Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On the Road Again

Busy today taking care of last minute preparations. Bus leaves for the airport bright and early...0300. I'm debating whether I should even bother going to sleep tonight.
Christmas was fine. I had an old friend invite me to a get together Christmas Eve where we all had Christmas Enchiladas. I'm thinking of making that a new tradition in the Ritterhaus--they were tasty! I got back to my room in time to field the call from the wife at my sister-in-law's in Italy. The kids were in a fever pitch as they all said "hello" to me while being forced to stand in the pre-staging area. I laughed when I heard the screams of joy as they were released into the living room to see what Santa brought. My daughter got a Felicity American Girl doll--I could hear her scream it loudest above the other screams. The boys were very happy with their new PS3 (so was I). Only thing I'm missing is the "testing out of the games" that dads are required to do before the kids play.
Christmas day saw me hanging out watching tv and movies. By the way, "Trainspotting" is NOT a good Christmas movie. I went over to my friend's house for Christmas dinner. I got to live vicariously through their 3 boys playing with their gifts. It would seem I made quite the impression on them as the youngest asked me if I wanted to go play with them.
I'm looking forward to getting out with my new squadron. The hustle and bustle of deployed ops with help the time pass more quickly.
Happy New Year all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Class B Bachelor Life

I've been at Seattle for 2 weeks now and I have come to realize something. Being married is great. I realize that I am, presently, a Class B Bachelor and not truly single, but it's close enough to the real thing to make me feel the effects.
What is a Class B Bachelor? It's one who, though married with all of married life's restrictions (i.e. no cheating--Homey don't play that game), has the freedom to go where he pleases and do what he pleases without worrying about pleasing the wife and/or children. No "chick flick" movies. No Disney movies. Straight action flicks and comedies with lots of fart jokes. It also means you can eat where you want if you choose to eat out. For me, that means all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets. Something about paying $8 to stuff myself with cashew chicken, only to be hungry again in an hour. Can't stay away.
You know though, as nice as all that sounds, the appeal wears off after about 8 hours and I realize how much I miss the wife and kids. The hotel room starts closing in and it is just too quiet. When I'm out and about, I find that I can't help smiling at little kids walking by. I saw a 1 1/2 year old boy chasing a ping pong ball across the floor of the mall yesterday and I couldn't take my eyes away. I wanted to sit down there with him and play. I miss my 12-year-old kicking my tail on Playstation, I miss playing roughhouse with my 8-year-old, I miss laughing with my wife.
Yep, I don't miss being single one bit. Give me the noise, the chick flicks, and McDonalds (again) anytime if I can be near my family.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

5 Days to Go...

Finally found a computer that can give me access to the internet and my blog. I've been wondering around base for the past week like a zombie trying to find some way to communicate with the outside world. Let's see, what's happened since my last post?

Spent all last weekend checking out the local area and potential homesites for the new Ritterhaus. I don't delude myself into thinking I can actually BUY a house right now. CINC House (that's "Commander in Chief House"--my wife) is not here. "If Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy," is a little rule I live by. There are some nice areas around here and I am laying some good groundwork for future house shopping excursions. It's like being there for the delivery of the baby (reference my last post), not much for me to do but be there.

Had a wonderful evening out with James Monday night. I learned a few things that night. One, that oysters pulled out of different sections of the Puget Sound taste remarkably different. Two, that it is possible to get good Irish Beer outside of Ireland. And three, God has blessed me immensely with wonderful friends. These blogs have been a wonderful way to keep in touch. I pray we can all get together more often than every High School reunion.

I spent most of the week preparing for my upcoming deployment. I'm not looking forward to being away from the family, but being busy helps the time pass quickly and speeds (or seems to at least) the reunion. I got to fly last night for the first time in a month and the first time here at McChord. It was a beautiful, crisp evening and I had a good flight. We flew right past Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. I didn't realize St. Helens was that close to Seattle. The guys said that you can see a pretty good heat signature coming from it when you wear night vision goggles.

Tonight's my movie night. Think I'm in the mood from a good hamburger from Fuddrucker's. Hope there's one around here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Busy Friday

Pressing hard to get ready before my deployment. Spent most of the day running through computer tutorials and tracking down folks to sign off various inprocessing items. I met the Ops Group commander today and had the opportunity to chat with him for a few minutes about what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future.

I talked with his secretary while I was waiting. Her youngest daughter is due to deliver her first any day now. We were regailing each other with stories of the deliveries of our children. The funniest thing, and something that seems to be a recurring theme with all the fathers I've talked with that have been in the delivery room with their wives, is just how little we actually contribute to the birthing process. I had visions of coaching my wife through this most natural of events, just like the husbands do in the movies. "Breathe, breathe, breathe, PUUUSSSSHHH!" Nope. None of that. Arlene didn't want to hear anything I had to say. It got to the point where my breathing irritated her. You can't really blame them, can you? I bang my head on the cabinet and I want to punch a hole in the wall. I can only imagine what I'd do if I had to squeeze out a basketball. You get the picture.

I eventually accepted my role as the punching bag/handgrip/scratching post/head full of hair to pull, during deliveries. My wife would be mildly surprised at the damage after all the smoke cleared and the child was born, and mildly amused. It was the least I could put up with, right? I recently passed this nugget of wisdom along to a friend of mine who planned to be in the delivery room for the birth of his first. He later thanked me. Some things never change, I guess.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Real Hero

Today at lunch I met an older gentleman and struck up some small talk while we waited for the salad bar to open. This gentleman was not cut from the same cloth as the older, meaner sort commonly found on cruiseships. A very pleasant man of 87 with a sharp mind and firm handshake. I was in uniform and he asked me if I was a pilot. I said, "Yes," and he told me he once flew on military aircraft as well. I always enjoy talking with the guys who flew planes in the "good old days," so I asked him what he flew on. Turns out he was a radio operator on a Navy torpedo bomber in WWII. The more we talked the more Mr. Tom Nelson laid out a tremendous story that had me riveted for 2 hours.
Mr. Nelson was stationed at Pearl Harbor and vividly remembers the morning of 7 December 1941. He was rolling out of the bunk when he heard a plane in a power dive and the first explosion. He and some buddies thought it was a training accident and went out to look. Imagine their surprise when they saw Japanese fighter planes attacking our ships in the harbor.
He participated in the Naval battle of Santa Cruz in October 1942, flying off the carrier Enterprise. His plane was shot down by Zeros and he parachuted into the ocean, spending about a day floating in shark infested waters until he was picked up by a Japanese destroyer. He spent the next 3 years in Japanese prison camps unloading railroad cars and working in iron mills along with the other American and British comrades there with him. He told me of how they "continued the fight" by sabotaging as much as they could. He passed along one particular time when he and a buddy helped sink a barge by dropping a 200 pound iron bar through the bottom. He talked a little of his Japanese captors. One in particular was a young, overly zealous guard who was not highly regarded by the American and British prisoners. They thought even less of him when they found out he had flunked out of Kamikaze school.
When the war ended, he and his fellow camp mates commandeered a passing Japanese train and made their way to Tokyo. I love talking to guys like this. The sad part is that there are less and less of them every day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Man in a Suitcase

My current situation reminds me of the Police song, "Man in a Suitcase."
The room's my oyster
My hotel room's a prison cell
I'm getting a little tired of fast food and the hotel's morning offerings of various unsavory and unhealthy food choices. I went to the gym today in a vain attempt to turn the tide, to try to work off some of the cholesterol that's been injected into my bloodstream one cheeseburger at time. I move into an efficiency apartment Saturday where I can at least cook for myself. Instead of high fat fast food, I'll risk the occasion bout with food poisoning that comes with my cooking adventures.
I'm getting hungy. McDonalds is starting to sound good right about now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here in Seattle

Arrived safely yesterday at my new assignment at McChord AFB, Washington. I hopped on a C-17 headed West out of Germany at 0300 in the morning and arrived 12 hours later. Human beings have no business being awake at 0300 in the morning. That's when the zombies come out. I'm convinced I sat next to one waiting for my flight. I had to say "see you later" to the kids the night before--perhaps that's the one good thing about leaving that early. I hate all the crying and waving...that's me crying and waving.

The flight was uneventful, though I was coldsoaked for the entire flight. I think I'm getting old. I travelled with a woman flying back to the states with her 4 children. She had three girls and her 8-week-old son, her husband had just deployed to Iraq for 15 months. She had the patience of Job. All of the other folks on the plane stepped up and helped her out, carrying bags and entertaining her kids. I dusted off the old "detachable finger" trick which kept her 5-year-old entertained for an hour. My wife was in this woman's same position a year ago, traveling back to the states while I was deployed. Paying it forward.

Looking forward to my time in the Seattle area and catching up with my old friend James and meeting his family. The weather here is just like I left in Germany. I feel like I didn't go anywhere...other than the fact that everyone speaks English, doesn't smoke, and there are no Smartcars.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cruise Photos

Few photos from our cruise last week.
This is obviously in Egypt.

The one below is at the Acropolis in Athens.

This is my daughter, Isabella.

The Ritter kids at Giza. Nathan, William, Benjamin and Isabella (with Roary, her class mascot).

Here are a few photos from our cruise last week.

Just to set the record straight, I like and respect older folks. I was just a little unnerved by how mean they can be when you get betweeen them and the buffet.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I'm Back (For a Short While)

Just returned last Friday from a huge family vacation. We joined my wife's sister and husband and their brood of 4 kids in Genoa, Italy for a cruise through the Eastern Mediterranean over Thanksgiving. We visited Naples, Egypt, Cyprus, Rhodes (lots of smart folks there), Athens, and Olympia, Greece. I had been on one cruise previously, a work friend and I touring through the Bahamas as a last hurrah before entering the service. Big difference between going on a cruise when you're 22 and when you're 39 with wife and kids. I was pretty proud of myself if I managed to stay up past 11. I actually enjoyed the shows. I did not drink myself to the point where I tossed lawnchairs over the side (wait, that was the Airport High senior cruise, right?).

I will say that, even at 39, I was one of the more "spritely" gents onboard. Lots of old folks on this cruise. Let me tell you, there is a big difference between kindly old folks that are grandmas and the nice old ladies who bake you cookies. The old folks on this ship were flat out mean. Good luck getting through the buffet line without being run over. I literally watched them push past my kids to get on the elevator to go up ONE floor. I walked out on the Lido deck one particularly sunny afternoon to get some fresh air. Each and every lawn chair was taken by these seemingly gentle creatures. Each was splayed out in a kind of macabre death pose, sleeping the sleep of one who had eaten too much at the buffet and tried to Samba 20 years later than they should have. I imagined this was what Jonestown looked like. Creepy.

Anyhoo, highly recommend the cruise with family. All of us had a great time despite the daily battles with the seasoned citizens. I pull into Seatle on Sunday the 9th and am looking forward to some good seafood again.

Happy birthday to James and Todd. Lots of talk about turning 40 and being old. Believe me, you guys aren't old. I've seen old're no where near it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back in Deutschland

Finished my requal course last Friday. My check ride went fine despite some maintenance issues with our tanker. Six flights in 10 days is pushing it, even for an old war horse like myself.

Flew back on Saturday and arrived in Germany Sunday morning. The family was very happy to see me (as I was to see them), and my young ones quickly snapped me up to show me their latest projects and achievements. The pandemonium that is Das Ritterhaus is an absolute joy. I enjoy being on trips for about the first 8 hours, then the "quietness" sets in. I don't like it. Give me loud noises, kids yelling, and the muffled snickers of some mischef going on anyday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good to Hear From Old Friends

Checked the blog this evening and discovered an old friend stopped by for a visit. Martha M. ran across her name on a comment on James and Chuck's "4th Row Center" movie review site. The particular post in question was a tribute to the late Miss Moneypenny of James Bond fame who had recently passed away. Martha's big Hollywood break was a starring part in a low-budget James Bond remake. Unfortunately, the movie was shown publically only once and, alas, Martha's star talent would have to wait for some future movie producer to discover.

I've really become fond of these blogs. They're a great way to keep in touch and reacquaint with old friends. In fact, if it weren't for these blogs, folks might never know what a HUGE Star Trek fan Martha used to be. She talked Rick S. and I into going to meet the actual Mr. Sulu once at a Blockbuster opening in Columbia, SC. I had always fancied myself a big Star Trek fan, not a fanatic, but more loyal than most. I realized that day that the true Star Trek fan is a wonder to behold, able to explain warp drive to even to most casual person, intimately familiar with the life history of the most obscure crewmember. Yes, even Martha, who maintained an impressive Star Trek shrine, paled in comparison.

It was good to hear from you, Martha. Live long and prosper...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thoughts of Leaving

Flew again yesterday and will fly as well tonight. Training pace is very hectic now; it's coming fast and furious.

The thought of finishing early is bittersweet, however. I relish the thought of getting back home to my wife and kids. Lord knows, I'm going to be away from them long enough this year and want to spend every moment I can with them. The other side of the coin is the thought of leaving Altus and some very close friends we've made from church here. Arlene and I were married in this church, we dedicated all of our children to the Lord in this church, and have grown to know and love the pastor and members of this church. They have been such a blessing for me since I've been here, one man going so far as to loan me a truck to facilitate my runs for ice cream to the local Braums. Yes, it will be sad my last day here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Smiling the Entire Day

Well, like they say, any landing you walk away from is a good one. Had a great flight today. This old dog had a few new tricks left in him. My flight was limited to OK, CO--sorry, George. We'll see if we can schedule a fly-by sometime in the future.
One thing did happen today that wasn't so smooth. Remember the first Star Trek movie? I know, most of us try to forget that one. Kirk was running around the Enterprise barking orders and Decker was following afterwards going, "No, belay that order," mostly because Kirk had a few things to learn about the new Enterprise. That was me today. We were climbing out towards our rendezvous with the tanker for the air refueling when I put something into the mission computer that caused a total blackout. That's a little disturbing in an aircraft that is like a big video game. It's like hitting the little reset button on your playstation. Everything went black and I was flying a Sopwith Camel at 20 thousand feet. Everything eventually came back up, but I spent the next 20 minutes pulling out seat cushion that had been sucked up into...well...
The young Captain (Decker) sitting behind me says, "Oh yeah, you did so-and-so and that caused the reset." Later discussions revealed that the earliest president this young Captain can remember is President Bush Senior. Back to the books.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dusting things off

Planned all day for my flight tomorrow. This will be the first time behind the controls since May of 2003. Let's see...pull back and the houses get smaller, push forward on the stick and the houses get bigger. Left turn at Albuquerque. Got it.

I'm officially a crusty, old-timer now. I'm sitting there listening to young instructors trying to teach an old dog new tricks. That was me 5 years ago. Now I'm part of the establishment. Next I'm afraid I'm going to end up wearing black socks with my shorts and sandals. My oldest boy, Nathan, has begun referring to me now as "the old man."

We'll see if the old man has a few tricks left in his bag tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Benjamin the Cat Lover

I was at dinner talking with an old acquaintance last night when I was reminded of an incident between my son and my in-laws' cat. We spent Christmas of 2002 with my sister-in-law and her family. Now I'm not really a cat person, but I have to say that their cat ranks up there with the better cats I've run across in my life (James' cat Tounces was probably #1). My son Benjamin was 3 at the time and thought the cat was simply amazing--so much so he followed it around constantly.

One day we adults were in the living room with the cat amongst begging for attention when Benjamin walked in the room. The cat gave Benjamin an evil eye and a wide berth, high-tailing it out the nearest exit. Up until then we had noticed subtle clues that Benjamin and the cat didn't get along real well, but this episode made it clear that they were now arch-enemies. We asked Benjamin why he and the cat didn't get along. He replied:

"Well...I don't know. But when I pull his tail, he goes 'Wwwwhhhheeeeekkkkk' and runs!"

Cats are off the list at Das Ritterhaus.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why Do I Serve Him?

Was reading this morning about King Hezekiah of Judah. 2 Kings 18:5-7 says:

5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

That was pretty heady stuff. I mean, he's being compared to a lot of great kings. I really keyed in on was verse 7. Hezekiah "held fast" to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him. Because of this, God blessed him in "whatever he undertook." I sat back thought about that verse. I eventually came to the realization that, while not my sole motivation, I have allowed it to at least become a consideration in my Christian walk that "If I really walk the line and love the Lord, He'll bless me: My work, my family, and everything in my life." Fringe benefits for being a Christian?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I should serve the Lord because He's my Lord and I love Him...period. What I perceive as successes in life (promotions, getting rich) may not ever happen. My eye should not be on what I'll get in this life by faithfully serving the Lord, but doing the absolute best with what God's given me at the time. Taken to the other end of the spectrum, if bad things were to happen, would that change how I felt about serving Him? Would it mean that I wasn't faithfully serving Him? Would I be like Job and hold fast despite my world crumbling down around me? I began to realize that circumstances in my life may change, but my love and energy level serving God should not. This reevaluation opens a whole new world of trusting the Lord and peace with all that could happen in my life.

I also came to the conclusion that if God does choose to bless me, these blessings are a "means" and are not the "ends." Blessings from God are not some kind of reward for faithfulness...He's doing it for a reason--God blesses us so that we can bless others.

11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corintians 9:11

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tulsa Gunshow

Spent all day Saturday with my wife's stepdad, Dan, at the Tulsa gunshow. This gunshow is touted as the largest of its kind in the world. Judging from the 7 acres of dealers and private vendors, I'd have to agree. We were there from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and still didn't see it all.
The guns ran the gamut from flintlock muskets, to wild west Winchesters and Colt pistols, to World War II weapons (Axis and Allies), to modern day firearms. For a military history buff like myself, it was like the Garden of Eden (with lots of Harley Davidson t-shirts and BO thrown in to boot).
Dan ended up buying a couple of shotguns for my older boys and a French MAS rifle. The French weapon was in really good shape. The vendor assured Dan that it had, in fact, never been fired and only dropped once.
My aspirations were much lower, my visit merely a fact-finding trip. I did come away with a "Deputy Sheriff, Oklahoma Territory" badge for my 8-year-old and a bag of Wasabi Peas for myself. The sites and experience was more than worth the $10 entrance fee.
My oldest son, upon hearing he is now the proud owner of a shotgun, has unleashed an unrelenting barrage of conversation with anyone nearby to listen of all the animals he plans to shoot with his new shotgun. He was online yesterday planning a hunting trip for next fall for us to go hunt pheasant.
I love that boy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back in the saddle again

I went up on an observation ride today, my first time in the cockpit since May '04. It was a checkride for 2 young Pilot Initial Qual-types, so I didn't get to fly. It was still good sitting up front, listening to the radios, catching the crewbus at 0-dark-thirty, the smell of JP-8 in the morning. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

One of my favorite things about flying is breaking through a solid overcast cloud deck into the bright blue sky above. Anyone who's seen this on an airline flight knows what I'm talking about.

Six hours and forty five minutes after takeoff, we taxied in and I walked off the jet with a big smile on my face. One week until it's me in the seat.
I just hope I don't forget the keys again...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What Would Jesus Build?

Rick wrote an interesting post on his site discussing what Jesus would do with the church. I've wondered many of these same things over the last few years. Would He be as proud of the things the Church has done as we are? What does He really want?

This line of discussion highlights another similar discussion my brother-in-law and I had recently. We're both currently stationed overseas, he in Italy and me in Germany. We went to Rome back in January of 2007 with our families to see the usual sites. This trip involved a visit to St. Peter's Basillica. At first I was struck by the grandure and the history of the place. I mean, I stood right on the spot where Charlemagne was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor. All the marble, the statues, the's very easy to be swept up in the place. But then an uneasy feeling swept over me. What is it all for? What would Jesus think of this place? How much money was spent building this place? How many lives could have been bettered, how many more missionaries sent off to the lost, how many more widows and orphans taken care of? I can't help but feel this in every cathedral we visit now. Some say these churches are so grand in order to help the visitor look to and imagine the grandure of God. I say we can see that in the face of every new sinner who gives his life to the Lord at the altar. The tears streaming down their eyes are much more beautiful than the biggest pipe organ in the world could ever be.

Unfortunately, I see some of the same in America. How "nice" does a church have to be in order to make God happy? Is there a minimum standard? I'm positive there are plenty of open-air churches and churches with no walls in Africa more alive, more vital, and more relavant, than many of our grand churches here in the states. It's the people that make the church...not the building.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My 10 Things

Saw this on a couple of blog sites. Decided I'll join in:

1. What were you doing 10 years ago? A line pilot in the 17th Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB flying C-17s. I was gone a little over 150 days that year.
2. What were you doing one year ago? I had just returned from my deployment to the Middle East and started a new job that involved regular trips to Romania.
3. What are five snacks you enjoy? Cheezits, Roasted Peanuts, Boiled Peanuts, a fresh Pink Lady Apple, Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
4. What are five songs that you know the lyrics to? Every Little Thing She Does is Magic/The Police, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross You Mind/George Strait, Little Miss Magic/Jimmy Buffet, Butterfly Kisses/Bob Carlisle (I'm a softy, I know), Folsom Prison Blues/Johnny Cash
5. Name five things you would do if you were a millionaire. Spend about 6 months out of the year working with missions in Africa, buy a sailboat, spend much more time learning/playing the guitar, go on a trip with each of my children to where they wanted to go, build a vacation home on the beach/lakefront
6. Name five bad habits. Walking around barefooted outside and tracking in dirt, procrastination, trashing the kitchen when I cook, cracking my knuckles, drinking right from the milk jug (don't tell my wife)
7. What are five things you like to do? Reading, fishing, going to the gym, working (it's true!), movie and calzone nights with my wife and kids
8. What are your five favorite toys? My computer, kids' playstation, my guitar, my rifles, my garden
9. What are five things you would never wear? Leather pants, anything requiring a cape, Jackie O sunglasses a la Elton John, shorts with black socks, an earring
10. Name five things you hate to do. Work on the weekends, be away from home on trips, go shopping for clothes, go to the dentist, stand in lines

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Redeeming the time

I took a break from studying last night and went out for a walk to clear my head. I do some of my best thinking on these quiet walks and I think last night was no exception. As the cares of the day began peeling off, my mind began to wander through the years. I thought of jobs, friends, past experiences, and mistakes. Then came the inevitable, "What would you do different if you could go back to 1984 and have a discussion with yourself?"

First came the obvious answers: Buy shares of Microsoft and WalMart, bet on Chicago to go all the way to the Super Bowl, etc. Once I got past all that, I really got to thinking. If I could go back and see 16-year-old Steve, what would I tell him? The one thing that rang true, that seemed the most important of all the things I could say is, "Take advantage of the time you have to better yourself." I look back at all the time wasted in front of the Atari or watching mindless 80's sitcoms that would have been better spent working, or exercising, or reading a good book.
I've had several discussions with my sons along these same lines. I'm trying to expain the incredible earning potential with simply mowing lawns (I know I sound like an Amway salesman). I mowed one lady's yard for $7 every 2 weeks. What if I had done more? What else did I do those summers but sit in the air conditioning and watch Jeffersons reruns? I have a friend who paid cash for his first car with money earned from mowing lawns. I've learned that you're never going to have more time than right now. Bettering yourself is never a waste of time. Oh the opportunities squandered. Youth really is wasted on the young.

Now, here's something that will get you thinking. What do you think you'll wish you could go back and tell your 30-something self when you're 60? How many 60-year-olds have you heard say, "Thirty nine old? I wish I was thirty-nine again!" I want to live a full, rich life, to be a faithful steward of all the God has given me, and to not have any regrets when it's all said and done. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Best of all, I want to stand in front of the Lord and hear Him say, "'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 for a king

Well, first post is under my belt, so it's off to the races.

One of the problems with being on Temporary Duty (TDY) for training is the lack of home cooking. Now, believe it or not, I've actually developed a fondness for cooking over the years. I look forward to the weekends as an opportunity to further hone my culinary skills. The best part is when my 5-year-old daughter helps. It's a great bonding opportunity. But I digress...

These culinary skills have, fortunately, improved over the years. I remember years ago having to call my mother to ask her how to boil an egg. I remember frying bacon for the first time in the appartment Jay and I shared in Columbia. Yes, the fire alarm went off. I learned that day that dropping a piece of bacon into a red-hot frying pan is not a good idea. I remember the time Jay and I cooked a turkey with all the trimings around Christmas of 1990. I realize then that it was possible to cook something yourself that didn't merely involve opening a can and heating the contents (or just eating it right from the can which I still do from time to time).

Last night, I parted from my ususal TDY fare of various assortments of fast foods to endeavor to cook for myself. "What was on the menu?" you ask. Fried potato pancakes, artichoke hearts, boiled squash with celery, and a big pile of saurkraut. A decidely German meal to remind me of home far away, yet rooted in the timeless Southern tradition of frying relatively healthy items until all nutrition is removed. As a friend of mine once said, "Frying is the best way to cook. You can fry a piece of crap and it would taste good."

It was, indeed, a meal fit for a king.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A beginning...

I've brought reviewing my friends' blogs into my regular crosscheck. I've enjoyed keeping up with my old high school friends so much that I've decided to crank up my own blog. If anything, this will be a convenient spot for me to record significant events and have my old friends provide encouragement/ridicule. Both are welcome.

It's a bit Spartan for now...that's for sure. I intend to "church it up a bit" in the near future; this will do for now.

I'm currently working my way through C-17 Instructor Pilot requalification (thus the "C-17" part of my blog) at Altus Air Force base, Oklahoma. This is my sixth training event here on the heels of 2 PCS assignments. This is like a second home. I still have lots of good friends here, so it's been nice coming back.

I'm looking forward to my upcoming assignment to McChord Air Force Base, Washington, and touching base with Jay and his family. I'm also looking forward to keeping in touch with my good friends.

As I've reviewed my friends' blogs, I'm struck by how similar our tastes are in many areas. It would seem the years have separated us, but the commonalities that brought us together as friends in the first place is the thread that binds us together.