Friday, December 31, 2010


verb - To come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something).
noun - A resolution or determination made, as to follow some course of action. Firmness of purpose or intent.

That beautiful painting, or piece of hand-thrown pottery you own... the one you discovered while strolling among the vendors at an art fair, the one that stood out among all the other pieces, was made by someone who could no longer deny their need to create. They chose to embrace the artist in them selves. It would seem that some have been doing it their entire life. It didn't occur to them to even question whether it was the right path. It was like choosing whether to breathe or not (at least early in their careers). I envy those people. For many musicians, dancers, sculptors, painters, photographers, and so forth, their art is their identity.
And then there is the other type... like me. I have an artistic drive, and a very real need to create. But unlike those who have made their art their life, I have always taken a much more conservative approach. Other than the years that I played my drums for a living, my artistic endeavors have been made in baby steps... uncertain of my abilities, and always mindful of reality and my responsibilities. Though often admired or even envied, pursuing a career in the arts is not what most would consider to be a "stable" way of life; and I think you could probably get 9 out of 10 working artists to agree with you on that. The only reason the last one was a holdout was because sales on her Etsy site were particularly good that week (ha).

I think what I really need, is someone to just give me a big shove right off this safe rock I've been perched on for so long.

That was something I wrote just a couple of months ago, in a post I titled Nudge. It was about finding inspiration in other peoples' art, and the need to actually make time to explore my own creativity. Give it it's due. I don't normally make New Year's Resolutions. I have found over the years that they really don't have much substance. But I am actually going to give it a try this year. We never know what tomorrow will bring; that is a given, so the best we can do is set our plans in motion and hope that fate is on our side. I have resolved that I will take this coming year and use every opportunity to honestly and earnestly explore my artistic talents. I realize that the only one who can shove me off of my safe rock, is me. I'll never know unless I try, so this year I am going to focus on my creativity, and see what comes of it. I especially enjoy making pottery, and painting in acrylics. That's where my focus will be, for now.
I think I'm ready to leap off of that rock. But carefully... I don't want to twist my ankle.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A walk in the sugar forest

The Enchanted PeePs Christmas Tree Forest!
Too... much... SUGAR.

Funny side note. Pam's sister, Debbie, has a little grandson who has been visiting us for the last couple of day... cute kid. Anyway, Debbie got these Christmas tree PeePs for him and gave him one. He didn't want it, so Pam split it in two and figured the dogs would enjoy a special sweet treat (we give them pancakes occasionally). When she gave the PeeP to them, they didn't know what to make of it. This can't be food. They spit it out!... Zeke, our older dog, went back and tried again, and just couldn't bring himself to actually eat it. Gabriel, our goofy white lab mix, finally decided he was going to give it his best shot, and eventually chewed them up and swallowed them, but Pam said he looked like he was kind of having a tough time of it most of the way. I will probably toss the rest of them into the composting bin in the garden, but I'm wondering if the bacteria will even have anything to do with them. Kinda like McDonald's french fries, or a Twinkie. They don't decompose. Scary.

OK... let's wrap it up here people!

The scene: our kitchen this morning at approximately 6:10. I am sitting at the table, half asleep, eating a bowl of cereal... getting ready to leave the house for work. Pam breezes in (I'm pretty sure she's been up since 5:00, at least, and has probably already done step-aerobics and a half hour of yoga... hmmmmm)

Pam: "I think I'm going to take the tree down today".
Del: "really?... today?... well, OK."
I tell you, that woman doesn't mess around. But actually, that may not be such a bad idea. I had already made plans to take the outside Christmas lights down this coming weekend, weather permitting... even the (no longer) ice-encased lights wrapped around the tree in the front yard.
Last year, I think I ended up taking down the last of the outside decorations in March... maybe May?... I know it was a month that starts with 'M'. Hey, sometimes you just don't want that special feeling of the holidays to end. But I must admit that it was time for the lighted snowflakes on the garage to go once our big Bradford Pear tree next to the driveway started to bloom and leaf out. So maybe January 1st is as good a day as any to get that taken care of. But I'm pretty sure that when I get home this afternoon, the Christmas tree will be back in the box, ready to seal and store away for another year. That's alright, just because the tree has been packed away, doesn't mean Christmas is over. I think there's still some spiked eggnog in the frig. Cheers! On to 2011!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


The top picture was taken at Granny & Papaw's house in Thayer... probably 1966 or '67. That's my sister Donna at left, with our cousin Angela in her lap, and her brother David, below. I'm next over, then my sister Diane and big brother, Dan.
The bottom picture is Me and Smokey at our house in West Plains... sometime in the late 1960s. I always thought that this picture was taken on Christmas morning, but my big sister thinks it is from Christmas Eve. And she's probably right (of course... who would debate the wisdom of their older siblings?) So anyway, the reasoning being; normally on Christmas morning we didn't get to see the tree or presents until it was time to open them. We four kids were confined to our bedrooms and a long hallway leading to the living room. Mom & Dad would hang a sheet or something across the hallway, so we couldn't see the tree or the gifts that Santa had left us. It was torture, but we loved it... it just built the excitement. They would intentionally take their time... drink a cup of coffee and maybe have a little something to eat, and all the time we were back there giggling and running back & forth from our bedrooms to the end of the hallway. No peeking! Finally they would say "alright... you can come on in!" and it was controlled crazy time in the house for the next half hour. Dad would sit on the floor, and we would all pick our spot and wait for him to slide our presents across the floor to us. In a matter of minutes, the entire living room was occupied with piles of colorful, shredded wrapping paper. And Smokey loved Christmas almost as much a we did, because she got to play in the paper. What good memories.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a...

Icy Christmas? No... that's not how the song goes. We woke up this fine morning of Chritmas Eve to a thin coating of ice; just enough to make the roads questionable. Fortunately the temperature is hovering right at freezing, so as the day progresses I'm sure the temperature will climb just enough to melt most of this. They are calling for a wintery mix all day... a cold rain, ice, sleet, and eventually snow. As it looks now, I don't think it's going to be much. However, once the sun goes down this evening all of that will freeze again. Yuck.
Generally speaking, I don't really like winter. I prefer sunny days and temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s. However, from time to time, I don't mind a good snowstorm as long as I'm not looking at it through the windshield of a car. But around here, it seems that ice has become a frequent visitor in winter, largely in the form of sleet... and freezing rain. That's the stuff that brings down entire tree tops, causes electrical blackouts that can last for hours or even weeks, and turns streets and parking lots into skating rinks. Not good. Nope, don't much care for winter. But that's just part of living where we do. At least we aren't in Iowa, or Michigan... or Buffalo, New York, where they measure their snowfalls in the feet.
I just hope everyone has safe travels these next few days. Fortunately, I think the only place we've got to go today is to the grocery store... one more time. Or maybe two. Here's wishing everyone a safe and Happy Christmas... Hanukkah... Kwanzaa... whatever celebration you embrace this season,

and a healthy, joyous and hopefully even prosperous 2011!!! Peace.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home Made Tamales!

My good friend (and co-worker) Leslie just gave me two big Christmas gift bags full of her delicious home made tamales... plus her salsa and some festive chips. I've been waiting a whole year for these! They are goooood. That washed-out picture I took doesn't do them justice. Thank you Leslie! Feliz Navidad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I don't know if George Bailey is going to get his Christmas miracle this time...

I heard on the news a couple of nights ago that the beautifully restored Gillioz Theater in downtown Springfield is under foreclosure. At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, the Gillioz will belong to the bank. The wonderful folks at Guaranty Bank saw fit to pull the rug out from under the theater, and the adjoining Netters Building, just as they were getting their feet under them. The Gillioz, which is owned by the Springfield Landmarks Preservation Trust, was actually operating in the black for the first time since the massive restoration and reopening several years ago. They took a decaying downtown landmark and breathed new life into it. The last I heard, some 70,000 dollars had been donated by the fine folks of Springfield, to stave off foreclosure, but unfortunately, that falls far short of the minimum 1/2 million they will need to keep the doors open. It seems that Mr. Potter is alive and well and has controlling stock in Guaranty Bank this Christmas season. As Mr. Potter said... "George, you're worth more dead than alive". It's a shame that the board of directors of the bank that holds the note (many of whom live right here in Springfield) would allow this to go through. With them, it seems that there is no concern or consideration for the greater benefit to the community in allowing the Gillioz to remain open. The arts be damned... this is about the bottom line. Sad indeed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

She's Run Aground Captain!... abandon ship!!! no wait...

Gather 'round children and let ol' Captain Kevin tell the tale of that fateful night at the helm of the Showboat Branson Belle. "I remember it like it was yesterday (in fact, it was yesterday)... the lake, she was angry that afternoon when we hoisted anchor and set off on the dinner cruise. We were well on our way as the sun was setting, and a bitter, cold, north wind blew hard against her hull. The happy passengers, dressed in their holiday cheer, were unaware of the tragedy that was unfolding before them. Then, without warning, a great shudder raked across the Belle like a shiver from the icy hand of the Reaper Himself. The great Showboat, with some 600 souls aboard, had lost power to the main thrusters, and against howling winds, she began to drift dangerously toward the rocky coatline of Tablerock Lake. Anxious minutes passed with my nose pressed against the cold glass of the Pilot Room; my eyes straining against the encroaching darkness. The black coastline was looming close. White waves crashed again the mightly craft as she learched to a halt with a groan. She's run aground Captain!!! All hands on deck!! May day! Mayday I bellowed into the radio. A reassuring reply crackled across the speaker... "Copy that Showboat... where is your location?" God only knows.... God only knows".
Captain Kevin drew a heavy breath and stared into the distance. It was going to be a long night.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dreams are funny, aren't they?

This morning I had an unusual dream... as if most dreams are normal (ha)
Anyway, I was in a very large, old college class room or lab, and the ceiling is like two stories high... just a huge room. And I'm there with David Letterman. There were some things going on at the beginning of it that I can't clearly recall, but everything sort of came to a focal point once I realized that the room was filling up with water. At first I thought it was some kind of a Letterman gag... a stunt for his show, but Dave was as surprised as I was. Before we knew it, the room was completely filled with water! We are both swimming around (under water) and in a little bit of a panic. I happened to have a small bottle of air with a hose attached to it, and I drained that in just a few seconds, but it gave me enough time to see that Dave was up in the corner, with his head above water. I surfaced right next to him just as my last breath was giving out. Our heads were touching the ceiling, it was so close. I was concerned that the water would keep rising, but it didn't, so we treaded water there for a minute or so, not talking... just quietly pondering the unusual situation we are in. Moments later the level of the water began to slowly drop, but I was still looking for a way to get us back down. I saw a large chisel sitting on a desk below, and swam down to get it. I smashed a couple of the windows, and I could see that the water was flowing out. And then I woke up. Bizarre. I wonder if David Letterman had a similar dream last night? Now that would be an interesting twist. I should give him a call.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey Trot!

Pam & I, my son-in-law Brett and my sister Donna got together on this very cold Thanksgiving morning to do the KC/Sprint Turkey Trot and fun run 5K in Kansas City. Did I mention it was cold. But after we started walking we warmed up. Patricia was signed up for it also, but just wasn't feeling up to it that morning, dang it!
Pam and Donna set their pace, and Brett & I set ours. Probably about 200 or 300 yards behind Pam & Donna, as best I can figure it; because after the first mile, we didn't see them again till the finish line (ha). It became apparent that we were going to be left behind when they started power-walking and weaving in and around the slower clumps of people. It was a fun event, and that afternoon at my brother's house I didn't feel quite as guilty about having that extra plate of turkey and sweet potatoes.