hurt when you step on them in the dark!  Halloween went off with out a hitch, Karen handed out candy, The Dork and Cameron went around and collected candy and I put my 12" telescope out at the end of the driveway and made every kid who received candy get a real treat by looking at Mars.  The view was such that minor surface details could be seen.  I gave a little speech about how close the planet was and that it would be many years before it would again be this close.  Almost every adult looked through the scope as well. 


Cameron the fearsome N I N J A !

The candy haul is surveyed.

I spent Halloween in Coinjock North Carolina for the fall East Coast Star Party we had clear-cold skies.  I took delivery of my telescope pier and a few other goodies I had been saving for.  Construction of the observatory commenced upon returning from Coinjock and was nearly complete by turkey-day.  Visit  Rott'n Paws Observatory for commentary and images of the observatory construction project.

Once Halloween was all over then our sights were upon Thanksgiving.  Once again Brian provided a record breaking size turkey for the occasion.  It was too big for any of Karen's pans, so she had to borrow one that the bird would fit in.  The bird cooked, we munched on finger foods and snacks and watched the BRONCOS WIN a football game on TV!  It doesn't get much better than that!

The main table nice and neat.

The bird is done!

John likes the bird and fixings!

Amanda, Brianna & Lauren enjoy the feast as well.

Brian watching that Mike doesn't steal his turkey!

Barbara has a nice plate of her own.

Michael digging for more turkey!

It seemed that almost as soon as we were cleaned up from turkey day, Christmas was upon us.  This year's best news was that my mom is recovering well from her chemo treatments and is actually growing new hair on her head, a trick I wish I could do.

This year instead of each family buying tons of gifts for everyone in each family, a Secret-Santa scheme was incorporated.  During the wind down of the Thanksgiving get-together everyone's name was written down and placed into a hat.  Each person then drew a name from the hat to provide a gift for.  Then on Christmas Eve we gathered at Brian's house and exchanged the Secret-Santa gifts.

Frank received a set of angels.

The kids all tore into their gifts!

Brianna has hers!

Raegan awaits hers patiently.

Michael is eyeing Lauren's doll.

Sarah liked her cook book.

Katrina is hoping for some more material for her skivvies!

John looks for more toys upstairs.

Katrina, there are no presents up there!

Christmas morning Michael and his family came over and Karen cooked a big Linguica and French Toast breakfast for everyone.  Once breakfast was over we opened all of our presents which were too numerous to list this time.  However it seems everyone was pretty happy with their haul in general.

Santa left Cameron a new electric powered scooter!

The Jagow Christmas Tree!

5:30 AM Christmas Morning.  You want what?

The Rottweilers are waiting patiently for something.

Karen cooking.

Michael just relaxing.

Sabrina licking water from her cup.

Merry Christmas Katrina!

Raegan Cameron and Sabrina all looking away from the camera at once!

Raegan playing with the Hot Wheels.

Cameron on his new scooter.

Karen gave me something to hang in the Observatory.

My present for the observatory.

Thus ends another year for the Jagow family.  Let us all hope for a good year in 2006.


The hurricane season is a month from closing and there have been so many that the name list was exhausted just before the last storm.  Storm Alpha met up with the remnants of Wilma, the largest and strongest storm ever recorded, and quickly headed out to the Northeastern Atlantic after decimating the Yucatan Peninsula and drowning South Florida.  The next storm is Beta, and looks like it will stay down around Nicaragua and give those folks some rain and wind.  So far our area has been very lucky and has not been seriously threatened this year, however the hurricane season does not end until the end of November.

Everyone at home is doing well, my mother seems to have chased her Cancer into remission - Hallelujah!  Those little cancer buggies probably couldn't keep up with her and decided, with the help of the chemo drugs, to go find someone else to pick on.  It seems the little buggers have now invaded Karen's father Frank.  He started his chemo treatments about a week ago just before his 70th birthday.  We figured he would lose his hair so we bought him a gag hat with long flowing gray hair sewed to the back of the cap.  It was the biggest hoot and he loves it.  This week Frank's hair is just flying off of his head.  I can't wait until his hair is gone so I can tease him about having less than I.

This weekend is our Semiannual East Coast Star Party down in Coinjock North Carolina, it is about 60 miles from home and has very dark skies.  It looks like we are going to have some decent weather this fall and that it won't be as frosty as the Spring event was. 

From the left, 12" Orion Dobsonian, 10 Meade Cassegrain and the 60mm Solar scope 

All three of our main scopes will be heading down there.  I am especially looking forward to it this fall as I ordered a pier to mount the 10" telescope inside a roll-off roof observatory I have planned for the back yard.  I managed to squeak it by our homeowner's association, which was a feat greater than actually building it as they are notorious for being the most restrictive homeowner's association in the area.  I broke ground for the hole that must be dug for the 12" diameter pier footing made of cement.  Karen and the Dork would have nothing of helping me dig the required 24" wide by 48" deep hole.  It's a good thing that little (and big) boys like playing in the dirt.  As Cameron was easy to enlist in the excavating project.

Ground breaking for the Goat Lick Observatory.

Cameron loading up the dump truck.

This thing is getting deeper!

Holy Cow!  How do I get out?

The 12"x48" pier footing casement.

Ready for cement.

After I pick up my pier at the East Coast Star Party I can fill the big tube with cement.  I had to wait for the pier because I have to make a plywood jig to hold the 1/2"x10" J bolts so that they can be set in the cement.  Can't be guessing about hole patterns, so I must wait until I have the pier to drill the jig.  I hope to pour the cement Monday and let it set until the weekend when I will start building the observatory.

The dogs are taking their toll on the backyard with their continual running in racetrack fashion around the grandkid's play set.  I had to move the picnic table over to interrupt their "lanes" of travel.  I also put down a bunch of grass seed, maybe it will take hold and grow.  We try to take them to the park every couple of days so they can do their running and playing up there. 

Bronco, Mollie and Ninya running the fence at the Doggy Park.

Busted!  The chowder heads  on the couch!
(Bronco is on the left and Ninya is on the right)

Never mind!, Its not Karen, we can go back to sleep

And a parting shot of my bride hiding behind the Orion 12" telescope!



Now that fall has fallen, I guess I better update this page.  The flurry of birthdays and hurricanes are finally over for now.  Karen still has her birthday at the end of November and that is also the official end of the hurricane season.

Cameron is growing as are his cousins Raegan and Sabrina while their parents struggle to figure out ways to keep the little tykes in line.  It is every parent's justification hearing their child persuading their child the same as they had done.

Bronco has graduated from doggy-school and is doing quite well.  His continual harassment of Mollie in hopes that she would play took us on a search for a playmate for him.  We concluded our search at the home of a lady who does dog-therapy.  She takes dogs into hospitals and rest homes for therapeutic treatments for folks. She acquired a third Rottweiler and then found that her male did not get along with the new addition.  So we rescued Ninya and brought her home.  Her's is a sad tale, she was born last November at a large breeder's kennel in Northern Virginia.  She was born with an affliction called "Cherry-Eye".  No doubt the result of a close knit breeding stock.  The Cherry-Eye is actually an inflamed lower tear duct that looks kind of yucky.  The breeders had her spayed as soon as they could so the "flaw" would not be passed down.  The poor young girl spent nine and a half months at the kennel before the therapist found her and took her home.  We gave the lady a pittance for her and took her home to meet Bronco and Mollie.  When we got home it was "love" at first sight, Bronco and her started playing and socializing like they were long lost friends.  Next came the first bath I believe Ninya has ever had.  And seeing how I was soaked already, Mollie enjoyed a bath also.  Head and Shoulders does wonders for their coats.  A trip to the vet gave her a clean bill of health and outlined the potential solutions to Ninya's Cherry eye condition.  We have found that Bronco outweighs Ninya by only a few pounds and he is two months her junior.  He weighed 76 lbs. and Ninya weighed 72 lbs.  He is also a couple inches taller.  So for a week now we have been getting used to how Rottweiler puppies "play".  If you didn't know they were playing, you would think they were fighting.  They bite, they howl, they growl and the knock each other down.  Cameron wants to play with them but he doesn't have the teeth for it yet!  We have quite a few Tug-O-War style toys, which can occupy them for quite some time.

Ninya must not have had much human handling as she is like an affection sponge.  If she is awake and not playing with Bronco, she is at your feet wanting attention.  She is also rather "uneducated".  She is slowly learning some simple things.  Not chasing cats is paramount, Karen is to enroll her in puppy school soon.  Here are some current pet pictures.

Ninya, our newest addition.

Toug-O-War is a favorite pastime.
Bronco tries to bring Ninya back on the carpet.

Bronco and Ninya resting after festivities.

The down size to these beasts, feeding them...

Scout taking a break from rat hunting on Karen's pillow.
Isn't Karen allergic to cats?

y e s...

Tessa is really   s t r e t c h i n g   those stripes out!

Old Mollie just lays around watching everyone else.

Bronco eventually will not fit in "his" chair anymore.


It has been over a month and many events have transpired and I have over a hundred new pictures to share.  The first event was Gun Day.  My friend Dick Celley was set to retire at the end of July, and he has always said he wanted to shoot my guns before he retired.  So I invited him and a couple of our colleagues, Chip and Nayda, to an outdoor gun range out in the Southeastern section of Virginia Beach.  I brought my AR-15 assault rifle, .357 magnum rifle and my 45-70 buffalo rifle.  Handguns included a Browning 9mm on loan from Bill Campbell, a Ruger .22 target pistol, a Ruger .357 magnum revolver, a full size Kimber .45 semi-auto pistol, a compact .45 semi-auto pistol (my conceal carry gun) and last but not least, my Desert Eagle .357 magnum semi-auto pistol.  The following are proof that Dick has actually shot large caliber weapons.  Everyone enjoyed the day, at first it was overcast and was looking like rain, but around noon the clouds cleared.  We all met at a Pungo hot spot, Monk's, for lunch at Dick's expense before proceeding to the range.  Once at the range we went through some basic gun safety and I explained on how to sight the guns and basic operation.  It started with me loading each clip or magazine for everyone and then close supervision.  Soon they were loading their own and having a good time.  Overall we went through twenty rounds of 45-70 for the buffalo gun, three hundred .22 rim fire rounds, two hundred rounds of .45 auto, two hundred .357 magnum rounds, two hundred .223 rounds and fifty rounds of 9mm ammo.  Dick shot every gun at least once and he really enjoyed the .223 caliber AR-15 assault rifle.  I could never explain to him why I "needed" an AR-15, now he understands.  It is a very easy shooting gun and very pleasant.  Just because you have an assault rifle doesn't mean you are planning a coup...

Most of the arsenal.

Nayda is rearing to go!

Dick takes his turn with the .357 magnum Desert Eagle.

Nayda blasts away with the Desert Eagle .357 magnum.

Dick shoots an AR-15 Assault rifle.

Chip feels the wrath of the 45-70 buffalo gun.

I get a couple rounds off also.

Later on in July Karen's parents enjoyed their fifty first wedding anniversary.  We all went out to dinner at the Free Mason Abbey which used to be a real abbey many years ago and is now a local restaurant.  After the meal we returned to our house and enjoyed cake and ice cream for all.  The following images were taken during the cake feasting.

Fifty one years of wedded bliss!

Who are you calling a Dork?

Cameron awaits his cake while Laurie and John enjoy theirs.

Frank and Carol's friends Jim and Elaine.

Carol smiles between bites as Brianna loads up!

Barbara and Amanda watch TV as Lauren has cake.

Karen the champion cake slicer!

Cheryl and Lauren enjoying CAKE!

Barbara & Sarah finally get some cake while Bronco samples the Dork's

Brianna having more cake.

David and his daughter Sarah waiting.

Almost as soon as Gun Day was over, it was time to bid my good friend Dick farewell on his retirement after 35 years of service to the US Navy.  Dick only spent six years with the government before he retired, but he is the poster-kid for saving money for retirement.  Dick has diligently saved and invested wisely and now can have an enjoyable retirement.  Dick served in the US Navy as a Data Systems technician during the Vietnam era. In the late seventies he then went to work as a defense contractor up until his joining the government in 1999.  I wish Dick the best and hope does well.  Yes Dick, I owe you a dinner!

I am retired!  And your not!

Dick's cake, it was sooo goood and HUGE!

Dick and friends.

Dick explains the ills of creeping republicanism to Frank Severnce

Chip and Will holding up the pole!

Nayda and her boyfriend.

Chip, Chuck and Will doing what comes natural..

Dickie always gets some chickie to sit on his lap!

When it came time for Cameron's birthday the first part of August Karen and I were relieved to find out that the Dork was planning on having it at a local McDonald's restaurant.  I was not looking forward to a drove of wound up tykes on cake and sugar spinning through the house.  I was most worried about all of the rain we had been receiving and having all those little kids tracking mud and grass all over as well as keeping Bronco from using one or two as personal chew toys.  The McDonald's shindig was perfect.  They had an inside playground and plenty of room.  Karen and I used to host Michael and Cheryl's birthdays at McDonald's when they were little.  The only thing that has changed is how much they cost!  In attendance were Cameron, Michael and Katrina's two girls Raegan and  Sabrina, David and Laurie with John and Sarah, Frank and Carol, Karen and I, Cheryl's friend Vicki with her four Devin, Kaden, Kayla and Christian, Cheryl's friend Kristy with her daughter and last but not least Cameron's best friends Gauge and Skyler along with their parents Noah and Tiffany. 

Cameron and his best friend Gauge.

Michael, Katrina and Sabrina.

Cameron and John.

Kaden, Grammy, Beanie Baby, Sarah and Great Nana.

Kayla, Kaden's Sister.

Devin waiting patiently.

Skyler, Cameron and Gauge.

Raegan likes the tubes!

The boys are plotting something!

Even big kids like the tubes!

Cameron's grandma Dana provided the Spiderman cake!

Devin, Dave, John and Kayla enjoying their burgers.

Sara and the Dork!

Tiffany and Noah keeping a watchful eye out.

Michael, Katrina, Sabrina and the Dork's best side.

Frank "enjoying" the great grandkids...

Lunch Time!

I used to really like these parties when I was little!

Grandmother Dana snapping pictures.

Raegan waiting for her burger.

Cameron gets ready to blow out his four candles.

Guess how many pieces of cake Frank is hiding?

Cameron and Gauge getting ready to open the presents.

What did you get?

The Dork, Vicki & baby Christian and Kristi.

Three guilty of something.

Katrina and Michael chose to have Sabrina and Raegan's birthday party at their home.  It was a nice day so they had a piñata filled with candy and trinkets for all of the kids.  The trailer was full for sure with all of the Wells clan and several other friends in attendance.  I brought over a bunch of folding chairs for everyone.  Brian and Barbara had donated their old couch and chair when they bought new furniture so it was not as barren as when they first moved in.

The piñata awaiting it's inevitable beating. 

Raegan gets the first whack in!

Cameron tries his swing!

A big hit is delivered!

Anthony's turn!

Kayla smacking the Cat!

Come on Brianna, whack it!

Even after Lauren's devastating blow, the candy held firm.

Ultimately, Daddy had to make the killer blow to free the candy.

Let's get the candy now!

Oh boy!  A whistle!

The kids played on the playset Brian and Barbara brought over.

A very rare instance, Raegan smiling and holding still!

See my new Bike!

This sucker is good!

Kissing Cousins!

Laurie, John and Carol

Time for the candles to get blown out!

MY birthday suit.

Daddy loves the cake too!

A new dress for Sabrina.

Wow!  More cake!

Yup, cake.  I like cake.

Birthday girl Raegan enjoying her cake.

Cameron, Dork and Page.

Little John where is your cake?

Sabrina opens her gifts.

Raegan opening her gifts.

New clothes!  I have to try them on NOW!

This birthday thing is fun!

See what I got?

Frank waiting for cake.

Good job Mom, a very good party!

Before the birthdays and other events, Brian's neighbor's again held a massive block party for the fourth of July.  There was food and beer and more food and more beer than you could shake a stick at.  It was a typical hot, humid Virginia summer day.  Despite the stickiness a good time was had by all.

David with his Mom and Dad enjoying the feast!

Yours Truly enjoying the food and drink.

David's daughter Sarah with the Dork stuffing her face in the background.

During the month before my friend Dick retired, we began pulling little practical jokes on him.  Like scotch taping everything on his desk down.  Taking the rollers off of his chair and then making him go on a "treasure hunt" looking for them.  The best thing we did was to reconfigure his cubicle somewhat.

Dick's reconfigured cube!

Now dick managed to "get-back" in his own way at all of us.  He orchestrated swapping Chip and Nayda's cube contents completely.  Including pictures on their walls and everything.  While I was on travel for a week "they" duplicated hundred of little pictures of Dick and taped them everywhere in my cube.  It will be years before I find all of them.

Bronco at four months, NOT chewing the shoes!

During the course of the summer the Dork actually found a new friend!  His name is Torraine and he is a professional basketball star in the United Kingdom.  He plays for the Dublin team "Sea of Stars" and has since flown back to begin his fall season.  He graduated from Great Bridge high school earned a degree playing ball for University of Virginia.  He has since earned two Masters degrees one in business and another in sports medicine. When I first met him I was unsure if should I call this giant Sir or would Torraine be OK.  The "kid" is big, he is just over six foot five in height. There is already plans for the Dork to venture to the land of leprechauns and cook him a traditional Thanksgiving diner.  

Torraine and Cheryl.

At least he is big enough to keep the Dork in line!

The last Rambling detailed my disposition of the four tons of decorative rock that was spread about the front and sides of the house.  The following images depict the fruit of mine and Karen's labor in trying to tidy up our yard.

This is a twig removed from a lilac bush near my Grandma Helen's grave in Colorado,
it is growing pretty well despite being attacked by insects and the Virginia climate.

Karen and her flowers.

They have really dressed up the place very nicely.

The next few images are of us and our telescopes.  The solar scope is Karen's Mother's Day present when i returned from California in the spring time.

Adjusting my guide scope at the BBAA picnic.

Karen observing the sun with her scope.

This is me, Bronco at about four months old and my main scope.

During the summer Karen's brother David had his daughter Sarah visit for a couple of months.  She is fifteen and is enjoying her pre-car years.  Hopefully she will come back and visit at Christmas time.

Sarah and Beanie Baby, AKA Sabrina, Michael & Katrina's daughter.

The boys across the street decided to set up a lemonade stand one hot and humid afternoon and Cheryl and Cameron were their first customers.  Grammie and I were close behind.

Skyler's first business venture!

This last image shows how kids always like McDonald's birthday parties.  This image is from the fall of 1984 after we moved to Bremerton Washington upon my transfer from the USS Baltimore, SSN-704, to the Trident Training Facility.

Cheryl & Michael's 4th & 5th birthday party at McDonald's!
Courtney, Christina, Michael, Brian, Denny and the DORK!

It is nearly the end of summer and I sure hope the weather turns better soon.  The weather has been atrocious with rain and storms dominating.  In fact we have already had ten named storms and the most active period of the hurricane season has not even started yet.  I am hoping to attend a star-party in West Virginia over Labor Day weekend.


My weekend started on Friday with a 4 ton load of decorative rock being unloaded in our driveway. In 1994 we lined the previous owner's flower beds with 6"x6"x8' landscaping timbers with the intention of filling the area with beauty bark chips. This area consists of a stretch about 4'x22' alongside the driveway and another area the width of the front of the house about nine feet deep. And another small strip on the far side about 2'x 6'. In 1994 we filled the area with beauty bark, I hauled load after load in the back of my little red Honda Accord. I laid down a big thick sheet of plastic tarp and had the local builder/hardware store load me up. It was a long weekend and I made a dozen trips or so hauling and spreading. It looked OK, smelled pretty bad, I dislike beauty bark because of the smell. 

Jumping forward eleven years, all of the beauty bark has been gone for years and I was tired of cutting down the weeds and grass that grew in the area so I laid down a heavy coating of weed block sheet, kind of like tar paper, and then waited for my rocks to arrive. I calculated the whole thing out with my trusty tape measure and calculator. I came up with needing 185,000 cubic inches of rock. That equated to four cubic yards. Next I started looking for decorative rocks at the various masonry/landscaping facilities.  I found several and visited them to look at their rocks.  I settled on a place only a few miles from our house and snagged a couple stones to take home for Karen to look at.  I let her choose which one she liked before telling her the cost.  Luckily she chose the cheaper one.  The place where we bought the rocks from told us that one cubic yard was equal to one ton so we ordered four tons delivered on Friday morning for $260. As I am concluding the transaction I had the thought "I have never paid so much for a damn back-ache in my life".

I had the rocks dumped on the driveway at the corner of the two largest areas to be filled.  I used a spade shovel and our garden cart to move the rocks and fill the areas.  I would haul a few loads and then rest a little while ensuring to drink a a bunch of fluids along the way.  The rocks were delivered around 9:30 and I was done filling the flowerbed areas by about three in the afternoon.

Four tons of rock!

Driveway flowerbed with new rocks.

Front bed with rocks.

Left side flowerbed with rocks.

Grandma Helen's Lilac Bush.

Left front of house.

Right front of house.

Last Sunday was Father's day and Karen wanted to throw a big Shin-Dig at our house in celebration, mainly because her other brother David and his family were arriving around noon from their move from California.  Hot dogs and hamburgers were the order of the day.  I had just purchased a new three burner gas grill from Sears and spent most of Saturday evening with my bride assembling it.  It seemed like everyone in the area showed up, the official attendance roster: Karen and I, The Dork and Cameron, Michael and his fiancé Katrina with their two girls Raegan and Sabrina, Frank and Carol along with two of their friends Jimmy and Elaine, David and Lori with their two kids Sarah and John, Brian and Barbara with their three girls Amanda, Loren and Brianna.  

Lots of food was consumed, nothing was broken and nobody went to jail, so all in all it was a good get together.

Michael and Cheryl.

The Dork.







Frank, Sarah and Amanda.

Elaine, Carol and my bride


Katrina, Raegan, Mike and Cameron.

Carol and Francis.

Bronco hoping against all odds for a hamburger.

Cameron giving his cousin Raegan a ride.

Thanks for the ride.

Time for Bronco's nap.


I just returned from a two week long fix-it adventure in San Diego on the USS Tarawa, LHA-1.  They had a few items they were having problems getting fixed so we were asked to come out and help.  Also we performed the install part of an equipment transfer from LHA-3 which is to be decommissioned later this year.  It was a busy two week period with long hours on the ship and coming back to the hotel for food and sleep just to get back at it the next day.  I am thinking I am starting to get too old for that kind of work on the ships all the time.

Yesterday we found out that Michael and Katrina are officially engaged for a potential winter time wedding.  It is their second marriage each so maybe now that their "Starter Marriage" is over they can have a keeper now.  Hey, Karen and I are still on our "Starter-Marriage"...   27 years...

Cut the lawns after being gone, nothing pretty, just a quick cut so the neighbor's will be appeased, I will do a careful job next weekend.  After all, I have to give Frank something to bitch about.

Last night a member of our astronomy group hosted a summer picnic and star party in his backyard.  The food was good, the camaraderie was good, the skies were horrible.  High thin clouds, hot and hazy.  Not very good for star gazing.  Karen went with me and enjoyed it also.

Bronco has grown, when I came home I was greeted with teeth like a shark.  In that there were two rows of fangs on both the top and bottom.  The "baby-fangs" were so loose I could wiggle them very easily but Bronco thought I was playing and would not let me get a good hold to yank them out.  So I found his chew-sock, a couple of old socks tied together, and started playing tug-o-war.  Soon I had about a half dozen teeth all over the front room rug.  We are saving them in a baggie just in case Karen's father needs some extra teeth for his new dentures.

Bronco's Baby Teeth   or   Franks New Dentures



I guess I have been overly lazy or forgetful, more than likely both, as I have been quite reticent concerning this page.  Now that it has been well over a month since I last updated, I will attempt to bring it back up to date, my thoughts may not be chronologically correct, but heck, the page is named Ramblings...

Bronco is growing, he has doubled his weight since acquisition, he is over 36 pounds and eats everything in sight.  Some things quicker than others, if Molly's food bowl is down he will dive directly into it and gorge.  He really likes Molly's food, some form of Kibbles & Bits, we have attempted to find a puppy food for him that he likes as much.  So far he has come to like some Purina concoction we get from a pet store in big plastic jugs.  In fact today is dog food day for both.  To date, Bronco has not destroyed anything of real value, a couple of Cameron's toys have been enhanced with some new punctures and lacerations, no shoes or furniture have been the target of those needle teeth.  Bronco spends his hours when we are away, in a rather large dog cage in front of our safe.  It is placed there so I can keep an eye on him through our web cam.  He usually spends his time sleeping inverted and with his legs spread as though he has been dissected.  In fact right now as I forge ahead upon this update, he is snoozing in the cage waiting for me to get up.  He is doing very well in his housebreaking and has had only minor "accidents".  His outdoors training is not progressing as well.  Bronco believes the whole neighborhood is his playground and as such, he wanders wherever he wants and whenever.  I usually take him out with me and must watch him like a hawk as he will be in the  street greeting folks in the blink of an eye.  He comes occasionally when called, usually if he thinks you have a treat.  I have begun giving him three calls to get back in our yard, then I sneak up and start whacking the ground with a newspaper and uttering some doggie un-pleasantries which usually scare him home, he does not like folded newspapers.  I constructed a 1/4" diameter cable about twenty to thirty feet long with snap-hasps at both ends.  I can hook one end around the tree in the front of the house, around a motorcycle rim or the basketball pole.  The other end gets attached to Bronco's bright orange collar after his first wander.  All in all, Bronco is a pretty good dog when he is not harassing Scout, Tessa, Molly or Cameron.  Now that Bronco outweighs Cameron, it is Bronco leading Cameron around the house.  Bronco has not learned to jump on the bed on his own but I learned the hard way that he has acquired the skill of furniture jumping.  I was eating my normal breakfast, Fiber-One (cardboard twigs disguised as cereal) in my arm chair while watching the morning weatherman puke his inaccuracies, when the Dork let Bronco and Molly in from the backyard.  Bronco came running into the room with the exuberance of a hyperactive bumble-bee and took a leap from about three feet from my chair and all thirty plus pounds landed on my lap at once.  I did manage to right the armchair and get the "worm-cereal" and milk cleaned up from the surrounding area before taking my morning shower.  Now I must keep a folded newspaper next to my chair to thwart subsequent doggie catapults.

The Dork and Cameron are doing well.  Cameron has learned to ride his bicycle I bought a year ago, OK so I bought it too soon, and continuously begs to go outside and ride it.  It does not matter if it is cold, rainy or the wind is blowing near hurricane force, he wants to ride his bike.  The Dork is contemplating having the Lasik eye surgery performed.  I recommended a very notable ophthalmologist in the area whom she went for a screening.  He is a little more expensive than the "cut-rate" ophthalmologists, so she is considering her options.  I threw my two-cents in the fray in mentioning that you only get one set of eyes, and perhaps she shouldn't Walmart around with them, AKA, searching for the lowest priced service.  I explained that even in "Doctor Land" there were folks at the top of the class and folks at the bottom of the class, which one would you want aiming a high power laser at your ONLY pair of eyes???

The "love-birds", Michael and Katrina, have decided to stay in Chesapeake for the time being.  Mike is working and making enough money to live on now and Katrina starts a new job next week, yes our tax dollars will be covering their day-care expenses for a while.  But they have been painting within the trailer and making it into a nice home.  Someday Brian and Barbara will donate their living room furniture when they replace it.  Relations have gone fairly well with the couple and their two children, we enjoyed a Sunday dinner last weekend at the trailer.  Mike had a new charcoal grill and I thought at first, he only invited us over so I could teach him how to light charcoals and how to cook on it!  However it was surprisingly very enjoyable, probably one of the nicest visits we have had yet. 

Karen is still plugging along at work, enjoying the 10-20% reduction in pay she experiences every spring as Waldenbooks cuts labor hours in an attempt to put a few extra cents in their shareholder's pockets.  In years past I was traveling to the West coast earning overtime so it was not as noticeable as it has been this year.  I have only made one West coast trip this year with no overtime.  But that did not stop me from visiting Oceanside Photo and Telescope while I was out there and bringing her a nice early Mother's day present, a new telescope for observing the sun!  Oh, I can see it now, everyone is rolling their eyes!  She actually has expressed significant interest in acquiring one of these specialty scopes ever since she gazed through Astronomy Club member Dale Cary's about a year ago.  She was dumbstruck, as was I, that you could see the prominences and solar flare activity as well as sunspots and other surface features with quite a bit of detail.  As far as astronomy has been going, only one word needs uttering - CLOUDS.  We have not had a successful organized or any other form of observation period in nearly a month and a half now.  I think I am forgetting how to use my equipment!  I was successful in my quest to gain Cornland Park as an observation site.  I started communicating with the city of Chesapeake's parks and recreation folks back in November about acquiring permission or a permit to use a city park after normal hours.  To make a very, very long story short, I will just mention that I had to go all the way to the city Manager to get approval and I was prepared to visit city Council if he had not come to his senses.  I just could not fathom why the parks and recreation supervisor thought that a forty-seven year old amateur astronomer might bring harm to a city park parking lot while looking at the sky.  I guess common sense could only be found near the head of the city's leadership.

Karen's California brother has finally sold their house and is in the process of getting ready to move out here, we have spent the last two days with David and Lori looking for houses.  We found a jewel about eight miles South from where we live, it is beautiful place with a very large house with a lot large enough David can eventually build a large upholstery workshop on.  Karen drools over the house and kitchen, I know she would dearly love a different house with a bigger kitchen. Someday perhaps it will be in our future...  Tonight we are hosting the entire Wells and Jagow East coast clans for a BBQ cookout.  I need to cut the grass and we also must go grocery shopping.  It is raining right now, so cutting the grass is looking like a late day activity.  I am planning on having an early dinner as the weather shaman are predicting a clear night and I can hear Cornland Park calling...


The little dog has acquired a name.  I came up with the name as I attempted to put him on the leash for the first time.  I was out on the front lawn and he was laying in the grass with his bright orange collar on.  I went over and kneeled down as I attached Bart's old leash to his collar.  The puppy began trying to bite and chew it for a little while as I gently told him no.  I stood up and backed away about six feet.  By now the puppy was standing up so I gave a gentle tug on the leash accompanied with a firm "Come".  The little puppy leaped into the air and began bucking just like a saddle bronco at a rodeo.  So the name Bronco has been stuck on him since.  So his official AKC name is Bronco Betelgeuse Jagow.

Everyone is well currently at the Jagow household, now that spring is starting to take hold and it nears pollen season.  Soon everything will be covered in fine yellow pollen.  Last weekend I mowed the lawn, or should I say weeds as is the case in the back yard.  Then I treated it with Scott's fertilizer and weed killer, laid it down pretty thick in the back yard, and normal amounts in the front.  Hopefully I can figure out how to eradicate those damn little purple flowers.

My mom underwent her fourth chemo treatment last Tuesday and so far she is not having bad side effects.  Many folks have told her that serious nausea and near exhaustion occur after the fourth one.  She is taking ginger capsules to combat nausea and they seem to be working well, she says she is a little tired but not too bad.  I still can't get her to send me a picture sporting her new hair(less)do.  Might be nice to have proof that someone else in the family has less hair than me.  But, she points out, hers will grow back in full when the chemo treatments are done...

The big cat of the family, the Jaguar, had to go to the vet again.  It needed an oil change and I made mention of some noises in the drive train, as I have detailed nearly every time I take it to the dealer, they ended up replacing another hand full of items this time the electronic rear brake module, the automatic rear brake and some other small things.  It also had a recall notice on the power steering and the windshield washer fluid pump.  I had a loaner Toyota for just a day, as for once the dealer had all of the parts in stock.  That night I sat down and looked through the Jaguar's file.  I counted fifteen trips to the dealer and each one was for repair of an item.  Major items that have been repaired or replace include the transmission, transmission electronics control module, dashboard electronic control module, fuel gauge, fuel level sensors, fuel tank, drive shaft, differential, rear brakes, rear brake module, automatic parking brake system, windshield washer tank & level sensor, brake and accelerator pedals and electronic adjustment mechanism, seat and steering column electronic controls, stereo preamp and a few more minor items.  Starting to get the maintenance picture of a Jaguar?  So far everything has been covered 100% by warranty.  However the warranty is soon to expire and the vehicle had just over thirty thousand miles on it.  I began having serious thoughts about potential maintenance costs after the warranty expires.  I also put into perspective how much we were paying each month and how unhappy I would be if I had to pay these maintenance costs on top of that.  Also the dealer informed me that the front breaks would need replacing within a couple of months and that the wear bars were starting to show through on three of the tires.  The dealer offered to alleviate these for me if I would part with $1300.  That was the icing on the cake.

That night I began looking on the internet for a potential replacement vehicle.  I talked it over with the "boss" and she was in agreement.  I was torn between a Honda Pilot, Mitsubishi Montero or a Nissan Pathfinder.  Common sense won out and I selected the Honda Pilot.  Now to figure out which model, who locally has one and then the negotiations.  I went to my credit union and explained what I wanted to do, they were very helpful as I walked out of there with a blank check in forty minutes.  I decided to go to Hall Honda, as that is where we bought Karen's Odyssey.  As luck would have it, the same saleswoman was there that sold it to us.  I very politely told her what I wanted.  She went to her sales manager and explained it to him.  He called around and found out how much he could wholesale the Jaguar for.  He came back with a figure a couple thousand dollars less than I was anticipating.  We haggled very briefly, he returned with a figure that took several thousand dollars off of the price of the Honda Pilot. Now Honda dealers are usually not ones to bargain very much as they have a hard time keeping their products on the lot.  So in the end I came away satisfied, but a little sad I was losing my cat.  it was sure a fun car to drive.  Now I must pause and knock on wood, I never received a speeding ticket while I had it.  And I stretched it's legs at every opportunity.  I will miss it for sure.  I know what I will buy when I win the Lotto, a Jaguar XKR coupe.  Zero to sixty in 5.2 seconds, seats two with room for two brown bags of groceries in the trunk and costs more than we initially paid for our house...

The Pilot and the Pup.

Bronco is now eleven weeks old and weighs nineteen pounds four ounces and is growing like a darn weed.  The Pilot has a six cylinder 3.5 liter engine and has enough room for my telescope stuff, oh, and it is a light blue.

Rear Shot, I need to think up a "catchy" license plate moniker.


A quick update, Karen surprised me with my birthday present about a week early, as a result we have a new addition to the Jagow household.

The newest addition to our family.

He is nine weeks old and does not have a name yet.  Something good will pop in my head tonight or tomorrow.

Cameron preparing for when it is his turn


Sometime around Sunday evening we were noticing that the freezer and refrigerator were not as cold as we thought they should be.  I went and retrieved the freezer/fridge thermometer from our garage refrigerator and stuck it in the freezer section of our kitchen fridge.  On Monday morning when I checked, it was just about thirty eight or thirty nine degrees.  Many things n the freezer were starting to get "soft" around the edges.  So I put the thermometer in the refrigerated section.  Tuesday Morning told the truth, the temp was just about forty seven degrees.  I checked when we bought that fridge, exactly five years and seven weeks.  Guess what the warranty period was, five years on the compressor.  I called a few repair places and they were busy until the following week and I inquired as to worst case cost to have it fixed.  Most indicated it would be about $350 - $500 depending on what they had to do.  We paid about $450 for that fridge when we bought it.  Now there is not a whole lot to a regular fridge, a compressor and two thermostats and the temperatures were screwed up in both sections of the unit it was probably not the thermostats bad.  So with much dread Karen and I went refrigerator shopping Tuesday evening.  We brought home a 22 cubic foot Whirlpool monster in the Honda mini-van that was so big we had to remove the doors to get it into the house.  That was OK as we had to swap the door hinges and handles anyway.

Everyone is kind of well, except the Dork who spent the week out from work with some kind of problem in her back, good thing that happened when it did, as Miss Cindy who provides daycare for Cameron, was sick with un upper repertory infection all week.

Went to Chippokes Plantation last night for a stargazing night, but the clouds came in thick and we went home very early.

Time to put fertilizer down with weed killer in it as the weeds are getting thicker than the grass...


Quite a bit has happened since I returned from my Mom's ranch in Colorado.  She just underwent her third chemo treatment, she has three more to go.  She reports that she is feeling OK but she really needs to take it easy so that she does not over do things.  On a sad note, one of her dogs, Penny, had to be put to sleep due to her failing health.  Penny was my Grandma Helen's dog before she passed away.

While I was in Colorado Mike and Katrina, AKA "The Love Birds" pulled some pretty rotten crap with Karen and her mother.  It is not all yet sorted out, but I have hopes that it will be soon.  I am hoping the "sorting out" includes at least Katrina, maybe all of them, moving back to Nebraska sometime in March.  I am just so tired of the crap from "The Love Birds" that I am not even going to legitimize any of it by repeating it.  Let's just say mindless, thoughtless and inconsiderate pretty much cover it.

We have all been suffering one form of a nasty flu or the other, I am currently fighting my third week of it.  During Karen's second week of the flu it turned into pneumonia and she was admitted to the hospital for several days.  Karen is doing much better, she, Cameron and the Dork are over the flu, while it still has it's grimy little fingers dug into me.

This last weekend was this year's first installment of the East Coast Star Party down in Coinjock North Carolina.  Usually Kent Blackwell, who organizes the event, holds a star party in the latter part of March and again in October.  Kent has a vacation place at the Hampton Lodge campground and they let him host the star party even though the campground is officially closed.  I missed out on most of last October's ECSP so I was anxious to take advantage of the dark skies down there.  I took a day of leave on Thursday and set up a day early as the weather was indicating it would be nice Thursday and Friday night and turn to rain over the weekend.  Nightfall came bringing temperatures in the upper twenties.  I managed to fiddle around doing some images and visual observing.  Around 2:30 AM it was down to 22 degrees.  By four thirty Friday morning I was getting tired and very cold.  Attempted to sleep in the tent which was not much warmer.  I held out until about 7:30 AM when I decided I couldn't get warm enough to fall asleep.  So grabbed my batteries and a few items and headed back to Chesapeake to charge my batteries and get a nap.  Went back down to Coinjock and broke down the tent and packed it up.  I stayed until after midnight observing before the sky started to deteriorate with high cloud cover.  Saturday it rained on/off all day and most of the evening.  Karen and I went back down for the dinner and the raffle.  I won a new case to store lenses and things in.  The chicken, burgers and hot dogs were very good.  Saturday morning I had received an email stating that it was Kent's birthday. So I went to Sam's Club and bout a two half-sheet cakes and then decorated them with a rendition of Kent's big 25 inch dobsonian telescope.  He was quite surprised at dinner and really liked the cakes.  I would say that cake decorating is not really a potential future hobby or profession for me.  Here are some images from the last few weeks.

Model for our new Minolta 7d Digital SLR Camera

Kent Blackwell's 25" telescope, I wonder if it will fit in the Honda???

ECSP March 05 Observing Site (AKA the Deep Freeze)

Folks waiting for the grub to cook at the ECSP

Happy Birthday Kent

One of Kent' Cakes decorated by ME!


A quick note to get you to go look at my page covering my recent excursion to Colorado!  My Colorado Adventure 04/05  An update to Ramblings is due this weekend...


In my last Ramblings for 2004, I mentioned that my mother in Colorado was preparing to undergo cancer surgery.  The surgery was successful in removing the offending tissue.  My cousin Tom Bouchard went and looked after the ranch and all of it's beasts while my mom was in the hospital.  When she came home a few weeks before Christmas she still needed help around the ranch.  My sister as well as Tom helped as long as they could.  I made arrangements to come help after Christmas.  It ended up that I could use some of my banked sick leave.  I told my mom that I had to go on a business trip to Florida the three days before Christmas so she would not be able to get a hold of me.

I then packed up Karen's Odyssey with my clothes, and telescope stuff, and headed out to Colorado.  The first day was not to bad, I only made about 590 miles, 70 short of my 660 mile per day goal.  I spent the night in Kentucky.  Morning brought a very cold rain.  I grabbed a quick breakfast and headed West.  I was able to drive at the speed limit for about an hour and a half before the snow started.  I spent the next six hours driving at speeds under 35 mph, usually around 25-30 following semi trucks which would crush down the snow and make a track for me to follow.  We passed many vehicles that had gone off of the road into the ditch, including a snow plow on it's side.  This crappy weather persisted until Mt. Vernon Illinois where the storm cleared and so did the Interstate.  I pushed on to Kansas City Kansas where I spent the night.  In the morning the weather reports indicated that Kansas was clear with no storms.  Must not have been the Kansas I was in, because by noon the wind was drifting the snow across the Interstate.  I made it to Limon Colorado by early afternoon.  I continued until I arrived at my mom's ranch in the evening, I opened the door and bellowed Merry Christmas!  My mom was pretty surprised.  I arrived two days before Christmas.  We had a quiet Christmas while mom opened the presents I brought and that others had left for her.

I have been feeding horses and breaking and removing ice in the water tanks.  About every three days I have to run hoses to fill the tanks.  It has been many years since I had to do ranch chores, especially in the winter cold and wind.

On the fifth day I was here, my laptop decided that now would be the best time in the world to quit.  I fiddled with it for a while before deciding it was hopeless, the hard drive died.  I contacted Toshiba and found it was still under warranty.  Off it goes back to Toshiba.  They promised it back in ten days or less, I assume fixed.  t was pretty hard to understand Tanya who spoke with a marked Pakistan or Indian accent  With the laptop went all the photos I took of the poor weather, snow plows in the ditch, mountains, horses and my mom.  The only photo I have now is of some elk that my uncle Paul has been feeding.  This morning we counted thirteen.

Another of my "golden touches" involved breaking the flange seal on my mom's toilette, water everywhere when you flush.  Anyone who knows me, knows I can't be without toilette facilities.  The old outhouse has been torn down and filled in for ten or fifteen years, so she had to hire some folks to fix it.  She was planning on doing some work on the bathroom anyway so the carpenters have been busy, they are to be all done Monday. 

Between the rain, yes rain, snow and wind, I have only had one cold windy night looking at the sky with my telescope.  Hopefully I will get a few good nights while I am here to exercise my cameras.

I am planning on returning to Virginia sometime toward the last part of January and should be back home before February.  

My mom should find out this week what the post treatment for the surgery will entail.  I am sure it will be trying times for sure.  Please keep her in your thoughts, even if you don't know her, after all she put up with me for eighteen years. 

Uncle Paul's Elk

Jagow's Rest Stop