JAN. 2007

Return to my Home Page here. 

Here’s a picture of Susannah and Ruthelia, my former mother-in-law, making quilted and crocheted blankets.  They have been making blankets for the toddlers at Polinsky Children’s Center, which is the County’s emergency center for abused and neglected kids.  The center doesn’t accept used blankets, so they decided to sew new ones and donate them.  They’ve figured out an assembly line technique and have been able to pump out a number of them…talk about a personal touch.


You like dogs?   Me too…..here’s Karen volunteering at the animal shelter.  She puts in between 3-6 hours each Saturday, cleaning the pens, holding and or exercising the animals and giving information to prospective new owners.  She’s also one of the initial members of S.A.F.E. (Save Animals From Euthanasia).  SAFE is a non-profit organization, which provides support through volunteer hours and rummage sales, in order to save as many animals as possible.  Every Sunday you can find volunteers in front of Pet Smart attempting to find homes for the many dogs and cats they’ve transported to the store. Besides attending monthly meetings and checking up on the owners of newly adopted animals, Karen also fosters animals at her home….Quite an undertaking!


This is Earl and Iva.  I’ve done some handyman work at their place (hung a screen door, hung some Christmas lights, solved a car tire problem, fixed a security light, got their sprinklers and their garden lights going.)  They are a fun couple!  I’ve also done a little chauffeuring for them …..as you can see, I was even able to get them on a merry-go-round....Earl's quite the adventurer, it appears as though he's contemplating climbing that pole and riding up top!


Time for a little more "nomadic" wandering.....always difficult to stay in one place anymore....I'll post a few pictures.


FEB. 2007


I'm a little burned out on all of the Super Bowl hype....actually,  I grew tired of it quite awhile ago.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching a number of sports, including football.  It's just the fact that people are spending thousands of dollars on tickets when the money could instead go to helping others.  Just aggravates me how much money is wasted in our society on frivolous things such as this and the exorbitant salaries professional sports figures and actors make.

So instead of watching, I usually find something else to do...this year it was Biking, followed by Hiking the next day.

All the comforts of home!

Stephanie, Cindy, PJ and me at the mouth of a cave.

Pete, me, Shelly, Stephanie and Cindy recovering from the bat attack!

Pete, Shelly, PJ, Stephanie and Cindy all glad that the two skunks we came across remained inside the cave!


Three of my hiking buddies for today were, Shelly, Pete and PJ.  All three are members of a volunteer Search and Rescue Team.  Both Shelly and PJ are just in the process of getting their full certification....it's not just a simple case of just going out and helping, it takes years of classes and passing tests of stamina.   Pete is already certified for most everything.  They've all already been involved in helping save people during rescues and are on call night and day.  Pete has even been involved in some diving rescues!


A guy writes a children’s book, creates a town named after his wife and gets it recognized as the center of the world! Felicity, California…sounded like an interesting place so I decided to check it out.

Jacques-André Istel has made a life out of accomplishing the unexpected.

Today, he's the mayor of a city he created out of the California desert and that he named after his wife, Felicia. Istel calls his town Felicity, the center of the world - and he has a plaque to prove it.

In 1985 Jacques-Andre Istel wrote a children's book, Coe, the Good Dragon at the Center of the World, that locates the world's center at Felicity. Imperial County then recognized the town's new status by law. Marking the exact center is a dot on a bronze plaque housed in a marble and glass pyramid.

Istel is now hard at work creating the World Commemorative Center, the heart and soul of Felicity. Dedicated to remembering individuals, institutions, and history, the Center is home to engraved granite walls designed to last for 4,000 years. Each wall is a hundred feet long and accommodates 6,000 names. Several have been built and thousands more are planned with the first hundred around the still-to-be-erected Hill of Prayer, upon which will sit a church.

This is the official plaque inside of the pyramid.  Once inside you're instructed to stand on the plaque, face North and make a wish, as they hand you a certificateIf my wish ever comes true, I'll let you know!!


My neighbor Ray (best neighbor I've ever had), is the Computer Tech at the Olympic Training Center and he invited me down for a free tour and lunch.  What a great place...If I go back to work, this is the first place I'm going to apply.

What a great venue!

Picture of the track with the lake in the background...very serene.

Hard not to be in love with this part of Chula Vista...check it out.

Here's "Uncle" Ray in all of his splendor.  He was one of the first (if not the first) tour guides for the Training Center.  He's also on the board of directors for a group that catches and releases feral cats once they've been neutered.  (He's going to give me more info on himself which I'll include shortly....he's a busy man and he's hard to tie down)

Well, finally able to tie him down.  I love his writing, so I'll just copy and paste what he sent me.

Some time in my life, I guess I figured out that it's harder to fire a volunteer than an employee, so I've spent substantial time in that world.

Right now, I'm Secretary of the Feral Cat Coalition, a wonderful not-for-profit that manages a Trap, Spay/Neuter, and Release program to humanely reduce the suffering of homeless cats.  Each month, volunteer Vets "fix" 80-100 cats that have been safely and humanely trapped by volunteers.  In addition to the surgery, the cats are treated for fleas, groomed, and medicated as necessary.  Their trappers then return the cats to their original colonies to live out their lives in much better condition.  Note: a pair of breeding cats can multiply geometrically at an amazing rate.

I'm also involved as Registrar in the San Diego Crew Classic, the first major rowing regatta of the year and one of the largest anywhere.  The first weekend of April (March 31 and April 1 this year) high school, collegiate, and masters' crews come from all around the country to race Eights (those long, skinny boats like you see in the Olympics) in Mission Bay.  We usually get a few international crews, as well.  It's a lot of work throughout the year to ensure the festivities proceed smoothly, but a large, dedicated staff of volunteers does their finest each year.  Watch for information soon; the S.D. U-T usually has a few articles about us.

Rounding out my current state of volunteerism, I've recently been a Docent for the San Diego Opera.  After training sessions with Opera staff and other experts, Docents lecture about the opera to school kids, grades 5 through 12.  As could be expected, the degree of interest usually isn't overwhelming because, as every kid knows, opera isn't "cool."  Nevertheless, I take on the challenge and feel duly rewarded when the message hits home or even when I successfully establish any kind of connection.

He forgot to mention all of the time he's volunteered fixing my computer....


I've volunteered to deliver flowers for Valentines day tomorrow.  I'll be working from 8-4 for a local florist and all of the money I would have made, will be donated to Volunteer San Diego...I'll let you know how it goes.


Well, delivering flowers was quite an experience. My first route was in my old stomping grounds. Ended up delivering to a few schools in the former school district in which I was employed. Actually ended up delivering a bouquet to the elementary school that I was principal of for ten years! Too funny!

My second route had me delivering flowers in the general area of the flower store itself. One of my stops was “Cheetahs,” a local strip joint (is that what they call them?….Actually, now that I think about it, what would you look up in the Yellow Pages if you were trying to locate a place like this?) Once again a new experience. I went in and the guy at the door instructed me to see the gal at the bar who was taking all the flowers for the “girls.” It was pitch black and I’m groping (maybe groping is not the correct term to use at this moment) around so as not to stumble over chairs. The only illumination was from the “black” lights scattered around. Too weird. I’m not going to go in to how ridicules the whole concept of a venue like this is, other than to say, certainly the guys in there must have something better to do with their time during the middle of the day.

The last route I was given was in Mission Valley….home of the gated three story communities. Luckily, during this route, I had a guy riding shot gun who sort of knew the area and had delivered before. Even at that, we didn’t return to the flower shop until 10pm! Yep, quite a Valentines day. Fourteen hours of delivering flowers.

This view is of the back of the flower shop...I have no idea of how many hundreds of arrangements there were inside.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

A rented van....my chariot for the day!

Just a few more left on this route.

Here I am delivering some roses to Janice at my former elementary school.  Guess it's time to cut my hair...no wonder some of the recipients didn't open their doors:)

And you thought I was joking...


I just realized that I should probably mention that the roses I delivered to Janice (above) were from her husband...don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.


Well, I've just run across a new experience which I need to report.  As you've noticed, a predominance of my volunteering time is spent helping the elderly or single moms.  After handing one of my cards to Tyrico, a teacher at my former school, I received an email asking for help putting up some lighting fixtures and replacing a garbage disposal.  

I'm estimating Tyrico's about 6'3" and 230 or so pounds....shouldn't I be asking him for help?  Well, I don't want to get beat up, and after all, my goal is to "help" others.  Besides, now that I think about it, he was always known as my "son" to the students...or so they were led to believe. We had a lot of fun with that one.

Rather than replace his disposal, I asked if he'd rather I just un-jam his existing one!....which I did.  

Hey dad, mind if I play with these toys you brought?

Yep, that's my boy (the big dude on the right.)

Maybe I should put a disclaimer on my cards...."If you're big enough to pick me up, you're big enough to do it yourself":)


Thought I’d put in a good word for the church I try to attend when I’m in San Diego.  It’s the “Rock” Church.  I originally started attending when it was located on the campus of San Diego State.  This is a picture of its present location, which is temporary until they complete the permanent site in Point Loma.  The sermon always seems to help invigorate my thinking process as I wander through this life looking for an answer to my real purpose here…..things seem so “upside down” sometimes, but I’m sure there’s a reason for everything and God will point me in the right direction.


"Years ago a popular slogan encouraged people to live each day as "the first day of the rest of your life."  Actually, it would be wiser to live each day as if it were the last day of your life."

                                                                                  -Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, What on Earth am I Here For?



MARCH 2007


I was walking into Longs Drugs the other day when I recognized a fellow retired educator from my former school district.  This is Jo.  She is currently a member of the La Mesa police departments "Retired Senior Volunteer Program."  Jo has been an active member of "RSVP" for as long as I can remember.  She is also actively involved with a group of retired teachers from the East County that keep an eye on current legislation and how it effects current and retired educators.



It must be law enforcement month, because I also ran into the following gals who are all members of the Guardian Angles!

Here are Alice and Ann.

This is Kathy and Darlene.

Besides attending meetings and going through training, they are out walking the neighborhoods a number of days each week! Great to see people giving back to the community like this, and they've been doing it for years!


Had a little electrical job recently...nothing earth shattering, just took apart a lamp for some friends and fixed it.  I know how you love seeing all of these people...so here they are....Marv and Judy at their finest.

Here's the lamp in pieces not working.

Here's Judy and Marv with the lamp put back together....Come on Judy, you know there's nothing in there!



It's St. Patrick's day and I've signed up for "Weed Warriors," through Volunteer San Diego.  For a couple of hours I will be working with other volunteers weeding, planting and watering in Tecolote Canyon.  In all of my years in San Diego I have always wondered what Tecolote Canyon was like....now I'll find out!

From left to right, and how many assignments they've done through VSD.




Crystal-her first!

Ariana-too many to count!

Carlos- 3 (Polinsky was his favorite)

Eddie and Robert are the co-teamleaders....they swap off and lead one group per month each.

Here's Park Ranger Janice telling me it's okay to take a picture of the gals, but that they are not to ride in the back of the truck:)

Hard at work.

Time for a drink.

Debbie, Crystal and Eddies bottom!

The rest of Eddie's body.

The weeds don't have a chance!

Park Ranger Janice telling an old Indian legend about a coyote and a stink bug.

Crystal planting a "choke cherry" bush.

Where's that nickel I dropped?

This looks dangerous...Debbie with a pitchfork and Anna too scared to look!

Robert and Eddie discussing what they're going to do with all of the money they'll receive for volunteering.

Carlos and Debbie check out the king snakes at the interpretive center.

Needless to say, I had a great time....Once again, a lot of neat people all donating time to help make our planet a better place in which to live.  I will definitely be back for a hike or a bike ride....the place is huge and I want to check the rest of it out:)


Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.

                                                                                                                  -John W. Whitehead, The Stealing of America  



Okay, so I'm giving some gal directions to a lamp store when I hear my daughter and her boyfriend laughing behind me.  Guess they think I'm a little nuts and decided to take a picture of me on their cell phone....I had no idea you could email a photo from a cell phone, to my email account, directly from the cell phone?


Took my daughter to lunch and she handed me a list of things needing attention at her mom's place....That will be my next assignment.....beats lunch duty "in the rain" at middle school!  (actually beats lunch duty on a "beautiful" day, now that I think about it)


What do you know....I was right....much more enjoyable than doing lunch duty.

Did a little work on the sink. (plumbing)

Hung a mirror.

Worked on the treadmill. (electrical)

Have screw gun....Will travel!!

In fact I love to travel:)

Worked on her fence. (carpentry)

Built this gazebo from a photo years ago.  Fixed a rail on it today, but she may have more repairs in store for it.


People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.             -Thich Nhat Hanh



This is Aaron.  He's one of the volunteers at The Rock Church.  There are a number of dedicated people who volunteer each week completing a variety of tasks for one of the five services.  I've noticed Aaron a number of times, at different services, directing people inside the building, using the lights other volunteers are using outside in the parking lot.  Needles to say, that's one of the things that catches your eye!  Puts you in a good mood, and it helps that he's outgoing and entertaining at the same time.  Of course I may be partial to him due to the "soul patch."


So here's an interesting little story.  My dad has been collecting aluminum cans for more than a year, and has had them stashed under the house in large garbage bags.  When I helped clean the garage a while back, my folks said to take them to the recycling center nearby.  I then suggested that I try and give them to a homeless person so he/she could cash them in.  I'm always on the lookout, and today I saw a homeless gentleman pushing a grocery cart full of cans, bottles, etc just under the freeway underpass down the street.  He looked as though he might be heading to the recycling center so I pulled over down the street and waited until he came walking by in order to ask him.  Sure enough, he was, so I offered to meet him there with the bags of cans.  I rushed up the hill, retrieved the cans and and drove into the center just as he was arriving.

Here's Bill collecting his money for the recycling.  Bill's 50 years old, and I'm not sure just how he may have fallen on hard times.  I offered to buy him some lunch, but he politely declined saying he was full, so it would be a waste of money.  I gave him some cash and we parted ways.

Once again it makes me thankful for how blessed I am and that I'm able to help someone else out in some little way.  I'm not rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but for the "Grace of God," that could be me having to rely on picking up cans and bottles each day to survive.  

By the same token, I know there are many people in the world that would love to trade places with Bill, because their circumstances are even worse.  



Not long after helping out Bill, I took my usual hike up Cowles Mountain. I do it mainly for exercise, so I go up at a pretty good pace and I jog down. On the way up, I came upon two Buddhist Monks dressed in orange robes….and no, this wasn’t a vision.

It made me stop and think for a minute of how I often don’t take the time to be “mindful” of my surroundings and enjoy the hike. Once past the Monks, I decided to actually slow down, stop and relish the beauty around me. I had a short chat with one of them on the way up the remainder of the trail. There I was, long hair in my shorts and hiking boots and there he was, shaved head in a robe and sandals. I’m sure we looked like quite the pair.

The point of this little tale, is that I went home afterwards and reacquainted myself with one of my reference books on Buddhism and realized what I had written earlier in the day was a pretty good reflection of Buddhist doctrine.

Stay with me here while I throw a few points out for you….

First off, is Buddhism actually a religion? Worship of a supernatural power isn’t the “central” concern of Buddhism. Also, Buddhism isn’t primarily a system of belief. Although it does contain fundamental principles, most Buddhist teachers actively encourage an attitude the is the “opposite” of belief or blind faith. Buddhist teachers advise you to be skeptical about teachings you receive, even if they come directly from Buddha himself. It is felt that one should not passively accept what you hear or read, or automatically reject it either. Use your intelligence instead. See for yourself if the teachings make sense in terms of your own experience and the experience of others.

At the core of the teachings is the understanding that suffering and dissatisfaction originate in the way your “mind” responds and reacts to life’s circumstances, not in the raw facts of life. Your mind creates, shapes, and experiences everything that happens to you, without a single exception. That’s why, from the Buddhist point of view, what goes on inside you (your mind) is much more important in determining whether you’re happy or miserable than any of the other circumstances in your life. Your mental attitude is what mainly determines the quality of your life. Not that your outer circumstances count for nothing, nor are they implying a person has to give away all of his/her personal possessions to be a sincere spiritual seeker. But without developing your inner resources of peace and mental stability, no amount of worldly success-whether measured in terms of wealth, fame, power or relationships-can ever bring real satisfaction.

Buddhism also teaches that you and the people around you are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. That each apparently separate being or thing, you included, is merely a unique expression of one vast indivisible reality. With this in mind Buddhism encourages you to dedicate your spiritual efforts not only to yourself and your loved ones, but also to the benefit and enlightenment of all beings. Everyone should actively cultivate love and compassion for others.

As the Dali Lama has said on numerous occasions, “My religion is kindness.”


Happiness is actually quite simple:  The secret is to want what you have and not want what you don't have.



APRIL 2007

Have you ever done an anonymous “random act of kindness?” I’ve recently done a couple of them. I actually enjoy doing them anonymously more, than when the receiver knows I’m responsible. Not sure if this is true, but I figure if the receiver doesn’t know who is responsible, they may be more likely to spread their joy to everyone, not knowing who to be thankful to….but I could be wrong (it’s happened before)….and no, I can’t tell you what I did, it’s a secret.


While listening to the radio a few days ago, the personality on the air mentioned a fictional book he had recently read. The book, The Ultimate Gift is about a multi millionaire who dies and leaves money to his relatives. In order for his nephew (who is spoiled and has never had to work for anything) to receive his “ultimate gift” he has to complete 12 tasks, one per month, over a years period. Each of the tasks start to change the nephews attitudes about life and others. Now I’m not what you’d call a voracious reader, but I was able to read the book in one sitting of a little over an hour, not including the time to wipe my eyes. This is a great book that I would recommend for everyone, and would make a great gift for a teenage son or daughter. It apparently is also coming out as a movie soon with James Garner playing the part of the multi millionaire.


I volunteered to baby sit Carl "the dog" for a week. Here are a few pictures of one of our outings!

Hula Girl?  When you can have Kip Dynamite!

Carl's reflection in the mirror.  Making sure I don't get lost.

Where'd you hide my doggie treats?

Hogging the bed!

Hey, leave that scorpion alone!

Enough of this hiking stuff.



Westley: I told you I would always come for you. Why didn't you wait for me?
Buttercup: Well... you were dead.
Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.

                                                                                                                 -Westley and Buttercup, "The Princess Bride"



Well, I signed up to move furniture at "Casey's" place, so that they could lay some carpeting over the weekend (well actually "over" the floor.)  Casey's place is a neighborhood gathering place for students after school,  but at any given time you might find a group of seniors playing cards, girl scout troops having a meeting, or a league of 300 softball players having an awards banquet. Casey's is a non-profit organization that provides a place and a number of programs for the community.

There was a conflict in Casey's schedule for this evening, so rather than being empty, there was a group of 100 or so students from a local elementary school enjoying the evening with music provided by a DJ, along with a number of the video games,  a pool table, foosball etc.....They even have a couple of batting cages....this place is huge! 

The volunteers helped do a number of things until the school group left.  Once everyone was gone, then the real work began...you ever try moving a soda machine that has just been filled with sodas?  How about two of them?

A former building materials store (built strong to handle the kids)... and much more fun now!!

Casey on the left and on the right, Mark, the volunteer team leader.

Here's the empty dance floor before the crowds began arriving.

Volunteers Jerry and Vincent, working on the Skee Ball machine.

The crowd has arrived.  I took this picture from above some supply rooms where we were storing equipment.

If you're interested in finding out more about Casey's place, you can check it out at http://www.caseysplace.com 




My good deed for today was getting my folks out of the house and on a hike in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  I like these kind of good deeds!

Not sure which is more interesting. The Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, or the headgear on my folks.  My Dad's hat on my Mom's head and my t-shirt gracing my Dad's noggin?




Deja vu!!!!

I just came across this photo of my two hiking buddies, Karl an Joe from Tahoe last Fall!  Guess I keep missing the memo about a shirt and headgear:).....and no that's not my t-shirt on Joe's head.




Took time to help my former father-in-law by replacing some shingles on his roof and doing some adjusting to his garage door.  It's amazing just how handy a hammer can be for a variety of jobs...including working on your computer....give me a call and I'll be right over:)    Actually it's probably better to email me.  I hate the phone.




Well, I signed up to volunteer with the Forestry Department the beginning of May.  I will be staying in the Laguna Mountains and according to my paperwork I will be working with archeologists conducting "pedestrian surveys of areas in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area.  Sites will be re-located, photographed, and mapped using digital technology and GPS.  Site conditions will be assessed and documented and site records will be updated."  Not exactly sure what it means at this time, but I'm excited about being up there and helping...once again no cell phone access.....yipee!!


MAY 2007


Well, here I am up in the Laguna Mountains, with the Passport in Time (PIT) project.  I met this little critter on the trail the first day I arrived....hope it didn't scare you:)

Our job up here is to relocate ( as in "find"....I originally read it as relocate as in "move") formerly discovered Indian sites which have previously been mapped.  Once we located them, we re-mapped, took GPS coordinates, photographed and wrote a short report on the condition of each site.

Here are my cohorts for this adventure....another interesting group, all volunteering!

Left to right...Chuck, Susan, Paul, Ralph, Tim, Lynne, Olivia, Tom and Wij holding down our banner.  The other member of the "A team" Tom (my partner most of the time) is missing from this picture, but more on him later.


This is our "Project Leader," Susan.  She is an Archeological Technician in the Cleveland National Forest.  Although this wasn't a volunteer assignment for her, she also spends time helping with Meals on Wheels.

As far as I'm concerned, Chuck is "Da Man."  He is up at the Lodge almost every other week, if not more, making sure everything is set for the volunteers.  He knows the area like the back of his hand.  Chuck is also a member of LMVA (Laguna Mtn. Volunteer Assoc.)  I was never able to get a listing of all of his volunteer assignments, but if he emails me I'll include them for you!

This is the missing Tom from the group picture from above.  He and I worked together most of the time....there's an interesting picture of him down below.  Tom is also a member of LMVA (past president) and he's always up here helping clear trails.  Tom also volunteers for the Lakeside Riverpark Conservancy, the Audubon Society and Meals on Wheels.

Our other Tom.  "Young Tom" as we called him, rode on the 25 mile Tour De Orange County bike ride for an abused kid's camp.  He has also worked on church housing projects in Tecate Mexico.  Tom has spent a night in a church homeless shelter, helping them set up and has also donated some of his photographs to various charities, fetching a few hundred dollars each.  He is presently looking to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Paul is an old hand at this.  Paul has done a number of PIT projects in California and Utah.  He has also done historic log cabin stabilization and restorations....2 in Utah, 1 in California, 3 in Idaho and 1 in New Mexico.  Paul has been a member of LMVA for 21 years and is also a docent at the water conservation garden at Cuyamaca College.

This is not the first time for Wij either.  Her resume is so long, she's offered to eamil it to me. I'll post it for you soon:)

Lynne and her daughter Olivia came all the way from Pennsylvania!!  This was her first PIT project.  Most of her volunteer work back home centers around her church and when her daughter was younger, at her daughter's schools.

Olivia participated in a PIT project in "04 at the Shawnee Nat'l Forest in IL.  In '05 she was at the Keyser Farm Site in VA. and in 06 she was at the Commonwealth Cultural Resource Group in WI.  Since '04 Olivia's spent time at the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in DE.  During college, she made a couple of trips in Baltimore with Habitat for Humanity and spent time making nursing home visits.  Last but not least, she has done some independent research for Camp Sankanac, an historic cabin which was a stop off for the underground railroad.


Ralph has done three volunteer jobs for the Forest Service. his first one was in Pennsylvania actually digging in the dirt. The second project was in Colorado using metal detectors to locate the boundaries of an old mining town. This last one was different as well, locating and recording conditions of archeological sites in Cleveland National Forest.
    This year he also joined the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team. He was called out in February of this year to assist a chain saw unit from Texas with relief work in Mount Vernon, Missouri following a devastating ice storm. More info on the disaster relief work can be found at http://www.bgct.org/texasbaptists/Page.aspx?&pid=355&srcid=198.
    He also joined the Texas Baptist Men builders. In March he assisted them in rebuilding Sabine Pass Fellowship Church in Sabine Pass, TX that was destroyed by hurricane Rita. In May he helped to renovate several building at Paisano Baptist Encampment near Alpine, TX. For more info on the builders go to  http://www.bgct.org/texasbaptists/Page.aspx?&pid=355&srcid=198




Tim was our second in command, helping Susan.  Tim volunteered on the Grace Lutheran High School Missionary Team to Ensenada, Mexico in 2000, '01, '02 and '03.  he has also volunteered at the San Diego Archaeology Center in '05 and '06.  Tim was on a PIT project as a volunteer in '06 and spent time with Interfaith Community Service in 2007.


Here I am arriving at the Red-Tailed Roost Volunteer Headquarters.

Here's the bunk I initially picked out, but why sleep here when....

all of the comforts of home are right in my car.

Here's the group at the Volunteer Visitors Center.

Everyone checking out the view to Borrego.

An original granite counter top!

I enjoy both the mountains and desert....but I love meadows.

There were a bunch of "soon to be" Navy Seals out on the trails doing an orienteering exercise.

Did I mention I love meadows?

Not as comfy as my car....but still not too bad.

Tom is an avid geocacher (more on that later)....in any event, we discovered a geocache by accident.  Here's Tom writing in its logbook.

A Douglas Wallflower....and yes, it was there in the middle of nowhere all by itself.


In reference to Geocaching mentioned above.  It's a hobby where people with GPS units hide little containers of trinkets for others with a GPS unit to find.  You are given clues and the coordinates on the official website.  Once you find a geocache site, you report back online about your little adventure.  There are sites all over the world.  You can go to http://www.geocaching.com to find out more and plug in your zip code to see what's nearby....then go out and look, or hide one of your own!

If you're interested in volunteering time with the Forestry Service, check out http://www.passportintime.com  They have things going on in a variety of states throughout the year.  I had a blast!



So this is going to be a "GOOD" one.  I'm driving a Rav4 from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Morgantown, West Virgina for a friend of a friend....oh, did I mention I'll have a 13 lb doxie, a 20 lb terripoo and a 90 lb great dane/pointer as my traveling companions?  No need to shed a tear or feel sorry for me....I've traveled with much larger dogs in a little Rav4 and loved every minute of it!  Should be interesting....stay tuned.


Okay, so here's how it all started.  I received the following email, which was forwarded to me by my good buddy Chris (yeah, the same one who helps counsel me on the side)

Okay, this sounds like a job for Ubermann!! I don't know if this fits in with your plans, but I thought driving some dogs cross country fit in with your life's mission.

Let me know if you have any interest/availability.

This is our friend Susie, who is a great person . She's starting life over by moving from Las Cruces to West Virginia.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 7:34 PM

Subject: help

Hi, my network. This is an all-out plea for creative thinking. In a nutshell:
My start date in WV has moved up to April. I have to be there by 4/27.
No way I have time to take care of business here and drive out with the dogs, esp. since I still don't know where I'll be living when I get there.
The problem then is this: how do I get my dogs and my vehicle out to Morgantown, WV after me, like the end of the first week in May, by which time I will be living somewhere I can keep them? I can board them until then if I have to.
Does anyone know anyone who would take that trip? I have the funds to underwrite all the expenses and to fly the good samaritan back to Las Cruces, or wherever.
I really need help with this one.
Thanks for any thoughts you can come up with.

Sounded like it was right up my alley, so I responded to Suzie.  Susie had sent the message to over 100 of her friends, none of which were available , so I was it!  Once again, I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to be available....so off I went on my adventure.

First order of business was to fly into El Paso, TX.  Below are some of Susie's friends who chipped in to help in any way they could.  Wonderful group of people!

Don stayed in touch with me through email and picked me up at the El Paso airport.  Check out his beautiful photos at http://www.donboyd.com They're for sale.

This is Dan and Judy.  They looked after Susie's car and house.  They are both realtors in the Las Cruces area....just in case you're thinking about buying or selling:)

Here are Christian and David, along with Snicker and Bella.  They put me up for a couple of nights and let me have the run of the place.  We had a great time.

Now to the stars of our show...

The following email from Susie gave a brief description of my traveling companions.

A bit about your charges:

Moxie (13 lb redhead) is part doxie, part god-knows, and has no idea she's tiny. She rules the roost. She's also VERY fast, so be sure you know exactly where she is before you open any doors, etc. Better to have leashes on everyone before you turn the door handle.
Elmo (20 lb terripoo )is the sensitive middle child. He is very sweet and knows three things: his job is to bark if there's anything he does not remember or understand that comes into the environment (there are many things Elmo neither remembers nor understands. Just reassure him). he can do a world-class 'sit' on command. and your job is to dispense oodles of affection and tell him how wonderful he is. Elmo's the most submissive of the three and you need to watch that the other two don't commandeer his treats, etc.
Munch (great dane/pointer), despite his size, is the baby of the family and still learning the ropes. He is extremely sensitive to voice and body language, and so if you do need to tell him no or discipline him, stern is good, but yelling at him will make him miserable- he'll slink away and hide. Munch loves both tug-o-war and keep-away, as well as fetching the ball or toy or your shoe or whatever.

Moxie...loves to lick your face, especially when you're sound asleep.

Elmo...my favorite, except when he's honking the car horn while I'm using the bathroom at a rest stop.

Munch...at 90 lbs. and the youngest, he chose which direction we walked at each of our many stops.

Rather than bore you with the details of my trip, here are some of the pictures I took along the way (excuse the quality of some of them, they were taken through a dirty front windshield with dogs jockeying for position).

New Mexico

Head rest

Okay, where are the rest of us going to sleep?

The leaning tower of ?

Just a little bit of a storm!

Jadie helped rectify a problem with my reservations....thanks!

definitely don't want to slow down now!

Can you guess the location?

The second giant cross I drove by.

Probably a great place to live:)

These saved my sanity....and no, I wasn't eating them.

Ahh, made it in one...I mean four pieces.

Susie's new place.

Home at last.

Good to be out of the car.

Who's that cute doggie across the street?

The Monongahela River.

Sorry guys, I need to head back.  Don't give me those sad eyes.

On my way to the Pittsburgh airport I took this picture of a house in Morgantown.

Mr. Roger's shoes on display at the Pittsburgh airport.

Early picture of Mr. Rogers also on display.

Here are a few of the Handyman jobs I completed for Susie while I was there.

New light in the bathroom.

Hooked up the new stove.

Made a couple of temporary fences.

Fan for the bedroom.

On the lighter side, here are a few signs I passed along the way...

More fireworks stores than I could count.

It says Amarillo 1 hour and I was 117 miles away?

This is here because my daughters nickname is Shorty.

My moc's are a little worn, maybe I better stop.

Vasectomy reversal...I don't think so, once was enough!  Athough there is a money back guarantee!

"Blanket" sale, in the middle of Texas?

Every young (and old) boys fantasy...knives and fireworks.

Foot high pies!  Can you guess my favorite pie?

Opps!  Don't want to leave without a picture of Susie!

Susie loves to paint and is a great artist.  You can see her talent in the card she gave me...she would have made a great cartoonist!


And for those of you like myself, who are visual learners, here's a visual representation of my route....



"You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept"
                                                                                                                                            Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)



JUNE 2007


The Superior Person” is often referred to in the book of I Ching Wisdom . It is stated that “Every person must have something to follow, a loadstar.”

In other words, everyone needs something to bring out the best in him/herself and to provide direction for his/her development. By holding the image of the superior person in your mind as your loadstar, you will achieve not only supreme success, but also great happiness.

The following is a list of the qualities of a superior person.



Is humble.

Is willing to let others go ahead of him/her.

Is always inwardly acknowledging the wonder he/she feels for creation.

Is willing to give another credit.

Speaks well of everyone, ill of no one.

Believes in him/herself and in others.

Is willing to look within him/herself to find the error.

Is true to what he/she believes.

Is gentle.

Is able to make decisions and act on them.

Is aware of danger.

Is optimistic.

Is trustworthy.

Is good at salvage.

Is patient.

Knows the value of silence.

Is peaceful.

Is always seeking to benefit others in some way.

Presence has a calming effect.

Is not attached to things.

Sees obstruction as opportunity.

Sees opposition as a signpost deflecting him/her in the right direction.

Sets a good example.

Does more than is/her share.

Meets others more than half way.

Rests when it is time to rest; he/she acts when it is time to act.

Feels no bitterness.

Is forgiving.

Does not pretend.

Is not cynical.

Does not go into debt.

Lives a simple life.

Nurtures his/her good qualities and virtues.

Is sensitive to his/her inner prompting.

Seeks enlightenment.

Sets limitations for him/herself within which he/she experiences complete freedom.

Is careful of his/her words, knowing he/she is reflected in them.

Turns back immediately having discovered that he/she has strayed from the path of the superior person.


Is courteous.

Has good manners stemming from his/her humility and concern for others.

Is good-natured.

Is calm.

Does not swear.

Is physically fit.

Does not over-indulge.

Knows what is enough.

Can cheerfully do without.

Is reverent.

Carries on his/her teaching activity.

Does not criticize or find fault.

Is willing to take blame.

Is certain of his/her right to be here.

Is certain of your right to be here.

Is aware that the Universe is unfolding as it should.

Is generally happy.

Laughs easily.

Can cry.

Honors everyone and is therefore honored.

Pays attention to detail.

Is conscientious.

Values everyone, and therefore everyone values him/her.

Overlooks the mistakes of others.

Has greatness of spirit.

Is clear headed.

Nourishes nature and therefore is nourished by nature.

Leaves things better than he/she found them.

Does not make a show.

Practices goodness.

Is simple.


Reveres the ancient masters.

Is inspiring.

Is flexible in his/her thinking.

Does not overreach him/herself.

Does not overspend him/herself.

Does not strive foolishly.

Is consistent.

Depends on him/herself for his happiness.

Does not use flattery.





Does not have to prove anything.

Is content within him/herself.

Is dependable.

Is all right with him/her if another wins.

Happiness for another’s happiness is sincere.

Sorrow for another’s sorrow is sincere.

Has no hidden agendas.

Is thrifty, and therefore is not in want.

Finds a use for everything.

Is generous.

Is considerate.

Is fair.

Is courageous in the face of fear.

Is clean.

Is tidy.

Does not shirk his/her duties.

Causes others to feel special.

Expects things to turn out well.

Is joyous of heart.

Takes thought for the future.

Wastes nothing; therefore he/she always has enough.

Has good manners.

Obtains nothing by force.

Intentions are always beneficial. Is a wellspring of determination.

Does not boast.

Produces long lasting effects.

Has endurance.

Exists in the present.

Feels no break with time.

Is cautious.

Is kind.

Holds his/her goals lightly in his/her mind, allows no opposing thoughts to enter and as a result of natural law is drawn inexorably to his/her goals.

Feels secure.

Knows the truth of his/her existence.

Does not strive for wealth, fame, popularity or possessions.

Does not complain.

Practices daily self-renewal of his/her character.

                                                                                                                             I Ching Wisdom, Volume II- Wu Wei


Okay, since you took the time to read all of the characters of a "Superior Person", here's a little change of pace (treat) for you.  A few pictures from my recent trip up the coast of California....and don't even think of peeking at them if you skipped the last section.

LA traffic...must be a family picnicking on the side of the road up ahead.

Point Fermin Lighthouse.

Korean Friendship Bell. Actual bell is in the background.

Point Hueneme Lighthouse.

On my way hiking back from the Point Hueneme Lighthouse I caught a glimpse of a ship passing just behind it.  Remember that lighthouse must be 3-4 stories tall!

Only in California....or Arkansas.

Gaviota Campground.

All the comforts of home....small is better! 

Another view of Gaviota, this time from the pier.

Santa Barbara

Drafting a tanker truck.

Pelicans at Morrow Bay!!

Rincon....in my opinion, the most beautiful "rights" in the world.

Professional photo of Rincon from above....see what I said about beautiful.

Little hut, fire pit and hammock at Rincon Beach.


There was a band at church today called  O.Y.I.E. Music.  Great sounding!!! They work with schools helping students to enjoy the power of "positive" music.  The following information is listed on their website http://wwwoyiemusic.com  check it out.

O.Y.I.E. Music (Our Years In Eternity) was founded by Lamar Lacañgan, former member of Kindred 3, who believes that music needs to take a complete paradigm. Partnering with local schools, O.Y.I.E. Music strives to bring music back to its original purity. People young and old will enjoy music’s richness and beauty. The creative young company seeks to be the answer to today's controversial views of music.

In today's world, music programs are lacking in school curriculum. Schools fortunate enough to have current music programs will be discontinued in the future due to budget cuts. Why is today's music filled with hate, negativity, sex, drugs, and violence? Why do so many people of the world feel like there's no one who can relate to them? Why do kids feel like they have no answers? The answer is that they have not experienced the power of music! Music can make a heart sing! Music can bring joy and laughter! Music can heal a broken heart. It can provide therapy for the soul. It can unite or divide nations. The most important thing music can do is provide understanding. Whether it's emotional, physical, educational, or spiritual, music allows others to see what has been kept within. It enables others to hear what cannot be seen deep inside one's soul.

O.Y.I.E. Music offers an alternative voice and stands firm that their positive messages will be heard throughout the world without compromise of education, sound, production and quality. Teaming with some of the world's greatest Grammy-Award winning and Grammy-Nominated producers, arrangers, writers, musicians, vocalists, and executives, O.Y.I.E. Music is quickly becoming the company known as the light amongst the darkness. With innovative approaches and youth to grow, their musicians, teachers, engineers, students, and artists are elevating music to another level.

This team has the courage, hope and faith to challenge ears and souls of people across the globe. Clearly a team that has been set apart, O.Y.I.E. Music brings a new perspective to the “WORLD OF MUSIC!”


Okie Dokie....looks as though I'm going to be taking a little break from my website....going on hiatus (can we print that on the internet?) for a little while.  Going to forgo my traveling and some of my volunteering for a short period of time.  

I leave you with the following question I heard in church this morning...."Are you taking your heartbeat and your breath for granted?"


Here's a link to a video of a news item concerning a person volunteering her time for our soldiers.....once again I realize how little I do compared to others:)



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