Chuck's  2008 Ramblings...

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This is the post Christmas update, which surprisingly is just a few days after the last update.  See, there is just no predictability when it comes to me.  Like picking a purple color for the font, what is up with that?  Actually it is "plum" not purple.  The only really newsy thing that has happened is that the Dork managed to bump her car into someone else at an intersection on Christmas Eve.  Not hard enough to deploy her airbag, but hard enough to crumple the hell out of her hood and bumper.  Almost NO DAMAGE at all to the Jeep she bumped, but she was without a car for a couple of days. Her insurance company was already closed, and the next day was Christmas, so she had to wait until the day after Christmas to get a rental car.  So the Dork was the target for every car crash joke we could think of for the next couple of days.  There is no mercy in this damn family.  

Christmas morning came a bit early for Cheryl, Cameron yanked her out of bed at 1:30 AM to see what Santa had brought him.  An electric guitar and Guitar Hero for the Play Station 3.  I awoke around quarter of six to find the Guitar Hero game box ripped open on the front room floor and the two guitars strewn across the couch. And Cameron's and Cheryl's stockings taken down from the fireplace. No Cameron though, a quick investigation found Cammie passed out on his bed and Cheryl counting lambs as well.  I let the dogs out into the rain and did my usual morning ritual of balancing the checkbook online with the computer and reading emails before going around and starting to take pictures.  I brought the dogs in and dried them, and they managed to go and wake everyone else up.  A fine Christmas breakfast was cooked, Karen was forced to cook the Vinha D'alhos outside on the BBQ grill's burner due to it's unique odor.  Vinha D'alhos is a pickled marinated pork that is a traditional Portuguese breakfast, you either love it or hate it, Karen is the only one who likes it in this house.  Cheryl, Cameron and I chose to eat Bacon and Linguicia which is a more traditional Portuguese sausage.

Christmas eve was spent over at Karen's younger brother Brian's house and we feasted on a very good spaghetti dinner.  Good company and times were had, everyone opened some presents given amongst family members.  Frank and Carol, Karen's parents gave me a sweater. I have not EVER worn a sweater, but they gave me one.  And it was THREE sizes too small.  Just to appease the masses I had to try on the sweater.  Let me just say I looked like a retard stuffed in a sausage skin ready to explode.  It is TRULY amazing just how far yarn will   S T R E T C H.  It is a good thing Carol provided a gift receipt.

Prepare yourself for the following onset of images:

Santa's left an Electric guitar & Guitar Hero for Cameron.

Whatever's left of Cheryl's & Cameron's stockings.

It looks like Cameron carefully opened the Guitar Hero box.

Cameron at 6:20 AM on Christmas morning, after being up at 1:30 AM.

Cheryl & Karen waking up at 6:30 on Christmas morning.

The Jagow 2008 Christmas Tree with Cameron.

Christmas Dogs.

Tinkerbell looking for a Christmas bone.

Chuck stretching the known limits of yarn.

John & Cheryl.

Barbara likes Christmas time!

Brian and his youngest daughter Brianna.

Carol is making sure Frank is driving home.

Karen's friend Chris.

Dave says "Come on let's eat!"

Karen following her mom's lead.

It's Laurie, the Christmas Star!

Sarah, pleased as punch.

Carol, Brianna, Amanda, Karen and Lauren.

Y'all just come on back again!

Cheryl's Christmas Eve surprise!

Another damn year and no bling for us...



This is the pre Christmas update, which I should have completed a couple of weeks ago but I was too lazy to get around to it.  So here I am doing it now.  First of all Karen's fifty-second birthday came and went fairly uneventful, she CHOSE to work that day, which was BLACK FRIDAY.  Even though her employer said she could have had the day off with pay since it was her birthday.  She decided to stick it out and help at the store and take another day off.  I just hope her management team remembers her dedication later on. 

The Dork has bounced back and found a new friend, his name is John and he seems like a nice fellow.  He works for Geico insurance and occasionally dons the Geico Gecko-Lizard costume for various charitable events that Geico participates in.  I am on the hunt for a photo of him in costume.  He gets along well with Cameron, us and can even hold his own with Papa so that is a significant plus.  

I have been a little stagnant out at Dam Neck since we stopped updating the large deck amphibious ships a couple of years ago, pretty much working small projects as they come up.  So I have been hunting for a new "home" or so to speak by applying for every new position advertised out at my command that came up.  Since nearly every one advertised has always required a minimum four-year BS degree or higher, I have pretty much just been spinning my wheels.  But you never know what will happen.  A few months ago a position in another group came up for a lab manager came up.  This position would be in another code, on systems I knew next to nothing about and had zero experience with but I applied anyway.  I figured I was spinning my wheels again as I would have very little chance at it.  I had pretty much forgotten about it, then on November 24th I received a call from the personnel department asking me a question about changing my employment series from Electronics Technician to Computer Specialist.  I answered the fellow's questions, then I asked why was my series being changed to Computer Specialist?  He said it was because I was being moved into a new job position, but that was all he knew.  So after I got off the phone with him I marched down to our local HR office and parroted the information I just learned over the phone and she said "Oh yeah, congratulations you have been selected for the Lab Manager position!" So that is how I found out about my new position.  So my good news for the end of the year is that I have a new job, not really a new job, but a new position at my Command in a completely different area, with completely different people and equipment.  

I have not officially started yet, but I have been working and charging my time to the new program for a couple of weeks now.  I have a lot of things to do, I am responsible for establishing, overseeing and maintaining five labs in our building, I will have a small staff of folks to assist in the day to day operations.  It is to be a challenge for sure as I have not a CLUE what 80% of the equipment does, but I am a quick learner.

Cheryl has learned that she should start seeing the dentist regularly, as she now has found out the hard way that she has some dental work that must be done.  A few cavities that must be filled and some other work.  The dentist told her it may have been preventable if she had been coming in regularly for checkups and cleanings.  So now she is going through a series of dentist appointments to get it all fixed up.  And speaking of dental work, when we were at dinner Friday night one of Karen's back molars broke up and fell out!  So she will soon be visiting the dentist as well.  These things happen in threes so I guess I am next!

Here are a few pictures for your ocular enjoyment.

Our continuing series of Cameron being able to fall asleep anywhere.

Cheryl's prize, John.

Ratbert lost another front tooth.

Pillow fights & wrestling is a favorite pastime in the house.

Double Tickle Time.

Cameron puts John in the dreaded Fart-Face hold.

This is actually for the Dork's dentist, maybe it will save her on a bitewing.


Boy! Two updates in the same weekend!  What is the world coming to?  Nothing earth shattering, I just took these shots of the leaves changing around here.  I drive this road every morning on the way to work and thought it would be nice to take a picture of the colors as the leaves change.

Elbow road shot #1.

Elbow road shot #2.

Elbow road shot #3.


I guess I get the crap prize for on time updating again, nearly three months since the last update to the Ramblings.  But quite a bit has happened since.

I won't even comment on the Presidential Election other than saying I have very, very mixed emotions.  It is just too complicated to get into right now.  Even though I voted for McCain, I feel Obama has some good ideas, but I am afraid his Party won't let him accomplish them, they will expect the same liberal party line crap to be upheld.  I don't know if he is strong enough to push HIS way and not theirs.  Time will tell... 

The most significant event in our family realm is that the Dork and her spawn have moved back in with us.  It seems that Mr. "Nice Guy" Danny was sharing his "niceness" a bit too much and Cheryl found out.  Better now than after any damn ceremony.  I haven't said much to her about it, I've been kind of quiet, but I'll tell you what, he had some damn gall.  He sure played the "pity card" hard over his first wife cheating on him, that was why he was supposedly "hurt" so badly.  Now here he was having a serious relationship with Cheryl, telling me he is going to marry my daughter, acting the "alpha-male" role for Cameron, had Cheryl taking classes to convert to HIS religion, and helping him get an annulment for his first marriage with the intent to marry the Dork.  Cheryl had Cameron baptized as a Catholic, named Danny's parents as Cameron's God-Parents and then a month later starts poking some other bimbo and then tells Cheryl goodbye.  WHAT A CLASS ACT he is...

The house is full, the grocery bill has climbed as has the power and water bills but, the upside is that Karen is in seventh heaven again and it is good that the little rat and Dork are here for Ninya to bite once again, she was getting tired of biting the cats and Tinkerbell.

Cameron played flag football this year, it was his first year.  The team was the Falcons, they didn't do so well, didn't win a single game.  I think the coaches were idiots, but then again that's my opinion.  I don't think they explained the primary object of what they wanted the team to do at all.  For Pete's sake all they have to do is RUN LIKE THE DICKENS if they get the ball, and if they don't have the ball, get in the way of the other players so the guy with ball can run.  Defense is easy, take the flag of whoever has the ball - period.  We are talking 7 - 8 year olds here,  they don't have to know the Wishbone, or memorize a playbook.  Next year if the Dork signs him up for football I may volunteer to be an assistant coach, because these guys didn't have a darn clue.

Katrina finally sent some pictures of Raegan and Sabrina, our son Michael's daughters who live in Nebraska.  Raegan is six and started first grade this year.  Sabrina is four and is in pre-school.  Their father finally received a bit of finality in his dealings with the Commonwealth,  he was sentenced to three years prison time.  And since he has already been in the Klink for a year he will have two more to go, so I believe he will be released sometime in the Fall of 2010, just about the same time as Shithead (Cameron's father).  I am feeling so good about that year already...  Two of my most favorite people will be back out loose on society.  All I can say is lock your doors and don't believe anything either one says.  And don't loan either any money, you'll never see it again.

Cameron lost one of his front teeth a couple weeks after his first football game, it had been loose for quite sometime, and he wouldn't let anyone get a hold of it as he was afraid it would hurt real bad if someone yanked it out.  I finally gained his trust and using a lightweight towel got a good grip on that sucker and popped it out.  It snapped right off, Cammie was surprised because he heard it come out and he thought it was going to hurt, it didn't.  It bled a little for a few minutes, but I think that the Tooth Fairy brought him some good dough for it that night. 

Halloween was a squeal.  Ratbert dressed up as Spiderman with fake muscles, it was pretty funny.  Cheryl took him and his friend Michael around the neighborhood Trick-or-Treating and they received a substantial haul of treats, enough to last through the year.  Karen handed out candy as I showed folks views of Jupiter through the 12" telescope I set up in the driveway.  Almost every kid who came down our court remembered us having the telescope set up last year looking at comet Holmes.  Our Jack-O-Lanterns twinkled brightly all night until their candles melted away.

My mom is doing about the same down at the Canon Lodge in Canon City, she does not recognize you until you tell her who you are and then it takes a minute or so for it to sink in when you call her.  We finally, finalized the land deal with folks she had started the land sale with prior to her going into the Canon Lodge.  We ended up potentially losing many thousands of dollars on the deal because nothing was written down between the two parties.  But, in the end they got their land and we managed to get enough to pay our significant land survey bill and the taxes on the land sale.  Now we must sell a 35-acre parcel to pay for mom's care in Canon Lodge for a few years.  

Oh and I did get around to updating my Astronomy pages a little bit, if you want to go have a look see: Jagow's Astronomy Page 

The following are a bunch of images, most of Cameron and our other two grand daughters, please enjoy.

Cameron is #2 going into the huddle.

Cammie catches a kick-off!

Run Cameron RUN!

Karen's, Dork's, Cammie's & Huck's Jack-O-Lanterns.

Some Halloween Characters!

Whew!, It's just Michael & Cameron.

Ratbert lost a tooth!

He can fall asleep anywhere, but what is that he drew?

Our son's daughters Raegan and Sabrina out in Nebraska.

Raegan and her kitten.

Sabrina lounging at her 4th birthday party.

Raegan is six and in First Grade!

Sabrina looks like a little bug trying to fall asleep!

Ready, aim fire!

I hit the bullsye!

I can cock it all by myself!

Dead-eye aim!

Cameron enjoyed shooting the BB gun a great deal.  Before going out to shoot we spent a great deal of time going over the safe handling of the gun, and very importantly, the distinction that it was NOT a toy.  The target was a cardboard box with newspapers inside and two towels draped over the back to catch the BBs.  The target backdrop was our wooden shed about 15 yards away. The BB gun is kept in the gun safe with all of my weapons so it is a Grampy - Ratbert only activity.  He is still a little small for the gun, as you can see he can't quite reach the trigger with his index finger, has to use the "bird" finger...  I was eight when given free reign with my first BB gun in the sticks out in Colorado.  In a couple of years he will be graduated to bigger and better things!



Amazing!  It has been just over three weeks since the last update! Maybe I am getting back into the swing of things.  Actually it is a Saturday evening and my bride is working and it is a Full Moon out.  I would be watching the Olympics but I am recording them right now so I can watch them later with Karen.  So here I am updating the Ramblings.  I had a bunch of images to use as Cameron had two events occur and I was the default photographer.  The first was the little grand-rat's 7th birthday and the second was his baptism in the Catholic church.  The Dork is becoming a Catholic, her boy friend Shrek is Catholic and so she decided to dunk the little man as a Catholic.  So we had to attend both functions, it was hard to tell which one was more fun.  Danny's parents drove down to participate in the baptism as Cameron's God-Parents.  It was our second time meeting them and their first time meeting Karen's parents, everyone got along swell, and we all went out for dinner at Golden Corral afterwards.  I wonder how long it will be before I have to go back into another church...

We have one picture of Raegan our oldest grand daughter who lives in Nebraska, she will be six in August 20th, if we had more pictures I would post them, but they are few and far between.  She has a younger sister Sabrina who will be four on August 18th and we don't have any current pictures of.

I am still waiting for the land surveyor to give me some input on how far they have worked on the survey on the land in Colorado.  I have a bunch of questions and ideas about what we can and should do.  I have sent a couple of emails and have received no answers.  I guess I need to start hounding them with phone calls.  The woes of doing business over two thousands miles away.

Not much more, except that I hope everyone has been watching some of the Olympics.  These are the first games I have paid attention too since I was in the Navy, I don't know why, but I guess the mystique of the China might have something to do with it.  And probably how China was going to try to mask their pollution issues and other not so nice things that they did not want the world to see.  Like their child gymnasts, and their fake fireworks displays, and lip synching singers.  I sure hope Phelps make his eight tonight.  With that thought, I will quit until next time and let you enjoy all these pictures.  The first is one we found while we were in Colorado it is of my uncle Paul, grandma Helen at age 98 and my mom Mary.

Paul - Grandma Helen - Mom    2001

Our oldest grand daughter Raegan's Kindergarten picture 2007.

Cheryl and Cameron at his 7th birthday party.

Cameron's birthday cake.

Kids munching on pizza and hamming it up.

Cameron making a wish.

What a present!  A box of money!

The Dork and her Dad's best sides.

Dork - Shrek.

Introduction of the baptism.

Cameron getting ready for the dunking.

Cameron being baptized.

Newly baptized Cameron being introduced to the congregation.

Camie looking for his Grammy.

Danny's parents Delores and Paul.

Cameron with his special friend Mrs. Georgie June.


It has been four months since my last update to the Ramblings.  Probably the longest gap in updates ever.  I guess time got away from me and I got caught up in various events and it just slipped to the side.  I will try my best to reconcile everything.  First all of the good news.  Frank and Carol are all well, Karen and I are well, Cameron is well.  The Shithead is still in prison, our son is still in Chesapeake city jail, as far as we know, he has some court dates next month so we might start having to make sure all of the windows are locked all the time again soon.

Now for the not so good stuff.  The Dork, our daughter Cheryl, on the good side is STILL going strong with Shrek, Danny her boyfriend.  There have been muffled words that sound like the big "M" word but nothing official yet.  I indicated that a dowry may involve a small herd of GOATS. As far as the Dork, she has been having some pain in her back and side and they can't really figure out what it is exactly.  One doctor says take Tylenol and another wants her to do physical therapy.  And I think one wants to do an MRI.  Maybe they will figure it out, I hope so as it is making her miserable, and I am sure Shrek is feeling the pain as well.  Karen gave Danny the name Shrek, and it seems to have stuck.  Shrek has a new job working for a small shipyard engineering firm, and he was pretty happy about being able to leave his former employer.

My mother had been staying in a house that was part of a deal she had made with a fellow for a small bit of acreage last year.  The house was located in Canon City, a town that was about fifty miles away from the ranch and about four thousand feet lower in altitude than the ranch.  During her wintering there, I believe she was trying to wean herself off of her 24/7 requirement of being on oxygen while she was up at the ranch.  Many times she indicated that she hated sleeping with the oxygen hose on and would frequently wake up with it off.  Well sometime around the end of May the fellow who owned the house was wanting her to move back up on the ranch as he was lining up "paying" renters for the house and mom was itching to get back up on the ranch.  So we think on the 14 of May he moved her back up on the ranch which was a Wednesday.  I spoke to her on the phone on that Friday and she was disoriented a bit but happy to be back on the ranch and bitching about having to use the oxygen all the time.  She was trying to figure out when she was going to have some of her horses brought back up to the ranch.  On Monday afternoon I received a phone call from my sister Rhonda that mom had been taken to the clinic in town for something and later that evening I learned she had been taken to a hospital.  At the hospital our mother refused permission for several tests to be performed and eventually the hospital came to the conclusion that there was nothing they could do for her if she would not cooperate, her problems were not life threatening.  So she was transferred to an old folks center named Canyon Lodge and so our latest adventure began.

Karen and I could not get a flight for over a week.  Rhonda, my sister, was in the middle of something at the dairy that short of a death, she couldn't leave either.  We ended up flying to Denver on May 28th and then drove up to Canon City to see mom on Friday the 30th.  She did not even recognize any of us, even after we had told her who we were.  It was a good three or four minutes before it finally sunk in to her who we were.  We spent about four hours with her talking with her and the staff at Canon Lodge.   We then drove up to Westcliffe and secured hotel rooms.  The plan was for all of us to stay the weekend and search for horse records and any other bills and records that needed tending to.  And then on Sunday Rhonda and Sarah would would return to Erie and leave Karen and I to continue working on the ranch and at the courthouse as necessary.  To make a long story short we uncovered a mess.  The first mess is with the horses, Rhonda is taking the lead on dealing with the horses.  I have been dealt the land.  I thought this would be the lesser of two evils.  Boy was I wrong. Come to find out, mom had been in some form of negotiations with someone for a parcel of land.  It had escalated to the point where the prospective buyer had paid for a land survey from a local surveyor.  However, after searching several times through mom & grandma Helen's extensive land records there was absolutely no written record of any current negotiations.  We searched the house high and low and finally found another file with the folk's name on it, but it only detailed previous land acquisitions over the years with nothing recent. A telephone call to the prospective buyer initially sounded hopeful that he had something in writing, but eventually it did not pan out as he had nothing in writing either.  All that we had was what he said mom said. When we asked mom about it she just shook her head and said she doesn't know. The amount he quoted seemed extremely low compared to what she had been selling land for to other folks.  In searching for land deeds I had been through all of the files several times and was aware of other parcels she had sold in the same time frame as he said he had made the verbal agreement.  That was fifteen years ago, and thirteen years before mom started having any issues from her cancer so I found the amount very suspect.  So the best thing it seemed for me to do was order up a land appraisal.  Which I did before we left to come home.  The land appraisal was ordered on the 6th of June and we flew back on the 10th.  A couple of days before we flew back, we met with a land surveyor to ascertain what we were up against with our land.  Boy did we get the surprise of our life, you could buy a small car for what our land survey is going to cost, but you have to do what you have to do.

Our trip back from Colorado was hell.  We flew from Denver to Dallas/ Fort Worth.  From there we were supposed to fly into Norfolk VA.  The flight to Norfolk was cancelled, so the airline routed us through Atlanta and sent us on our way on a different airline.  Once in Atlanta we find out we didn't have connecting reservations on the last flight out of Atlanta.  So we had to spend the night in Atlanta at our own expense and fly into Norfolk the next morning, where they promptly lost our luggage for two days.  Boy were we glad that trip was over.  Flying is getting rougher and rougher, and the airline people don't give a damn about their customers anymore.

Once back we waited and waited for the appraisal from the the land appraiser.  When it finally came in it was a bit lower than we expected it to be.  However closely I examined the land appraisal I could not find an explanation of how exactly the appraiser arrived at his figures.  I began a lengthy dialogue between myself and he via email and an occasional telephone call trying to get him to explain his math to us.  To this day the man cannot do so.  I personally believe something "fishy" is going on in the land of Custer, but can't put my finger on it.  So I spent several hundred dollars on a seemingly worthless report.  It did give us a starting point for setting a price for the acreage that was up for sale when mom whas transferred to Canyon Lodge.  The negotiations on that are proceeding slowly.

Enough about all of that muck.  I managed to make it to the Greenbank Star Quest star party this summer.  Karen was supposed to attend this with me, but since she used ALL of her vacation time for the year with the trip to Colorado I ended up going solo to the "mountains" of West Virginia.  If you get into a discussion with the a good old boy/gal from West Virginia they think their mountains are spectacular.  Well, in their own right, they are.  But I can't rightly call them mountains.  This just kind of pisses off these WV folks.  As soon as they come down from their raised cockles, I explain to them that their highest mountain is just under 4,000 feet high.  And it starts at an altitude base of about 1,100 feet.  Meaning its actual rise above the base is about 2,900 feet, and the entire darn thing is covered with trees.  I give them an example of my valley, the valley floor sits at a base of 7,800 feet.  The Greenhorn mountain range runs on the Eastern side of the valley and runs North to South about fifty to seventy miles and rises to a max height of about 9,000 a rise of about 1,200 feet.  On the Western side of the valley sits the Sangre De Cristo mountains which average above 13,800 feet and run about a hundred miles in length.  That is a rise of 6,000 feet over the valley floor.  After growing up there that gives me a little better perspective on what true mountains are.  I am sure someone from Tibet would have much the same view of my Rockies as compared to their mountains.  Anyway, the star part was spectacular the first night!  I stayed up all night chasing the stars.  Then by the time I awoke the next day the clouds had rolled in and stayed for the remaining four days.  I came home on Saturday a day early, the star party organizers were great, they had activities arranged to take up rain weary folks time, and what better place than the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to hold it.

My poor sister Rhonda is having to wade through all of our mother's receipts and attempts at bookkeeping to figure out what is what with the horses and the ranch.  I think on of the saddest days of my life was when she called me and told me she had turned off the telephone to the ranch.  It took a few moments to sink in.  That phone line had been one of the very first ones installed in the valley and had been in service ever since, probably turned on back in the 1940s.

All this time, over the course of the last four or five years my sister and I have been trying to convince our mom that she should minimize her horse herd to just a few animals and concentrate on them and herself.  Every time we tried to speak with her on the subject we were told to stay out of her business and to stop trying to control her. But it just seems like a whole bunch of folks were helping our mom to continue on just like things were normal and stay on the ranch way longer than she should have been allowed to.  Even after she started having health problems.  All of her friends jumped in and helped her, My sister and I are grateful for the help.  But it enabled mom to continue on and not face the fact that she should not be running around with 60+ head of horses to care for.  This made it easy for her to ignore the pleas form her children and brother to slow down and take it easy.  Here is a woman who was fighting breast cancer, had two brain tumors removed, couldn't see worth a damn and finally had cataract surgery.  Would occasionally "black-out" and was on oxygen 24 hours and all of her "friends" just thought it was AOK for her to be running and operating a horse ranch juggling 60+ head of horses. At one time after her breast cancer surgery, I had her convinced to lessen the herd of horses through a "leasing program" but mom was talked out of that by someone soon after I came back to Virginia.  It now just seems that maybe some folks were just hanging about waiting for the inevitable, and hoping to be in the right spot at the right time, or have the horses in the right spots at the right time.  It just seems to me that true friends would not have let her continue on just like everything is normal...

Since the last Ramblings, my dear bride managed to surprise me with a 50th birthday party.  It was supposed to be just a dinner over at her parents house after Karen got off work on a Saturday.  I had a bunch of errands to do on that particular Saturday so I thought nothing of it.  Little did I know that my wife was not really at work, she and my daughter were busy setting up the common area over at Karen's parent's apartments for a party.  As we were driving over for dinner Karen's cell phone rang and it was Karen's mom explaining that her oven had gone out and that the prime rib roast was being cooked over in the oven in the apartment building's common area and that since it was heavy I would have to come over and carry it since Frank could not carry it across the parking lot back to her apartment.  So as we drove into the parking lot Carol was there with some big oven mitts and directed me over to the common area.  She opened the door for me and all of a sudden a bunch of people are yelling HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Scared the hell out of me! So finally after more than 30 years, my wife got me good.

The high here on July 22nd  was 99.9 degrees as measured by my weather station with a heat index of 118 degrees.  Today it is supposed to rain and our astronomy group was supposed to put on a big outdoor event for the city of Virginia Beach at their Boardwalk.  Our "lightbuckets" would have become "rainbuckets" I am afraid.  They have been planning this event for quite sometime.  It is one of three scheduled for the summer.  The first was last month and went off perfectly with great weather.  The predicted storm came in as promised and dumped over an inch and a half of rain by nightfall with no end in sight, so the event was cancelled by the city.  Better luck with the weather next month.  It is looking good for our public viewing night this Friday though.

Not much more to yak about at this time so I will close with a bunch of pictures for everyone to enjoy.

Chuck gets a kiss at his 50th birthday party.

Chuck's 50th Birthday Cake.

Cameron munching away at the BBAA Summer Picnic.

The big radio dish at the NRAO.

A close up of the big dish, 3 football fields across.

My setup at the Starquest.

Pulling out to come home.

The ranch house where I grew up with my sister.

The snowstorm in June while Karen and I were there!

This is the view of the valley from where we want to build our retirement home.

This is a view looking at the mountains with the town of Westcliffe in the foreground.

After a long day, my sisters contribution to the town of Westcliffe.

  Now I guess this last picture needs some explaining.  We had just finished about eight hours of digging through things at the ranch looking for horse records and land records.  We had tried to take inventory of horse feed and bills everything you can think of.  We were hot, we were dusty and very tired.  There was a new Mexican restaurant that had opened in Westcliffe and we had decided to give it a try. So Rhonda, Karen and I sat at a table that was outside to enjoy the cool evening breeze.  We began enjoying a few brews and eating our dinner, after a while Rhonda began complaining about her worthless expensive bra she was wearing.  I suggested that if it bothered her so damn much it should be relieved of its duties.  Well, I really wasn't prepared to see my sister yank her shirt over her head and remove her encumbrance in that manner, but she did.  She then tossed the thing over the short wall that separated the restaurant's courtyard from the street.  After we left the restaurant, Rhonda and Karen picked the bra up and affixed it to the corner fire hydrant where it remained for several days, at least as long as we were still in the area...


Let's see what has all happened since the last update.  Michael's still in the pokey - probably the best place for him, the Dork has a new boyfriend that seems like a good one, even though it started out a little sputtery.  Tinkerbell has grown to fourteen pounds but Tessa has dropped to thirteen.  The Rottweilers are holding steady at about a hundred a piece and Scout is holding his own.  Cameron is loving life and charming his teachers.  My work is boring and Karen just keeps chugging away at the bookstore.  The biggest news I guess around here is Danny, the Dork's new squeeze.  He is a Navy veteran of the Iraq war, and is medically retired as his ankle was shot up pretty bad.  I don't have all the facts on the thing so that will wait until another time.  He is a big fellow at six foot six inches.  He towers over Cheryl and the door jams cringe when he comes calling.  And let me tell you about food consumption, I thought I could eat when I was a younger snot.  I can't hold a candle to how much this fellow can eat.  We do share a kindred goal as we both like to give Karen's father a rough time about anything and everything.

Danny & the Dork.

The next newsworthy item is that we bought another trailer with the hopes of selling the Littleguy teardrop trailer later in the year.  We bought a used Casita fiberglass trailer from some folks up in New Jersey.  I found the trailer on the Internet and then in early February Karen and I drove up there, only getting lost once (my fault) we took a look at it.  The lady had quite a bit invested in the trailer and it was only three years old.  I made a rather low offer for having the horse-trader blood in me, and they mulled it over and accepted it as they wanted to buy a bigger trailer.  I drove up about a month later and picked it up.  I expected a big hassle with Virginia DMV as New Jersey does not title trailers and all they had was a manufacturer's statement of origin.  Karen and I went to DMV the next day and were in and out in less than an hour, had to pay a significant sales tax but we have our plates "StarPod".  It is a 17 foot trailer that has a full size bed, a two burner gas stove, a gas furnace, A/C, a big refrigerator, a sink, fresh, grey and black water holding tanks which means it has a restroom complete with a shower!  It is perfect for just Karen and I to go camping about in.

The Casita Trailer.

Check out the license plate.

A few years ago I had a run in with the City of Chesapeake concerning one of their automated garbage trucks spilling my garbage all over the street.  That long story ended with Karen and I taking the bagged up spilled garbage down to the City Manager's office for them to dispose of. If interested you can go read about it in the July 13, 2001 Ramblings.  Anyway, the city spilled the damn garbage AGAIN on the street and this time they didn't even have the decency to ring the doorbell or leave a note or anything. Cheryl noticed it and told me.  I called the city and reminded them of the last time, and what happened.  They had two different trash collectors come pick up the garbage and then a couple of supervisors came calling afterwards.  I guess either the city has changed their ways or perhaps Karen and I made an impression on them.  I just hope it was that they have changed their ways.

Freaking trash all over again.

The little scooter car that Cameron received fro Christmas has been used quite a bit, even by the Dork!  In fact Cammie gets hot when she yanks him off of it so she can ride.  One afternoon when she was waiting for Danny to come over and Ratbert was riding the car Cheryl yanked him off pretty hard so she could ride it.  She was zooming all over and he was chasing after her.  At one point she went zooming by and Cammie reached out and snagged her just right and yanked her off of the car on to her butt!  The Dork ended up skinning up her shin and foot pretty good, maybe it will teach her to stay off the kid's toy!

Cameron catches some air!

The Dork steals some fun!

Cammie takes it back!

Cameron has been asked to escort a little girl in a pageant and he had to get all dressed up for pictures for it so I snapped a couple shots of him in a tie while he was waiting for mommy to get ready to go.

Cameron dressed all up for a picture.

It isn't time for the pictures yet!

That's it until next time.


Here we go with the first Ramblings of the 2008.  This year found us with no one in the hospital, no pets on the verge of death or losing an extremity.  Everyone in the household is gainfully employed, and basically healthy.  The only spoilage in the barrel is that our son Michael is in jail, again.  It seems he got pulled over for driving a vehicle with an expired safety inspection back in October and once again he was busted for driving without a license.  Perhaps this is his seventh or eighth time for this charge and this time his bail him was set pretty high and no one was willing to put that money up for him, again, so he spent the holidays in a nice cozy place.  I believe his court date is sometime next month, he is expecting to have all of probations revoked and he may have to actually finish his previous sentences on his convictions.  Maybe this idiot boy will finally learn he can't circumvent the system.

As usual the new year always brings a joyous occasion for my wife and I, our wedding anniversary.  This year is a special one, our thirtieth year.  Now before you start wondering about what the Mrs. may have snagged this year, surprising it was pretty low key, we gave each other new cell phones and a nice card.  We are going to try to take a Disney trip later in the year as well as the Mrs. loves Disney. 

The weather has been all over the place, one day it is rainy and the next it is spitting snow flurries and then it is sunny when it is supposed to be rainy.  The weather guessers don't really have a clue I guess.  Our weather station is doing fine. It predicted a weather anomaly we had last week that put the whole area in a tizzy.  The area had very cold below freezing temperatures for several days and then one morning around three or four AM we had a storm come through which provided freezing rain.  This provided black-ice on the roadways.  It took me over two hours to commute to work that morning through all of the fender-benders.  Several hundred accidents in the area that morning.  One fellow was killed after his car flipped and rolled several times on a roadway, he got out to check the damage and call the police on his cell phone when a big Pepsi truck lost control and then slammed into him and killed him.  He worked in the same building where I do and some of the folks I worked with knew him. 

Katrina sent us some pictures of hers and Michael's daughters which I will share as well as a some nice shots of the family beasts to start the year out right.

Karen & Chuck 30 years of bliss.

Raegan & Sabrina Jagow.

Sabrina & Raegan cooking.

Sabrina opening gifts.

Raegan hamming it up..

Raegan's first day school.

Sabrina off to preschool.

Cameron playing in his room.

Lake view from behind our house.

Tessa relaxing before her next meal.

Ninya wanting this phoo "op" to be over soon..

Bronco sunning himself.

Scout wondering if he should claw the shit out of me.

Scout's healed paw with just two toes.

Tink the Dink.

Jagow's Rest Stop