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my autobiography
by michael lawrence hallsted

this page has the newest entries on top, so it flows from the end to the beginning.
[[ so this page is better for returning / recurring readers ]]
if this is your first time here, this other page is identical to this one,
except that the newest entries are on the bottom, so it flows from the beginning to the end.
[[ making it more appropriate and better for first time readers. ]]

to be continued

 

chili    added on Sunday, March 23, 2008 < : the 1960's : >
ok, ( and without missing a beat ) here is another recipe from the old mission cook book. this one my mom submitted. it's called crustula, and it is a fried cookie. crustula is an old family recipe, going back forever it seems like.
 
when we were kids back in the 1960's, every summer we would pile in the car and head to arizona to visit our relatives. my grand mother, my mom's mom, would always have this cookie around her house. basically, it's this hand made dough, cut into strips, fried, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
 
my own mom made it a few times, but it's pretty labor intensive, and when there are six kids to make cookies for, they don't last all that long for the amount of labor involved, so my mom did not make them too often.
 
mmmmm, fried doughy sugary goodness!! what more could a kid want!
 
i was always told that crustula was a yugoslavian cookie, and i grew up with my grandmother from yugoslavia meaning that my mom is full blooded yugoslavian so i am 50 percent yugoslavian. now that yugoslavia is no longer a country and is divided up between the different states, it should mean that i am something else besides yugoslavian. i understand that in my mind, but conceptually, the various states and their differences just have not sunk into my mind and i get them all confused.
 
i do know that my grandmother is from the town of Dubrovnik, so i'll just call crustula a Dubrovnik cookie and leave it at that.

and that's it. being a kid can be quite tasty at times!!
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

chili    added on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 < : the 1970's : >
ok, some more food items, recipes if you must. food is a big part of being in a family, and our family ate quite a lot, especially when us four boys were in our teenage years.
 
back in the 1970's, we lived in san juan capistrano and our family attended the old mission catholic church and us kids went to the old mission catholic grade school. all of this conveniently located on the grounds of the old mission in san juan capistrano. at some point during this time, a bunch of moms from the school and the church collected up their favorite recipes, some one typed them all up, and put them in a spiral bound recipe book, called (who could have guessed) the old mission cook book, which they then gave away to anyone that wanted one. my mom still uses this cook book, and this next recipe comes from page 29 in it.
 
this recipe is nothing special, it's just layered jello, but again, it's one of those things that my mom is the only person that i have ever known to make it. in my family, when someone mentions jello salad, we all think of this layered jello instead of that fruit immersed jello thingy. and... according to the recipe, it's actually called "rainbow salad", so i'll call it jello rainbow salad.
 
the jello rainbow salad was submitted by bee comb. so i would like to say a public thank you to bee comb for a great idea and recipe.

what you end up with:
you now have 10 thin jello layers making one very multi colored jello rainbow salad, which is actually very delicious.
though the glass/pyrex baking pan is not necessary, it does make for a great presentation.
this has been a family favorite for many many years.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

city    added on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 < : early 1980's : >
have you ever witnessed something that was amazing? every great once in a while, we seem to be fortunate enough to see something that makes you go "wow". they almost seem like little minor miracles, and if just for a brief moment, it brings the wonder back in life.
 
this was during the early 1980's, so i would have been in my early 20's, but heck if i remember exactly when it was. it was one of those non events in life, that would not have effected me, one way or the other, but it was pretty cool to see it.
 
what follows is the prerequisite setup to my non event, closely followed by the undramatic conclusion.
 
i was driving home on the freeway, probably late afternoon or early evening. i was in the freeway lane that is next to the slow lane, and the traffic was lighter than normal, but still there was a good flow to the freeway and there were not a plethora of big empty gaps between the cars. as i looked ahead on the freeway, i could see a rather large piece of wood in the lane. i also glanced off to the right and there was a highway construction worker standing on the shoulder of the freeway next to his truck, waiting for traffic to clear enough so he could go retrieve that piece of wood.
 
i remember thinking that he was going to have to wait a long time before he could get that piece of wood out of the freeway. he only had to cross that one freeway lane, the slow lane, to reach the wood, but the gaps were just never large enough to allow him to get it.
 
and it wasn't like the piece of wood was smack dab in the middle of the lane and all of the cars were running over it. the wood was off to the right side of the lane by the lane stripe markings, so it was actually out of the flow of traffic, but it could still be dangerous if someone did not see it and tried to change lanes where it was.
 
and speaking of that piece of wood, as i got closer to it, it looked just like a fence post, 4 inches by 4 inches, and around 3 feet to 4 feet long. so, for being in the middle of a freeway, it was like this big huge honking piece of wood. fortunately, it was lying close to the striping marks, almost parallel to them at a slight angle, so it was easy to avoid running over this big huge honking piece of 4by4 wood at freeway speeds.
 
so there we have it, a piece of wood in a lane on a moderately busy freeway with a worker off to the side waiting for the traffic to clear so he can get it out of there.
 
now for the anti-climax... as i approached the wood in my lane on the freeway, i slid over to the left side of the lane and drove by that big honking piece of wood without incident. i was still wondering how long that highway guy was going to have to wait until he could reach it safely. i looked up into my rear view mirror after i drove by, hoping that the cars behind me would also see it and miss it. there was a pickup truck behind me in my lane, not close but a bit of distance behind. the pickup truck also slid over to avoid the piece of wood, but not quite enough. the back tire of the pickup must have barely grazed the wood, because i saw that big huge honking piece of wood spin straight across the slow lane, rotating around about 4 or 5 times, and came to a complete stop right beside that highway worker.
 
actually, that was quite a sight to see. that piece of wood shot right across the freeway lane and stopped right beside the guy who was trying to retrieve it out of traffic. it was one of those mild "wow, that's cool" moments in my life. and i mean right next to the guy, all he had to do was take one step to get to it, then bend over to pick it up.
 
it's still pretty cool now as i think about it. i did not really pay attention to how the wood was angled in the lane to allow that to happen [[ i'll leave that up to the mythbusters ]] i just wanted to avoid hitting it. anyway, that's why i call it a mini-miracle, since it turned the situation into a non-event, but in a cool way.
 
oh, and before i forget, i was traveling east on highway 24, right after you exit the caldecott tunnel, somewhere between orinda and lafayette in contra costa county, california.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

city    added on Sunday, April 15, 2007 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
this is another small departure, but still relevant to my life's story. growing up, my mom made 2 food dishes that seem to be... not necessarily unique to my family... but i have not met anyone else that makes them the same way as my mom.
 
the first food item is something that our family has always called brown rice. my mom never made white rice. growing up, when rice was served, i always had brown rice to eat at the dinner table. well, it's not brown rice, per se, but white rice that ends up looking brown. here is how to make it.

that's it. you now have brown rice!! serve as a side dish with any kind of meal. personally (and for myself) i like any kind of meat with my brown rice; steak, lamb, pork, and sausages all work equally well. i cut the meat up into bite size pieces, mix it all in with my brown rice, then add generous amounts of real butter to it. mmmm mmmm goood! that's a meal in and of itself.
 
now let's talk about potato salad... another food that i grew up on.
my mom's potato salad is not the mayonnaise mess that one finds in almost all grocery stores and delis, where it feels like 14,000 gallons of mayo was used to make it. my mom does use mayo, but you would not know it if you ate her potato salad. it is a very simple recipe, and it does not contain any mustard. now, take out your favorite mayonnaise and add 2 or 3 large scoops of mayo. with a large serving spoon, gently stir and mix it all up. if it looks like you need more mayo, just go slowly, add a scoop, mix it up, and see what it looks like and how it tastes. same thing with the pickles, olives, eggs, and pimentos, if it looks like you need more, add in a small amount, give it a couple of stirs, and see if it made a difference in the taste and look of it.
 
and that is all there is to it, an awesome potato salad where people can hardly tell that mayonnaise was even used.
 
you know, growing up, it never occurred to me that other people might do things differently. i did not know any difference, and since that was what my parents did, i just thought everyone did it that way. well, i should actually say that it's one of those things that never crossed my mind until i got older and started meeting different people. in particular, college was a big eye opener as far as new foods were concerned; but, to quote alton brown ... "that's for another show."
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.
 
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
oops, i have corrected the potato salad recipe... i was going from memory when i first listed it in april. i just had the pleasure of helping my mom make the potato salad a week ago, and i have adjusted the recipe to what it truly is, and my mom agrees with it. sorry about that.

 

city    added on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
oops, sorry about this 2 month delay, but real life will do that to you. and did i mention that i am only one year into my self imposed 47 year dead line :)
 
as a child, this is something that must have caused me .... well ... not pain really, but flustered, blustered, consternated, something ... since i still remember it and think about it.
 
ok, so how many of you know who bing crosby is? some white guy who had a rather successful career making movies and music. now, how many of you know who bill cosby is? some black guy who is a successful comedian, movie and tv star. i grew up listening to and watching both of them, and i knew who they are/were and that they both looked vastly different, besides the fact that one is white and the other black. but, you know, there was a period of time where i could not keep their names straight. i have no idea how long or short this period of time was, but i was calling bill -> bing, and then calling bing -> bill. and i even... kind of.... sort of... thought that they were the same person for a while... guess those glamorous hollywood types all look the same to a little kid. crosby cosby bing bill, who knows, maybe they are the same person.... i'm relatively sure that my parent's thought "it was cute"; it is mildly amusing, even as i think about it today, but it must have been frustrating for me, since it's one of those thoughts that i tend to think about once a year, for who knows whatever reason. i'm just glad i was able to figure out who was who and get it straight in my mind.
 
since i thought i was just talking about food habits in an earlier post... here is one food habit i grew up with that has made some people wonder why i haven't kicked the bucket yet. to put it simply, i don't refrigerate my butter. ok, i guess i should explain myself. my dad grew up in a time when most people did not have refrigerators. iceboxes were common enough, but refrigerating one's food just was not a common occurrence yet. what did this mean? my dad grew up never refrigerating his butter. so as i grew up, my dad kept this habit. sure, if you buy a pound of butter from the store, you stick it in the refrigerator; but the current stick of butter, in use, is kept on the kitchen counter until it is used up. i thought this was normal behavior, that is, until one grows up and goes away to college. then i found out that everybody, except for my family, always kept their butter refrigerated; and that my dad's butter behavior, which i have adopted, is odd, to say the least, and in some people's opinion, very unhealthy, and they wonder why our whole family has not killed over due to some disease from leaving the butter unrefrigerated.
 
my fifteen minutes of fame!! http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2005/edition_12-04-2005/ask_marilyn_0
 
well, it's perfectly safe, as long as one uses common sense, and salted butter, so don't try it with unsalted butter. i can also attest to the fact that this works with margarine. i still use salted butter, but my dad has switched to margarine, and i know for a fact that my 76 year old dad leaves his current stick of margarine out on the kitchen counter with no ill side effects. he has done it his whole life.
 
what is it exactly that we do?? well, go to the store and buy yourself a pound of salted butter (or margarine), you know, that type that comes with 4 sticks to the pound. when you get back from the store, you put the pound of butter (or margarine) in the refrigerator. go get your favorite butter dish, and unwrap one stick of butter (or margarine) and set it in your butter dish. now, set that butter dish on your kitchen counter or table. that's it. the stick of butter (or margarine) will not go bad and it will not melt down and run all over the place. it will actually maintain its shape and texture and be nice and spreadable. then, to make sure that you never run out of soft butter (or margarine), when your current stick is almost used up, go get a new stick out of the refrigerator and put it in the same butter dish right next to the current one. wipe the butter dish with a paper towel if you feel like it, but it is not necessary. i will, however, run the butter dish through the dish washer about once a month. also, a covered butter dish works better, but is not necessary.
 
all six of us children grew up in a household where the butter dish was left out on the kitchen table, and i have done this, for myself, as an adult. today, if you walked into my dad's house, you will see 2 butter dishes sitting on the kitchen table, one with a stick of margarine on it, and one with a stick of butter on it, and both dishes will have been sitting out for several days, and quite possibly for up to one, two, or even three weeks.
 
again, the funny thing is, i thought this was normal behavior until i grew up and found out that most people don't do this, and in fact, i don't know of any one else that does this who is not a family member. but then again, i also have a family member, my older sister, who has shunned this practice. we affectionately call her "the butter nazi" since she makes my dad put the butter dishes in the refrigerator, whenever she visits. but we still love her anyway.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

spiral    added on Sunday, December 17, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
here are a couple of miscellaneous events from my childhood...
 
i think i was in second grade at the time. nothing very dramatic happened. i just fainted in church during a mass. it took place during the school day, so we were all in mass for some reason; well, back then, pretty much any occasion was reason enough to attend a mass. i was kneeling on a kneeler in a pew, and the next thing i knew, i was outside the church sitting on the side step with my head between my knees. from what i was told, one moment i was kneeling, next moment i fainted and just fell over right in the pew. a teacher picked me up and carried me outside where i could get some fresh air. i guess a couple of the teachers were pretty concerned, and evidently, the kid next to me was spooked out, but once i came to, everyone was fine.
 
pain seems to make a more lasting imprint on my mind. but i guess it's that way for pretty much every one. my one attempt at wearing shoes without shoe strings [loafers] made just such an imprint on me. this was most likely fourth or fifth grade, and for some reason, i got the bug in me that i had to have school shoes that did not need shoe laces. i probably got the idea from looking through the sears catalog. well, my mom finally relented, i needed some new shoes, so i got a pair of loafer type dress shoes for school.
 
i guess i was happy to have them, i don't really remember. but i do remember why i stopped wearing them. during school recess, there were different organized games we would play. we would also race each other, no prizes, no points or anything like that, we would just line up in two columns and race one another to some random object then back. well, as you can probably imagine, wearing loafer type shoes is... was... still is... not a good idea when running foot races. i was in the middle of a race when one of my dress loafer shoes came loose and flew off my foot and i lost my balance and i crashed and burned rather spectacularly. i fell down and hit my head hard on the asphalt ground... (remember, catholic school - no dirt, no grass, just asphalt for a playground) i ended up with this huge bump on my head... and torn pants, scrapped knees and elbows and i bled pretty good too.
 
i have a feeling my teacher talked to my mom and told her that it would be a good idea for me to wear proper shoes tied with shoe laces to school from now on. and i have a feeling that my mom agreed with my teacher since i don't remember ever seeing my dress loafer shoes again.
 
thankfully, i eventually out grew my clumsy stage of life. my mom told me one time, that whenever the school called home, her first thought (even before finding out the purpose of the call) was hoping that i did not bang myself up too bad or hurt myself some how... yet again.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

spiral    added on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
well, you know... it's not like i am avoiding my early childhood by not writing about the 12 years that i spent in corona, california; it's just that, as i have mentioned before, i just don't remember all that much. so i'll just meander and ramble here and there.
 
i have talked about little league more than enough, so unless i remember something spectacular, there is no need to talk about it any more. i do know that i spent a lot of time in cub scouts and webelos, but heck if i can tell you much about what i did during my scouting career in corona. about the only things that i remember are a couple craft projects... elmer's glue and dried macaroni figured prominently in many of them. the other big craft project was the yule log candle holder. you get yourself a presto fireplace log (now-a-days, it would be a duraflame log). drill a couple of holes in it for candles, build yourself a base so the log does not roll around, get yourself lots of glue, plastic holly berries, cloth ribbons, or anything else that faintly resembles a christmas theme, glue it all together, and you got yourself one fancy table decoration that your parents will proudly display in the center of the dining table.
 
i also remember being in a science club for a couple of years. from first grade through seventh grade, i attended saint edward's catholic school, and i think it was in the 6th and 7th grades, that i was part of an after school science club. i remember 2 things related to the science club... one was a camping trip we took to the joshua tree national park [[ http://www.nps.gov/jotr/ ]] a fellow classmate made this trip memorable. chris gordon ( i'm relatively sure that was his name) liked to climb; while at the park, there was this one area of very large rocks and he was climbing all over them. somewhere somehow, he found one very large huge boulder... he started to climb it... and slipped and fell. chris was probably ten to twelve feet high when he slipped, and he fell onto a flat large rock area on the ground. what i found amazing was that he did not hurt himself, a couple of minor scratches and that was it. he just picked himself off the ground, brushed himself off, and said something like... you just have to relax your muscles and your body when you fall and you'll be fine. you know, i saw him fall and was just astonished that he was perfectly fine... pretty amazing.
 
the other science club activity was the fiber optic lamps that we made. this was pretty trippy stuff back in the late 1960's. our club leader brought in these kits that had all these hundreds of different fiber optic strands, some bases, light sources, and other things... i just remember experimenting with the strands and shining light through them and making a functional lamp out of the stuff. that was pretty cool.
 
i'm trying to remember just what my life was like up through age 12... the major event each day -> was going to school. the after school activities consisted of -> little league, cub scouts, homework, playing, and church activities. then during the summer, the major event each year was taking the family trip to bisbee, arizona. pretty exciting stuff, don't you think :)
 
so here goes some more fragments of my memory... being an altar boy at saint edwards chruch...
 
i was born and raised as a roman catholic; i attended a catholic K-8 school, went to mass every sunday with my family, and was a good boy and memorized the main religious education book at that time for us catholics, the baltimore catechism [download the baltimore catechism for your perusal, i scrounged around the internet and found a text, pdf, html, and word doc verisons, though the word docs are formatted funny. both the zip file (1.4MB) and the 7z file (1MB) contain the same things, they are just different methods of file compression.
 
i do remember that i always wanted to be an altar boy at mass when i was old enough. why? heck if i know, but i wanted to be an altar boy, and an altar boy i became... i think... you had to be in the 3rd or 4th grade before you could be one, but i really don't recall just what the requirements were. and you know... it's like... us catholics are required to attend mass each sunday and holy days of obligation. [[ for your edification: Canon 1246 - Sundays & Holy Days ]] additionally, at saint edwards, there was also a daily mass before school that one could attend. the days leading up to christmas and easter included many feast days meaning more masses and liturgical ceremonies to attend. so one could spend a lot of time in church. i figured that participating in these religious ceremonies was much better than just being in the congregation. so i became an altar boy. but.... what do i really remember about it? not much, i do know i liked being an altar boy, and i don't remember anything very memorable happening during all of these masses and liturgies and weddings and funerals and feast days... but that's ok, that's the way it should be.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

spiral    added on Sunday, October 1, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
why oh why... the things we do as kids... there was a brief period when i went around selling greeting cards door to door. heck if i remember what age i was, but in the back of some comic book, there was a company that advertised great prizes for selling their greeting cards. in particular, they had a fancy headlight set for a bicycle that caught my eye. so i signed up, they set me their samples, some order forms, and i started going door to door. i don't know how long it took me, but i know that it took many... many... many... houses before i got enough orders for my bicycle headlight set. so right now i would like to thank all those women who took pity on this young kid trying to peddle mail order greeting cards. i'm relatively sure that they did not need them, but they ordered the cards anyway, so thank you! the other mildly amusing thing about this is that i roamed all over our extended neighborhood, by myself, knocking on as many front doors as i could. i was not accompanied by my parents or my older brother or anyone... it does seem like it was a simpler time back then. well, i did live in a generic, white, middle class suburbia, so that might have something to do with it. anyway, i do remember getting my headlight set in the mail. it was one of them fancy double headlights. i know i put it on my bike and used it, but i don't remember much else after that. i also lost interest in selling greeting cards once i got my bike headlights. probably just as well, too, that was a lot of work just for some bike headlights.
 
and speaking of ads in the back of comic books... us kids spent a lot of time looking at those ads, and one such ad that caught our attention was for a metal detector. my older brother was quite interested in getting it, and i thought a metal detector would be pretty cool, too; but man was it expensive... i actually have no idea how much it really cost, i just remember this general feeling of wanting an item that seemed very expensive for young kids. my brother and i pooled our money together and did buy that metal detector. i don't recall much about the metal detector once we received it; i just have vague memories of walking around our front yard with it seeing what we could find.
 
and speaking of paging through catalogs looking at cool things and wishing you had boat loads of money... i do know that us kids spent a lot of time looking through the sears catalog, both their general merchandise catalog and the christmas wish book catalog. getting a catalog from sears, for the new year or the new season, was a highly anticipated moment. we would browse through the entire catalog just looking at all of the pictures. we did that a lot as kids, but it was fun; and we knew we could never buy any of that stuff, but it was some good times. the other interesting aspect was learning about all sorts of stuff that i never knew existed. actually, thinking about it now, that was a big draw for me. as a kid, it was like the sears catalog had everything known on earth in it, and if you "read" the sears catalog, in addition to looking at the pictures, you could learn a lot about the different items, their uses, the different varieties sizes and shapes, and other tidbits strewn throughout the big book. well, i enjoyed myself at the very least.
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

spiral    added on Sunday, September 17, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok, here is something a little different... during my first 12 years in corona, i only had two instances of ... brushes with... close run ins by ... you know, i'm not sure at all what to call them. they were not "life or death", though they have been for some people... they are a brief moment of time where life as you know it could go any number of different ways, most of them not very good either, and my two incidents are separate from all of the times where i just banged up myself from my own clumsiness. tripping over your own feet is vastly different than random encounters with a stranger.
 
you know all of those public service annoucements and public service commercials cautioning drivers to be careful, at the start of each summer, when driving through residential areas, of the possibility of children playing in the street or children playing by the road and suddenly running into the street, chasing a bouncing ball... you get the picture, children are not predictable and have no sense of danger or dangerous situations.
 
well, they could have made me a poster child for this. i only did this once, but sometimes, once is all that is needed. oh... i don't remember how old i was, six, maybe seven, maybe eight years old. i was riding my bike in the front yard, just going back and forth and doing circles, when i then just blasted down the drive way and into the street and right in front of a moving car. luckily and fortunately, the woman driving the car was paying attention, slammed on the brakes, and was able to stop the car quickly as i zoomed right in front of her. surprisingly, i remember the shocked look in the woman's face and i had a brief and basic self realization that what i just did was a bad thing. it was all over within a few brief seconds, and that was that. i don't remember being more careful afterwards or anything else really, i just remember that brief moment. now, 40 years later, i fully realize that i got lucky that day, and whoever that woman driver was, thanks for paying attention and stopping the car in time!
 
the 2nd incident happened during a little league practice at some neighborhood park. one part of baseball practice is hitting practice, where everyone gets their turn hitting baseballs. there are always many foul balls that need to be retrieved. during this particular practice, there were a couple of foul balls that were tipped off behind the field that bounced across the street. i went to get the wayward baseballs, so i went down to the street corner and waited for some traffic to clear before i crossed the street.
 
while i was waiting on the street corner, a car pulls up in front of me with a couple of younger guys in it. the guy on the passenger side rolls down his window and asked me if i wanted a ride. i just said no thanks because i had to get back some baseballs for our team practice. the guy in the car said ok, and they drove off. i went and retrieved the foul balls, then told my dad what happened. i don't think my dad got too excited, but he did ask me if i knew better than to get in a car with strangers. i'm sure i said yes, and that was that. i don't have anything pithy to say about this; i'm just glad that it was non-incident.
 
well, this has all been rather cheery. so i'll end with a joke to lighten the mood a bit. this is one of those jokes that make the rounds in email, so i receive it at least once or twice a year, always from some one different. hey, and if you have a favorite joke, go ahead and email them to me. my email address is michael at hallsted dot com.
 
[joke]
This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas but there are more Catholic churches there than casinos. Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.
 
Since they get chips from so many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan Monastery where they are sorted. Then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in by a member of the Monastery, for whom this special job was created.
 
This is handled by the chip Monk.
[/joke]
 
until the next time, toodles.
and may peace doggedly follow you.

 

spiral    added on Monday, September 4, 2006
well, to be completely fair about this, i guess i should fully explain how i came to rely on fans (and background noise in general) during my sleep hours.... i'm jumping ahead here to the mid 1990's, during the time when i lived up in olympia, washington. i was a resident of washington state from october 1992 through august 1996. i first lived in tenino, washington for about six months, then i moved to olympia for the remainder of the time.
 
a nice way to describe my place, in olympia, would be to use the words "small and cozy". now feel free to translate that to mean "tiny". it was a small little duplex unit; it did have a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and a living room, but the total size of all rooms added up to around/about 450 square feet, total. hey, it was all i could afford at the time. and you know, it was enough space for one person, and i lived quite comfortably in it for close to four years.
 
let's see now, i did have a twin bed in my bedroom. if you push the head of the bed against the middle of one wall, that left about 2 feet of space to the left and right of the bed, and i had about three to four feet of space left between the foot of the bed and the wall.
 
also, there was no door, nor was there room for a door between the bedroom and living room. i also did not have a door between the living room and the kitchen. i did, though, have a door on the bathroom which was accessed through the kitchen. i used 3 sets of hanging beads as my door to the bedroom, so it was like walking through a forest of beads. the only other thing to note about my place was that, yes, i did have a yard, but it was not fenced in and was completely open (thankfully, my very nice landlords took care of the yard).
 
this small paragraph is the reader's digest version of my last 3 years in olympia... (not in any particular order) i got a comfy couch, had a girlfriend, started using the bedroom as storage, bought several mattress pads and thick blankets and started sleeping on the floor of the living room, was given a puppy dog as a gift by my girl friend's sister, and that puppy dog was the genesis of my using background noise for sleeping at night.
 
the puppy was a pure bred american eskimo, named smokey. here is a picture of one. not having a fenced yard meant that smokey became an indoor dog (side note: when i moved back to california, i gave him back to my old girl friend). smokey was very friendly, but he loved to bark, which is fine except when one is trying to sleep. almost every single night, i would be woken up by his barking when he heard a noise outside. that is not an ideal situation, so i did two things, i bought a noisy fan and ran it at night, and i played a radio on very low volume at night. that solved the problem and smokey no longer barked during the night waking me up. the other thing i ended up doing is leaving a night light on. every once in a while, i would wake up to use the bathroom, but i did not know where my dog was sleeping, and after accidently stepping on his tail, i bought a night light so i could avoid stepping on a sleeping dog.
 
essentially, my last two years in washington, i slept with a light on and multiple sources of background noises. when i moved back to california, my first night back, i thought... i don't need to do that stuff any more. well, after 3 nights of little or no sleep in a dark and quiet room, i got myself a night light, a noisy fan, and a radio, and have not had any trouble sleeping since then. i eventually replaced the radio with a computer playing mp3's, since i don't like listening to commercials during my sleep. also, i started using a short string of christmas lights, instead of a traditional night light... the multiple colors are very soothing.
 
anyway... it was a very long story, but without the background, it's very hard to explain why one does what one does. until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, August 20, 2006
since i started talking about fans, i've become a big believer in the movement of air in one's personal space over the last 15 years or so. not just bathroom fans, but those ceiling fans, table top fans, the vents and blowers in your car, pretty much any method to move and circulate the air where ever you might be. so yes... drum roll please... i'm a big fan of fans! [[ bet you didn't see that one coming. ]]
 
in my bathroom, besides the bathroom fan in the ceiling, i've got a table top fan. in my bedroom, i've got another table top fan that gently circulates the air while i am sleeping. i've also got another fan in my computer room, where i do tend to spend a lot of time roaming the internet and other computer stuff. there is also a ceiling fan down in the living room / dining room area. the white noise from my bedroom fan also keeps out those odd noises, at night, from the neighbors and anything else that goes bump in the night. i've gotten much better sleep since running a fan at night.
 
the thing is... with those odd, sporadic noises at night, it could be just a dog barking next door, or people getting in or out of a car, or planes flying over head, or ... you know, i never noticed any of this stuff in my younger days, guess i have developed into a lighter sleeper as i have aged. it's amazing how much of this stuff is blocked out by the white noise of a fan. i also have an older computer in my bedroom that i use for playing music at night. the volume of the music is low, but audible, and the computer itself has fans that are quiet enough. so i have a computer, music, and a fan all going at night, and i can get restful, beautiful sleep.
 
and... for you young kids, there is a moral to this story. if you stay single throughout your life and never marry, like myself, you'll develop odd and weird habits as you grow older, that don't have easy explanations. just thought i would let you know so you will have something to look forward to. until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, July 30, 2006
yeah, i know, it's been 2 months. during the month of june there were visitors coming and going, then july showed up and it was hotter than all heck. when i started this, back in november 2005, i was only working one day a week. trying to write down my life's story gave me something to do which also seemed useful. when february 2006 rolled around, i got a full time job, and i kept my one day a week job and moved it to saturdays... so i've been working 6 days a week now for over 6 months. i don't mind, money is always a good thing to have, it just doesn't leave a lot of time for other things... like updating this page with new entries.
 
now, if you were clever and noticed that i did not put up a time frame reference right next to the add date, give yourself a thousand points. as one grows older over the years, one can develop preferences in your routines during day to day living. so my entry today is not about another childhood memory, but it will be about one aspect of modern living that i have come to appreciate. well, appreciate might not be the exact word that i am looking for, but it is close enough.
 
noisy bathroom fans... yup, i have actually grown rather fond of those loud bathroom fans. modern society is quite a noisy place, and the white background noise that fans produce can be soothing. in california, if a bathroom does not have a window, then it is required to have a fan in it to vent the air. having been born and raised and lived most of my life in california, most bathrooms that i have used do not have windows, so they have a fan, and that fan has always been on the noisy side. and you know, that's ok by me. it's not like some one can stand outside of the bathroom and not hear anything that goes on inside; quite the contrary since some one standing outside of the bathroom door can hear quite easily anything going one inside. what i like is the sense of privacy one gets inside of the bathroom that has a loud, noisy fan. from inside of the bathroom, it is almost impossible to hear anything that goes on outside of a bathroom with a fan in it, and that is ok by me! a bathroom is a good place to relax and do some thinking without being distracted by whatever is going on outside.
 
i've been in a few huge office buildings with those large quiet bathrooms, and it almost drives me nuts because you can hear what you are doing and what every one else is doing. it almost seems like people are waiting for a toilet to flush or those electric blow dryers to run before people feel comfortable enough to do their business. one should not feel tension if you want to use one of these bathrooms, and i think that a couple of noisy bathroom fans would be so much more relaxing for those who use them, and to a certain extent, reduce stress levels, enabling them to experience a small slice of peace in an otherwise hectic day. well, it makes sense to me.
 
it does sound a bit crazy, but i do love loud, noisy bathroom fans. they allow for a sense of space and a sense of privacy that i have come to enjoy. until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, May 28, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
wow, i did not realize it has been 4 weeks since the last entry... life has been busy lately, but that is always good and i won't ever complain about that. anyway... have you ever had those random thoughts that come out from no where, and make such an impact that you never forget them. well, while we lived in corona, i had two such thoughts.
 
i had the first memorable thought when i was in 2nd grade; well, it could have been 3rd grade, but it was one or the other. any how, i was sitting in church at saint edwards, with my family, attending our regular sunday mass. the priest was giving a sermon about the mysteries of the catholic church. he started talking about how some things can not be understood by us mere humans. the priest then mentioned the holy trinity, god the father, god the son, and the holy spirit, how they are separate, yet the same, and despite the best thinkers that the roman catholic church has produced over the ages, no one understands the holy trinity, who it is, what it does, that it is just a mystery, and we have to accept it as faith because it is unfathomable. the priest then said that when we die and go to heaven, the mystery will be revealed to us and we will then understand it. at this point, i remember thinking quite clearly... "why do we have to die and go to heaven just to understand the holy trinity, we should be able to understand it right now." and that was my thought, why i should have a thought like that as a kid, i have no idea. but i still remember it 40 years later, and it is something that i have given thought to over the years, from time to time. i do have a few ideas of my own about this, but i'll save that for another time.
 
the second memorable thought happened a few years later, probably in 6th or 7th grade. the monsignor at saint edwards church loved to play golf, and my older brother or myself would often be his golf caddy. basically, we would walk around the golf course with him and pull his golf clubs on one of those 2 wheeled golf carts. it was a fun thing to do as a kid. it was during one of these golf outings that i had my thought. the group playing in front of us, well, it wasn't a group, it was a lone guy playing golf by himself. i just remember watching him and not thinking anything about it. towards the end of the round, this is the thought that struck me, "it must be lonely to play golf by yourself. hopefully, i will never be that lonely." and that was my thought. being in a family with 6 kids, i did not have any clue what it was like to be by yourself or to do something alone and by yourself. 40 years later, i have a good idea why i had that thought. though i can get along in a group of people just fine, as i grow older, i look forward to those times where i am by myself. it is just very nice to be by yourself; it's very relaxing. so i can fully understand why that guy was playing golf by himself; he probably looked forward to a relaxing round of golf and did not feel lonely at all. so why i had that kind of a thought is beyond me.
 
< : university of california at berkeley, 1976 through 1981, ages 17 through 22 : >
i'll add this one last thought here, that i had when i was a student a uc berkeley. it was during my 4th year of school at berkeley, and i was walking back from class along the streets, not thinking about anything in general. i then had this very strong thought that was a very clear thought, "i would like to make a unique contribution to the world." and that was my thought... as i kept walking, i thought to myself... yeah that would be nice, to be able to make a unique contribution to the world that no one else has done. but the thought did not last long after that. i still remember it though. what was interesting about it was the flavor (or the color) of the thought which seemed to be along the lines of some grandiose world impacting act or contribution. well... i've spent most of my life doing accounting and bookkeeping for small local companies, nothing earth shattering here; but i am only 47 years old, so i do suppose that there is still time for something to happen. guess i'll just have to wait and see what the fates bring into my life. until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, April 30, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
one last little side note about little league.... well, it's not about little league per se, but the car my parents had during that time. my parents had a 1968 maroon volkswagen bus. now that was a great car! i've got many childhood memories associated with this car. back then, there were no seat belt laws, so we could get the entire little league team, and all of the equipment inside of our VW bus. quite handy when we had a baseball practice set up at a particular field, but due to many other teams also practicing, we might have to move our practice to a different field. no problem with our VW bus... every one just piled in and off we went to a different playing field.
 
between cub scouts, little league, and school activities, we rode around in our bus constantly. there were many afternoons where a baseball practice was followed by a cub scout meeting or some other activity. our bus was handy because us kids could stand up straight in it, so we could change out of our baseball practice clothes and into our scouting uniforms rather easily, while our mom was driving us from one event to the next one.
 
and speaking of my mom, she never learned to drive until us kids started all of these different activities... little league, scouting, and different after school programs. so our VW bus was the car that my mom learned to drive in. and as a side note, that was the car i also learned to drive in. it did not have a lot of get up and go, but it was a reliable ride. my mom did not have to learn to drive, right away, since us kids always rode a school bus to and from school. and our school bus looked exactly like how a yellow school bus should look like... here is a picture of one § § § or you can look at this one. the school bus also came to our street corner, so our mom would walk us out to meet it in the morning and was always there in the afternoon when the bus dropped us off after school.
 
our volkswagen bus also had a special seat in it. well, i should say we made a special seat in it and we called it the pilot's seat. the driver's seat and the front passenger seat were individual seats and there was about a two foot space between them that led to the main passenger area of our bus. at home, we had a piece of furniture that fit exactly in that space. we called it a foot stool. it was a square piece of comfy fake leather furniture, about 2 feet wide by 2 feet long and about 2 and a half feet high, that you would rest your feet on if you were sitting on a couch and wanted to put your feet some where. it was also this odd yellow color that i have no idea how to describe.
 
anyway, that foot stool fit perfectly in the space between the two front seats. it was just the right size for a kid to sit on and it was low enough that adults could easily step over it to get to or from the front passenger seat back to the main passenger area. well, us kids called the foot stool the pilot's seat and it was always hotly contested to see who would get to sit it in when we drove any where in our lovely maroon vw bus. the pilot's seat was also far enough back from the stick shift so it would not interfere with the driver's ability to shift gears while driving. something us kids did not notice or really paid attention to, but i'm sure my mom and dad had thought about it.
 
it was just an awesome car for a kid... and if i ever get bags and bags of excess money just dropped off on my doorstep, then i am going to go out and buy me a 1968 maroon volkswagen bus... yup! well... it's nice to dream about it... until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, April 16, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
yes, more on little league baseball... all of the time that i spent catching for my brother, and watching my dad teach my brother how to pitch, i picked up a couple of interesting tidbits about pitchers. these 2 tidbits have always made sense to me, and i find it hard to believe that other coaches don't teach their pitchers the same thing.
 
my dad was a firm believer in teaching his little league pitchers how to throw different types of pitches in such a manner that it would not do any harm to their throwing arm. you have to remember that these are just kids who are still growing and physically developing; so throwing a curve ball the wrong way, over the course of one's little league career, could hurt the kid's arm and keep him from playing baseball later on in life. i don't exactly know the technique, but it involved keeping the arm (basically) straight and imparting a spin on the ball by slightly rotating the whole arm, as a single unit, rather than just cocking and twisting the wrist and/or the elbow. i remember my dad commenting on other pitchers, countless times, saying that a certain pitching motion was going to ruin a kid's arm, from the bending and cocking and twisting of their wrists or elbows, just to throw a curve ball in little league. again, i wish i knew exactly what it was my dad taught, but during the overhead delivery of the curve ball / slider, it was just a simple twist of the arm to make the ball curve. also, the pitcher held the baseball slightly different than for a normal fastball, so that the seams of the baseball helped give the pitch some more curve. the other nice aspect of this, kids learning how to pitch retained more control over the placement of the pitch using a simple arm movement, versus the torquing and flipping of the wrists that the other kids were trying to do.
 
the 2nd tidbit has to do with a pitcher's follow through motion. how many times have you watched a baseball game, professional, college, high school, any baseball game... after the pitcher throws the ball, they end up in some silly contorted position, that makes fielding a soft ground ball hit back to the pitchers mound some kind of super human event... here, my dad was fanatical about teaching his pitchers the proper follow through motion that would leave the pitcher in a fielding position after they threw a pitch. this meant that instead of only 4 infielders, there were now 5 infielders. it is unbelievable how many times i have seen ground balls go right past the pitcher, or even line drive shots beaning the pitcher, because they did not have proper follow through after throwing a pitch. all of the pitchers that my dad taught, knew how to throw a pitch, make a complete follow through with their arm motion, and end up in a ready fielding position, so that any ground ball or line drive hit back at the pitcher, could be easily caught for an out. my dad practically made this a mantra, and i always thought this made perfect sense, and i still do; but then, i did grow up with him as my father. but that's ok, i had a good childhood. until the next time, toodles.

 

city nite    added on Sunday, April 2, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok, more on little league baseball... you know, memory can be rather selective. while i was playing catcher, i'm sure that other teams tried to steal 2nd base and 3rd base, and i would think that some attempts were successful. that may be, but i do remember that very first time and successfully catching the runner trying to steal second base, with the help of my brother.
 
another way my brother helped me, while i was playing catcher, was in fielding popped up foul balls. you know... only in little league, and it definitely helps when your dad is the coach... but if there was a pop up any where near home plate, my dad told my brother (who was pitching) or the third baseman to run in and catch the pop up for me, since the shorter distances in little league make this possible. with any kind of a pop up, i would usually get my feet mixed up and fall over trying to catch it. my dad figured out quickly that it was easier just to have some one else catch my pop ups... that and my dad wanted to make sure that we got the out.
 
after playing catcher my first 2 years in little league, my dad moved me to playing first base my last 2 years of little league. just because i played a different position, that did not mean i could miraculously catch pop ups without falling down. so any pop up over by first base, my dad had the second baseman come over and catch it for me... got to get that out... and... maybe save your son from some embarrassment.
 
now, it might seem that my dad was coddling me in those younger years, but that is not true at all. in little league, you make use of what you have. as with being a catcher, at first base, i could catch anything that was thrown at me. kids playing little league are not the most accurate throwers, but if it was within my reach, i would catch it, even those thrown short and in the dirt. i could imagine that my dad found this quite useful.
 
the other thing that i could do quite well, was hit the ball. i don't remember what my batting average was for my first two years of little league, but my batting average for my last 2 years of little league was quite good. both those years, my batting average was in the .470 to .490 range, and i would hit the ball hard, too... which was good and bad. i had six home runs my final year, no triples, i don't remember getting any doubles, but i had lots of singles. i could hit a line drive shot and one hop it to the outfield fence, but since i was such a poor runner, my dad was more concerned about me getting thrown out at first base than in me trying to get a double out of my hit... he just wanted me to make sure i made it to first base in good order. almost any other kid would have had doubles out of the balls that i hit, but i was happy with my singles. also, i was able to drive in a lot of runs with my hitting. my dad always had a winning team, and i know we came in first place a couple of those years. i also know that i made the all star team my last 2 years. i did not start on the all star team, i was used for pinch hitting, but that was alright by me. until the next time, toodles.

 

lightning    added on Sunday, March 19, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok enough of this sappy, self-recriminating, psychological hog wash.... let's talk about little league baseball. my dad was my coach, and i do mean that he was the coach of my little league team. this worked out well since my dad fully realized what i could do and could not do. [[ also, as a side note, my dad's height worked well for little league. during baseball practice, he would always pitch our batting practice, and since he was 5 foot six inches tall, it worked out well since he was not much taller than most of the players, so our batting practice was some what realistic. ]]
 
my older brother was also on the same little league team. my brother was a born pitcher, and would end up being recruited by and pitching for stanford university. [[ another side note... my brother's pitching career ended suddenly at stanford due to a freak frisbee accident. he was bouncing a frisbee up and down off of his finger, doing some tricks, and some how sprained the middle finger on his throwing hand. that might seem rather minor, but a baseball pitcher needs to be able to grip the baseball properly, and he could never grip the baseball the same way again after his accident, thereby losing his effectiveness as a pitcher and ending his career. really weird but true. ]]
 
so how does any of this relate to me... well, to be a great baseball pitcher, one needs to practice a lot. at home, my brother would practice pitching constantly, and guess who was his catcher... i was. my dad made a pitcher's mound at our house, made some home plates out of conveyor belt rubber, measured off the correct distance, and we had ourselves a semi realistic practice area for pitching. my brother would practice everyday, my dad would stand by my brother instructing him, and i was behind home plate catching him every day. my brother threw hard and fast, and his fast ball was always moving, never straight. so i grew up being my brother's catcher, and started my little league career as a catcher.
 
but... like i mentioned in my last post... well, let's just say that throwing a baseball was not something i did well. my first two years in little league, my dad used me to be my brother's catcher in games that he pitched. mainly... because... the other kids could not handle my brother's pitching and were scared to catch him because of how fast and hard he threw the baseball, but that did not bother me since i had always been his catcher at home.
 
however, during little league games, fast runners on first base try to steal second base whenever they can. during pre-game warm ups, it was rather obvious to the other coaches that they could, probably, steal second base when ever they wanted if i was the catcher. well, my dad knew this too, so to prepare for this, i was told to throw the ball back to my brother on the mound, and he would relay the ball to second base. i only remember this happening one time, but sure enough, some one tried to steal second base. i got the ball back to my brother who whirled around and threw it to second base in time for our shortstop to tag the runner out. i don't remember any one else trying to steal second base after that. until the next time, toodles.

 

lightning    added on Sunday, March 12, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
up to this point in time (meaning today Sunday, March 12, 2006), i've had 2 events that can be called life changing. the first one was of course, my double hernia operation and being technically dead for around 4 minutes. i talked about this in an early post (see the Saturday, December 3, 2005 post). i'm going to write more about this in a moment.
 
< : san juan capistrano, 1971 through 1976, ages 12 through 17 : >
< : university of california at berkeley, 1976 through 1981, ages 17 through 22 : >
the second life changing event happened to me much later in life, as i was getting ready to go to college. i had applied to and was accepted by uc berkeley. i had also applied for a dormitory room. all i had to do to get my dorm room was return the application by july 31, 1976, which was written on the application as 7/31/76. i looked at that, showed it to my mom, pointed at the date, and said that we had until august 31st to return it (8/31/76). well, as you can imagine, instead of getting a dorm room, i ended up being number 2000 and something on a waiting list for a dorm room. how was this life changing? well, if i had gotten a dorm room, i would have lived in the dorms my entire college life, and worked in the cafeteria the entire time... who can argue with free food. anyway, the people i would have met, the things i would have done, my whole college experience would have been centered around the people i lived with. instead, i ended up living in a boarding house, rented a room from a local family, lived in an apartment, lived in 2 different sororities (i was their houseboy), and joined a fraternity. my college experience was totally different simply because i misread the date on a form. i had a great college experience, but i do wonder who i didn't get to meet and become friends with, because of my slip up. and if i had not of misread the date, then i would have never met and become friends with the people that i know now... man, life is funny.
 
< : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
now, i consider my double hernia operation a life changing event because of the effect it had on my very fine motor coordination. i am fairly certain about this because i have five brothers and sisters who had no coordination problems. we were all very active in sports, and i know that i would have been a baseball jock through high school and college, just like my older brother. but little league and babe ruth baseball was as far as i could go with my skills. with baseball, i could hit and i could catch a baseball very well, but i could not run and i could not throw a baseball to save my life. well, i need to be going to bed here shortly, so in my next post, i'll talk about my little league baseball experience in more detail. suffice it to say that i know in my heart that i would have grown up a jock and been active in sports through out my life, if my fine motor coordination would have functioned properly; but because of my operation, it just was not meant to be. once i got to high school, it was rather evident that i was not meant to play sports. and as a side note... most all current computer games are out of my league too, since they all require precise mouse movements and or precise keyboard pressing. oh well, all one can do is figure out other things to do to pass the time and become involved with. until the next time, toodles.

 

lightning    added on Sunday, February 26, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
jeepers, i did not realize 2 weeks have past since my last post. this is another one of those - kids do the oddest things. evidently, i was always eating dirt as a kid. my mom remembers (since i don't) that if us kids ever went to a new playground, i wouldn't play at this new place until i had eaten some dirt there first. i'm not sure what i was checking for, or what i would have done if i did not like the taste of the dirt; but that is one habit that i have fortunately grown out of. and speaking of dirt lots, about a half block down from the beginning of our street, there was this dirt lot that us kids rode our bikes in. i don't remember much about that dirt lot except for the little hills that it had, and all the fun we had riding our bikes up and down over them.
 
another brief memory that i have is riding skateboards up and down our hallway in the house. i could never ride a skateboard the proper way... standing up and pushing off with your foot. also, i seriously doubt that our mom would have let us kids ride a skateboard in the house that way. compared to today, these skateboards would seem rather small. they were a flat piece of wood with 4 metal wheels on them, and they were painted red. we were small kids with little skateboards, so we would lay on our stomachs on the skateboards, and use our hands to push ourselves up and down the hallway. when you are a kid, one is easily entertained.
 
the other thing that the hallway was good for... was a bowling alley. again, i don't remember much except that we had plastic bowling pins and a plastic bowling ball, and we would set the pins up at one end of the hallway, and launch the bowling ball at them from the other end of the hallway. memories are funny things, if i went back, as an adult, and saw how big/small that hallway really is, i'm sure it would look rather tiny to me... just like i talked about my perceptions of our front yard. that hallway was a skate park to us, a bowling alley, and a place to run and play. i'm sure my dad could take four or five steps from one end of it to the other, but it was just the right size for us as kids. anyway, until the next time, toodles.

 

lightning    added on Friday, February 10, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
scars and scarring childhood traumas... i started out life with 3 scars from my double hernia operation: across the bottom of my stomach, on the left side of my chest, and just above my right ankle. if you ask my mom, she would jokingly tell you that i lived at the hospital emergency room, up until about age 10... guess it took me a little longer than normal to get my physical coordination up to snuff. however, i did escape childhood with only 2 more scars. i actually don't remember going to the hospital for them, or for any other reason; but i do remember the accidents.
 
ok... the first one... i smashed the top of my right index finger flat with a brick... i did not do this on purpose, it was an accident. i forget how old i was, probably five or six. a friend and i were playing with some bricks in our garage. we were just stacking them and arranging them. the garage did not have inside walls, so the studs were exposed. all this meant to me and my friend was that we could put bricks on the horizontal wood supports between the studs. well, i'm sure that you can guess what happened... one of the bricks fell off the wall and onto my finger. i started screaming at the top of my lungs. when my mom got out there, she said that my friend looked pretty shaken up. i don't remember much after that except that my finger had this huge round bandage on it forever. the only "fallout" from this is the shape of my right index fingernail. you know how all fingernails have a slight curve. well, that fingernail is completely flat, and it is still flat after all these 40 odd years or so. one nice thing, though, it is easier to trim and cut than my other curved fingernails.
 
the second one was less traumatic, left a scar, but is hard to tell that it is there anymore. ok, if you were standing in our driveway, facing the house, on your left, we had a very short brick wall between our front yard and the neighbors. it was like only 2 feet tall or something like that. we did not have one on the right, between our other neighbor's front yard, just on the left. and as i sit here thinking about it, i have no idea why anyone would build a brick wall that was only 2 feet high, separating the front yards, but only on one side. it just boggles my mind; evidently, the home builders thought that it added value, some how, some way. so... is anyone reading ahead here... as a child, i'm not the most coordinated person in the world, us kids always played in the front yard, and we have a 2 foot high brick wall... it's not that spectacular really, i was playing catch, with a baseball, with my older brother, and we were along the side of the yard next to the brick wall. he threw a ball that was off to my side. normally, one would just move over two steps and catch it. well, not me :) i knew i had to move over... the top part of my body started to move over... but i have no idea what my feet did. evidently, my feet were off taking a break, did not get the message saying 'hey, you need to move over to help catch a baseball', and i just fell over with my forehead banging right into the top edge of the brick wall. lol... man, i'm glad i did all this stuff to myself as a kid. i really don't remember any of the pain or trauma, and i really can't imagine my mom's thoughts and feelings everytime i whacked myself somehow and had to get bandaged up yet again. as a kid, memories fade quickly, and i never developed a fear of our little brick wall. i'm sure i was out there, in our front yard, playing next to it with out a second thought. as an adult, i think that i would be just a bit more cautious around it. anyway, until the next time, toodles.

 

spiral bw    added on Monday, January 30, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok, here is something else that is insect related. i'm thinking that this was a 5th grade or 6th grade science project. each year, saint edward school had a science fair, where kids from each grade would submit a science project, and different teachers would walk around and judge the projects and award ribbons for the best ones. i did my project on ants in an ant colony. we got one of those large, round, goldfish bowls, and my dad and i went out to his place of work, found a nice ant colony, dug it up, and dumped it all in the goldfish bowl, dirt, ants and all. in corona, my dad worked at a sand plant... well, ok, he was the chemist at a sand mining operation, where they mined sand which was then made into glass. anyway, since this was out in the hills, there were lots of ant colonies to choose from. i don't remember exactly how we closed off the top, probably with cheese cloth, but we secured the top of the goldfish bowl and went back home. this is actually a neat project to do with your own kids, but once you have a goldfish bowl filled with dirt and ants, you just cover the bowl with black construction paper and black cloth, so that no light can get through, then you wait about a week and the ants will dig their tunnels right next to the glass side [[ but don't forget to feed and water them ]]. it turned out pretty well; there were all these tunnels and ants scurrying all over the place, and you could see it all. i also did a written report talking about ant behavior, how to feed them and give them water, and other assorted ant facts. if i remember correctly, i got a blue, third place ribbon for my project. that was pretty cool. i do recall feeling good about my ribbon. alas, i don't remember the eventual fate of my ant colony, but i can imagine that my mom probably told my dad to take the ants back out to his work and set them free.
 
my mom and dad are both from the same small town, bisbee, arizona, but we lived in corona, california. so each summer, my parents would pack us kids into the car, and make a two week trip to bisbee, to visit uncles and aunts and cousins and a huge number of various other relatives. those vacations to bisbee were always a lot of fun... visiting a small town that was literally crawling with relatives and friends of the family. anyway, for this moment, i just want to touch upon one small aspect of these yearly vacations to bisbee. each year as our family would wander through the downtown area, there was always this drug store that had a nice selection of comic books. my parents would allow us kids to buy a few comic books a piece. i forget which comic books my brothers and sister would get, but i always looked forward to getting some new issues of the sad sack comic book. i have no idea why i liked the sad sack comic book so much, but it was indeed my favorite comic book for several years as a kid :) please note, any emails containing a psychological analysis of my behavior will be ignored :) well, ok, i'll read them, then i'll ignore them :) then i'll go find my happy pills and life will once again be wonderful and grand :) until the next time, toodles.

 

spiral bw    added on Thursday, January 19, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
one thing i do remember (though i don't recall my age or the radio station or anything really) but this one radio station always advertised a late night program called the purple grotto. hey, i had to be in bed by 8:30pm, and the purple grotto did not start until 11pm. yet, hearing the ads for it, the purple grotto just sounded like a cool radio show to listen to. i only remember doing this once, i guess once was enough and satisfied my curiosity, but i went to bed at my normal time and forced myself to stay awake so that i could listen to the purple grotto. now i am not sure how i worked it out... with the radio that is... my parents would let us listen to the radio while we fell asleep, and thinking about it, i'm sure this is where i heard the ads for it. but once we fell asleep, they would come in, check on us, and turn the radio off. so i'm guessing that i pretended to be asleep, and once my parents give us the final good night check, i turned the radio back on with low volume, and patiently waited for the purple grotto to start. i did manage to stay awake long enough... i heard the opening introduction for it and some cool background music... and then promptly fell asleep. at least i got to listen to the purple grotto once, i was happy about that.
 
you know, kids want the silliest things. in the back of some magazine or comic book, were all these different ads enticing kids to get their parents to buy stuff for them. one ad, that enticed me for some unknown reason, was for a cricket farm. you send your money in, and you got back a nice plastic container that had a bunch of live crickets in it. again, for some unknown reason, i just had to have me one of them cricket farms. so i did chores, and saved my allowance, and when i had enough money, my mom helped me to order a cricket farm. now here, i would like to thank my mom for doing things that she would not normally do if little kids were not involved... since my mom really does not like insects, but she was willing to let me have a cricket farm because i just had to have one... so... thanks mom!! well, as you can probably imagine, i was very excited the day that my cricket farm arrived in the mail. my mom and i put the package on the table and we opened it up together. much to my surprise, and much to my mom's chagrin, the company did not really secure the crickets in their own container very well. all of the crickets (three to four dozen of them) were loose inside the package, and the moment we opened it up, they immediately sensed their freedom and jumped out of the box and on to the table and floor and every where. well, my mom and i spent a good deal of time running around and recapturing my crickets and putting them back in my little plastic farm holder. good thing that my dad was still at work, since he probably would have just smashed my little crickets (he doesn't like them either) instead of helping to recapture them. anyway, i don't remember much after that, how long i had my cricket farm, or what i feed them. i just remember opening up that package, having all these crickets jumping out on to everything, and then having to scramble and recapture them. lol... until the next time, toodles.

 

spiral bw    added on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
well, i am not really writing something everyday, like i intended to. my updates will be only once or twice a week. so to help keep things straight, i'm going to add location and dates to the beginning of each post. this should help to make sense of all of the postings.
 
i will add one thing here concerning tv ... i do remember watching the tv show, laugh-in. what made this memorable was that us kids had an 8:30pm bedtime. laugh-in was on tv from 8pm to 9pm, so us kids had to go to bed half way through the show. we always protested but never prevailed. however, we were still able to watch parts of the rest of the show. i don't know if our parents knew what us kids were doing, but we tried to be sneaking about it. basically, our living room had the tv set in it. from the living room was a single hallway that led to all of the bedrooms. now, there was a door at the start of the hallway, that separated the living room from the hallway and the rest of the house. fortunately for us kids, this door had a see through grate in it, at the bottom. so we could sit on the hallway floor, look through the door grate, and see the tv. also fortunate for us kids, the couch that our parents used for watching tv, had its back towards the hallway door. the nice feature about this was that we could also tell when our parents got off the couch, so that we could scramble back to our bedrooms and get in bed... hopefully without them knowing that we were watching tv through the grate. anyway, once we went to bed, we would wait until we heard the hallway door close, then us kids would gather at the grate in the door and watch the rest of laugh-in. as long as we were quiet, and not laugh at the jokes, we could usually watch most of the last half hour of laugh-in. and as far as i remember, laugh-in was the only show that we would sneak out to the door grate and watch.

 

spiral bw    added on Wednesday, January 4, 2006 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
oh yes, our septic tank in corona... being a kid, septic tanks did not interest me much; but evidently, we had a soggy front yard for the first couple of years. and yes, it was under our front yard. what i do remember is that... when my dad dug a new septic tank in the front yard, it was this huge hole. he dug it about 12 feet deep, about 4 to 5 feet wide, and it ran about 15 feet long. he even dug steps into it, for the obvious reasons so that he could get in and out of it easily; but us kids thought that it was the greatest thing to play in. all of the neighbors first thought that my dad was building a bomb shelter ( remembering that this was the mid 1960's ) but it was just a septic tank. when it was put into service, it did fix our soggy front yard problem.
 
one time, i remember chasing my older brother rick; he was faster than me, so i rarely ever caught him. this one time though, while i was chasing him, i sprained an ankle. i remember this because i had no idea what a sprained ankle was. while i was chasing him, i remember falling down, then i tried to get up to chase him some more and fell down again. standing up / falling down, standing up / falling down... i did that a few times more, and then decided that something was not right. my brother finally went and got our mom who carried me into the house. my mom figured out what happened, and explained to me what a sprained ankle was while putting a bunch of ice in a towel to wrap around my ankle. i do remember watching a lot of television for the next couple of days.
 
it was also during my time in corona that i achieved a personal accomplishment.... or is it accomplish a personal achievement... anyway, one week, i felt this strong need to learn how to wink my eye. i have no idea what prompted this, but i had to learn how to wink. i just remember standing in front of a mirror... a lot... trying to wink one eye and then the other, over and over again. eventually, i got it down pretty good, and i am proud to say that i can wink either eye. ah yes, lol, it's those little victories in life that mean the most :)

 

columns    added on Saturday, December 31, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok, i located a copy of my birth certificate, so i can fill in some missing information. the name of the hospital was, indeed, the corona hospital, located at 812 main street, corona, ca. but like i noted earlier, it was torn down one week after i was born. i thought for sure that my birth certificate would list my birth weight, but it did not, only the time of birth ( 1:56pm ). however, i did find a baby book that listed the birth weight and length for all of us kids. it turns out that i weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces, and was 20 inches long at birth. the birth certificate also listed the address of the apartment that we lived in, briefly, before my parents bought the house.... so the first place that i ever lived at was 1441 west 6th street, corona, ca. it wasn't really an apartment, per se, as one would think about apartments in 2005, it was probably more like renting a condo. and if i had to hazard a guess, i doubt that those apartments still exist today.
 
another thing that i remember from corona, during the late 1960's, were all of the smog alerts we had. because of corona's geographical location to los angeles, with the wind usually blowing inland, and due to the mountain ranges surrounding the general area... the smog would blow in from los angeles and have no where to go. so corona (and riverside and surrounding cities) would get pretty smogged in during the afternoons. the smog did not stop any one from doing anything, but the air would get thick. i never noticed it, but other people could feel the smog in their lungs. you could also tell just how smoggy a day was when you could no longer see the mountains in the distance.

 

columns    added on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
for today's post, i'll just ramble about some things... not that i tend to ramble, but you'll get used to it. i got my first nickname while i was going to school at saint edward. the school janitor gave me the nickname, smiley. guess i was one happy kid who smiled a lot. i don't remember any one else calling me smiley, but that is what he always called me. i liked my new name, smiley, it felt good being called that.
 
the school also had a machine which i always found interesting, and since then, i have never seen anything like it. this machine looked kind of like those lawn mower tractors that one rides on, except it was a big vacuum cleaner (the playground was asphalt after all). some one would ride on it all around the school, and clean up the sidewalks and our playground by vacuuming up all of the loose debris that would accumulate on it. as a kid, it was fun watching it being driven around the playground. but alas, my childhood fascination with it did not become a fascination for lawn mower tractor racing as an adult.
 
i don't remember watching a lot of television, as a kid, in corona; but watching saturday morning cartoons was a ritual that all of us kids looked forward to. besides bugs bunny and the other looney toon cartoons, i can't seem to remember the names of the other cartoons off hand, so i'll have to get back to you on them. the other good time for watching television was during the afternoons, right after school, and right before dinner. reruns of the 3 stooges were hilarious, and the cartoons during the afternoon were the anime ones, speed racer, kimba, 8-man, and gigantor. us kids also enjoyed watching wrestling, live from the olympic auditorium. the one wrestler that i remember best was bobo brazil, a big huge guy who went around giving every one head butts. oh yes, and all of this was on a good ol' black and white tv set, no fancy color tv's for us. this was also when tv sets had all those tubes in the back of it. when the tv set would blow a tube, i do remember watching my dad take the tv set apart, label and take out all of the tubes, then we would head on down to the local thrifty drug store. thrifty's had a tube tester, and you would stick your tv tubes in it, one by one, until you found the bad one. once you got the replacement for it, you would stick all of the tubes back in your box, head back home, put the tv back together, and watch more cartoons. ok, i'm having a quick flash back for some of the names of the other cartoons... rocky and bullwinkle, cecil and beanie, george of the jungle, tom slick, super chicken, and the fractured fairy tales. and fortunately, my love of cartoons has stayed with me throughout my adult life :)

 

columns    added on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok now, while i lived in corona, california, i went to 2 schools. my first year of school was kindergarten, and the school year was september 1963 through june 1964. the name of the school was kimbell, and i don't know if it was called anything else. at the time, it was part of the corona unified school district, which is now the corona-norco unified school district. i actually went to their website to find kimbell school, but it doesn't exist anymore, so kimbell was either renamed or closed down. first the hospital i was born in, and now my kindergarten school... at least this is not a recurring theme in my life :) from kindergarten, i don't remember much at all, there is a faint snapshot memory of me in the playground, one sitting at a desk, and another one of nap-time... but that's it, nothing too exciting, so i won't dwell in it.
 
the 2nd school, that i went to, was saint edward catholic school, for 1st grade through 7th grade. fortunately, saint edward school still exists, this is their website. i started school there in the fall of 1964, in the 1st grade. at the time, most of the teachers were habit wearing nuns, the students all wore the same school uniforms, i seem to remember that my class was very large, that discipline was pretty strict and enforced with vigor. i was a good kid, though, and always got A's on my report card for discipline... the nuns were pretty good at putting the fear of god in you, so i behaved myself and stayed out of harm's way. again, here, i don't really recall all that much, just standing by my desk reciting something, and walking, in line, to the playground.
 
and speaking of the playground... the one thing i remember to this day is the merry go round they had. the play ground, that was on the school property, was all asphalt, no dirt or grass was to be found any where. man, and this merry go round... as an adult, thinking back, the only way to describe it is : death trap. lol, i wish i could find a picture of it... there was no bottom to it, so if you lost your grip or fell off the outside rings that you were sitting on ( while going round and round in circles ), you landed on the asphalt. some how, i stayed away from it, but i do remember watching the older kids riding the merry go round and wanting to ride on it too. also, i do remember riding on it one time, when no one else was around, and having my older brother push it... man... one time was enough. i don't recall feeling fear, but i do know that i never rode on it again... i must have been clutching on for dear life, as my brother was pushing me faster and faster around in a circle. anyway, i don't ever remember anyone being hurt seriously by falling off of the merry go round. i'm sure there were scrapped knees and elbows, but i suppose that was all part of the playground experience.

 

columns    added on Thursday, December 15, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
now i know that i could just go ask my mom for more details on some of this stuff, but i wanted to see, first, what i do remember. don't worry, i will be asking her to clarify some things, and i'll include these clarifications later on. my official policy is, except for miss-spellings, i don't plan on editing anything that has already been written down.
 
ok, so who else lived in my neighborhood... on the other side of the street, there was some kid, named bruce, but that is all i remember about him, except that he was bigger and older than me. the johnson family lived on a side street close by; they had lots of children, but i don't remember any of their names. one street above us, in a cul-de-sac, lived the kelly family. they had a couple of children, but i only remember mike kelly. mike was my age and we went to the same school; i remember riding my bike up to his house and playing with him.
 
and speaking of doing things in front yards... i don't know who she was or her family, but we had a championship baton twirler on our street. every afternoon, rain or shine, she was out in her front yard practicing her baton twirling moves and tricks. i know i was too young to appreciate her skill, but she must have been pretty good.
 
a couple of streets up from us, lived the grey family.... i think it is grey, other times i think that their last name is spelled gray... shoot, i can't really recall at this moment, but i do think it is spelled grey... and if any one can actually tell me the official difference between the meanings of grey vs gray, i sure would appreciate it. but i digress... the greys had a daughter, named susan, who was in my same class in school, and i remember being good friends with her. in 5th grade, we ran against each other for class president. i don't remember ever being class president, so susan must have won the election.
 
i'm sitting here racking my brain, and i just don't remember any body else at this time. our neighborhood was crawling with kids, and i remember that there seemed to be no lack of some one to play with. i guess names just aren't that important when you're growing up... you just had to walk out front, see who was outside, and ask if they wanted to play ball or something.

 

columns    added on Monday, December 12, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
it's rather interesting, really, thinking back to my early childhood, we did everything in our front yard. in fact, our back yard was smaller than our front yard. now a days, new houses have very small front yards and huge back yards, and families do everything in the back yard versus doing anything at all in the front. i'm sure psychologists and sociologists have a great deal to say about this trend in our society.
 
so who were the people in my neighborhood.... we were the 3rd house from the corner. on our side of the street, the 2nd house from the corner, next door to us, belonged to the bishops. i don't remember much about them except that they had two (or was it three) daughters, (and i don't remember any names either). i just remember that the bishops lived next door and that our telephone shared a party line with them. i don't ever remember playing with them; well shoot, we were a bunch of boys and they were a house of girls and what could boys ever possibly play with girls with...
 
next to the bishops lived the gillmasters (that would make them the corner house). i don't remember their parent's name, but they had 2 boys, ricky and jeff, that we played with all the time. ricky was the same age as my older brother, rick; and jeff was my age. we all grew up together, played together, and were the closest of friends, until my family moved from corona to san juan capistrano (the summer of 1971, after i had finished 7th grade). and you know, once we moved, i don't ever remember going back to visit them or writing them or anything.... it wasn't planned or anything like that... after we moved, the new school year started, new activities, new friends, life got very busy very quickly, and the old life just kind of fades away... there was only one person i kept in contact with for a few years after the move, a school mate, but that story is for a later time.
 
i just want to mention one last thing about my childhood friend, jeff. we went to different schools. i went to a catholic school and jeff was in a public school; so i don't know how he was treated in school, but i do know that now a days, he would have been labeled with a severe speech disability. i don't quite remember exactly, but he had a slight stutter and he mumbled all of his speech. it never bothered me and i never thought twice about it, and i do remember that i always understood everything he said. every once in a while, i remember having to concentrate when jeff talked, but other than that, it never crossed my mind that adults might consider that he was "different" from a "normal" child. we played together for years on end and had a grand ol' time.
 
i'll get to the other people in my neighborhood with the next post. toodles for now.

 

columns    added on Wednesday, December 7, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
ok, i'm sitting here thinking... what childhood memories do i have... i don't know how young i was, but i do remember that i was shocked to find out that my mom had ears. i guess my mom always wore her hair loose, and one day her hair was pulled back in a pony tail, and there her ears were. i still chuckle over this one from time to time. this is one of those faint memories where i don't remember anything except looking at my mom... doing a double take... feeling surprised... and thinking something along the lines of.... wow, my mom has ears.
 
there's a faint memory of a white, ford falcon station wagon sitting in our drive way. we had some banana trees next to our front door, i don't ever remember them bearing fruit, but they were as tall as our house. we had some Madagascar periwinkle flowers in our front yard, and i do remember thinking that it should be renamed to the Malagasy Republic periwinkle, since Madagascar had renamed itself (ok, i collected stamps as a kid.) [ side note: Madagascar was called Malagasy Republic only from 1958 through 1975, so i guess it was a good thing that the flower was never formally renamed ]. in our backyard, we had a level area for playing, and the back portion of our back yard was a hill sloping down, and the hill portion was covered with ice plant. our parents never let us play in the ice plant; they said that black widow spiders liked to live there. i also suspect that they did not want us tearing up the ice plant since the ice plant would not have survived very well with a bunch of kids tromping through it.
 
just exactly where was this house... i'll have to find out the dates, but my parents first lived in an apartment for a short time. then they bought a house in corona, where we lived until 1971, when my dad's company transfered him to san juan capistrano. i obviously don't remember anything about the apartment, but i do remember our house in corona. the address was 700 via josefa, corona, california, 91720, and our phone number was 707-737-7286. (the zip code and area code might have changed since then) it was a typical non-descript suburban house, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, with a septic tank. my parents had one bedroom, us boys all shared one bedroom, and my sister had the last bedroom all to herself. there was a front yard and a backyard, and the front yard was actually bigger than the back yard.
 
as a small child, i remember our front yard as being huge. i have never been back to the house since we moved away, so as an adult, i imagine that our front yard will be tiny compared to my childhood memories... but boy oh boy, we played everything and did everything in our front yard. baseball, football, basketball, rode our bikes, cowboys with our toy guns, war with those little green army men, 18 hole golf course in our front yard.... and we had every neighborhood kid playing with us in our front yard too. it's kind of odd thinking about it now, yet it's also kind of nice, but our front yard seemed to be the place where all us kids gathered to play. lol, we had it all, did it all and life was good! i do wonder though, just how small our front yard really was, compared to my memory.

 

columns    added on Monday, December 5, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
well, as one can imagine, there is more to this whole business of hernia operations and life changing events. one thing... some years ago, my mom was looking through some old records, and found the receipt from the hospital for my hernia operation. if i remember correctly (of course the insurance paid for it) everything... the operations, the hospital stay, the medicines, etc... the entire bill came in under $400 [ that's right, four hundred dollars ]. i'll have to find that again and post a copy of it. i could not imagine what that would cost now, just a scant 47 years later. well now, today is nov 18th 2015, and as promised, copies of   my 1958 hospital bill    the 1958 explanation of codes    my 1958 doctor bill
 
back to 1958 ... my parents were in the waiting room, kind of wondering what was going on since the whole process was taking longer than the doctor initially said. my mom doesn't remember too much, except that the first thing the doctor said to them (i guess to break the news) was that i made a short trip to heaven, but i came back and was doing fine. i can't imagine the emotions my parents were having, but it must have been one big roller coaster ride.
 
now, since i was only six weeks old, dealing with and going through the operation, itself, was not life changing for me; but being technically dead for more or less 4 minutes is probably the culprit here. i came through just fine except for very fine motor coordination. my gross motor coordination works well; by gross motor coordination i mean the ability to stand up, sit down, walk across a room, drive a car, things of this nature work well enough and i appear to be a normal person if you were to meet me. other aspects work well too, like speech, mental thinking capacity, socialization skills, behavior, and such, all seem to be fine :) note, any emails concerning grammar use and sentence structure will be ignored :)
 
however, fine motor coordination seemed to have taken a hit, but this is also odd, in and of itself. my hands are a touch spastic; handwriting for me is a torturous process. but in high school, i took a typing class, using manual typewriters, and i did very well and got an A in that class. but with electric typewriters and computer keyboards, i am more of a hunt and peck person, since i can not lightly rest my fingers on the keys. as a baby, my mom said i never learned to crawl correctly, as i always dragged one leg whenever i did crawl. when i was learning to walk, i fell down so often that my mom wanted me to wear knee pads. my dad would have none of that so i had to tough it out without knee pads. and i never did learn how to swim. as a young kid, i had many summers of swim class, and private swim instructions, but i never got out of the first beginners swim class. swimming takes decent timing and coordination between the different parts of the body, and i could never do that. back then (1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade), i did not have a fear of water. i liked being in the pool, and when the teacher would take us down to the deep end and have us practise going off the diving board, i did that with no problems. dog paddling was good enough to get me back to the pool side, though i do tend to remember that the swim teacher was always in the pool to make sure us beginners did not suddenly panic. nowadays, i won't even get near a pool.
 
anyway.... there are other examples which i will get to later. i do tend to think that my fine motor coordination got scrambled... because i do have 5 other brothers and sisters who have no such problems. and the only thing that happened to me and not to them was my heart stopping during the operation. oh well, always count your blessings and be thankful.

 

columns    added on Saturday, December 3, 2005 < : corona, california, 1958 - 1971, ages 0 - 12 : >
well, as you can well imagine, i don't really remember much of my life in those early years. in fact, pretty much everything under the age of 10 is not in my memory. i remember snippets of events here and there, but that's about it. i did have one major life event during this period, which has had a profound impact on the rest of my life, i was rather young at the time, so i don't remember anything, but this is what my parents have told me about it. ( and i 've got the scars to prove it too )
 
i was born with a double hernia. [ i must have been doing some heavy lifting while inside my mom :) ] anyway, the doctors wanted to wait a little while until they operated to fix it... something about growing some, adding some weight, and stabilizing before opreating. so, when i was six weeks old, the doctors decided it was time to fix my double hernia and my parents took me into the hospital. details are sketchy, but my heart stopped beating during the operation. i don't know if it was before/or during/or after they fixed my double hernia, but i tend to suspect that my heart stopped after they had fixed me up. and why my heart stopped, no one knows for sure. i tended to think it was an allergic reaction to the whole body anathesia that was used on me, but maybe not, who knows. also, this being 1958, they did not have those spiffy "jumper cables" that they place on some one's chest and zap the heart back into working fashion; so the doctors quickly decided to open up my chest and give me open heart massage to get it beating again. the doctors also did something else, which i totally don't understand, but they made an incision, just above my right ankle, and inserted tubes to feed my brain. like i said, i don't understand this, but i do have a scar just above my right ankle, so they did something there.
 
evidently, the doctors knew what they were doing, since i am sitting here alive and well 47 years later. a best guess was that i was technically dead for about four minutes or so.... more or less, but no one knows for sure since the doctors were busy reviving me and not using a stop watch. i find a couple of things pretty amazing about this.... a common gauge for the size of a heart is for you to make a fist with your hand, and the size of your fist approximates the size of your heart. next time you see a new born baby, look at the size of the baby's hand, and that is about the size of its heart. then i think about full grown adults operating on a tiny six week old baby and giving it open heart massage back in 1958. jeepers, that still blows me away. though i have never done it before, i would like to personally thank the doctors and nurses who brought me through that operation successfully.

 

columns    added on Thursday, December 1, 2005
just so you know, it's not like i can add new entries on a daily basis. as any seasoned internet surfer will tell you, real life should take precedence over any desire one might have to make daily updates on a website. take it from me, regular updates and maintenance on a personal web site will suck the life out of you faster than you can say hoover. all that you will have left is your dried, useless carcass, crumpled up in a corner when one foolishly devotes all of their energies to a personal website. anyway, i did say i have 47 years to work on this, so please be patient. thanks.

 

fractal    added on Monday, November 28, 2005
my parents are james ( my dad ) and stella ( my mom ). at the time i was born, i only had one older brother, richard, who was born 18 months earlier in march 1957, in tucson arizona. both of my parents are from bisbee, arizona, a small mining town. my dad had just graduated from the university of arizona, located in tucson, but had just re-located to corona, california to start his new job with owens illinois... explaining why my older brother was born in arizona and i was born in california. i'll round out the rest of my family here... after i was born, 20 months later arrived my brother david, in august of 1960. then my sister, dawna, arrived 20 months later in may 1962. then my brother, steven, arrived 40 months later in august of 1965. and finally my little sister, sandra, arrived 104 months later in may 1974. my dad came from a big family ( 6 kids ) and my mom also came from a big family ( 8 kids ). guess my parents wanted a large family, too. the pope would be very proud of my parents. growing up, my brother, dave, always said he wanted a large family, but he started his family later in life and... 2 kids is good enough for him. i've been around enough young children to fully recognize that the time and energy needed to raise a large family is just mind boggling to me. i'm guessing here, but sleep deprivation would seem easier to handle when one is in their twenties, rather than in one's thirties or forties. i really don't know how my parents survived with all of us, but i'm glad they did; and they seem to be holding up rather well in the golden years.

 

fractal    added on Sunday, November 27, 2005
well now, having said that i was 47 years old, that would mean i was born in 1958, october 8th to be precise; and according to the birth certificate, at 1:56 pm in the afternoon. the main thing that my mom remembers, was that i was born during a world series baseball game. evidently, the doctors and my dad were trying to keep one eye and one ear on the world series game that was playing in the background. i was also 3 weeks early. i don't know if that was good or bad, but if i had gone full term, i would not have been born in corona, california. one week after i was born, they closed the hospital that i was born in, and tore it down. i don't know what replaced it, but it was not another hospital. a brand new hospital was getting ready to open its doors in a neighboring community, ( arlington i think ). my mom says that the corona hospital was on its lasts legs, and was a rather rickety structure; they even let my mom go home early since there were some doubts as to the structural stability of the hospital itself.

 

first    Saturday, November 26, 2005   is when i started this project, at the ripe ol' age of 47. now before i begin, i want to get a couple of things out of the way... i want to say this word 4 times, blog blog blog blog. also, my style of writing can be a bit, oh let's say stream of consciousness. i will try to be chronological about it, but i will write about things and events in my life as i think of them. so let the party begin! and before i forget, this is my email address: michael hallsted

considering that i have a previous 47 years to write about, and i figure that i have at least another 47 years to get it all written down, and write about the next 47 years at the same time, and that i will try to do this at least an hour each night.... i should just about get it all done by the time i'm 94 years old. so.... why the heck am i doing this? that's a fair question. it's a combination of factors really. i'm not married, i have never been married, i seriously doubt that i ever will get married, and i have not fathered any children. also, being the computer guy for the family [ i have the domain names and web space ] i have formatted and put up family histories and a family tree. this got me thinking since i will only be a footnote in the family tree that will lead no where. in one hundred years, no one will know that i ever lived. i also feel that everyone's life is special, unique, different, interesting, no matter who you are or what you did. you lived so you mattered to some one some where in time! so every one should write down their stories, write down their lives. and yes, i swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. to me, this is the most important part. i've led a pretty boring and non-descriptive life for my first 47 years, and i am planning on living another 47 boring years. but it is nothing to be ashamed of... in fact, i'm proud that i've been able to lead a dull and boring life. so i am not going to make anything up, and i'm not going to spin some fantastic fictitious life full of glamor or other wonderous things. i strongly feel that in telling one's life story, you should be honest and truthful. everything you read here will be accurate; everything you read here has happened and is part of my life, past and present. no matter what has happened or what has not happened in one's life, we have all tried to do our best, given the circumstances. so without further ado, here is my life's story:

 
 
 
 
 
 
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