Topsy Turvey World!!

Well I bet you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth huh? Well, here I am!!
It has been busy and hectic here around the gravel pit. As many of you know Patrick's Dad was in the hospital for a little over a week, ruptured appendix. That sure kept us busy and totally changed our normal rountine around here. But thankfully he is home and pretty much over it all. After that little adventure it has just been a little difficult getting back into the swing of things, but I am almost there. When I decided to start this here blog I figured I would post about once or twice a week and I think over the next few days it will be back to that. Thanks to you who emailed me complaining I wasn't adding anything to the blog, it brought a tear to my eye, someone was actually reading it!! LOL.
Buckle up and stay tuned, it's a coming!!

(the pic truly shows how i have been feeling lately, and in real life it is little james at 2 years old. Not much has changed has it?)


And A Goodtime Was Had By All !!

Well here it is, Sunday evening, THE Sunday evening which ends our long weekend for July 4th. I really hate to see this weekend end, it has truly been so much fun.

Starting with what we did on Friday to celelbrate the 4th, Saturday we met Patrick's family for Dim Sum when they arrived back in town from Vegas. From there we took the niece and nephew to the Santa Monica Pier in well of course, Santa Monica!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day and there were tons of people out everywhere. Now
one thing I usually look forward to on beautiful crowded days at the beach on a day like this is...yep you guessed it...getting to see all the great looking guys that go to the beach on days like that. So when you have a 13 year old nephew and a 10 year old niece hanging with you, you have to be a little careful, but trust me, it can be done...and it was!! And trust me....they were everywhere!!!!! very nice

For those of you who have never been to the Santa Monica Pier, it is really just one great big amusement park. We walked around taking in all the sites and ended up with the nephew and Patrick riding the roller coaster and the niece and I riding the ferris wheel. It has been ages since I was on a ferris wheel but it was so much fun.
We always have a great time where we take those twowith us and Saturday was no exception.
We have been taking them with us places these past 8 years and I have to say now that they are older, it is more fun. Finally they can go the bathroom by themselves!!
When they were little, I was always the one that got to take the neice to the bathroom. Thankfully, those days are OVER!!! lol
After the Pier we ended up in West LA at Islands to have some yummy burgers before we headed home. I think we all slept well last night, we had laughed so much all day.
Really, a good time was had by all!!

This morning (Sunday for those of you who lost track) we really did not know what we were going to do for the day when our best bud, Timmy, call and asked if we wanted to go over to Long Beach and have lunch at Hamburger Mary's. It was their big opening day and of course we said YES. Shortly there after Timmmy showed up at our place and we were off to Long Beach. We were a little too eager to get to Mary's it seems because we showed up before they were opened(oops!) so we drove around Long Beach a little and then headed back to Mary's. Now again, for those of you who have never been to Hamburger Mary's or for those of you who have never heard of Hamburger Mary's,it is basically your Gay Hamburger Joint...same as a straight hamburger joint, just much moe FABULOUS!! and a whole lot more fun!! Now at the Mary's in LB,
there is a Drag group on Sundays called "The Lunchenettes", way too much fun.
They entertain from time to time while everyone eats and when they are not entertaining they are walking around the table socializing. We loved them.
One big event that did happend today is.....yours truly had just a tad bit too
much champagne in his Mimosa and before you know it, I had a REAL good buzz going on. (My friend LB would have been so proud of me, you will hear more about LB in
another post one day, let just say she and I have been know to put away some
great amounts of alcohol together in our day!! ) I have not drank in a mighty long time but today I was buzzing around Mary's!! and loved it. Patrick and Timmy were doing a little buzzing of their own. We had a nice lunch and more Mimosas but
sadly to day by the time we left my buzz was pretty much history, and a good thing to, I was the driver today!!

After a fun time at Mary's, we headed on over to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Since none of us had been then, we thought it was ok. It is a nice Aquarium, but if you have ever been the Montery Bay Aquarium in Northern California, you are gonna think this one is really small. But we enjoyed it, we decided it would be better if we went back on a day when there were not so many kids and not so many parents pushing strollers who did not know how to do that in a crowd.

Now sadly, the weekend is winding down and work is looming on the horizon, but that is ok, we can always look forward to the next long weekend ahead of us.

Have a good week!!

p.s. In the above picture, I am the one on the left.


A Birthday Kinda Day!!

I have mentioned here before that I have a younger brother. He has seemed to have been around for just about as far back as I can remember. There is a brief period of time I can actually remember it was just my Sister and I, but then he starts coming into the picture all of the sudden and has been around ever since.

Now after I was born, or so I have been told, the Doctors told my Mom it was pretty near impossible for her to have any more children since I was a pretty big baby (NO jokes in the comment section ok!?) I had done some damage to her baby carriage department. So in 1955 when things did just not seem right to her, the Doctors thought it might be possible that she had a tumor. Well folks, today that tumor turns 52, and I am proud to call him my little brother.

Now with all the love we have for each other now, I hate to tell you it was not always so. Yea we grew up together in a very loving family and when we were little we played with each other and when you look at all the pictures of us when we were little, you see two smiling perfect little boys who look like little angels...wrong!! You see my brother Steve and I were really different in alot of ways. While I was pretty quiet and easy going, Steve had a temper. Yes! Can you believe
behind that sweet smile of that child he had a very bad temper. Now I am not trying to tell you here I was a perfect child, no, I did have my faults (if you can believer it), but I can say I did not have a temper. When we were playing cowboys and Steve jumped out from behind the tree in the front yard and shot you, you better just say you were dead. If you argued with him that
he had not shot you, you better be prepared for the consequences, such as him walking up to you and slamming you in the face with the butt of his toy metal pistol and tell you,"OK, now you are dead". Don't believe me, let me show you the scar I still have in my chin to this day. When Steve said you were shot, just be shot, ok?

There were several little incidents that I remember growing up with my little brother. As we grew older I grew taller but Steve was always shorter than I was. He was a slow grower my Mom always said. The summer I graduated High School, I went away for the summer to a Business School. When I came home, at the airport, I really did not recongnize him right at first because he had really grown during the summer and he was almost as tall as I was! The thing I did recognize though was he was wearing my shirt!!

Since he started High School the year I graduate, I was off working and going to School and stuff and for a time we were not as close as we had been. As we grew older it was very easy to see
we were totally different in more ways than one. But we still loved each other the same.

I ended up moving away and he has continued to live in the very same area we were born and grew up in. We would call each other from time to time but we mainly kept up with each other through Mom. When I would come back to visit we would always get together and hang out and stuff. But it was when we were both in our 40's that we started once again getting that bond back that we had as kids. But I could not call him my little brother any more, he is as big as I am! For the past several years, we talk to each other at least once or twice a week and trust me they are not short phone calls. Each time we talk it is just like a visit from home, as he says.
He has a wicked sense of humor, worse than me, and can remember a funny joke forever.
We usually spend most of our calls laughing. I have honestly had to pull my car over on the side of the road a few times when we have been talking and he is telling me a joke. It is hard to drive
when you are laughing so hard you are crying.

I have really proud of my brother. He has a great wife, Nancy, and great little boy named Morgan who is 3 if my memory is right. He also has 3 grown children, Sarah, John and Kathryn and several grandchildren, who I honestly can not remember their names but I know who they are when I am around them!!.

So today, Happy Birthday, Stevie. It has been a great journey together these past 52 years,
and I am looking forward to being your big brother for many, many more years. And as you tell me everytime we talk, "Take good care of you, you are the only one of you I've got!"

I Love You.....Happy Birthday.

p.s. And as for that temper of his, well its still there, it has just mellowed with age!!!



Well here we are, the end of a really beautiful day here in Sunny Southern California. Patrick and I just finished up having a little Bar-B-Que/Cookout here at the house, just the two of us. His family is away for the weekend so we have the whole place to ourselves, which is a rarity. It has been nice. We are getting ready to watch a movie in just a little while, "Eating Out", no is it not porn!! All around us we can hear all the illegal firework going off all over our neighbor, you see, it is TOTALLY against the law to shoot fireworks in LA, BUT, you can buy them, you just can't fire them off, I have always found that to be a little interesting. Also there are many many sirens of police cars and fire trucks in the distance, I an already tell ya, this is going to be a long night!!

For those of you who do not live in Southern Cali, it really was a beautiful day. Earlier today I drove over to San Pedro to attend the ringing of the Korean Friendship Bell. I am not going to go into much about the Bell in the post, it will have one all its own very shortly, but I do want to
tell you it was a very moving experience for me. The Bell itself was a gift from the people of Korea to the US in 1976 to honor our Bicentennial. It sits on a hill over looking the Pacific Ocean
and the setting itself is breathtaking. The Bell is only ran 4 times a year, July 4th being one of them. Several years ago around Thanksgiving, Patrick took me for a drive around San Pedro and we stopped at the Bell. Ever since then I have always wanted to go to one of the times when they rang it, I really wanted to hear what it sounded like.

So we all met around 10:30 this morning, all 300 of us and the Bell. It was a foggy morning when the
program started but by the end the Sun was shining in all its glory. There were speeches and songs and flag waving. Now to be honest with you, it has been a very long time since I have
been anywhere where we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Star Spangle Banner, but sing we did. As the program was in progress I looked around and was watching the reaction of different people in the crowd, some of us were sitting and some were standing around the hillside. Many of the crowd were older men and woman who had served in the Armed Forces during WWII and the Koran War. Many of them were Korean Americans who had served and they came to the event proudly in their uniforms. When the time came for the presenting of the colors (the Flags), the Korean Ameicans were the first on their feet. As we said the Pledge of Alliance, there was a young man sitting close to me with his parents, and he was wearing a cap.
An older lady sitting close turned to him and asked him to please remove his hat as we said the Pledge. Another lady sitting directy in front of me kept wiping the tears from her eyes as we said the Pledge and sang the Star Spangle Banner. I was so moved. Here I was sitting in the midst of a group of people who really sacrificed parts of their lives so I could freely sit where I was this morning and celebrate the birth of America. I was sitting with a group of people who really understood what the Pledge of Allegence was all about.

Mostly these days all we hear about our Country is in what bad shape She is in. Lately all you see in the news and on TV is how people all over the world seem to hate us these days. We really hear very little about how GREAT our America is anymore. But She is STILL the greatest nation on the face of the earth. If it wasn't for the USof A, most of the countries who say they hate us, would not be as well off as they are.

So I hope you will join me, in remembering all the Great and Wonderful things there are about
our America. And when you hear all the crap that is being said about her, I hope you will just remember what an honor it is to still live "in the land of the free, and the home of the brave",

And O Yeah, the sound of the Friendship Bell ...is outstanding!!

Happy July 4th, Happy 232nd Birthday America!!