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32 posts from November 2012

I remember when my son was shorter than me

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I'm actually kneeling in this picture at the airport. I'm not really that short.

I've been searching through digital pictures that we've taken over the past year to put in our Christmas newsletter and came across this one taken when we took our son Justin and his wife Lauren to the airport last week.  It seems like just yesterday when we'd stand in line at a fast food place where he would be in front of me and I'd have my hands on his shoulders.  I'd have to get on a ladder to do that now.

I hope to have our Christmas newsletter ready next week.  We will send the majority by email with some in snail mail.  How about you?  Send a Christmas newsletter?  Very many?  What do you write about?

Don't go to Sam's Club in south Lansing for healthy Fiber One Brownies

Walking the aisles at Sam's Club in south Lansing
Super-wife and I made a Sam's Club run today for healthy snacks.

Okay baby-boomers, how many of you are past the days of eating unhealthy snacks and other food. Super-wife and I haven't had real full-blooded ice cream in a long-time.  We got to Sam's Club and get stuff like Skinny Cows and ice cream sandwich few calories and fat.  

We tried to get Fiber One Brownies today after getting them there for the past couple years.  They were no where to be found.  They've gone the way of bagel bars that they once had which were healthy.  They used to have no fat hot dogs and cheese.  It's no where to be found.

Is Costco any better?  We have one down I-94 towards Detroit.  Eating healthy is important to us.  Sam's Club is giving us less incentive to be members.

Anybody have the same experience at Sam's?

My life as a baby-boomer glaucoma patient with associated eye challenges

My eye drop bottle collection
My eye drop bottle collection gained as a glaucoma patients

It all started more than a decade ago when I went to a routine optometrists appointment to check my vision and my eyeglasses.  The doctor shocked me when she said that I had cataracts.  As a person who

Latest addition to my eye drop routine

had just turned 55, I was sure that cataracts happened only to those who are really old.  I asked her to check again.

 She laughed and referred me to an opthalmologist who has been an important part of my life and key in helping me to keep my vision.  After the lens implant surgery, I almost didn't need glasses.  Since then I've gotten glaucoma and have been diagnosed and treated for a couple of nasty and hard to get rid of eye infections.

If you scroll back on the posts in this blog, you'll notice that the lens in my right eye moved and it had to be adjusted surgically.  It happened about five years before that.  I've read where that happens, but it's a rarity.

My life centers around eyedrops.  It's a painless way to treat the disease and, so far, it has been effective.  I know that I have to be attentive to taking them.  And I am.  

Check the photo above for a picture of some of the eyedrop bottles I have saved over the past few years.  

Here's how I got to know Claire Danes from the television show Homeland

I need to fess up about getting together with Claire Danes every week for lunch.  She's the key actor on the television show Homeland.  She plays a character named Carrie Mathieson who is a CIA agent during these turbulent times.  She is also bi-polar and deeply involved in unravelling plots that involve Middle East terrorists.

This rendevous with Claire started with my friend Ken who I have lunch with every week.  We eat, talk and then usually watch an episode of a carefully-picked television series.  We've watched every episode of Prison Break, Oz, 24, some minor ones and now Homeland which has been one of the more compelling.

I've often wondered how many retired baby-boomers have a weekly lunch date with a friend.  Ken and I have been doing it for almost seven years.  Anybody longer?

Does anybody understand the tire pressure sensors in my almost four-year-old Honda Civic?

We got our Honda Civic almost four years ago and we've noticed this thing with the tire pressure sensors almost from the beginning.  The sensor light for tire pressure will invariably come on at some point.  This has been a constant.

It was off for a couple of months and with the cold weather, it went back on again.  I've had the tires checked for leaks and our dealership doesn't seem to be concerned about it.  But, it's annoying.  I'm never sure if there's a pressure problem.

Is this a design flaw in the Honda Civic?  Anbody else experience this with their Civic?

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What I'm reading before going to church

My sermon notes
I'm re-reading my sermon notes from last week.  It's important for me to remember what I learned last week at Ada Bible Church.
It's a few minutes before 8 a.m. on Sunday and I'm doing some web reading before hitting the shower and then church.  We don't get a newspaper delivered to our front door anymore, so getting news in our baby-boomer home is done either with the television or the web.  And for us, it's usually the latter.
This morning, here's what I've read:
  1. Daily Bread devotion  from Radio Bible Class for today, Nov. 25, 2012.  The focus point for today's devotion is fear and one verse, Psalm 56:3.  There's better than even chance that I might face some kind of fear this week.  How about you?
  2. Three reasons to be thankful by Will Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham and son of Franklin Graham.  He writes about why salvation is such an important issue and not to be tucked away in the back of some mental drawer.
  3. The hip twenty-somethings are flocking to Martha Stewart and her penchant for good handmade stuff in the New York Times story today.  This is relevant to me because of my daughter-in-law who is CEO of a start-up that ships hip and quality handmade stuff around the country from
  4. An auto engineer in the Detroit-area helps his kids move from hating math to loving it, according to this Detroit News story.  He took the time to be involved with their learning.  The result is a series of math textbooks that he wrote.  Great story.

Shopping for fine noodles at Meijers on the day after Black Friday



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Picture of the check-out at Meijers on West Saginaw

Our almost 20 pound turkey left us with plenty of turkey meat and stock for soup.  So, we went to Meijers on West Saginaw in Lansing, Michigan to get a package of fine noodles.  It was the day after Black Friday.

Everything looked pretty quiet and normal.  No signs of hordes of shoppers trying to get bargains from the day before.  It was actually pretty quiet considering it was Saturday.  

The noodle shelf included some empty spots for soup noodles.  But, everything else seemed in full stock.  

To take the pictures, I used my iPhone 3.  It's an easy way to document the happenings of the day.



Super-wife is getting ready to play on the Solitare Blitz professional circuit

Do you play any of the many Facebook games?  My wife has played Scrabble online with her sister and a variety of others that are on the social networking site.  The two of us along with my wife's big sister regularly play and compete against each other in Solitare Blitz and Bejeweled.  

My excuse is that the games are a visual exercise that can positively exercise my aging thinking capacity.  

Now my wife and I were sitting across from each other in the living room when she showed me her Solitare Blitz score.  It was way north of 600,000.  That's big time numbers for this game.  She's surpassed her sister's score by a few times.  I'm not in the same league with mine.

Too bad there is a pro Solitare Blitz circuit.  

Has anybody seen higher scores?

More Black Friday photos at the Capital City Airport in Lansing, Michigan

My son fired up his iPhone 5 for pictures at the Capital City Airport where they caught a Sun Country flight back to Washington, D.C.  He emailed them to me after they got up to the gate.  We really appreciate their efforts to come for the holiday.  It was great.  We look forward to the next time.

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Thank-you God for the visit from my son and his wife for Thanksgiving

We took our son Justin and his wife Lauren to the airport about an hour-and-a-half ago.  As we relax on the couch with our computers in our laps and catching up with news and email, we got this picture taken at Capital City Airport in Lansing.  It's one of many airport shots of Justin either coming or going.

I thank God for my son.  He's a great guy, great son and great friend.  He and his wife are a matched set.  She's pretty special.

Looking at our Thanksgiving Day through the lens of our iPhone 3


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It's Black Friday morning and I'm sitting on my couch and not standing in a store watching the retail combat that goes on over reduced price items.  Our refrigerator is filled with leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal.  Turkey was perfect as were all the side dishes.  

After supper, we played Ticket To Ride and Sequence, both fun games.  

We shared the day with two of our kids, our son and his wife from Washington, D.C. and with a young couple from Iran who we met through our involvement at Friendship House MSU.  

It was a great day and we were constantly reminded that we have a whole lot to be thankful for.

We visited our granddaughter Gretchen on Thanksgiving with Face Time on our Mac

Gretchen and mom
This is our new granddaughter Gretchen being held by her mom.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our daughter Krista, her husband Adam and their two kids, Xavier and their three-week-old daughter Gretchen.  This happened on the internet where we used Apple's Face Time.  Yup, our granddaughter is beautiful and our grandson is a handsome and charming guy. On our side, there were four of us, our son and his wife.  Our daughter and fam are in Bosnia, while our son and his wife are here for the holiday.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving Day requires a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and a thawed out turkey

We have started our Thanksgiving Day here in mid-Michigan.
We start our Thanksgiving Day celebration with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. Then it's on to the turkey.

Getting the turkey ready for later this today.
We have a 19.58 pound turkey that will go in the oven very early this afternoon.

It's Thanksgiving morning here in mid-Michigan and we are getting ready.  The coffee's made.  The turkey is ready to be put in the oven early this afternoon and I will take a last swipe of the vaccuum on the living room carpet.  

As we march towards Christmas and the celebration of Jesus being born, I'm reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.  My family.  My wife.  My kids, including their spouses.  My grandchildren.  My son and his wife are here from their home in Washington, D.C., we will have a couple over from dinner close to their age who are a long way from home and we will talk over Face Time with my daughter and family in Bosnia a little later.

But, my wife shared a verse on Facebook from Psalms that states the main reason for being thankful today and every other day:

Psalm 100:4 
My list of things to be thankful for could go on and on and fill this whole page, but what I am most thankful for is a God who never changes even when circumstances do not and who loves me so much that He sent HIs son to live and die for me so that I may live with Him forever.

My wife and son made broccoli come alive with salt, pepper, olive oil with broiling in the oven


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Our son Justin spent lots of time in the kitchen with my wife and loved it.  He would pull up a chair and stand on it at the kitchen counter in our old house.  He watched and imagined what my wife was doing with food and how he could improve it.

He's now 28 and still loves to cook, but his tastes have become more varied and complex.  While home for Thanksgiving, took our head of broccoli and turned it from a potentially bland vegetable to a delight that keeps you coming back for one more.

Here's what he did:  Got a cookie sheet, laid out the broccoli pieces, sprinkled salt and pepper on them along with some olive oil and then popped them into the broiler for about 4 minutes.  What came out was a smiler producer and taste satisfier.

Visiting Michigan Capitol building with my daughter-in-law and son


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After our son and his wife got off the plane yesterday, we had lunch and then went over to the Michigan State Capitol building for a quick tour.  It's a place where I spent most of my pre-retirement life in a variety of jobs.  I've been retired for awhile, but I still knew a few people.  These photos were taken with my iPhone 3, an unlocked version which I purchased from Amazon.

A Picture: My son and his wife are back in Lansing, Michigan for Thanksgiving 2012


Justin and lauren
My son Justin and his wife Lauren arrived in Lansing early this afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Did I ever  mention that I love being part of a family?  Our whole group is getting together this Thanksgiving.  My son, Justin and his wife, Lauren flew in early today and our daughter, Krista and her husband Adam and their two kids will visit with us tomorrow virtually from Bosnia where they live.  

After leaving Capital City Airport, we went for lunch in downtown Lansing at Clara's and then went over to the Michigan State Capitol Building to show my daughter-in-law around where I used to work. More pictures to come.  My camera is on my Apple iPhone 3.  It's an oldie, but a goodie.

The world is getting to know Friendship House MSU in East Lansing


Group shot at Ask The Experts at the Friendship House MSU
This is a group shot that I took yesterday after a class where a local pharmacist explained how American medicines are dispensed.

Go ahead and ask me about what's been pushing my buttons lately in a positive way?  I'd have to mention Friendship House MSU in East Lansing where I've been a volunteer for more than a year.

It's a place where about two decades ago a bunch of forward-thinking Lutherans saw the need for a place where Michigan State University Internationals could sharpen their English skills through a variety of learning experiences including classes.  They shared their ministry vision and bought a house across the street from campus.

Today, it's a place of learning and refuge for International students and their families from around the world.  

It's staffed by volunteers who are doing it as "love reflectors."  They are just reflecting the love they have received from Jesus Christ.  They are passing it on.  It's just that simple.

I'm really happy that a friend, Rich Bearup, the executive director, asked me to help build their social media presence right after he took the job.  I could say that the place is a real point of light.  It more of a blast of light in a world that far too often is dark.

Stocking up on sweet potatoes for 19 cents a pound at Meijers in East Lansing

Sweet potatoes at Meijers in East Lansing on Lake Lansing Road
Check the price today for sweet potatoes at Meijers on Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing
I continue to document my day with my iPhone 3 and its pretty handy camera.  Today super-wife and I went to Meijer on Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing for last minute items for Thanksgiving dinner.  At the store, we ran into sweet potatoes for 19 cents a pound.  We found these are great for the main item for lunch or summer after being baked in a microwave.  Check the boxes of sweet potatoes (below) where a whole box could be bought for a few bucks.  

These sweet potatoes at Meijers are from Mississippi