The Squares…Solved! (Including the correction from my LAST attempt, wherein I forgot 4 of them!)

December 25, 2012

Click on this link right here.

HERE! Right below these words!


The Squares SOLVED

(You will need Microsoft Powerpoint to see this!)

Thank you, and goodnight!


She was…

March 15, 2010

She was born August 8, 1933. She died March 14, 1984. I came home from work, a drive of 70 miles from Burney, CA. up in the Sierra Nevada range, to Redding, my hometown down in the lowlands in the Northern part of the Central Valley of California. I’d moved back there from Colorado in January to take my first job as a Journeyman Pipe fitter, and well…because my mother was sick. I was 24 years old. Mom was 50 years old and had breast cancer.

She was born into a family where Cancer, Diabetes & Heart Disease ran rampant. Both her side and my father’s side have all three of those insidious diseases, which leaves me and my 6 siblings feeling like ticking time bombs. I’m in the middle of 7 children. I am the largest member of my family. Weight is an issue with most of my family members. Not to the point of obesity as in my case, but fighting the spare tire is a family tradition. Mom was always on a diet, and yo-yo’d up and down with her weight within my entire conscious memory of our life together. My dad, in his late 40’s lost 60 lbs. or so, and looked the best I’ve ever seen him look. He’s 80 this year, has diabetes, and seems to be doing pretty good. He didn’t keep all the weight off, but he still looks good, these 30+ years later.

She was so proud of him for being able to do that. As I said, I’d come home from work, was preparing to take a shower and go visit my mom up at the hospital. My dad and two of my younger brothers showed up within ten minutes of my coming home. This was unusual, as there were some hard feelings between my family and my wife-at-the-time, and we’d had a little family meeting just a few days earlier, trying to hash things out. I thought they were there to continue on the chewing out part of said meeting. So I flippantly said, “I suppose you’re here ’cause there’s something more you want to say to me?” Thinking it was more “hashing-out” coming.

She was so glad to see her 4th son and his children and…his wife move back closer to home. My w.a.t.t. and I had moved 1,200 miles to be with my mom in what proved to be her last few months of life. We were trying to keep up the payments on our house back in Colorado, and pay rent in Redding at the same time. Finances, to say the least, were tight.

She was dead. “Son,” my dad said, “Your mother passed away this morning at a little before 6 am.”

She was dead. “No,” I thought. “No, this can’t be. I’m not ready yet. I still have so many things to say to her. MOM!!!” This flashed through my mind in the split second it took to register the loss of my mother. The person I’d always been closest to until I got married. I ran down the hall into my room and somehow ended up in my closet, sobbing uncontrollably. My w.a.t.t and my father and brother and also my children knew to give me a few moments to my self. Then, later, it was not her, but my father who came in to see if I was okay. He’d lost the wife of his youth, the only woman I believe he’s ever truly loved with all his heart. His wife of just over 33 years. I’d only known her for 24. My heart was aching. Not only for myself, but for him.

She was a lovely woman and I loved her very much. I still cry over her death sometimes, but not as often anymore. Every year on the anniversary of her death, my oldest brother sends out an email with simply the date. March 14, 1984. We all know what he means. It’s hard still, for him to talk about her. He knew her the longest of all us kids. Same thing for another one of my older siblings. I found an old tablet with her handwriting in it, and went to show it to him, and he quickly turned his head away and said he couldn’t look at it. It was still too painful. That was after 11 years. These last 15 years, I’ve never tried to show it to him again. I still have it though, even though I don’t need it to remember. The memories are still fresh. Not of her death, but of her life.

She was the glue that held our family together, as is often the case with moms. I can still see her face. I can still see her crooked smile, with her worn-out dentures. I can hear her laugh. I can hear her sneeze, which if you’d ever experienced it…would leave an indelible impression. Nothing quite like it before or since, really. She really got into her sneeze, I’ll tell you that. I can smell her dinners cooking, late in the evening when the kids are out playing in the streets. Although she was no gourmet, we all l0ved her cooking, and even though I don’t recall her burning much, we teased her about offering up burnt sacrifices and she’d always laugh. Almost always. Sometimes she’d get mad and snap at us. That was waaaaay before I’d ever heard of PMS or knew anything at all about that sort of thing. Sometimes she just couldn’t take a joke. Then again, she’d raised 6 boys before finally…FINALLY getting a girl. A little girl who was only 7 when my mother died. So maybe she just would literally “snap” once in a while. I don’t blame her. My siblings could really be trying sometimes…especially my older brothers!

She was…she was my mom. And I miss her so.



March 1, 2010

Guess I should explain the name of this blog. If you haven’t looked around yet and figured it out, my last name has this particular set of letters in it. Nobody EVER gets its pronunciation correct. O-U-G-H, how hard can it be? Oh…






Get the picture? Stupid English language! Anyhoo, I’ll leave the correct pronunciation of my name out of it for now. Some of you may know it, or of others with the same last name that pronounce it the same as I do. I’ve known a few others that spell it the same, but it rhymes with one of the other words up there. Suffice it to say…it’s been somewhat of a pain, having to spell my name for everyone that hears it, or correct the pronunciation of those who only see it written, for the better part of 45 years (I didn’t learn to spell until I was 5).

So, since my wife took the infinitely better blog identity of “Classical Blunder”, I chose this one. Hope you enjoy my ranting and raving on here, when I finally find the time to write anything down.