Thursday, May 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Emily

Today is my oldest daughter's 19th birthday.

Emily was born in 1986, amid the height of the Iran-Contra scandal, during the Reagan years. It's hard to believe she is already 19. I can't tell you how proud I am of the woman she's become.

Emily and I are pretty close, but not nearly so close as I'd like. It's mainly my fault, stemming from problems I had understanding her and getting along with her several years ago when her mother and I were splitting up. Time heals wounds, and daddies grow up and realize what they do has a direct impact on their kids. It's not that I did anything horrible (no beatings, no cheating on their mom, none of the "deadly sins"), but I wasn't what we call today, "engaged" very much. And she was very bitter over the separation and having her childhood screwed up by parents who couldn't get along.

So she made the choice to live with her mom when we separated back in 2003. Since then, Emily has grown up a lot, I've mellowed a lot and learned how to be a dad, and we've grown much closer. I don't see her as much as I'd like, and again that's my fault, but the times we do spend are very good, and very important.

In the last year she has raised her guide-dog, has virtually full-time employment, attends college, and was able to save nearly $2000 for herself. She's becoming a grown up woman, and I'm incredible amazed.

So, Emily, happy birthday! Enjoy 19, because before you know it you'll be 30 and life will be over.

Just kidding, but you won't be 19 again, that's for sure!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Fishing! .... OK, Who Am I Kidding?

Emily bought me a new fishing pole and some fishing gear, and a fishing license for my birthday, as well as a new 256MB flash-memory card for my camera! The one card will hold over 400 good quality, big photos. I can't imagine what one of them 1 Gigabyte cards would hold!! Anyway, this being one of my few days off, I decided to go try my hand at fishing one of the local mudholes.

Now, understand this: I am an awful fisherman. I really don't know that much about it, except that there's got to be fish IN the water to catch, and I have to have my line IN the water to catch them. I've heard bait helps, but I don't know much about that either.

I'm what they call a bait-soaker. I soak my bait, read my book, listen to the radio, and drink coffee. ONCE in a while I do catch fish, but it's usually despite my best efforts. I fish mainly just to get out and get away.

Today, I took a drive down to southeastern Sacramento County, to Rancho Seco Park. Rancho Seco is a decomissioned nuclear power plant.

I believe it's the only one in the county ever to be decommissioned (as opposed to melting down and nearly exploding, like 3-Mile Island). SMUD, the local electric company, built a 160 acre lake next to the plant as a source of emergency cooling water if there ever was a problem and they needed to SCRAM the reactor. Seeing as how there is no reactor to SCRAM any longer, the lake has been developed into a really nice recreation area.

The cooling towers still loom over the landscape, but they no longer belch great clouds of steam like they did years ago. It used to be a Sacramento staple, to look south and see the great steamclouds from Rancho Seco, back when it was operating.

While soaking my bait, I saw this little spider sitting patiently in his web, waiting for lunch to fly by.

After Monday's wild weather (yes, more odd weather here), you can see the Sierra snowpack from all over the valley. This being the middle of May, I think this is the most snow I've ever seen this late in the year.

Getting to and from Rancho Seco is no easy task. There ARE no easy north/south roads in southeast Sacramento County. The roads all run diagonally on the map, generally paralleling the Cosumnes River that runs through that part of the county (the last major, wild river in California without a dam on it). So, to get home I drove nearly to Ione, and took Ione Road to Jackson Road toward home. Snubbing Sloughouse, I decided to stop at this strawberry stand at Sunrise & Jackson, where I got a flat of the most delicious strawberries!

Camie just told me, "Dad, we're gonna have to eat all these in a hurry, because they're ripe NOW and are gonna go bad if we don't." I could tell it was breaking her heart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Silly Survey

I forget where I narfed this from, but I'm sure it's not exactly copywrited material.

No big suprise for those who know me.

I am:
"To you, Fox News really is 'Fair and Balanced'."

Are You A Republican?

/\ Link is fixed/

Monday, May 09, 2005

Birth Announcement

Congratulations to my brother Jack and his wife Pam on the birth of their baby boy, Andrew David. He announced it on our family website thusly:

Pam started to have some labor pains at 0900 hrs on Mothers Day so we watched and tracked them till around 2100 hrs that evening and then we left for the hospital , where at about midnight things began to speed up and she lost her water around 0200 hrs. By the time the doctor arrived she was ready to push and Andrew came less then 10 mins after the doctor walked into the room. PAM IS DOING FINE ...... Austyn was there and saw he little brother being born , but I don't think he was too impressed (he was playing his gameboy) - we love and miss all of you very much . Especially times like this -
Love and Hugs Jack/Pam/Austyn/Andrew

That makes.... lemme think here.... 19 nieces and nephews.

Time for another family party.

Sleep of the Dead

As I'd posted previously, I've discovered that getting enough sleep is the secret to life. Enough sleep, I feel great. Not enough sleep, I feel awful.

Yesterday I felt awful. Friday and Saturday night I was up pretty late both nights, transporting my daughter home from a couple of birthday parties she attended. Having to get up at 4:30am, going to bed at midnight or so just doesn't cut it.

Last night, after the Friday of my work week, I came home. The kids were all at their mom's celebrating Mother's Day with her, so my apartment was quiet and empty. At about 6pm, I decided I was gonna go lay down in bed and watch TV for a while. Star Wars - Return of the Jedi was on! Sweet! So I watched that for about 10 minutes before I realized, dang.... I gotta go to sleep.

So... 6:15 I turned out the lights. Woke up 7:30 this morning when my daughter comes over before school.

13 hours!

Needless to say, although I'm still a tad groggy, like those astronauts in old sci-fi movies coming out of some year-long suspended animation, I DO feel better. My head is clear, at least. You know how when you get really tired you can't think straight? That was me yesterday.

Man, do I eevr feel bteter tihs mronnig.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Local Control

An article in today's Sacramento Bee Neighbors section for Citrus Heights (my city) talks about how a local advisory committee is recommending to the city council that they severe their contract with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department (from which the city contracts for law-enforcement services), and establish their own, locally controlled, independent police department.

Elk Grove, another city in Sacramento County that contracts services from the Sheriff, voted just last week to do the same.

The withdrawal of these two major contract cities will have a profound effect on the finances and the resources available to the Sheriff's Department, and will be a challenge to the cities starting their own departments.

I don't usually comment about things pertaining to my job (I work for the Sheriff's Department), but being a citizen of Citrus Heights I think it's safe to state my opinion, as a citizen.

I, for one, am glad to see the city council push for more independence. After all, what what the vote back in 1996 for city-hood about? Independence and local control.

The scuttlebutt around the water cooler at work is that the city council is making a big mistake. There's talk that no deputies will want to make the move to a new city police force, and that the cities will have a hard time finding police to work. Hogwash, I say. Sure, probably not a lot of currently employed Sacramento Deputies will want to make the jump to a new, small police agency, but they are not the only talented cops in the state. Hundreds of good cops that work at other agencies around the state will jump at the chance to work in a city like Citrus Heights, or Elk Grove. Filling the ranks will not be a problem.

As to the start up problems, and whether or not the fledgling police departments will succeed or fail - thousands of cities all across America have their own departments and figured it out just fine. All of them had to start somewhere, and I'm sure they all had some kinks to iron out as they began service, but by and large they've succeeded just fine. Citrus Heights and Elk Grove will be no different. They will stumble, that's a given, but they will find their balance and go on just fine. It's all about local control and local issues.

As an employee, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department is not a bad place to work, and I'm in no hurry to leave, but I'm intrigued by the possibilities of joining on the ground floor of a new department.

As a citizen, I'm excited at the prospect of my city taking more control of it's local destiny and carving out it's niche in this megapolis we call Sacramento County.