Journey to a High School Reunion — Seventh Grade



Our 7th grade yearbook was dedicated to Miss Oldroyd. It mentions that she had been at the school for 5 years.  If my math is correct that means she started the same year the Lightfoots came to HCS. Miss Oldroyd is still there, and we might get a chance to see her and thank her during the reunion this summer, if we plan things right and invite her nicely.


So, 5 years then, 5 more years through the rest of our high school, and then 30 years to reunion — 40 years of teaching for Miss Oldroyd?

Anyway, I have to admit right now that I’m coming up rather memory-less about anything that happened during 7th grade.  Even staring at the pictures in the yearbook doesn’t bring much to mind.


I am amazed at the number of pictures of myself that I can find in the yearbooks.

Although I think the picture of me on the class picture page is just a closeup of the picture from the music page. Or if not a closeup of the same picture, a closeup from a picture taken about the same time at the same event.


So, tell me, everyone, who has specific memories of our 7th grade year — the first year at the TTBHS building for our class.

Cow manure and truth.


Be Swift, Be Precise:

An ode to animal husbandry . . .

Originally posted on madgeniusclub:

I spent about ten hours helping to pregnancy test 700 cows today. It’s the sort of lesson in reality everyone should take. The cows have to be brought in to the cattle yards, (which are concrete floored, ridged, pole and rail fenced with hardwood (to allow a little bend and yes, they are softer more flexible than metal. The cows have microchips in their ear tags, and there is backpack reader so one can keep count. The vet uses a backpack ultrasound. He also uses a shoulder-high glove for the purpose of being able to stick his hand in to the shoulder up a cow’s hind end. The crush itself has hydraulic help (but still takes a strong man). Anything else is done by the same means as it was a century ago. We use pieces of polypipe instead of stock-whips (which make a noise and not much impact.) The…

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No Dogs on Bicycles


Okay, Quick silly sign for today’s blog:



No Dogs on BicyclesThis sign comes from a beachfront park in Cazenovia, NY.  I got it off a friend’s Facebook page.  Look at rule #6.  A lot of people were having a lot of fun with this one:


  •  I have seen it … the sign I mean
  • Fortunately, it’s only prohibited in the Waterfront Area. Apparently, dogs can ride bikes throughout the rest of the park. 
  • That’s a good thing because Henry has really been wanting to ride his bike!
  • Mine ride bikes, don’t all dogs? Lol 
  • How is one to report all accidents to lifeguard without talking to said lifeguard?
  • I’ll have to let my lawyer friend answer that one… he is good with the complexities of the english language on these things!
  • Smoke signals are out too – since there is not smoking.
  • Maybe we’ll have to send notes with the monkeys on pogo sticks…
    • Are dogs allowed to ride skateboards?

    • Probably in the park area but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be allowed on the water front!
    • What about other animals on bikes? This is too unclear.
    • My girls are I are having a blast with these rules.
    • It is funny!
      I read the sign, and the responses, to Betsy, and in doing so, think I finally figured out what the sign was supposed to say:  No dogs OR bicycles in waterfront area.
      Anybody else have a better idea of what was really meant?
      P.S. — I think the monkey’s on pogo sticks is a great ideas. Chimpanzees escaped from our local zoo for a bit this past week — maybe we need to discuss chimpanzees on inline skates.


Palm Sunday Brunch



Today the Contemporary Life Sunday School Class of Avondale United Methodist Church sponsored its Palm Sunday Brunch fundraiser from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the church’s Wesley Hall.


My family got there right at the 9 a.m. opening, so the kids could get to Sunday School at 9:30.

The brunch consisted of bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs (with salsa and cheese for toppings), mixed fruit, and then the pastry/dessert table.

My kids don’t eat eggs, but my daughter ate many of the dessert “bacon and eggs” ( two pretzel sticks with a button of white chocolate holding them together in the middle with a pastel M&M on top to simulate an egg easy side up).

The tables were decorated in purple and yellow with festive bunny rabbits as centerpieces.



There was a nice crowd while we were there, and then we went off to choir and church, where the Anthem was “The Palms.”



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Follow the link below to hear “The Palms”


The brunch, of course, went on briskly during service, and had another wave after services. We normally don’t stick around after service, but we did again today, since there was a youth parents’ meeting at 12:30.

So enjoy these pictures, and the music. Hosanna to Palm Sunday and the Palm Sunday Brunch.


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Ten Years in the Planning — Four Hours in the Execution


I’m a happy camper — satisfied with the results of a city project — satisfied with the performance of the private contractor the city hired to do the water main replacement in front of our house.

I have done several blogs over the past few months (starting in November) about the city’s project of replacing our small water mains in our neighborhood and the neighborhoods around us.

From the start we were very satisfied with the work done by the private contractor, and with how sensitive they were to the residents. We never had any problems getting in or out when they were working on our street. They always saw us, and other residents, and let us through at the earliest opportunity.

Measuring the ditch before starting the project.

Measuring the ditch before starting the project.

My only complaints with the project were two-fold:

  1. When the water main burst it went for days with no one from the city doing anything. During that time the silt and sediment that it caused plugged our culvert pipe at least twice, and for all I know the pipe still is plugged or mostly plugged. And when I filed 311 notices about it (311 is the city number you call to report things the city needs to respond to that aren’t 911 type items), no one came out. The only city person that did come out was in response to someone else’s complaint about me — that I had allowed my culvert pipe to get plugged — something that could have gotten me fined by the city. As previous blogs indicated, this leaking and plugging occurred during freezing winter weather with water flowing across our street and creating and icy hazard.
  2. Communication. There were several times during the project when people were supposed to notify us about various stages of the project. The only communication we got was the initial communication that they would be doing the project, and communication that we initiated. We never knew when they switched us over to the new main (which should have entailed shutting our water off). I had to ask to find out that the ditches in front of our houses were to be returned to the same status they were in.  I mentioned that ours had been concrete lined (though it had heaved over the years and been broken in several spots), and had to finally ask to confirm that they were actually going to concrete it (when I initially mentioned the concrete, the response was that they needed to go back to the original survey pictures to see if they showed the concrete). And after they poured the concrete, I had to call to finally verify that they were fully done with the concrete. I wanted to know, so I could start my own landscaping project.

    Digging the trench for the boards

    Digging the trench for the boards

So now the rest of this blog is going to be about my landscaping project. That is what the subject line of the blog refers to.On Friday, I called the contractor for the water main project, and he happened to be in the neighborhood when I called, so he stopped by, checked it out, and when I went out to talk to me, confirmed that their concrete work and earth-moving in the ditch was complete.

I was able to talk to them for that 5 minutes because I was working from home on Friday. So after everyone got home, and the regular work day was ended, I took an hour break to run over to Home Depot to pick up supplies for today’s project. Nathan came with me, and his insights helped me use the bungee cords we had to safely get 10-foot-long boards safely fastened onto a 5-foot-long trailer to bring them back home. Then it was back to work work until midnight to finish up a project.

I intended to get started on the project this morning, after going to a men’s breakfast with Nathan, followed by going to our church’s book club with Betsy. But I barely got out of the book club before receiving a notice that the work work project had issues with the files I sent and I spent a couple more hours resolving that. So the ditch project didn’t get started until this afternoon.

Placing the board and stakes.

Placing the board and stakes.

What is the ditch project, and what does the subject line of this blog mean? Well, ever since we moved into this house 10 years ago, I have had the idea that I wanted to put a border at the bottom of our front yard slope. Rains come by and slowly erode the slope. My thought was that a border of boards would hold the slope in place. But I never got to it.Over the years I talked to several people at Home Depot, church, and other places, who all gave me different ideas, none of which were exactly what I had in mind. So the project lay there in the idea stage. Then the water main came through and dug everything up, and now they laid new concrete down. It seemed to perfect time to execute. The earth is softer and easier to dig, and it is also in  more danger of eroding because it has been dug up. The concrete I would be putting the boards against is also both straighter and more level that the previously heaved concrete

Last night, before heading to Home Depot, we measured the length of the ditch, to figure out how many supplies to pick up.  We picked up 8 5/4 by 6 inch by 10-foot pressure treated boards, and 4 12-packs of 12-inch stakes.

Refilling the dirt and tamping it down.

Refilling the dirt and tamping it down.

This afternoon I took our pointed shovel and started digging a small trench, to bury the boards about 2 inches in the ground right next to the concrete, with 6 stakes per board in front of it. I dug the trench, Nathan helped me place each board and the stakes, then Nathan pushed the dirt back around the boards and tamped it down while I continued digging the trench for the next board.

View of the whole length of the ditch with all boards down.

View of the whole length of the ditch with all boards down.

We did this for 4 hours straight. Nathan worked steady, solid, consistent, with one short break. He put in what would have amounted to a half-work day in the work-a-day world. I was very impressed by how well and consistently he was able to work.

I expected to be more frustrated with the project than I was (projects of these types generally have things that don’t go according to plan for me and take longer than expected). As my projects go it was actually smooth. That and having a consistent worker with me made it about the best home improvement project I’ve done.

Whole wall completed and ditch being swept out.

Whole wall completed and ditch being swept out.

The concrete was fairly smooth, but the edge wasn’t quite as straight as it appeared.  Sticking to the edge meant that the border meandered a bit. Didn’t turn out straight. But it achieved its purpose of edging the slope and holding the dirt from eroding.

The weather got warm today while we were working outside.  I expected it to be in the 70s, but didn’t realize until we came inside that it was actually 84 degrees. So that explains all the perspiration while working.

We have the potential for rain tonight. So the border and new concrete might get their first real test. The rain and T-storms are forecast to continue through tomorrow, and then on Monday it turns into rain and snow.

Wall finished and ditch swept.

Wall finished and ditch swept.



Selective Theory


As the final class for my communication master’s degree I will have to do a master’s thesis or master’s project.

Some people in my current classes are already talking about different ideas, and the professor is encouraging people to focus early.  I haven’t found anything specific I want to focus on.

Then yesterday I had a thought, that linked to some other thoughts from the past year or so. I have the germ of a quasi theory that might be worthwhile. Or it might not.

It all comes from the phrase “selective hearing.” You know, the stereo-typical husband has selective hearing where his wife is concerned.

Spinning off that, for the past year or so I have described myself as having “selective vision,” an inability to see things that are right there in front of me.

Yesterday someone complimented me on having a great memory, and I realized that was true, and it wasn’t.  I have “selective memory.” As I told the person, I have very good memory about the things I decided I need to remember, and then relegate other things to the categories of 1) that is something I look up, or 2) that is something I go to someone else (specific) to ask in a question.

Which got me to wondering if this sense of selectiveness, in what we hear, see, remember, fits into a theory of communication, or theory of how technology affects communication, or of how people shape technology, or something.

At least I have one idea. Maybe I’ll come up with something better by the time I need to.